* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

NSA PRISM deepthroat VANISHES as pole-dance lover cries into keyboard

Tom 13

Re: It's all fun and games until you have to run...

To me the funniest part is that if he had gone to the right newspaper here in the US and stayed put, he'd probably be safer than he is running. If he needed an insurance policy, mail a separate copy to The Guardian the day before he meets the press over here. They can't actually send him to Gitmo. Yes, they could arrest him immediately, but since he's a civilian and a citizen, even with aiding and abetting an enemy charges, he still has to go to trial. A trial keeps him in the public eye. And the news media get to portray him as a genuine hero. Day after day after day of news about the abused patriot? The optics on that are horrible.

Tom 13

Re: book a ticket to somewhere without an extradition treaty.

If you've got a clearance above a certain level, yes there are certain procedures you have to go through when booking flight to foreign countries. They aren't necessarily difficult to fulfill. I know people who have traveled to countries I would have thought would have been on the "you can't travel there" list given what they do.

All that being said, if I were ranking other countries sequentially on that list, I'd expect Hong Kong would be much lower on it than Iceland (safest high, probably Canada).

Tom 13

Re: Something...

The NSA not the CIA. Completely different agencies even if in theory they are supposed to work together.

Tom 13

Re: removing those he considered to be in competition

Technically true but the rest of the details put it in a different context. Stalin didn't target only those he thought were in direct competition to him. He cleared out great swaths of people. Sort of a, "Take anybody in government who is in the GS-11 to GS-14 rank and have them shot." And those were his friends. If you were a dissident at best it was Siberia for you.

Tom 13

Re: without releasing any data that could harm someone.

That a patently false statement. The data have certainly stopped some attacks.* If we stop the collection of data those attacks which would otherwise have been stopped will succeed and those people will be quite dead.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't stop the mass collection of data. But I do insist that you be realistic in your assessment of what the consequences of not collecting it are. I for one want it stopped right now. There might be workable safeguards we can put on the collection of the data. If there are, I'm probably willing to allow it to be collected and analyzed again. But those protections have to be publicly defined and a super-majority of us need to approve it.

*It follows that if they disclose which attacks there is a measurable risk that the methods used to stop the attack can be compromised and therefore it is not advisable to make the disclosure.

Tom 13

Re: do the following words prompt any thoughts:

Yeah, that I have to suppress my natural reflex to shoot anybody who uses the first two in a derogatory manner because they're more likely to be part of the problem than the solution.

Tom 13

Re: That starts with upholding the Constitution.

Technically you are correct. The problem of course is that most people, probably including you, don't know what it means to uphold the Constitution.

The first thing that has to go is transfer payments the liberal/progressive/socialist wing of society has foisted upon us all. That's the means the polls use to bribe enough of us to maintain power. It also means things like fully supporting the 2nd amendment. And no limits on campaign spending from any source. All speech is supposed to be protected, but most especially political speech. Campaign finance laws in the name of good governance have turned that principle on its head and bounced it up and down on the pavement a few hundred times. And it means you can't even have race based goals let alone unspoken quotas.

Fix those things and other problems like PRISM get much easier to fix.

Tom 13

Re: changes said law to include something totally outrageous

Actually that sort of thing typically fails big time, even if a significant portion of the population supports it as was the case for Prohibition. Which resulted in an EPIC FAIL.

The real problem is that without proper safeguards it can be used capriciously. Like the IRS audits that have finally made the news after 3 years of complaints.

Tom 13

Re: Bingo

You might not care for the AC's comment, but realistically he is correct. There are too many of us for them to keep tight tabs on all of us and make all of us miserable. By and large your email will transit without making a blip in the giant sucking recorder. When the DC sniper was on the loose people were all kinds of upset about how much they were risking their lives stopping to tank up their car. I was never that worried about it because statistically the odds of him getting me were about equal to me winning the big prize in the lottery.

That's not actually the point. The point is that they can bring that sort of power to bear on some of us. And they can now do it in a manner that we don't know is politically as opposed to morally motivated.

Tom 13

Re: Chances are its all true but.....

If half of what he implied was true, they would have nailed him before The Guardian article got printed.

Chewbacca held up by TSA stormtroopers for having light sabre

Tom 13

Re: but also is almost 70.

Remember: Wormtongue always regretted he was not able to keep Gandalf from bringing his walking stick into the court chambers.

Tom 13

Re: I don't really understand their procedures.

First thought: That's okay, we don't either.

Second thought: Actually it's pretty easy, you're just thinking about it the wrong way. It's not about actually making the planes safer. It's about making the people on the planes feel they are safer because of the theater put on before getting on the plane. Well that and getting more money to the unions to back Democrat candidates.

Obama weighs in on NSA surveillance imbroglio

Tom 13

Re: The real laugh is that Obama can't change this law.

Actually if you'd been paying attention instead of engaging in another bout of BDS you know he did. He loosened the limited restrictions Bush had in place under the Patriot Act.

Tom 13


Only useful idiots are surprised by this. He and his administration have held out Mao as a leader to be emulated.

Tom 13

@Don Jefe

2: deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic


NSA Prism: Why I'm boycotting US cloud tech - and you should too

Tom 13

Re: You don't need boots on the ground.

You always need boots on the ground. That's the real lesson of the Vietnam war. You need boots on the ground because war isn't really about land. Land is just the board on which the action occurs. The real action is in the hearts and minds of your enemy. The real objective is to break his will to fight. Sometimes that has to be done by killing him. Sometimes it can be done by showing him you're good people who will be only too happy to let him live in peace if he'll do the same with you. Drones and robots can't undertake action on that second front. It's the mistake we made in Vietnam. Then again in Bosnia. Then again in the initial Iraq invasion. The eggheads always think technology will solve the problem. It doesn't. Only flesh and blood can do that.

Tom 13

Re: internet traffic gets routed via some major bit of infrasstructure in California

I see you've fallen into the Schwarzkopf trap. You keep focusing on the parts of the maps they show to the news media and ignoring the larger picture.

The whole purpose of the NSA is to spy on outside of the USA, specifically signals processing. Which means as far as the US government is concerned, they have carte blanche to intercept any and every signal communication they can get their grubby little radio dishes and transceivers on. And the only thing they need to worry about is not creating an embarrassing international incident.

What changes with the interaction of PRISM and the Patriot Act is that whereas they once might have gotten into legal trouble if a US citizen were caught up in the mix, that is no longer a problem. Well, from their point view at least.

Tom 13

Re: Code! On tablets! What could be better?

But does it have a real Start Menu or just a button?

Tom 13

Re: what the definition of gore is.

And isn't that an inconvenient truth?

Tom 13

Re: Ive read the US constitution

Lincoln always cared about slavery. That WHY the Republican party was founded - to eliminate slavery within the United States. Progressives of course want that inconvenient bit of history removed from the textbooks so they can substitute your idiotic rantings.

In the Civil War States Rights became inextricably entangled in the Slavery question. Mostly because those who were fused with the notion of Slavery lashed themselves to that philosophy as their last desperate attempt to defend their evil way of life. Yes, Lincoln only freed the slaves in the States which had openly rebelled in his Emancipation Proclamation. But he was ready to follow through when the war was over with the amendments which would forever remove sanction for slavery from the Constitution.

Yes you can trace some of the tendrils of the problems of today to that action. But were it not for the actions of Progressives who came too soon after the Civil War, we might have regained our footing and better balanced the competing interests.

Tom 13

Re: it was intended to be a living document

Progressive claptrap! There was no such intention.

It was intended to be a document of LAW, modified as necessary by the Congress and the States acting according to the LAW it created. It was designed to be a document based on logic and reason that recognizes the human condition (flawed) and constructs bulwarks against failure wherever possible.

It's all that "living document" horse crap that got us into our current mess, most especially courts assuming powers not granted to them or worse turning a blind eye to obvious infringements and declaring the Constitutional.

Tom 13

Re: Potty You're late to the party

@Matt 10-Jun-2013 1:41 GMT

I was with you until the last paragraph. That was as step too far. Trevor means well and for someone living in a socialist land that denies it is socialist, has written a thoughtful column. If we can reach him with Facts, reason, and logic, he may be able to help us reach others with facts, reason, and logic.

Tom 13

Re: We can reduce the number of violent nutjobs

by treating everyone with honour and dignity. By being decent to others both at home and abroad. It will never stop all of them, but it will stop many - if not most - of them from ever feeling the need to martyr themselves to make their point in the first place.

You've obviously never confronted real racism even if you think you have. It's like trying to tell a fish not to swim in the water - he has no idea what water is. I've encountered it only once in my life in the form of an anti-semitic who was otherwise a reasonable person as well as being a hard and dilligent worker. The Islamofascist training going on in most of the Muslim world works exactly the same way except it is directed at The Evil West instead of The Evil Jews. It doesn't respond to kindness. It only responds to being dead.

Where all of us make our most fatal mistake is believing the myth that this is happening in shadowy groups meeting at random. It doesn't. Our Intelligence agencies tell us that because the hard truth is even more uncomfortable. Terrorism has the backing of Nation States. Powerful Nation States with nuclear weapons acting through proxies and proxies of those proxies. And the way to kill it at its source is to kill the Nation States that are backing it. Nation states that really don't give a damn how many people they kill, even their own people, so long as they get to maintain power. And that means risking real nuclear war. So instead they spin tales about nefarious groups that can't really be targeted. And instead spy on all of us in a futile effort to stop all of the incoming terrorist attacks. Partly because they are infatuated with the technology and think it has all the answers if only they are clever enough.

Tom 13

Re: now all of a sudden it becomes an outrage?

Not difficult to figure out really. At least if you've been paying attention. Here are some hints:

DoJ files warrant under false pretense against James Rosen.

DoJ files warrant under false pretense against AP.

Up until that point nobody in the MSM gave a crap about Fast and Furious or the IRS scandal which conservative groups had been complaining about since 2010. But now the media had an axe to grind so they fired up the IRS scandal.

The IRS scandal broke the unspoken contract: we'll let you spy on us to catch the terrorists as long as you don't abuse it for partisan purposes. With that unspoken contract now broken, confidence that other unspoken contracts along similar lines would be unbroken is gone. Likely also gone is confidence that even explicit laws will remain unbroken.

Tom 13

Re: overwhelming majority of them accountable to no one.

Yes and no. The low power people are accountable to too many people and too many laws. It's the Robocop 2 scenario. There are so many contradictions that you have to break some law, policy, or guideline to get anything done. Most of them aren't even paranoid, although they do get offended if you think you have a better understanding of the problem than they do. But the corrosive effects of having to break small rules to get big things done makes it possible for the corrupt to really foul things up if they occupy leverage positions. And with that ground already have been prepared by liberal/progressive/communist groupthink, the little things that should set off alarms are easier to miss. Or if you do catch them, it might seem safer to ignore than raise a stink and have the focus of the corrupt regime come down on you.

Tom 13

Re: Corporations do nothing without a profit motive.

Sure they do. In fact one of Google's founders recently setup a corporation to help only the Democrats tap the Google Big Data motherload for campaign purposes. As any gun runner can tell you, there's always more profit to be made by arming both sides.

One of the fundamental problems the US had solved (perhaps in the sense of it was solved simply by happenstance rather than as a result of explicit decisions) is that people were free to make money without bowing to politics and politics couldn't redirect enough of the money flow to adversely affect the majority of the population. That stopped somewhere between 1912 and 1932. Now politics can be a major determinant in how much money you can make. That needs to be fixed before we are all safe again. Not sufficient to make us safe, but definitely necessary.

Tom 13

Re: inteligence communities consider themselves above the law.

Not above the law, outside the law. Generally speaking laws only exist within nation states. Relations between nation states tend to be resolved only by warfare. In short they exist in the Hobbesian environment.

Oh we paper over it from time to time with treaties. And we get up in arms and issue communiques and denounce our opponents. In rare circumstances you might even get a full fledged trade embargo.

But when push comes to shove, those laws are usually worth less than the paper upon which they were written. As Russia, Iran, Iraq, China, and other nations have proven again and again. In such an environment, it is inevitable that without assistance upholding higher ideals, even the nation leading the charge for those ideals will succumb to the Hobbesian environment and adopt its strategies.

Tom 13

Re: "layered on top of an existing governmental structure desperate to preserve it's own power "

As the descendents of Englishmen fighting to protect our rights as Englishmen it was only natural to draw upon those sources. Yet none of those other documents so clearly and cleverly distilled the essence of what those other documents hinted at. And at the time the document was signed it would still be years before England moved to fully embrace what we now call a Constitutional Monarchy.

This wasn't undone until Marx and the idea of the material dialectic which dictated everything that man did came to the intellectual fore that those ideas began to be undermined. It's taken a long time, but it is an ugly thing that work has wrought in the US. Every bit as ugly as it has wrought elsewhere in the world. Yet instead of recognizing it for what it was, and calling it out as such, you gave the current bastage a Nobel Peace prize because you wanted to stick it to the man. Just like Marx asked you to.

Tom 13

@Ye Gads

I wouldn't say the Declaration is either Lockean or Rousseaun. It is a careful blending of the two with a dash of Hobbes informing some concepts. I'd agree it is more strongly tilted toward Locke, probably 70/30. And there was certainly a great deal of concern about Rousseau and his concepts turning into the mob rule that it became during the French Revolution. But there were founders of almost every stripe with input into our founding documents.

The problem is that over time we've moved away from the concepts of Locke and toward the concepts of Marx under the guise of moving toward Rousseau. One of the things Trevor gets wrong is that this hasn't been going on for 30 years, it's been going on for 100 or more. It doesn't help the US any that Europe and even Canada started on the same path and moved down it even further and faster than the US did. It's only now that the poison is visibly affecting the US that everybody else is starting to worry about it.

Ex-CIA techie Edward Snowden: I am the NSA PRISM deepthroat

Tom 13

Re: not necessarily the current US government but by a future more sinister one

I actually have difficulty conceiving of a more sinister one than currently occupies the WH and the Senate, but then all you socialists told me I was suppose to like the Hope and Change he was bringing to the world.

I could conceivably support a PRISM like data mining operation target only at terrorists with protections for average people. It might or might not actually have those protections but since it is secret we can't know that. The problem is that I look at Benghazi, James Rosen, the AP wiretapping, Fast and Furious, and the IRS vs TEA Party scandal and find that I can't believe anything the people who ought to know the details of these things are saying. And I can't believe they will refuse to use that data mining for oppression of their political enemies as opposed to the terrorists trying to kill us. The whole thing with continuing to classify the Ft. Hood shooting as "workplace violence" instead of the obvious terrorist attack that it was doesn't help matters. Neither does the FBI shooting the associate of the Boston Bomber when they found him in Florida. For as much as I expect that after detention and questioning (and still 60/40 on whether the whole trial/military tribunal thing would have been necessary) I would have wanted him up against the wall for the firing squad, there is something terribly unseemly about the way that went down. Almost like they knew more and didn't want a chance on something else damaging leaking out. And I really don't like having to entertain those kinds of thoughts about my government.

Tom 13

Re: beginning to look much worse than Watergate.

It looked worse than Watergate as soon as Benghazi ended. The stories about James Rosen and the AP spying are just the spark that lit the fuse on the IRS scandal.

From where I'm sitting, it looks like all hell is about to break loose in our government. Not a pretty thought. When giants rumble, little people like me get trampled.

Tom 13

Re: And it's Hong-Kong btw.

Looks like Matt read the article and you skipped it.

Hiding out in Hong Kong while requesting diplomatic immunity from Iceland. So yes the alleged final destination is Iceland.

Tom 13

Re: smokescreen for building a huge monitoring network so the ruling corporations/financial

You really need to take off the tinfoil hat.

Google have already done that, and you've freely given them your information.

Tom 13

Re: breaking ranks is high up on that list.

So you think he did this entirely without permission, including international phone calls to the Guardian, and still managed to run off to Hong Kong?

Fat chance that. The deal was supposed to be that the NSA listened to everything except US phone calls. So I'd expect a conversation with the Guardian to be picked up by the NSA. And if it mentioned PRISM, I would expect that would have raised lots of red flags and been quickly escalated up the chain.

Somebody gave at least tacit approval. Possibly as payback for the Intelligence community being thrown under the bus for the murder of the American Ambassador in Benghazi.

Yeah, I'm engaging in dark thinking here. Probably a lot of that ahead.

CIA-funded upstart: THE TRUTH about Prism and NSA's web snooping

Tom 13

Name similarities not damning

PRISM as I recall was also the name of one of the regional cable companies before they all became Comcast. Granted I think I only ever saw the name when I saw in a hotel, but it's back there with the rest of the dust and cobwebs.

Nicked unencrypted PC with 6,000 bank details lands council fat fine

Tom 13

Re: Without brute force and millions

The Maginot line was unbreakable too. That's why the Germans went around it. I expect most foreign governments know this too.

On the brute force front, I give it about 30 years. Intel et al. will keep doubling processor power during that time. Security researchers will sniff around the edges finding a weakness here, and a soft spot there. None of them will break the algorithm outright, but taken in total the combination will break the encryption in less time than the theoretical calculations we make now.

What protects us is that as each weakness is found, a new fix for that weakness is found and we ill move to a new encryption algorithm. Security isn't the castle wall or the moat around the castle wall. It's building and manning them and adding new protections in an evolving environment.

Tom 13

Re: Private sector organisations aren't,

Maybe 10 years ago, not so much now. If you do business in California, you have an obligation to report if you've had an information breach and sensitive customer information may have been compromised.

The big difference is, in private business you can't just take it out of the taxpayer money pool to pay for it. Even if it isn't coming out of your personal paycheck, it is coming off the bottom line. And somebody important will notice that.

Tom 13

Re: To be fair

In fact, given that it sounds like none of the laptops were encrypted, I expect it was a problem with the installation, not that Jane Smithe couldn't login to her encrypted laptop and therefore got a verbal waiver for having the software installed.

Tom 13

Re: the upper echelons often seem bafflingly immune

While that is true to some extent, at least some of the people in the lower echelons are accountable. You don't even get that in government. These days, to the extent you do, it is because they've contracted the job to someone so the contractor can be disposable. I'd also note that all of the examples you site have significant interfaces with the government in one way or another. Even Ballmer who owes his fortune to government backed copyright monopoly combined with government enforced "terms and conditions" contracts.

I'd also say that even in the private companies I've worked in that are tightly associated with government (living inside the abysmal swamp makes it nearly impossible not to do so), while the higher ups who frell it up might not get the public treatment, they do seem to eventually disappear. Not necessarily in a manner traceable to the injury, but they disappear none the less.

Tom 13

Re: More importantly....I wonder how I find out if I am affected?

You can't because they don't even know what information may have been compromised.

So, if you've had any dealings with them, assume your information has been compromised and act accordingly.

Tom 13

Re: I don't think the encryption request was denied,

Article says pretty clearly it wasn't installed because it either didn't work or they couldn't figure out how to install it so it would work. While it is normally true that incompetence suffices and is preferable to malice, in this instance I think we need to deny them the incompetence option. They've become too competent at taking incompetence as the easy way out.

Crimeney! This sort of crap pisses me off and I'm not even a loyal subject of Her Majesty.

Tom 13

Re: Yet nobody will be fired..

Not so sure about assuming poor physical security at the office. The whole point of a laptop is the worker takes it home or into the field. I expect that's the point at which it was stolen. One case in my support history was a user who had the laptop stored in a bag so it wasn't clearly visible while the user stopped to visit an embassy. Car was broken into and the bag was stolen. At the time I think the user also thought his tax return forms were also stolen, which is pretty much your identity here in the US.

But on the encryption issue, yeah, there's a real problem there.

Tom 13


My thoughts exactly.

Perhaps if each member of the council had to personally pay the fine it might have an effect.

So, who ought to be the next Doctor Who? It's up to YOU...

Tom 13

Re: Shatner for Who

I actually like McCoy. Ace too. It was the scripts and production work that was crap they wouldn't have served in potato blighted Ireland. Just thinking about it reminds me of the gawd awful candyman episode where you couldn't hear the dialogue under the background music.

Google says it can predict movie box office with 94% accuracy

Tom 13

Re: can't really be measured only estimated,

My guess is that 80-90% of the time those estimates are accurate. That's enough for general use predictions on the bottom line. You'll get outliers, some of which I expect would be obvious if they had someone in the pre-screening room who actually enjoyed watching movies, but they typically won't adversely effect your bottom line.

I'd actually guess the more problematic part for the bottom line is timing your releases. If you put your #1 expected revenue maker up against an opponent's #1 money maker, you're probably both going to lose money. So you have to try to time it so your #1 is against their #2 or lower movie. Admittedly, this is a problem of their own making because if the movie isn't raking in money on week 1, distribution is gone by week 3.

Tom 13

Re: Feeding the G Monster...

Perhaps you should remind them the NSA is also mining that data.

Probably not looking for your relatives, but it gets their attention.

Tom 13

Re: Er....

Have to agree about the reasons my friends and I search for movies. I'd say 90% of the time we've already decided we want to see the movie, at a local cinema and whether it will be afternoon (90% because its cheaper) or evening (10% if we want to avoid the screaming kiddies or that's the only time slot in which it is showing). We're just checking to confirm 1) what time we need to be there, 2) tickets are still available. It's actually fairly rare that we have a leaner and want to check reviews or see trailers to decide if we are going to see it.

Tom 13

Re: What they report to the taxman is irrelevant.

What they report to the taxman is spot on or they go to jail. It's what they report to the actors and those behind the scenes that's frelled.

Publishers put a gun to our heads on ebook pricing, squeals Amazon

Tom 13

Re: Bah!

You see the evidence yet fail to draw the correct conclusions.

I'd have more sympathy for the poor publisher and author if I didn't see the e-book pricing on new fiction brushing the lower stratosphere while a hardback was the only option, and if I hadn't watched it so often change when the paperback version was published (for exactly the same product, remember).

Would you buy the hardback at the "super-stratospheric" price if the ebook were available at the same time for the price it eventually has when the paperback is published? Regardless of the answer for you personally, would enough of the market buy the hardback to make publishing the hardback profitable? I'll lay 70% odds the answer to the first question is no. I'd put a year's salary against the answer to the second question being yes.

Like it or not, the hard truth of the publishing industry is that except for a very few superstar authors (Rowley, King, Rice, maybe Michener) your make or break dollars come from the hardback editions. If the ebook kills the hardback, it also kills the publisher.

Tom 13

Re: The law.

You may only need preponderance of evidence, but you still need that proof. Simply asserting "everybody is charging the same price" does not meet even the lesser standard of preponderance of evidence.

Apple aren't settling for one simple reason: they don't want socialists in government setting the prices of their goods. If they settle, they'll never get to set the prices on their products again.

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