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by John W. WhiteheadRecently by John W. Whitehead:
Renewing the Patriot Act While America Sleeps
“We end up punishing honor students to send a message to bad kids. But the data indicate that the bad kids are not getting the message.” ~ Professor Russell SkibaWhat we are witnessing, thanks in large part to zero tolerance policies that were intended to make schools safer by discouraging the use of actual drugs and weapons by students, is the inhumane treatment of young people and the criminalization of childish behavior.Ninth grader Andrew Mikel is merely the latest in a long line of victims whose educations have been senselessly derailed by school administrators lacking in both common sense and compassion.
A freshman at Spotsylvania High School in Virginia, Andrew was expelled in December 2010 for shooting a handful of small pellets akin to plastic spit wads at fellow students in the school hallway during lunch period.
Although the initial punishment was only for 10 days, the school board later extended it to the rest of the school year. School officials also referred the matter to local law enforcement, which initiated juvenile proceedings for criminal assault against young Andrew.
Home | Blog | Subscribe | Podcasts | Donate Renewing the Patriot Act While America Sleepsby John W. WhiteheadRecently by John W. Whitehead: Red Light Cameras: Safety Devices or One More Step Toward a Surveillance State? “Of course, there is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists. But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that would not be America.”~ Senator Russ Feingold D-WI, voicing his concerns over Congress’ passage of the USA Patriot Act Oct. 25, 2001
“In the future, whether it’s entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled, or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris. Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next 10 years.”~ Jeff Carter, CDO of Global Rainmakers
The U.S. government and its corporate allies are looking out for you – literally – with surveillance tools intended to identify you, track your whereabouts, monitor your activities and allow or restrict your access to people, places or things deemed suitable by the government. This is all the more true as another invasive technology, the iris scanner, is about to be unleashed on the American people.Iris scanning relies on biometrics, which uses physiological fingerprint, face recognition, DNA, iris recognition, etc. or behavioral gait, voice characteristics to uniquely identify a person.
The technology works by reading the unique pattern found on the iris, the colored part of the eyeball. This pattern is unique even among individuals with the exact same DNA. It is read by projecting infra-red light directly into the eye of the individual…
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010 9:21:53 AM by scottfactor
Years ago when I was a kid, I read George Orwell’s terrifying futuristic novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. I must have buried most of my memories of it (and with good reason), because when I re-read the book this past week, it was brand new to me again.
We still see many references to this novel in our modern day. Big Brother is still watching you! Or, as Michael Savage coined it: Big Sis (Napolitano) is now watching you.
George Orwell was the pen name of Englishman, Eric Blair, who lived a short life and died at the age of 46 of tuberculosis. He died in 1950, the year after Nineteen Eighty-Four was published, so he never got to fully see its success and the way it became an icon of dystopian horror that chills us to this very day.
Among various jobs, Orwell worked quite a bit as a journalist, but he is best remembered as a novelist, and his two most famous books are Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. As I re-read Nineteen Eighty-Four, I asked myself what it is that makes the book so unnerving, aside from the obvious brutality of it. Part of it is that since the book was published, we have watched our world march steadily to the place where Orwell’s fictional country of Oceania is a reality within the reach of those in power–yes, already even in their grasp. Totalitarian police states of the past did not have at their disposal the amazing technology that we possess today. I know our Department of Defense has technology that we can only imagine. Just look at what we do know about. Take Global Positioning System technology–GPS–for instance.
I have long been suspicious of the proliferation and popularity of GPS satellite surveillance. I hear the radio commercials for the automotive manufacturer-installed GPS units for your vehicles, and I notice the way the ads play on everyone’s fears–from fears of car wrecks and other medical emergencies to the fear of car theft or even just locking your keys in your car. The ads portray your vehicle’s GPS as the wonderful savior in those bad scenarios with the ever-present and helpful operator standing by to speak to you from your ever-listening, ever-watching dashboard, and of course there are many positive uses for GPS systems. But, do you notice…
GPS and the Police State We Inhabit: Living in Oceaniaby John W. Whiteheadby John W. WhiteheadRecently by John W. Whitehead: Scanners: No Place to Hide Voicing his discontent with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in United States v. Pineda-Moreno, which declared the warrantless use of a GPS tracking device to be constitutional, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski warned, “We are taking a giant leap into the unknown, and the consequences for ourselves and our children may be dire and irreversible. Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we’re living in Oceania.
“Indeed, we are already living in George Orwell’s totalitarian state known as Oceania, where the all-seeing government sees and tracks everything we do. By asserting that the police can constitutionally sneak onto a private driveway without a warrant and stick a GPS tag on your car so that they can remotely track you, the Ninth Circuit didn’t necessarily break any new ground. Rather, they merely confirmed what we have suspected all along: that the concept of private property is dead and along with it, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures once protected by the Fourth Amendment.Having outstripped our ability as humans to control it, technology has become our Frankenstein’s monster. Delighted with technology’s conveniences, its ability to make our lives easier by doing an endless array of tasks faster and more efficiently, we have given it free rein in our lives, with little thought to the legal or moral ramifications of doing so. Thus, we have no one but ourselves to blame for the fact that technology now operates virtually autonomously according to its own invasive code, respecting no one’s intimate moments or privacy and impervious to the foibles of human beings and human relationships.For example, consider how enthusiastically we welcomed Global Positioning System GPS devices into our lives. We’ve installed this satellite-based technology in everything from our phones to our cars to our pets. Yet by ensuring that we never get lost, never lose our loved ones and never lose our wireless signals, we are also making it possible for the government to never lose sight of us, as well.