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Tor could be hijacked, says co-founder. And it’s not decentralized

NSA uses Google ads to track Tor users

NSA can use Google ads to track Tor users

Tor’s nine “directory authority” servers could be compromised and traffic sent elsewhere, says Tor co-founder Roger Dingledine. Even worse, several of those crucial servers are managed by people working for the government. Did I mention Tor is heavily funded by the government and Dingledine worked at NSA one summer? Conspiracy buffs, start your engines.

It appears we’ve all bit a bit misled by how Tor works. It’s not decentralized at all.

Yes, we said “centralized.” For all the talk about Tor being a totally independent ad-hoc system that operates outside the realm of anyone’s control, it does in fact have a highly centralized network architecture that’s run by key Tor developers and insiders. There are currently nine directory authorities — one is run by Tor developer Jacob Appelbaum, while another is run by Tor cofounder Dingledine himself.

The administrators of these directory authorities have a lot of power over the way information is routed through Tor — including the ability to prevent certain Tor nodes from taking an active part in the network. Which is interesting considering that several of the people in charge of managing the routing system are drawing their salaries from Pentagon and State Department grants.

Dingeldine says the attack is imminent. He’s hardly reassuring about their ability to stop it

The Tor Project has learned that there may be an attempt to incapacitate our network in the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers in the network called directory authorities. (Directory authorities help Tor clients learn the list of relays that make up the Tor network.) We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use.

We hope that this attack doesn’t occur.

So, if Tor remains safe, why is he worried enough about a possible attack to go public about it?

And just what is Tor?

NSA? DoD? U.S. Navy? Police surveillance? What the hell is going on? How is it possible that a privacy tool was created by the same military and intelligence agencies that it’s supposed to guard us against? Is it a ruse? A sham? A honeytrap? Maybe I’m just being too paranoid…

Unfortunately, this is not a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory. It is cold hard fact.

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America, the abyss beckons. Is this what we want?

roses-into-abyss

I came of age in the turbulent, violent 1960’s. Things are now more polarized than then. We can keep screaming at each other as we near the abyss or we can figure out a way to avoid the coming chaos and splintering. “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” Murdering cops because a cop killed someone is monstrous. Yelling that a mayor who did not pull the trigger is responsible is also monstrous. None of this insanity will lead anywhere good. The various tribes will become hardened in their views, blame to other side even more, as our craven, corrupt political class tries to exploit it for short-term personal gain.

There was violence on both sides in the 60’s. I was politically radical then (probably still am.) and looking back, little if any good came from the violence. Cities burned, cops got shot, buildings were bombed, leaders were murdered. The country splintered politically and now it’s all coming back again. Only this time I wonder if the center will hold. If not, then the country will fracture and maybe even collapse. Is that what we want? Because that’s where we’re headed.

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The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Thomas Cole:  The Course of the Empire (Destruction)

When superpowers collapse, it often happens in just a few years. Historian Alfred W. McCoy in 2010 says the US empire started unraveling when Bush invaded Iraq in 2003 and may effectively be over by 2025, bankrupted by military overreach and hubris. Me, I think it’s obvious the American Empire is crumbling and the smartest thing to do would be to accept that and plan for a new future. Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen until events force it.  And that means internally things could get quite tumultuous.

MCcoy speculates on what might happen.

Washington’s global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.

After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world’s reserve currency. Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter. By now, however, it is far too late.

Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.

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White House says Sony hack “national security” issue. N. Korea responsible

natsec

Does the White House know Sony isn’t a governmental entity and is headquartered in Japan? Do they even care? There is no actual proof linking North Korea to the Sony attack. However, reality will not dissuade the Ministry of Propaganda in D.C. from blaming North Korea and using the incident to scare the public. Sadly, rather than appearing resolute and determined, the Obama Administration is mostly looking foolish, with its panties all in a twist over a computer break-in against a stupid company with minimal security.

Absent YouTube clips of young North Korean hackers actually attacking Sony, the Obama administration appears to have made up its unequivocal mind that they are responsible… (even as they say the Sony hack origin is still under investigation)

The Rand Corporation takes it one absurd propaganda step further, saying even if North Korea didn’t didn’t do it, the US must git tough now, as failure to do means North Korean might become emboldened to launch future attacks.

The evidence may be inconclusive, but what if North Korea is proven to be responsible for the attack?

The United States must act to deter future cyber attacks against its people and corporations, but how? Culturally, North Korea is unlikely to be deterred by a weak U.S. response—quite the opposite. A weak response will only embolden North Korea and lead to more serious attacks, even if it is not proven to be the culprit.

Quake in your boots, Kim Jong-Un, Rand Corp. has a secret plan to topple the dictator.

Slipping DVDs of at least parts of The Interview into the North, including a narration describing what their “god” Kim is really like, is one way.

This sounds like a Month Python satirical sketch, rather than a supposedly coherent plan.

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Is Nigeria becoming a failed state? Boko Haram kidnaps 100 more women

Boko Haram logo

Boko Haram logo

Does Nigeria even have a functioning army now? Presumed Boko Haram rebels just invaded yet anotherNigeria village, machine-gunned residents, and captured 100 women and girls. There was no security in the town, no mobile communication, nothing to stop the attack. Gosh, Nigeria security might as well just have posted signs outside the town saying “Come get our girls.” The obvious question is – is the Nigeria military hopelessly compromised, corrupted, and infiltrated by Boko? Because they really don’t appear to be doing much of anything to protect the country.

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children and killed 35 other people on Sunday during a raid on the remote northeast Nigerian village of Gumsuri, a security source and resident said on Thursday.

“They gathered the people, shot dead over 30 people and took away more than 100 women and children in two open-top trucks,” Chibok said.

Nigeria military had, as usual, no comment. At best they are worse than useless and appear to be strangely incompetent.

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Too many people are giving up now politically. Bad idea

Tom Morello

Recent events clearly show that our government is hopelessly corrupt and compromised. Cops do indeed sometimes act like thugs. I’m seeing too many people say it’s hopeless, there’s no way we can change things so let’s just roll over and let that boot Orwell talked about start smashing our faces. Wrong. As our government becomes increasing delegitimate and hollowed-out, that’s precisely when real protest and change can occur. But it won’t happen if people give up. Mandela and the fight against apartheid triumphed against much tougher odds.

Tom Morello says, win or lose, stand and fight. I agree.

“Some might find they’re weaker
Some stronger than they thought
Well I’ll stand or fall right here
In my country, in my home
I ain’t alone no more

Hollow box
Steel string
Union made
Let freedom ring
Me and my people are hungry
Me and my people are through
Me and my people are ready
Me and my people are just about due
I’m a massive air strike on a beautiful night
Yeah this is my song I’m singing
Somebody better start counting
We’re coming out and we’re coming
Out swinging.”

The Democratic Party is not your friend. Neither, of course is the Republican Party. Neither can be reformed from within.

The Democratic Party is different. They act as a “broker” negotiating and selling influence among broad layers of the people to support the objectives of corporate rule. The Democratic Party’s core group of elected officials is rooted in careerists seeking self-promotion by offering to the corporate rulers their ability to control and deliver mass support. And to the people they offer some concessions, modifications on the platform of the Republican Party. One important value of the Democratic Party to the corporate world is that it makes the Republican Party possible through the maintenance of the stability that is essential for “business as usual.” It does this by preventing a genuine mass opposition from developing. Together the two parties offer one of the best frameworks possible with which to rule a people that otherwise would begin to move society towards the rule of the people (i.e. democracy).

This country needs the spirit of Bluto Blutarsky. Seriously.

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TRX Training. Deceptively simple, can be done anywhere

trx-logo

TRX Training consists of straps with handholds attached to a beam or a door. Dozens of exercises are possible with this simple equipment. TRX was developed by Randy Hetrick when he was a Navy Seal as a way to workout anywhere. I discovered TRX at the gym and just bought the home version. It fits into a small bag. You anchor it by putting the door anchor on the other side of the top of a door, then closing the door. Thus, you can get a serious workout in a hotel room, or anywhere, really, with ten seconds setup time and minimal gear.

Before buying TRX, while experimenting with it at the gym, I realized most people didn’t know what to do with it, so it was barely used. I started experimenting and devised my own workout. Once you buy it, TRX gives you access to detailed downloadable videos and pdfs explaining exercises. It’s great for stretching too. I’ll be using it at home and while traveling over the holidays.

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Greenpeace blows up their credibility by damaging Nazca site

Prison can certainly be considered to be "change"

Prison can certainly be considered to be “change”

It’s difficult to comprehend the arrogant stupidity behind Greenpeace putting advertising for themselves on an ecologically delicate World Heritage site. Even worse, they’ve not even bothered to put their legalistic apology on their home page. I’m guessing Greenpeace is now facing a financial crisis since contributions during the important holiday season are now sharply down. And they have no one to blame but their condescending selves. Because of course Peru has no clue about climate change and renewable energy and needs Exceptional Anglo-Americans swooping in to explain things to their befuddled brains. And if laws were broken and historical sites damaged, well, that’s just the price of spreading the Gospel According to Greenpeace.

The Nazca site is clearly and unmistakably protected. Greenpeace deliberately broke laws to install their advertising. And make no mistake, the message was all about advertising and branding for Greenpeace, with faux pretensions about it being a ‘message of hope.’

The area is so fragile, and so very sacred, that presidents and high-ranking officials have been forbidden from setting foot anywhere near it – so one can only imagine the public outcry about the disrespect that Greenpeace has shown by trespassing here.

Their “apology” was clearly written by lawyers and is numbingly stupid, as well as evasive and sleazy.

We fully understand that this looks bad. Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass.

This doesn’t “look bad”. It is bad. Greenpeace didn’t come across as “careless and crass”, it was careless and crass, as well as being criminally reckless.

We have now met with the Peruvian Culture Ministry responsible for the site to offer an apology. We welcome any independent review of the consequences of our activity. We will cooperate fully with any investigation.

We take personal responsibility for actions, and are committed to nonviolence. Greenpeace is accountable for its activities and willing to face fair and reasonable consequences.

Again, Greenpeace arrogance shines through. Greenpeace will face what penalties Peru deems fit and it matters not if Greenpeace is willing to face them.

Posted in News, Renewable energy1 Comment

Eunice Carter, black prosecutor, instrumental in convicting Luciano

Eunice-Carter-head

Eunice Carter, one of the first black female prosecutors in the US, worked for Tom Dewey. She noticed the same lawyers and and bail bondsmen kept showing up at arrests and trials for mobsters and started connecting the dots, which led back to Lucky Luciano. He was convicted and served ten years. The photo is from a display at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas.

Wikipedia:

As an assistant DA, Carter put together a massive prostitution racketeering case that led eventually to Mafia boss Lucky Luciano. Carter convinced New York District Attorney Thomas Dewey to personally prosecute the case. Luciano was convicted and served ten years, and was then deported. The case generated national fame for Dewey, which he rode to the New York statehouse, and to two unsuccessful runs for the White House. But while Dewey benefited from Carter’s prosecutorial skills, he also seemed to have genuine respect for her; she frequently accompanied him to political events in Harlem and elsewhere, and reporters noted that she offered him advice .

Eunice-Carter

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The tortured rationalizations of torture apologists

We were only following orders.

We were only following orders.

“We were only following orders.” Right. So were Nazi prison camp guards. The Nuremberg Trials, which the US pushed hard for, settled this long ago. The excuse of “following orders” cannot be used to justify illegal actions and war crimes. Period. Nice try though. Thus, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, everyone in the line of command, and those who tortured the prisoners are war criminals. It’s way past time for the United States to get honest about what it has become.

“Bad people may retaliate against us.” Well yes, they might. However, attempting to cover up criminality by saying divulging it might incite violence can be used to excuse most any reprehensible action, like chaining prisoners and letting them freeze to death.. Oh wait, that’s exactly what is happening. Bad scary groups who we have tortured and killed with drone are pissed at us. Who could ever have possibly predicted such a thing could happen. And it’s not like these torture revelations are a surprise to anyone, including AQ.

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