All properly redacted, of course ...
to protect the identities of the NSA-CIA-FBI-ETC plants and infiltrators among Amnesty International members and leadership.
364 posts • joined 15 Jan 2008
to protect the identities of the NSA-CIA-FBI-ETC plants and infiltrators among Amnesty International members and leadership.
The Feds will never let it stand. They'll applaud the initiative, but will swat the interlopers off the cash cow and reserve the choicest teats for themselves.
... the icon says it all.
Obviously what the Japanese tank tenders needed was one of you bored Blighty blokes with a long pole, a dough-ball carp bait, and an afternoon free. And a sushi knife.
Nothing to worry about here. As soon as the Chinese 'sand islands' are finished and China has gained total control of the security situation in the South China Sea (it is theirs, after all. It is named for them) then they can begin construction of new data centers on those islands which will be leased under contract to the US Government. Chinese technicians (much more reasonably paid than US Federal employees) will operate the new data centers and guarantee security against any foreign threats!
There, isn't that a comforting thought? And all this time y'all thought our gummint didn't have a clue about what to do!
Don't hold your breath.
Just as well suppose that if it's online, and uses a password ... it will be hacked. It's way past time for a better way.
1. three to six months to develop a departmental assessment team and draft an action plan;
2. six months to vet, recruit, and hire a departmental team of in-house security experts;
3. ditto the outside consulting team;
4. six to nine months of developing security objectives, systems flow charts, software initiatives, and hardware procurement timelines;
5. preliminary submission of department budget requests with security set-asides;
6. evaluations and promotions of upper level management to oversee security initiatives;
7; 8; 9; 10 ... need we go on?
It will be a cold day in Hell before ... ( groan )
Now that the horse is gone, it's time to lock the barn door ... except we've mislaid the lock!
Literally a few million American prison inmates, a large percentage of whom are "employed" as Prison Industry workers. Most are making office furniture for government contractors. Just one of the perks of the increasingly privatized US prison industry.
But then again, it would be a lousy public relations hit for Apple. Nobody cares about offshore economic slavery, but when it's Uncle Fester in a California prison ... that hits a little too close to home.
Yes, it has been America's choice. Allied Commander General Dwight David Eisenhower (later President Eisenhower) warned us about the "military-industrial complex". What he failed to forsee, and that America blithely ignored, was the rise of the "military-industrial-political" complex. We've got no defense against that. Eighty percent of the American public wanted a national healthcare system, so we got a $4 Trillion off-the-books note for a never-ending war in the Middle East (currently on-going, no end in sight).
As for spending less federally, and more locally, that's hard to do when the Feds suck up the lion's share of the tax dollars, and dribble portions of it back to the states with puppet-master strings attached.
I used the example of Washington State which has for years chosen to ignore judicial orders to more adequately fund public schools; the state has been wrestling with a $10 Billion ( !! ) budget deficit, so it's hard to see where more money for schools will come.
Anyway ... we could have kept our soldiers at home all these many years, and just sent over squadrons of C-130 cargo aircraft to drop bales of $100 bills on the terrorists, with a map to the closest WalMart locations just over the border. Would've been a helluva lot cheaper!
Pie in the sky. Like the hysteria years ago about "getting back to basics" ... which led to "No child left behind." If added to the already over-burdened public school system in the US, it's just another wedge issue. Public schools get lip service, and private schools surge ahead, along with demand for more specialized charter schools.
One major problem? Poor families with limited resources, living in low tax-base districts, struggling to support inadequately funded schools that state legislators are strangling with funding cuts.
Judges sue states to support poor districts, and get ignored. (Ex: Washington State) Until a session of legislators sit six months in prison for contempt of court, schools will remain underfunded.
Oh ... that call for coding for all students: does that include a budget for hardware, and qualified instructors? Hmmm ... thought not.
If one were able to simply lift the phone, speak softly: "We'll have the extra-large fish and chips, extra sauce, bucket of suds on the side; and please to message Gran that we're tied up Saturday; we'll see her on Sunday. Thanks ever so much!"
A soft click on the other end confirms our message received. Shortly after, the delivery boy shows up: "'E said yer Gran's busy Sunday. Make it Saturday week, alright?"
Government service wot works, right?
NSA is free to spy on everybody outside the US, gathering and storing it all. GCHQ is free to spy on everybody outside the UK, gathering and storing it all. Both are free to swap with each other ... so where's the restraint?
We're enjoying a slow but steady economic recovery in the US? Inflation is lurking around the corner?
Unemployment figures (5.5% currently?) are a sick joke; the calculations are rigged to avoid embarrassment to any Administration currently in office. Try 18+% for a more realistic figure.
It's commonly accepted that worker's wages have been stagnant for 30-plus years; millions of higher-paying skills jobs have been off-shored, and workers compete desperately for low-wage service sector jobs.
Skills training and higher education are no longer affordable for working-class families; student debt (a government-guaranteed gift to the banks) is over the $-trillion mark and rising; hundreds of thousands of college-educated debtors are deferring home and other lifetime investments.
Federal budgets continue to be slashed. The formerly "unthinkable" sequester cuts remain in full force. Politically-corrupt massive tax cuts for America's investor class erode federal and state budget options.
Infrastructure build by our grandfathers is wearing out and failing; estimates put back-logged repair and replacement at well over $2 Trillion. The President and Congress have no will to address the problem.
The US is plunging ahead with disastrous world-wide trade agreements that will severely and negatively impact all the points above, by accelerating the loss of jobs and further suppressing working-class wages, further eroding consumer spending and tax payments.
Cost of living indexes ignore real costs of living. The formula is rigged to avoid COL formula-based payouts and adjustments. Fuel, housing, food, health care ... all have risen sharply and continue to rise.
Retirement in the US is becoming a slow-motion train wreck. Corporations and government have shifted the burden to the worker, with investment schemes (401k, etc.) that are another gift to Wall Street bankers. Social Security is under attack. People are approaching their 60s and 70s and being forced to compete with their grand-children for service jobs to survive. This will be a rapidly accelerating social cataclysm.
The so-called "inequality gap" is real and increasing. The wealthy can go wherever the living suits them; the former middle class, forced into poverty, is trapped.
So ... in all of this, where is the reality-based recovery? The next round of inflation ... when it comes ... will see America descend deeper into oligarchy, followed by kleptocracy.
Please explain that theory of QE again. I can't quite see it through the fog of day-to-day living down here among the masses.
If they say they didn't, then that's good enough for me! And of course, those growing "sand islands" in the South China Sea have nothing to do with territorial aggression ... after all, it's called the South China Sea for a reason, right? And I've taken great comfort in Putin's reassurances that Russia has nothing whatsoever to do with the rebellious discontent in eastern Ukraine.
It's helpful to remember that mainstream media (at least here in the U.S., is owned by multinational corporations. So ... you expected "fair & balanced" coverage?
It's well and good to pore through the phrases of the treaty, but one should keep in mind the lessons of history: NAFTA is one such example. Nothing is enforced that will adversely impact the principal players. Thus, anything that can be seen as protections for workers, consumers, taxpayers, etc. goes largely unimplemented or unenforced, while the provisions favoring the major players are pushed to the limits.
Just sayin' ... here in the US, much noise and chest-beating was made about including "job retraining" and "displaced worker assistance" in NAFTA. We all know how well that worked out.
It is so reassuring to know that our [US] government is taking security so seriously:
After the earlier breach discovered in March 2014, OPM undertook “an aggressive effort to update our cybersecurity posture, adding numerous tools and capabilities to our networks,” Seymour said. “As a result of adding these tools, we were able to detect this intrusion into our networks.”
In other words, after discovering the barn door was kicked in and the horses molested, the farmer put up a security camera aimed at the door, and promptly detected that, "Holy Shit! They just kicked in the door again!"
Meanwhile, we're watching closely ... and recording all foreign and domestic communication to store and sift and sort ... to see if just possibly, perhaps, there's a bit of anti-US plotting taking place.
Other than the millions of current and ex-federal employees whose personal details are now in some Chinese database, we should all feel so much more secure:
“These things are going to keep happening, and we’re going to see more and more because our detection techniques are improving,” the [anonymous DHS] official said.
Translation: "We've added a second security camera to watch the barn door."
(If someone wrote this up and performed it as a Saturday Night Live skit, they've be laughed off the stage!)
...and missing out on performance and security improvements Microsoft has made since then.
And just what "improvements" would that be, then? A whole new barge-load of MS crap and control? A total slowdown of my perfectly-functioning older laptop? No thanks, MS ... the ride ended with Win7.
The key word here is "relative" ... a "well off" person in the US making $12,000 per annum is going to be up against it in an area like Seattle where the median one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,700 per month ... not counting the first/last month rental deposit. That's pretty much the rule for large urban areas in the US. Too bad there's not quite enough ghetto-class slum housing to go around ...
It's all about the appearance of doing good.
(Here's for the telcos: they have a cord long enough to run from the bag lady's shopping cart back to her home under the bridge abutment.)
Mr. Ham is actually pretty mainstream in his beliefs, when viewed in the context of the crowd of wild-eyed political opportunists clamoring for attention as Republican presidential candidates. Then there's the elected crowd in Congress, where he'd fit right in with the current chairman of the House Science Committee. And he'd be a good right-hand man for the current Governor of Florida, who (although he won't publicly admit it) has forbidden state officials from using the words "climate change" or "global warming." (Although after this weekend, his ideology might not be so welcome in Oklahoma or Texas.)
who has to clean up the mess left by one's body halfway out the door as the vehicle rolls over on it. (Yes it happens.) Please, wear your seat belt.
As for the other, well ... it was New Jersey, right? They're all a bit nuts there.
" ... with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) complaining that the US was essentially funding Russian companies, despite ongoing sanctions."
Nice choice of a word with negative connotations. Along with "complaining," why not also say "whining, whinging, and sniveling" as well?
IMHO, if the gentleman is pointing to an obvious fact, it isn't a complaint. It's a factual criticism. American politics and public discourse have become a minefield of "loaded" words, used to discredit the speaker rather than the message. Calling Sen. John McCain's statement a "complaint" falls into that category. But then again, perhaps the word has a different connotation in Blighty?
"I can afford this watch, therefore I have no need for Obamacare and no desire to pay taxes to support it. Those of you here today who can afford this watch, also can afford proper private healthcare and thus have a legitimate need to escape paying taxes for Obamacare. As for those who cannot afford this watch, then we (those of us who can afford these watches) bear no responsibility for your health care."
Advances in AI will have little or no public review or knowledge, as all will be national security research developments leading to the ultimate weapons deployment platform on constant patrol, monitoring for undesirables while maintaining a cloaked, defensive posture.
Perhaps an ICBM-carrying nuclear submarine; sans the skipper and crew. "Hal" runs the boat while engaged in an unblinking, never-ending threat analysis. Linked to its counterpart in high orbit, partnered to observe, interact, and react, getting off the first shot these days might seem attractive as the most survivable military option. Not to worry: decision points are hard-coded in Hal's instruction set, right?
"The CISPA and CISA legislation that has some people worried will come to a vote this week, and he said the word in the White House is that both will pass without a problem.
Of course both will pass! Our glorious Congress passed the Patriot Act, and set up the FISA Court, and we've basked in the glory and success of both those achievements!
Consider the fruits of American intelligence gathering and pin-point military involvement: Iraq and Afghanistan are stabilized and prosperous, Syria has seen the light and adopted a Constitutional government, Iran and Saudi Arabia are consulting together on the first wave of free elections in both countries; Somalia has been accepted in the United Nations, and Yemen is hosting peace talks between Israel and the newly-mandated Palestinian state. All terror threats against the United States, and indeed, the Free World, have ceased to exist!
Now, concerning that encrypted and unregistered computer sitting on your desk ...
Only when Comcast-TWC has achieved a significantly indomitable monopoly share (thus emulating the Microsoft success principle) will they be empowered to offer the ultimate user experience or programming creativity or the total-immersion internet experience that the techno-rabble deserve.
Rock on, baby. Kick the FCC obstructionists out of the way and proceed apace!
Having grown up dirt poor after the WWII victory years, I can say that one needs to live in the US environment to really understand the problem with poor families and their diet.
First off, there's really no food education in US schools; nothing much about basic cooking or nutrition. In my day, there was some "home extension" material pushed by the government, and Home Economics classes for girls, and Shop classes for boys. All home skills were assumed to be taught by mothers and grandmothers. Poor diet habits got passed down the generations. Over time, that has devolved into a gross divide between "fashionable" food habits in wealthy areas, and prepared fast food habits for poor inner-city or rural districts. And basic living skills are no longer part of the curriculum in public schools.
More recently, access to wholesome, affordable food has become problematic. America's tumble into corporatism is reflected in the megastores and where they're located; usually in upscale, wealthier areas. The concept of "food desert" is a uniquely American development. Poor neighborhoods are left with rip-off corner convenience stores, and junk food outlets. And if there is access to a proper supermarket, 95% of the shelf space is dedicated to over-processed quick 'n easy stuff, and acres and acres of rumbling freezers filled with ready-to-eat convenience stuff. Basic foods are on the floor shelves, mostly out of sight, and wholesome produce -- veg and fruit -- is sorted, waxed, and polished, and is obscenely expensive.
Two other factors have a profound effect. Lack of cooking skills, and lack of a proper kitchen and cookware to prepare nutritious meals. It takes both taste acculturation, cooking education, and accessible (and affordable) cookware to prepare family meals, day after day. (Decent cookware has become absurdly expensive in recent years; that's why the typical donation-based Thrift store shelves are usually stripped clean of any good skillets, pots, or pans.)
Give a poor or homeless US family bags of rice and dried beans, a sack of spuds, a head of cabbage and a bunch of carrots, and you might as well go ahead and kick them in the teeth for good measure. Most are not able or equipped to handle food in that form. A box of quick ramen, a pack of instant mac n' cheese food, or a Big Mac with a super-sized side of fries is far more accessible to them.
In military reasoning, it was cheaper to leave 'em right where they sat, rather than fly them to the desert boneyard. And then there's that pesky radioactive decontamination thing affecting the airplanes ...
The so-called war on drugs is actually an oppression of America's underclass, and a war on the underground economy. I've believed for years that if the drug trade were quashed, America's inner cities would erupt in rioting and flames when the underground economy collapsed and an entire underclass that has little access to education, employment, and economic parity, would refuse to lay down and starve. As hateful as it is, the drug trade, gambling, and prostitution, the bastions of gang crime, are the only revenue streams flowing in the depressed ghettos. And the only upwardly mobile path of opportunity for most ghetto kids is gang membership.
State and federal authorities do little other than keep the urban ghettos cordoned off, quarantined and isolated, to prevent the spread into affluent suburbs. The police skim a fringe of offenders, as proof of effort. There is no political support from either the state or federal level to deal with root causes. Meanwhile, the deepening urban cancer and expanding drug trade provides an incredibly convenient opportunity for expansion of federal surveillance powers, hence the DEA spying and massive information gathering. Congress has neither the will nor the means to pull these agencies back, now that they've got their tentacles embedded in the social data stream. Information is power; nobody yields power willingly.
Four machines in this household alone, running dual-boot: WinXP to run essential (and expensive) legacy software; and Debian 8 Linux, for web research, finances and banking, and email.
Two things that don't show up: none of those machines expose WinXP to the 'net or to trackers, so it's under the radar; and Microsoft will never realize another penny from this household. As for Linux, it does the job and nobody is keeping score. It's all about as relevant as tracking what OS is running the systems in one's family car.
Quashed government investigation? Nothing new there ... it's as old as good-old-boy politics. But to embarrass the government, an agency of government, or a government official? Thou shalt not ... and therein lies the offense. All was well until the NY Times made reckless, irresponsible use of that unfortunate document. And some unfortunate FTC mid-level employee has been demoted to counting used toilet paper rolls in the fourth sub-level basement lavatories.
Well, in this case I'd expect a malicious hacker would be content to override the governor limits, thus letting the windmill thrash itself to pieces in the next windstorm. Just for kicks.
Splice those genes into the typical American lawyer, and we've got a great, hairy, saber-toothed sloth with 12-foot tusks and an insatiable appetite.
is working just as intended. Mindless media, bloviating politicians, security pundits, paranoid security services, and nervous civilians ... awash in a flood of "terror events" from the bloody Middle East ... are now looking nervously over their shoulders or pointing self-righteous fingers in a renewed Call to Arms in the American Homeland!
As for armed US military service people walking the streets or waiting in ambush at home, get a reality grip, people! The US military takes a profoundly dim view of their personnel carrying weapons in civilian settings, and never on base while on duty. It doesn't happen. Police and plain-clothes agents of civilian agencies, yes. Service people not on active guard duty, no.
ISIS terror propaganda wins: not only is the sky falling, but the ground is exploding beneath our feet. Alarm! Alarm! Trust no one!
Get a grip, people!
But that's precisely the state of American consumer protections ... if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.
"The CIO of the United States has floated a plan ... "
I mean, we really have a CIO ... ? Huh! How about that ... !
"an interview with [Julian Assange] at the Ecuadorian embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview..."
That phrase, quality of the interview, uttered in the light of on-going NSA, CIA, and Gitmo revelations ... is more than a little chilling! But since it comes from our more gentle, civilized, restrained Swedish neighbors ... no sinister implications there?
It's been said, wisely, that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. That might be a good thing to keep in mind whenever some corporate entity offers a "free" service. How many such services have unexpectedly pulled the plug on their guests when some vice president wannabe suggests that 1) the emperor is naked, and 2) that cool honey-trap hosting service is a money pit.
Relax. The Justice Department will block this suit.
No ... you don't really need a watch any longer ... unless you find yourself needing to use a sextant and almanac to find your position several hundred miles from land. That's where my Casio GW-500A proves its worth. Resets itself every day, and bang-on accurate to the second.
Or you could dispense with the timepiece and try it with your sundial ... !
GW-500A ... the "Atomic" solar-powered recharging watch. Better than a chronometer; resets every night from WWV. Nice present from my son. Casio rules. I did celestial sun shots with this one; time is good to the second. Too bad my eyes aren't!
The principle is well established here in the US ... take a world full of scientific accord, and neutralize it with one self-aggrandizing US Senator standing up with a snowball in his hand, proclaiming that his opinion plus the continued existence of snow stands as proof positive of his unassailable position.
Same with the US healthcare system. People die. People have always died, and will continue to die. That's no reason to get all hysterical and undercut the world's most profitable economic enterprise (next to big oil and weapons sales.)
Antacid tablet, anyone?
Savor the measured cadence of one hand clapping.
That would be Timmy & the Apple Fritters
In the blizzard of such unimaginable puffery, I see the ghost of the French Maginot line ... reborn in digital dreams.
Think mud ... snow and ice and frozen mud. And bone-weary grunts in the snow and ice and frozen mud. And all the horrors of crushing, unrelenting reality. Then think of idiots in uniform deep inside think-tank chambers dreaming of impregnable Maginot creations.
“significantly increase and tailor advanced computing architectures and computing sciences technologies on the forefront to enable land power dominance.” Ayup, and we'll counter that with a 15-year-old Chinese hacker and a jar full of red ants.