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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.

 

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?

The Maxims of General George S. Patton

(from the Art of Manliness, in part)

With the confirmation of General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, the “Mad Dog’s” no-holds-barred quotes have been making their way around, and he’s been compared to another eminently quotable officer: General George S. Patton. But with all due respect to Mattis, there’s no one truly like the original. Below you’ll find a collection of “Old Blood and Guts’” unapologetic musings on duty, action, and the brutal art of war.

“There is nothing more pathetic and futile than a general who lives long enough to explain a defeat.”

“You are not beaten until you admit it.”

“War is the only place where a man lives.”

“Do your duty as you see it, and damn the consequences.”

“Success in war depends on the golden rules of war: speed, simplicity, and boldness.”

“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

“It’s the unconquerable soul of man and not the nature of the weapon he uses which insures victory.”

“Anything done vigorously is better than nothing done tardily.”

“Officers must assert themselves by example and by voice.”

“We can conquer only by attacking.”

“There is no approved solution to any tactical situation.”

“There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is, ‘To use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wounds, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.’”

“Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base.”

“It is easy to die for nothing; one should die for something.”

“As long as you attack them, they cannot find the time to attack you.”

“One continues to learn about war by practicing war.”

“The world has no use for a defeated soldier and nothing too good for a victor.”

“Never stop being ambitious. You have but one life, live it to the fullest of glory and be willing to pay any price.”

“Always do more than is required of you.”

“Punishment is not for the benefit of the sinner; it is for the salvation of his comrades.”

“Everything is a final heat.”

“War is simple, direct, and ruthless. It takes a simple, direct, and ruthless man to wage it.”

“By perseverance, and study, and eternal desire, any man can become great.”

“The unleavened bread of knowledge will sustain life, but it is dull fare unless it is leavened with the yeast of personality.”

“Do not regard what you do only as preparation for doing the same thing more fully or better at some later time. Nothing is ever done twice. There is no next time.”

“There is but one international law: the best Army!”

“It is better to live in the limelight for a year than in the wings forever.”

“If a man thinks war long enough, it is bound to have a good effect on him.”

“Haste and speed are not synonymous.”

“The pacifist actually refuses to defend what defends him; his country. In the final analysis this is the most basic immoral position.”

“Many soldiers are led to faulty ideas of war by knowing too much about too little.”

“Cowardice is a disease and it must be checked before it becomes epidemic.”

“War is an art and as such it is not susceptible of explanation by fixed formula.”

“In peace, the scholar flourishes. In war, the soldier dies. So it comes about that we view our soldiers through the eyes of scholars and attribute to them scholarly virtues.”

“The greatest privilege of citizenship is to be able to freely bear arms under one’s country’s flag.”

“Throughout history wars have been lost because of armies not crossing rivers.”

“War is a killing business. You must spill the enemy’s blood or they will spill yours.”

“To be a successful soldier, you must know history.”

“The hardest thing a general has to do is to wait for the battle to start after all of the orders have been given.”

“Never make excuses whether or not it is your fault.”

“If brevity is the soul of wit, then repetition is the heart of instruction.”

“As long as man exists, there will be war. The only way to avoid trouble is to have the best Army, Navy, and Air Force.”

“The important thing in any organization is the creation of a soul, which is based on pride, in the unit.”

“Americans do not surrender.”

The post The Maxims of General George S. Patton appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

Now, I am not in favor of war.  I don’t think any sane person is.  I like the libertarian non-aggression idea.

This does not mean I’m a pacifist. I carry a sidearm for personal protection.  I believe in defending American ideals, interests and citizenry as needed.  But generally, this means the ‘bad guy’ needs to strike first.

Then we need to respond professionally, as committed warriors.  With clear rules of engagement and end game goals.

Obviously, General Mattis is not General Patton.  He is more intellectual.  But he still understands the objective is to end the war.

Si vis pacem, para bellum – Plato (and others)

 

Well, What NOW?

SOME of us got what we asked for.
Some didn’t.

Originally, I was gong to post regarding the last administrations’ ‘accomplishments’ – Benghazi, Fast & Furious, Uranium to the Russians, The Iranian bribe, continuing Gitmo, continuing massive unwarranted surveillance on American citizens, Executive Orders in excess, medical insurance taxes, golf games, ongoing wars, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
Then, it occurred to me I would be going backward.
What about the future?
Will DJT lessen the intrusions, black sites, unwarranted searches, etc.
I kinda doubt it.
Will patriotism be increased? Perhaps? Prosperity? Maybe. Crony capitalism? Perhaps, or it might remain the same as under the last administration.
Will the progressives fight tooth-and nail to keep all the socialist agendas they fought for the past eight years?

Of course.
Will Gun Rights improve? Maybe.

I’m taking a wait and see attitude – applauding those things with which I agree, and condemning those I don’t.

Hopefully, there will be much more applause this term than the last two!

God Bless The United States of America!

Those Pesky Men Behind The Curtain Are Asking For Our Ignorance Again

As posted by Irish

Nothing To See Here… ISIS on The Texas Border?

sent in by reader Brian:
A Jihadi-cartel alliance in the Mexican state of Nuevo León is collaborating to carry out attacks in American cities and ports of entry along the southern border, according to intelligence obtained by Judicial Watch from confidential U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources. As part of the plan, militant Islamists have arrived recently at the Monterrey International Airport situated in Apodaca, Nuevo León, about 130 miles south of the Texas border. An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have “people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.” Cartel informants tell law enforcement contacts that “they are only waiting for the order and the times to carry out a simultaneous attack in the different ports of entry or cities of the United States of America.” Drug cartels have a working “agreement” with Islamic terrorists, according to a high-ranking Mexican police administrator, who said that men from the Middle East arrive regularly into the country to “train” jihadists.

MORE HERE<<


Back in 2015 they confirmed an ISIS camp 8 miles from the border  HERE<<<

So…we’re debating if a former single National Guardsman shooter is ISIS influenced?  Or brainwashed?  All-the-while ignoring stories like THIS!
WAIT!  LOOK OVER HERE!  PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT OTHER STUFF!
MAROONS!
misdirection2

Just In Time For Christmas!

(from my friend Borepatch)

Dangerous toys NOT to get for Christmas

I strongly recommend that you do NOT buy the My Friend Cayla doll, the i-Que robot, or the Barbie Hello Dream House as gifts due to a grotesquely dangerous security flaw in the toy’s design.
I often rant about poor security in products and how “security wasn’t an afterthought, it wasn’t thought of at all.”  Mostly it’s about something that is unlikely to effect most of all y’all.  This time is different – here are some toys that can endanger children, and I STRONGLY recommend that you do NOT buy these as gifts this holiday season.

My Friend Cayla is a doll with embedded voice recognition technology similar to Apple’s Siri, that can interact with children.  It not only listens to what the child says but can respond appropriately.

While it’s somewhat concerning that the doll “phones home” over the Internet for the voice recognition to work, the issue isn’t that it’s listening in on your kid.  Mind you, I find this more than a little creepy, but I remember when there were only 3 TV channels.

The danger is that the doll is Bluetooth enabled, and the Bluetooth is completely unprotected.  What this means is that anyone within Bluetooth range (which at 100 yards is actually further than many think) can connect to the doll and start talking to your child as she plays.

Let me say that again – Joe Shmoe in the park across from your house can connect to your little Princess’ doll and have a chat.There’s a video of this, although they’re wrong to call it a “hack”.  It’s simply use of the functionality as it was designed.

Also using the exact same technology with exactly the same flaw is the i-Que robot: this isn’t just a threat to little girls.

Unconfirmed reports also include the Barbie Hello Dream House.  I don’t know whether this is vulnerable to remote Bluetooth access, and it’s almost certain that nothing definitive will be published on this before the holidays.  Given that I recommend that you don’t buy this, either.

This seems to me to be bordering on criminal negligence by the companies involved (certainly My Friend Cayla and i-Que; possibly Mattel).  The idea that a child’s toy could be released that would allow someone to remotely talk with your child his his or her own bedroom is mind bogglingly stupid.

To reiterate, I strongly recommend that you do NOT buy the My Friend Cayla doll, the i-Que robot, or the Barbie Hello Dream House as gifts due to a grotesquely dangerous security flaw in the toy’s design.

Anyone remember “My name is Talky Tina” from Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone?  These toys take that to a whole new level.

Frightening.

Where Were YOU When…?

“December 7th, 1941.  A date which will live in INFAMY!”

I wasn’t yet born.  But I remember it was a touchstone for persons of my Father’s generation.

Where were YOU when Pearl Harbor happened?

I’m certain each generation has their historical event…

(Going back before Pearl Harbor)

The beginning of The Spanish-American War.

The sinking of the Titanic.

WWI

The Lusitania

The End of the War to End All Wars

But, Pearl Harbor sticks in my mind, because I’ve met folks who were there.  It’s not just from the history books, like the Civil War, the Indian Wars, “Remember the Maine!”

As the JFK assassination is for MY generation.

And the first World Trade Center bombing, Khobar Towers, the U.S.S. Cole and the second World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.  And Flight 93 are for subsequent generations.

Each generation has it’s historic marker.  Some, sadly, more than one.

It’s up to US to keep the memories alive, with politically-correct history textbooks barely mentioning such events.  If they mention them at all.

Does this make us warmongers?  Hardly.

This is the 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.  If you were 17 at the time (and got permission, or lied) you could have been there.  You would now be 92, if still alive.  Veterans are passing daily into history.

Thank you for your service.

It is important to remember from whence we came, lest history repeat.  We must learn from our mistakes, and others.

And remain vigilant.

pearl

 

Drugs Of Choice

donutsI’ve an addictive personality.  I come by this honestly, as both my parents were also afflicted.  It killed them both.

Before you get all worried, I’m not addicted to tobacco, as my Mother was.  My Father liked his cigars and his alcohol.

And his excess food.

The S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) – too many refined carbs, too much protein, too much white sugar.

I, too, like food.  Sometimes to excess.  Including sugar.

And, I’ve been diabetic since 2002.

The Good Rev. Paul posted recently regarding Krispy Kreme DonutsNow, I like LOVES me a good doughnut!  The problem is unlike normal folks, stopping at one, for me, can be difficult.  And here in college/commuter town USA, we are surrounded by doughnut shops!  The ubiquitous Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, and many local emporia.

SO…I must make the choice.  And sometimes I partake.

Fortunately, it’s not too often, and not a dozen-at-a-time.

I’m reminded of a cartoon, long ago in Playboy.  (Buck Brown?  Gahan Wilson?  Which I was unable to locate it on the ‘Net)

An older couple in their rocking chairs, on their front porch.  Both are quite obese.  And they are chowing-down.  Between them is a large bucket of fried chicken.  Just visible, to the side of the house, is a square, striped building(!?)

And one says to the other, “Sometimes, I wish they hadn’t moved in next door…”

Today, give me strength.

Thankfully, the nearest are at least a mile away, and I’ve no funds.  And, it’s ‘cold’ out (40° – sorry, Rev. Paul!)

🙂

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…