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Posts by CutePuppy

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  • GOP Prepares Multiple IRS-Related Criminal Charges

    04/09/2014 6:09:02 AM PDT · 32 of 33
    CutePuppy to henkster; smoothsailing; 2ndDivisionVet; House Atreides; RIghtwardHo; All

    After Lerner’s and Holder’s shameful appearances at the hearings and contempt citation, what the Republicans should consider is, in addition to sending the criminal referrals on Lerner, to add a criminal referral on Holder (for “obvious obstraction of justice”) - this
    a) cannot be possibly ignored by the media and
    b) may immediately force Holder’s hand to be recused from Lerner’s “investigation” due to “conflict of interests” and
    c) is more likely to result in appointment of Special Prosecutor, if GOP wants it.

    This one move will force the issue and will make sure that the matter doesn’t die and can no longer be silenced or be obscured by the media in the period before 2014 elections.

    This is somewhat similar to what Dems did to the AG Alberto Gonzales, only this will have a lot more gravitas and heft in the substance behind it. It will pretty much cripple Holder and the DOJ, will put pressure on Democratic Senators and may help give basis or reason for some people, who otherwise would be indifferent or apathetic, to vote for turnover of power in the Senate.

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 5:21:18 PM PDT · 46 of 51
    CutePuppy to Bucky14; Sherman Logan

    You can try http://www.pmail.com

    It’s not an open source, but it’s free (donations welcome). David Harris is in NZ and has done an amazingly good job. There are also encryption / decryption products, extensions and plugins, mostly based on PGP.

    Sorry, I first replied to the wrong post

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 5:19:18 PM PDT · 45 of 51
    CutePuppy to Sherman Logan

    You can try http://www.pmail.com

    It’s not an open source, but it’s free (donations welcome). David Harris is in NZ and has done an amazingly good job. There are also encryption / decryption products, extensions and plugins, mostly based on PGP.

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 4:20:33 PM PDT · 43 of 51
    CutePuppy to Sherman Logan
    Yes, I was referring, in general, to the constraints some of which were made into law based on local culture and/or religion, but not inherently based on the definition of marriage and which haven't redefined nor expanded the definition.

    In other words, the comparison of same-sex "marriage" to interracial marriage is bogus, a trick that is only based on the past local legal constraints, same as applying the bogus battle-cry of "civil rights" in just about any issue that doesn't have a real, normal justification.

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 4:04:18 PM PDT · 42 of 51
    CutePuppy to Jack Hydrazine; Mr. K; livius; All
    Read "The Pink Swastika"

    Thank you, Mr. K and Jack Hydrazine. I knew that several of the nazis at the top, just as a number of Communist spies, have been closet homosexuals, but apparently this issue has remained "in the closet" due to lack of insentives for disclosure and the Western media blackout and "political correctness" demands and harassment.

      ..... In that time we have accumulated a substantial amount of new documentation supporting our thesis that the Nazi Party was conceived, organized and controlled throughout its short history by masculine-oriented male homosexuals who hid their sexual proclivities from the public, in part by publicly persecuting one group of their political enemies: out-of-the-closet effeminate-oriented homosexuals aligned with the German Communist Party.

      During that same time, our detractors, mostly "gay" political activists, have increased their attacks on the book, primarily by ridiculing its premise, but occasionally by challenging certain facts or sources. They are rightly concerned that this book threatens their long-standing public-relations strategy of posing as victims to win public support for their political agenda. .....

    This is much less known and understood than ecofascism / "green nazis"

    OT:
    Green Nazi Party

    There is even Libertarian National Socialist Green Party, whose emblem is the Nazi swastika on a green background, symbolising the party's synthesis of ecology with National Socialism.

    Fascist Ecology: The "Green Wing" of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents

    It's all parts of the Democrats' "no 'cause' left untouched" strategy or - as Gingrich described it in his excellent analysis ("The challenge confronting Republicans" - FR, 2012 Dec 24) - "micro-targeting, micro-leaders, microcommunities, micro-organizations and micro-issues" loosely "united" in a "big tent" to achieve a political majority or plurality.

    That's why we keep hearing the words "racist" and "denier" - applied to the "not down for the struggle" "heretics" who they want to be "outed" and shunned.

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 2:34:02 PM PDT · 33 of 51
    CutePuppy to Sherman Logan
    guest host Jonathan Karl tried pulling the race card into the discussion by asking about interracial marriage.

      Don't fall into their trap.

    Indeed, it was a clumsy misdirection. Interracial marriage has existed for millennia because marriage has never been defined in terms of race.

    Marriage has always been defined in terms of sex/gender - a sacred union between one man and one woman.

    Though it was not specifically defined as such in the Bill of Rights, because it would be ridiculous and unnecessary to do so — to define what has already been defined and well understood. A Constitutional Amendment to codify it — after Speaker Gingrich has pushed and Congress overwhelmingly passed DOMA by veto-proof majorities in 1996 (same year Bob Dole lost badly in Presidential elections) — was discussed briefly but went nowhere fast.

    There have usually been some [localized] constraints on marriage — such as age, mental capacity, health and genetic considerations etc. — but they didn't in any way [seek to] redefine or expand the meaning of marriage.

    Redefining marriage by sex renders it meaningless and leads to potential of redefining it by number of ways, including by number of participants, such as bigamy (why is that "unconstitutional" now?) and polygamy or "communal marriage."

    That would be a much better comparison than interracial marriage, and a good question to ask back the "tolerant" - why is the same-sex "marriage" just fine with them but not the other forms of "marriage," like "Big Love" or "communal"? Because race never had anything to do with marriage - only with some cultures.

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 11:54:25 AM PDT · 17 of 51
    CutePuppy to livius
    Not just airtime, which can be bought by PACs, though it's really not the same as the candidate because there are many rules that limit what can be done by PACs and many PACs are just in business to line their own pockets instead of supporting the candidate and his vision, and it's illegal to "coordinate" with the campaign (at least, for conservatives).

    Travel, campaign staff and regular campaign activities may be severely limited, even when the "pro-specific-candidate" PACs are flush with money.

    The qualified articulate middle-class people (not multimillionaires who could finance their own campaigns) could be tapped as candidates and adequately financed by others who are rich enough but have no political talents, time or interest in running for political office themselves.

    Yeah - that's an equalizer that would significantly broaden qualified political talent pool running for all kinds of elective offices, and may reduce the time the candidates / politicians spend on fund-raising.

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 11:40:29 AM PDT · 14 of 51
    CutePuppy to GeronL
    Pale Moon is good, light. Also take a look at SlimBoat, Comodo IceDragon and Comodo Dragon (based on Chromium open source).

    QTWeb is a small, powerful IE-based browser with some nice features (e.g., saving a Web page as PDF).

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 11:34:07 AM PDT · 12 of 51
    CutePuppy to BinaryBoy
    The negative feedback to Mozilla is over 5,000 already today and might break 10,000 before midnight pacific

    The "institutional/generational memory" of "What goes around comes around" may not be present for some of the younger members of liberal fascism / "progressive" movement.

    But it will take a lot more than the "silent treatment" by the "silent majority" for a real pushback.

    " 'Silent majority' will become 'silent minority' if it chooses to remain silent"

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 11:21:31 AM PDT · 5 of 51
    CutePuppy to Servant of the Cross
    "Fabulous!"
  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 11:19:32 AM PDT · 4 of 51
    CutePuppy to CutePuppy
    Related - one of the necessary Campaign Finance Reform "equalizers":

    From Newt Gingrich: Unlimited campaign donations will 'equalize the middle class and the rich' - The Raw Story, by David Edwards, 2014 April 06

      Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich argued on Sunday that allowing unlimited campaign contributions was a necessary step to "equalize" the middle class with the rich. ..... < snip >

      ..... "It is a big deal because it means that people can give to scores of campaigns," Gingrich told a panel on ABC News. "It's part of a continuum. It started a long time ago when they said that speech included money, which is the original decision. You, as a billionaire or millionaire, could go out and spend your own money. Of course, speech is money."

      "What's happen[ed] is that you've gone from that original decision to Citizens United, which said in effect that corporations could give, and created super PACs." ..... < snip >

      ..... Gingrich asserted that the next step would be to allow candidates to accept unlimited donations.

      "And you would overnight equalize the middle class and the rich," he declared.

  • Gingrich says Mozilla ousting just the 'most open, blatant example of the new fascism'

    04/07/2014 11:16:41 AM PDT · 1 of 51
    CutePuppy
    Time to revisit "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg?
  • Bitcoin Price…to $1 Million?

    04/06/2014 3:46:38 AM PDT · 57 of 57
    CutePuppy to Greysard; grania; All
    Nice treatise on the tangible "value" and the tangible costs of bitcoins, especially with the increasing degrees of mining difficulty, the processing power and energy requirements.

    If/when the cost of mining a bitcoin exceeds the "value" of generated bitcoin for some extended period of time, the fallout — the "bear market" in Bitcoin (and/or switch to mining other cryptocurrencies such as litecoin etc., potentially with the process repeating itself a number of times before it will be declared a pyramid scheme) — will be swift and cascading.

    The early adopters of Bitcoin, who are now sitting on the unrealized wealth of about 1/3 of the planet's worth (if Bitcoin becomes an accepted currency,) ...

    I think there may be a problem with your estimate. At the "guaranteed" limit of BTC in circulation capped at 21 million and assuming 1 BTC is trading hands at USD$1,000 (which is more than double of current conversion price) the total capitalization of entire Bitcoin economy would amount to USD$21B (at most, counting bitcoins that are lost, "unminted" and hoarded - IOW, not in circulation) — a piddly amount of international trade - about a quarter of current annual revenue of Amazon, about 2/3rd of American Express annual revenue, or about the combined annual revenue of Visa and Mastercard. **

    Of course, if we assume exchange rate of 1 BTC per USD$1,000,000 then the [eventual nominal] Bitcoin economy would approach USD$21T, or approximately the size of entire US economy in a not too distant future. *** / ****

    Of course, synchronizing the ever-growing distributed blockchain database will inevitably slow that "economy" down significantly (yes, I know about "light clients" and "pruning" - good luck doing that in real time in a multi $Trillion economy with millions of transactions daily, without compromising and jeopardizing transactions' security) - the decentralized system of making Internet micropayments simply was not meant to be that scalable. In other words, there are a lot of serious technical and nontechnical disadvantages in the decentralized / "communal trust" scheme, not just ephemeral "political advantages" over other fiat currencies the Bitcoin faithful are emphasizing.

    There are far more robust secure digital e-payment systems already on the market, and more are coming. And none of them have the "currency" or "investment" risk or elements of pyramid scheme present in Bitcoin.

    Also, the Bitcoin proponents like to favorably compare the cost of Bitcoin transactions with the credit card costs, but they ignore the costs of conversion into dollars or other fiat currency, and the fact that the credit card charges include the credit risk (since in reality it's actually a loan / credit that defers the payment) while the debit card and Bitcoin don't extend credit and therefore should be significantly less expensive to process - as the debit cards are. Turns out, Bitcoin should be compared to the debit card, and it is not a cheaper way to pay for "stuff" once the credit risk is taken out of the equation. *****

    ___________________________________________________

    ** Ref: Bitcoin is Gold 2.0: But how can it be regulated? - FR, post #22, 2013 December 28

    The Serious Disadvantages of Bitcoin - FR, post #21, 2014 January 05

    ***

    Currently there are more than 12 million bitcoins in circulation, so total potential Bitcoin "market" capitalization will be significantly smaller than "potentially authorized" capitalization. At the rate of creating approximately 25 bitcoins per 10 minutes, it would take over 100 years to create the [complete] supply of 21 million bitcoins.

    **** The bitcoin value forecasts from wiki:

      Financial journalists and analysts, economists, and investors have attempted to predict the possible future value of bitcoin. Economist John Quiggin stated, "bitcoins will attain their true value of zero sooner or later, but it is impossible to say when."[93] In 2013, Bank of America FX and Rate Strategist David Woo forecast a maximum fair value per bitcoin of $1,300.[104] Bitcoin investor Cameron Winklevoss stated in 2013 that the "bull case scenario for bitcoin is... 40,000 USD a coin".[105] In late 2013, finance professor Mark Williams forecast a bitcoin would be worth less than ten US dollars by July 2014.[106]

    ***** Ref: Bitcoin Is an Expensive Way to Pay for Stuff - FR, post #21, 2014 January 05

    Debit vs Credit Card Charge / Offline Debit Vs Online Debit Vs Credit Card Charges - Cardfellow.com, by Ben Dwyer, 2013

  • Putin invites Obama to consider international action to stabilize Ukraine

    03/29/2014 2:06:12 AM PDT · 30 of 35
    CutePuppy to Eric in the Ozarks
      East & West Ukraine. Remember East & West Germany ?

    There are substantial differences between East & West Germany and East & West Ukraine.

    East and West Germany have been involuntarily and forcibly separated by former "Allies" in WWII — "The Great War" as Russians call it — but populated by Germans who spoke the same language (dialects notwithstanding) and had essentially the same culture (and generational memories even during 1945-1990 separation).

    It was exactly the opposite in many parts of Ukraine whose borders (mostly in the Western part) have been expanded officially immediately post-war, and later, in 1954 added Crimea in the East due to "gesture of goodwill" by Nikita Khrushchev who took over as the Soviet Party leader after Stalin's death in 1953.

    Language and culture of Eastern part of Ukraine is mostly Russian, not Ukrainian, and there has been a lot of tension between these two parts of Ukraine.

    Many in the Eastern part are not unhappy with Russia taking back Crimea and exerting its "influence" on the "Eastern front" which also happens to be rich in gas, coal and other natural resources (Donetsk and Donbass region).

    While by no means perfect, a better analogy would be Bloc Québécois in Canada, or former Czechoslovakia.

  • The Prankster vs. the Gangster

    03/19/2014 5:19:24 AM PDT · 16 of 17
    CutePuppy to lavaroise; Kaslin
      The Prankster vs the Gangster.

        Joker vs. silver surfer?

    The Prancer vs the Necromancer?

  • Probe: Did the CIA spy on the U.S. Senate?

    03/06/2014 5:54:40 PM PST · 35 of 35
    CutePuppy to Prince of Space
    In other words....this was illegally leaked. By whom and why, I wonder.

    Good question. This is definitely a psy-ops warfare, as both sides might have an interest in getting the "first mover" advantage by leaking this development.

    Senate Committee staffers have an incentive to portray the agency as paranoid and "insubordinate," to inoculate themselves from the charges of "stealing" the proof of classified info they clearly had been given access to.

    CIA'a interest is to gain an advantage in the possible hearings or election-style political posturing, by preempting the possible disclosure and mischaracterization / misrepresentation of raw data, and painting the Committee members and staffers as "thieves and leakers" who are not to be trusted now and in the future with access to some classified documents and [preliminary or ex post facto] intelligence.

    From Senate staffers slipped secret CIA documents from agency's headquarters - McClatchy DC, 2014-03-05, by Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor :

      < snip > ..... In a combative statement issued Wednesday evening, CIA Director John Brennan chastised unidentified senators for making "spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts." ..... < snip >

      ..... Some committee members regard the monitoring as a possible violation of the law and contend that their oversight powers give them the right to the documents that were removed. On the other hand, the CIA considers the removal as a massive security breach because the agency doesn't believe that the committee had a right to those particular materials.

      said a U.S. official who was among those who spoke to McClatchy. "You've got to be asking yourself why the agency would be willing to take such a risk. The documents must be so damned loaded." ..... < snip >

      ..... The extraordinary battle has created an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the spy agency and its congressional overseers and raises significant implications for the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of the government. It also has fueled uncertainty over how much of the committee's report will ever be made public. ..... < snip >

    Given this, my money is on CIA leaking first. One, they have very little to lose, and much to gain, in future dealings with Senate / Congress overseers.

    Two, the Senate staff was clearly fishing for something that could be politically described as a "proof of torture" than anything they could find before in "the materials that were taken from CIA headquarters [which] found their way into a database into which millions of pages of top-secret reports, emails and other documents were made available to panel staff after being vetted by CIA officials and contractors" - which means they currently don't have anything tangible that they really wanted to have for their political case.

    On the other hand, the Democrats didn't really have to go to great lengths to be able to refer to the "classified information obtained from the CIA by the Senate Committee oversight panel" for their political purposes, so any leaks to the media/McClatchy would only be defensive, needed as a damage control, and in this case they don't have much more than a strategy of "rank superiority and indignation."

    But it also allows them a little offensive play, to give the impression and imply that any info they supposedly had the right to "take" was of a "damned loaded" variety.

    My score for now: CIA - 1, Senate Democrats - 0

  • Democrats Try Wooing Ones Who Got Away: White Men

    03/03/2014 11:38:04 AM PST · 35 of 42
    CutePuppy to InterceptPoint; Cincinatus' Wife; Rummyfan
    Democrats Try Wooing Ones Who Got Away: White Men

    White male - 5 Years A Slave... and counting.

  • Silk Road 2.0 'Hack' Blamed On Bitcoin Bug, All Funds Stolen

    02/15/2014 12:49:04 AM PST · 45 of 46
    CutePuppy to usconservative; cardinal4; PAR35; gaijin; E. Pluribus Unum; babygene; Bobalu; All
      What do you want to bet that the NSA was involved in this...

        I'll bet you all the bitcoin's in China the NSA was absolutely involved in it. Can't have the USA's faux currency being undermined you know!

    If I were NSA, and concerned about hawala as a method of anonymously transferring money to finance terrorism and/or drug / sex / counterfeit trafficking / "sensitive" information trade or valuta exchange, I might think of creating a seemingly anonymous, encrypted channel that I could monitor and control, given the availability of the best cryptoanalysts / hackers and "backdoors" in some of the most widely available encryption software (e.g., RSA).

    Making an encrypted P2P protocol is laughably trivial today - just look at the multitude of other "coins" popping out of aether. A little bit of word-of-mouth promotion and... voilà! That should redirect significant amounts of all kinds of hawala to the "captive" channel of Bitcoin economy. It could even be self-financing with the nice profit on the scheme, so no taxpayer financing or disclosure is necessary.

    Now, since the real "owner" / "controller" of the scheme must remain incognito, how do we name him/her/them? What if we also leave an "Easter egg" hidden in plain sight?

      N S A || A Satoshi Nakamoto?

    But that's just me... Or is this a wee bit too Pelican Brief?

    :~)

  • Time for smartcards

    02/04/2014 5:49:23 PM PST · 36 of 36
    CutePuppy to supercat; Elsie
      Ideally, credit-card-entry terminals ... and no change to such behavior would be possible without physically compromising the card entry terminal.

    I think you are confusing the POS terminal software with the [back-end] payment processing server software where the malware actually resided (it would be near impossible to infect enough terminals to affect the records of 70 million people over a period of a few months).

    Whether smartcard or magnetic-strip card is used at the POS (Point Of Sale) terminal is irrelevant - the encrypted data/tokens are passed to the payment processing server of one of the PPS companies, such as BluePay, Chase Paymentech, Global Payments, Heartland Payment Systems, International Payment Processing Company, National Processing Company, Pathfinder Processing Solutions, Payment Systems Corp., PayPros etc. etc. (2013 Top 50 Payment Processing Companies)

    If Target and Neiman Marcus had the same (or similarly infected) payment processor, it easily explains how otherwise unrelated millions of people in different corners of the US and other countries had their data compromised simply by swiping their cards — the POS terminals and the cards were not the weak point, the servers infected with the RAM Scraper were.

    That's why in my post I put the emphasis on and specifically underlined the back-end / processing server software as the infected culprit.

      I'll even bet that most of these so called HACKING incidences are merely INSIDE jobs.

    Quite possible. Security industry stats show and it is generally agreed that at least 90% of the enterprise data theft is done not through outside infections or break-ins, glorified in many "hacker" movies, but rather using either in-house accomplice or the kind of "social engineering" popularized by Kevin Mitnick.

  • Time for smartcards

    02/03/2014 11:38:17 PM PST · 30 of 36
    CutePuppy to lurk; SkyPilot; Vigilanteman; dalereed; familyop; morphing libertarian; All
    Now, that would be absolutely secure, eh?

    The chip-and-pin system is, certainly, an advancement over magnetic strip cards (which are easier to "skim") but in the case of Target and Neiman Marcus and other retailers, the breach of security had nothing to do with physical cards' security features.

    People who understand little about card-payment technology simply use this incident to again glom onto the usual "Others (Europeans?) do it better" and old and tired "American banks and credit card companies just don't want to spend money on security because it's cheaper for them to absorb the costs of fraud" laments.

    Actually, the magnetic strip cards hold minimal amount of information, so while it's easier to manufacture a forged one, it's also easier to cancel and replace without criminals getting too much of your personal info.

    The problem with this particular security breach is that it happened on the back-end of payment processing, using an old (at least, since before 2007) vulnerability that likely has not been patched up by certain payment processors, despite warnings from Visa and security experts.

    From What the Heck Is a RAM Scraper? - Re/code, by Arik Hesseldahl, 2014 January 13

      As the mystery around the credit card hacking at retail giants Target and Nieman Marcus continues to unfold, you're going to start hearing a lot about something called a "RAM scraper." ..... < snip >

      So what the heck is a RAM scraper and how does it work? First, remember that payment systems — the cash registers and credit card terminals you see in stores and restaurants every day — have a lot of strong requirements for encrypting data, pretty much end-to-end during the transaction process, as well as any records that are stored afterward.

      But there's one particular moment when that data is vulnerable, and it occurs during the milliseconds that it is stored in the system memory — a.k.a. random access memory, or RAM — of the back-end server that processes the transaction. Think of it as a package being delivered to you with a lock on it. Even though you have the key, you still have to open it to see what's inside. The same thing happens when your credit card number gets decrypted.

      And when that happens, your credit card number is briefly stored in the system memory of the server processing the payment. When that happens, that data is "in the clear," as in unencrypted. Typically this step in the process should only take milliseconds. Once the payment is verified, the next transaction in line comes through and the process repeats itself, and numbers are overwritten each time as new ones come in.

      But it's at this vulnerable moment that RAM scraper malware is designed to strike. RAM scraping is an old attack technique that has in recent years been given new life for the purpose of compromising payment systems. Security researchers at Verizon first noted it in a report in 2009. ..... < snip >

      ..... Visa issued security alerts on an uptick in RAM scraper activity in April and August of last year. Among the suggestions it made at the time: Tighten firewalls to allow systems to communicate only with known systems. It also advised companies to separate payment systems from non-payment systems. ..... < snip >

      ..... Over the summer, the security firm Sophos took a look at RAM scraper attack trends and found that the most common one is Alina, one of a family with many variants that has come to be called Trackr.

      Retail stores and hotels were most likely to be targeted by attacks using Trackr variants during the first six month of 2013, Sophos found, accounting for a combined 26 percent of attacks. Educational institutions, restaurants and health care businesses were also targeted.

      And most of the attacks during the same time period — 56 percent — were in the U.S., which — combined with Germany, Canada, and the U.K. — accounted for 89 percent of these attacks. ..... < snip >

    As can be seen, the US companies are not alone in being attacked by this method, because vulnerability has nothing to do with magnetic strips or other physical cards' properties.

    Chip-and-pin wouldn't protect from this attack, it could only help making it more difficult to counterfeit the physical card, which is mostly a waste of time, anyway - much less important than the identity info on the payment processors' servers.

  • Sen. Leahy on NSA spying: We need to stop government from controlling American people

    01/19/2014 4:06:23 PM PST · 23 of 24
    CutePuppy to allendale; rktman; Hulka; The_Reader_David; SunkenCiv; All
    Amusing to hear a leading Democratic socialist warn about the government controlling people.His whole career has been about controlling people.

    I wonder what the name of the next "Church Committee" would/will be — for the NSA, rather than CIA, to which (and the national security) the Church Committee has done great damage.

    The now dismantled Able Danger — DIA's "connect-the-dots" program — has been able to identify the 9/11 terrorists' "social network," working with a much smaller dataset but at a time when the Internet, for all intents and purposes, has been a much smaller part of everyday life in the US and the world.

    In the meantime, the real, documented abuses of the American citizens and businesses by the politicized IRS, EPA, DOJ, DOE and number of other federal agencies and departments are kept hidden and silent, lost in all the noise about the security agency which has only been performing the task it has been required by politicians to perform, with the normal adjustments for the technologies of the age, which have already been demonstrably used by terrorists.

    Lawmakers: Fear Silicon Valley and data brokers, not NSA - The Hill, by Peter Sullivan, 2014 January 18

  • The Serious Disadvantages of Bitcoin

    01/05/2014 3:19:46 PM PST · 26 of 28
    CutePuppy to TsonicTsunami08; grania; narses
      One real good verbal exchange in The Wolf of Wall Street was about how the trick to ammassing wealth is to convince everyone not to cash out, just sell and buy again. Isn't the bitcoin a bit of that?

    Yes, "churning" is the name of the game.

      Dodd Frank is planning a holiday for you in the form of a haircut.

    Non sequitur. Dodd-Frank is an abomination, as well as Sarbanes-Oxley and number of other laws, regulations and mandates, which should be repealed, but it has nothing to do with Bitcoin. Anyway, 80% or more activity in Bitcoin has been from China and other countries with capital controls. This is just a diversionary scare tactic, which ironically, Bitcoin promoters are usually accusing critics of.

      Who do you think is going to pay for this massive debt.

    Another non sequitur. What does this have to do with Bitcoin, unless you imply that USD$ will be confiscated, but if you put all your money in Bitcoin "wallet" you'll happily avoid that "fate" or be able to hide your income because transactions in bitcoin are somehow "anonymous"? So were numbered Swiss bank accounts at one time. Anyway, there are other, far less speculative investments than Bitcoin. Sure, you can use bitcoins to transfer the money and immediately convert it into [other] "fiat currency" on the other end, but there are much cheaper ways of doing it, and it does not do much for Bitcoin economy, except get some miner(s) transaction fees. But I guess that's the BTC economy in a nutshell.

      Interesting that you bring up BOA/Merrill Lynch. Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider had a little talk with David Woo titled ( and this may sound like Vince of SHAM WOW) THIS IS, QUITE SIMPLY, THE BIGGEST ENDORSEMENT THAT BITCOIN HAS EVER RECEIVED.

    Re BoA/Merrill Lynch's currency analyst John Woo's quote - it's not an "endorsement" as the heading and the article in BI states, it's actually a warning:

      Our fair value analysis suggests that to justify the current Bitcoin valuation, it will need to (1) account for at least 10% of all global e-commerce B2C transactions, (2) become one of the top three players in the money transfer industry, and (3) acquire a store of value reputation close to silver.

    Obviously, these are requirements for any B2C (Business-to-Consumer) company, none of which Bitcoin currently meets or likely to meet in the near future, with the growing competition from Amazon, Paypal (eBay), Square, JP Morgan (patent on cryptocurrency and anonymous e-payment/e-transfer) and other better known and financially stable players as well as other cryptocurrencies that dilute the marketplace. Leave it to Business Insider / ZeroHedge hacks to take a quote or a fact and turn its meaning 180 degrees, as an "endorsement". No wonder the disgraced Internut pumper Henry Blodget - who has been barred from securities business - is invested in it and runs it:
    Business Insider Turned Down $100M-Plus Buyout Offer: Source - FBN, by Katie Roof, 2014 January 03

    Yep, I agree, you were right about ShamWOW moment. And in all caps, too.

    OT: Considering marginal profitability and that the competitor TheStreet (TST) has nearly 3 times the revenues and only valued at 1.5 times sales currently, it's unlikely that $100M offer was made, but in the Internut world anything is possible.

      Western Union as a business model is dead and the official funeral will be very soon along with predatory credit cards ( even the one's that are invitation only and super duper impressive).

    Of course, Western Union itself is a dinosaur, and their BidPay e-payment business failed twice (even before Bitcoin scheme was a concept) but the business model is the predecessor of and the same as other transfer payments, only now the newer e-payments are cheaper and more convenient for most people, leaving Western Union with expensive infrastructure and less than stellar name in financial services.

    Visa (V), MasterCard (MA) and American Express are doing extremely well and are expected to continue to do well, as more people are using reliable payment services, and they don't have a pyramid scheme built-in by design into their business/service model.

    From The Case of the Disappearing Dollar Bill - B, by Alexander Eule, 2013 December 28

      Cash is rapidly being displaced by credit cards and debit cards. By 2023, it could make up just 21% of transactions.

      It's been a rough year for Paper currency. Nomura Securities estimates that paper payments — cash and checks — represented 45% of global consumer payments in 2013, down from 48% in 2012. A decade from now, the market share for cash and checks could be just 21% (see chart). The trend lines up with our cover story of a year ago, "The End of Cash?" (Dec. 31). ..... < snip >

      ..... Cash's retreat plays into the hands of Visa (ticker: V) and MasterCard (MA), a theme we addressed in depth last year. The credit-card giants run the dominant payment networks that handle the world's credit- and debit-card transactions. The stocks were up 45% and 69%, respectively, in 2013, finishing the week at $219.67 and $827.87. Both stocks are likely to be winners in 2014, as well.

      A year ago, investors worried that new competition from the likes of PayPal and San Francisco start-up Square would weaken the roles of Visa and MasterCard. Instead, PayPal, which is owned by eBay (EBAY), has struggled to gain acceptance at retail locations, while Visa and MasterCard have strengthened their digital initiatives. ..... < snip >

    Probably no tears should be shed for Visa, MasterCard and AmEx. Bitcoin is not even considered a competitor, and by its flawed "hybrid" design it should not be.

      With all the impressive financial instruments you rattled off I wouldn't be surprised if you were heavily leveraged in the record breaking, federally pumped market. Better get your money out of there, you're about to get your head handed to you.

    Yet another non sequitur. First, you are making wild and unsubstantiated assumptions about my use of financial services.

    Second, you again change the subject by insulting and denigrating the financial options that far more people would use instead of bitcoins (as per your own example) in an airport of your choice (or anywhere else) where presumably TSA or other federal agency is likely to rob you of your gold, cash, diamonds or just about anything that is "not a bitcoin." I think most sane people would not try to transport bullions of gold and bags of cash through the airport, but they don't have to use bitcoins to have "cash" available to them.

    And what does the stock market have to do with Bitcoin? Are you saying that Bitcoin is better investment than stocks , or that it's the only investment, or that it's better investment at this time, or that it's not an investment at all, just a store of value that can be transferred at any airport without fear of TSA?

    It was another ShamWoW scare tactic, as I clearly demonstrated in my response.

    Unfortunately, while trying to defend the obvious flaws of Bitcoin as a "currency" / "money" / e-payment / e-transfer / speculative investment of by design limited "ever-appreciating" commodity/asset etc., instead of arguing the facts most Bitcoin promoters prefer to change the subject and point fingers at something else ("fiat currency", gold, credit cards, stock market etc.) or divert attention by personalizing the non sequitur response. Actually, they like the confusion, so the different aspects of the "hybrid" may appeal to different constituents. Doesn't speak well of the product or its ecosystem.

    Only 5 years since unbelievable 20+ years Madoff's scam unraveled and people are ready to jump into a massive pyramid scheme disguised as a virtue for all kinds of "clients" - from gold bugs to boiler room operators to technogeeks - "inequality be damned, now it's "for the masses".

      Don't buy Bitcoin, leave them for me,thank you.

    You are welcome.

  • The Serious Disadvantages of Bitcoin

    01/05/2014 3:13:44 AM PST · 21 of 28
    CutePuppy to TsonicTsunami08; VanDeKoik; narses; grania; TheGipperWasRight; RichInOC; SeekAndFind; ...
      Now fast forward . Your at LAX with 10lb. of gold in a suitcase. What do you suppose the TSA is going to do with it?
      Same airport, this time $100.000.00 cash in a suitcase, what do you suppose the TSA is going to do with it? You will never see it again.
      Same senerio but you have the password to your Bitcoin wallet containing $5.000.000.00 in your memory. What do you suppose the TSA can do about it, NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING!!!!!

    When you defend a concept and/or give examples, it's best not to sound like a ShamWOW and other "As Seen on TV" hucksters.

    Let's try these, far more realistic everyday scenarios instead:

    You're at LAX/LAS/MIA/ORD/JFK/LGA/SEA/etc. with a 3oz checkbook in your pocket that has $100,000.00 on account. What do you suppose the TSA is going to do with it?

    Same airport(s), this time with an AmEx Centurion/"Black" Card, and BoA/Merrill Lynch Accolades card, and Citi's Chairman (Private Bank) card, and Stratus Rewards Visa/"White" Card (by recommendation and invitation only), and Coutts World card (QE II is a client). What do you suppose the TSA is going to do with it?

    Same scenario, but you have a smartphone/tablet/computer which can access your business and/or brokerage accounts containing in excess of $5,000,000.00 in funds and/or credit lines, as well as Paypal, Square and free wire services, which are biometrically and multi-layer password-protected and can transfer funds immediately converted on deposit into A$, BP£, C$, €, S$, ¥ etc., at no additional cost. What do you suppose the TSA can do about it, NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING!!!!!

      This is power and freedom heretofore never known to man
    since well before Western Union, actually right around Renaissance (read about Banco de' Medici [1397-1494], for example).

      It is called a paradigm shift.

    Seriously? What paradigm shift? Bitcoin didn't invent electronic transfers and e-payment, nor was it first in encrypting financial transactions, nor did it make your unit of account and store of value more convenient or secure than accepted fiat currencies - quite the opposite, in fact (see Bitcoin is Gold 2.0: But how can it be regulated? - FR, post #22, 2013 December 28

    Plus, you very likely be getting something in return for using your credit card and banking services, like the 'rewards'/'points' and the interest on deposits... Oh, do you earn any interest on your b1tc01ns in the decentralized Bitcoin "bank"? Could you ensure or hedge your bitcoins, if need be?

    And if people think that they are getting the bitcoin transfers "for free" (i.e., cheaper than credit cards) then they have been seriously misled. As it turns out, Bitcoin e-payment fee structure** is generally more expensive than major credit cards (which typically charge about 2%-3% of transaction amount).

    Which means it's much more beneficial for bitcoin miners - who are getting these transaction... er, "mining" fees - to have the BTC valued at USD$1000.00 than at USD$10.00 - in other words, have the BTC economy 100 times larger in generally accepted fiat currencies would likely get about 100 times larger "commission" fee.

    So claiming that there is no interest on anyone's part in manipulating the value/price of bitcoin "currency" is quite false. Bitcoin's finite structure alone is, in itself, a manipulation of bitcoin value. Oh, and what happens where there are no more bitcoins to "mine"? The finite limit on the total amount of bitcoins issued makes it, by its very own definition, a FIFO (First-In-First-Out) pyramid scheme - where generally, the first one in wins the most and the last one out loses the most.

    ** Bitcoin Is an Expensive Way to Pay for Stuff - BL, by Matt Levine, 2014 January 02

      < snip > ..... A cruel generalization you could make about financial innovation is that it consists in large part of disguising transaction costs. Because the product provided by the financial services industry basically is transaction costs, sheer efficiency-based cost reduction can't really be the goal of the people in that industry. But you've got to compete somehow. So if you can find a way to charge for something but call it "free" then that's pretty much the ideal.

      Anyway a claim that is sometimes made about Bitcoin is that it is a way to send money without incurring transaction fees. ..... < snip >

      ..... Like so many financial innovations, part of what makes Bitcoin clever is its method of, let's say, naming transaction costs. Transaction costs are basically the money that is paid to someone for doing the bookkeeping work of transferring your dollars or Bitcoins or whatever to someone else ..... < snip >

      ..... As of today miners took home about 3.5 percent of the value of transactions that they processed.3 Which is more than credit card companies! Though maybe less than Western Union, I don't know.

      Now there are some important differences between this mining profit and credit card transaction fees. One is that this isn't a transaction fee, in that it isn't paid by the buyers or sellers. Which is true; it's paid by the users of Bitcoin generally ..... < snip >

      ..... The second is that this isn't a transaction fee, in that it's not paid to miners to process transactions. It's paid to miners for mining. ..... < snip > ..... The "mining" is not in itself a valuable activity. The reason miners are part of the Bitcoin ecosystem is to reward them for confirming that transactions are valid. That is the service they provide, so it stands to reason that that is what is being rewarded with their 3.5 percent profit. ..... < snip >

      ..... Bitcoin, as a transaction mechanism, is actually pretty expensive! It's just that it's clever at hiding its costs. ..... < snip >

      Is the light bulb starting to come on? I hope so!

    Yes, I hope so, too, for the sake of those who might be taken in by the slick bitcoin "counter-culture freedom" selling campaign. Educating about potential and risks of the speculative investment in a digital commodity (sans Ponzi/pyramid element) is one thing, promotion of expensive e-payment mechanism as a "freedom" "currency" as an alternative to the "fiat currency" by miners who benefit from increase in transaction volume and/or transaction value is quite another.

    If there is strength in numbers, then the next cryptocurrency should make it really big, I suppose:
    Kanye West-inspired currency 'to launch soon' - BBC, by , 2014 January 03

      < snip > ..... It will follow in the footsteps of "Dogecoin", another virtual currency based on the popular Doge meme. ..... < snip >

      ..... Various alternatives to Bitcoin have sprung up, such as Litecoin, Namecoin and PPCoin.

      Virtual currencies are often linked to the purchase of illegal items, namely drugs, thanks to transactions being extremely difficult to trace. ..... < snip >

      ..... They operate like privately run bank accounts - with the proviso that if the data is lost, so are the bitcoins owned. ..... < snip >

      ..... The makers of Coinye West have lofty ambitions for the currency which they described as a "cryptocurrency for the masses". Speaking anonymously to music site Noisey, they said: "I can picture a future where Coinye is used to buy concert tickets, with cryptographically verified virtual tickets, and other ideas I can't give away just yet."

      They said they planned to give away a number of Coinye to early users when the currency launches on 11 January. "It will get people who are on the fence interested and help them to start using the currency, and we hope they'll share it with their friends, too." ..... < snip >

    Hurry up, there is still time to get in on the freebie Coinyes:

      If you want it, here it is
      Come and get it m-m-m!
      Make your mind up fast

      If you want it anytime I can give it
      But you better hurry 'cause it may not last

      Did I hear you say that there must be a catch?
      Will you walk away from a fool and his money?

      If you want it, here it is
      Come and get it
      But you better hurry 'cause it's goin' fast

      You'd better hurry 'cause it's goin' fast...

  • Saudis lament, 'we have been stabbed in the back by Obama'

    12/28/2013 8:03:11 PM PST · 51 of 52
    CutePuppy to Rummyfan; Libloather
      Saudis lament, 'we have been stabbed in the back by Obama'

    You should always protect your back when someone like Obama is "leading from behind".

  • Bitcoin is Gold 2.0: But how can it be regulated?

    12/28/2013 7:18:52 PM PST · 22 of 25
    CutePuppy to factoryrat; grania; SeekAndFind; FatherofFive; null and void; Cementjungle; All
      If bitcoin cannot be manipulated like all of the current fiat money...

    Can't be manipulated? I'd think the volatility of the price of bitcoin is the best example of the ability to manipulate the price/value of the said commodity... er, sorry, currency. And the number of bitcoins in "circulation" is tiny, which makes it all the easier to manipulate - The Law of Small Numbers.

      Bitcoin cannot be allowed to continue to be a competitor to all of the government controlled fiat currencies of the world.

    It's interesting that people who are ardent proponents of the ultimate fiat currency (b1tc01n?) justify it simply by denigrating several legitimate convertible currencies (USDollar, EUro, GBPound, Yen, etc.) and yet officially non-convertible but very tradable/exchangeable yuan/renmimbi and derisively calling them fiat.

    The absurdity now extends even to the gold bugs, who — in real world — would be aghast at the possibility of any viable "fiat" currency "backed by nothing" (i.e., the "Seinfeld currency" ™) are on board, simply because they hate that other fiat currency - FRNs and the Federal Reserve that "prints" them out of "thin air" and that FRNs are not "backed by" physical gold.

    Never mind that gold itself is "backed by" nothing, except maybe "turtles all the way down" and the tradition of accepting gold as method of payment, even long after banking systems have developed paper money and Letters of Credit and IOU notes during Renaissance, but that's another story.***

    Well, bitcoin is not really in any competition with established government controlled fiat currencies.

    For one, there is a "guaranteed" limited amount of BTCs - about 22 millions in "circulation" including "lost and not found" tokens, so at the fixed price of, let's say, USD$1000.00 per BTC the total value of "bitcoin economy" will not exceed USD$22Billion. This will make it similar in size to current "eBay economy" but much smaller than current "Amazon economy."

    Of course, the BTC will have no choice but itself appreciate in value, sending a permanent deflationary wave throughout its economy as people hoard bitcoins. The people really benefiting the most from Bitcoin economy will be the "founders" and/or the ones who mined / were allocated early (i.e., the bitcoin "robber barons") - all of which makes the cryptocurrency the ultimate technogeeks pyramid scheme, in other words, there will be winners and the losers. The real question is, will "Satoshi Nakamoto" outdo Bernie Madoff on a USD basis?

    But wait, there is more!

    Why mine the bitcoins when the degree of mining difficulty goes up and the cost of economic input is higher than economic output? Why not switch your FPGAs and (later) ASICs farms to mine other, "easier" digital cryptocurrencies, e.g., litecoin ("like a silver to bitcoin gold"?), anoncoin, datacoin, devcoin, digitalcoin, dogecoin, earthcoin, ezcoin, fastcoin, feathercoin, florincoin, francos, globalcoin, goldcoin, infinitecoin, mastercoin, megacoin, namecoin, netcoin, novacoin, peercoin, quarkcoin, ripple, stablecoin, terracoin, unobtainium, worldcoin, zerocoin, zetacoin (yes, these are all real "cryptocurrencies" on the market now) etc. etc.

    And if that's not enough, why not try to "roll your own" coin? I get the first dibs on the SeinfeldCoin™, unless Jerry will fight me on this before I unlock the huge potential value. Yes, acceptance maybe iffy, but it's all marketing anyway - a coin is a coin, shouldn't cost much more material to mint a quarter than a nickel or print a "Washington" than a "Benjamin".

    If that doesn't work, maybe go back to good old Second Life's Linden Dollars. Or wait for the gold-backed "coin" to come on the market?**

    Of course it could be a good or bad investment or speculation — just like gold — in which case "ya pays your money, ya takes your chances" applies, but that doesn't make it money ****

      < snip > ..... To test the case for Bitcoin as a currency, Yermack compared it against the three major characteristics of money: that it serves as a medium of exchange, a unit of account and store of value.

      On this test, Bitcoin increasingly serves as a medium of exchange because more companies accept it, Yermack said. Where it fails is as a unit of account and store of value, he said.

      That's because its value is volatile and its exchange rate with the dollar "has virtually zero correlation" with how the dollar trades against other currencies. That makes "its risk nearly impossible to hedge for businesses and customers and renders it more or less useless as a tool for risk management," Yermack said.

      Bitcoin also lacks other characteristics associated with modern currencies, in that it cannot be deposited in a bank, there is no equivalent to deposit insurance for holdings of it, and no lenders use it as a unit account for standard transactions such as auto loans and mortgages, Yermack said.

      "Bitcoin appears to suffer by being disconnected from the banking and payment systems of the U.S. and other countries," he said.

    As a medium of exchange, bitcoin also fails, because the seller of the product or service cannot be certain of what the amount will be worth in the real currency of exchange when the bitcoins arrive to his account. There are now (and will be more in the future - see JPMorgan's patent on digital payments / transfers ***** / ******) low-cost e-payment services that don't have any of the problems of cryptocoins. Bitcoins "anonymity" is ephemeral, at best, and can be detrimental, as well as - for some - advantageous. Starbucks gift cards are also anonymous but are only "money" at Starbucks.

    Bitcoin was designed as a method for digital micropayments over Internet. Just because some used it as an opportunity (e.g., illegal merch/services payments and Cryptolocker, to name a couple) to push its "value" as an "alternative currency" is beyond what the original intention was, can possibly make it an alternative investment but doesn't make it a reliable alternative currency.

    "A big man knows the value of a small coin" - Things Change (1988) by David Mamet

    __________________________________________________

    ** E-gold founder backs new Bitcoin rival - CNBC, by Stephen Frey, 2013 November 29

    *** Why do we value gold? - BBC, by Justin Rowlatt, 2013 December 07

    **** Bitcoin More Speculative Than Real Currency, Study Finds - BL, by Simon Kennedy, 2013 December 23

    ***** What you need to know about digital currencies - CNBC, by Dhara Ranasinghe, 2013 December 24

    ***** J.P. Morgan Files For Digital-payment Patent - FBN, 2013 December 10

  • Flashback: Newt Gingrich on reining in Court Power

    11/23/2013 9:55:53 PM PST · 9 of 9
    CutePuppy to Servant of the Cross
      "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler" - Albert Einstein

        HUH? Can somebody translate that into something simple, for me?
    With pleasure.

    Metaphysically speaking, when you make [complex] things simple enough for people to understand, they become transparent, clear - visible enough to see through.

    If you make them simpler than that (clear, transparent) they become invisible, blank, empty, i.e., they no longer convey enough information to be meaningful, or in other words, they lose [the transparency of] the original meaning.

    I hope that was simple enough? ;^)

  • Cryptolocker infects cop PC: Massachusetts plod fork out Bitcoin ransom

    11/22/2013 5:14:44 PM PST · 27 of 31
    CutePuppy to rarestia; daniel1212
    unless you're running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, it won't work. Windows 7 Home and Home Premium do not have the capability of setting this local security policy since that portion of the registry hive is missing.

    They seem to imply that it would work on "any Windows OS" i.e., that the program can create the security policy even if it's not "displayed" (I assume that means that it can create hive and the entries in the registry, which can be easily checked by examining the registry after it runs) but that "any Win OS" will nonetheless act on it. I have no way to test it at the moment, since I run Ultimate on my machines.

    For a general rule is that we should keep an eye on what is running, and a primary free prog. for that is the well known Win Patrol

    Check out AnVir Task Manager - does practically everything that WinPatrol ("Scotty"!) does, plus just about everything that System Explorer does, including event logging and other functions. It's a "freemium" model program, most people will be happy with the free package, but for even more features Pro version is available.

    Besides Process Explorer, SysInternals (now owned by Microsoft) has an amazing collection of small utils that are very useful, especially in "silent" batch/non-interactive and scheduled modes. Similarly, some tiny free utils from NirSoft, by Nir Sofer, can be great time savers (and he checks his emails for suggestions or bug reports, too).

    CCE (Comodo Cleaning Essentials) from Comodo Group contains excellent Autoruns, KillSwitch process monitor/manager and antivirus scanner.

    Comodo (a security specialist and world's second largest Certification Authority, behind Symantec) also provides (free for personal use) firewall, antivirus, integrated Internet Security package, VPN, rescue disk, secure/encrypted email, secure DNS service, and "fortified" Web browsers Comodo Dragon (based on Chromium open source) and Comodo IceDragon (based on Firefox/Mozilla open source)

    Or you can use get a USB 2.0 to IDE SATA 2.5 3.5 Hard Drive Converter Cable for about $3.35 for old drives. ... For a little more you can find ones with a power adapter

    IDE/SATA-to-USB adapters are pretty cheap and are great for reusing older end-of-life IDE/SATA drives as a removable backup/archive solution - larger and slower than "native" USB 3.0 drives (such as WDC Passport), but excellent use for off-hours backup to portable media, especially for laptops.

  • Cryptolocker infects cop PC: Massachusetts plod fork out Bitcoin ransom

    11/21/2013 9:23:30 PM PST · 20 of 31
    CutePuppy to daniel1212; rarestia; Billthedrill; All
    Thanks for the freeware site, daniel1212.

    Didn't see one of the easiest full/incremental Windows BU packages there (maybe because it's a file-by-file, not an image backup, but it saved my backside a couple of times (just booted from a cloned drive and cloned it back onto affected partition in a space of a few minutes) - XXCLONE from Pixelab

    They have a free (slightly crippled, but very functional) non-commercial and a low-cost full versions of software.

    Also, "an ounce of prevention..." :
    CryptoPrevent from FoolishTech - free utility in only 350K file that protects against Cryptolocker AND some other malware as well:

      CryptoPrevent is a tiny utility to lock down any Windows OS to prevent infection by the Cryptolocker malware or 'ransomware', which encrypts personal files and then offers decryption for a paid ransom. CryptoPrevent artificially implants group policy objects into the registry in order to block certain executables in certain locations from running. Note that because the group policy objects are artificially created, they will not display in the Group Policy Editor on a Professional version of Windows — but rest assured they are still there!

      Incidentally, due to the way that CryptoPrevent works, it actually protects against a wide variety of malware, not just Cryptolocker!

    A 2T+ USB-powered drive(s) for backups and data portability is a no-brainer investment of about $100 per drive and a peace-of-mind lifesaver.

  • Republican governors say future GOP candidates must show compassion

    11/21/2013 4:48:48 PM PST · 65 of 70
    CutePuppy to Rockingham
    Yes, but GOP candidates and office holders must communicate and campaign not like an Old Testament prophet warning of damnation...

    Go on YouTube and compare Reagan's 1964 speech for Goldwater with his GOP convention speech in 1980 and his campaign speeches...

    Yours is only the second post on this thread that mentioned Reagan (there was no mention of him in the article itself) and his progression and ability to connect with people, while clearly and optimistically defining, communicating and advocating conservative principles.

    "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history" - George Bernard Shaw

    "Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana

    "Maybe if people started to listen, history would stop repeating itself" - Lily Tomlin

  • Republican governors say future GOP candidates must show compassion

    11/21/2013 10:14:01 AM PST · 48 of 70
    CutePuppy to amnestynone; Cincinatus' Wife
    Ronald Reagan showed compassion as well as reflecting the values of those of us on this board. I don't see any contradiction.

    "It's not how much you know - it's how much you show."

    "People don't care how much you know, people know how much you care."

    As much as I despise George W. Bush's "compassionate conservative" (as if principles of conservatism generally isn't or hasn't been theretofore "compassionate" or "considerate"), too many of the conservative and/or Republican candidates (at every electoral level) seem either uncaring, mean or, at best, bland and unoptimistic - e.g., Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, Romney, just to name a few at the top tier.

    Compassion shouldn't be confused with and doesn't automatically mean or translate into "pandering" - quite the opposite, in fact. But the politicians should be able to explain and communicate that to the constituents and the electorate at large, before and after they are elected.

    Nothing is more compassionate or important for politicians than educating people in general principles and tenets of economics and why it matters in politics and politics and elections matter to them.

    Otherwise they just cede their ground to creeping liberalism and "progressivism," only winning occasionally and temporarily to "fix" / "patch up" the economic disasters that follow - not a long-term winning proposition and building-for-the-future strategy.

  • This Senate hearing is a Bitcoin lovefest

    11/20/2013 4:44:02 PM PST · 31 of 32
    CutePuppy to pluvmantelo

    You recall correctly (and not just Swiss) :~)

  • This Senate hearing is a Bitcoin lovefest

    11/20/2013 4:42:11 PM PST · 30 of 32
    CutePuppy to grania
    I still have my question of is the algorithm used to accumulate bitcoin credits to somehow accumulate those cut-off decimal parts of pennies in data entries? What does happen to them anyway?

    Actually, these sub-bits/sub-pennies really can be just ignored / rounded-off and "reconciled" in bank's favor at the end of the day (fiscal period) but, if I understand your question correctly (or simply more broadly), you are asking if it's possible to exploit rounding-off mechanism to accumulate money in ANY electronic transaction, including but not limited to bitcoins?

    In other words, whether the banking scheme from Office Space would work in real life, in electronic exchanges.

    The answer is really not related specifically to bitcoins but, in general, it's usually not worth the time "invested" in such endeavour for anybody who is smart enough to devise and implement such a scheme. Transactions volume is only one of the factors.

    This is just the most recent experiment you can draw your own conclusion from:
    Money-making machine cashes in on currency trades - BBC, by Mark Ward, 2013 November 18

      A money-making machine that exploits rounding errors in currency exchanges in favour of bank customers has been built by a security researcher.

      If left to run at its top speed, the device could generate almost 70 euros (£58) a day by carrying out thousands of small transactions.

      The device was built to test the security of online banking systems. However, said experts, banks' anti-fraud systems would probably prevent the machine cashing in. ..... < snip >

      ..... These transactions were rounded up in a customer's favour so they ended up with cash worth slightly more than they started with. "The trick is that users can choose the amounts that they want to exchange such that the rounding will be always done in their favour," Dr Furtuna told the BBC. ..... < snip >

      ..... Dr Furtuna, who works for KPMG Romania as a penetration tester, set out to see if banks' online currency trading systems were vulnerable to large scale exploitation of this rounding error. ..... < snip >

      ..... Dr Furtuna told the BBC. At most, he said, it could carry out 14,400 transactions per day. This means, at most, it could generate about 68 euros per day if left to run unchallenged. ..... < snip >

      ..... Tod Beardsley, a security engineer at Rapid7, said such "salami slicing" attacks were well known, having been depicted in films such as Superman III, Hackers and Office Space. "Salami slicing attacks are usually illegal, since they usually add up to some kind of bank or tax fraud, or run afoul of anti-money laundering laws," he added.

      Many banks avoided falling victim to such attacks by imposing a minimum transaction size that removed the fractional error, said Mr Beardsley.

      Penetration tester Charlie Svensson, from security firm Sentor, said banks' anti-fraud mechanisms would probably spot and stop anyone trying to carry out thousands of tiny trades all day, every day. ..... < snip >

    There is something real that I accumulate until it's meaningful. If one uses Amazon's credit card they accumulate Amazon credits which can be used for purchases there.

    Similar to the "points" and/or "rewards" that you get from most credit cards. They exist in cyberspace (just like your "regular" bank account), but yes, you could convert them into "real" goods or services from shops at Amazon-land - just as you could with bitcoins for those who sell and buy in Bitcoin-land. There are even now bitcoin ATMs (a few were installed in Canada recently).

    I have another money question. (is there a good website for Q&A about this stuff?) It's about gold. People think they own gold if they have a gold mutual fund or a certificate that someone is holding "x" amount of gold for them in a safe vault somewhere. It seems a little naive to believe that. If I owned gold, I'd want it to be in my immediate control and in a form so it can readily be identified as trustworthy gold. Am I being too cynical?

    Most respected large gold ETFs are backed by physical bullion bars stored in the banks' vaults. For example, SPDR GLD, the worlds's largest gold ETF, stores the gold bars in the London vault of HSBC Bank. Gold of ETFS Physical Gold ETC is stored in the London's vault of J.P. Morgan. Sprott advertised that its PHYS Sprott Physical Gold Trust can be actually audited.

    If I owned gold, I'd want it to be in my immediate control and in a form so it can readily be identified as trustworthy gold. Am I being too cynical?

    Being cynical is fine, especially when considering range of available investments and the amount of accompanying misinformation, but also probably just a little bit confused by all the noise and hoopla about gold as "money" (rather than investment / trading vehicle or commodity) and more specifically "physical gold" vs "paper gold".

    Just to assuage your discomfort with "paper gold" / gold ETFs, hedge funds and billionaires such as John Paulson, George Soros, Warren Buffett, just to name a few, have invested and divested their holdings in GLD, not in in the "physical" gold. I think that speaks volumes of their level of comfort investing in and holding for a long period of time the "paper gold."

    ETFs have significant advantages over physical gold, such as much higher liquidity (the price of gold really took off since late 2004 when SPDR GLD ETF allowed hoi polloi to easily invest in gold, not in the form of futures or coins or bullion or miners' stocks - the demand skyrocketed, and the price correspondingly went up), no sales/VAT taxes, no safekeeping and other fees, no other expenses, such as insurance etc. etc. Similarly, SLV (iShares Silver Trust) started trading on NYSE in 2006. So, in real life, you really have much more "immediate control" over your investment via ETF than you would have with any "physical" gold or silver instrument - bullion, coins, jewelry etc.

    So in a sense, these are demand-driven commodity-based trading vehicles, very liquid (at some point GLD became the most "valued" ETF in the world, beating SPY) but nobody confuses them with "money" unlike bitcoins, which are far less liquid.

    All of the above is simply information, not a recommendation of or against certain investments.

  • This Senate hearing is a Bitcoin lovefest

    11/20/2013 2:22:20 PM PST · 28 of 32
    CutePuppy to pluvmantelo
    My sense of the currency is that a substantial part of its 'value' is that it can be used anonymously. Absent that, its risks seem to far outweigh its benefits.

    Absolutely. See my post #27 (I posted it without seeing your response or I'd include you in CC as well).

    To my limited understanding, anyway.

    You seem to understand it much better than most people bantering about it.

    [Major] Swiss banks prided themselves on anonymity. Now, after the IRS and SEC crackdowns, several Swiss bankers and many US citizens are behind bars and/or paid heavy fines and penalties for tax evasion. Singapore is considering "financial transparency" cooperation with the US banking system and tax authorities.

    The recent US law, called FATCA / Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (ironically, rhyming with the word "fatcat" that Obama, Dems and Occupy-ers used notoriously against "Wall Street" and "banksters") significantly increased compliance costs and disclosures of all undeclared income or assets.

    That, plus some of the highest taxes among the industrial countries (including double or triple taxation and extreme burden of bureaucratic regulatory compliance), is but one major reason for a record number of US citizens giving up their citizenship in recent years (Tina Turner is one most recent high-profile example).

    And it includes not just very wealthy, but many [former] Americans living and/or working overseas - many banks there close and/or refuse to open new accounts for US citizens.

  • This Senate hearing is a Bitcoin lovefest

    11/20/2013 12:11:03 PM PST · 27 of 32
    CutePuppy to LostPassword; All
    They need to "embrace" it now in case it get huge. There are 2 major aspects to it that our government hates

    1) anonymity (the same "problem" as cash but extended to long-distance purchases)

    2) they don't (currently) tax it The word "embrace" is very apt here.

    I was just explaining to a friend who was surprised that bitcoins got a warm reception from Democrat-controlled Senate, that it's an old strategy of Embrace, extend and extinguish [if necessary) utilized by Microsoft for many years.

    By "embracing" bitcoins they hope to tax it and regulate it, thus rendering anonymity aspect and associated "threat" moot. It's already in the process of being done in Germany and considered by several Asian states.

    Once it's done, it will be mostly dead, because the anonymity is really the only thing that gives it any value. Paypal, Square and expansion of conventional credit card companies into e-transfer, with all the convenience and inherent protections and without inherent speculative aspect of bitcoin, will have much more appeal for 99.99% of the people.

    Actually, not much different than the current strategy of "legalizing" marijuana, "medical" or "recreational" - essentially taxing and "regulating" it and "protecting" the "market" from illegal marijuana. It also allows for the expansion and increased funding of / spending on the state drug enforcement agencies.

  • This Senate hearing is a Bitcoin lovefest

    11/20/2013 11:32:19 AM PST · 24 of 32
    CutePuppy to grania; Junk Silver; Prolixus; yefragetuwrabrumuy; Yo-Yo; agere_contra; sharkhawk; pluvmantelo; ...
    Jon Paulos, a very readable mathematician, wrote about a scheme to create money.

    "The numbers man" John Paulos is very good, as was Martin Gardner (and Yakov Perelman before them).

    Bitcoin (based on "nothing" you can hold in your hand but can hold and transfer in cyberspace) is the antithesis of the "gold standard" (based on "something" you can hold in your hand but can't transfer in cyberspace) so most "gold bugs" will hate it just on that basis. Which is kind of interesting because, as a finite (and possibly diminishing, due to losses) resource (somewhat similar to gold, including the "mining" reference) the price inflation of the currency "value" is inherent, built in.

    But how and, more importantly, when would you like to use "currency" that, within a span of a few days or even hours can double in "value" (relative to most accepted convertible currencies) as well as be cut in half of its "value," i.e., you become a currency speculator and arbitrageur, whether you want it or not. Would you hoard it or spend it? If you are a shop accepting bitcoins, how often would you keep repricing the items based on extremely volatile currency?

    Remember the Linden Labs and Second Life's LindenDollars and collapse of the Ginko Financial Bank?

    Not to mention that due to the inherent characteristics of cyberspace and distribution of bitcoins, the entire supply of bitcoin is far more susceptible to attacks and/or theft or control change than more than a fraction of the entire distributed world supply of gold in existence.

    The Auric Goldfingers and Hunt brothers of cyberspace are already licking their chops over cornering the bitcoin market : Bitcoin Is Broken :: Hacking, Distributed. Tulips, at least, were impervious to this kind of subterfuge, though the barriers to entry into the "tulips market" were kind of low and tulip seeds were sold as an "investment" rather than "money" though anybody could use them as currency.

    Heck, how long do you think it would take the NSA or for that matter, any entity with massive parallel/distributed computing power and crypto algo expertise (Google, IBM, etc.) to take over Bitcoin?

  • Young and healthy needed to make Obamacare mandate work (MSM worried Obamacare will fail)

    10/02/2013 2:48:57 AM PDT · 11 of 20
    CutePuppy to Intolerant in NJ; riri; tobyhill
    Uh oh, and another problem for Obamacare just came out tonight - turns out all those subsidies people have been counting on to reduce their costs don't go directly to them, but instead to their insurance companies to be applied against their premiums - there will be no big flood of government checks into the eager hands of the public...

    Well, they are telling all the secrets now, eh?

    But wait, there is more! FTA:

      Young and fit people like Zanardelli, 31, and Foster, 28, have to buy into the system to support the law's mandate that all people must have health insurance next year. ..... < snip >

      ..... What insurance companies will save on medical costs for the healthier population will help pay for the older, sicker people who are entering into the insurance market for the first time. ..... < snip >

    From New health insurance exchanges want young, healthy people - LAT, by Chad Terhune, 2013 October 01

      < snip > ..... However, the program's long-term success will largely depend not on those who need healthcare the most, but on those who need it the least: young people.

      The math of President Obama's Affordable Care Act works only if millions of healthy consumers start paying into the system to offset the bills racked up by sicker people who can't be turned away.

      Persuading twentysomethings won't be easy. Max Halpern, a 25-year-old San Diego law student, is healthy and doesn't spend much time worrying about his next doctor's appointment. ..... < snip >

      ..... The stakes are high. Nationwide, the Obama administration estimates it needs about 40% of the 7 million people expected to enroll the first year to be young and healthy to help mitigate the costs of the chronically ill. ..... < snip >

      ..... "If healthy people don't enroll, insurers will start to increase premiums," said Christine Eibner, a healthcare economist at Rand Corp., a Santa Monica think tank. "It could create a death spiral where only sick people want to sign up." ..... < snip >

    And there you have it. Media can no longer keep the "secret sauce" of Obamacare financing calculations.

    The mask is off, and what do we see as the real face of Obamacare? Why, it's the good old pyramid / Ponzi scheme. It needs more and more young and healthy to pay for the increasing number of older population (the other end of the scheme would have to be increased rationing of medical care and lower capitation).

    The wizard behind ObamaCare turns out to be none other than ObaMadoff!

  • What Is Your U.S. Income Percentile Ranking?

    09/30/2013 2:10:38 PM PDT · 40 of 45
    CutePuppy to jdsteel; 21twelve; LS; Kaslin
      My income isn't "distributed" to me. I have to go out and earn it.

    Nice pun. Obviously, the charts show not the income "redistributed" by the government, but the distribution of income across income groups using cumulative distribution function (CDF) which is a pretty typical statistical binomial distribution in the shape of the S-curve (not to be confused with the "growth S-curve").

    In other words, to paraphrase, "it's not personal, just statistics." ;-)

      What amazed me was the difference in "individual" and "family".

    Why is that surprising? It would make sense that a median and average "individual" / single income would be much smaller than the one of the group income ("family" or "household," which includes single people and people living together but not married, i.e. filing individual income tax returns).

    In addition, the "individuals" generally include [very] young and [very] old, who tend to have much lower incomes.

    More interesting is the difference between "family" and "household" income, but it could be explained by inclusion of single households as well as usually poorer households with young unwed mothers and/or fathers.

    Also, the charts show income but not necessarily wealth, as some wealthy people are afforded the flexibility of structuring their finances as not necessarily take certain "income" in that particular year, for tax or other considerations.

    As you can see from [the steepness of] the curves, [depending on where you live] a lot more of the "families" and "households" should fall into the middle class (somewhere between 25%-30% and 90%-95%) than "individuals" (somewhere between 40%-50% and 90%-95%). It makes sense.

      Well, the chart pretty well shows what we all know, that there is a big gap between wealthier and the rest.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me."

    Ernest Hemingway: "Yes, they have more money."

  • The Obama Magic Failed to Produce Social Justice: Income is Down and Poverty is Up

    09/18/2013 6:31:16 PM PDT · 15 of 15
    CutePuppy to justlurking
    "Mean" is the same as "average": the sum of all data points, divided by the number of data points. You are thinking of "Median".

    No, if $51,000 is the median income (which I believe is correct, or at least close), then if you earn more than $51,000, you are in the upper 50%.

    You are correct on all counts.

  • Obamacare Regulations Are 8 Times Longer Than Bible

    09/10/2013 3:06:27 PM PDT · 12 of 12
    CutePuppy to HiTech RedNeck; markomalley
    These regulations add up to 10,516 pages in the Federal Register — or more than eight times as many pages as there are in the Gutenberg Bible, which has 642 two-sided leaves or 1,286 pages.


    And this is just Genesis, wait till we get to the Exodus.

  • Six stubborn myths about cancer - The internet is awash with misinformation about cancer, with...

    08/30/2013 11:53:06 PM PDT · 22 of 32
    CutePuppy to Boundless; American in Israel; All
      Absent from the article, and from the FDA "fakes" list is: calorie-restricted ketogenic diet (R-KD). People are using it, even in surprisingly late stage cancers, to shrink tumors. Hyperbaric therapy may help (D'Agostino). .....

      The curious thing about cancer is that tumor cells survive primarily on glucose, and to a lesser extent on glutamine (but cannot thrive on ketones). Oncologists take advantage of the glucose uptake to get tumors to show up on Xray, but they don't allow themselves to consider using this fact to treat it (why? primarily because consensus medical views on diet and blood lipids are nearly upside down from reality, which is a whole separate scandal). .....

      Healthy cells in most of the body can run on glucose (from carbs, primarily) or fat or ketone bodies. Brain cells can't use fat, but run just fine on ketone bodies metabolized from fat, but you only produce ketones when in nutritional ketosis (the Inuit diet, if you will). The "R" in R-KD is because there is as yet no direct way to control glutamine levels other than by restricting overall caloric intake. .....

    Thanks for bringing this up, the benefits of ketogenic diet and/or glucose reduction may be starting to get more attention. Diet may be one of the essential factors in prevention and/or treatment of cancers.

    See more in this post: New Method of Killing Cancer Cells Developed - FR / Sci-News, 2013 July 19 / 2013 July 24

      ..... Here is one that's based on the method of substitution - feeding the body ketones and eliminating glucose (which the tumor cells crave - several tests, like PET scan and recently enhanced MRI+glucose are using this fact to identify cancer).

      From Starving Cancer: Ketogenic Diet a Key to Recovery - CBN, by Lorie Johnson, 2013 June 21

        ..... not a surprise to Dr. Dominic D'Agostino, who researches metabolic therapy. When he and his team of scientists at the University of South Florida removed carbohydrates from the diets of lab mice, the mice survived highly aggressive metastatic cancer even better than when they were treated with chemotherapy. .....

        The Ketogenic Diet

        All cells, including cancer cells, are fueled by glucose. But if you deprive them of glucose, they switch to the alternate fuel, ketone bodies.

        Except cancer cells. A defect prevents them from making the switch to using ketone bodies as fuel and therefore, cancer cells can only survive on glucose. All other cells can use either glucose or ketone bodies.

        "Your normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. But cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility. So we can exploit that," Dr. D'Agostino explained.

        People like Hatfield, who want to deprive their cells of glucose and fuel them with ketone bodies instead, eat what's known as a ketogenic diet. It consists of almost zero carbohydrates, but lots of natural proteins and fats.

        Gloria said the food on the ketogenic diet is in every grocery store and is pretty easy to prepare. .....

  • Fast-food strikes set for cities nationwide

    08/28/2013 10:21:48 PM PDT · 42 of 42
    CutePuppy to Kip Russell
    Expect a case of Occupy Fast Food Flat-out Fiasco resulting in a period of bad "indigestion" for many involved in this exercise.
  • Obama doesn't need Congress to intervene in Syria

    08/27/2013 2:28:27 PM PDT · 80 of 96
    CutePuppy to dsutah
    Oh wow, this article is so Shakespearean! Remember the "Julius Caesar" speech by Mark Anthony: "friends, Romans, countrymen"! ... I think the next line was: "I came not to praise Caesar but to bury him", then he proceeded to do exactly that, to praise him, and turned the sentiment of the Roman people against Brutus!

      Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
      I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
      The evil that men do lives after them;
      The good is oft interred with their bones;
      So let it be with Caesar.

      The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
      If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
      And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
      Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest, —
      For Brutus is an honorable man.

      So are they all, all honorable men, —
      Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
      He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
      But Brutus says he was ambitious;
      And Brutus is an honorable man.

    Et tu Brutus! :~)

    Yes, I had eerily similar feeling reading it. The article was simultaneously fawning to Obama in tone and dripping with poison of deep irony in substance.

    And let's not forget another classic line from the same play, for we seem to be fast approaching it:

      Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war.

    Something that's currently better known as Wag the Dog strategy, courtesy of [recently reformed and converted to conservative thinking] David Mamet.

  • Obama doesn't need Congress to intervene in Syria

    08/26/2013 9:11:19 PM PDT · 53 of 96
    CutePuppy to TurboZamboni; All
    Why Liberals Kill

    President Obama to exit Afghanistan. But their heroes — from FDR to JFK — promoted U.S. involvement in more wars than all modern GOP presidents combined.

    From a very long, very flattering to Obama (yet very stinging) article, from a very liberal Esquire magazine:
    The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama - Esquire, by Tom Junod, 2013 May 23

      Sure, we as a nation have always killed people. A lot of people. But no president has ever waged war by killing enemies one by one, targeting them individually for execution, wherever they are. The Obama administration has taken pains to tell us, over and over again, that they are careful, scrupulous of our laws, and determined to avoid the loss of collateral, innocent lives. They're careful because when it comes to waging war on individuals, the distinction between war and murder becomes a fine one. Especially when, on occasion, the individuals we target are Americans and when, in one instance, the collateral damage was an American boy. ..... < snip >

      ..... You love two things, your family and the law, and you have surrounded yourself with those who are similarly inclined. To make sure that you obey the law, you have hired lawyers prominent for accusing your predecessor of flouting it; to make sure that you don't fall prey to the inevitable corruption of secrecy, you have hired lawyers on record for being committed to transparency. Unlike George W. Bush, you have never held yourself above the law by virtue of being commander in chief; indeed, you have spent part of your political capital trying to prove civilian justice adequate to our security needs. You prize both discipline and deliberation; you insist that those around you possess a personal integrity that matches their political ideals and your own; and it is out of these unlikely ingredients that you have created the Lethal Presidency.

      You are a historic figure, Mr. President. You are not only the first African-American president; you are the first who has made use of your power to target and kill individuals identified as a threat to the United States throughout your entire term. You are the first president to make the killing of targeted individuals the focus of our military operations, of our intelligence, of our national-security strategy, and, some argue, of our foreign policy. You have authorized kill teams comprised of both soldiers from Special Forces and civilians from the CIA, and you have coordinated their efforts through the Departments of Justice and State. You have gradually withdrawn from the nation building required by "counterinsurgency" and poured resources into the covert operations that form the basis of "counter-terrorism." More than any other president you have made the killing rather than the capture of individuals the option of first resort, and have killed them both from the sky, with drones, and on the ground, with "nighttime" raids not dissimilar to the one that killed Osama bin Laden. You have killed individuals in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and are making provisions to expand the presence of American Special Forces in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In Pakistan and other places where the United States has not committed troops, you are estimated to have killed at least two thousand by drone. You have formalized what is known as "the program," and at the height of its activity it was reported to be launching drone strikes in Pakistan every three days. Your lethality is expansive in both practice and principle; you are fighting terrorism with a policy of preemptive execution, and claiming not just the legal right to do so but the legal right to do so in secret. The American people, for the most part, have no idea who has been killed, and why; the American people — and for that matter, most of their representatives in Congress — have no idea what crimes those killed in their name are supposed to have committed, and have been told that they are not entitled to know.

      This is not to say that the American people don't know about the Lethal Presidency, and that they don't support its aims. They do. They know about the killing because you have celebrated — with appropriate sobriety — the most notable kills, specifically those of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki; they support it because you have asked for their trust as a good and honorable man surrounded by good and honorable men and women and they have given it to you. In so doing, you have changed a technological capability into a moral imperative and have convinced your countrymen to see the necessity without seeing the downside. Politically, there is no downside. Historically, there is only the irony of the upside — that you, of all presidents, have become the lethal one; that you, of all people, have turned out to be a man of proven integrity whose foreign and domestic policies are less popular than your proven willingness to kill, in defense of your country, even your own countrymen ... indeed, to kill even a sixteen-year-old American boy accused of no crime at all. ..... < snip >

      ..... The Lethal Presidency — and the Lethal President — wants us to know that killing is hard. It has spent months telling us this story because there is another story, a counterstory voiced off the record by administration members and confirmed by everything human beings have learned about killing in their bloody history: That killing individuals identified as our enemies isn't hard at all. That it's the easiest thing humans — particularly humans in power — can do. ..... < snip >

      ..... But here's something simpler, and more human. You have made sure that you will not be the only Lethal President. You have made sure that your successor in the White House will also be a Lethal President, as well as someone somewhere else in the world.

      What if the next Lethal President is not as good and as honorable as you? What if he is actually cruel or bloodthirsty? What if he turns out to be — like you, Mr. President — just a man? ..... < snip >

    Oh, and it's also so nice to know that the NSA, IRS and who knows who else in the Obama administration are not "spying on Americans", unlike what the "evil" George W. Bush did.

    I have seen "Obama 2008" and "Obama 2012" stickers and signs gone from the cars and yards after IRS and NSA scandals broke. I guess that's an informal "poll" I can trust about the cumulative disenchantment of former "true believers".

  • Obama doesn't need Congress to intervene in Syria

    08/26/2013 6:48:02 PM PDT · 36 of 96
    CutePuppy to RKBA Democrat; All
    So, just another case of "Obama's cowboy diplomacy".

    "Cowboy Obama" and his sidekick cowboy John F. "I was for it before I was against it" Kerry will send some missiles, claim they destroyed chemical weapons storage, "declare victory and go home".

    "Obama's cowgirls" Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Powers have already been responsible for several failed "Arab Springs" in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia etc.

    Nobel Peace Prize laureate "Cowboy Obama" - sounds oxymoronic, doesn't it?

  • Milestone study probes cancer origin

    08/20/2013 1:12:55 AM PDT · 18 of 18
    CutePuppy to sun7
    And to set the record straight on serendipity, I actually firmly believe almost everything we attribute to luck or accept as random are anything but.

    Definitely. There is a saying I was fortunate to hear early in life:
    "It takes a lifetime of effort and determination to become an overnight success."

  • Milestone study probes cancer origin

    08/18/2013 3:03:33 PM PDT · 16 of 18
    CutePuppy to sun7
      I hope they will find something useful at the end of this study; but cancer has stricken such diverse groups of people across all age ranges...

    That's exactly the point of such a large and broad study - to find commonalities based on the pattern of cancer signatures, rather than the ones we are paying attention to at this time (e.g., age, ethnicity, environment, exposure, diet, habits, genetics etc.) - it may point us in the right direction and allow much earlier diagnostics and better screening for potentially effected individuals based on DNA signatures (genetically predisposed from birth or due to "fixed" mutation) rather than grouping by broad "medieval" observational / statistical categories of "smoker," "red meat eater," "suntan/UV" etc.

      I once read from a reliable source that [all] cancer is viral.

    Actually, unless you mean the viral mutation of genome, externally "the cause" is more commonly thought of as "inflammation", which may be caused by viruses, bacteria (e.g., H.pylori), radiation and other factors that may undermine individual immune systems from effectively dealing with it. BTW, id you look at CPTP, it specifically blocks cellular mechanism of inflammation.

      Instead of trying to track down the apparently very elusive cause(s), which we have had little success after all these years...

    Actually, the study is independent and differs from others in that it is a "macro" study, trying to "classify" common cancer "causes" scientifically based on DNA mutations signatures rather than ad hoc "environment" categories based on often flawed observations or even often fraudulent group biases (political, racial, dietetic, environmental etc.).

    It already reduced "common cause" of more than 200 cancers down to 21 signatures, which may lead to better understanding and discovery of commonality and reduction of numbers and higher effectiveness of treatments. It may also happen that only a subset of these 21 signatures is relevant, further reducing the amount of effort needed for advancement of screening.

    In addition (rather than "instead of"), this study is complementary to others in that it might significantly reduce the number of false assumptions and allow other scientists to deal with only certain genetically significant signatures.

    Far from being [nearly] useless, this study may turn out to become a specific "reference" study, sort of Cancer Genome Project.

      Even with our advances in technology and research capabilities, we definitely can use some serendipity to make a breakthrough like in the old days.

    Serendipity and Eureka moments happen every day, even within the large "cold" prim scientific studies, only they are now based on [hopefully] better scientific knowledge and understanding. Count on it! :-)

    Also take a look at the second article, within my first comment - probably a serendipitous development of someone taking a look at part of "junk DNA" and finding a possible cancer cure.

  • Milestone study probes cancer origin

    08/17/2013 8:11:53 PM PDT · 9 of 18
    CutePuppy to SunkenCiv

    Yes, it may have a different / separate subplot. Feel free to post it.

  • Milestone study probes cancer origin

    08/17/2013 8:09:16 PM PDT · 8 of 18
    CutePuppy to who_would_fardels_bear
    See Pareto Principle (aka 80/20 Rule, Golden Rule, the Law of Vital Few, etc.), i.e. variations of 20% of "input" are responsible for 80% of "output".
  • Milestone study probes cancer origin

    08/17/2013 5:43:35 PM PDT · 4 of 18
    CutePuppy to exDemMom
    We have here an example of why I dislike reading science written for the lay person.

    "Lost in translation" for lay person :-)

    I think what author tried to do is "classify" the signatures "related" to different potential causes that could affect immune system in some people, to make it more susceptible to a mutation getting "fixed". Later in the article:

      Mysteries

      Other signatures were related to ageing and the body's immune system. Cells respond to viral infection by activating a class of enzymes which mutate the viruses until they can no longer function.

  • Milestone study probes cancer origin

    08/17/2013 4:56:47 PM PDT · 2 of 18
    CutePuppy to neverdem; sun7
    In case you might be interested:

    "Hidden within the cancer genome are these patterns, these signatures, which tell us what is actually causing cancer in the first place - that's a major insight to have."