Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

CA Bill 1381 – Second Chance at GMO labeling

Posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2014

20140527-181305.jpg

If you live in California, please contact your California state Senator ( http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov ) and ask him or her to vote YES on California State Bill 1381 in favor of labeling GMO foods. The vote will likely be tomorrow, Wednesday, May 28.

Posted in Food, Health, Politics | 1 Comment »

U.S. charges Chinese military officers with cyberespionage

Posted by Anonymous on May 23, 2014

The U.S. Justice Department issued an indictment on Monday charging five Chinese military officers with hacking into the computer networks of American companies and stealing proprietary information. The move — which was swiftly repudiated by the Chinese government — “represents the first ever charges against a state actor” for hacking, Attorney General Eric Holder said. According to the indictment, the infiltrations began in 2006 and targeted organizations including Westinghouse Electric, U.S. Steel and the United Steel Workers Union. Los Angeles Times

Yeah, no muscling in on the NSA’s territory will be tolerated. Infiltrations, eh? How about the US charging the NSA with cyberespionage, then?

Posted in Crime, Politics, Technology | 1 Comment »

Yes Men Strike at Homeland Security Conference

Posted by Anonymous on May 2, 2014

100% Renewable energy on the way for the USA?

Watch the video here. Awesome.

Posted in Alt Energy, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Why Alex Jones thinks Glenn Beck is a Tool

Posted by Anonymous on April 27, 2014

The pedigree of Beck’s circle reveals he is not a libertarian and does not believe in the Constitution …

Glenn Beck, who fancies himself a libertarian, is working with corporate media insiders and a former CIA employee who flaunts his membership in the globalist Council on Foreign Relations. The objective of this group at the very heart of Beck’s operation, now readily apparent following the Cliven Bundy standoff, is to portray the Nevada rancher as a racist zealot, a member of a dangerous and outlaw sovereign citizen movement, and inseparable from violent and conspiracy crazed “militia” domestic terrorists. Beck’s campaign mirrors that of the Obama administration, Eric Holder’s Justice Department and the liberal media intelligentsia. …

The correlation between the Obama administration, the Justice Department and Beck became obvious as the standoff progressed, most notably when Beck began to repeat government talking points to attack Bundy and his supporters.

Establishment Talking Points

On April 13, as the Bundy standoff was in full swing, Becket Adams, writing for Beck’s The Blaze, openly echoed the government narrative. She attempted to disprove Senator Harry Reid’s connection to a Chinese energy firm and plans to build a solar plant on public land, an effort documented on April 11 by Infowars.com journalist Kit Daniels.

Beck and Adams also cited the debunked claim that the federal government owns and manages “public land” in Nevada (in direct violation of the Constitution) and insisted Bundy is breaking the law. This claim conforms to the narrative established by the federal government and its propaganda media.

In addition, Adams supported the claim pushed by the government and the establishment media that Bundy’s cattle grazing endangered a tortoise (in fact, as Adan Salazar demonstrates, the tortoise has in fact benefited from cattle grazing).

Finally, Adams tried to argue the Bundy family was a threat to heavily armed BLM agents because they cited Ruby Ridge and Waco and, like millions of ranchers, farmers and other rural Americans, keep and use firearms. Adams’ commentary is nearly indistinguishable from rhetoric put out by Democrats (and, to a lesser degree, Republicans…) and the establishment media. In fact, the establishment media dutifully ignored the story until it went viral in the alternative media and they were required to engage in damage control.

Beck’s accusation appeared several days before Senate majority leader Harry Reid made similar remarks. Reid characterized Cliven Bundy and his supporters as armed “domestic terrorists.” In addition, Reid called for a “united front” against Bundy, a call that paralleled Beck’s remark Americans should reject Bundy’s stand against the federal government and should distance themselves from his supporters who Beck slandered as crazed followers of Alex Jones.

Finally, sounding like a spokesman for FEMA and the government, Beck advocated non-resistance to government tyranny during the standoff.

“This morning I got up and I saw some more news reports, and more people in America that are standing up now and crying for revolution, insurrection, arming yourself, and a call to arms,” Beck said on his radio program on April 15. “I will tell you I believe in the Second Amendment, and I will defend myself. I believe in the rights that we have. But I will tell you more than I believe in my rights, I believe in the responsibilities that we have to God. And God does not call anyone to anger. God does not call anyone to vengeance ever, ever, ever.” …

Considering the pedigree of Beck’s circle, it is obvious he is not a libertarian and he does not believe in the primacy of the Constitution. It is accurate to say Beck is working with in concert with the government to sabotage patriotic Americans who believe the Bundy standoff and the armed and menacing reaction by the federal government represent a mortal danger. It is one worth drawing a line in the sand in response as Beck’s former colleague at Fox News, Andrew P. Napolitano, rightly said.

I’ve been ignoring the news lately, hoping it will go away? Bundy standoff? Domestic terrorists? Farmers? Revolution? Rather than another new gun, I just bought a refurbished Vitamix blender after tasting both hot soup and some healthy ice cream made in a live demo. I’m just not in the mood for a civil war. Let’s fix the government from within so real democracy is re-created and corporations no longer have rights exceeding those of individual Americans. This could happen if the economy totally collapses and/or if everyone marches on Washington demanding change. Glenn Beck IS a tool, by the way. He has been annoying for years. Too bad we can’t get people kicked off the air for lies. Let’s bring back that rule from… What was it , the 1950’s?

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

LA Police: ALL Cars Under Criminal Investigation As Part Of License Plate Reader Surveillance

Posted by Anonymous on March 21, 2014

Police in LA have attempted to justify an Automatic License Plate Reader surveillance program by claiming that every single car in the city is part of a criminal investigation.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently acquired documents under the Freedom Of Information Act that show the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department in LA argued that “All [license plate] data is investigatory.” The law enforcement departments also stated that the fact that the data will likely never be connected to any specific crime is insignificant.

The claims were made by police in briefs filed in response to a lawsuit brought by EFF and the ACLU seeking a week’s worth of the License Plate Reader data. The rights groups have taken issue with the surveillance program because the cameras used automatically and indiscriminately photograph all license plates, without any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

EFF states that the response from law enforcement is “completely counter to our criminal justice system.”

“We assume law enforcement will not conduct an investigation unless there are some indicia of criminal activity.” the group states. “In fact, the Fourth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution exactly to prevent law enforcement from conducting mass, suspicionless investigations under “general warrants” that targeted no specific person or place and never expired.”

This video from Vigilant Solutions, a private license plate tracking specialist company, shows how its system builds a comprehensive dossier on a person simply by capturing or inputting a license plate. Police have access to the databases, as do government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security.

The License reader program, which records the time, date and location of registered vehicles (and therefore their drivers) operates “without an officer targeting a specific vehicle and without any level of criminal suspicion.” the group urges.

“Taken to an extreme, the agencies’ arguments would allow law enforcement to conduct around-the-clock surveillance on every aspect of our lives and store those records indefinitely on the off-chance they may aid in solving a crime at some previously undetermined date in the future.” EFF also warns.

While both law enforcement agencies do admit that there are substantial privacy concerns with the surveillance program, they have done so only as a way of justifying keeping secret all the data garnered from it, EFF argues.

A hearing on the case has been scheduled for next month.

Last month, The Washington Post reported that the Department of Homeland Security revealed via a Federal Business Opportunities solicitation that it was set to activate a national license plate tracking system that will be shared with law enforcement. When privacy advocates balked at the plan, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson immediately ordered its cancellation, according to The Post.

However, as noted this week by Dan Froomkin of The Intercept, it was not the overall program that was “cancelled”, it was only the solicitation for services, pertaining to data retention by a private vendor, that was scrapped.

“…the Post had gotten it all wrong.” Froomkin writes. “DHS wasn’t planning to create a national license-plate tracking database – because several already exist, owned by different private companies, and extensively used by law enforcement agencies including DHS for years.”

“And far from going away, the databases are growing at a furious pace due to rapidly improving technology and ample federal grant money for more cameras and more computers.” Froomkin adds.

“So rather than being the tale of an averted threat, the bulk license-plate tracking saga is actually a story about yet another previously unimaginable loss of privacy in the modern information age.” the writer concludes.

The following video from 8 years ago in 2006 shows that police have been using license plate surveillance for close to a decade.

There is already ample evidence proving that the license plate readers have previously been used by cops to target innocent Americans. In one case, police used the system to track political activists by having their vehicles added to a “hotlist” following attendance at protests. It is not hard to imagine how the system could be further used to target other thought criminals, as this ACLU video highlights:

Rights groups continue to warn that Automatic License Plate Reader programs are just another form of mass surveillance that have been quietly implemented in the US and in many other countries around the world, as we sleepwalk into a Panopticon prison society.

http://www.infowars.com/la-police-all-cars-under-criminal-investigation-as-part-of-license-plate-reader-surveillance/

Hey, lets all get our home address, birth date, sexual preference, religious affiliation, social security number, email addresses and phone numbers stamped on our foreheads too.

Posted in Crime, human rights, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Edward Snowden: Here’s how we take back the Internet (video | TED talk)

Posted by Anonymous on March 20, 2014

Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it. “Your rights matter,” he says, “because you never know when you’re going to need them.” Chris Anderson interviews, with special guest Tim Berners-Lee. >
> http://www.ted.com/talks/edward_snowden_here_s_how_we_take_back_the_internet

Time for change. I find it interesting that Snowden can appear virtually at this event without being traced to his location by the NSA.

If you are in the camp that thinks Snowden is a traitor, be aware that the inventor of the Web disagrees with you.

Posted in human rights, Politics, Technology | 1 Comment »

NASA Study: Civilization collapse difficult to avoid on current course

Posted by Anonymous on March 18, 2014

20140319-213029.jpgA new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:

“… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

The study challenges those who argue that technology will resolve these challenges by increasing efficiency:

“Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”

Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from “increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput,” despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.

Modelling a range of different scenarios, Motesharri and his colleagues conclude that under conditions “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” In the first of these scenarios, civilisation:

“…. appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature.”

Another scenario focuses on the role of continued resource exploitation, finding that “with a larger depletion rate, the decline of the Commoners occurs faster, while the Elites are still thriving, but eventually the Commoners collapse completely, followed by the Elites.”

In both scenarios, Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners”, allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.” The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how “historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).”

Applying this lesson to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that:

“While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”

However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth:

“Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”

The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business – and consumers – to recognise that ‘business as usual’ cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.

… a number of other more empirically-focused studies – by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance – have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a ‘perfect storm’ within about fifteen years. But these ‘business as usual’ forecasts could be very conservative.

Continuity of Government, if the elites want it, is not going to be had by digging underground cities, stockpiling food, gas and water and waiting out the storm. The current fragile pyramid will not be maintained by the persecution of whistleblowers. Instead, the way to fix things is to get everyone to understand that we all fail if we don’t pull together. Teamwork or die.

Posted in Earth, Food, Politics, Space, Survival, Technology | 2 Comments »

Inventor of Web: A “Magna Carta” is needed

Posted by Anonymous on March 13, 2014

20140313-125412.jpgThe inventor of the world wide web believes an online “Magna Carta” is needed to protect and enshrine the independence of the medium he created and the rights of its users worldwide.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee told the Guardian the web had come under increasing attack from governments and corporate influence and that new rules were needed to protect the “open, neutral” system.

Speaking exactly 25 years after he wrote the first draft of the first proposal for what would become the world wide web, the computer scientist said: “We need a global constitution – a bill of rights.”

Berners-Lee’s Magna Carta plan is to be taken up as part of an initiative called “the web we want”, which calls on people to generate a digital bill of rights in each country – a statement of principles he hopes will be supported by public institutions, government officials and corporations.

“Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what’s happening at the back door, we can’t have open government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of culture. It’s not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it.”

Berners-Lee has been an outspoken critic of the American and British spy agencies’ surveillance of citizens following the revelations by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. In the light of what has emerged, he said, people were looking for an overhaul of how the security services were managed.

His views also echo across the technology industry, where there is particular anger about the efforts by the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ to undermine encryption and security tools – something many cybersecurity experts say has been counterproductive and undermined everyone’s security.

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Principles of privacy, free speech and responsible anonymity would be explored in the Magna Carta scheme. “These issues have crept up on us,” Berners-Lee said. “Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years.”
The web constitution proposal should also examine the impact of copyright laws and the cultural-societal issues around the ethics of technology.

While regional regulation and cultural sensitivities would vary, Berners-Lee said he believed a shared document of principle could provide an international standard for the values of the open web.

He is optimistic that the “web we want” campaign can be mainstream, despite the apparent lack of awareness of public interest in the Snowden story.

“I wouldn’t say people in the UK are apathetic – I would say that they have greater trust in their government than other countries. They have the attitude that we voted for them, so let them get on and do it.

“But we need our lawyers and our politicians to understand programming, to understand what can be done with a computer. We also need to revisit a lot of legal structure, copyright law – the laws that put people in jail which have been largely set up to protect the movie producers … None of this has been set up to preserve the day to day discourse between individuals and the day to day democracy that we need to run the country,” he said.

Berners-Lee also spoke out strongly in favour of changing a key and controversial element of internet governance that would remove a small but symbolic piece of US control. The US has clung on to the Iana contract, which controls the dominant database of all domain names, but has faced increased pressure post-Snowden.

He said: “The removal of the explicit link to the US department of commerce is long overdue. The US can’t have a global place in the running of something which is so non-national. There is huge momentum towards that uncoupling but it is right that we keep a multi-stakeholder approach, and one where governments and companies are both kept at arm’s length.”

Berners-Lee also reiterated his concern that the web could be balkanised by countries or organisations carving up the digital space to work under their own rules, whether for censorship, regulation or commerce.

We all have to play a role in that future, he said, citing resistance to proposed copyright theft regulation.

He said: “The key thing is getting people to fight for the web and to see the harm that a fractured web would bring. Like any human system, the web needs policing and of course we need national laws, but we must not turn the network into a series of national silos.”

Berners-Lee also starred in the London 2012 Olympics, typing the words “this is for everyone” on a computer in the centre of the arena. He has stuck firmly to the principle of openness, inclusivity and democracy since he invented the web in 1989, choosing not to commercialise his model. Rejecting the idea that government and commercial control of such a powerful medium was inevitable, Berners-Lee said it would be impossible: “Not until they prise the keyboards from our cold, dead fingers.” …

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/12/online-magna-carta-berners-lee-web

Sign up here https://webwewant.org and get to work on your own draft of the Web Bill of Rights, if you are so inclined.

Posted in human rights, Politics, Technology | 1 Comment »

Canada to pull out of Afghanistan

Posted by Anonymous on March 12, 2014

20140312-143051.jpgCanada’s military efforts in Afghanistan will end this month, with the withdrawal of the last 100 soldiers from Kabul, where they had been wrapping up training of Afghan National Security Forces.
Canada’s involvement included efforts in diplomacy, education, women’s rights and even dam building. The five years of heavy combat cost the lives of 158 Canadian soldiers, two consultants, one diplomat and one journalist.
With security deteriorating in many rural areas of Afghanistan, a number of foreigners have faced tighter security measures. As the country approaches the presidential elections next month, authorities expect to see more violence and instability. …

Against a backdrop of heightened security, the Canadian flag will be formally lowered on Wednesday and Canadian troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of the week.
Here’s a timeline of Canada’s role in Afghanistan:
October 2001: Following the 9-11 attacks in the United States, the UN Security Council adopts a resolution supporting efforts to root out terrorism in Afghanistan. On Oct. 8, a day after the U.S. begins operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, Canada announces that it will contribute sea, land and air forces to the operation.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/timeline-involved-since-2001-canada-wraps-up-its-mission-in-afghanistan-1.1724890#ixzz2vmPapqX1

Will this change anything with regard to the drugs coming from the area?

Afghanistan has been the greatest illicit opium producer in the entire world, ahead of Burma (Myanmar), the “Golden Triangle”, and Latin America since 1992, excluding the year 2001. Afghanistan is the main producer of opium in the “Golden Crescent”. Opium production in Afghanistan has been on the rise since U.S. occupation started in 2001. Based on UNODC data, there has been more opium poppy cultivation in each of the past four growing seasons (2004–2007) than in any one year during Taliban rule. Also, more land is now used for opium in Afghanistan than for coca cultivation in Latin America. In 2007, 92% of the non-pharmaceutical-grade opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan. This amounts to an export value of about $4 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords, and drug traffickers. In the seven years (1994–2000) prior to a Taliban opium ban, the Afghan farmers’ share of gross income from opium was divided among 200,000 families. In addition to opiates, Afghanistan is also the largest producer of cannabis (mostly as hashish) in the world.
Via Wikipedia

Posted in Money, Politics, War | Leave a Comment »

Obamacare Surcharge Appearing on Restaurant Bills Across the Country

Posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2014

20140307-002324.jpgThe small business mandate doesn’t go into effect until 2015, but restaurants across the country are already passing the extra costs associated with having to offer healthcare to their employees on to consumers.

Double D’s Sourdough Pizza in Denver recently started adding a five percent charge to customer’s bills in order “to pay for half of the health care costs of all employees, both full- and part-time,” according to CBS Denver.

Double D’s owner Ted Dorr says he isn’t trying to make a political statement by subjecting patrons to the extra charge. He just wanted to be able to offer health care to his employees.

A restaurant chain in Florida also recently began adding a one percent surcharge to its customer’s bills.

According to CNN:

The Gator Group’s full-time hourly employees won’t actually receive health insurance until December. But the company said it implemented the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it’s facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate kicking in in 2015…

http://www.infowars.com/obamacare-surcharge-appearing-on-restaurant-bills-across-the-country/

Obama care sounds like a great idea, but who is going to pay for it?

“It is already paid for.”

Apparently not.

Posted in Health, Money, Politics, Survival | Leave a Comment »

 
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