Monday, September 9, 2013

Bloomberg:Dear NSA, Thanks for Making Us All Insecure

Photograph by Mark Viker/Getty Images
Comments in red mine... -Bill

Definition of PANGLOSSIAN

: marked by the view that all is for the best in this best of possible worlds : excessively optimistic

Pangloss, optimistic tutor in Voltaire's Candide (1759)
First Known Use: 1831

Dear NSA, Thanks for Making Us All Insecure
By David Meyer September 06, 2013
Dear stupid, stupid NSA,

I’ve got to hand it to you: As an agency set up with the task of breaking codes and spying on people, you seem to be doing a pretty sterling job.

You and your counterparts in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand (and possibly elsewhere) are able to monitor most of the communications flowing around the world. You appear to have successfully subverted the American Web services that everyone uses, and you’ve used the value and size of the U.S. market to bring all manner of Internet backbone providers and hardware vendors on-side too.

Now we also know that you have—in your own words—some capabilities against the encryption in TLS/SSL, HTTPS, SSH, VPNs, VoIP, WEBMAIL, and other network communication technologies. So even if it takes a fair amount of effort (unlike your indiscriminate data-trawling techniques), that’s basic Internet security out the window then. Nicely done.

We’re still pretty sure that strong cryptography [Project XIII uses AES strong encryption] is safe (Edward Snowden said so, and he’s yet to be proven wrong on this stuff), but even there it’s not unreasonable to suspect you can muscle your way in if the situation merits it.

Again, well played, maybe.

However, you’ve not stopped at code breaking—you have also made sure that vulnerabilities have been inserted into commercial encryption systems, IT systems, networks, and endpoint communications devices used by targets.

Here’s where the stupidity creeps in: You actively work to influence policies, standards, and specifications for commercial public key technologies and shape the worldwide commercial cryptography marketplace to make it more tractable to advanced cryptanalytic capabilities being developed by yourself.

In other words, instead of just building a better lock pick, you are trying to make sure that all locks are faulty by design.

What is so jaw-droppingly idiotic about your actions is that you have not only subverted key elements of modern cryptography, but you have also appointed yourself as the guardian of the knowledge that the resulting vulnerabilities exist. And if your own security systems were up to the task, then those secrets wouldn’t be sitting in the offices of the New York Times and ProPublica.

Elizabeth Warren on the Supreme Court...

Mishap At The Money Factory Delays $100 Bill Release

Mishap At The Money Factory Delays $100 Bill Release
September 6, 2013 11:21 PM

MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – Imagine having $3 billion in cash sitting in front of you, teasing you – that you couldn't use. That’s what happened to the Federal Reserve this year because the country’s money factory messed up.

One of America’s most familiar exports is the $100 bill.

“We estimate that as many as two-thirds of all $100 notes circulate outside the United States,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“It’s certainly one of the most valuable bills to counterfeit,” Ben Mazzotta said, a currency expert from The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

The Mint was supposed to print a new design back in 2011. However, they keep botching the bill. The first batch ended up with a blank spot, and the second round was lifted by thieves on their way to the Federal Reserve.

Now, the problem is excess ink. [Really? Seriously???]
“Ironically it appears to be not those advanced features. It’s the way the paper they are using for this generation of printing is responding to the weight of the printing press,” Mazzotta said.

The error could cost taxpayers about $4 million because the current bill costs 7.8 cents to produce, compared to 12.6 for the new one.

A blue ribbon is woven into the middle of the bill with alternating 100′s and Liberty Bells that move when the paper is tilted.

A copper inkwell contains a Liberty Bell inside it that turns green when moved.

“Certainly it’s much harder to counterfeit the new bill than the old… every year that passes makes counterfeiting their old $100 bills that much easier,” Mazzotta said.

The government says crisp new bills should be ready to change hands by Oct. 8. Then the arms race against counterfeiters begins again.

A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing says less than 1 percent of the $100 bills they shipped were affected.

The bureau plans to send the bulk of that batch back to the Federal Reserve, and the Fed does have a sufficient supply to release on Oct. 8.

Read all about it.

These videos will be doing the speaking today.
I love you.
I have seen you.  You are extraordinary.  You are heartbreaking, breathtaking, tender, compassionate and whole.  You are every wonderful thing that Source could imagine.  You are lesser than none.  You are not lazy or criminal or in need of  any correction.  You know truth. You hold every card.  You know your power and have waited all this time to use it. 
It is an honor to share this moment with you.  I tremble with anticipation at what you will do next.  The truth, the love, the answer, is you.
It is you that you are waiting for. 
The last song was shared with us from our off world contact.  There are some others, as well as an update, found here:

Who Am I?

Why is Jeb Bush giving Hillary Clinton an award?

If you look at 2 party politics, this seems bizarre, but not so bizarre if they were always on the same side... Everyone gets distracted by polarity misdirection game in politics, but have the policies changed any since George HW Bush's term?  Not really...  -Bill

Why is Jeb Bush giving Hillary Clinton an award?
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a possible GOP 2016 White House contender, has agreed to honor Hillary Clinton with an award from the National Constitution Center, for which Mr. Bush is chairman of the board of trustees.

By Jennifer Skalka Tulumello, Correspondent / September 3, 2013

The Christian Science Monitor
Weekly Digital Edition

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a possible GOP 2016 White House contender, has agreed to honor Hillary Rodham Clinton, a leading Democratic presidential hopeful, with an award from the National Constitution Center, for which Mr. Bush is chairman of the board of trustees.

“Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy,” Bush said in a statement. “These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year’s Liberty Medal.”

Cue the outrage!

The Independence Hall Tea Party Association, a group local to the Philadelphia area, where the National Constitution Center is also based, is none too pleased with Bush’s decision. Girding itself for next week’s ceremony, the organization released a statement Monday calling the episode “extremely distressing.” The event, it also noted, will fall almost a year after the attack at the US mission in Benghazi, Libya.

It was on Clinton’s watch as secretary of State that the attack occurred, killing the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Some, conservatives in particular, still question her role in the tragedy and whether she and others in the administration could have done more to prevent it. They also allege a coverup.

The organization faults Bush, meanwhile, for lavishing “glowing praise” on Clinton.

The S&P Fraud Case as Theater of the Absurd

The S&P Fraud Case as Theater of the Absurd
By Paul M. Barrett  September 04, 2013
Sometimes litigation throws such weird light on business and human affairs that it’s best to view the proceedings as ironic commentary on the underlying issues, rather than a rational search for truth, let alone justice. Such is the case with Standard & Poor’s defense against the federal government’s $5 billion fraud lawsuit.

The Justice Department, as you’ll recall, has accused S&P (MHFI) of helping cause the 2008 financial crash by inflating its ratings of esoteric subprime-backed securities. The company’s purported motive: pleasing the investment banks that pay its fees. The rating agency’s first line of defense was that it couldn’t be held liable for its claims of integrity because no sensible investor would believe its “AAA” rubber stamp.

In July, a federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif., brusquely rejected S&P’s “mere puffery” defense. If one read between the lines of his ruling, U.S. District Judge David Carter seemed incredulous that a company that bases its reputation on independent judgment would maintain with a straight face that it’s immune from legal consequences because no one takes its judgment seriously. “If no investor believed in S&P’s objectivity,” the judge wrote, “is S&P asserting that, as a matter of law, the company’s credit ratings service added absolutely zero material value as a predictor of creditworthiness? It seemed like something from the theater of the absurd.

Now S&P has a new pitch that would make Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco proud. The rating company has accused the Obama administration of “retaliation” for S&P’s downgrade of U.S. creditworthiness in 2011. “Only S&P Ratings downgraded the United States and only S&P Ratings has been sued by the United States, even though the S&P ratings challenged by the United States were no different than those of at least one other rating agency and other rating agencies have made the same assertions of ‘independence’ that are challenged in the complaint as against S&P,” the New York-based company said in the Sept. 3 court filing. In August 2011, S&P downgraded the U.S.’s 60-year-running “AAA” credit rating to “AA+” with a “negative outlook.”

The government, unsurprisingly, denies that its suit is merely a gesture of revenge. The Justice Department responded to questions about S&P’s filing by citing a Feb. 5 press conference announcing the case during which Associate Attorney General Tony West said there was “no connection” to the downgrade. S&P has presented no plausible evidence—in the form of memos or whistle-blower testimony—to support its retaliatory conspiracy charge.

More interesting than the pretrial finger-pointing itself are the bizarre, if inadvertent, incongruities S&P continues to highlight in court. Having initially gone with don’t-mind-our-puffery, S&P proceeds to invite comparisons between its woefully inaccurate (and suspiciously rosy) precrisis ratings and its so-far woefully inaccurate 2011 prediction that the entire U.S. government had become a less reliable investment. S&P was dead wrong about subprime securities during the housing bubble, and as the U.S. economy has slowly recovered from recession, it has been wrong again about the safety of buying Treasury securities. Maybe S&P is still trying to prove its point that no one ought to take it seriously.

S&P’s retaliation defense also highlights that its rivals, Moody’s (MCO) and Fitch, issued ratings similar to S&P’s and yet haven’t been named as defendants. Granted, the Justice Department hasn’t explained why it singled out S&P. Yet if one thinks about this a little more, S&P’s objection isn’t much different from that of any target of government law enforcement. It’s always sort of unfair when the feds go after some but not all alleged offenders. Unable to police misconduct on a truly systematic basis, the authorities often crack down on one high-profile player to send a message to the marketplace. The unlucky recipient of the government’s unmerciful attention almost always feels persecuted. Just ask Steven Cohen and his hedge-fund firm SAC Capital Advisors. The question is not whether “everyone is doing it”—it’s whether the Justice Department can show by means of testimony and documents that you did it.

Can the government make its case against S&P? That’s far from obvious. There’s a big difference between incompetence and fraud. Eventually, S&P will have to narrow its defense to the matter of whether its closely followed and highly lucrative predictions were faulty or dishonest. In the meantime, enjoy the strange theater.

New Boss Same as the Old Boss

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