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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,337

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America Going Orwell at Mach Speed -- Authorities Are Starting to Identify You by Your Voice


New York Observer / By Steve Huff

America Going Orwell at Mach Speed -- Authorities Are Starting to Identify You by Your Voice
The technology is already in use in some police precincts and 911 call centers.

September 24, 2012 |


In case Orwellian surveillance systems like TrapWire weren’t creepy enough, we learn that SpeechPro, a Russian-owned company, has helpfully invented a voice identification tool for law enforcement use called VoiceGrid Nation. American authorities are looking into using the software at 911 call centers and in police precincts. As Slate reports, it’s already in place and working out pretty well in some other countries :

The technology has already been deployed across Mexico, where it is being used by law enforcement to collect, store, and search hundreds of thousands of voice-prints. Alexey Khitrov, SpeechPro’s president, told me the company is working with a number of agencies in the United States at a state and federal level. He declined to reveal any names because of nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements. But Khitrov did divulge that various versions of the company’s biometric technology are used in more than 70 countries and that the Americas, Europe, and Asia are its key markets. Not all of its customers are law enforcement agencies, either. SpeechPro also designs voice recognition technology that can be used in call centers to verify the identities of customers. Depending on the size and specifics of the installation, it can cost from tens of thousands up to millions of dollars.


Slate notes that this software is different from the FBI’s own efforts at putting wholesale biometric programs in place , though no less scary.

Mr. Khitrov told Slate that SpeechPro is being used for “noble causes.” His example of one such noble cause was when the technology helped Mexican authorities track down kidnappers via recorded ransom calls. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/america-going-orwell-mach-speed-authorities-are-starting-identify-you-your-voice



John Hagee, equal opportunity bigot


from AlterNet:



Jews Control Economy, Claims Washington Post Op-Ed Author Who Bashes Islam Too


On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, the Washington Post published an op-ed from an Islam-bashing Christian pastor, John Hagee - founder of Christians United For Israel - who has repeatedly written in bestselling books, and broadcast around the world on evangelical networks (see Hagee statement at 10:22 in this video ), a claim also promoted by Adolf Hitler - that European Jewish bankers are manipulating the economy, to the detriment of common folk.

Hagee's claim, that European Jews are manipulating the financial system, was also central to an anti-Jewish movie produced under the supervision of Hitler's chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels, " The Eternal Jew " (link to video) - commonly judged to be the most effective work of anti-Semitic propaganda ever filmed. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/speakeasy/brucewilson/jews-control-economy-claims-washington-post-op-ed-author-who-bashes-islam-too



We’ve Come a Long Way from the Death Penalty, but We’re Not There Yet


from YES! Magazine:



We’ve Come a Long Way from the Death Penalty, but We’re Not There Yet
What’s the good news about the troubling practice of execution in the U.S.? We’re already abolishing it, state by state.

by Laura Moye
posted Sep 21, 2012

Laura Moye is director of Amnesty International USA's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign.


When the book on how we ended the death penalty in the United States is written, I imagine there will be a chapter on Troy Davis.

On September 21, 2011, the state of Georgia executed Troy Davis under a cloud of doubt that he was the actual perpetrator of the 1989 murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail.

His case awakened scores of people who hadn’t given capital punishment much thought. We delivered about a million petition signatures from people around the country and around the world to Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles urging clemency. A high school student from an Atlanta suburb named Gautham was one of the many who helped us collect signatures. He turned from supporting the death penalty to opposing it, in large part because he learned about Troy Davis’ case.

With the help of social media and good, old-fashioned street canvassing, we surely broke records for advocacy against an execution. Abolition advocates I have spoken with could not think of another case that had received this level of response. Because of the immense media saturation of the story, millions heard about this troubling case. In addition to independent media like Democracy Now! and black talk radio, the case was being covered on multiple shows on CNN and MSNBC. The major TV networks carried the story nationally. My apolitical grandmother in rural Southern Illinois was stunned to stumble upon me talking about the case from Atlanta on her TV screen. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/weve-come-a-long-way-from-the-death-penalty-but-were-not-there-yet



Feast of Fools: How American Democracy Became the Property of a Commercial Oligarchy


from TomDispatch:



Feast of Fools
How American Democracy Became the Property of a Commercial Oligarchy

By Lewis H. Lapham


All power corrupts but some must govern. -- John le Carré


The ritual performance of the legend of democracy in the autumn of 2012 promises the conspicuous consumption of $5.8 billion, enough money, thank God, to prove that our flag is still there. Forbidden the use of words apt to depress a Q Score or disturb a Gallup poll, the candidates stand as product placements meant to be seen instead of heard, their quality to be inferred from the cost of their manufacture. The sponsors of the event, generous to a fault but careful to remain anonymous, dress it up with the bursting in air of star-spangled photo ops, abundant assortments of multiflavored sound bites, and the candidates so well-contrived that they can be played for jokes, presented as game-show contestants, or posed as noble knights-at-arms setting forth on vision quests, enduring the trials by klieg light, until on election night they come to judgment before the throne of cameras by whom and for whom they were produced.

Best of all, at least from the point of view of the commercial oligarchy paying for both the politicians and the press coverage, the issue is never about the why of who owes what to whom, only about the how much and when, or if, the check is in the mail. No loose talk about what is meant by the word democracy or in what ways it refers to the cherished hope of liberty embodied in the history of a courageous people.

The campaigns don’t favor the voters with the gratitude and respect owed to their standing as valuable citizens participant in the making of such a thing as a common good. They stay on message with their parsing of democracy as the ancient Greek name for the American Express card, picturing the great, good American place as a Florida resort hotel wherein all present receive the privileges and comforts owed to their status as valued customers, invited to convert the practice of citizenship into the art of shopping, to select wisely from the campaign advertisements, texting A for Yes, B for No.

The sales pitch bends down to the electorate as if to a crowd of restless children, deems the body politic incapable of generous impulse, selfless motive, or creative thought, delivers the insult with a headwaiter’s condescending smile. How then expect the people to trust a government that invests no trust in them? Why the surprise that over the last 30 years the voting public has been giving ever-louder voice to its contempt for any and all politicians, no matter what their color, creed, prior arrest record, or sexual affiliation? The congressional disapproval rating (78% earlier this year) correlates with the estimates of low attendance among young voters (down 20% from 2008) at the November polls. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175595/tomgram%3A_lewis_lapham%2C_the_rule_of_money/#more



Chris Hedges: How Do You Take Your Poison?


from truthdig:


How Do You Take Your Poison?

Posted on Sep 24, 2012
By Chris Hedges


We will all swallow our cup of corporate poison. We can take it from nurse Romney, who will tell us not to whine and play the victim, or we can take it from nurse Obama, who will assure us that this hurts him even more than it hurts us, but one way or another the corporate hemlock will be shoved down our throats. The choice before us is how it will be administered. Corporate power, no matter who is running the ward after January 2013, is poised to carry out U.S. history’s most savage assault against the poor and the working class, not to mention the Earth’s ecosystem. And no one in power, no matter what the bedside manner, has any intention or ability to stop it.

If you insist on participating in the cash-drenched charade of a two-party democratic election at least be clear about what you are doing. You are, by playing your assigned role as the Democratic or Republican voter in this political theater, giving legitimacy to a corporate agenda that means your own impoverishment and disempowerment. All the things that stand between us and utter destitution—Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants, Head Start, Social Security, public education, federal grants-in-aid to America’s states and cities, the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and home-delivered meals for seniors—are about to be shredded by the corporate state. Our corporate oligarchs are harvesting the nation, grabbing as much as they can, as fast as they can, in the inevitable descent.

We will be assaulted this January when automatic spending reductions, referred to as “the fiscal cliff,” begin to dismantle and defund some of our most important government programs. Mitt Romney will not stop it. Barack Obama will not stop it.

And while Romney has been, courtesy of the magazine Mother Jones, exposed as a shallow hypocrite, Obama is in a class by himself. There is hardly a campaign promise from 2008 that Obama has not broken. This list includes his pledges to support the public option in health care, close Guantanamo, raise the minimum wage, regulate Wall Street, support labor unions in their struggles with employers, reform the Patriot Act, negotiate an equitable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, curb our imperial expansion in the Middle East, stop torture, protect reproductive rights, carry out a comprehensive immigration reform, cut the deficit by half, create 5 million new energy jobs and halt home foreclosures. Obama, campaigning in South Carolina in 2007, said that as president he would fight for the right of collective bargaining. “I’d put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll … walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America,” he said. But when he got his chance to put on those “comfortable pair of shoes” during labor disputes in Madison, Wis., and Chicago he turned his back on working men and women. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_do_you_take_your_poison_20120924/



Movie Theater Solution to Halt Mass Murder by Guys with More Guns Than Rambo? Search Women's Purses


Hightower Lowdown / By Jim Hightower

Movie Theater Solution to Preventing Mass Murder by Guys with More Guns Than Rambo? Search Women's Purses
The Colorado shooter had an armory of weapons that wouldn't fit in any purse. And need I point out that he was a he?

September 23, 2012 |


Gosh, I feel so much safer now that teenage ticket takers at the Regal chain of movie theaters have been directed by corporate chieftains to search the purses of their female customers.

Responding to the horrible, Colorado movie-theater murders, the Regalites say they've begun rummaging through movie-goers' purses to protect us from… well, from what? The Colorado shooter had an armory of weapons that wouldn't fit in any purse. And need I point out that he was a he? Yet, Regal's rummaging is reserved for women, even though practically all mass shootings have been by the male species.

Why should anyone surrender their privacy just to see a movie? Yes, we essentially get strip searched to board an airplane these days – but even that's of very dubious value, and at least it's done by trained security personnel. What's a 17-year-old, low-wage, untrained corporate hiree going to do if he or she pokes into a purse and finds a Ruger Semiautomatic? Shriek? Wrestle the owner to the floor?

Also, if customers packing heat have a concealed handgun permit, won't they have to be waved through – and maybe even given a free popcorn for being "authorized" gun toters? ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/movie-theater-solution-preventing-mass-murder-guys-more-guns-rambo-search-womens-purses



The ‘Self-Made’ Myth: Our Hallucinating Rich


from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:


The ‘Self-Made’ Myth: Our Hallucinating Rich
September 23, 2012

In real life, working hard only takes you so far. Those who go all the way — to grand fortune — typically get a substantial head start. So documents a new analysis of the Forbes 400.

By Sam Pizzigati


Let’s cut Mitt Romney some slack. Not every off-the-cuff comment the GOP White House hopeful made at that now infamous, secretly taped $50,000-a-plate fundraiser last May in Boca Raton reveals an utterly shocking personal failing. Take, for instance, Mitt’s remark that he has “inherited nothing.”

A variety of commentators have jumped on Romney for that line. They’ve pointed out that Mitt, the son of a wealthy corporate CEO, has enjoyed plenty of privilege, everything from an elite private school education to a rolodex full of rich family friends he could tap to start up his business career.

On top of all that, the young Mitt also enjoyed $1 million worth of stock his father threw his way to tide him over until big paydays started arriving.

Not quite “nothing.” But no reason to pick on Mitt either. Most really deep pockets, not just Mitt, consider themselves entirely “self-made.” The best evidence of this predilection to claim “self-made” status? The annual September release of the Forbes magazine list of America’s 400 richest. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/the-self-made-myth-our-hallucinating-rich/



Foxconn halts production at plant after mass brawl


from BBC News:



Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology, a major supplier for Apple, has halted production at a plant in northern China after a fight broke out among workers.

Foxconn confirmed that a "personal dispute" escalated into an incident involving about 2,000 workers, injuring 40 of them.

Police later dealt with the situation near the facility in Taiyuan, which employs about 79,000 workers.

Foxconn has previously been accused of having poor conditions for its workers. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19697344



Chris Hedges: How Do You Take Your Poison?


from truthdig:


How Do You Take Your Poison?

Posted on Sep 24, 2012
By Chris Hedges


We will all swallow our cup of corporate poison. We can take it from nurse Romney, who will tell us not to whine and play the victim, or we can take it from nurse Obama, who will assure us that this hurts him even more than it hurts us, but one way or another the corporate hemlock will be shoved down our throats. The choice before us is how it will be administered. Corporate power, no matter who is running the ward after January 2013, is poised to carry out U.S. history’s most savage assault against the poor and the working class, not to mention the Earth’s ecosystem. And no one in power, no matter what the bedside manner, has any intention or ability to stop it.

If you insist on participating in the cash-drenched charade of a two-party democratic election at least be clear about what you are doing. You are, by playing your assigned role as the Democratic or Republican voter in this political theater, giving legitimacy to a corporate agenda that means your own impoverishment and disempowerment. All the things that stand between us and utter destitution—Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants, Head Start, Social Security, public education, federal grants-in-aid to America’s states and cities, the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and home-delivered meals for seniors—are about to be shredded by the corporate state. Our corporate oligarchs are harvesting the nation, grabbing as much as they can, as fast as they can, in the inevitable descent.

We will be assaulted this January when automatic spending reductions, referred to as “the fiscal cliff,” begin to dismantle and defund some of our most important government programs. Mitt Romney will not stop it. Barack Obama will not stop it.

And while Romney has been, courtesy of the magazine Mother Jones, exposed as a shallow hypocrite, Obama is in a class by himself. There is hardly a campaign promise from 2008 that Obama has not broken. This list includes his pledges to support the public option in health care, close Guantanamo, raise the minimum wage, regulate Wall Street, support labor unions in their struggles with employers, reform the Patriot Act, negotiate an equitable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, curb our imperial expansion in the Middle East, stop torture, protect reproductive rights, carry out a comprehensive immigration reform, cut the deficit by half, create 5 million new energy jobs and halt home foreclosures. Obama, campaigning in South Carolina in 2007, said that as president he would fight for the right of collective bargaining. “I’d put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll … walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America,” he said. But when he got his chance to put on those “comfortable pair of shoes” during labor disputes in Madison, Wis., and Chicago he turned his back on working men and women. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_do_you_take_your_poison_20120924/



Bill Moyers Essay: More Money, Less Democracy


https://


Bill Moyers Essay: More Money, Less Democracy
September 21, 2012

Bill examines how the enormous amounts of money spent on political consultants and TV ads corrupt our elections and distort our democracy.


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