Google and Yahoo! privacy measures regularly infiltrated by NSA.


Image representing Edward Snowden as depicted ...

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Your Christmas newsletter in Google Docs is now being proofread by NSA contractors

It should come as no surprise that encryption has become a very topical news item which has been appearing with increasing frequency. Yesterday the Washington Post revealed exactly what was going on by publishing these news stories:

The opening line of the first news report says it all:

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

One of the more interesting tidbits from the Washington Post’s story was this item:

In an NSA presentation slide on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” however, a sketch shows where the “Public Internet” meets the internal “Google Cloud” where their data reside. In hand-printed letters, the drawing notes that encryption is “added and removed here!” The artist adds a smiley face, a cheeky celebration of victory over Google security.

Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing. “I hope you publish this,” one of them said.

The question becomes what did Google know and when did they know it. Fortunately the news reports establish a chronology for the events describe by the Washington Post. On or about 2013-09-06 stories began to appear that Google had embarked on an extensive effort to encrypt all the data passing between its datacenters worldwide but there were not too many details as to why other than a distrust of the NSA. Apparently Google had become aware that their networks had been hacked in early September based on these stories which suddenly began to appear about that date.

This was a joint project between the governments of the United States and Great Britain and is clearly illegal under the laws of both nations. This makes Watergate look like a Sunday Social. Clearly corporations need to expand their security perimeters into areas which were previously believed to be secure. All data in motion must be encrypted, even on internal networks!

When the Greenies Are Right


Detection of genetically modified organisms

Image via Wikipedia

Normally I would blog something like When the Greenies Are Right from my other blog about raising backyard chickens. But this one merits mention because of the ties to government that are involved with Big Agriculture. Specifically, I’m talking about the unholy trinity of the Monsanto Corporation, Michael Taylor and S-510.

That is all. Enjoy the articles.

Lip-reading with the Obamas


Flag

Image by yorgak via Flickr

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” — Matthew 6:22-23

“‘Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi’ (The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter)” — Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

A lot is going to be made of the video being talked about today (see below), and about the political interpretation of it, on both sides. As much as I don’t relish the thought of America’s political discourse turning to lip reading analysis, it has to be said that judging by the Obamas’ prior behavior and statements regarding the greatness and exceptional nature of America, this time it warrants a closer look.

I grew up lip reading because my saintly mother has cerebral palsy. To me it looks like Michelle Obama is saying exactly what others think she’s saying…something negative about the flag or the ceremony.

I found a person in the comments section of an AmericanThinker.com post about it who claims to be a lip reader (has two kids who are deaf) and who said that Michelle is saying “What’s that for, that flag?”. But then another person on a separate blog (can’t find it now…sorry), who claims to be a special ed teacher, says it’s “Talk about adding fuel to the fire.” Yet a third person posted that foxnews.com reported her as saying “What a beautiful flag”, but I don’t find any evidence of that on the foxnews.com site.

So, it’s a toss-up, I guess.

Still, the telling eye-roll/blink and the body language of both of them bothers me.  Body language counts for a lot in human communication. I can’t help but consider that the comment was not a benign one.

If nothing can be concluded about what she actually said, and if you’re the sort who still reveres and respects the flag, let us at least agree to the blatant disrespect of making any comments at all during the flag ceremony honoring those slaughtered in the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. She could have…should have, at the very least for the sake of the image of the Office of the President…saved her remarks for later–when the cameras weren’t rolling.

Review & Outlook: The Road to a Downgrade – WSJ.com


Folks, I just can’t say it any better than this.

Review & Outlook: The Road to a Downgrade – WSJ.com.

Then came Mr. Obama, arguably the most spendthrift president in history. He inherited a recession and responded by blowing up the U.S. balance sheet. Spending as a share of GDP in the last three years is higher than at any time since 1946. In three years the debt has increased by more than $4 trillion thanks to stimulus, cash for clunkers, mortgage modification programs, 99 weeks of jobless benefits, record expansions in Medicaid, and more.

The forecast is for $8 trillion to $10 trillion more in red ink through 2021. Mr. Obama hinted in a press conference earlier this month that if it weren’t for Republicans, he’d want another stimulus. Scary thought: None of this includes the ObamaCare entitlement that will place 30 million more Americans on government health rolls.

 

Let’s put it this way. If you have a chunk of money to invest, or at least keep from losing, who are you going to trust? The financial experts with skin in the game at WSJ, or the Obama sycophants at HuffyPost?

It’s LGBT Pride Month at work! Are you sufficiently repentant, you mean old conservative, you?


www.gaydar.nl

Image via Wikipedia

I just got the company’s monthly diversity newsletter. Guess what? June is “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month”!  This year’s theme, at least at my place of employment, is about “Building Bridges”.

The problem I have with this “Gay Pride Month” stuff has less to do with the present, sexual behavior-driven culture than with the fact that if I were to propose a similar “Christian Pride Month”, I would get a pink slip quicker than I could drop the suggestion in the suggestion box.

Let’s break this down.

Without getting too specific (and therefore possibly raising red flags with my employer), the topic of the first diversity workshop this month is exclusively focused on teaching “straight” people to accept the LGBT culture within the company.

Question: How does a workshop on accepting sexual behaviors that I believe to be biologically and theologically incorrect help me to do my job better? Can’t I just “not ask” and “not be told” what certain folks’ sexual proclivities are and just get to the business at hand? I’m much happier with that option, thank you. Besides, nobody’s bothering to ask me what my sex life is all about. How are my co-workers going to be able to function professionally without this knowledge?

Another workshop proposes to show the financial and business gains to be had simply by ensuring that we focus our hiring efforts on homosexuals. Ok, correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t the point of fostering an atmosphere of “inclusion” to actually, you know, foster an atmosphere of inclusion by not saying that one group has an advantage over another?

If they’re making the case that “LGBT businesspeople are just as good as straight ones”, they’ve mangled the execution by titling the workshop to focus just on the advantages of hiring LGBT folks. The assumption that any rational human being would rightly make is that if a hiring manager has a pile of résumés on the desk, there are going to be at least a handful of LGBT applicants mixed in with “straight” ones and that the purpose of the workshop is to boost LGBT hires by persuading managers to favor the LGBT applicants.

And what is going to be the criteria by which a hiring manager selects an LGBT candidate over a straight one? Ask them in the interview? Last I heard, it was an EEOC no-no to ask deeply personal questions during a job interview. I’d be curious to know if there are LGBT folks putting their sexual orientation on their CVs to try to fish for some affirmative action. Straights, don’t try this trick at home. Common sense has long held that by putting the fact that you married someone of the opposite gender on your job application, you are putting your future employment at risk. Does the same no longer hold true for LGBT applicants?

But let’s cut through the crap. What this is really about is payback, pure and simple. A vocal minority of the population with an axe to grind has managed to capture the popular sexual-political zeitgeist and is using that as leverage to exact a bit of sweet revenge for their oppression.  The Indian (er, sorry, Native American, er, sorry, Disenfranchised Original Occupant) saying about walking a mile in another’s shoes is an apt one. If I were in their shoes, I guess I couldn’t resist the opportunity to “stick it to the man” either.

But what if you were “the man”. Further, let’s say that you, as “the man”, own a small to medium-sized business. Let’s also say you’re a Christian who believes in complete abstinence before heterosexual marriage and complete fidelity after heterosexual marriage, and you happen to support political causes that reflect those beliefs, not out of meanness, but out of a sense of attempting to recover a long-lost morality that used to make this nation great. Let’s also say that, like the majority of good Christians out there, you’re inclined to live as the Savior lived, accepting all kinds of people as the children of God they are and not excluding them, as the Pharisees did, simply because they’re struggling against temptations and natural (or unnatural) urges.

Would you hold a “Gay Pride Inclusion” month?  Or would you simply honor all human beings, 365 and one quarter days of the year, as ought to be the method of respecting our differences?

And can we do away with that word already? DIVersity = DIVision. I prefer the term “variety“. Besides, the only thing God divided at Creation was dark from light, night from day, evil from good. We are supposed to be one, not diverse.

Are we more selfish under capitalism or socialism?


Marley's ghost, from Charles Dickens: A Christ...

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Dennis Prager asks whether the welfare state creates a more selfish society or a more generous one.

The question has been part and parcel of the ongoing political debate around Obamacare and other federal entitlement programs on the chopping block in budget battles. Who do we trust more to administer charity to the masses…the federal government or the individual?

I’ve been told by a Progressive friend that it’s cruel and cavalier to think that government shouldn’t have a role in helping people because simply because life has no guaranteed outcomes.

I disagree.

It is not cruel or cavalier to point out what is obvious to everyone. Nobody can say that… from the moment they were born until today that they have been able to cheat the laws of probability and relative reaction 100% of the time. In fact, I think it would be a service to everyone if the “hard knocks” philosophy were taught in schools again as it once was. Sadly, that philosophy has morphed into “Whatever bad thing happens to you, the federal government will get you out of it.” It’s a ridiculous and naïve way to think, but it’s been seeping into our society over the past 85 years of social entitlement programs.

In thinking about this more, I was considering the “Dickensian England” state Progressives like to believe this nation to be in at the moment. It’s nowhere near that yet, but is about to be due to the government debt bubble threatening to burst as a result of runaway federal entitlement spending. I was reminded of Scrooge’s conversation with the two men seeking donations to charity from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In Googling the original text to make that point here, I found an excellent article published by Hillsdale College that makes my point much better than I could myself. (Emphasis and links are mine)

In the same year that Dickens published A Christmas Carol, Herbert Spencer published an essay, “The Proper Sphere of Government.” Spencer wrote that one of the most under-looked and most harmful effects of the Poor Laws of Britain – their welfare system – was that the wealthy would lose their sense of charity and feeling towards the less fortunate.

He put in an essay the very point that Scrooge was making in Dickens’s novel. Spencer wrote that wealthier classes would feel the annoyance towards the forced contributions to the poor that is evident in Scrooge’s response to the gentlemen that were asking him to help out the poor. One hundred and sixty-seven years on from Dickens and Spencer we must ask ourselves: Have we arrived at the point where we see those less fortunate than we as an annoyance, something to be taken care of by our government with the taxes taken out of our paychecks so we don’t have to be bothered to even think about them?

When the federal government takes your tax dollars to pay for someone else’s doctor’s visit you are not being charitable. You had no choice in the matter.

The federal bureaucrat who sent the doctor the check is not being charitable for he or she is spending your money, not theirs.

The doctor is not being charitable, for he is being paid for their service.

On the other hand, St. Peter’s Free Clinic in Hillsdale is an example of true charity. Volunteers provide the medical care and other services, local residents and churches provide donations to pay for the medicine and supplies, and those who receive the service recognize the love and respect that they are being given.

America remains the most charitable of all nations. Despite the recession, American charitable giving exceeded $300 billion in 2009. Probably every reader of this column has given to some charity this year. But this Christmas we should make an effort to examine how we can make the transition from a government that makes us into Scrooges to a government that gives us the opportunity to be truly philanthropic.

John Galt comments on Paul Krugman’s “America Goes Dark”


Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

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America Goes Dark, by every Progressive’s favorite economic demagogue and Obama cheerleader, Paul Krugman, blames America’s economic and infrastructural demise on…you guessed it…the greedy rich people hoarding all that cash.

However, a commenter at the end of the article really brought it home when he completely destroyed Krugman’s soliloquy with this brilliant bit of logical deconstruction, quoted here in full for posterity to review when they’ve run out of other people’s money.

I am a Democrat that voted for President Obama. I do not agree with Mr. Krugman’s government spending philosophy to get us out of the economic morass. Government finance is no different than an individual or a company… if you spend more than you make, you will go bankrupt. Mr. Krugman advocates that the government keep spending while we raise taxes on the rich to compensate.

Well, I guess I fall into his “rich” category. I own a global business. I employ 150 folks full-time in India, 60 folks full-time in the US and 5 in the UK. My company made a before tax profit of $1,800,000 last year. I personally bring home less per year than I pay in taxes. Why? Because as an LLC, every bit of profit I make is taxed on my personal taxes. I bring home around $185k and pay around $600,000 in federal taxes. The rest is plowed back into the company to hire more folks and buy additional infrastructure. Also, I pay employee health and dental care, retirement benefits, 401k matching, long and short term disability and dental. I don’t borrow anything to do this.

That extra 4% of federal taxes (once the Bush tax cuts expire) will cost me an additional $70,000 or so. On top of that, the President advocates increasing the cap on Self Employment tax. The new taxes would add an additional $22,000. I am looking at around $92k in total additional taxes. So, some of you would say deduct from your $185k take home. Others would say, simply don’t hire an additional two employees or cut some of those rich benefits you give to your employees.

Either way I go, you have just taken $92,000 out of the hands of someone who can use that money to increase America’s wealth… either by adding employees or buying additional computers, etc. So, since the government will take it from me… where should that money go? To bailing out banks? How about bailing out someone in foreclosure? Hmmm… maybe you could use it to bail out the states or the local governments. California perhaps? How about Bell, California?

I don’t see how that helps America, Mr. Krugman.