Monday, August 13, 2007

Terror, Freedom, Sheeple, and the Will to Lose

Just when you thought it's not going to get any worse:
  • Airline passenger data is being shared between the EU and the USA. Well, only one way - the USA gets the data.
  • Any name can appear on a "terror watch list" with no due process, and no process to get that name off
  • More and more cameras record crime and terrorism - have they ever stopped something?
  • Renewal of the warrantless wire tap measures in the US Government, bypassing the secret FISA court system (which, by the way, has a 24 hour turnaround time and has never turned down a request)
All for your security?

Let me tell you, the terrorists are winning.

Why? Because they want to oppress us. They do no care who does - if we do it to ourselves, then fine.

It is the fear of the conservatives, and the liberal nanny-staters that is allowing western governments unprecedented powers with no checks or balances. The evolution of technology has made this even simpler for the governments to go on fishing expeditions.

And you thought it was all about shooting them in the "other front" in the War on Terror.

So in fear, we have thrown out the rule of law, and its basic tenet: You must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Reasonable does not mean some bureaucrat thinks you're guilty. I means that people must be convinced by being presented with facts that you are.

It won't happen to you? Think again.

Mohamed Haneef, the Indian doctor accused by Australia as a "collaborator" in the UK terror plots, had charges against him dropped by the police for lack of evidence. What happens? Work visa revoked, medical license revoked. No court hearing. Reason given: "character grounds" (link), because someone involved was his second cousin. No due process.

Don't have an islamic name? Think that will save you? Some poor 7-year old boy named Michael Martin is on the no-fly list, and can't get off. (Washington Post) Pronounced guilty by the state, again with no due process.

Who is the original Michael Martin the state thinks we need to be protected from? The atheist philosopher who debates the existence of God? Sounds good to me - off to Guantanamo with him. (Goooogle)

Ever seen a psychiatrist or psychologist? Ever had a prescription for anti-depressants? HR 2640 will make everyone who ever had any sort of treatment suspect. No, not deemed "mentally defective by a judge" per the BATF form (whatever that means), but simply flagged as a "May not own" in the NICS database. Depressed? You just gave up your right to an effective form of self defense, not to mention a great time sporting. Veteran? Immediately suspect, although veterans have a clause and a process to get removed from the list - go beg in front of a desk jockey, I wish you luck. No due process.

Why are we doing this? Is it really too much Bourne Supremacy or 24 where they always only get the call of the bad guy?

The sheer idiocy of it.

And in the meantime, the democrats in Congress do what they do best: have hearings. Clearly, the assault weapons ban needs to be re-instated too - look and how many AR-15's and AK-47's have been used in crimes in the recent years (within US borders! Not Sudan!)

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Blending the Rocket

Well, it seems press coverage of SunRocket's demise has finally waned. Some sites still have active discussion threads (usual suspects - dslreports), and the Washington Post still has some active discussions.

Most right now are full of people touting this service or that service. Packet 8, Lingo, or whomever.

Also, people are complaining loudly about the lack of service from Teleblend. At least they updated the information on their web site, but people are complaining that support emails are not being answered.

If you're still in the process of switching, and wish to port your telephone numbers, pay close attention to the terms of service of your new provider.
  • Teleblend has stated that it may block ports of numbers out of their systems. This would make it impossible for you to leave if that telephone number meant something to you.
  • Net2Phone offers taking over your SunRocket contract for a minimal fee, but not without strings attached. They're pretty clear about how you lack the right to dispute many of the charges they may or may not level on your credit card. And the dreaded "mandatory arbitration" clause is there too. But they do show you how to use your SR adapter with their service, which is nice.
Just be aware, you get what you pay for.

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