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In the garden: Maine monsoon

From the porch:

Impressive. Read below the fold...

Pentagon to send "advisors" to Ukraine

I hate to link to the Washington Times but:

A team of Pentagon officials is heading to Ukraine to help the country rebuild its fractured military, a mission that lawmakers and analysts expect will result in recommendations for greater military assistance [funding] in the country’s fight against pro-Russia separatists [funding] amid international outrage [funding] over the downing of a commercial airplane.

Read below the fold...

The Intercept publishes Obama's manual for pre-crime, otherwise known as "Watchlisting Guidance"

These people are out of their minds. Here's how a "nominator" puts you on the terraist watchlist. This is the actual government prose:

“To meet the REASONABLE SUSPICION standard, the NOMINATOR, based on the totality of the circumstances, must rely upon articulable intelligence or information which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrants a determination that an individual is known or suspected to be or has been knowingly engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to TERRORISM and/or TERRORIST ACTIVITIES.”

Shorter: If the nominator thinks it's a good idea. Maybe because they guys in the office were passing round some sex photos and wanted more. Read below the fold...

Andrew Cuomo is not only a horrible human being, he's corrupt

The Times, amazingly enough:

Mr. Cuomo said early on that the commission would be “totally independent” and free to pursue wrongdoing anywhere in state government, including in his own office. “Anything they want to look at, they can look at — me, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller, any senator, any assemblyman,” he said last August.

Great! Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Whoops. That's what the Democrats get for trying to out-pander the Republican on military issues. Read below the fold...

mellon's picture

A huge find from Maine: Do Obama and the 3 "free trade agreements" have a hidden agenda of using "free trade", "standstill","ratchet" and ISDS lock-in as a scam or pretext to block affordable public health care in the US?

You know how sometimes you're looking around for something and can't find it and then it suddenly turns up and it was right in front of you, but just somewhere you forgot to look? Well, this 2006 PDF "DRAFT Assessment—for Citizen Trade Policy Commission review Report to the Health Care Subcommittee of the Maine CTPC" contains a totally on topic explanation of the core free-trade-agreement vs. affordable health care issues from, of all places, Lambert's home state of Maine. Read below the fold...

Ukraine and MH17: Villagers reported to have seen BUKs, US intelligence officials say a lot of stuff

The Guardian on the villagers:

Just before lunchtime last Thursday, prior to the Malaysia Airlines plane's takeoff, a Buk was driven through Gagarin Street, one of the central thoroughfares of Torez, witnesses said.

Torez would later be the town where bodies of the victims were loaded on to refrigerated train cars. The tarmac on Gagarin Street is strewn with ruts made by tank treads, and locals say armoured vehicles controlled by separatists driving through the town have become a regular occurrence in recent weeks. The convoy last Thursday was different, however.

"We were inside and heard a noise much louder than usual," said one shopkeeper, who did not want to be identified. "We came running out and saw a jeep disappearing into the distance with something much larger in front of it. Later, customers said it had been a missile carrier."

In another shop further down the street, there was talk of a convoy of two jeeps and a missile launcher covered in a net driving past in the direction of the town of Snizhne. "I've never seen anything like it," said a middle-aged woman. She said her husband showed her a photograph of a Buk launcher afterwards and she realised that was indeed what she had seen. A group of men also said they had seen a Buk.

There have been suggestions that the missile was fired from fields on the outskirts of Snizhne. Many in Torez did not want to speak about the Buk or claimed not to have heard anything about it. Others said the missile's journey through the town had been a talking point in recent days, but people were scared of divulging too much to outsiders. None of those who reported sightings of the Buk wanted their names published.

OK, actual reporting. That's progress. The story end this way: Read below the fold...

Use "Apple Configurator" from the Apple store to protect yourself from back doors Apple built into iOS?

Here's an interesting, by which I mean chilking, article from ZD Net:

Forensic scientist and author Jonathan Zdziarski has posted the slides (PDF) from his talk at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference in New York called Identifying Backdoors, Attack Points, and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices. 

The HOPE conference started in 1994 and bills itself as "one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world."

Zdziarski, better known as the hacker "NerveGas" in the iPhone development community, worked as dev-team member on many of the early iOS jailbreaks and is the author of five iOS-related O’Reilly books including "Hacking and Securing iOS Applications." ...

In his talk, Zdziarski demonstrates "a number of undocumented high-value forensic services running on every iOS device" and "suspicious design omissions in iOS that make collection easier." He also provides examples of forensic artifacts acquired that "should never come off the device" without user consent.

Zdziarski also notes that simply screen-locking an iPhone doesn't encrypt the data; the only true way to encrypt data is to shut down/power off the iPhone. "Your device is almost always at risk of spilling all data, since it’s almost always authenticated, even while locked." This is made possible by undocumented services running on every iOS device, according to Zdziarski's presentation:

Read the whole thing just so you can cross any rationalizations for what Apple is doing off your list.

And here's how you protect yourself by finding those services and nuking them: Read below the fold...

MSNBC President Phil Griffin micromanages pro-Israel "coverage," fires only Palestinian contributor, Rula Jebreal

Top-down pressure:

[Rula Jebreal] said that in her two years as an MSNBC contributor, she had protested the network’s slanted coverage repeatedly in private conversations with producers. “I told them we have a serious issue here,” she explained. “But everybody’s intimidated by this pressure and if it’s not direct then it becomes self-censorship.”

With her criticism of her employer’s editorial line, she has become the latest casualty of the pro-Israel pressure. “I have been told to my face that I wasn’t invited on to shows because I was Palestinian,” Jebreal remarked. “I didn’t believe it at the time. Now I believe it.”

An NBC producer speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Jebreal’s account, describing to me a top-down intimidation campaign aimed at presenting an Israeli-centric view of the attack on the Gaza Strip. The NBC producer told me that MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC executives are micromanaging coverage of the crisis, closely monitoring contributors’ social media accounts and engaging in a “witch hunt” against anyone who strays from the official line.

“Loyalties are now being openly questioned,” the producer commented.

Oh? Loyalty to whom? Or what? Read below the fold...

mellon's picture

The Number Two Reason Canadian Healthcare is Free And Equal to All Canadians

Over the last few weeks we've been seeing a drama slowly unfold in the UK. We in the US should be watching this very closely, because our own fate is closely tied to the fate of the Brits. Unfortunately, the US media, controlled as it is by five corporations, is almost completely blanking out the UK story. And the very few US stories that have mentioned it are neglecting to tell us the core issues at all, of course. Why? Because it's a trip down the rabbit hole they call neoliberalism. Read below the fold...

Putting the political in "political economy"

Golem XIV asks and answers a very interesting question:

What do the stock or bond markets  measure?

Think you know the answer? Read on. Read below the fold...

Router update

So far, so good. Faster, no dropped connections. Read below the fold...

Contradictory court decisions on ObamaCare

Modern Health Care:

Federal judges in Richmond., Va., unanimously upheld the legality of subsidies for insurance exchanges in every state Tuesday. The ruling came roughly two hours after a panel of judges in Washington ruled subsidies on federal exchanges were illegal under language in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

I should have more later, assuming I'm able to fix the fucking router, but let me lay down the marker. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

In the garden: Is this a weed?

This purple flower is pollinator magnet. But what is it?

Read below the fold...


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