Archive for the Category » Big Brother «

September 12th, 2010 | Author:

If you search the title of this post, you’ll get hundreds of links and a screen full of rhetoric from both sides.  So like Joe Friday in the old Dragnet show, I adopted a “just the facts, ma’am” mentality.  What follows comes from usually reliable sources, with no comment from me … at least for now.

S1619 summary from Open Congress:

A bill to establish the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, to establish the Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities, to establish a comprehensive planning grant program, to establish a sustainability challenge grant program, and for other purposes.

S1619 status from govtrack.us:

This bill was considered in committee which has recommended it be considered by the Senate as a whole. Although it has been placed on a calendar of business, the order in which legislation is considered and voted on is determined by the majority party leadership. Keep in mind that sometimes the text of one bill is incorporated into another bill, and in those cases the original bill, as it would appear here, would seem to be abandoned. [Last Updated: Aug 6, 2010 6:34AM]

complete Sec. 3 Purposes from the text of S1619 from Thomas, Library of Congress:

[Please Note:  Most of the links from Thomas, Library of Congress, appear to "time out."  If the link doesn't work, go to Thomas.gov, select "bill number" search, and enter S1619 in the search box.]

The purposes of this Act are–
(1) to facilitate and improve the coordination of housing, community development, transportation, energy, and environmental policy in the United States;
(2) to coordinate Federal policies and investments to promote sustainable development;
(3) to encourage regional planning for livable communities and the adoption of sustainable development techniques, including transit-oriented development;
(4) to provide a variety of safe, reliable transportation choices, with special emphasis on public transportation and complete streets, in order to reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and dependence on foreign oil;
(5) to provide affordable, energy-efficient, and location-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities, and to make the combined costs of housing and transportation more affordable to families;
(6) to support, revitalize, and encourage growth in existing communities, in order to maximize the cost effectiveness of existing infrastructure and preserve undeveloped lands;
(7) to promote economic development and competitiveness by connecting the housing and employment locations of workers, reducing traffic congestion, and providing families with access to essential services;
(8) to preserve the environment and natural resources, including agricultural and rural land and green spaces; and
(9) to support public health and improve quality of life for the residents of and workers in communities by promoting healthy, walkable neighborhoods, access to green space, and the mobility to pursue greater opportunities.

selected Sec. 4 Definitions from the text of S1619 from Thomas, Library of Congress:

(2) CENSUS TRACT- The term `census tract’ means a small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county, delineated by a local committee of census data users for the purpose of presenting data.

(4) COMPLETE STREET- The term `complete street’ means a street that enables all travelers, particularly public transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians (including individuals of all ages and individuals with disabilities), and motorists, to use the street safely and efficiently.

(5) COMPREHENSIVE REGIONAL PLAN- The term `comprehensive regional plan’ means a plan that–
(A) identifies land use, transportation, community development, housing, economic development, environmental, energy, and infrastructure needs and goals in a region;
(B) provides strategies for meeting the needs and goals described in subparagraph (A), including strategies for–
(i) providing affordable, energy-efficient, and location-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities;
(ii) reducing growth in vehicle miles traveled, in order to reduce traffic congestion and regional greenhouse gas emissions from transportation;
(iii) encouraging economic competitiveness and economic development; and
(iv) increasing the connectivity of the region by increasing public transportation ridership and improving access to transportation alternatives; and
(C) prioritizes projects for funding and implementation.

(13) LOCATION-EFFICIENT- The term `location-efficient’ characterizes development, housing, or neighborhoods that integrate land use, mixed-use housing and commercial development, employment, and transportation–
(A) to enhance mobility;
(B) to encourage transit-oriented development;
(C) to encourage infill development and the use of existing infrastructure; and
(D) to reduce growth in vehicle miles traveled and the transportation costs and energy requirements associated with ownership or rental of a home.

(23) SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT- The term `sustainable development’ means a pattern of resource use designed to create livable communities by–
(A) providing a variety of safe and reliable transportation choices;
(B) providing affordable, energy-efficient, and location-efficient housing choices for people of all income levels, ages, races, and ethnicities;
(C) supporting, revitalizing, and encouraging the growth of communities and maximizing the cost effectiveness of existing infrastructure;
(D) promoting economic development and economic competitiveness;
(E) preserving the environment and natural resources;
(F) protecting agricultural land, rural land, and green spaces; and
(G) supporting public health and improving the quality of life for residents of and workers in a community.

(24) TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT- The term `transit-oriented development’ means high-density, walkable, mixed-use development (including commercial development, affordable housing, and market-rate housing) that is within walking distance of and accessible to 1 or more public transportation facilities.

organizations in support of S1619 from MAPLight.org:

American Institute of Architects
American Public Transportation Association
American Public Works Association
Children’s Defense Fund
Habitat for Humanity
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
National Association of Realtors
National Housing Trust
National League of Cities
Policylink
Sierra Club
Trust for America’s Health
U.S. Conference of Mayors
U.S. Green Building Council

public opinion on S1619 from WashingtonWatch.com:

cover page of Agenda 21 from the United Nations:

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session.

The full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles, were strongly reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.

from the UN Agenda 21 preamble:

1.1. Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being. However, integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfilment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous future. No nation can achieve this on its own; but together we can – in a global partnership for sustainable development.

from The United Nations Millennium Papers - Issue 2, page 5 [pdf]

Participating in a UN-advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society such as the National Rifle Association, citizen militias and some members of Congress. This segment of our society who fear ‘one-world government’ and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedom would be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking LA21. So, we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, or smart growth. [or sustainable development or Livable Communities]

from the Bible, New American Standard Version:

But He [Jesus] replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ “And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16:2-3)

It was also given to him [the beast, the antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Revelation 13:7-8)

Further reading:

S1619 The Livable Communities Act of 2009, Library of Congress

H.R.4690 Livable Communities Act of 2010, Library of Congress; the House companion bill

Agenda 21 Table of Contents, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Agenda 21, The U.N. Plan for Your “Sustainable” Community biblical analysis by Berit Kjos, 1998

UN Agenda 21 – Coming to a Neighborhood near You political analysis by Scott Strzelczyk and Richard Rothschild at The American Thinker, 2009

The Bible, NASB, Book of Revelation, Chapter 13

The Bible, NASB, Book of Daniel, Chapter 2

The bible, NASB, Book of Daniel, Chapter 7

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June 19th, 2010 | Author:

Most of us realize that cell phones and their GPS capabilities limit our privacy.  We know that the internet can be lethal to that privacy.  And, of course, we had Google driving around stealing private information.  But until recently, I never thought to worry about my printer or my copier.  Read on and learn how Big Brother (or other bad geeks) can learn all they want to know about you.

The other day Rebecca posted this story from CBS.  It seems that many copiers have hard drives that store all the images they copy.  If that copier is recycled or the lease runs out, (or the cops confiscate it?) all that personal information is up for grabs.  Watch and learn:

Then tonight I read this at  the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

Imagine that every time you printed a document, it automatically included a secret code that could be used to identify the printer – and potentially, the person who used it. Sounds like something from an episode of “Alias,” right?

Unfortunately, the scenario isn’t fictional. In a purported effort to identify counterfeiters, the US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you’re using in everyday life could become a tool for government surveillance. And what’s worse, there are no laws to prevent abuse.

The ACLU recently issued a report revealing that the FBI has amassed more than 1,100 pages of documents on the organization since 2001, as well as documents concerning other non-violent groups, including Greenpeace and United for Peace and Justice. In the current political climate, it’s not hard to imagine the government using the ability to determine who may have printed what document for purposes other than identifying counterfeiters.

EFF is compiling a list of printers that appear to have some type of coding.  It includes most of the popular brands.

My husband watched a TV show tonight about the effects a large solar flare could have on our earthly electronics.  The technical effect is “Poof!  All gone!”

Given the increased privacy issues that keep popping up, maybe we’d be better off with a solar flare.

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May 27th, 2010 | Author:

from Wired:

Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John Cornyn (R-TX) joined forces and announced a new bill that would require an ID at the point of sale. Phone companies would need to keep this information on file in order to help police thwart “terrorists, drug lords and gang members,” along with the occasional hedge fund manager.

It’s no surprise, of course, that Chuck Schumer would propose another restriction on our freedom, but nonetheless, it ticks me off.  When my hubby and I have “what if” conversations around here, prepaid’s are definitely part of the plan.

What if …

  • being critical of the government becomes illegal?
  • being Christian becomes illegal?
  • being alive becomes illegal?

Well, you get the idea.  A good laptop with wifi and a prepaid cell were part of our escape package.  Now we’ll probably have to dig a bunker, instead.

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May 26th, 2010 | Author:

from CNSNews.com:

A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.

States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. The grant-receiving states would be required to mandate that all health care providers in the state determine the Body Mass Index of all their patients in the 2-to-18 age bracket and then report that information to the state government. The state government, in turn, would be required to report the information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for analysis.

The Healthy Choices Act–introduced by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee–would establish and fund a wide range of programs and regulations aimed at reducing obesity rates by such means as putting nutritional labels on the front of food products, subsidizing businesses that provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and collecting BMI measurements of patients and counseling those that are overweight or obese.

Section 101 of the bill amends the Public Health Services Act by stating that health care providers must record the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18.  “The provision relates to all children in states that accept grants under the bill,” a spokesperson for Rep. Kind told CNSNews.com. “However, it is important to note that no one is forced to come in for a doctor’s visit to get their BMI tested.  BMI will be taken at times when the child makes an otherwise scheduled doctor’s visit.”

BMI is calculated by taking one’s weight in pounds and height in inches, multiplying that number by one’s height in inches and then multiplying that number by 703. Any number over 24 is considered overweight, with higher numbers resulting in a diagnosis of obese (BMI = [weight / (height x height)] x 703).

To pay for implementing BMI data gathering, Sec. 102 of the bill states that the federal government will give grants to states that meet certain criteria, including having “the capacity to store basic demographic information (including date of birth, gender and geographic area of residence), height, weight, and immunization data for each resident of the state.”

The grants also will pay for personnel and equipment necessary to measure patients’ BMI.

The grants also require that if a child’s BMI is greater than the 95th percentile for the child’s age and gender, the state will provide “information on how to lower BMI and information on state and local obesity prevention programs.”

Read the rest here if you can stand it.  Me?  I’m gonna raid the fridge.

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May 21st, 2010 | Author:

In the tradition of fine bureaucrats everywhere, someone determined that census workers must have background checks. Apparently the procedures don’t tell them what to do when someone fails that check, so at least in one case, they just ignored it.

A woman in NJ recognized her local census worker, going door to door through family-friendly neighborhoods -  because he was a registered sex offender.  After the cops arrested him, it was determined that he had failed the background check, but he was trained and sent out anyway.

On a cheerier note, here are a couple different ways to deal with census workers when they knock on your door.

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