Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday 03-30-13

We don't care about you and if your barely making it, we need to tax you more, it is just 9 cents more a gallon, if you can not afford it we don't care.  Walk to work, lol

EPA taking aim at auto emissions, sulfur in gas

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reducing sulfur in gasoline and tightening emissions standards on cars beginning in 2017, as the Obama administration is proposing, would come with costs as well as rewards. The cost at the pump for cleaner air across the country could be less than a penny or as high as 9 cents a gallon, depending on who is providing the estimate.
An oil industry study says the proposed rule being unveiled Friday by the administration could increase gasoline prices by 6 cents to 9 cents a gallon. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates an increase of less than a penny and an additional $130 to the cost of a vehicle in 2025.
The EPA is quick to add that the change aimed at cleaning up gasoline and automobile emissions would yield billions of dollars in health benefits by 2030 by slashing smog- and soot-forming pollution. Still, the oil industry, Republicans and some Democrats have pressed the EPA to delay the rule, citing higher costs.
Environmentalists hailed the proposal as potentially the most significant in President Barack Obama's second term.
The so-called Tier 3 standards would reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent and reduce nitrogen oxides by 80 percent, by expanding across the country a standard already in place in California. For states, the regulation would make it easier to comply with health-based standards for the main ingredient in smog and soot. For automakers, the regulation allows them to sell the same autos in all 50 states.
The Obama administration already has moved to clean up motor vehicles by adopting rules that will double fuel efficiency and putting in place the first standards to reduce the pollution from cars and trucks blamed for global warming.
"We know of no other air pollution control strategy that can achieve such substantial, cost-effective and immediate emission reductions," said Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. Becker said the rule would reduce pollution equal to taking 33 million cars off the road.
But the head of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Charles Drevna, said in an interview Thursday that the refiners' group was still unclear on the motives behind the agency's regulation, since refining companies already have spent $10 billion to reduce sulfur by 90 percent. The additional cuts, while smaller, will cost just as much, Drevna said, and the energy needed for the additional refining actually could increase carbon pollution by 1 percent to 2 percent.
"I haven't seen an EPA rule on fuels that has come out since 1995 that hasn't said it would cost only a penny or two more," Drevna said.
A study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute estimated that lowering the sulfur in gasoline would add 6 cents to 9 cents a gallon to refiners' manufacturing costs, an increase that likely would be passed on to consumers at the pump. The EPA estimate of less than 1 cent is also an additional manufacturing cost and likely to be passed on.
A senior administration official said Thursday that only 16 of 111 refineries would need to invest in major equipment to meet the new standards, which could be final by the end of this year. Of the remaining refineries, 29 already are meeting the standards because they are selling cleaner fuel in California or other countries, and 66 would have to make modifications.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the rule was still undergoing White House budget office review.

Home-schooling family who fled to U.S. from Germany face deportation: Parents face charges and $9,000 fine for taking kids out school as Obama officials prepare to send them back 

The Obama administration is arguing in federal court that a homeschooling family from Germany should be deported back to their homeland, despite what they say is religious persecution. The German government prevented Uwe and Hannelore Romeike from teaching their five children at home instead of sending them to government-run schools, fining them and threatening to prosecute them if they don't obey.
When they took their three oldest children out of school in 2006, police showed up at their house within 24 hours, only leaving after a group of supporters showed up and organized a quick protest.
But their legal troubles were just beginning. Germany began fining the family, ultimately racking up a bill of more than 7,000 Euros ($9,000).
After they fled to the United States in 2010, the Romeike family initially were granted political asylum and found a home in Tennessee. They had a sixth child. But then U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appealed the asylum decision in 2012.

The federal Board of Immigration Appeals sided with the government despite a 2011 policy that gives the government broad discretion to pursue only high-priority cases.
ICE would not provide details about the case, or its reasons for pursuing the Romeikes.
'We do not comment on pending litigation,' ICE public affairs officer Brandon Montgomery told MailOnline.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled Germany with their five children because the government there criminalized home schooling
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled Germany with their five children because the government there criminalized home schooling. A sixth child was born after they took up residence and Tennessee and won permanent asylum on human rights grounds. The Obama administration appealed and seeks their deportation back to Germany

The Romeikes teach their five school-age children at home, including computer lessons along with reading, writing, math, history, music and other subjects
The Romeikes teach their five school-age children at home, including computer lessons along with reading, writing, math, history, music and other subjects
The Home School Legal Defense Association sued the US Department of Justice because a judge in that agency's Executive Office for Immigration Review was responsible for the decision.
A three-judge panel in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case of Romeike v. Holder on April 23.
Michael Farris, that organization's founding chairman, told MailOnline in a telephone interview that the even if the federal government doesn't believe home schooling is a human rights issue that qualifies for political asylum, it can still let the family remain in the US and home school their children.
'The attorney general absolutely has the discretion to let these people stay,' Farris said of the devoutly Christian family.

(Read more at)

TSA agent accidentally pepper sprays fellow agents

An incident that reportedly led a TSA agent to accidentally shoot five fellow employees with pepper spray left Kennedy International Airport with mud in its eye.
According to the New York Post, the stinging substance that is meant to be aimed at the face, and can cause major eye irritation, sent all six airport security screeners to the hospital.
The Post reports:
The agent, Chris Yves Dabel, discovered the device at the Terminal 2 security checkpoint and tried to determine if it was real, a source told The Post.
He told Port Authority cops that he “found the canister on the floor and thought it was a laser pointer.”
“They were playing around with it,” said one Kennedy Airport official.
The incident sounds more like something from "The Three Stooges" than something security experts would do.
The TSA seemed to assert in a statement to ABC News that the agent was being professional, not playful. “Officers were examining an abandoned item to determine its contents and to move it out of harm’s way when it accidentally discharged.” The TSA added that no travelers were injured.
The embarrassing incident led to the shutdown of security check points for 15 minutes, the UPI reports.
This is not the first time the TSA has suffered a security snafu. An earlier report in the New York Post exposed Newark Liberty Airport for failing to catch a fake bomb as part of a training exercise. An undercover agent brought the mock explosives through two layers of security, hidden in his pants.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday 03-29-13

FBI attempts to explain UFO memo in vault

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has broken its silence on the most popular file in its digital vault.
The one-page memo, dated March 22, 1950, was addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover from Guy Hottel, then head of the FBI's Washington, D.C., field office. It relayed some information from an informant.
The subject:
"An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico," Hottel writes. "They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots.”
No further evaluation was attempted, Hottel reports.
The file, released in April 2011 under the Freedom of Information Act, has been viewed nearly a million times, the FBI said, in part because media outlets "erroneously reported that the FBI had posted proof of a UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico [in 1947] and the recovery of wreckage and alien corpses."
"A bizarre memo that appears to prove that aliens did land in New Mexico prior to 1950 has been published by the FBI," the Daily Mail declared in 2011.
"The Hottel memo does not prove the existence of UFOs," the bureau said in a blog post on its website this week. "It is simply a second- or third-hand claim that we never investigated."
Besides, the FBI notes, the Hottel memo is dated nearly three years after the infamous events in Roswell in July 1947.
"There is no reason to believe the two are connected," the bureau said:
The FBI has only occasionally been involved in investigating reports of UFOs and extraterrestrials. For a few years after the Roswell incident, Director Hoover did order his agents—the request of the Air Force—verify any UFO sightings. That practice ended in July 1950, four months after the Hottel memo, suggesting that our Washington Field Office didn't think enough of that flying saucer story to look into it.

Because this phrase, uttered by the execrable Bloomberg should send chills up and down it
“I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom.”
Let me emphasize a few key words here
I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom.”
Notice Blowhard doesn’t say “I do think there are certain times our freedoms should be infringed”. No, he thinks he should infringe on your freedom.
His freedoms? Leave those alone.
Again, here’s a key illustration that these people think we’re too stupid to make the right choices, yet think the government (full of the same people who cannot make good choices) is up to the job after being chosen by the very same people that cannot make good choices.
We are being lorded over by people who cannot properly use Twitter, couldn’t boil water without a 12 page PowerPoint document and a governmentally Licensed Dihydrogen Monoxide Joule Application Specialist, or even have the most cursory comprehension of basic physics much less economics. They are not only stupid, they are dangerously so.
The proverb “Never give a monkey a loaded gun” can easily be replaced with “Never give a politician any power”. The results are the same.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday 03-28-13

MARC FABER: Not Even Gold Will Be Able To Save You From What Is Coming
Marc Faber, who authors the Gloom Boom & Doom newsletter, is usually pretty bearish on stocks and bullish on gold.

Lately, though, gold doesn't seem like it can catch a bid.
"Despite the continued reverberations regarding the Cyprus bailout and its involvement of bank deposits, gold struggled to maintain the positive momentum created in the first two weeks of March and instead now looks very likely to move lower, towards $1580/oz," wrote Deutsche Bank commodities analyst Xiao Fu in a note this morning.
So, what does Faber have to say about it?
This morning, on Bloomberg Surveillance with Tom Keene and Alix Steel, Dr. Doom was asked why gold wasn't holding up.
Here's his explanation:
When you print money, the money does not flow evenly into the economic system. It stays essentially in the financial service industry and among people that have access to these funds, mostly well-to-do people. It does not go to the worker. I just mentioned that it doesn't flow evenly into the system.
Now from time to time it will lift the NASDAQ like between 1997 and March 2000. Then it lifted home prices in the U.S. until 2007. Then it lifted the commodity prices in 2008 until July 2008 when the global economy was already in recession. More recently it has lifted selected emerging economies, stock markets in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, up four times from 2009 lows and now the U.S.
So we are creating bubbles and bubbles and bubbles. This bubble will come to an end. My concern is that we are going to have a systemic crisis where it is going to be very difficult to hide. Even in gold, it will be difficult to hide.
Faber is, of course, still bearish on U.S. stocks. He told Bloomberg that he sees "considerable downside risk" in the market.

FBI Pursuing Real-Time Gmail Spying Powers as “Top Priority” for 2013

Despite the pervasiveness of law enforcement surveillance of digital communication, the FBI still has a difficult time monitoring Gmail, Google Voice, and Dropbox in real time. But that may change soon, because the bureau says it has made gaining more powers to wiretap all forms of Internet conversation and cloud storage a “top priority” this year.

Last week, during a talk for the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C., FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann discussed some of the pressing surveillance and national security issues facing the bureau. He gave a few updates on the FBI’s efforts to address what it calls the “going dark” problem—how the rise in popularity of email and social networks has stifled its ability to monitor communications as they are being transmitted. It’s no secret that under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the feds can easily obtain archive copies of emails. When it comes to spying on emails or Gchat in real time, however, it’s a different story.

That’s because a 1994 surveillance law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act only allows the government to force Internet providers and phone companies to install surveillance equipment within their networks. But it doesn’t cover email, cloud services, or online chat providers like Skype. Weissmann said that the FBI wants the power to mandate real-time surveillance of everything from Dropbox and online games (“the chat feature in Scrabble”) to Gmail and Google Voice. “Those communications are being used for criminal conversations,” he said.

While it is true that CALEA can only be used to compel Internet and phone providers to build in surveillance capabilities into their networks, the feds do have some existing powers to request surveillance of other services. Authorities can use a “Title III” order under the “Wiretap Act” to ask email and online chat providers furnish the government with “technical assistance necessary to accomplish the interception.” However, the FBI claims this is not sufficient because mandating that providers help with “technical assistance” is not the same thing as forcing them to “effectuate” a wiretap. In 2011, then-FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni—Weissmann’s predecessor—stated that Title III orders did not provide the bureau with an "effective lever" to "encourage providers" to set up live surveillance quickly and efficiently. In other words, the FBI believes it doesn’t have enough power under current legislation to strong-arm companies into providing real-time wiretaps of communications.

Because Gmail is sent between a user’s computer and Google’s servers using SSL encryption, for instance, the FBI can’t intercept it as it is flowing across networks and relies on the company to provide it with access. Google spokesman Chris Gaither hinted that it is already possible for the company to set up live surveillance under some circumstances. “CALEA doesn't apply to Gmail but an order under the Wiretap Act may,” Gaither told me in an email. “At some point we may expand our transparency report to cover this topic in more depth, but until then I'm not able to provide additional information.”

Either way, the FBI is not happy with the current arrangement and is on a crusade for more surveillance authority. According to Weissmann, the bureau is working with “members of intelligence community” to craft a proposal for new Internet spy powers as “a top priority this year.” Citing security concerns, he declined to reveal any specifics. “It's a very hard thing to talk about publicly,” he said, though acknowledged that “it's something that there should be a public debate about.”

Little-known surveillance tool raises concerns by judges, privacy activists

Federal investigators in Northern California routinely used a sophisticated surveillance system to scoop up data from cellphones and other wireless devices in an effort to track criminal suspects — but failed to detail the practice to judges authorizing the probes.
The practice was disclosed Wednesday in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California — in a glimpse into a technology that federal agents rarely discuss publicly.

The investigations used a device known as a StingRay, which simulates a cellphone tower and enables agents to collect the serial numbers of individual cellphones and then locate them. Although law enforcement officials can employ StingRays and similar devices to locate suspects, privacy groups and some judges have raised concerns that the technology is so invasive — in some cases effectively penetrating the walls of homes — that its use should require a warrant.
The issues, judges and activists say, are twofold: whether federal agents are informing courts when seeking permission to monitor suspects, and whether they are providing enough evidence to justify the use of a tool that sweeps up data not only from a suspect’s wireless device but also from those of bystanders in the vicinity.
In Northern California, according to the newly disclosed documents, judges expressed concerns about the invasive nature of the technology.
“It has recently come to my attention that many agents are still using [StingRay] technology in the field although the [surveillance] application does not make that explicit,” Miranda Kane, then chief of the criminal division of the Northern California U.S. attorney’s office, said in a May 2011 e-mail obtained by the ACLU.
As a result of that, she wrote, “effective immediately, all . . . applications and proposed orders must be reviewed by your line supervisor before they are submitted to a magistrate judge.”
The Justice Department has generally maintained that a warrant based on probable cause is not needed to use a “cell-site simulator” because the government is not employing them to intercept conversations, former officials said. But some judges around the country have disagreed and have insisted investigators first obtain a warrant.
“It’s unsettled territory,” said one U.S. law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the record.
In a statement, Christopher Allen, a spokesman for the FBI, said the bureau advises field offices to “work closely with the relevant U.S. Attorney’s Office to adhere to the legal requirements” of their respective districts.
One of the problems is there is “scant law” addressing the issue of cell-site simulators, said Brian L. Owsley, a federal magistrate judge in the Southern District of Texas, who in June wrote a rare public ruling on the issue. He denied an application to use a StingRay, in large part because he felt the investigating agent failed to explain the technology or how it would be used to gather the target’s cellphone number.

Moreover, the government did not explain what it would do with the numbers and other data “concerning seemingly innocent cell phone users” that were also picked up.
“Neither the special agent nor the assistant United States attorney appeared to understand the technology very well,” Owsley wrote. “At a minimum, they seemed to have some discomfort in trying to explain it.”

At a recent conference on cellphone tracking issues at Yale University, Owsley said he thought that “there are magistrate judges around the country that are getting these requests and not realizing what these requests are,” in some cases perhaps because the agents are not clear about their intent to use the technology.
“By withholding information about this technology from courts in applications for electronic surveillance orders, the federal government is essentially seeking to write its own search warrants,” said Linda Lye, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California.
Judges “need the opportunity to require privacy safeguards, such as rules on how to handle the data of innocent people that may be captured by the devices as well,” she said.Lye will be arguing the issue on Thursday in a federal case in Arizona, in support of a defendant charged with tax fraud and identity theft. Daniel Rigmaiden, known as “the Hacker” to acquaintances and federal agents, was tracked in part with the use of a StingRay. He has alleged that investigators did not seek a court’s approval to use the technology.
“The main concern we have in Rigmaiden is the government was not being forthright with the magistrate when it was seeking to use this device,” said Lye, whose organization is one of several that have filed an amicus brief in the case.
The newly disclosed documents suggest that “Rigmaiden was not an isolated case,” she said.
The government said it obtained a warrant to track Rigmaiden, but the ACLU is arguing that the government did not present key information about the surveillance device to the magistrate, rendering the warrant invalid.
Chris Soghoian, the ACLU’s principal technologist, said cell-site simulators are being used by local, state and federal authorities.
“No matter how the StingRay is used — to identify, locate or intercept — they always send signals through the walls of homes,” which should trigger a warrant requirement, Soghoian said. “The signals always penetrate a space protected by the Fourth Amendment.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday 03-27-13

He may look like Jimmy Carter, but he is probably the best economist in the World."> name="allowFullScreen" value="true">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true">

32 percent is the average in Maryland it is projected to go up 67 percent and Virginia is 28 percent.  Remember it is free or will not go up, what a promise.  There is no free lunch, someone is going to pay for it.

Study: Health law to raise claims cost 32 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new study finds that insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
What does that mean for you?
It could increase premiums for at least some Americans.
If you are uninsured, or you buy your policy directly from an insurance company, you should pay attention.
But if you have an employer plan, like most workers and their families, odds are you don't have much to worry about.
The estimates from the Society of Actuaries could turn into a political headache for the Obama administration at a time when much of the country remains skeptical of the Affordable Care Act.
The administration is questioning the study, saying it doesn't give a full picture -- and costs will go down.
Actuaries are financial risk professionals who conduct long-range cost estimates for pension plans, insurance companies and government programs.
The study says claims costs will go up largely because sicker people will join the insurance pool. That's because the law forbids insurers from turning down those with pre-existing medical problems, effective Jan. 1. Everyone gets sick sooner or later, but sicker people also use more health care services.
"Claims cost is the most important driver of health care premiums," said Kristi Bohn, an actuary who worked on the study. Spending on sicker people and other high-cost groups will overwhelm an influx of younger, healthier people into the program, said the report.
The Obama administration challenged the design of the study, saying it focused only on one piece of the puzzle and ignored cost relief strategies in the law, such as tax credits to help people afford premiums and special payments to insurers who attract an outsize share of the sick.
The study also doesn't take into account the potential price-cutting effect of competition in new state insurance markets that will go live Oct. 1, administration officials said.
At a White House briefing Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said some of what passes for health insurance today is so skimpy it can't be compared to the comprehensive coverage available under the law. "Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don't pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus," she said. "They're really mortgage protection, not health insurance."
Sebelius said the picture on premiums won't start coming into focus until insurers submit their bids. Those results may not be publicly known until late summer.
Another striking finding of the report was a wide disparity in cost impact among the states.
While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded that the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.
The differences are big. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.
Part of the reason for the wide disparities is that states have different populations and insurance rules. In the relatively small number of states where insurers were already restricted from charging higher rates to older, sicker people, the cost impact is less.
The report did not make similar estimates for employer plans that most workers and families rely on. That's because the primary impact of Obama's law is on people who don't have coverage through their jobs.
A prominent national expert, recently retired Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster, said the report does "a credible job" of estimating potential enrollment and costs under the law, "without trying to tilt the answers in any particular direction."
"Having said that," Foster added, "actuaries tend to be financially conservative, so the various assumptions might be more inclined to consider what might go wrong than to anticipate that everything will work beautifully." Actuaries use statistics and economic theory to make long-range cost projections for insurance and pension programs sponsored by businesses and government. The society is headquartered near Chicago.
Bohn, the actuary who worked on the study, acknowledged it did not attempt to estimate the effect of subsidies, insurer competition and other factors that could offset cost increases. She said the goal was to look at the underlying cost of medical care.
"We don't see ourselves as a political organization," Bohn added. "We are trying to figure out what the situation at hand is."

Study: Medical claims costs could rise 67 percent

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A study estimates medical claims costs in Maryland could jump 67 percent for residents' individual policies by 2017 under the federal health care overhaul, but a state official says the study is flawed because it doesn't consider unique steps taken to ease pressure on rates.
The increase cited in a report released Tuesday by the Society of Actuaries says much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool.
But Carolyn Quattrocki, executive director of the Governor's Office of Health Care Reform, says the report fails to consider several unique aspects in Maryland. One is the fact that it has a large high-risk pool compared to other states and has already taken care of a larger portion of its sickest residents.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday 03-26-13

Bill Gates' $100 million database to track students

Corporations gaining access to grades, addresses, hobbies, attitudes 

Over the past 18 months, a massive $100 million public-school database spearheaded by the $36.4 billion-strong Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been in the making that freely shares student information with private companies.
The system has been in operation for several months and already contains millions of K-12 students’ personal identification ‒ ranging from name, address, Social Security number, attendance, test scores, homework completion, career goals, learning disabilities, and even hobbies and attitudes about school.
Claiming that the national database will enhance education, the main funder of the project, the Gates Foundation, entered the joint venture with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from a number of states. After Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify Education (a division of News Corp) spent more than a year developing the system’s infrastructure, the Gates Foundation delivered it to inBloom ‒ a nonprofit corporation recently established to run the database.
School officials and private companies doing business with districts might have plenty to be happy about with this information-sharing system, but President Michael P. Farris says parents have plenty to worry about when it comes to inBloom’s national database.
“The greatest immediate threat to children is the threat to their privacy,” Farris told WND in an exclusive interview. “The Supreme Court has recognized a sphere of privacy within the family, but this project would take personal information about each child, apart from any considerations of parental consent, and put it into a database being managed and monitored solely by the government agencies and private corporations that use it.”
And with globalists like Bill Gates (the world’s second richest man with a net worth of $61 billion) and big government joining hands in the project, could children’s information be abused for ulterior motives?
“I cannot speak to Mr. Gates’ personal motivations, [but] the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been connected with human rights organizations that promote the internationalist mindset, and this project clearly fits with that agenda,” Farris explained. “The Convention on the Rights of the Child committee has repeatedly browbeat nations to create a national database just like this that will allow the government to track children, purportedly to make sure their human rights are being protected ‒ different declared purpose, same kind of system, same invasion of privacy for government purposes.”
Michael Farris
When contacted for comment about the benefits and potential dangers of the database, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not respond.
Breach of privacy?
Holding the legal right to control student information, local education officials reportedly have the authority under federal law to share database files with private companies ‒ such as Gates’ Microsoft ‒ that sell educational products and services so that they can mine the info to create new tailored products.
But Farris believes the digital information distribution system violates the constitutional rights of parents to protect their children.
“We believe parents have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children,” asserts Farris, who was named one of the “Top 100 Faces in Education of the 20th Century” by Education Week. “Historically, the Supreme Court has supported that right. That means parents are the primary guardians of a child’s privacy.”
He notes the hypocrisy of many globalist billionaires (such as Gates, whose 11-, 14- and 17-year-old children enjoy the extra security of private schools and for their own protection, have had to wait until the age of 13 to get a cell phone).
“This is just one more example of the elite internationalist double standard,” contends Farris, who also is the founder and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). “They are perfectly content to share your child’s personal information, while keeping their own children in private schools or under private tutors.”
Farris, who is also the founding president and current chancellor of Patrick Henry College, sees corporate leaders as using those of lesser means to benefit their own interests.
“They protect their own privacy at any cost, but you need to surrender yours for the good of their ideal society,” Farris adds. “Ultimately, it doesn’t seem so ideal for the rest of us.”
Farris insists that schools giving in to the corporate interests of billionaires, such as Gates and Murdoch, is a major breach of parental rights.
“Now the government is sharing private student information with other organizations without parental consent,” Farris points out. “We believe that infringes a child’s right to privacy, and it infringes the parents’ right to be the first line of defense for that child.”
Many parents concur and feel uneasy with school administrators having full control over their children’s files, especially with states and school districts having full discretion over whether student records are entered into the database.
“Once this information gets out there, it’s going to be abused,” parent Jason France told Reuters in Louisiana, which, along with New York, is slated to input virtually all student records statewide. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Illinois, Massachusetts, Colorado, Georgia, Delaware, Kentucky and North Carolina have pledged to contribute student records from various school districts.
Because federal officials claim that the national database does not violate privacy laws, the Department of Education maintains that no parental consent is needed by schools to share student records with any “school official” with a “legitimate educational interest” ‒ which includes school-contracted private companies.
Gates’ real take on security
Being in the business of contributing to educational technologies for decades, 57-year-old Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has much vested interest in education, and in years past, he has had much to say about the privacy of electronic information.
“Trustworthy Computing is the highest priority for all the work we are doing,” Gates stated a decade ago in a famous company-wide memo at Microsoft. “We must lead the industry to a whole new level of Trustworthiness in computing.”
And by “trustworthy,” Gates was referring to not letting people’s information get into the wrong hands.
“Users should be in control of how their data is used,” explained Gates ‒ who believes that his customers’ information should not be freely distributed, but does not hold that view when it comes to parents and the records of their children.
“Policies for information use should be clear to the user. Users should be in control … it should be easy for users to specify appropriate use of their information …”
In fact, when it comes to protecting and courting customers, Gates has spared no cost.
“So now, when we face a choice between adding features and resolving security issues, we need to choose security,” states the memo from Gates, whose $150 million, 66,000-square-foot home on Lake Washington has a 2,500-square-foot gym, a 1,000 square-foot living room and a 60-foot swimming pool complete with an underwater music system. “Our products should emphasize security right out of the box, and we must constantly refine and improve that security as threats evolve.”
Despite his endorsement of the school database, Gates ‒ who gave up first place in global net worth to Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu ($69 billion) after giving away $28 billion through his foundation ‒ is a strong backer of International Data Privacy Day, which has this to say about protecting people’s information:
“In this networked world, in which we are thoroughly digitized, with our identities, locations, actions, purchases, associations, movements, and histories stored as so many bits and bytes, we have to ask – who is collecting all of this data – what are they doing with it – with whom are they sharing it? Most of all, individuals are asking ‘How can I protect my information from being misused?’ These are reasonable questions to ask – we should all want to know the answers.”
Officials of the annual event proclaim endorsement of the very principles that Gates’ new public school database evidently tramples.
“Data Privacy Day promotes awareness about the many ways personal information is collected, stored, used, and shared, and education about privacy practices that will enable individuals to protect their personal information,” the events’ organizers declare.
Student security not a priority
Even though the facilitator of the public school database promises that it will keep a tight rein on students’ information, a closer look into inBloom’s privacy policy shows another stance.
“[inBloom] cannot guarantee the security of the information stored … or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted,” the company’s documentation states.
Unlike most software and Internet users, parents have little recourse when it comes to protecting their children’s information on the database. Voicing their concerns with state officials via written protests, parents of public schoolers from Louisiana and New York are up-in-arms. Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) in Massachusetts, as well as attorneys in New York, are following suit.
But according to Farris, public education is just fanning the flames of parental fears that “Big Brother” is tightening its grip on the masses by treating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as a “living and breathing document” to undermine its original intent.
“We know the Department of Education quietly modified their understanding of FERPA law in the last two years to allow for a system like this,” Farris argues. “Homeschool Legal Defense Association, of which I am chairman, filed a letter with the Department opposing their intended changes, but like all such letters in this particular instance, our input was ignored.”
And has Bill Gates’ personal information been as freely accessible as he would public schoolers’ to be? Not exactly.
Just earlier this month, the now part-timer from Microsoft (since 2008) has been made the latest victim of celebrity data exposure, with his Social Security number, birthdate, credit card number and full credit report being posted online. No comment has been made whether Gates believes the dissemination of his SSN is a breach of privacy, but his heavy involvement in the school database indicates that sharing such information of public school students isn’t a breach.
And just how important is privacy to Gates?
In 1994, when he married Melinda in a private ceremony on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, he bought out every unoccupied room of all nearby hotels and booked every helicopter in the surrounding area to ensure privacy from photographers.
Reports also indicate that First Lady Michelle Obama was also a recent victim of having her SSN and credit report posted online. She and a couple dozen celebrities were impersonated by hackers who entered some of their basic personal information into a website ‒ the same type of information (of students) school officials are entering into their system by the millions.
President Barack Obama recently expressed his concern over electronic information being exploited by others, and when it comes to info being dispersed about his wife, he is dispatching U.S. authorities to investigate.
“We should not be surprised that if we’ve got hackers that want to dig in and have a lot of resources, that they can access this information,” Obama told ABC News. “Again, not sure how accurate but … you’ve got websites out there that tell people’s credit card info. That’s how sophisticated they are.”
And to make it easy for companies to tap in, inBloom has made its service free, but is likely to begin charging for its use by 2015.
Opening the Gates agenda?
Much concern has been expressed over the years as to the driving force behind Gates and his organizations, which have demonstrated unflagging support of many leftist agendas over the years.
Just last week, the richest man in America renewed his contempt for capitalism while decrying that Obama’s powers are too restricted under America’s free system of government.
“Some days, I wish we had a system like the U.K. where, you know, the party in power could do a lot and you know, you’d see how it went and then fine, you could un-elect them,” Gates proclaimed at a Politico event when asked about Obama’s performance as president, according to The Daily Caller.
Gates joins other billionaires such as William Buffet, George Soros and George Lucas in their rants against capitalism ‒ the very system that made them rich.
“[Capitalism] means male baldness research gets more funding than malaria,” Gates proclaimed just over a week ago in a speech the Global Grand Challenges Summit put on by the Royal Academy of Engineering, according to Wired Magazine.
Since the inception of the Gates Foundation in 1994, the same year Gates spent $30.8 million at an auction for a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s writings called the Codex Leicester, he has been a staunch supporter of population control through vaccines and other methods.
Last summer, Gates and his wife represented their foundation at a “family planning” summit in London hosted by the U.K. Department of International Development, which included Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Populations Fund, along with other prominent pro-abortion advocates.
And at the exclusive Technology, Entertainment and Design 2010 Conference in Long Beach, Calif., Gates presented this population-control formula: P (people) x S (services per persons) x E (average energy per service) x C (average CO2 emitted per unit of energy) = CO2 (total CO2 emitted by population per year).
He had this to say about keeping the world population from peaking at 9.3 billion (official projected peak) during his speech titled “Innovating to Zero!”
“First we got population,” Gates explained. “The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”
Even though Gates suggested at the invitation-only event that using vaccines is one means to reduce world population, his foundation focuses media attention on other goals, such as eradicating measles and polio.
But the foundation’s extreme measures taken to administer their shots to undeveloped nations are often underreported.
In 2011, few people knew about partners of the Gates foundation forcing 131 Malawian children against their religious convictions to receive measles vaccinations at gunpoint as part of achieving the goal of vaccinating every child on earth, as reported by Natural News.
Gates, an ex-Boy Scout, is also an advocate of homosexual behavior, stating at last week’s Politico event that the youth organization should “absolutely” lift its ban on “gay” members when asked about his take on the issue.
Standing side-by-side with Planned Parenthood ‒ which has documented that promoting homosexuality is one of its tactics behind population control ‒ Gates’ Microsoft was a major contributors to last year’s successful election campaign that worked to legalize same-sex “marriage” in his native Washington State.
The future of Gates’ database?
It is uncertain how much influence Gates can have on society as the new school database continues to be implemented, but it is not moving forward without legal resistance.
Law firms are doing their best to try and stop the national public school database in its tracks.
“It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors,” contended Electronic Privacy Law Center Administrative Counsel Khaliah Barnes in a statement to the Daily News. “What happens if a company using the data is compromised? What happens if the company goes out of business? We don’t know the answers.”
The issue over the database is being brought to the forefront as a major civil rights issue.
“Turning massive amounts of personal data about public school students to a private corporation without any public input is profoundly disturbing and irresponsible,” New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna told the Daily News.
The NYCLU is castigating New York State officials for denying parents the choice to opt out of the controversial program and for failing to warn parents of its implementation.
To counter Gates’ school database project, urges Americans to sign a petition supporting the Parental Rights Amendment, which will codify the fundamental right of parents in the U.S. Constitution to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday 3-23-13

US plan calls for more scanning of private Web traffic, email

The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country's private, civilian-run infrastructure.
As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks.
Under last month's White House executive order on cybersecurity, the scans will be driven by classified information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies — including data from the National Security Agency (NSA) — on new or especially serious espionage threats and other hacking attempts. U.S. spy chiefs said on March 12 that cyber attacks have supplanted terrorism as the top threat to the country.
The Department of Homeland Security will gather the secret data and pass it to a small group of telecommunication companies and cyber security providers that have employees holding security clearances, government and industry officials said. Those companies will then offer to process email and other Internet transmissions for critical infrastructure customers that choose to participate in the program.
DHS as the middleman
By using DHS as the middleman, the Obama administration hopes to bring the formidable overseas intelligence-gathering of the NSA closer to ordinary U.S. residents without triggering an outcry from privacy advocates who have long been leery of the spy agency's eavesdropping.
The telecom companies will not report back to the government on what they see, except in aggregate statistics, a senior DHS official said in an interview granted on condition he not be identified.
"That allows us to provide more sensitive information," the official said. "We will provide the information to the security service providers that they need to perform this function." Procedures are to be established within six months of the order.
The administration is separately seeking legislation that would give incentives to private companies, including communications carriers, to disclose more to the government. NSA Director General Keith Alexander said last week that NSA did not want personal data but Internet service providers could inform the government about malicious software they find and the Internet Protocol addresses they were sent to and from.
"There is a way to do this that ensures civil liberties and privacy and does ensure the protection of the country," Alexander told a congressional hearing.
Fears grow of destructive attack
In the past, Internet traffic-scanning efforts were mainly limited to government networks and Defense Department contractors, which have long been targets of foreign espionage.
But as fears grow of a destructive cyber attack on core, non-military assets, and more sweeping security legislation remained stalled, the Obama administration opted to widen the program.
Last month's presidential order calls for commercial providers of "enhanced cybersecurity services" to extend their offerings to critical infrastructure companies. What constitutes critical infrastructure is still being refined, but it would include utilities, banks and transportation such as trains and highways.
Under the program, critical infrastructure companies will pay the providers, which will use the classified information to block attacks before they reach the customers. The classified information involves suspect Web addresses, strings of characters, email sender names and the like.
Not all the cybersecurity providers will be telecom companies, though AT&T is one. Raytheon said this month it had agreed with DHS to become a provider, and a spokesman said that customers could route their traffic to Raytheon after receiving it from their communications company.
As the new set-up takes shape, DHS officials and industry executives said some security equipment makers were working on hardware that could take classified rules about blocking traffic and act on them without the operator being able to reverse-engineer the codes. That way, people wouldn't need a security clearance to use the equipment.
Civil liberties implications
The issue of scanning everything headed to a utility or a bank still has civil liberties implications, even if each company is a voluntary participant.
Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that the executive order did not weaken existing privacy laws, but any time a machine acting on classified information is processing private communications, it raises questions about the possibility of secret extra functions that are unlikely to be answered definitively.
"You have to wonder what else that box does," Tien said.
One technique for examining email and other electronic packets en route, called deep packet inspection, has stirred controversy for years, and some cybersecurity providers said they would not be using that. In deep packet inspection, communication companies or others with network access can examine all the elements of a transmission, including the content of emails.
"The signatures provided by DHS do not require deep packet inspection," said Steve Hawkins, vice president at Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems division, referring further questions to DHS.
The DHS official said the government is still in conversations with the telecom operators on the issue.
The official said the government had no plans to roll out any such form of government-guided close examination of Internet traffic into the communications companies serving the general public.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday 03-21-13

TSA tested, scrapped program that tracked Bluetooth devices

Lines can be long at airport security. The Transportation Security Administration knows too. Documents obtained by Eyewitness News showed TSA tested a project to measure how long.

Sensors in the terminal found Bluetooth devices, honed in on the signals and tracked how long it took people to get through security.

An internal TSA document stated it worked by, "…detecting signals broadcast to the public by individual devices and calculating a wait time as the signal passes sensors positioned to cover the area in which passengers may wait in line."

It said the information would be encrypted and destroyed within two hours to protect people's privacy. TSA tested the technology in 2012 in Las Vegas and Indianapolis, but bailed on it.

"This is an expensive and needlessly complicated way of estimating wait times, compared with say a ticket agent writing the time at the front of the line," said Julian Sanchez, author of "Wiretapping the Internet."

TSA has taken criticism in the recent months for its handling of passenger privacy, including enhanced pat downs and whole body scanners.

A spokesman for the Association of Airline Passengers Rights said his group isn't comfortable with Bluetooth tracking and TSA has a history of saying it's keeping passenger information private and then changing its story.

TSA documents show the agency considered posting warning signs alerting passengers that Bluetooth sensors were active, but officials didn't return comment when Eyewitness News asked if the signs were posted at the cities where the technology was tested.

A spokesman confirmed they've scrapped the program before it became public.

California Seizes Guns as Owners Lose Right to Keep Arms

Wearing bulletproof vests and carrying 40-caliber Glock pistols, nine California (STOCA1) Justice Department agents assembled outside a ranch-style house in a suburb east of Los Angeles. They were looking for a gun owner who’d recently spent two days in a mental hospital.

They knocked on the door and asked to come in. About 45 minutes later, they came away peacefully with three firearms.

California is the only state that tracks and disarms people with legally registered guns who have lost the right to own them, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris. Almost 20,000 gun owners in the state are prohibited from possessing firearms, including convicted felons, those under a domestic violence restraining order or deemed mentally unstable.

“What do we do about the guns that are already in the hands of persons who, by law, are considered too dangerous to possess them?” Harris said in a letter to Vice President Joe Biden after a Connecticut school shooting in December left 26 dead. She recommended that Biden, heading a White House review of gun policy, consider California as a national model.

As many as 200,000 people nationwide may no longer be qualified to own firearms, according to Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis. Other states may lack confiscation programs because they don’t track purchases as closely as California, which requires most weapons sales go through a licensed dealer and be reported.

“Very, very few states have an archive of firearm owners like we have,” said Wintemute, who helped set up the program.

Funding Increase

Harris, a 48-year-old Democrat, has asked California lawmakers to more than double the number of agents from the current 33. They seized about 2,000 weapons last year. Agents also took 117,000 rounds of ammunition and 11,000 high-capacity magazines, according to state data.

“We’re not contacting anybody who can legally own a gun,” said John Marsh, a supervising agent who coordinates the sometimes-contentious seizures. “I got called the Antichrist the other day. Every conspiracy theory you’ve heard of, take that times 10.”

The no-gun list is compiled by cross-referencing files on almost 1 million handgun and assault-weapon owners with databases of new criminal records and involuntary mental-health commitments. About 15 to 20 names are added each day, according to the attorney general’s office.

Probable Cause

Merely being in a database of registered gun owners and having a “disqualifying event,” such as a felony conviction or restraining order, isn’t sufficient evidence for a search warrant, Marsh said March 5 during raids in San Bernardino County. So the agents often must talk their way into a residence to look for weapons, he said.

At a house in Fontana, agents were looking for a gun owner with a criminal history of a sex offense, pimping, according to the attorney general’s office. Marsh said that while the woman appeared to be home, they got no answer at the door. Without a warrant, the agents couldn’t enter and had to leave empty- handed.

They had better luck in nearby Upland, where they seized three guns from the home of Lynette Phillips, 48, who’d been hospitalized for mental illness, and her husband, David. One gun was registered to her, two to him.

“The prohibited person can’t have access to a firearm,” regardless of who the registered owner is, said Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

Involuntarily Held

In an interview as agents inventoried the guns, Lynette Phillips said that while she’d been held involuntarily in a mental hospital in December, the nurse who admitted her had exaggerated the magnitude of her condition.

Todd Smith, chief executive officer of Aurora Charter Oak Hospital in Covina, where documents provided by Phillips show she was treated, didn’t respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment on the circumstances of the treatment.

Phillips said her husband used the guns for recreation. She didn’t blame the attorney general’s agents for taking the guns based on the information they had, she said.

“I do feel I have every right to purchase a gun,” Phillips said. “I’m not a threat. We’re law-abiding citizens.”

No one was arrested. Most seized weapons are destroyed, Gregory said.

“It’s not unusual to not arrest a mental-health person because every county in the state handles those particular cases differently,” Gregory said by e-mail. “Unless there’s an extenuating need to arrest them on the spot, we refer the case” to the local district attorney’s office, she said.

Convicted Felons

Agents more often arrest convicted felons who are prohibited from buying, receiving, owning or possessing a firearm, Gregory said. Violation of the ban is itself a felony.

The state Senate agreed March 7 to expand the seizure program using $24 million in surplus funds from fees that gun dealers charge buyers for background checks.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, a gun lobby based in Fairfax, Virginia, that says it has more than 4 million individuals as members, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the program.

Sam Paredes, executive director of the Folsom-based advocacy group Gun Owners of California, praised the program, though not how it is funded.

“We think that crime control instead of gun control is absolutely the way to go,” he said. “The issue we have is funding this program only from resources from law-abiding gun purchasers. This program has a benefit to the entire public and therefore the entire public should be paying through general- fund expenditures, and not just legal gun owners.”

Arizona could soon approve gold, silver as legal tender

Arizona could soon become the second U.S. state to recognize gold and silver as legal tender if the Arizona House approves SB 1439.
The bill has already won the approval of Arizona’s State Senate and the Arizona House Financial Institutions Committee which voted the legislation out of committee on a 4-2 vote Monday. The measure now goes to a vote of the Arizona House.
Thus far, only the State of Utah has officially recognized gold and silver as legal tender, although the issue has been under consideration this year in four states including Arizona. The Arizona bill defines legal tender as a mode of paying debts and taxes.
The measure also states that any coin or bullion that has gold or silver content and is issued by the United States Government can be defined as legal tender. However, no one can be compelled to accept coin or bullion containing gold or silver. The measure would also mandate that coin or bullion containing gold or silver issued by the U.S. Government cannot be taxed as property since it is to be considered money.
If the Arizona Legislature enacts SC 1439 and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signs the measure into law, gold and silver would go into effect as legal tender in the state in 2014.
However, House Joint Resolution No. 590 --which would have established a joint subcommittee to study whether the Commonwealth of Virginia should adopt a rule recognizing gold or silver billion or gold or silver coin authorized by the U.S. Government as legal currency—died in the Virginia General Assembly’s State Senate last month.
In January the South Dakota Legislature rejected House Bill 1100 which would have made U.S. Government-minted gold and silver coins legal tender that could be used to pay state taxes at their market value.
Meanwhile, Senate Bill 99, Indiana’s version of recognizing U.S.-issued gold and silver coins as legal tender, appears to be buried in the Indiana State Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy.
The organizations, the Gold Standard Institute and American Principles in Action, have both championed state efforts to rule gold and silver legal tender.