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We Are FOOLS For The Internet

Remember when we were told that our Internet searches might be watched over surveilled ‘reviewed’ by the Intelligence ‘Community’ (“Jesus, you guys are kind to yourselves!” ‘Joe Turner (Condor)’, in Three Days of the Condor)

Now, my friend Borepatch brings us this:

Amazon Echo, Google Alexa, and the NSA

Amazon Echo and Google’s Alexa are Internet Of Things devices that listen for your voice commands and then do not particularly interesting things for you.  The minor convenience and gee whiz factor are way outweighed by how you are painting a big bulls eye on your house:

As a rule, IoT devices lack security and these are no different. Unlike other IoT devices, these personal assistants compromise your security in even more ways they you may think. In general, most users don’t read the Terms of Service (ToS) associated with IoT devices or software being installed. Users have a basic understanding that Amazon and Google will maintain your profile information, such as what music you listen to, when you turn off your lights, or even the coffee you order, in an effort to provide a better over-all experience. Over time these devices learn your preferences; the more intuitive and responsive the device, the more we tend to use it.

What is more alarming is what you don’t think about when using these voice activated devices including those from Apple and Microsoft. There has been a lot of discussion around the security and privacy of these devices over the past few months. One of the biggest concerns is the question of whether the devices are always listening. Both Amazon and Google say the devices listen for hot words that activate them, such has Hello Google or Echo/Alexa, but because these devices are controlled by and interact with by Amazon and Google, the hot words and or the device itself can be easily manipulated to allow for an always on “listening mode” by the vendor at any time by the way of a crafty term of service

How’s the security of these devices?  You can’t know.  What will the Terms Of Service provide to protect your privacy?  You can’t know:

Amazon:In order to keep the Amazon Software up-to-date, we may offer automatic or manual updates at any time and without notice to you.

Google:When a Service requires or includes downloadable software, this software may update automatically on your device once a new version or feature is available…

So the services can update the software without your knowledge, whenever they want, for any reason they want.  The terms of service state that they may sell or share your data to other organizations.  And this is creepy but entirely to be expected:

In addition to the vendor maintaining access to the device, it isn’t unfathomable that cyber-criminals could gain access as well. These are, after all, IoT devices and are just as vulnerable to being pwnd (geek speak meaning owned/or controlled) as any other IoT device. Both devices have indicators when they are in listening mode, however this can be easily disabled by a hacker. A hacker could be listening to your every word and you would not be aware.

And so would NSA listen in?  The Snowden revelations suggest that they might already be listening in.  How much data do they have?  Who knows?

It will be a cold day in Hell when one of these things shows up at Castle Borepatch.

It’s probably good we at Guffaw de alquiler cannot afford such things.  My roomie is not particularly tech savvy (less than I) , but loves toys!  Between the two of us, we have a PC, a laptop, two tablets, two smartphones, and she has a smart watch!
If indeed, United States intelligence (or Israeli?  They reportedly have a listening post not far from Fort Huachuca) is actually paying attention to what we email, and to whom, and records our cellular calls, and computer searches, adding a voice-actuated room-wide link to the Internet just seems like overkill.
Inviting what is essentially an open wiretap into one’s home, with which to do Internet searches, order products and services, pay bills, etc. seems a little self-defeating.  If privacy is your goal.
If we ever get out of this financial hole we are digging (with her working little, and surgery pending – putting her off for six to twelve weeks), I can see her wanting one, though.
Sigh.

 

Disgraceful!

(from Free North Carolina)

Disgraceful: Likely last hurdle cleared, New Orleans expected to move quickly to remove Confederate monuments

Via Billy

 'Death threats,' 'threatening calls' prompt firm tasked with removing Confederate monuments to quit _lowres

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously cleared the way Monday evening for the monuments to be removed, issuing an opinion that criticized groups seeking to keep the statues in place for arguments that “wholly lack legal viability or support.”

With what is likely the last legal hurdle the city faces removed, the statues are expected to come down quickly. Tyronne Walker, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu, said the city will start seeking bids Tuesday to remove the statues, and a contract will be awarded 25 days later.

Honorable?

(from Brock Townsend)

Attorney General Lynch Signed Off on ALL FISA Applications to WireTap Trump

Via Billy

According to ABC, all applications to the FISA Court were signed off on by the Attorney General and therefore if any applications were processed in the past year, they were signed off on by Loretta Lynch.  This means that Lynch signed off on any requests for wire tapping President Donald Trump during the Presidential race.   This is disheartening knowing that she released a video over the weekend calling for the need for more marching, blood and death on the streets.  This also means that she chose not to investigate the Clinton Foundation for illegal activities but rather signed an application to wire tap President Trump.

Finally, another very disturbing fact about the wire tapping request of President Trump is that the FISA Court turned down President Obama’s Administration’s first request to wire tap President Trump that was evidently signed off on by Attorney General Lynch.  With only two applications denied out of 10,700 from 2009 through 2015, the fact that the Obama Administration’s application was denied by the FISA Court is very disturbing.  The odds of this happening were 0.02%.

The Obama Presidency is now arguably the most corrupt in US history.

The HONORABLE Loretta Lynch?  Seriously?
I know historically AGs have played fast and loose with the law.  From XXX to John Mitchell, and beyond…
People speaking of political corruption often invoke Watergate and the Plumbers.
We are so far beyond that it pales by comparison!
And, the whole FISA thing makes it stink even more.
“The Obama Presidency is now arguably the most corrupt in US history.”
Perhaps, not so arguably.
(PS – shouldn’t it read candidate or president-elect?)

Beware The Ides Of March? 

(March 15 for the Julius Caesar/Shakespeare impaired!)

I subscribe to a smattering of emails from allegedly like-minded individuals.

Sometimes I am in agreement with their themes.

Other times, not so much.

One guy, who operates a small libertarianesque, survivalist business has been promoting a book ‘not yet in bookstores’, purporting to describe the next financial collapse, and confiscation of bank accounts(!) by the government!! 

(Other nations wherein this has begun, or is beginning! – ZeroHedge)

Allegedly, this is to begin MARCH 15!  (The Ides of March, for all you Julius Caesar fans.)

Coincidence? Astrology? A soothsayer’s truth?

I’ve no idea. I cannot afford the book, and probably wouldn’t buy it, anyway.

Most of my income is direct deposit disability.  I suspect if BIGGOV wanted to take it, they would so do.

With impunity!

WHY?  Because they can!

(So, you thought you’d withdraw your cash and hide it in your mattress?  Not so fast there, Bucko!)

Fuel To The Already Dead Fire

(from Wirecutter)

Obama’s brother produces THE birth certificate

An Obama has joined the birther movement.
Malik Obama, Barack Obama’s half-brother, tweeted image of what appears to be Barack’s birth certificate.
Except it’s not from Hawaii, but rather Kenya.
MORE

From the Day Late Dollar Short, or the What Took You So Long Department!

Seriously – How many birth certificates ARE THERE?  And how did he get a Connecticut Social Security number?  And why are his school records sealed?

And, why would one’s half brother do such a thing?  Now?

Inquiring minds want to know!

(Just because sometimes, I like adding fuel to the fire! – Guffaw)

The Whole Cloth Of History

(from Free North Carolina)

Save the Robert E. Lee Statue

Via Billy

Image may contain: text

In an article entitled “Historic Preservation Still Unites Us” First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe touts the worthiness of historic preservation: “May we Virginians, and all Americans, continue to enjoy history through preservation and never take for granted that its lessons are the guideposts to a better future.”

We could not agree more with this statement but recognize that in the Commonwealth of Virginia there exists a hypocritical double-standard regarding historic preservation. Confederate monuments and memorials are currently the lowest hanging fruit – ripe and easy targets for those who view history with tunnel vision. It should not be this way – we as Americans should protect our past instead of shunning it. Existing memorials in our public spaces should not be banished from their long-standing locations based on emotion and divisive politics. The poet John Donne famously wrote “no man is an island,” and these monuments are not islands either – they are connected to the communities in which they reside. And they tell a story, not just about the events and people they depict, but about those who commissioned and sculpted them to vivid life. If historic preservation matters, it should matter for all Registered Historic Landmarks, and not just those deemed “acceptable” by the powers that be.

The attorneys retained to fight Charlottesville City Council’s vote to remove the Robert E. Lee Monument from Lee Park are diligently preparing their case. Rest assured that they do not take this charge lightly and will proceed with filing at the precise and practicable moment.

We appreciate your patience, support and contributions as this issue moves forward. If you have donated, Thank You. We have been touched by the messages we have received and the willingness of people across the country and even overseas to contribute to save history. If you haven’t donated and feel this issue is important, please consider a contribution – no amount is too small to help us win this battle:

Online
Checks payable to: The Monument Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 483, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902. All contributions are tax deductible.

The idea such actions to save historical monuments are even necessary is horrific! 
First, I’m a believer in this Nation’s history, warts and all.
Second, didn’t the United States Congress pass legislation almost 100 years ago stating that ALL military participants in the Civil War (or the War Between the States, or the recent unpleasantness, if you prefer!) were VETERANS as such deserving of remembrance and monuments as much as the Union soldiers?
And that desecration or removal of military monuments was against federal law?

Confederate Soldiers are American Veterans by Act of Congress

Sadly, this is not the only location or action taken against Confederate monuments.  Politically correct forces are continuing to try to erase American History (and by extension free speech), lest the young learn about the whole cloth of history!
It’s disgusting!
Please help if you can.

California Bans Students From Traveling To ‘Anti-LGBT’ States

(from Free North Carolina)

 The inmates are in charge of the asylum.

California has created a travel ban of its own, which prohibits its own public university students from traveling to “anti-LGBT” states.

The law that went into effect Jan. 1 prohibits state-funded travel to states that are not LGBT-friendly, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The law prevents students of the University of California and California State University from traveling to four states outlined by California attorney general Xavier Becerra, including Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Not LGBT friendly?  As defined by the California AG?

I’m not certain what that means, exactly.  Rejected ‘gender non-specific’ bathroom legislation?  Didn’t give extra rights to persons who are gender confused?

How is banning a student from travel (through the use of State funds) going to teach them anything about freedom?  (It does teach them about the abuse of State Power.)  And, how many students does this affect, exactly?  Sports teams?  Band members?  Debate clubs?

I think the California Attorney General is tilting at windmills, in the name of political correctness.

Illegal Voting LEGAL Immigrant Can Be Deported

(From Judicial Watch)

Weeks after the House Minority leader blasted President Donald Trump for pledging to investigate voter fraud, a federal appellate court has ruled that a Peruvian immigrant can be deported from the U.S. for illegally voting in a federal election. The decision comes on the heels of a spat between Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and the president. The California Democrat accused Trump of making false claims of election fraud and said that undermining the integrity of our voting system is “really strange.” Most Democrats in Congress agree with the former House Speaker and strongly oppose an investigation, asserting it will limit access to voting.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media coverage promotes the Democrats’ inaccurate version of the facts. One news network referred to Trump’s voter fraud claims as “baseless” and simply an excuse to enact restrictive voting laws. Another wrote that “Trump’s ‘iIlegals voting’ comments are false and divisive,” calling voter fraud by undocumented immigrants “patently false.” In an editorial titled “The Latest Voter Fraud Lie,” a mainstream newspaper writes that the “baseless claims continue to get converted into policy in the form of stricter voting laws like requiring prospective voters to show a photo ID…” A multitude of similar media reports have flooded the news wires in the week’s following Trump’s meeting with congressional leaders to address the issue.

This week’s appellate court ruling provides a jolt of reality that the media has chosen to ignore. Election fraud was a significant concern in 2008 and 2010, which is why Judicial Watch launched an election integrity project in 2012. The project is a legal campaign to force cleanup of voter registration rolls as well as monitor elections. As an example of the pervasive fraud, Judicial Watch uncovered that 1,046 aliens, or residents who are not U.S. citizens, were on the voter rolls in eight Virginia counites leading up to the 2016 presidential election. If that rate of non-citizen registration held in the rest of Virginia’s counties, that would mean that about 6,500 non-citizens are registered to vote in the state. Additionally, Judicial Watch’s investigation found that 57,923 Virginians were registered to vote in at least one other state as well as 19 deceased individuals. Similar issues have been uncovered in several other states as part of Judicial Watch’s ongoing probe into election fraud.

The Latin American woman in the recent court ruling who voted illegally is hardly an isolated case. Her name is Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick and she lied about being an American citizen on an Illinois Department of Motor Vehicle form. It was that easy. Fitzpatrick, a legal U.S. resident with three kids, voted in two federal elections in 2006 and claims that she had official approval to cast a ballot after presenting her Peruvian passport and green card. An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals, the government’s highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws, determined that Fitzpatrick should be deported because non-U.S. citizens cannot vote in federal elections and can be removed from the country for doing so.

The Peruvian woman did not back down, appealing the decisions in federal court. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the two previous rulings in favor of deportation, though it acknowledged that Fitzpatrick “led a productive and otherwise-unblemished life in this country.” In its decision, the court states that the motor vehicle form sternly warns aliens not to check the U.S. citizen box and that Fitzpatrick is “literate in English and has no excuse for making that misrepresentation.” Aliens are forbidden to vote in federal elections, the ruling says, adding that “another statute provides for the removal of aliens who vote in violation of either state or federal law.” During oral argument, the appellate judges inquired whether Fitzpatrick is the kind of person the Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security want removed from the United States. “The answer was yes,” the ruling states.

Guess not all Circuit Courts of Appeal are created equal?

Of course, there will be whining from certain groups about ‘breaking up the family’, etc.

Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.  Elsewhere.

On Pedophilia

(Here’s a hint, I’m against it!)

And so is Peter.  Vehemently, as he writes below:

Pedophilia does “no lasting harm”??? Yeah, right!

Richard Dawkins, well known for his militant atheism, has really put his foot in it this time.

In a recent interview with the Times magazine, Richard Dawkins attempted to defend what he called “mild pedophilia,” which, he says, he personally experienced as a young child and does not believe causes “lasting harm.”

Dawkins went on to say that one of his former school masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” and that to condemn this “mild touching up” as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair.

. . .

Child welfare experts responded to Dawkins’ remarks with outrage — and concern over their effect on survivors of abuse.

There’s more at the link.

All I can say is, as a pastor and clinical counselor, I’ve had a great deal of experience trying to help the victims of pedophiles. Many went on to become pedophiles themselves – a cycle that carries on down the centuries, if you go back far enough.  Others have had their confidence in themselves destroyed, their ability to love and be love corroded, and their lives ruined.

I’m a strong believer in the rule of law.  I’ve worked inside the criminal justice system to help promote the rule of law.  Nevertheless, if there’s any one sin or crime that cries out to Almighty God for vengeance, it’s pedophilia.  In the words of Jesus himself:

But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

You can debate, if you wish, whether those words were meant to include pedophilia, or merely other types of offence.  Personally, I have little doubt.  No, scratch that – I have no doubt.  If a pedophile were caught in flagrante delicto, I would have few or no moral qualms if the parents of the child concerned executed him on the spot.  I think there’d be little or no sin in that;  in fact, I could make a strong case for it being the justice of an outraged God.

Pedophiles can’t be cured.  Time after time that’s been tried, and failed miserably.  They can only be prevented from committing their crimes, either by incarcerating them where they can’t get at children, or by executing them.  Harsh?  Yes, it is harsh.  Having seen too many children’s innocence destroyed by pedophiles, my feelings towards the latter are very harsh indeed!  Right now, I’m not feeling particularly charitable towards Mr. Dawkins, either . . .

Peter

As I got older, one of the things I never expected to experience was to meet and befriend a number of people – women and men – who had been sexually abused as children.  ALL became profoundly damaged adults.  Some even became abusers.  Such is the nature of pedophilia.
If I had encountered a pedophile in the act, I too, would have no problem dispatching the miscreant.
“Some people just need killing.”
attributed to Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and a number of historical folks

The Californian Confederacy?

Peter, of The Bayou Renaissance Man, brings us this:

The inimitable Victor Davis Hanson sees many parallels between California today and the antebellum South.

In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in furor over the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln did not receive 50 percent of the popular vote. He espoused values the state insisted did not reflect its own.

In eerie irony, liberal California is now mirror-imaging the arguments of reactionary South Carolina and other Southern states that vowed to go it alone in 1860 and 1861.

. . .

Of course, this is 2017, not 1860, and California is super-liberal, not an antebellum slave-owning society.

Nonetheless, what is driving California’s current efforts to nullify federal law and the state’s vows to secede from the U.S. are some deeper — and creepy — similarities to the arrogant and blinkered Old South.

. . .

California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. The California elite, wishing to keep the natural environment unchanged, opposes internal improvements and sues to stop pipelines, aqueducts, reservoirs, freeways, and affordable housing for the coastal poor.

California’s crumbling roads and bridges sometimes resemble those of the old rural South. The state’s public schools remain among the nation’s poorest. Private academies are booming for the offspring of the coastal privileged, just as they did among the plantation class of the South.

California, for all its braggadocio, cannot leave the U.S. or continue its states’-rights violations of federal law. It will eventually see that the new president is not its sickness, nor are secession and nullification its cures.

Instead, California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. No wonder the state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy’s secession and nullification.

But such reactionary Confederate obstructionism is still quite an irony given California’s self-righteous liberal preening.

There’s much more at the link.  Recommended reading.

I think Mr. Hanson is right.  The current frothing-at-the-mouth hysteria in California over President Trump’s policies reminds me of George Wallace’s inaugural address as Governor of Alabama on January 14th, 1963.

  • Insistence on doing things as Alabama wants them?  Check.
  • Refusal to kowtow to federal authority?  Check.
  • Warning Washington that the next President would be determined by voters who shared Wallace’s and Alabama’s views?  Check.

Well, guess who won that fight?  (Hint:  see the outcome at Appomattox.  Wash, rinse, repeat.)

California might want to think about that . . .

Peter

I’m torn on this issue.  States should be free to separate from the Republic as they wish.  Certainly California has been one of the leaders in thinking and acting different from the Constitutional Republic in which I was raised.
But, secessionCalexit?
It is interesting how in one week they ‘rattle their sabers’ for becoming a separate entity.  Then beg for federal help when their infrastructure continues to crumble.
I’m thinking you cannot have it both ways.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…