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DRAMA IN THE SKY: Russia Flies Long-Range Bombers Off The Coast Of Alaska! For Second Day In A Row (AP)

(snooze)

How is this news?  I thought news that which is new?

I first heard about the Russians and Chinese buzzing U.S. waters back in the mid-70’s, from a good friend who was a Marine stationed aboard the Glomar [name redacted] spy ship in the early 70’s!

Ended with the Cold War? (tsch!)

It was (and is) a standard tactic ‘testing the fences’ (think Jurassic Park velociraptors) from time immemorial.

They just want to check our reaction time and methods.

They play silly games, as do we…

I’m not worried.  Aren’t Trump and Putin bosom buds, now?

(I’m going back to watching my Fail Safe, Dr. Strangelove and War Games triple-header!)

 

From Not Clauswitz

media-collusion.jpg

Now, it makes sense that people who travel in the same circles with similar interests would meet and perhaps get involved.  Or married.

And their are examples of opposites – Mary Matalin and James Carville, for example.

But, it does make one wonder…

Auto Burglary 

(NOT an Auto and Burglar gun, after which I still lust!)

Since re-locating with my ex-girlfriend over five years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!), very little of a criminal nature has occurred here. (compared to my previous neighborhood.)

The old neighborhood was rife with graffiti and gang stuff. I had THREE burglaries in eighteen years, the last in which my 800 pound Ft. Knox vault and it’s contents (personal stuff and 53 firearms) were taken!

When I moved to ‘the suburbs’, my automobile insurance company even refunded me $18.

However, no place is crime free. 

I returned home Saturday last, when my ‘new’ neighbor (of six months) to the North was outside examining his car. It seems his car had been broken into, and his registration, insurance papers and an inexpensive 380 ACP handgun were stolen.

So much for the $18 safer neighborhood! 
 

A Question Posed By Quizikle

( from Quizikle, in part)

But the patriotic garb worn by some Valley High School students on Wednesday upset students at Des Moines North High School, which is described as being more diverse and full of refugee families.”

Diversity or not. Refugee or not. Welcome to America, this is what we do.
If you’re offended by displays of Americanism IN America, WTF did y’all come here for?

I recall at the time of the Iranian hullabaloo running into Iranian students that happened to be here at that time. There was quite a mix of pro-Shah and pro-whoever. The only thing the two sides could agree on was their dislike for America. I had the opportunity to get into a conversation with one of the pro-Shah folks and this person was adamant about the evils of the US. I asked why he didn’t go back home then. His response was that he would be killed if he went back and being in the US was essentially saving his life.

He could not seem to grasp the concept of being a guest – or even being welcomed as a new member of the family – and not peeing in your host’s living room.

Which seems to be a common attitude today (including among many California refugees):
Wow! We got out. Thanks for taking us in. Now we demand you make this place more like the home we left.”

Except the “Thanks” part is usually left out.

FoxNews: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/13/wearing-red-white-and-blue-lands-high-school-students-in-hot-water.html

Immigration?  I’ve NO PROBLEM with LEGAL IMMIGRANTS!  Those who want to join the rest of us in the Great American Experiment in our Constitutional Republic.

Many immigrants brought with them elements from their own countries:  St. Patrick’s Day, with the ‘everyone’s Irish’ for a day meme.  Mexicans, with their wonderful foods (I LOVE Sonoran fare!)

BUT, if your goal in coming here is to destroy The Republic, through terrorism or mandatory imposition of your idea of law (Sharia?), you might as well stay home.

Jus’ sayin…

 

The CIA Hack – From Borepatch

My friend Borepatch is an Internet security professional.  And a fine blogger and good friend.

Here’s what he has to say about the latest Wikileaks CIA revelations:

(Here’s a hint – the media is less-than-accurate!)

CIA Hack details – beware of what you read in the media

The media has a poor track record of getting security stories right, and the CIA Wikileaks document dump is no exception.  For example, they don’t hack your TV over the network:

The CIA didn’t remotely hack a TV. The docs are clear that they can update the software running on the TV using a USB drive. There’s no evidence of them doing so remotely over the Internet. If you aren’t afraid of the CIA breaking in an installing a listening device, then you should’t be afraid of the CIA installing listening software.

So as long as you’re not worried about a CIA operative breaking into your house, this specific exploit isn’t going to be aimed at you.  Does this mean you should hook your smart TV up to the ‘net?  Ohhellsno.  Just no.

And this is pretty interesting:

There’s no false flags. In several places, the CIA talks about making sure that what they do isn’t so unique, so it can’t be attributed to them. However, Wikileaks’s press release hints that the “UMBRAGE” program is deliberately stealing techniques from Russia to use as a false-flag operation. This is nonsense. For example, the DNC hack attribution was live command-and-control servers simultaneously used against different Russian targets — not a few snippets of code. [More here]

Like I said, it’s hard to get stories like this right and mostly the Press doesn’t.  There are more examples at the link.

I’ve no expertise in this area, but I trust Borepatch.

You gotta trust someone, right?

Christensen’s Law

(courtesy of Dave the Genius Mechanic)

I loathe Chase Bank.  Actually, I loathe ALL BANKS!  Remember Christensen’s Law – Banks are NOT in business to serve you.  They are in business to make money. (See also the insurance company corollary).

I am SO HAPPY I am not a Chase Bank customer.  Examples:

  1.  Getting in-and-out of vehicles is a painful proposition for me.  But their drive thrus are not at a good angle for me to access.  So, I must go inside to the foyer ATM.  (Why am I going there, if I am not a customer?  My roommate is, and it’s just simpler for me to visit my Credit Union, obtain cash, and go to her bank to make a deposit into her account.  She doesn’t want a check.)  Half the time when I do this, the indoor ATM is out-of-service.  They suggest the drive thru – which is difficult for me to access.  I went up to the inside counter and was told as I was not a customer, I could not make a deposit – WITH CASH!  X-(
  2. Another time the indoor ATM was out-of-service.  I asked if they could take my deposit (a postal money order) inside.  I was told they could – If I were on the account!  Otherwise NO – try the drive-thru ATM!  X-(
  3. I went the other day to make the foyer ATM deposit.  It worked swimmingly!  It even took all the cash w/o rejecting any bills! (usually it rejects three or four)  THEN, no receipt was issued, and the machine read OUT-OF-SERVICE!  I went inside, and the one clerk said he would be just a minute – he was working the drive thru ATM transactions!  Maybe five minutes later he got to me.  I explained my predicament.  The ATM had taken my money, issued no receipt, did not return the money, then went out-of-service!  He referred me to a more senior teller, a woman.  She listened to my tale of woe, and said she would get back to me.  Then she left!  At length, she returned, and told me the funds were in her account, and not to worry.  But, she could not issue me a receipt, as I was not a customer! (Even though the ATM regularly does!)  She offered me her business card, if my roomie had any questions!  I responded something more needed to be done!  OR I WAS CALLING THE POLICE TO REPORT A ROBBERY!  Eventually, we agreed she could write on her business card the amount of the funds had been deposited – and sign it!

Poor customer service, rudeness, failure to accommodate a disabled person, I could to on…

They suggested my roomie add me to her account.  That might solve some of the issues, but in no way do I wish to be affiliated with this particular banking institution!

NOW, as to my Credit Union!  I almost closed my account there, after over twenty years, because they proudly announced a few years back they would gladly accept illegal aliens as customers!  (Yeah, nothing like furthering criminal activity and money laundering for a profit!)  GRRR!

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.

 

Remember, We’re A REPUBLIC!

flag(Yes, yes.  I know many think we have devolved into an oligarchy.  I’m writing about what we are as a Nation, on PAPER!)

To Benjamin Franklin:  “Well, Doctor, What have you given us, a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it!”

There are various other versions of this supposed quotation, the essence of which is WE (The United States) are a REPUBLIC!

Remember THIS from Grade School?

“…and to the Republic, for which it stands.”

Speech by Senator John F. Kennedy, Beverly Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles, CA – (Advance Release Text)
November 2, 1960  (excerpts):

We live in a fast moving nation. But one thing constant from the birth of our Republic has been our faith in education and our determination to make it available to all our citizens.

(…)

Thus the value and importance of education was at the foundation of Western thought – and was again present at the foundation of the American Republic.

Virtually EVERY President (Yes, even Barack Obama!) referred in some manner to the American Republic!  (Don’t believe me, do your own searches!)

We are NOT, and NEVER HAVE BEEN, a democracy!

Then, why do all politicians, even conservative republicans (democrats are a given) make statements to the affect that thus-and-such yatta-yatta this democracy?

WHAT CHANGED?

Inquiring minds want to know.

 

Gun Talk Media VS The NRA

I received two emails yesterday from two (one would think) like-minded entities.  One, the NRA (full disclosure, I am long time Life Member), the second, Gun Talk Media, an Internet blog and media source.

I have posted on this blog regarding the NRAs push to contact Congress regarding the last administration’s efforts to restrict gun rights to those who may have mental limitations (by their view mental illness).  And I have supported their efforts to reverse this measure.

Now comes these emails.  The NRAs requesting immediate action on a pending Senate vote to stop this travesty.

And this from Gun Talk Media:

FAKE NEWS ALERT
Social Security Administration Gets Into Gun Ban Business

As he left office, President Obama screwed American seniors who own or want to own guns by issuing an executive order directing the Social Security Administration to treat seniors in the same miserable way the Veterans Administration does our vets. That is, the SSA now reports to the FBI anyone who prefers to have someone else handle their finances, and the FBI puts that person on the list that is a LIFETIME BAN on owning firearms.

Naturally, the general media portrayed this as keeping guns out of the hands of those with serious mental defects, and when the House of Representatives voted 235 to 180 to repeal this gun confiscation move, the howls from the fourth estate nearly drowned out the facts. Nearly.

As a Gun Talk Truth Squad member, you have the opportunity to push back on these bogus reports, and to answer friends who offer that this ban “seems reasonable.” Here are the facts.

The media said that the SSA would be providing the information to the FBI so these people could

be included in a “background check database.” Well … doesn’t that sound reasonable? The fact is that this move actually puts these people on a list that bans firearms ownership for life.

Who would oppose putting those with “serious mental defects” into a “background check database?” The NRA, of course. But wait. Another vocal opponent is the ACLU. Yes, the American Civil Liberties Union.  Groups supporting and providing aid to those who actually do suffer from mental handicaps also opposed the “I’m outta here” move by the departing “vertical pronoun” President to ban tens of thousand of Americans from owning guns, and all without due process.

Here’s an example of the media coverage of the House vote to repeal this rule. This is from Politico.

Democrats ripped the move as an effort by Republicans to undermine background checks for gun purchasers. After the House vote, Sen. Dianne Feinstein pleaded with supporters to rally against the move in the Senate. “Senate may vote today to weaken background checks on gun purchases. Call your Senator to oppose this change — ensure your voice is heard!” she wrote.

Tell your friends that there has been a law in effect for decades that prohibits the truly mentally incompetent from owning guns, and this law provides for due process. Under current law, if one has been adjudicated mentally incompetent, he or she can’t own a gun. “Adjudicated.” As in, a judge and a court room. Where you can defend yourself. Not a bureaucrat who checks a box and places your name on the banned-for-life list. ~ Tom

So, has the NRA been waving a false flag (creating FAKE NEWS) to feather it’s own nest?  Or is it simply rubber stamping additional efforts to let the government know we are no longer allowing our civil rights to be curtailed without due process?

What do YOU think?

Just When You Thought The Supreme Court Was Going To Be ‘Safe'(!)

…or at least follow The Constitution!

Gorsuch Will (May?) Not Shift The Balance Of Power On The Supreme Court As Much As You May Think

Via comment by Unknown Reaper on The three numbers that will keep Democrats from bl…

Fortunately, Gorsuch appears to be one of the rare breed of judges that actually cares what the U.S. Constitution and our laws have to say.  In that respect, he is very much like Scalia

 On Tuesday, President Trump announced that he would nominate Neil Gorsuch to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Gorsuch currently serves on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, and he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate when he was appointed to that position by President George W. Bush in 2006.  Gorsuch appears to have some strong similarities to Antonin Scalia, and many conservatives are hoping that when Gorsuch fills Scalia’s seat that it will represent a shift in the balance of power on the Supreme Court.  Because for almost a year, the court has been operating with only eight justices.  Four of them were nominated by Republican presidents and four of them were nominated by Democrats, and so many Republicans are anticipating that there will now be a Supreme Court majority for conservatives.

Unfortunately, things are not that simple, because a couple of the “conservative” justices are not actually very conservative at all.

courtesy of Brock Townsend
It ain’t over ’til the blind scale lady sings?

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…