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When computers first started, vulnerabilities were not made public. Instead one alerted the maker of the vulnerability privately, so the bad guys would not find out about it.  But most often, those receiving the alert in secret, would be in no hurry to fix it.

Then vulnerabilities started to became public. As soon as one was found, it was posted and the makers were forced by public pressure to scramble and fix the flaw. So once a vulnerability was found, a temporary fix could be slapped together even if it meant taking the server off line.  Publishing made the Internet safer for us all.

The NSA does just the opposite.  Not only was it collecting data as it passed through its servers, but it has compromised a huge number of user’s computers and phones just like any hacker.  It has the potential to control almost any computer around the globe, according to the most recent release of data coming from Edward Snowden.

It has the unique ability to do so by its strategic location in the middle of the data stream. Many of the “401 File not found”s you have received from what you thought were up-and-running sites,  innocuously came from the NSA according to Snowden’s released data.  Once connected, the NSA then installs it’s own data directing all your flow to its secret servers, first before it gets passed on to where you were intending.

The ease with which your servers are compromised comes from NSA’s collusion it has with Verizon, Comcast, and the other servers who have access to the internal workings of your machine.  This, coupled with back doors manufactured expressly for the NSA, makes any computer susceptible to infiltration.

There is no way your IT guys can block them, because it is so secret.

And that is the problem.  Edwards Snowden left the NSA with tremendous amounts of information, and fortunately decided to make it public.  Computer surveillance has been in effect 10 years now.  One must wonder, how many service technicians working with the NSA, have left with that information, and who have not gone public, but chose to sell it to those to whom such information is important?

What if the Chinese already have all the codes the NSA uses to get into any American’s computer?  (All we have is the NSA’s words that they don’t.  But the NSA has rarely told the truth.)

In other words… because all these NSA codes and methods are top secret, any bad agent possessing that powerful secret, can wreak havoc far longer than he could if the IT community were able to pounce and scramble out a fix right away….

We are now at the point, where cyber infiltration is a far more serious threat to the USA than ragged desert terrorists jumping through hoops of fire in training videos.

The NSA needs to recognize this and turn to the IT community and publish their back doors and vulnerabilities.

It would make everyday spying on Americans much harder, but would protect our system of electronics against a devastating attack.

In layman’s terms, it is much easier to get away with murdering someone in a mountain cabin far from other people, than it is to do so in the middle of a police station…  If everyone is a cop, we are much safer than if we have something we think is a secret, but is turns out it is not.

Balanced against spying on American citizens, i think sealing up the NSA caused vulnerabilities to our system, is a no-brainer.

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Snow Den in Winter
Courtesy of the Nature Files

So says the following:

FISA Court:  ordered the government to review for declassification a set of secret rulings about the National Security Agency’s bulk trawls of Americans’ phone records.,” acknowledging that disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden had triggered an important public debate.”

The Fisa court ordered the Justice Department to identify the court’s own rulings after May 2011 that concern a section of the Patriot Act used by the NSA to justify its mass database of American phone data. The ruling was a significant step towards their publication.

It is the second time in a week that a US court has ordered the disclosure of secret intelligence rulings. 

James Clapper:  the director of national intelligence, on Thursday conceded that the NSA is likely to lose at least some of its broad powers to collect data on Americans.

 “As loath as I am to give any credit to what’s happened here, I think it’s clear that some of the conversations this has generated, some of the debate, actually needed to happen.”

In other words, according to the secret FISA court itself, and James Clapper himself, what Snowden did was for this nation’s good and well being.

YOU CAN’T CRIMINALIZE SOMEONE WHO DOES SOMETHING FOR HIS NATION’S WELL BEING.,,,,

Drop the Charges, Now.

There are times when the “rules” are wrong or are put in place to protect “wrong” being done by “wrong” people.  Those times, breaking the “wrong” rules and following a higher moral code, is the right thing to do.

But when a court, and the head of Intelligence both say what you did was good, and was needed, it is impossible for you to prosecute him and not still be… “wrong”….

 

it is probably time to discuss this.

For years we have quietly known and accepted the negatives of having an NSA. Things like we need it for our protection, or it makes things safer, tended to overide our fears that they know too much already, and I can’t do anything in private anymore…

We accepted that as progress.

However, when you have an organization so secret, that members of Congress are shocked to find out what it is doing, that no one knows who is authorizing who gets spied upon and what, that when brought before the courts for overstepping the Constitution, it can’t be prosecuted because a) it operates under “secret” laws, b) with “secret operations”, c) authorized by “secret courts” …. it is time to shut the entire operation down.

Why do we have the NSA when we have the CIA and the FBI. The FBI covers domestic spying. The CIA covers international spying. So, unless we find out that there are aliens and the NSA is really running the world while we think otherwise, then it probably ought to go.

I find it interesting that those on the far right, and those on the far left are the most outraged by this disclosure. We’ve been stating that news on this blog after the story was broken back in 2007-8 and not one press person cared. I supposed the AP Story opened their eyes this time. Struggling to put a finger on why, I came up with the theory primarily by looking at Congress, that it is the libertarians on left and right who are against, and the conformist, primarily in the center who are acceptive. So this gives us a split where the bottom third and the top third of the political body are opposed to the middle third… If you look at Congress that is exactly how it splits up. Moderates are pro domestic spying, the libertarians are not.

Probably similar is the theory that those beholden to corporate interests are pro-spying, after all, that is normal in the corporate environment; interoffice spying is not limited by any judicial system because it is deemed to be private. Those aghast, tend to fight corporate intrusion from their original political perspective, either left of right.

What the NSA does, watch everything to discern what is happening to increase its chances of survival, is not new. Intelligence has been the secret success of many an empire. Knowing what someone will do before they do it, is pretty comfortable in a world where in a day, we probably pass within 10 feet of 10,000 people (that includes inside our vehicles).

That is what all governments with the capacity, do. The biggest argument against it, is that it is un-American. Sure we have the “ability” to do it, but do we have the restraint, not to…

America has always been ruled by restraint. When Washington was entreated to be the King, he restrained and said no. When the heads of Europe all bet that Washington would invent a method to stay in power, he restrained, and government turned over peacefully. When the US was left in charge of a broken Europe, it put it back together and went home. The only country to invade another and give it back willingly to its original owners.

We had a scare in Boston a while back. Did the NSA protect us then? It’s a secret, no one knows. In Newtown 26 bodies littered the floor of an elementary school. Did the NSA protect us then? When a gunman burst into Aurora firing into the audience, did the NSA protect us then? When Gabby Gifford took a bullet, where was the NSA? Did the NSA protect us then?

That is the point. We are always in danger. But our personal lives are more at risk if our private information should fall into a competitors hands, than being victim of a terrorist. In Boston just 2 people died. In Newton 26. But each and every one of us, is at risk that selective information from ones past, can be used in secret to smear each and every one of us, should it fall into the wrong hands.

What would happen if we shut the entire agency known as the NSA down? A big nothing. They overstepped. It is not knee-jerking anger to respond “Shut them down right now!” It it calm, cool reasoning tipping the balance, that points out simply that is the right way to go.

Public or Private?  Gee, No One Knows!

Today inside the Senate a vote was taken on Bob Marshall’s bill that requires the General Assembly’s approval if the Port of Wilmington gets sold to Kinder-Morgan. The deal has caused considerably concern because it has been shrouded in secrecy. No one knows of any of its details. Someone may make billions off of this, so it is important that people look over the arrangement to see who or who isn’t hurt by this major public to private transfer…..

ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO STATE GOVERNMENT AND THE DIAMOND STATE PORT CORPORATION.
Synopsis: This act would require the Diamond State Port Corporation to obtain the approval of a majority of both Houses of the General Assembly and the Governor, through the passage of legislation, before entering into any agreement or transaction whereby the Corporation would transfer, sell, privatize, or lease all or substantially all of the Port of Wilmington to a single entity, or to a related group of entities.

Here are the cosponsors of the Bill.

Sens. Henry McDowell, Blevins, Townsend, & Reps. Keeley, Mulrooney , Brady, J.Johnson, Osienski

The bill passed with 11 votes yea and 9 votes nay, and one vote not cast. It was released out of committee on the same day with 2 favorables, 3 on the merits, and 1 unfavorable…

Unfortunately it was not an unanimous vote…

I’m really sick today.. You see, when I was growing up, I was a history buff. I read childhood biographies of famous people, usually with the book behind the textbook while the teachers droned on and on, but once as a tyke, who upon seeing the obligatory National Park Film in the Williamsburg Visitors Center, after Patrick Henry sat down, I swore, I would always fight to protect the Constitution…. At that moment, even little as I was, I think I understood that I was temporary… But the Constitution like God, needed to be around forever…

With childish enthusiasm I imagined myself at times on the bridges of Lexington and Concord, roaming the swamps of South Carolina, and firing my muskets at King’s Mountain, and most importantly, crossing that line in the dirt on December 31, 1776 when no one else wanted to, to enlist till the end of the war.. . When it made the real difference, I said, I would step up at my own peril..

Today, I feel as George Washington must have, perched upon his horse on the New Jersey banks of the Hudson, watching the British inhabit New York and knowing there was nothing he or anyone else could do about it… Overmatched, the cause of freedom had taken a body slam.

Perhaps it is more like going back 2000 some years though. And being full of great optimism and hope for a burgeoning empire, a group of city states destined to prosper and rise, one whose morals would be impeccable, and suddenly without warning, ones best friend pulls out a knife and shoves it into your flesh and others pull out theirs, opening wounds where they can.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution states that …. oh damn, here it is in it’s entirety.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Granted there have been times, particularly at war, when protecting Americans meant going against the grain of this… If someone is about to shoot you, I mean, it certainly would help if you know about it first…..

The problem with too much accumulation of information, is that once you have it, it can be used. Assurances along the lines of “I’ll never do that”… always down the line get replace with platitudes of…. ” I did it because I could…” or… ” I needed to.”

So having every thing you’ve ever done electronically in a file instantly accessed by simply typing in your name, can be a bit disconcerting… It’s a catch 22. If you have not a single demerit because you lead such a bland life, you get castigated for being a wallflower and uninteresting. On the other hand, if you take risks to live life fully, you get castigated for the errors you made… Either way, those with the power will use it to castigate you for something…. And though disguised as their trying to put you in your place, it is really their effective attempt to prove to others they wield power…

Today’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to continue the FISA Admendments Act. Like ACTA or CISPA or any other internet freedom restricting acts, had opposition been organized, it may have demanded another outcome. But today’s bill arose out of nowhere, and leadership demanded it pass, and pass it did….

Numb today, I understand the implications. It is like we chose to keep Japanese interned in concentration camps after the war was over. It is that bad.. If we are doing it for the Japanese, eventually someone argues, why not anyone else? And really, how else can one answer such an argument except to expand the offense to a greater scale?

I didn’t find about the attempted coup until waking up 3 am today. I did see outrage that Zuckerman’s picture was Twittered off a private feed! The silence over government taking our freedom, and the outrage over the release of privacy, is a stunning comparison. It begs the question: what is wrong with all of us? Shouldn’t the outrage be the other way around?

For the first time that I can find, we as a nation, have chosen to continue a war-powers act, on into peace-time. 9/11 is gone. Bin Laden is dead. We’ve preditor’d out Al Qaieda’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, in command. We are out of Iraq. We will soon be out of Afghanistan. We are not in a war for our nation’s survival. So why does the government need access into every American’s email, facebook account, twitter, photo’s? Why does the FBI need to show up at your facebook friends home, with a letter stating that you are under surveillance and then asking questions of their relationship with you, then forcing their silence by telling them that they can be prosecuted themselves if they even reveal to you that they’d had contact with government officials? Gee, did you ever had a friend get weird on you suddenly, like for no reason?

Should our government be allowed to do that?

According to the text of the Fourth Amendment listed above…. Absolutely Not.

And it was over before the child in me could even get his powder cartridge out of his gunnysack…

So just putz, putz, putzing around the internet, all snug in the Holiday spirit, off a click of a click, I saw a heading saying something like “Wire tap bill moves to Friday’s vote…”

Wiretap Bill? Gosh, that is so far in back of my head, I really haven’t thought of wiretaps since… Cheney left?
Of course I’ve heard Obama hasn’t done much to mitigate, in fact he has made it worse, but wasn’t that set in stone back in 2008 or something?

No. The 2008 Bill expires 12/31/2012…. After that point, Comcast, Verizon, Facebook or any other telecommunication network, can no longer turn your information over to the government without a warrant…..

But wait. There is an attempt to sneak it through now, while no one is paying attention. Extending it for 5 years… Meaning is will expire after Obama has left office.

The bill was to come up today, voice vote and pass. However watchdogs (EFF, ACLU, Judical Watch, etc) caught it and scurried to get enough people to cause it to be debated. Tomorrow, our rights are on the line. It needs a lot of calls and every citizen who has any libertarian steak inside, needs to get really excited and call their Senators.. (The House version passed a long time ago on a perfunctory voice vote with no debate.)

It must be stopped in the Senate. If the vote to extend it fails. then by January 1, 2013. It is done.

This bill was enacted over the objections of Congress by executive order of George W. Bush. It was to expire in 2008 when it passed confirmation and became law for 4 more years.

9/11 is done. We have left Iraq. We are leaving Afghanistan. We do not need the government going through our private matters unless of course it has reason to… That will be decided by a judge… He will issue a warrant.

As an example of why we need this, the Obama administration has taken a position that makes the Bush administration pro-secrecy campaign seem pale in comparison: namely, that no one can challenge warrantless surveillance unless the government tells you in advance that you’re being surveilled—which national security interests prevent it from doing…

Which means, unless this law expires. it can’t be challenged.

Your voice is needed. The EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation is the easiest way to reach Carper and Coons. Type in your zip code and a form pops up which sends your message directly to their Senate office. Or the old fashioned way……

Sen. Tom Carper
Phone:(202) 224-2441
Fax:(202) 228-2190

Sen. Chris Coons
Phone:(202) 224-5042
Fax:(202) 228-3075

Debate begins at 11 am Eastern…. Vote is later this day….

This is going to my hard core Republican friends. Why are you still supporting Romney?

1) You know he is not going to win.
2) You know as the election heats up, his Bain Capital experience will make Republicans untouchable for decades.
3) You can’t pin down where Romney stands on anything.
4) He tied his dog to a car.
5) He stands with black people and says “Who let the dogs out, woof, woof.”

Most of you are telling me, “I certainly can’t vote for Obama. I guess I’m not voting for President this time.”

Let’s say, just for argument sakes there was a presidential candidate out there who says to have good government you need: …………………

1. Become reality driven. Don’t kid yourself or others.
Find out what’s what and base your decisions and actions
on that.

2. Always be honest and tell the truth. It’s extremely
difficult to do any damage to anybody when you are
willing to tell the truth–regardless of the
consequences.

3. Always do what’s right and fair. Remember, the more
you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become.
You’ve got to learn to ignore your critics. You’ve got to
continue to do what you think is right. You’ve got to
maintain your integrity.

4. Determine your goal, develop a plan to reach that
goal, and then act. Don’t procrastinate.

5. Make sure everybody who ought to know what you’re
doing knows what you’re doing. Communicate.

6. Don’t hesitate to deliver bad news. There is always
time to salvage things. There is always time to fix
things. Henry Kissinger said that anything that can be
revealed eventually should be revealed immediately.

7. Last, be willing to do whatever it takes to get your
job done. If you’ve got a job that you don’t love enough
to do what it takes to get your job done, then quit and
get one that you do love, and then make a difference.

Honesty. Integrity. Principal.

Sounds good so far. Let us say just for argument, he had chief executive experience. Let us say just or argument that he once ran a state, one of the fifty in this union. Let us say while governor, this is what he did…..

During his tenure, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax-increase in the state’s entire history.

1) He cut the rate of government growth in half,

2) Left the New Mexico state government with a budget surplus and 1000 fewer employees (without firing anyone),

3) Privatized half of the prisons in the state,

4) Brought a state-wide school voucher system to New Mexico.

5) Vetoed 750 bills (more than all the vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at that time, combined) with only 2 overrides, earning him the nickname Gary “Veto” Johnson.

6) In 1999, Johnson became the highest-ranking elected official in the United States to advocate the legalization of drugs.

7) Shifted Medicaid to managed care.

ISN’T THAT WHAT YOU WANT? ISN’T THAT WHAT WE NEED?

Can you not think of a better way to show your lack of enthusiasm over a wealthy capitalist buying his way to the top of your ticket, by voting for someone who has character, who does what you’ve always wanted, a doer, not a talker?

And to think…. you were simply just going to throw your vote away.

His name is Gary Johnson. He is the new party’s candidate for President.

Remember Republicans. It is your values that are important. If your party has given up and moved on from your values, don’t think you have to be loyal to the word…. “Republican”… What you have to be loyal too, is yourself. Always. Never lie to yourself.

You don’t need to waste your vote on Romney. You probably need to find more about this guy, Gary Johnson, and then throw your support behind him.

Don’t worry it is not one of the two parties on whose ticket he is running. Remember, at one point in time, the Republican Party was a once a third party too. One that went mainstream because of its core values, its principles resonated with everyday American People.

Chris Dodd…

I used to admire him. I used to defend him… When Republicans lashed out at his Wall Street reform bill, I was right there, finger on the trigger, mowing them down……

But, the dude has since had a stroke and has sold out… In fact, quite a few Democrats have sold out…

In case you did not hear, Chris Dodd, who incidentally is now head of the most corrupt institution in America, the MPAA (Movie Pictures Association of America)…. went on Fox News…
(Fox News? ) to blast his fellow Democrats…….

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,”

(Dude, Fox News just owned you; do you not know how often Republicans will play that very indicting clip IN EVERY DISTRICT this upcoming election cycle?)

Couple that with the threat made on Wednesday , that if Obama did not throw his full support behind the existing SOPA or PIPA bills currently up for vote, then Hollywood was withholding all their donations this time around…….. we begin to see the big picture…..

Washington is just stupid.

Allow me to qualify that…

Since the “boiling over” of frustration from August’s flub of a standard debt ceiling passage, the overload that gave the Occupy Movement immense credibility and resonance when it began it’s long drawn-out protest, normal everyday Americans are waking up to the notion that their government is totally corrupt, completely bought out, and not one damn bit interested in what they are experiencing or have to say……..

Then, on a day when their most trusted sources of knowledge (Internet) go black, Chris Dodd makes a blundering threat that confirms and amplifies EXACTLY about what Americans are concerned….

Their politicians are bought, sold, and paid for…….

SOPA And PIPA are symbols of a greater evil: The horrific evil that BIG BUSINESS is taking over the world… (That is an exaggeration, but then again, symbols always are) …

If Dodd truly, as he expressed in the NY Times Opinion Piece, wanted to turn things around and come to a more reasonable result, the approach he took is exactly how NOT to do it.

When people are concerned that the laws hurting them, are passed out of intimidation over campaign funding, to threaten politicians publicly with intimidation, is exactly how NOT to go……

So….

If Washington is broken, how do we fight back?

By boycotting Hollywood…. (Forget the distraction of the puppets; aim the snout of your rifle upwards at the hidden puppeteer.)

How is that possible?

Do not pay for movies.
Do not pay for television.
Do not pay for anything but independent artists.

Independent artists…btw, are really cool…..


Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

Reading through much, and reading what others have read, I can say I’ve seen nothing much to be concerned.

People are people, and always will be. If someone acts pompously, expect to get called out on it. Learn from it and move on.

What is funny, is that I’m sure they have opinions of individuals within our state department, that are far more condescending of us, than anything so far leaked about them.

There is a lot to read, but so far, nothing drastic has hit the fan. It makes little difference whether they were published, or kept in secret forever.

Just like a marriage, when secrets come out, it’s a good thing. Things unsaid and therefore never acted upon, can now be fixed.

Were these leaks about hardware, that would be different entirely. They are only about people, and opinions people have about other people. And as everyone who reads this knows, opinions are worth a bag of crap.

Still reading.. Will let you know if something changes. But right now, it’s as if all the hoopla lead up to the release of The Lord of the Rings, only to get The Last Airbender.

Like having bad farts locked up in the bathroom, it’s about time we opened the door and cleared the air.