Lamestream NSA Coverup?

Sometimes the Lamestream Media seem overly complicit with political leadership. It’s not their job, so they should really stop it! The power, money, fame, just aren’t worth it. Hey, are you still reading?

Lately there have been lame analyses of the situation with the NSA in the wake of the Snowden disclosures. Fussing about the FISA court, to be particular.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that the NSA, by their own admission blatantly ignores the direction of the FISA court. The NSA is rampantly out-of-control, operating in a no-man’s land of their own creation that is lawless and without bounds (other than funding, of course, which doesn’t seem to be much of a limitation at present).

So it is that you don’t have to stay too far on top of this story for it to be obvious that the Lamestream is either totally incompetent or complicit. Which is it? What are we to believe under the circumstances.

In today’s New York Times blog Public Editor’s Journal, in a piece entitled “Guardian Story on Israel and N.S.A. Is Not ‘Surprising’ Enough to Cover“, Margaret Sullivan mentions that it was “good to see The Times getting more fully involved” [in the stories related to the Snowden NSA disclosures]. See also Decision to Publish Against Government Request Was ‘Not a Particularly Anguished One’.

In today’s piece, Sullivan relates how she exchanged email with Managing Editor, Dean Baquet asking why the times wasn’t covering the story about NSA’s connection with Israel. Baquet responded, she says, “I didn’t think it was a significant or surprising story”, and “I think the more energy we put into chasing the small ones, the less time we have to break our own. Not to mention cover the turmoil in Syria.”

Ms. Sullivan then asked her editor “… was this essentially a question of reporting resources?” to which Baquet responded “I’d say resources and news judgment”.

That news judgment practically puts Baquet in bed with the NSA, particularly considering the interest of Times readership in matters involving Israel.

But I digress by citing an example. The point here is that the NSA has, by its’ own admission, and as documented by itself in the Snowden disclosures, made clear that they seem themselves as above the law. They have no intention of abiding by the dictates of the FISA court, the Congress, Senate, or White House. In addition, the NSA clearly has gone to some length to spread disinformation about what they’re doing, as well as the scope of what they do.

With so much disinformation and false information swirling around, it would seem prudent to stick to what’s in the NSA’s own documentation, disclosed by Snowden. We can safely assume that, as with any large organization, those documents have been watered down and sanitized, and the truth is probably far worse than even the leaked documents suggest.

NSA Snoops Verizon? That’s All? Not.

Huh? The “news” that the NSA is collecting domestic call data from Verizon is disturbing? How retarded has the press become?


Play Audio
Play http://daypage.net/ar/DayPage~2013-06-07~24hrs_into_Snowden_Revelations.mp3

So, what kind of psyop is this? This feigned outrage about this one small incident among the literally tens and hundreds of thousands of other incidents of the government overreaching in its illegal surveillance of innocent citizens. It would appear that it’s an effort to downplay the extent of illegal surveillance to the remaining few ( less than 5% according to recent polls) who have blind faith in government.

Will the whole thing implode? It just might. There does seem to be a bi-partisan stirring over overall discontent with the ever growing degree of illicit domestic surveillance. But that’s not surprising. What’s surprising is just how far this whole thing has gotten.

Don’t forget, dear reader, these are YOUR dollars that are being spent to spy on you. As long as you’re OK with spending that money on having the government spy on you, they’ll continue to spend it.

Perhaps I’m missing something. Are you so taken with your reflection in the mirror, the primping and posturing and posting on Facebook, that you are flattered by being spied on? If so… how sad.

 

Romney, Intentionally or Not, Personifies Racisim in America Today

I’m thoroughly disgusted with the Presidential race. But what disgusts me more is the closet racism evident with so many Americans even today. John Sununu’s recent racial gaffe [he's the manager of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign] is just the most recent tip of the iceberg to appear in the media in this regard. Romney’s campaign has, in the words of Sununu’s CNN interviewer Piers Morgan, been awash with “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” racist referents.

The race to “get that Black man out of the White house” seems to have been triggered, or more appropriately “excused” by the dynamics of the first debate.

What no doubt appalls Morgan and other Brits as much as it appalls me is how the racism issue has been, pun intended, the elephant-in-the-room during this equally appalling campaign season. The dance around this issue has, otherwise, been fully embraced by American news media. And that too is disgusting. Even CNN’s Don Lemon, who attempted to address the issue delicately yesterday, tread far too lightly on the despicable issue. Today’s edition of “Meet the Press” was eerily haunted by the shadows of the past, and it was not trick-or-treat.

All those in denial that race is an issue should watch the clip below from “Meet the Press” in which Dr. Martin Luther King appears before a panel of mostly unabashed racists from the 1950’s (the era from which Mr. Romney obviously harkens). In this clip, the white interrogators are largely unabashed in their concern about this uppity black man who would allow white and black children to attend school together. And what about that ghastly prospect of interracial marriage?

Note there was nary a black face to be seen at the Republican National Convention at which Romney was nominated this fall. An elegy to separatism?

Yes, I’m trying to shame closet racists here, and I’m also being blunt, and refusing to finesse the issue. Racism is racism, and should be completely unacceptable today, whether it’s at your local shop, and, especially, if it’s inside your presidential candidate and/or his minions. Most of all, the ghastly taint of racism should not be perpetuated by voting for such a person for President.

All those aiding and abetting the wink-winking and nod-nodding on this issue are equally culpable. Shame on you all.

 

The World Turns Despite the Oromnabomney

The lack of posts here is an indication that I am seeing the presidential race as ho-hum, same old same old. It’s all rather pathetic at this point, really. Things are much more interesting in the UK as it turns out.

What’s more interesting in politics can’t be seen on American media. Ed Miliband has emerged as a veritable skyrocket, emerging as the Labour Party’s challenge to David Cameron’s conservative party.

As in American politics, Miliband meets the specifications for a successful politician: He has hair, teeth, and is youngish and, on the surface, likeable and engaging. He has a wife, and children. He is agile, and able to change direction as the winds dictate.

It’s interesting to ponder how the challenger Miliband compares to the American challenger Romney (one head of the two-headed Oromnabomney, which will be debating itself later today in Denver, Colorado). Romney’s speech is primarily condemnation of President Obama. Miliband rarely mentions the name of his rival Cameron. Romney has few, if any, details about his plans and proposals, while those details he does disclose rarely seem to check out. Miliband spouts details of his proposals and plans in a river that threatens to overwhelm at times. Miliband and Romney don’t have much in common in their world views either.

That’s what was going on during and after the Denver Debate last week, which coincided with the Labour Conference in Manchester.

Now let’s take a look at the Conservative Conference which is taking place in Birmingham today. I’m watching Ian Duncan lecturing his crowd. Mr. Duncan does not have hair, although he does have teeth. There is some question about Mr. Romney in this regard, though, as he was asked about his hair on “Morning Joe” and replied that he had “glued it down [very well] that morning, and there is no way it’s going to come off”.

What does the O’romney head of the Oromnabomney have in common with Ian Duncan? Well, it’s frightening, really. Mr. Romney, like Mr. Duncan, seems by his speech to be living in the 1950’s rather than the 2010’s. Things have changed a bit since them. The most popular television shows are no longer “Leave it To Beaver” and “Lassie Come Home”.

Yes, the race that’s starting to shape up in the UK is possibly more interesting than the race here in the US. Despite all the bluster and BS, very little can be expected to change regardless of which head of the Oromnabomney gets elected.

The Hair Factor

Now that we’ve disposed of that boring, serious stuff, what about Romney’s hair? Since hair, teeth, and enough maleness to make the occasional female think, however fleetingly, “I’d like to have his baby” seems to be a requirement to be a presidential candidate, let’s take a close look at Romney’s  qualification in this regard.

Following multiple glitter-bombings [removed from YouTube due to claims of "copyright infringement"] from gay rights activists in Minnesota back on February 1st, Mitt Romney was swiftly dusted off by his entourage onstage. His son Josh managed to brush away most of the sparkles on Mitt’s shoulders, but as you can see in this video, he balked when it came to touching Mitt’s head — and perhaps with good reason. “I’ve got glitter in my hair, but that’s not all that’s in my hair,” Mitt joked. “I glue it on every morning, whether it needs it or not.” See: Glitter Bomber: Romney Uses ‘Hate’ to Gain Support

Mitt made a similar remark on the “Morning Joe” program about a month ago. It’s interesting to note that the media have not jumped on this, when it’s of critical importance to a small minority of female voters. It raises an important question: do we want a President who gets up every morning, and glues on his hair?

 

 

 

Class Action Abuse

I received another one of those Class Action Lawsuit notifications. After filing a number of them, and not getting what was promised, and then noticing the trend from being promised cash awards to being promised a pen with advertising on it, or a coupon for $2 at McDonalds, my view of such lawsuits started to change.

At first, the idea seemed good. Lawyers championing the little guy, and filing suits against companies (some big, but increasingly small and unable to fight back) that no individual would ever take on in court. But as time went on, it seemed the suits that were being filed were becoming more and more trivial. And since the lawyers were taking all the booty, and not distributing it as promised, I was rapidly coming to the view that it was abuse of the legal system.

I did what you’ve probably done. I started treating the class action notices as spam, or junk mail, simply throwing them out. Of course, when you do that, you automatically become part of the class (“you need do nothing to participate”). The lawyers get the money for being parasites of the system. But what can you do?

This time I got annoyed, and took some action of my own. I encourage you to do the same when you find yourself in the same position.

The lawsuit was with a company that I’d done business with in the past, of course, but I thought it was a good business. The infraction that was alleged was that they had sent out text messages that were spam to their customers. I remembered receiving the messages and being briefly annoyed at the time. I called them and asked them to stop, and they did. On a scale of one to ten, the annoyance factor of the spam messages was a one.

It seemed clear to me that this was a case of Class Action Abuse. Here’s what I did:

  • I signed the line that excluded me from the class
  • I dated it
  • I put it in the postage paid envelope that was included
  • I put the envelope in the mail

No money for the lawyers from me. I almost felt good supporting the (otherwise decent) business that had spammed me.

Class Action Abuse lowers the quality of our lives by denigrating the legal system, which has already lost my respect due to corruption and cronyism, just for starters. It further reduces the quality of life by making the environment for private business more hostile. The role of the plaintiff lawyers is parasitic, and worse, they have manipulated the system to support their actions by default.

The next time you see Class Action Abuse in your mailbox, stamp it out by opting out of the action. All it takes is your signature in the right spot, the date, and stuffing the bad boy in its’ envelope and sending it on its’ way. By doing so, you’ll have taken a tiny step toward making our sadly broken system just a teensy bit better. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back, and give yourself a three minute break as a reward!

Romneycare Upheld by Supremes; Romney Livid

“Romneycare”, also sometimes called “Obamacare” except NPR (National Public Radio) who call it “National Healthcare Law”, has been upheld by the Supremes. Not the Motown band, but the Supreme Court. Presidential candied-date Romney, who inspired the law, spoke from a balcony in Washington D.C. with the capitol as a backdrop, disclaiming and divorcing himself from his creation whilst drooling bile. He insisted “The only way to get rid of [Romneycare] is to vote for me, Mitt Romney, for president”. This implied that he would somehow single-handedly overturn the Supreme Court, leaving him to personally kill his child. I’ve come to call the legislation “O’RomnaBomneyCare” to celebrate the delicious ironies that are presented.

The entire picture was surreal, but the fallout from the Supreme’s decision is worth noting. Everyone will be able to get health insurance, regardless of “pre-existing conditions”, and regardless of their income. The quality of that insurance is certain to be unequal across the classes, which should please Republicans who are otherwise put out. The cost of health insurance should come down, but probably won’t, leaving plenty of room for more legal wrangling and lobbying with consequent coke-and-callgirl parties to blow off steam and stress in Washington. Children will continue to be able to benefit from parent’s health insurance, leaving no doubt that the average 26 year-old is about as mature as an 18 year-old was 30 years ago. Insurance companies will profit even more than before, as every citizen (and illegal immigrant) will become a customer under the force of law. And that’s just for starters. For more unbiased reporting on this development, and the current state of affairs in general, I suggest “This Modern World” by Tom Tomorrow.

Dark Cloud: Big Brother is Watching Your DropBox

I’ve been working with my iPad and iTouch (an iPhone without the 3Gphone). The apps make frequent use of “The Cloud” for data sharing, export, and backup. Very convenient.

The problem is, the Cloud is like Facebook. While Facebook provides the FBI (and other government spook agencies) convenient access to alphabetized lists of your friends and acquaintances, along with phone number, email addresses, scheduling/calendar info, and more, the Cloud provides easy access to all personal data stored there. Easy access not just for you, but for others like criminals, banks, insurance agencies, and most incredibility (not)  – the Federal Government.

If I were the author of one of those free apps that store data in the cloud, I’d be tempted to take generous payments from the government to provide full access to the data. Wouldn’t you? Of course it’s hush-hush, but it’s all on the up-and-up. After all, it’s the Government, isn’t it? Aren’t they the ones who decide what’s right and wrong? What could possibly be wrong about taking money from the Government?

The Buying Out of American Business

The US Government learned a valuable lesson in the Savings and Loan banking crisis of the 1980’s. When it bailed out the banks, it essentially nationalized them, turning them into stoolies for the government, reporting every transaction over $8,000 and even much smaller transactions that, for any reason, might seem “suspicious”. You don’t suppose that’s been used against anyone in a personal vendetta by a government employee or elected official, do you?

Why stop with the banks? After all, most marketing-savvy businesses are avid collectors of information about their customers and even just hapless prospects. Why not just buy it from them and support big business instead of big government? It almost sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

“Eyeball Networks” – the ISPs that service Internet consumers – are all picking up on this trend. They’re the ones in the best position to hand off records of all your Internet activities. Comcast charges $800/month to the Feds for each customer the government wants to snoop on. That’s way more money than they make for selling and servicing cable television to consumers, and with TIA (the Total Information Awareness program) is happy to pay with taxpayer dollars.

We learned recently another large ISP is earning millions selling the government the bits of data generated each time a computer looks up a hostname (e.g. www.google.com) on the Internet This includes identifying data such as your IP address.

Why stop there? Feds can simply buy your credit records. And, they can get your cloud data from Apple, Microsoft, DropBox, backup services like Mozy and Carbonite. It’s easy. It’s good for the economies of businesses taking the payoffs. It’s easy for the government.

How are YOU feeling about it? What is your threshold for this kind of abuse?

And Now the News Not

This week has brought us several non-news stories.

The Underware Bomber: Sure to briefly rouse you from your stupor with the keyword “underware”, the headline for this story should be: “U.S. Agent does what US Government tells him to do”. Not terribly exciting, but sure to instill more fear of Government Terrorism to be perpetrated on the citizens of the U.S.

Another story all over the mainstream media that is “so last year” — the Google Car in Nevada. I added my two cents to this story July 11th of last year. Why the sudden interest in this dog of a story?

 

Paper Shredding: Do’s and Don’ts

Just a reminder that the courts have OK’ed “Dumpster Diving” for Law Enforcement, so that beggarly looking individual going through your garbage could easily be a policeman, detective, FBI agent, or whatever…

When it comes to shredding paper with your name and address or other sensitive information on it, follow these important DO’s:

  • DO avoid stirring up the shreds. This makes it more difficult for Federal agencies to piece them back together.
  • DO take your shreds to your local police station for “recycling” — this will help ensure your shreds are taken directly to the Phillipines with minimum disturbance so they can be more easily pieced together.
  • DO shred only important or “incriminating” information – like bank statements, cash receipts, or voter registration notices: shredding blank paper or packaging materials increases the amount of work required to snoop your shreds.
  • DO bag shreds separately, and keep shreds from each shredding session together. Shred snoops don’t like to handle garbage. Help keep our taxes low by reducing the cost to our government of piecing together your shreds!

Now that we’ve had some sadly ironic fun…

In the particular state I’m in now, folks try to do what’s good for the environment. They try to do what’s right too, but that’s were things often go wrong. After all, some of the greatest damage is done by people trying to “do good”. In this state, there are regular media campaigns encouraging citizens to “bring in their shredded paper” to, of all places, police stations, to have it recycled. It seems no one has questioned this “service” being offered by the police.

Why not recycle it like other recyclables? In the greater metro area, recycling is universally available. In one place we checked out, recyclables are placed in blue bags to separate them from non-recyclable trash. Some communities support “single stream” recycling, where all recyclables are placed in a single recycling container, and the recyclables are separated at the recycling center.

Given this wide availability of recycling, why would one bring their shredded documents, that contained shredded personal information, to the police? I’m sorry, but in a land where the NSA records all phone calls and Internet activity, and then stores it forever, this brings up images of Filipinos who once worked for the FBI and CIA going through the shredded material and meticulously bringing it back to its original state for snooping purposes.

I’d like to find a better explanation, but I can’t think of one.

Malicious Blog Comment Spam

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of effort that is put into spamming, when the results are so statistically low. Every day we get hundreds of poorly crafted comments to this blog posted by bots in the hopes of having a web link appear. It’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) spam that’s done in hopes of raising ranking on Google and the like. Google, for the most part, ignores this stuff, so the people doing it are a pretty ignorant lot. As are most spammers. After all, if they had some brains, they’d be making more money with less work, and not defecating where they live.

Today we found a much darker form of comment spam. It is malicious. It is a list of obscene words, links to child pornography sites, and the like that would trash the Google and other online reputations if it appeared on the site.

That’s the price of publishing a blog. If you want to maintain any kind of reputation, you have to manually moderate all comments. You can’t simply block IPs because there are zillions of spammers, and not all in the third world. We have logged hundreds in Los Angeles, for example. And so, spammers create jobs for comment moderators. There’s a duality operative here. For each badness of the spammers, a relative goodness manifests to counter it. Cat and mouse. Good cop, bad cop. White hat, black hat. Oh the wonder of the human race! Makes you wonder…