The Last Of The Millenniums

Just because it always has been, doesn't mean it always will be

Archive for the day “June 15, 2013”

Blog Running – ‘Some Questions For and About Edward Snowden’


Senator Rand Paul said that President Obama owed Edward Snowden a ‘thank you’.

Half of America thinks he’s a ‘hero’.

And less then a week later, we are finding out just how little we knew about how little Edward knows.

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‘Via Andrew Sullivan, I see that a number of people are pushing back against Glenn Greenwald’s insistence that the PRISM program allows “direct access” to servers from Google, Microsoft and other tech companies. I’m glad to hear that, because it raises some questions that deserve answers’.

‘As regular readers know, the “direct access” claim puzzled me from the start. Even with my modest technical background, I understood immediately that it didn’t make sense. Sure enough, the Washington Post walked back the claim a bit the next day, the New York Times walked it back further the day after that, and even the Guardian has now finally agreed that it’s wrong—though they buried the admission in the 18th paragraph of a story published a week after the original report’.

‘There are various reasons this is important. The number one reason, obviously, is that we need to understand what’s really happening. There’s a huge difference between (a) Google giving NSA unfettered access to all of its user data whenever NSA feels like looking at something, and (b) Google agreeing to set up a secure method of transferring data that NSA has obtained a court order for. It’s night and day’.

‘But there’s another reason: I want to know how far I can trust Edward Snowden. He’s supposed to be a technical guru of some sort, but apparently he didn’t understand this. Or, if he did, he didn’t bother clearing it up for either Glenn Greenwald or Bart Gellman, who both went with the “direct access” phrase in their initial stories. If it’s the former, I wonder just how much he actually knows about NSA’s capabilities. If it’s the latter, I wonder about his motivations’.

‘I’d also like to know just what PRISM is. Is it really an NSA codeword for a data collection program? Or is it merely the name of the unclassified software they use to provide access and project management capabilities for the data they already collect? Does Snowden know? If not, why not’?

‘Snowden has made several other dubious statements, including the suggestion that he could order a wiretap on anyone he wanted, and that he had access to any CIA station. Put this all together, and I think it’s reasonable to ask just how much we can trust what Snowden is saying. He’s done a public service by shining the spotlight on NSA’s activities, but that doesn’t mean he gets a pass on tough questioning. I’d like to hear some answers about this stuff’.

‘UPDATE: Several commenters have pointed out that NSA’s own PowerPoint presentation claims that PRISM provides data “directly from the servers” of Microsoft etc. That’s true, and it’s precisely the problem: Greenwald and Gellman apparently read that and simply passed it along without understanding what it implied. That can lead you badly astray, as it seems to have done here’.

‘This is not a pedantic point. It’s absolutely critical. “Direct access” implies that NSA can just root around in Google’s servers whenever they want. That’s big news. Conversely, a story about how companies transfer information to NSA after they get a court order is a complete nothing. Who cares what technical means are used to transfer data to NSA? What we care about is what kind of information NSA is getting, and nothing in the PRISM story has given us any insight into that’.

‘If Snowden really has the technical chops he claims to have, he should have cleared this up. But Greenwald and Gellman apparently didn’t ask about it, and Snowden apparently didn’t volunteer anything. (I say “apparently” because I don’t know for sure who said what to whom.) This suggests either that Snowden didn’t know what this phrase meant or else chose not to explain it properly. Either one raises some red flags’.
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Stories From The Fringe – ‘Conservative Website Pitches “Pork-Infused” Ammo Meant To Serve As A “Terrorist Deterrent”

right wing gun nuts

Think about that.

‘Pork – Infused Ammo.

‘In a column at conspiracy website WND, gun activist Jeff Knox is promoting a company that sells bullets coated with “pork-infused paint” that are theoretically designed to “deter Islamists from martyrdom.”

‘Knox heads a fringe gun group called the Firearms Coalition which recently proposed a successful resolution at the annual National Rifle Association conference urging the NRA to oppose any future restrictions on guns’.

‘In his piece, Knox points to the May terror attack in London and asks why the two assailants didn’t flee the scene and merely “waited around for the armed police.” Knox posits that the men were waiting to be killed by police in order to become martyrs so they could receive “their tickets to Paradise – and 72 virgins.”

‘While he says that there is debate among Muslims about whether “martyrs for Allah actually receive a reward of 72 virgins,” Knox writes that the belief is pervasive enough to raise the question: “how do you deal with religious extremists who believe that dying for their faith is an Express Ticket to Paradise?”

‘According to Knox, a company in Idaho called “Jihawg Ammo” has come up with a “culturally sensitive” solution:

“A company in northern Idaho has come up with a culturally sensitive approach. Jihawg Ammo has developed a proprietary system for infusing ballistic paint with pork. The special pork-infused paint is then applied to the bullets of loaded ammunition. The inclusion of pork in the paint makes the bullets haraam, or unclean. Under Islamic law, anyone who comes in contact with any haraam item is then unclean and must engage in a cleansing ritual. No unclean person can be admitted into Paradise. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 72 virgins”.
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Why it’s called the ‘Stupid Party’ – Conservative Minority Outreach Panelist Explains Voter Gap: ‘People Of Color Are Being Paid By The Government’


Rich Thompson speaking at the Faith And Freedom Coalition Conference : “right now an extremely disproportionate number of people of color are being paid by the government”.

I’m so glad he ‘relies on facts’.

That will be a great surprise to the majority of people getting Social Security not to mention ‘seventy percent of food stamp recipients, for instance, are white, and the vast majority of counties with the fastest-growing food stamp rolls voted Republican in 2008’.

‘On Friday, Rich Thompson, the founder of a Georgia-based 100 Dads — an organization that advocates for “school choice” — spoke at the influential Faith And Freedom Coalition Conference on a panel entitled “The True Rainbow Coalition: Building an Organization in Minority Faith Communities.”

“I learned from a pastor probably over a decade ago, we had a candid conversation, and he said these three things. He said there’s only three things on this Earth that defy logic […] One is who’s friends with who. Number two is who’s related to who. And number three is who’s paying who”.

“If we speak to the latter, who’s paying who, right now an extremely disproportionate number of people of color are being paid by the government. Therein lies a serious problem. We can’t just cut everybody off instantaneously. But we have to have a serious conversation about how we get people to being producers and not receivers”.
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Why it’s called the ‘Stupid Party’ – ‘Memo to conservatives: There is no `Hastert Rule’

hastert rule

In effect these Constitution loving Republicans want to change the Constitution so only the Majority in the House can vote. The ‘People’s House’ will take away the right of a minority to be even be heard.

‘An insurgent group of House Republicans is pushing to codify the “Hastert rule” to only allow bills with majority GOP support to come to the floor. [..]’

“Normally, the Hastert Rule is not that critical of a thing, but in this case, with something so important as immigration, it’s important that you have the people’s will reflected,” Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said. “And the Hastert rule would do a greater job to achieve that.”

‘Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., is helping to lead the effort, circulating a petition among GOP lawmakers’.

“This is an effort led by a growing group of members in our Republican conference that want to ensure we fight for policies that the majority of our conference supports,” he said in a statement. “Codifying the Hastert Rule reinforces our resolve to consider legislation that doesn’t grow government and doesn’t cede legislative power to the minority party. I believe this will actually strengthen the hands of our Republican leadership by fostering a unified voice among our conference.”

‘But guess what: There is no “Hastert Rule.” I know this because the author of the speech that gave rise to the idea of the ”Hastert Rule” told me so himself in a recent interview’.

‘GOP strategist John Feehery was a top aide to former Speaker Dennis Hastert. He wrote a 2004 speech for Hastert in which he detailed some of the key things he’d learned as Speaker. One of these was the desirability of moving on legislation that is supported by a “majority of the majority.” Over time, this evolved — no one knows exactly how – into the “Hastert Rule.”
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‘George Zimmerman’s Father Says The ‘True Racists’ Are African-American’


So………. black people are racist because your son decided to murder a black kid and people objected to that.

‘As the murder trial for George Zimmerman begins, his father has released an emotional and highly unusual e-book, publicly opining on all aspects of the case. The book by Robert Zimmerman Sr., called “Florida v. Zimmerman: Uncovering the Malicious Prosecution of my Son, George” was released today on Amazon for $3.99’.

‘The most striking chapter is called “Who Are The True Racists,” an apparent effort to rebut claims that his son’s actions were racially motivated’.

“Congressional Black Caucus. “[A] pathetic, self-serving group of racists… advancing their purely racist agenda.” He later adds that “all members of Congress should be ashamed of the Congressional Black Caucus, as should be their constituents.” And finally: “They are truly a disgrace to all Americans.”

“The NAACP. “[S]imply promotes racism and hatred for their own, primarily finical, interests” and “without prejudice and racial divide, the NAACP would simply cease to exist.”

“NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. “[W]hat I would expect of a racist.”

“Trayvon Martin’s funeral director. A “racial activist and former head of the local NAACP.”

“Benjamin Crump, Natialie Jackson and Darrly Parks, attorneys for Travyon Martin’s family. “The scheme team.”

“The National Basketball Players Association”.

“Black Chamber of Commerce”.

“National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers”.

“National Black United Fund”.

“United Negro College Fund”.

‘While stopping short of explicitly calling President Obama a racist, Zimmerman Sr. does say that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have “shamelessly” sought to exploit his son’s case “to obtain great advantage in the African-American community.”

‘Zimmerman Sr. says that because of Holder’s decision to investigate whether Trayvon Martin’s death violated federal civil rights laws, the FBI did not have “adequate resources to investigate clearly identified potential terrorist [sic] in the Boston area.” Now, “tragically, we have suffered the consequences of Mr. Holder’s politically motivated decisions.”
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One Man’s Trash…… – ‘The Romney video that never was–starring Donald Trump’


one man's trash1

I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact you kept claiming the President wasn’t born in America and THAT was polling extremely negative.

(CNN) – ‘Real-estate mogul Donald Trump said Friday night that Mitt Romney’s team asked him to appear in a “commercial” for the campaign last year–but it never saw the light of day’.

‘The video, he said, was supposed to run during the Republican National Convention and featured Trump sitting in his office with an actor who looked like President Obama. After telling the faux president “what a lousy job” he’s done, Trump said, he delivered his famous line to the actor: “You’re fired!”

“They never put it on,” Trump added. “The reason they didn’t put it on is because they thought it was too controversial. Controversy. It might not be politically correct. And it was very sad, and I didn’t do any work for him–I mean, I would have, but again they didn’t ask me–because I think they thought I was too controversial, more tough.”

“I think it would have brought down the house,” he added, offering high praise of the video’.
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