Wednesday, December 26, 2007

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 | Threat Chaos |

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 Threat Chaos "Richard Stiennon Bringing order to threat chaos through news, views and analysis Subscribe Alerts Bio Mobile

Categories: Bank security, CyberCrime, Data Security, SOA, Security Industry News, Spyware, State Sponsored Hacking

ThreatChaos Predictions for 2008
1. Facebook widgets will be used to distribute malware"

be vigilant in 2008 - pR

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 | Threat Chaos |

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 Threat Chaos "Richard Stiennon Bringing order to threat chaos through news, views and analysis Subscribe Alerts Bio Mobile

Categories: Bank security, CyberCrime, Data Security, SOA, Security Industry News, Spyware, State Sponsored Hacking

ThreatChaos Predictions for 2008
1. Facebook widgets will be used to distribute malware"

be vigilant in 2008 - pR

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 | Threat Chaos |

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 Threat Chaos "Richard Stiennon Bringing order to threat chaos through news, views and analysis Subscribe Alerts Bio Mobile

Categories: Bank security, CyberCrime, Data Security, SOA, Security Industry News, Spyware, State Sponsored Hacking

ThreatChaos Predictions for 2008
1. Facebook widgets will be used to distribute malware"

be vigilant in 2008 - pR

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The CEO Poll: Crime and punishment | Managing | Strategy | Canadian Business Online

The CEO Poll: Crime and punishment | Managing | Strategy | Canadian Business Online: "The CEO Poll: Crime and punishment
Joe Castaldo
From the December 24, 2007 issue of Canadian Business magazine
A federal judge in Chicago sentenced fallen media mogul Conrad Black to six and a half years in prison for fraud and obstruction of justice. He must also pay a fine of US$125,000 and forfeit US$6.1 million. Investors aren’t looking for Canadian courts to sentence white-collar criminals as severely as U.S. courts do, according to Michael Watson, director of enforcement at the Ontario Securities Commission. But the 137 Canadian CEOs polled in a survey conducted by Compas Inc. disagreed strongly with that belief.
The majority of business leaders surveyed want our securities regulators to catch fraudsters with greater regularity, and want Canadian courts to impose tougher sentences on white-collar criminals. Canada is no more compassionate than the U.S., the CEOs believe, and Canadians certainly wouldn’t complain if lengthier prison sentences were handed down. In a previous Compas poll, some respondents indicated that our weak securities laws also act as a deterrent to foreign investment. “We have world class companies and world class executives. It is a shame that we are considered an easy country [in which] to get away with fraud,” wrote one respondent.
The CEOs were also asked to grade the effectiveness of certain mechanisms in place for making Canada a safe haven for investors. Our securities laws in general received a grade of 57%, while the OSC received 53%. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fared better with a score of 68%."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trends and opportunities HBR

The Biggest Management Challenges in 2008
By Sean Silverthorne

Seven years into the 21st century the world of business and management is certainly going through, if not revolution, at least evolution on a speedy scale.

Traditional business models are getting turned on their heads (Anyone seen Google’s share price lately?), resources and markets are available on a global scale (Medical tourism), and technology continues to be both the manager’s best friend (CRM) and worst enemy (Blackberry = 24×7 availability).

What do you think will be the big challenges for your business in 2008? asks Harvard Business, which is building a crystal ball around responses from readers. Some early comments:

The Network as Platform. “The most important trend in networking in 2008, indeed in all of IT, will be the emergence of the “network as the platform” for productivity, profitable growth, resource management and innovation. This trend will play a key role in helping determine success in business as well as in other areas of society (healthcare and education).”

Eco Business Opportunities. “As private and public entities respond to the extension of social responsibility, many new service provider opportunities will explode in the finance, e-waste, recylcing, remanufacturing, supply chain industry, and service entities.”

New Geopolitics. “Politically, between US election, China’s coming out party (summer Olympics), and Russia’s new (old) president, 2008 would be an interesting year. Economically, the battle for supremacy between central banks, sovereign funds, and the “real” economy could be on the headline in various disguises.
Volatile Markets. “The biggest challenges for the managers in the short term is to counter the impact of weakening dollar, rising crude, declining productivity in US and Europe, and outsourcing as competitive strategy.”

Dollar Decline. “For European businesses the continued decline of the US dollar against the Euro will remain one of the toughest challenges. It will be the catalyst for many changes related to repositioning within market segments, relocation of manufacturing to no-Euro zones and acceleration of innovation drive.”

Social Networking. “Companies must learn to effectively utilize social networking tools both inside and outside the companies to keep up with what the younger workers grew up with — fast and furious communication tools like texting, facebook, My Space, You Tube, etc. that spread the word now. Not in the next quarter, next month, next week or even next day, but NOW.”

Soft Skills. “The development and implementation of ‘soft skills’ will be one of the greatest management challenges in the future. With changing attitudes and values it will become increasingly necessary for organisations to undergo cultural change in order to attract and retain high quality young staff and to appeal to the changing values of society in general. The establishment of a culture of community which values all stakeholders, gives a strong sense of belonging and offers flexibility within a secure and diverse environment will be important.”
What do you think?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tax watchdog wants Ontario Northland subsidy reviewed; annual reports absent - Yahoo! Canada News

Tax watchdog wants Ontario Northland subsidy reviewed; annual reports absent - Yahoo! Canada News: "TORONTO - An 'essential' Crown corporation that has failed to disclose its annual reports for the last five years will right that wrong shortly, Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle said Friday as he tried to deflect 'pot shots' about subsidies for the money-losing Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants the province to reconsider nearly $20 million in annual subsidies for the commission, which operates bus, freight, passenger rail and high-speed Internet services in northern Ontario.
The company has issued regular financial statements, but hasn't released an annual report since 2002, and has previously shown losses of as much as $1 million a month, said Kevin Gaudet, director of the federation's Ontario chapter.
Given that, the government ought to reconsider whether its investment is worthwhile, Gaudet said.
'We don't have much insight into how well (the annual subsidy) was being spent or how well we think it ought to be spent.'
In 2006, Ontario's auditor general also expressed concerns about a lack of annual reports being filed by the province's Crown corporations and said regular public reporting was 'of paramount importance.'
'Doing so in a timely manner enhances the transparency of the actions taken and the results achieved by the agencies, thereby strengthening agency accountability,' Jim McCarter wrote in his 2006 report."

Overhaul the RCMP

It takes an unnecessary death to get proper action for the good . Be reminded of the following
"When generals are weak and lack authority, instructions are not clear, officers and soldiers lack consistency, and they form battle lines every which way; this is a riot." Sun Tzu's warning to military leaders is great advice to politicians. Deploying police or any public service people who don't have a consistent, repeatable process and who are not "on message" costs monumental amounts of wasted motion and leaves wheelbarrows full of money on table after table. We at PR strongly support the overhaul report calling for much needed reform. Might is not right, particularly if not wisely lead or used PR

Overhaul RCMP, task force says JESSICA LEEDER Globe and Mail Update
December 14, 2007 at 3:24 PM EST

TORONTO — A federal task force convened to help overhaul the RCMP recommended major structural changes for the 133-year-old force today, including granting the Force separate employer status from the government, the adoption of a civilian oversight board and the creation of a new, more powerful complaints authority.
The task force, led by Toronto lawyer David Brown, set a strict two-year deadline for the changes to be fully made, and asked that a special civilian body be set up to oversee their implementation, which will set the foundation for an additional 45 recommendations outlined in his task force's report, titled “Rebuilding the Trust.”
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott quickly embraced the report, saying he would use it to launch a necessary renewal of the federal force, including changes in its senior levels.
“It's an important document that will serve as one of the key drivers of change as we go forward. The report is, I believe, an important turning point,” he said.
Related Articles
Remarks by David Brown
Kelowna RCMP apologize to man hit twice by taser
RCMP to curb taser use
Mounties brace for high-level shakeup
RCMP should restrict taser use immediately: report
Watchdog needed for RCMP: MPs
From the archives
CSIS, RCMP co-operation improved since Air India attack, probe told
RCMP backup policy expected to cost 'tens of millions'
Internet Links
Full report (pdf)
Task Force
Mr. Brown said the task force realized through its consultation and research that “continuing to simply treat the symptoms ailing the RCMP was not going to fix anything and would only serve to compound the issues for future generations,” he said.
The five members of the task force spent five months travelling across the country to speak with RCMP members at all levels. Mr. Brown said his panel encountered “fierce pride in the Force” paired with “despair, disillusionment and anger with an organization that is failing them.”
He outlined a number of alarming trends his panel uncovered.
“With remarkable but disturbing consistency, we heard of chronic shortages of people and equipment, of overwork and fatigue, of issues of wellness, health and even safety,” said Mr. Brown.
“We learned about basic human management systems that haven't worked for years: mandatory unpaid overtime; discipline and grievance systems that don't work; a promotion system with little or no credibility; a sometimes embarrassing record of accounting to the people they serve.”
Mr. Brown said he found that rank and file members are “struggling to do their best under the tremendous burden of an inefficient and inappropriately structured organization.”
The task force's recipe for remedies begins, Mr. Brown said, with changing the relationship between the government and the RCMP, allowing the force to become a separate entity with separate employer status. Mr. Brown said the RCMP is not “just another federal department” and should be “free from unnecessary government constraints.” The force must be allowed to control its own finances and manage human resources decisions instead of being forced to contend with the federal bureaucracy, the task force suggests.

“A modern-day police force cannot spend its days mired in endless bureaucracy and administration with the federal government,” Mr. Brown said.

The addition of the new responsibilities should be governed by a civilian Board of Management, which Mr. Brown said would be responsible for overseeing financial affairs, resources, services, property, personnel and procurement. The Board will be accountable to the Minister of Public Safety and to Parliament.
The task force also recommended “radical changes” to increase accountability and transparency inside and outside of the force.
“A modern-day RCMP will shed its cloak of secrecy while protecting the fundamental rights of Canadian citizens,” Mr. Brown said.
The most radical of those recommendations includes scrapping the “inadequate” External Review Committee and the Public Complaints Commission, the two separate bodies that currently handle complaints related to the RCMP.
To replace them, the task force is calling for new legislation to create the Independent Commission for Complaints and Oversight of the RCMP (ICCOR), a non-police body. Under the task force's plan, ICCOR will operate like a sort of hybrid ombudsman. It would deal with both internal and external complaints and be given the powers to conduct investigations, summon witnesses and compel testimony.
It would also report publicly on recommendations and findings, which would be put before the new Board of Management. And, unlike current practices, the Commission's findings will be binding on the RCMP Commissioner.
Mr. Brown said the public should be given a progress report on the changes by June 30th, 2008. He also said his task force hopes to see the board of management and independent complaints commission up and running no later than December 31, 2009.
He asked that legislative changes required to enact the task force's recommendations be “sped along as quickly as possible in Parliament”, and suggested the Force be granted special one-time funding from the federal government to aid their rebuild.
“I am confident that the recommendations we have made today will rebuild this national icon into a modern-day police force,” he said. “I believe that the lost trust among rank and file members will be restored.”

Do not get ripped off by overbilling

How to Catch Billing Mistakes

Wouldn't you love to know for sure that you're not being overcharged by banks, credit card companies and the like? Attorney Edgar Dworsky, JD, former consumer education consultant for the Federal Trade Commission and creator of the consumer advocacy Web site explains how you can be certain you aren't being stuck with false charges. Whether it's a bank, utility company, or credit card, he identifies the most common mistakes -- and tells who to call, what to say and how to get the problem solved in your favor.

How to Catch Billing Mistakes Edgar Dworsky, JD vercharges by companies -- cell-phone service providers, credit card issuers, utilities, banks and more -- are commonplace. In fact, they could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year.
These errors aren't deliberate. Companies point out that overbilling actually costs them money because customer service representatives must spend valuable time dealing with the resulting billing complaints.
Bottom line: It's up to you to scrutinize what you are charged and then question what you don't understand. Here are the most common billing mistakes and how to handle them...

Common errors: Misapplied charges, such as check-writing fees when you signed up for free checking... bounced check fees when your account has overdraft protection... out-of-network automated teller machine (ATM) fees when you didn't use an ATM outside your bank's network.
What to do: Call the number on your statement within 60 days from the date your statement was mailed -- most will quickly remove such fees.
utility companies
Common errors: Reading the meter incorrectly... bills based on estimated usage -- when a reading cannot be obtained -- that are wildly over the mark. Estimated usage is based on your patterns over the past year, so charges might even reflect errors on past bills.
What to do: Demonstrate that the reading is incorrect by taking a picture of the meter or scheduling a time for the utility company to send a meter reader to your home. Check the reading with him/her, and write down the number yourself. If the amount doesn't match what appears on your bill, report the error to the utility company. If the problem goes unresolved, contact your state public utilities commission (listed in your phone book).
TELEPHONE companies
Common errors: Charges you paid in the previous month that appear on your bill again because they weren't credited to your account... fees for services you didn't order, such as call-waiting... unreasonably high charges because a discount plan you signed up for was discontinued. Example: Your plan had a rate of five cents per minute for calls to Canada. Several months later, the plan was discontinued, but you never saw the notice. Your new rate is 25 cents a minute.
What to do: Complain to the phone company. It may correct your bill and offer to switch you to another plan that will save you some money -- it might charge you less than 25 cents but more than five cents. In general, you should report mistakes and/or overcharges to your phone company as soon as you receive your statement. You have 60 days to dispute unauthorized pay-per-call charges.
Helpful: Consider a one-price plan -- for instance, an unlimited monthly domestic calling plan as part of your long-distance service. Anything you can do to simplify the number of charges on your bill will reduce the likelihood of mistakes and save you time when scrutinizing the bill.
Common error: An item scans for a higher price than the one marked.
What to do: Of course, you should ask for the correct price, but because scanner mistakes happen frequently, it's worthwhile to shop at stores that have "price accuracy guarantees." This means that if there's a mistake, you get the item for free, or in the case of expensive items, you may get $3 to $10 off the correct price. Guarantees are offered by many drugstores and supermarkets.
Common errors: Mistaken charges for use of the minibar, movie rentals and telephone calls from your room. A recent study by Corporate Lodging Consultants found that 11% of all hotel bills are incorrect. Guests were overcharged an average of $11 per stay. Reasons: The complex structure of rates and fees... and the hotel industry has become lax about mistakes because business travelers rarely complain. Many business travelers figure it's not worth fighting inaccurate charges if the expenses are going to be paid by their employers anyway.
What to do: If you use a hotel's express checkout service, take a moment to review your bill for obvious mistakes. Get an employee or customer rep ID number when confirming a negotiated rate for a room -- or ask to be E-mailed a confirmation. Caution: Credit card issuers generally won't credit you back the money if a dispute with a travel vendor is over a rate discrepancy.
Common errors: Charges from a former service provider that you no longer use... extra charges tacked on by your card company, such as credit insurance or other services it sells and you don't want... a merchant's failure to post a credit for returned items... charges for services or goods that you ordered and never received.

What to do: Federal law requires that you first try to resolve the mistake with the company that overcharged you, not the credit card issuer. Technically, to dispute the charge with your credit card company, you must make the request in writing. Practically speaking, many people just call their card issuer. Review your credit card bills on-line once a week. You're more likely to remember what you bought and spot mistakes than if you wait for paper statements to arrive the following month. Also, you'll have fewer items to check than at the end of the month.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How feeble is our right of free speech

The prosecution of Maclean's magazine shows how feeble is our right of free speech

By Link Byfield

It had to happen eventually. A national publisher is now being prosecuted for political insensitivity. It marks the latest and most serious escalation of the long, slow war of Canadian governments against free speech.

Last year (Oct. 23, 06) Maclean’s printed a lengthy article entitled “The Future Belongs to Islam.” It was in fact a chapter from the book “America Alone” by Maclean’s columnist Mark Steyn.

The complaint was brought by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), after being initiated last spring by Muslim law students at York University.

CIC legal counsel Faisal Joseph, a former prosecutor, explained, “When you read that article, it sounds to some people {like} there’s an attack from the ‘Muslim’ world against the ‘non-Muslim’ world. We take real issue with that type of characterization and the implications of it.”

It’s undeniable that Steyn’s chapter – and his whole book – describe such an attack. He sees the western world as being intimidated and demographically overwhelmed by an Islamic culture hostile to western values.

This opinion, the CIC’s Joseph alleges, subjects Canadian Muslims to discrimination, hatred and contempt.

Maclean’s editor Ken Whyte met with the offended Osgoode students last spring, and offered to publish a longish letter from them, even though he had run 27 letters on the subject already, and the story was now five months old. But the students demanded five unedited pages in his magazine, plus an unedited cover picture.

Whyte refused, saying he would sooner see the magazine go bankrupt than surrender responsibility for its content. The CIC has translated this to him saying he’d prefer bankruptcy to journalistic balance.

Human rights law began forty years ago, inflicting itself on defenseless employers and landlords, but has gradually been taking on ever more powerful antagonists. Maclean’s is the most potent yet.

What most people still fail to understand, unfortunately, is that human rights law has nothing to do with civil rights. The traditional freedoms – our centuries-old civil rights – are to own property, assemble peacefully, speak your mind, worship God openly, and associate with people you choose.

Human rights law is quite different. It says that you have a right not to feel excluded or demeaned for who you are, and if you do the state will prosecute the offender and extract compensation. This requires government-appointed commissions to decide which social and racial groups they will protect and which ones they won’t, and where the line lies between free speech and “responsible” free speech as they choose, according to some moving political basis, to define it.

A wise law professor once explained the distinction between the two kinds of law thus: traditional freedoms require governments to leave citizens alone. The new anti-discrimination laws require governments to become ever more intrusive and restrictive.

Or as another wise professor once expressed it, “Freedom of speech is not the right to tell someone good morning. It’s the legal right to tell them to _____ off.”

We may not like talk like that, or opinions like Mark Steyn's. But just because they offend us does not mean governments in a free society should stop them. Governments can no more control public opinion than King Canute could hold back the tide.

Let's hope now that Maclean’s is being hounded, Canadian media will at long last take seriously the threat human rights commissions pose to their own freedom and everyone else’s.

- Link Byfield

Link Byfield is an Alberta senator-elect and chairman of the Citizens Centre

Monday, December 10, 2007

» Surveillance cuts both ways | Storage Bits |

» Surveillance cuts both ways | Storage Bits | "Massive storage has given governments worldwide the ability to record citizen activities and abuse human rights. And, as yesterday’s post on Deep Packet Inspection noted, technology marches on. But the recording and storage revolution cuts both ways. Citizens can capture government misconduct and bring pressure to bear on those who abuse their authority. Two cases in point A New York 17-year old was being interrogated by police over a shooting in an elevator. As the interrogation began he pressed the record button on his music player to record the 1 hour, 15 minute session. At the trial the detective, unaware of the recording, testified that the suspect “wasn’t questioned” about the shooting. But then the defense confronted the detective with a transcript it said proved he had spent more than an hour unsuccessfully trying to persuade Erik Crespo to confess—at times with vulgar tactics. Once the transcript was revealed in court, prosecutors asked for a recess, defense attorney Mark DeMarco said. The detective was pulled from the witness stand and advised to get a lawyer. The detective has now been charged with 12 felony counts of perjury"

This articale illustrates that using the tools you have can make a difference- record and share invisiable crimes- expose the truth and regain your liberty

Conrad Black gets sentenced-has class

Was justice served? 6.5 years for entrepreneurship- after he left or was forced to leave the media empire and stock declined to little- a phyric victory for the public at best in a lose-lose situation. At least he showed some class

"We have the verdict we have and we can't retry the case," Black told St. Eves in a brief statement before the sentencing.

"I have never once uttered one disrespectful word about this court, your honour, the jurors or the process."

He thanked the judge for her openmindedness, considering that he came in with an "almost universal presumption of guilt."

The former newspaper executive also apologized to shareholders of the defunct Hollinger International newspaper group, the company he was convicted of defrauding. It once controlled a chain of big-city Canadian dailies, the National Post, the London Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post, as well as the Chicago Sun-Times and hundreds of smaller publications.

The Black trial was one of the last high-profile fraud cases in which U.S. prosecutors, stocks regulators and others cracked down on white collar crime in the wake of the Enron Corp. scandal that wiped out billions of dollars of stock value about five years ago.

Besides tough new U.S. rules that required more detailed corporate disclosure to shareholders, U.S. prosecutors also won jail sentences against Martha Stewart, former WorldComm CEO Bernie Ebbers, Adelphia cable group CEO John Rigas and executives of Enron and numerous other companies accused of corporate fraud and wrongdoing.

Earlier Monday, Black had walked into the courthouse confident and smiling in the morning, accompanied by his wife Barbara Amiel Black and daughter Alana Black.

After the sentencing he was still smiling, offering only "No comment," as he left the courtroom with his family and a tight-lipped "the fact that we're appealing speaks for itself," as he and his family edged through a knot of reporters and into the familiar Cadillac Escalade to be whisked away.

Defence lawyer Eddie Greenspan said he was not happy with the verdit and "I'm not pleased today that he got a single day in jail."

"But, given what we came into in this trial, we were facing allegations that included $90 million in (anti-racketeering law) RICO-related fraud and we were facing what might have been tantamount to life in jail," Greenspan said.

"It was a very nervewracking beginning of the trial for somebody who was charged with a non-violent offence. But that's America today. At the the end of the day to end up where we ended up is a hell of a lot better than where we started, but it's not over."

"Conrad has good appeal lawyers and hopefully he's going to prevail on appeal," Black's U.S.-based defence lawyer Edward Genson said as he left court.

"I'm daily impressed by jude St. Eve and I thought she gave us a fair trial and a fair hearing."

Earlier in the day, St. Eve made several rulings that were good news for Black and his team, though denied Black's request to delay the sentencing or strike victim impact statements.

First, she said she would use 2000 sentencing guidelines to determine the sentence, a blow to prosecutors, who were pushing for a sentence under the 2007 guidelines - which could have doubled Black's time in jail.

She also dismissed the prosecutor's request to consider the full amount of the alleged fraud - $32 million - instead of the $6.1 million estimated by a pre-sentencing report.

As well, she added, Black's former partner David Radler was offered a plea bargain to testify against Black his deal under the 2000 guidelines, and he is "at least equally culpable as Mr. Black."

Radler has agreed to go to jail for 29 months and pay a fine and will be officially sentenced next week.

Black's co-defendant Peter Atkinson, chief legal counsel for Hollinger, was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $3,000 fine.

St. Eve dismissed a government's request to consider Black the ringleader of the fraud scheme, saying that "the evidence at trial demonstrates his co-defendant Radler was calling just as many shots in directing, in many instances, where the money was going."

She also noted it was Radler who was in charge of the running media company Hollinger's U.S. operations and ordering the money.

But, she said, she wouldn't consider Black a minor player either, saying that request hardly passed "the straight-face test."

Jeffrey Steinback, Black's chief sentencing counsel, told court that Black is a respected historian and loving father fighting for his soul, whose lack of remorse stems from his heartfelt belief that he did nothing wrong.

Black, he said, is not the bank robber prosecutors claimed but an entrepreneur, writer and devoted husband.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Advice to a fallen warrior in the Justice system

There are those that fight the system against extreme odds of winning. They waste their precious creative energy in trying to gain accountability -natural justice in a institutional system which does not care in its own self-interest. What should these motivated but misguided warriors do in the midst of this societal decay? Keep faith in your self and your own integrity-suffer the fools with quite indifference . Live your life on your(higher) terms and not the lowest debased standards of your desensitized institutionalized adversaries who really do not care.

Snatching Serenity From the Jaws of Chaos

Some time ago I read a fascinating interview (I don’t recall where) with a former Soviet dissident. Over a long period of years, he had been engaging in illegal activities, such as attending clandestine meetings and hiding samizdat publications in his home. Somehow, while going head-to-head with the Socialist monster, he managed to carry on a “normal” life: raising a family, working as an engineer, going out to an occasional concert.

The question was put to him: How could you maintain this double existence, knowing full well that at any moment, you might be arrested and jailed, even executed or tortured, your life utterly destroyed in the wink of an eye?

Responded the ex-dissident: The most fundamental form of resistance to tyranny is to live as if you had freedom.

These poignant words became lodged forever in my consciousness. So basic, so courageous. You don’t cower, you don’t despair of reality. You rather create your own, internal reality.

This vision has helped me overcome the temptation to anger, frustration, and despair, all of which could easily result from over-analysis of the manifold threats to liberty that are closing in on us from all sides.

Just the other day, after an overdose of blog reading, I was seized by these emotions. Then I recalled the words of our brave dissident. I thought: What would he do right now? Perhaps he would pick up a great work of literature, put on some Mozart, sit in an armchair, and read. This is what I did.
I was creating a little pocket of culture in the midst of decay, snatching serenity from the jaws of chaos. The menaces of the Brave New World swirl around us, but the great traditions of the West, our spectacular creations of beauty and intelligence, flourish in the space that each of us creates.

How simple, yet how profound, is this form of resistance to totalitarianism. It is good training for the trials and tribulations that surely await us.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Big Brother may ban smoking in your house – what's next?

Beware of more government terrorist activity that attacks your personal freedoms PR

Dear Friend, by Campbell MD

By now, smoking has been banned nearly everywhere: in bars, in restaurants, in offices, in movies, on planes, and – this one always gets me – at outdoor stadiums. The only place it's still OK to smoke is in the privacy of your own home, right?


There's a growing movement by the anti-smoking fascists throughout the country to create a smoke-free housing law. This law would ban smoking in multi-unit residences like apartment buildings and condominiums. That tug you feel is the anti-smoking lobby trying to pull away another of your personal freedoms.

I'm not a believer in smoking bans. But as a believer in personal freedom, I'll be the first one to hand you a match if you want to light up. I've pointed out time and again that smoking is not the primary cause of lung cancer. And yet, this myth persists. And the anti-smoking lobby is using it to further their cause.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the smoking ban provides several hundred miles of blacktop. Why? Because wholesale government bans enacted under the guise of the "greater good" are always, always about the restriction of personal freedoms. (Did you know that Hitler was the original mastermind behind government regulated smoking bans?

As I was saying…Smoking bans are the first step on a slippery slope toward the obliteration of our individual rights. The simpletons in Congress and the Senate are often more concerned with celebrating our rights than protecting them. The smoke-free lobby seems to neither realize nor care that such a ban is discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional. Thankfully, there are some smart people speaking out against this ban. Many real estate companies are pointing out that this so-called "health concern" is about to take a big swipe at the sanctity of one of the most fundamental American rights: private property.

Don't let all this smoke cloud an issue that's crystal clear. When the government comes to your door and says they want to pass a ban to protect you – and your children – slam the door in their face. Whether you light up after you slam that door is up to you. And that's exactly how it should be.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Privacy issues -Facebook - the social networking coal mine | Between the Lines |

User beware -who gets access to your personal information! PR

Facebook: The canary in the social networking coal mine by ZDNet's Dan Farber -- Facebook has stirred up a great deal of controversy and now harsh criticism with its Beacon advertising program. Three weeks after launching Beacon Facebook, the company did a 180-degree turn to make it more palatable for users rather than advertisers. It still fell short of the total opt-in approach that some critics called for.See full article...