Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Big Brother Will be Watching You

New ID Scanners at Borders Raise Privacy Alarm
Monday, December 1, 2008 6:19 PMBy: Dave Eberhart

The federal government has already deployed new detection machines that can scan citizens without their knowledge from as far as 50 feet away and "read" their personal documents such as passports or driver's licenses.

The Homeland Security Department touts the high-tech devices as increasing security at border crossings, but privacy advocates are raising all sorts of red flags.

Critics say the new machines, which read one's personal information right through a wallet or purse, do so without consent or a warrant and may set a worrisome precedent.
The devices, called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) machines, allow officials to read remotely any passports, pass cards, and driver's licenses that contain special chips with personal information.

The RFIDs are so sensitive that, even before a vehicle pulls up at a border checkpoint, agents already will have on their computer screen the personal data of the passengers, including each person's name, date of birth, nationality, passport or ID number, and even a digitized photo.
The new gadgets are in place, or soon will be, at five border crossings: Blaine, Wash.; Buffalo; Detroit; Nogales, Ariz.; and San Ysidro, Calif. They are slated to have a dramatically expanded presence in June.

Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the technology could make Americans less secure because terrorists or other criminals may be able to steal the personal information off the ID cards remotely.

Tien and other critics warn that people up to no good can use their own RFID machines in a process called "skimming" to read the information from as far as 50 feet.

Indeed, consumer privacy expert Katherine Albrecht maintains that the chips create the "potential for a whole surveillance network to be set up." Among other abuses, she says police could use them to track criminals; abusive husbands could use the technology to find their wives; and stores could trail the shopping patterns of patrons.

Homeland Security, however, rebuts the criticism, arguing that the embedded chips surrender only a code to machine readers. That code is then broken in order to display the personal information on the border agents' screen.

Meanwhile, the same agencies that are issuing the newfangled IDs supply a sleeve that keep out all prying electronic eyes when not in use.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Socialism in America

Reading Governor Bradford's account of the first years of the Plymouth Colony, it becomes clear that their experiment with socialism failed and was replaced by a successful free enterprise system:

First harvest (1621)
They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.

Private and communal farming (1623)
All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other thing to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.
The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients applauded by some of later times; and that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men's corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.
William Bradford: History of Plymouth Plantation, c. 1650

This is a bit of history liberal politicians of today would rather we didn't remember, let alone dare mention it in our schools.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There has been much discussion about our present economic crisis. Politicians blame each other , big business, Wall Street, deregulation, and nearly every one but themselves, which may be where the real cause lies. The true cause of our problems may be inherent in what our nation has become , a democracy. The founders of our country were fearful of democracy as a form of government because of the history of failures of democracies. They formed a democratic republic in order to prevent the excesses of a pure democracy. We have weakened some of the safeguards built into our constitution, primarily by the amendment process. The 16th amendment , the income tax amendment , has been the most damaging to our freedoms.

One of our founders contemporaries expresses the reason for their concern of democracy as a form of government:

History of Democracy

--Alexander Tyler, Edinborough, Scotland, 1787, circa our Constitutional Convention.

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage

Where are we today ?

Me at my Computer

No, I wasn't surprised by the photographer , I had my camera set on time delay !

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Emailing: Silverado 001

This is a photo of my friend,  Belle Starr and me at her ranch in Arizona.
The message is ready to be sent with the following file or link attachments:
Silverado 001

Note: To protect against computer viruses, e-mail programs may prevent sending or receiving certain types of file attachments.  Check your e-mail security settings to determine how attachments are handled.

My scooter and me

I purchased this scooter in August 2008, ostensibly to save fuel, but if the truth were to be told, "Old boys, like toys, too". It has been put away for the winter. It was fun riding (about 500 miles) while the weather was nice. We'll be riding again, come spring

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First posting

Other blog formats I've tried were less than user friendly. Blogger looks easier to use, so, I'm giving it a try. Please stay with me as I learn to use the features of Blogger.