Nixon White House Redivivus?

Chronicle responds after Obama Administration punishes reporter for using multimedia, then claims they didn’t

In a pants-on-fire moment, the White House press office today denied anyone there had issued threats to remove Carla Marinucci and possibly other Hearst reporters from the press pool covering the President in the Bay Area.

Chronicle editor Ward Bushee called the press office on its fib:

Sadly, we expected the White House to respond in this manner based on our experiences yesterday. It is not a truthful response. It follows a day of off-the-record exchanges with key people in the White House communications office who told us they would remove our reporter, then threatened retaliation to Chronicle and Hearst reporters if we reported on the ban, and then recanted to say our reporter might not be removed after all.

The Chronicle’s report is accurate.

The Chief recently had occasion to read Stanley Kutler’s Wars of Watergate, his comprehensive examination of the Nixon White House’s relations with the press (and everyone else for that matter!), which was legendarily sub-optimal. Looks like B.O. and Carney, his appropriately named press shill are continuing that sorry tradition.

Of all the Presidents his worshipful lib/prog fan club would have expected B.O. to emulate, one has to wonder whether the one and only “Tricky Dick” was their first choice! Just wondering…

DakotaCon: Who’s Watching you?

The Chief had the opportunity to attend the DakotaCon 1 computer security conference at Dakota State University, over in Madison.  The day-long event featured presentations by a number of different speakers from the world of deep geekdom, with handles (noms de guerre) like DCFlux, Moxie Marlinspike, Kingpin (a.k.a. Joe Grand), and even normally tagged presenters Jared DeMott, and NSA’s Dave Garland.

The talks were very interesting…and covered topics ranging from “hardware hacking” situations and workshop skills, as well as various social and economic consequences of the rapidly evolving state of the digital world in its various forms.  Well worth the investment of time…especially since the price was right…no charge!

While not on the scale of major hacking/security conferences like DEFCON, Black Hat, and Schmoocon to name a few, it brought some serious stuff that bears close attention as we apparently move ever more fully into involvement with and membership in a rapidly evolving digital world.

Moxie’s presentation specifically covered aspects of the privacy (or lack thereof) issues associated with the oncoming (and future) generations of cell phones, so when I saw the following it definitely rang a bell:

Snooping: It’s not a crime, it’s a feature
New apps hijack the microphone in your cell phone to listen in on your life

Cellphone users say they want more privacy, and app makers are listening. No, they’re not listening to user requests. They’re literally listening to the sounds in your office, kitchen, living room and bedroom.

A new class of smartphone app has emerged that uses the microphone built into your phone as a covert listening device — a “bug,” in common parlance. But according to app makers, it’s not a bug. It’s a feature!

The apps use ambient sounds to figure out what you’re paying attention to. It’s the next best thing to reading your mind.
Your phone is listening

The issue was brought to the world’s attention recently on a podcast called This Week in Tech. Host Leo Laporte and his panel shocked listeners by unmasking three popular apps that activate your phone’s microphone to collect sound patterns from inside your home, meeting, office or wherever you are.

The apps are Color, Shopkick and IntoNow, all of which activate the microphones in users’ iPhone or Android devices in order to gather contextual information that provides some benefit to the user.

YIKES! The Chief thought it would be sort of neat to have a Droid phone. (Except for the slight detail that there is nearly no reliability of signal at his rural outpost, and the other detail of the cost of the airtime that he would like to use. Oh well. maybe it’s just as well.)

So what can they REALLY find out? 

You should know that any data that can be gathered, will be gathered. Since the new microphone-hijacking apps are still around, we now know that listening in on users is OK. So, what’s possible with current technology?
By listening in on your phone, capturing “patterns,” then sending that data back to servers, marketers can determine the following:

  • Your gender, and the gender of people you talk to.
  • Your approximate age, and the ages of the people you talk to.
  • What time you go to bed, and what time you wake up.
  • What you watch on TV and listen to on the radio.
  • How much of your time you spend alone, and how much with others.
  • Whether you live in a big city or a small town.
  • What form of transportation you use to get to work.

In the early 70′s the Chief had the acquaintance of a highly unconventional electronics and media mavin who at the time was running an alternative FM station (KDNA) in St. Louis.  His often repeated admonition was “assume that anything you say can have someone else listenting” as the only sure-fire way to maintain privacy.  I’m not sure his warning was ENTIRELY true at the time…but if not, the way things have developed now have made him into a prophet…now that I think of it, he literally had the name of a prophet too!  Believe it or not, your choice.

Needed: A Proper Hardball Approach…

This essay bears close attention, and IMHO is right on target….

ENEMIES!

Opponents or Enemies?

In any conflict, it is a deadly error to mistake or underestimate the adversary’s capabilities, will to employ them, or ultimate goals.

Around the globe, what was once confidently deemed “Western civilisation” is in an end-stage battle with champions of a collectivist and statist ideology which, over the last century, has enacted programs of redistributive taxation, borrowing, and spending whose unsustainability has now become self-evident and which, unless the present course is altered, will collapse in at most ten years. Further, the second- and higher-order effects of these policies have led to demographic collapse in the societies which have adopted them, crippled capital formation and the creation of productive enterprises, and been used as a justification for mass immigration from regions hostile to the culture and values of the West which have been responsible for its prosperity.

Those who would destroy a society, destroy first its language. As Orwell observed, when the terms of discourse are corrupted, the corruption spreads into every domain the language is used to debate. So deep has this language rot penetrated, that it is difficult to write an essay like this without succumbing to it—that is the intent of those who spread the contagion. The present-day culprits identify themselves as “progressives” or “liberals”. Take a step back and ponder how manipulative this is: if you’re a “progressive”, then you must obviously be on the side of progress, even though the outcome of the policies you advocate will ultimately roll back all of the advances in individual liberty and prosperity made since the Enlightenment; if you’re a “liberal”, surely you must advocate liberty, notwithstanding that the consequences of your prescriptions will be descent of society into serfdom for the masses, deemed property of the state, ruled by an unelected, unaccountable élite.

These so-called “progressives” or “liberals” are not advocates of progress or liberty: they are enemies of them, and the sooner champions of liberty acknowledge what they are, the better our slim chances for defeating them will be. Libertarians and conservatives are inclined toward civil discourse and respect for the rule of law. They must come to terms with the fact that their enemies—not opponents—are implacable, bent on winning whatever the cost may be, willing to use any means whatsoever to prevail and, once triumphant, to deprive their opposition of the means to reverse or even impede the implementation of their agenda.

They are enemies.

What is to be done?
In the middle of World War II, would it have made sense for Roosevelt and Churchill to have arranged a secret meeting with Hirohito and Tojo to try to “work out their differences” and “find a middle ground” where, say, Imperial Japan would be allowed to keep half of its conquests in the Pacific? Of course not: Japan was the enemy, and only its definitive defeat could undo the damage its conquests had wrought.

Enemies of individual liberty control the high ground today in most of the institutions through which they have made their long march in the last half century, and they perceive themselves as winning: with every generation they educate, inform, entertain, and rule, they create more dependent subjects who acquiesce to their rule and groom a new self-perpetuating class of élite. They are not people who have a different vision of how to create a society in which the aspirations of the majority of the people for themselves and their families will be achieved, but rather aspiring rulers of infantilised subjects dependent upon the largesse of their betters.

How does one deal with enemies? To survive and prosper, one does not negotiate with them—one defeats them. There is no “reasonable, achievable compromise” between liberty and tyranny, freedom and slavery. One must vanquish the tyrants and slaveholders and ensure that their spawn cannot reinfect society.

We will never defeat them as long as we view them as “opponents” who play by the same rules and share the same goals as we. They are enemies, and must be completely defeated and removed from the political stage. That is how they view us—they have no desire to compromise but rather intend to destroy us. [emphasis added] Until we take the battle to the enemy with an equal fierceness, we shall have no hope of success. Here are a few things we can do, starting immediately, once we come to terms with the fact we’re confronted with an enemy, not a well-meaning opponent.

Reclaim the language from the enemy.
We should have a “swear jar” for every time we utter the words “liberal” or “progressive” except in scornful irony. May I suggest “statist”, “collectivist”, “socialist”, or “communist” as alternatives?

Do not trade with the enemy.
Do not patronise businesses which support enemy causes; by doing so you support them yourself. While an individual choosing not to be a customer of a mega-corporation has negligible impact, millions of like-minded people deciding to go elsewhere can. On the local scale, telling the owner of the pharmacy who’s posted a petition supporting socialised medicine that he’s just lost your business and why does have an impact—I did this two weeks ago myself.

Don’t be taken in by enemy propaganda.
The mainstream media are almost entirely in the hands of the enemy. Help to make them the legacy media by ignoring everything they say, not subscribing to their enemy propaganda. Rely instead on first-hand reporting on the Internet whose veracity you can judge based on a network of trusted sources who comment upon it.

Do not entrust your children to the enemy. So-called “public schools” (the correct term is “government schools”, since in recent decades the public—parents—have lost all control over them) have been entirely captured by the enemy and become institutions of indoctrination and moral corruption which fail at teaching even basic skills. It is parental malfeasance verging on child abuse to send one’s offspring to these corrupt, corrupting, and nonperforming schools. If you cannot afford a well-run private or religious school (most have per-pupil costs well below that of government schools, but of course you have to pay that tuition on top of your taxes supporting the failed government schools), consider home-schooling your children, perhaps in conjunction with other like-minded parents. Even if you can afford it, don’t assume a private or religious school supports your values; talk to parents of students enrolled there and teachers: if they show signs of being enemies, don’t send your kids there.

Do not become indebted to the enemy. Higher education is overwhelmingly in the hands of the enemy. One of the greatest scams in recent decades has been the explosion in tuition and fees, which results in graduates of four-year and postgraduate programs burdened with six-figure debt they’re forced to pay off in the key years they should be saving to accumulate capital for starting a family, buying a house, educating their children, and retirement. This is not accidental: by blocking capital formation in people’s key earning years, they are rendered dependent upon the state for their retirement and health care in old age, which is precisely the intent.

What élite universities and professional schools provide for the exorbitant fee is a credential which offers entry into the ranks of the enemy, and the “education” they provide is indoctrination in the enemy’s belief system. If you need a credential, shop around and get what you require at a price that doesn’t sink you into debt throughout your peak earning years. Unless you’ve bought into the enemy’s credential game, where you went to college will be irrelevant after you’ve had a few years of job experience.

Do not hire the enemy. Are you an employer? Why should you pay those who support the destruction of your livelihood? In our information-intense age, nothing could be easier than determining the political affiliations and contributions of applicants for employment, as well as their sentiments posted on public fora. If they are enemies, don’t hire them. You wouldn’t hire somebody without a police background check to make sure they weren’t a crook, would you? So why should you employ an enemy who will use your paycheck to destroy the values you cherish and spread the enemy’s perverted belief system among co-workers?

Roll back the enemy’s gains. One of the enemy’s key intellectual force multipliers is the concept of the “ratchet”: that any movement in their direction is irreversible and that consequently the debate is only about how rapidly one will arrive at their destination. Those who view the enemy as an “opposition” fall for this completely—in effect, their slogan becomes, “We’ll deliver you unto serfdom, but later than the other guys”. This is not how one deals with an enemy: they must be definitively defeated, removed from all positions of influence, and their pathological beliefs cleansed from the society. Any politician who speaks about “reaching across the aisle” or intellectual who grants any legitimacy to the anti-human, liberty-destroying nostrums of the collectivists is a fool at best and a collaborator at worst. Failing to acknowledge that an enemy is an enemy is to preemptively surrender.

We do not compromise with enemy politicians; we defeat them, regardless of the political party from which they hail. If they’re enemies of freedom and the other party’s candidate is worse, challenge them in the primary.

We do not consent to enemy occupation of the media. These are businesses, and we will withdraw our support from them by letting subscriptions lapse and withdrawing advertising from them. This will provoke a “circulation collapse” death spiral for them. All public funding and subsidies for media must be defeated.

We choose not to fund enemy occupation of our educational institutions. All taxpayer-supported institutions must have their funding made contingent upon abolition of tenure (from kindergarten through university professorships) and retention based upon objective measures of merit by third parties outside the academic system.

In the U.S., many state judges are elected; Federal judges are not, and have lifetime tenure. But their courts are funded by the legislature, which can abolish them with the consent of the executive. Abolish abusive and misbehaving courts, and create new ones, and let that serve as a lesson to those who would legislate from the bench.

If you’ve gotten this far, go to the site and read the rest!

Continuing Economic Malaise

A couple of items here that speak for themselves.

Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise; Inflation Pressure Grows

New claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, bouncing back above the key 400,000 level, while core producer prices clumbed faster than expected in March, government reports showed on Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 412,000, the Labor Department said.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 380,000.

The prior weeks figure was revised up to 385,000 from the previously reported 382,000.

The four-week moving average of unemployment claims—a better measure of underlying trends—climbed 5,500 to 395,750.

And on the inflation front:

U.S. core producer prices rose slightly faster than expected in March and the increase from a year ago was the largest since August 2009, pointing to a broadening in pipeline inflation pressures.

Of course these calculations EXCLUDE food and energy costs…but hey, everyone knows that these don’t affect most people anyway, do they?!

More Americans leaving workforce

The share of the population that is working fell to its lowest level last year since women started entering the workforce in large numbers three decades ago, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record.

Doesn’t exactly suggest a vibrant economy, does it?

Donkey Party Leader Dumps on Democracy

Nancy Pelosi: ‘Elections Shouldn’t Matter as Much as They Do’

Amazing! You couldn’t make this up!

Perhaps it’s sour grapes, or perhaps it’s a recent reawakening, but in a speech by Nancy Pelosi at Tufts University earlier this week, the former speaker of the House had some advice for her Republican colleagues in particular and some reflections on elections in general:… “But the fact is that elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do.”

The application of logic dictates then that she feels that vox populi is something overrated and worthy of fear. Curious that she’s in a party that labels itself “Democratic”.

MORE Food Nazis!

Chicago school bans some lunches brought from home

You just had to know that things would come to this, based on what has already been going on with regulation nad legislation dictating the availability and use of food. It is LITERALLY not too far out to call these types of food police Nazis. Hitler WOULD have approved…he was a strict vegetarian, tee-totaler, and non-smoker, although even he wasn’t ready to enforce his personal preferences on others…yet. Fortunately he met his fate, and that problem went away, at least until its latest revival.

To encourage healthful eating, Chicago school doesn’t allow kids to bring lunches or certain snacks from home — and some parents, and many students, aren’t fans of the policy

What’s next? 2-way “telescreens” with compulsory daily physical exercise under surveillance monitoring a-la 1984? What’s scary about that concept, is that we now have the technology to actually pull that off!

A Latin tag comes to mind: NON SUPER NOS – “You ain’t the boss of us!”

Fighting Over Chump Change!

CORRECTION!

Ooops! The Chief’s percentages listed below are off a bit, due to his use of an incorrect total for the proposed 2011 non-budget. The really bad news part of this is that the outcome is even worse than before…in other words the actual “chump change” at the center of the current dogfight is even LESS significant than previously calculated. Corrected figures are plugged in at the appropriate places in the post:

White House Summit Fails to Yield Budget Deal as Shutdown Approaches

What a total joke!

President Obama, after a high-stakes meeting Wednesday night with congressional leaders at the White House, called the discussion “frank” and “constructive” but said no budget deal was reached.

“If we are serious about getting something done we should be able to complete a deal, get it passed and avert a shutdown,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room, though it remained unclear how the two sides would forge such an agreement.

Unfortunately this whole discussion is a virtual farce!
According to the Washington Post, the Donkey Party has expressed willingness to accept a whopping $23B cut at this time. That represents approx. a 1.6% 0.7% cut. The GOP on the other hand is currently thumping for a righteous and allegedly draconian $40B cutback, which is about a 3% 1.2% cut. So, do the math…the big brouhaha (ha ha ha indeed!) is about a difference of $17B, a huge difference of 1.4% 0.5% of the total budget!

Yep! Just imagine for comparison purposes what would happen to your personal or family budget if you were forced to confront a massive 3% 0.5% loss of income – 1/2 cent per dollar! Definitely a case of being reduced to dumpster diving and hitchhiking? It is according to Pelosi, Reid, et al. Doubtful however in reality, unless you are a bigger dolt than the Congresscritters fighting about the arrangement of deck chairs on the listing titanic ship of state.

Getting Down to Business in Space

T minus two years: World’s most powerful rocket set to launch by late 2013

The most powerful rocket since the Apollo missions has been unveiled and is set to launch in 2013. The Falcon 9-Heavy will be able to put 53tonnes of satellites or spacecraft into orbit – more than twice the amount its closest rival, the Delta IV Heavy, can carry.

Falcon Heavy’s first stage will be made up of three nine-engine cores and will be powered with Merlin engines, currently being tested in Texas.

Elon Musk, chief executive and designer of Space Exploration Technologies, said: ‘Falcon Heavy will carry more payload to orbit or escape velocity than any vehicle in history, apart from the Saturn V moon rocket, which was decommissioned after the Apollo programme. ‘This opens a new world of capability for both government and commercial space missions.’

The space craft is due to arrive in Vandenberg, California, at the end of next year with plans for a lift-off from Cape Canaveral as early as late 2013 or 2014. At lift-off, Falcon Heavy will generate 3.8million lbs of thrust – equal to the thrust of 15 Boeing 747s taking off at the same time.

YES!

Whatever NASA was able to accomplish in the past, it’s obvious that it has outgrown its usefulness, and with the budget situation that we are dealing with, we have better uses for our money than by spending it on a bunch of subsidized science and (unfortuantely) junk-science projects that don’t have enough significance to earn funding from anyone except governmental bureaucrats who themselves are in search of a real life. (“The bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”)

So, where does that leave us in terms of space? Turning it over to private venture capitalism. The alternative is to concede the ultimate geopolitical “high ground” to the Russians and the ChiComs, and isn’t THAT a cheering thought! (NOT!)

With the capability of SpaceX’s machine, there’s no reason to stop at low earth orbit. With Musk, and others who are working on developing private spaceflight, there’s no reason not to get back to the Moon. (A good source of abundant Tritium…useful for fusion energy reactors. Any use for THAT these days? Hmmmm?)

Here’s a related vid clip from SpaceX…included because IMHO it’s just cool in it’s own right, and features SpaceX’s manned flight system that is currently under development.

Blognote

Admittedly there has been a bit of pyrotechnics going on in Washington, and elsewhere…but really, for the most part there’s not much of it that’s qualitatively different, so it hasn’t elicited that certain indefinable response that compels an answer. Hence the minor blog hiatus.

In itself, this can, and probably is a danger…if everyone responds that way, then the lilliputian yahoos who are running the brobdingnagian monstrosity that the multi-trillion government has turned into will have their unobstructed way…speaking of an even greater danger…so, forward once again into the breach!