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Fri, 08 Dec 2023
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US: TSA security looks at people who complain about ... TSA security

Don't like the way airport screeners are doing their job? You might not want to complain too much while standing in line.

Arrogant complaining about airport security is one indicator Transportation Security Administration officers consider when looking for possible criminals and terrorists, CNN has learned exclusively. And, when combined with other behavioral indicators, it could result in a traveler facing additional scrutiny.

CNN has obtained a list of roughly 70 "behavioral indicators" that TSA behavior detection officers use to identify potentially "high risk" passengers at the nation's airports.

Many of the indicators, as characterized in open government reports, are behaviors and appearances that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception. None of them, as the TSA has long said, refer to or suggest race, religion or ethnicity.

But one addresses passengers' attitudes towards security, and how they express those attitudes.

It reads: "Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures."

Arrow Down

Canada: Prime Minister Harper accused of smearing ex-minister

Helena Guergis
© Agence France-Presse
Former minister Helena Guergis, pictured here in 2007, lashed out at her ex-boss Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the middle of an election Friday for booting her from the Conservative caucus over ultimately unsubstantiated claims
A former Tory minister lashed out at her ex-boss Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the middle of an election Friday for booting her from the Conservative caucus over ultimately unsubstantiated claims.

Now seeking re-election as an independent candidate, Helena Guergis told a press conference Harper "tossed (her) under a bus" last year, and offered no explanation for her ouster nor a chance to defend herself.

A federal police investigation cleared Guergis of fraud, extortion and involvement with prostitutes, including snorting cocaine off a prostitute's breasts.

But the prime minister's office continued to run a "destructive campaign" against her and smearing her reputation with "false allegations," Guergis said.

"Not only was it made to seem I was guilty of conduct that has never been disclosed to me ... the prime minister's office still made it seem as though I was guilty of something even after I had been proven innocent," she said.

A private investigator last year alerted a Conservative party lawyer that Guergis may be vulnerable to blackmail after an associate of her husband boasted of having cellphone pictures of the couple partying with "high class escorts when cocaine was being snorted."


US: Republicans will make US 'Third World' nation: Obama

© AFP/Mandel Ngan
President Barack Obama reads a note given to him by a young girl upon arrival at O?Hare International Airport. Obama accused Republicans of wanting to turn the United States into a "Third World" country as he rallied support for his reelection campaign.
US President Barack Obama accused Republicans of wanting to turn the United States into a "Third World" country as he rallied support for his reelection campaign.

The attack came a day after Obama savaged Republican budget plans and unveiled his $4-trillion deficit reduction drive that aims to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to preserve key social services.

The debate over fiscal policy will prove critical to the 2012 campaign and Obama sought to frame it as a "stark choice" between investing in the future or watching the country fall apart.

"Under their vision, we can't invest in roads and bridges and broadband and high-speed rail," Obama told a select group of the Democratic faithful at the second of three fundraising events in his hometown of Chicago.

"I mean, we would be a nation of potholes, and our airports would be worse than places that we thought -- that we used to call the Third World, but who are now investing in infrastructure."


US: Republicans set 2012 budget battle with Obama

© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils the House Republican budget blueprint in the Capitol in Washington April 5, 2011.
Republicans in the House of Representatives united on Friday behind a 2012 budget plan slashing trillions of dollars in government spending while cutting taxes -- two achievements conservatives say are necessary ingredients for a deal to raise the U.S. debt limit.

The vote effectively serves as the Republicans' opening gambit in what are likely to be contentious negotiations with President Barack Obama and his Democrats over debt and deficits in the coming months. The Congress must decide within weeks on raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

By a vote of 235-193, the House passed the plan written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan for the 2012 fiscal year beginning October 1.

Democrats rejected the measure, which proposes slashing spending by nearly $6 trillion over a decade and reducing benefits for the elderly and poor. All but four Republicans supported it.

There is almost no chance of the Senate approving the measure in its current form.

The White House swiftly condemned the measure but said it was committed to working with Republicans to bring down record deficits that all sides acknowledged imperil the country's economic future.

Bad Guys

Emails expose BP's attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill

 <em>Deepwater Horizon</em> BP oil spill: A clean-up worker picks up blobs of oil in absorbent snare
© Gerald Herbert/AP
A clean-up operation on Queen Bess Island, June 2010. BP pledged a $500m fund for independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials discussing how to influence the work of scientists

BP officials tried to take control of a $500m fund pledged by the oil company for independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, it has emerged.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials openly discussing how to influence the work of scientists supported by the fund, which was created by the oil company in May last year.

Russell Putt, a BP environmental expert, wrote in an email to colleagues on 24 June 2010: "Can we 'direct' GRI [Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative] funding to a specific study (as we now see the governor's offices trying to do)? What influence do we have over the vessels/equipment driving the studies vs the questions?".


Scientists warn that drugs of the future will be designed specifically to control the human mind

© Erin Jonasson
Coming soon ... a pill to enhance moral behaviour.
It may sound like something out of a science fiction plot, but Oxford researchers say that modern conventional medicine is gradually developing ways to change the moral states of humans through pharmaceutical drugs, and thus control the way people think and act in various life situations. These new drugs will literally have the ability to disrupt an individual's personal morality, and instead reprogram that person to believe and do whatever the drug designer has created that drug to do.

"Science has ignored the question of moral improvement so far, but it is now becoming a big debate," said Dr. Guy Kahane from the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics in the UK. "There is already a growing body of research you can describe in these terms. Studies show that certain drugs affect the ways people respond to moral dilemmas by increasing their sense of empathy, group affiliation and by reducing aggression."


False pretense for war in Libya?

© Getty Images
Evidence is now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya. The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a "bloodbath'' in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and last rebel stronghold.

But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.

Misurata's population is roughly 400,000. In nearly two months of war, only 257 people - including combatants - have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 - less than 3 percent - are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties.

Star of David

Italian Free Gaza Movement activist abducted and murdered by "Islamist militants"

© AP
Italian activist Vittorio Utmpio Arrigoni holds his passport during a protest against the Israeli siege on Gaza, in Gaza City, in this August 29, 2008 file photo.
Two suspects have reportedly been arrested in the alleged kidnapping and subsequent murder of Vittorio Arrigoni, an activist in the International Solidarity Movement; Arrigoni was hanged in an Islamist militant's home.

The body of an Italian pro-Palestinian activist was found hanging in the home of a Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip early Friday, hours after he was reportedly kidnapped.

Hamas officials reported that the body of Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, was discovered in the home of a member of the Monotheism and Holy War group that claimed responsibility for the abduction in a video released Thursday.

Bad Guys

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes

Puppet Masters
© berkleyillustration.etsy.com

For three decades we have conducted a massive economic experiment, testing a theory known as supply-side economics. The theory goes like this: Lower tax rates will encourage more investment, which in turn will mean more jobs and greater prosperity - so much so that tax revenues will go up, despite lower rates. The late Milton Friedman, the libertarian economist who wanted to shut down public parks because he considered them socialism, promoted this strategy. Ronald Reagan embraced Friedman's ideas and made them into policy when he was elected president in 1980.

For the past decade, we have doubled down on this theory of supply-side economics with the tax cuts sponsored by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003, which President Obama has agreed to continue for two years.

You would think that whether this grand experiment worked would be settled after three decades. You would think the practitioners of the dismal science of economics would look at their demand curves and the data on incomes and taxes and pronounce a verdict, the way Galileo and Copernicus did when they showed that geocentrism was a fantasy because Earth revolves around the sun (known as heliocentrism). But economics is not like that. It is not like physics with its laws and arithmetic with its absolute values.

Tax policy is something the framers left to politics. And in politics, the facts often matter less than who has the biggest bullhorn.


911 Survivor Won't Back Down

© Unknown
Perhaps the most compelling direct testimony regarding the harrowing events of Sept. 11, 2001 comes from survivor and former Army Spec. April Gallop, who - with her two-month-old child, Elisha, in tow - arrived at the Pentagon just minutes before a powerful explosion rocked the building that Tuesday morning. Ms. Gallop spoke out on her experience at conferences where this AFP writer heard her story - which has never wavered.

Ms. Gallop wants justice. So, in coordination with the Center for 911 Justice, she filed a federal lawsuit and is staying the course, whatever the odds. The defendants are former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Gen. Richard Myers (USAF, retired), former acting Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.