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What’s happening to this country…

May 31, 2011

There’s really no words for this video.  A half-deaf Indian woodcarver is walking down the sidewalk, working on a carving.  A police officer pulls up, yells, “Hey, hey! Put the knife down.  PUT THE KNIFE DOWN!”  The Indian man is confused, begins to turn around and is gunned down in the back before he even knows what happened.   A woman bystander screams, “He didn’t do anything!” The time from when the officer gives the first warning to when he’s gunning the woodcarver down is around four seconds.  Count that out to yourself and think about how you could be dead within a few seconds because you didn’t hear a police officer behind you.

And listen to what the fellow officer tells him at the end, “You did the right thing.” I’m terrified of the police.  If they’re around, I won’t even keep my hands in my pockets.  If I’m listening to my mp3 player, I turn it off and pull out the earbuds.

Since we’re on such grim topics, did you hear Obama renewed the Patriot Act?

President Barack Obama has signed a three-month extension of key surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act.

The law extends two areas of the 2001 act. One provision allows law enforcement officials to set roving wiretaps to monitor multiple communication devices. The other allows them to ask a special court for access to business and library records that could be relevant to a terrorist threat.

A third provision gives the FBI court-approved rights for surveillance of non-American “lone wolf” suspects – those not known to be tied to specific terrorist groups.

Obama signed the three-month extension of the provisions Friday. They were to expire Monday.

Source:  Washington Post

That’s just what we need, more surveillance.  But you know, it only gets worse.  America doesn’t believe in the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing anymore.  Check this out.

Planning a sojourn in the northeastern United States? You could soon be taking part in a novel security programme that can supposedly ‘sense’ whether you are planning to commit a crime.

Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programme designed to spot people who are intending to commit a terrorist act, has in the past few months completed its first round of field tests at an undisclosed location in the northeast, Nature has learned.

Like a lie detector, FAST measures a variety of physiological indicators, ranging from heart rate to the steadiness of a person’s gaze, to judge a subject’s state of mind. But there are major differences from the polygraph. FAST relies on non-contact sensors, so it can measure indicators as someone walks through a corridor at an airport, and it does not depend on active questioning of the subject.

….

Some scientists question whether there really are unique signatures for ‘malintent’ — the agency’s term for the intention to cause harm — that can be differentiated from the normal anxieties of travel. “Even having an iris scan or fingerprint read at immigration is enough to raise the heart rate of most legitimate travellers,” says Ormerod.

Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, a think-tank based in Washington DC that promotes the use of science in policy-making, is pessimistic about the FAST tests. He thinks that they will produce a large proportion of false positives, frequently tagging innocent people as potential terrorists and making the system unworkable in a busy airport. “I believe that the premise of this approach — that there is an identifiable physiological signature uniquely associated with malicious intent — is mistaken. To my knowledge, it has not been demonstrated,” he says. “Without it, the whole thing seems like a charade.”

Source:  Nature

In public places, including airports, high tech scanners will be reading our heartrates, and watching our gazes.  Worried about marital problems, your job, or your children’s future in this economy?  Well, you might be a terrorist!  They’ll be yanking you out of line to be interrogated and strip searched, and that’s just what you need when you’re already stressed out.  As if the whole nude body scans and feeling us up wasn’t enough.  When will this end?

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