Republicans plan to put approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline on a fast track early next year if they win a U.S. Senate majority in November, finally forcing President Barack Obama to make a tough call on the controversial plan.
The $10 billion Keystone project to connect Canadian oil sands with U.S. refineries will top the list of Republican energy priorities if they gain control of the Senate after the November 4 midterm elections. It could come as a stand-alone measure or attached to must-pass legislation such as a government spending or transportation bill, according to senators and congressional aides.
Republicans, along with some Democrats, have for years pushed for a bill that would allow Congress to approve Keystone, and reduce the role of the administration. However, with Democrats in control, the closest they have gotten in the Senate was a symbolic measure expressing support for the project.
President Obama is so in the grasp of Big Green that he has turned a deaf ear to Big Labor on this issue, which should give you an idea of just how much money the former has. He’s had to work hard to ignore all of the various factions that support Keystone XL. It may be the only real hard work he’s done off the golf course.
It’s good to see the GOP planning for a victory in November but complacency is a killer, especially with a weaker Get Out The Vote effort than the Democrats have.
Voice-activated technology is so vulnerable to attack that users should immediately disable speech recognition on all their devices, a security researcher at AVG has warned.
Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at the anti-virus company, has carried out several experiments which revealed the new techniques hackers might use to gain control of voice-controlled devices.
He made the ominous prediction that a “thief outside the door” could take control of gadgets such as smart televisions or laptops from outside a target’s home, potentially burgling them without even smashing a window.
The vulnerability of technology which uses voice commands is likely to become an important issue in the coming years, as smartwatches and connected home devices grow in popularity and the technology becomes commonplace.
Just when you thought technology was making everything easier, now comes the potential for some creeper outside your window to give you a really embarrassing Netflix search history.
I admit, I love the new stuff and try everything when it first comes out, with very little thought about what new nightmare scenarios hackers might be working up. Voice activation was the sci-fi thing we all just expected to be a fact of life. Now I am ready to go to a stationery store and start writing letters to people again.
Still gonna need IMDB when I’m watching a movie though.
Cronyism. Or Crony Capitalism. It’s actually Crony Socialism – because it actually has nothing to do with capitalism.
Crony Socialism is not an unfettered free market where the best ideas and companies win. It’s the government warping and distorting the market: favoring with absurdly tilted policies some ideas and companies – and thus inherently dis-favoring everyone else in said sector.
How much you pay to watch TV has been a Crony Socialist nightmare mess since basically the creation of cable TV. Thanks to government meddlesomely messing with the market.
The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (also known as the 1992 Cable Act) is a United States federal law which required cable systems to carry most local broadcast channels and prohibited cable operators from charging local broadcasters to carry their signal.
Get that? Cable companies are required by law to deliver all local broadcast stations in every channel package. Cable companies must then sit down with broadcasters and pretend to negotiate a “free market” deal for how much they pay for those stations.
If you and I sat down to negotiate a price for my widgets – after the government has mandated that you purchase my widgets – don’t you think I’m going to inflate the price of my widgets?
And broadcasters are thanks to government a monopoly – in the sense that they alone carry the product cable companies are mandated by government to purchase. And thus their prices are perpetually on the rise.
Of course the more cable companies pay for these local stations – the more we pay for them.
And cable companies—and thus you—are required by government to pay rigged prices for a product that you used to get for free with a rooftop antenna or a pair of rabbit ears.
Government mandates rarely go well. Government is now mandating that everyone buy health insurance – how’s that going?
ObamaCare will increase average individual-market insurance premiums by 99% for men, 62% for women; ObamaCare will raise premiums for 65% of small firms; ObamaCare taxes add billion to rising premiums.
And broadcasters know: when your cable bill goes up, you don’t get mad at the broadcasters for overcharging for their channels – you get mad at your cable company for having to pass those costs on to you.
As sweet as this broadcasters’ deal is – it ain’t anywhere near all.
The Broadcasters are actually the beneficiaries of decades of government good grace – well beyond the uber-tilted Cable Act.
They received free from government charge their spectrum – the airwaves they use to broadcast. Surely something the cellular phone companies have eyed as they’ve paid the government tens of billions of dollars for their spectrum.
And now we have the looming spectrum incentive auction. Where Broadcasters get to sell their spectrum – that they, again, received for free – to the cell phone companies (via the government middle man).
I’m sure a company like Verizon - a cell phone company who with Fios is also a television Provider – is thrilled to pay Broadcasters for spectrum the latter received for free, while also having the government tilt the Retransmission rules against them, in the Broadcasters’ favor.
The Broadcasters have a pretty sweet omni-directional Crony Socialist deal going. Little wonder they are fighting so hard against any changes to it.
If we can get an injection of Free Market (Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval-pending) anywhere into this Crony Socialist organism – we should absolutely take it. The “Local Choice” bill now before the Senate would do just that.
Taking a novel approach to broadcast retransmission consent, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) joined forces with ranking committee member John Thune (R-SD) in unveiling a proposal that would allow subscribers to multichannel video program distribution (MVPD) services to select the local broadcast channels they want while permitting MVPDs to bill subscribers directly for licensing fees connected with the broadcast channels of their choice.
Any roll back of any Crony Socialism is a turn in the right direction.
American Airlines has won regulatory approval to swap flight attendants’ paper manuals for lighter Samsung tablets in a change that will save nearly $1 million a year, the company said on Wednesday.
The move, which does not yet affect attendants at American Airlines Group Inc’s (AAL.O) subsidiary US Airways, comes little more than a year after American’s cockpit went paperless, and is one of many strategies that airlines have pursued to reduce weight and fuel costs.
Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and United Airlines (UAL.N) have also distributed smart devices to their pilots, and Delta plans to roll out an e-manual for flight attendants starting in October.
American said its attendants already have the tablets, and those at US Airways will receive them after the combined company receives a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. The timing of that is uncertain.
Few technological advancements exemplify progress more than our ability to make journeys that used to take days, weeks or even months, in a matter of hours now. Yet even as the planes and the way we book travel have kept evolving, much of the airline industry has kept a lot of its business practices rooted in the 1960s, for a variety of reasons.
As someone who has been flying to work for a couple of decades, here is the change I would most like now: frequently travelers can take a test (annually, if need be) to prove that we understand the intricacies of the safety announcement, like how to use a seat belt buckle or recognize a door in a vehicle that doesn’t have many of them. Once we do, we’re given something that we can use to show the flight attendant that we have been cleared to listen to music during the announcements and spare ourselves one of the most tedious experiences known to modern man.
Sweet, sweet freedom.
I checked, and one of my gmail accounts had been compromised. If you use gmail it’s a good idea to check after this happened.
Time to change your password again. A database containing nearly 5 million Gmail user accounts and passwords was leaked on Bitcoin Security, a popular Russian website devoted to the cryptocurrency.
The text file was published on Tuesday night by user tvskit, according to CNews, the Russian news outlet that first broke the story. The leaker claimed that the majority of the accounts belong to users who speak English, Russian, or Spanish, and that approximately 60 percent are active. The passwords not only give access to Gmail, but a slew of other Google services such as Drive and the mobile payment system Google Wallet.
You can check your gmail account(s) here. You might have to be patient — people are flocking to the site to check their accounts.
This week the Drudge Report had this link from the UK Telegraph with the headline and subhead:
How Isil doctored the image of Obama, making him appear haggard in videos
The terrorist group carefully manipulate their videos to make the US president look as tired and weary as possible, demonstrating its technical prowess
Welcome to war in the modern age where our enemies use media manipulation to taunt President Obama. (Remember when Putin and the Russians made light of Obama’s wimpy image using the kitty cats? Click here if you missed that unusual caption contest.)
Below, the Telegraph describes the techniques ISIL (or ISIS) used in the screen-grab image that is the subject of our contest.
In the same way, Mr. Obama’s blue jacket is made to appear a funereal black. His strands of grey hair are picked up and exaggerated. The editor has also caused an interlacing effect of black lines to run across the president’s white shirt. For good measure, he has carefully stretched the screen length ways in order to make Mr. Obama appear thin and gaunt.
Now, here is your “special ops” mission for these dangerous times. You must translate the message written in whatever language these barbarians used, into a language that PJ Media readers can better understand.
In addition to the “official translation,” you can also write a non-official translation from the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee or from any committee or organization you wish, even the NRA or the Navy Seals.
Finally, is it just me, or does the ISIS video manipulation make Obama resemble, even more than before, “this guy” from the History Channel’s Bible mini-series? (Official name of “this guy” withheld for many political, religious and IRS reasons.)
Good luck, and you don’t have to be nice with your translations because the “folks” who did this video manipulation really are the personification of “this guy” in the photo above.
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton have fired up their lawyers and managed to get most of their leaked nude photos off of the sites that were posting them. But E! reports that the photos will be coming back to public view anyway.
Los Angeles artist XVALA intends to create uncensored, life-sized versions of them, call them “art” and display them in a gallery in St. Petersburg, FL in October.
The exhibit’s publicist does what an amoral publicist does.
“XVALA appropriating celebrity compromised images and the overall ‘Fear Google’ campaign has helped strengthen the ongoing debate over privacy in the digital era,” said publicist Cory Allen. ”The commentary behind this show is a reflection of who we are today. We all become ‘users’ and in the end, we become ‘used.’”
In this case, used by the publicist and the artist he represents. Cha-ching!
XVALA has been gathering up leaked celebrity photos for seven years using Google, and intends to use that collection in his exhibit.
Being wary of Google and Facebook is wise. They are universal data-mining and privacy-deleting megacorporations.
But the “Fear Google” logic isn’t exactly sound in the recent leak case. The photos were posted on iCloud, which is Apple, and were posted on sites like 4chan after the hacker or hackers obtained them. Google was merely the means by which many Internet users found the photos once the media went into overdrive reporting on the leak.
President Obama used to hold Libya up as one of the examples of how the Arab Spring had ushered in freedom.
He had no idea…
Islamist militias are now free to take over the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and host an end-of-summer pool party bash there.
Islamist pool parties tend to be a little different from ours. No alcohol will be consumed, though Islamists are perfectly free to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and any other hard drug to infidel addicts if they donate the money to the jihad.
No women are allowed unless they’re covered head to toe. Even the men stay fully covered while they jump from the roof to the pool.
Jackknifes are not entertaining ways to make a splash. They’re what the partygoers will use for the ceremonial beheading of a westerner at the end of the party.
The U.S. embassy in Tripoli, like all U.S. embassies, is under the purview of Secretary of State John Kerry.
While Kerry was not technically invited to the Islamist pool party, he showed solidarity with it.
What do you think Putin is thinking about all this?
h/t Daily Caller
As the great P.J. O’Rourke said:
“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
We have to give the Feds some – the Constitution requires it. But in 1984 the Supreme Court threw wide open the doors to every liquor store and vehicle in the nation.
Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. was a case in which the United States Supreme Court set forth the legal test for determining whether to grant deference to a government agency’s interpretation of a statute which it administers.
Chevron is the Court’s clearest articulation of the doctrine of “administrative deference,” to the point that the Court itself has used the phrase “Chevron deference” in more recent cases.
What has that meant in thirty years of practice?
Which brings us to the Obama Administration. And its million-plus bureaucrats speeding and swerving from one adult beverage center to another – sloppily all over every lane of every highway and byway in the land.
And then we wonder why the economic “recovery” stinks on ice.
All of this egregious overreach, the ensuing woeful and unnecessary damage and more we discuss in the accompanying video.
Please press play – and enjoy.
Last Thursday the California State Assembly passed the “Yes Means Yes” campus rape bill, which now awaits the governor’s seal of approval. Feminist site Jezebel reports:
As previously reported, Senate Bill 967 sets a standard of requiring “affirmative consent” in sexual assault investigations, which means that the students in question must have affirmed to each other verbally or physically that they wanted to have sex with one another. It’s different from the previous “No Means No” mantra that many college campuses went by, which often meant that the person alleging that they had been sexually assaulted was penalized for not saying specifically that they didn’t want to have sex. Additionally, under affirmative consent, “Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent.”
It should come as no surprise that an ideological movement that took up residency with cultural Marxism in the 1960s would view bureaucracy as the best weapon against sexual assault. As Stalin once said, “bureaucracy is the price we pay for impartiality.” And isn’t impartiality what feminists strive for in sexual encounters these days?
Annuo, a “sexual consent app,” launched on August 11 when the campus rape bill hit the California legislature:
Annuo is the world’s first app that rewards you for having sex; so long as it’s consensual. Here’s how it works:
1) You and your prospective sex partner both sign-in via facebook. (Nothing about your encounter will be posted to your wall)
2)Person A signs a prompt consenting to sex
3) Person B signs a prompt consenting to sex
4) The two of you get busy!!!!
5) You get mPoints as rewards which can be redeemed for cool stuff
Impartial, 21st century bureaucracy (electronic versus that tree-killing paper trail) turns sex into a legal agreement with the promise of being rewarded with “cool stuff” (way cooler than love, I’m sure). You know the old joke, Stalin and Mark Zuckerberg walk into a bar on ladies’ night…
3D printing is incredibly disruptive technology. It has already impacted the debate over guns. Researchers are using it to recreate antique musical instruments.
At 3DPrint.com, they have the story of a Chinese man who lost half of his skull in a fall. 3D printing will give him that half of his skull back.
The 46-year-old was working at his construction job one day when he fall three stories to the ground. The fall left him disfigured, as if he had a large dent in the side of his head.
Surgion [sic] MaoGuo Shu, of Xijing Hospital, who has seen a vast array of head and skull injuries, says that cases like Hu’s are very rare, and finding a solution to fix the damaged skull is very complex and difficult. To try and come up with a solution, the hospital brought in dozens of experts in the field. What they came up with was an idea for a 3D printed titanium mesh which would cover Hu’s brain and help make his skull look normal again. Thankfully for Hu, he won’t have to pay a dime for the surgery, as the hospital is covering the cost, and an American company, Stryker has agreed to pay for the 3D printing and materials used in the printing process.
The titanium printed mesh should return his skull to his normal shape over time. His brain, which was badly damaged in the fall leaving Hu unable to talk and write, might regenerate itself, according to the doctors.
Matti Friedman, a former AP Correspondent, has written a brilliant, must-read analysis of why the mainstream media’s reporting on Israel is skewed, biased, and downright reprehensible:
The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.
While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.
The 3 page story explains a number of popular misnomers that are the result of mainstream media reporting techniques, including:
- In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.
- The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are (understandably, in my opinion) more complicated. Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.
- Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. That is the essence of the Israel story. In addition, reporters are under deadline and often at risk, and many don’t speak the language and have only the most tenuous grip on what is going on. They are dependent on Palestinian colleagues and fixers who either fear Hamas, support Hamas, or both. Reporters don’t need Hamas enforcers to shoo them away from facts that muddy the simple story they have been sent to tell.
Concluding with, “Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality,” the story is a must read for anyone willing to confront the mess of mainstream media and the reality of life in Israel and the Middle East.
Is the Barack Obama Administration more than a mite out of control when it comes to imposing new regulations? Indeed so.
Is the Obama Administration more than a little off on their regulations assessments? Indeed so.
Speaking of illegal, let’s look at Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The FCC has already twice imposed the Internet power grab that is Network Neutrality. How’d that go?
Have these rebukes stopped Obama, Inc.? Of course not.
They are in fact contemplating an even bigger grab.
Obviously existing federal law doesn’t stop Obama. Do multiple-state laws? It appears not.
And even all of this is but partially representative of how far-reaching and omni-directional is the Obama Administration’s power-grab-intent.
The full scope – and deleterious effect – of which we discuss in the accompanying video.
Please press play, and enjoy.
The U.S. chief technology officer who oversaw the troubled rollout of Healthcare.gov is stepping down and moving into a new role recruiting top Silicon Valley talent into government, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.
Todd Park, a successful tech entrepreneur who became a top advisor to President Barack Obama, will move to the West Coast as part of a White House team at the end of the month, the source said on condition of anonymity because the news has not been made public.
In his new role, Park will help channel ideas from the tech community, as well as keep government updated on how technology is evolving, the source added.
They do all of this with straight faces too. He is responsible for one of the more high profile screw-ups in the history of bureaucracy, which is quite an accomplishment. As a reward for being unable to marshal the vast resources of the federal government to execute a task the average college nerd to do for a few hundred bucks, Park will now be the guy looking for people who hopefully have more talent than he does.
What could go wrong?
My two-word response to the beheading of James Foley and captivity of Steven Sotloff: Daniel Pearl. Americans still suffer under the delusion that oceans are borders. America is so physically huge that we can watch the riots in Ferguson the way we watch the rockets being fired from Gaza or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: From the comfort of our couch. Neither we, nor our families, nor our homes are physically in danger. In truth, we are disconnected. At best, those of us who do pay attention do so through screen media. We participate by commenting on internet forums or through social media, or perhaps writing a check to a charity to help those in need. But we should not confuse compassion or concern for actual awareness.
As I watch what is happening in my second home, Israel, I marvel at the reactionary comments I’ve seen from well-meaning Americans who are confident that if they lived next door to Hamas, they’d just go after the terrorists with Christianity-fueled faith in their Second Amendment rights. It’s so easy to see yourself as the next John Wayne from the comfort of your living room. It’s far more difficult when your family and your home are on the line. Much has been said about the right of those overseas to tell Israel how to run their military operations. From a writer’s point of view, I can remain at best pragmatic by saying that the surreality in which these armchair soldiers dwell is, at least, far more supportive than the stupor that plagues most Americans. For their sake, and the sake of America, I hope the bravado isn’t masking an army of summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.
I recall watching my friends collapse in horror on 9/11. As profoundly moved as I was by the horrific tragedy of that day, my response was simply: Intifada. The reality of countless suicide bombers trolling city streets, blowing themselves and countless civilians up at nightclubs, hotels, or on city buses had become a way of life for Israelis in the ’90s. Because I am so deeply connected to that land I felt that impact in a way most overseas do not. There was no shock in 9/11 for me, only awe at the sleeping America that responded to their alarm clock by repeatedly hitting snooze.
The Times of Israel reports:
A senior Israeli official confirmed to Israeli media that the US had suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel amid worsening ties over fighting in Gaza.
According to the report, the Israeli official corroborated a story published earlier in the Wall Street Journal. While the article focuses mainly on the souring relationship between Netanyahu and Obama, it pays a decent amount of attention to the fact that both the White House and the State Department are actively working to block the shipment of arms to Israel.
The decision to evaluate every request by the Israeli military separately came after the White House and State Department discovered last month that the Pentagon was supplying Jerusalem with arms without their knowledge, the newspaper report said.
While one US diplomat described the American reaction to the arms transfer as a feeling of being “blindsided,” another US defense official emphasized that the back channel transfers were legitimate and did not require a sign-off from President Barack Obama or the State Department.
“There was no intent to blindside anyone. The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have,” a US defense official told the paper.
After learning of these transfers, the Obama administration, perturbed that much of the ammunition was used by the IDF in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, revised the review process in a move that is likely to limit or at least delay Israel’s requests for weapons.
Israeli officials are, of course, concerned over the apparent worsening of ties between Israel and the U.S., with Likud Knesset members using the incident to both defend Netanyahu and the America-Israel relationship. However, it has become impossible to deny the fact that Israel and certain political leaders in America have differing perspectives on radical Islamic terrorism:
Numerous US officials say the Gaza violence “has persuaded them that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
As far as the Israeli view of the Obama Administration, the report cited John Kerry when noting that “…Israeli officials consider the US view of the Middle East ‘weak and naive.’” Despite their lack of faith in Obama,
Netanyahu is confident his supporters in Congress will back Israel, and remains unconcerned that the sparring with Obama will have significant adverse effects.
With the American politics of the situation sure to be addressed in the upcoming mid-terms, the actions on the part of the Obama Administration (and Britain, for that matter) also make a strong case for the timeliness of crowdsourcing for Israel’s military defense.
After disregarding pleas from the police in Ferguson, Missouri, to restrict their protests to daylight hours, angry demonstrators took to the streets for a fourth night in a row in response to the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday.
The Ferguson Police Department expressed sympathy over the unarmed teen’s death, saying “police are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process.”
The city and the police department pledged to cooperate fully with local and federal investigations into the shooting.
“We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner,” the statement said. “We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our community.”
But early Wednesday evening a crowd gathered around a burned down gas station for another night of protesting. Officers set up barricades in an attempt to control the area, but when protesters refused to disperse and blocked a busy street, police moved in with tear gas and rubber bullets sending protesters running.
In the middle of the melee, Twitter started lighting up with messages of solidarity from Palestinians in Gaza, some of them sending advice for how to resist police or deal with the effects of tear gas.
Inas Safidi, whose Twitter profile says she lives in “Palestine,” began with a message of support for the protesters:
— Inas Safadi (@InassSafadi) August 14, 2014
— Inas Safadi (@InassSafadi) August 14, 2014
The IJReview picked up a story from the UK Daily Mail that featured the eye witness testimony of an Israeli Iron Dome commander responsible for protecting Tel Aviv, Israel’s business center, from incoming rocket attacks:
A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.
We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.
Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!”
The story, originally circulated in Israeli media, was translated into English by the Jerusalem-based news agency Israel Today. The commander’s testimony continued:
“I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”
Israel Today noted that earlier unconfirmed reports circulating around the Internet had Hamas fighters have attributed the success of Iron Dome to the ability of Israel’s God to move Hamas rockets in mid-air. This is not the first report of Divine intervention in the midst of Operation Protective Edge. Following the Biblical terms of a pre-Jubilee year harvest, Orthodox farmers took enough wheat from their fields to reveal terrorists hiding in their midst. Most recently, it was reported that an Israeli soldier’s well-timed recitation of the Shema saved a Hamas female suicide bomber in Gaza.
Israel Today ended their Iron Dome miracle report by detailing another report of miracles in the midst of combat:
Also last week, Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, described a mysterious fog that favorably covered he and his troops as they advanced on an enemy position in morning light, after their nighttime raid was postponed.
Col. Winter labeled the covering as “clouds of glory.”
Earlier in the Gaza war, Col. Winter sparked heated national debate when he encouraged his troops to lead the charge against an enemy that “curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel.” Col. Winter concluded his letter by praying that the “Lord your God go with you, to fight for you against your enemies and to save you.”
After watching his fellow pro-Israel ralliers get attacked by a pro-Palestinian mob, one average Canadian citizen wanted to send a message, not just to the thugs who sent 6 people to the hospital, but to the entire world. If you doubt that average people can do big things, you haven’t met Ron from Calgary, the founder of StopARocket.com.
Amused by the idea of a crowdsourcing campaign for the Iron Dome, I reached out to the folks at StopARocket.com to see if I could get a handle on the folks behind the fundraiser. It turns out that the “folks” is one guy named Ron who was willing to do an email interview. Obviously the guy has a day job. Most of his responses were sent in the wee hours of the morning, illustrating how dedicated he is to what he refers to as a simple, but profound way for Israel lovers across the globe to show their support for the civilian defense of the free world. Ron’s humble, straightforward responses illustrate how much we can accomplish when we’re willing to embrace Ben Carson’s axiom “Think Big”.
Please start by telling me a little about yourself and the group ForCanada. What is the group’s purpose? What are the goals?
I’m a private professional in Calgary. I attended a pro-Hamas rally a few weeks ago that degenerated into a violent mob that sent six people to the hospital. I’m worried not just about Israel’s safety in the Middle East, but the safety of Jews and non-Jewish Zionists in the west, including in North America.
For Canada is the committee that organized the pro-Israel rally last Thursday in Calgary. They agreed to let StopARocket.com use their mailing address and bank account to collect cheques from people who don’t want to use PayPal.
What drove you to fundraise specifically for the Iron Dome, as opposed to some kind of humanitarian aid for Israel (i.e. supplies for soldiers, etc.)? Shouldn’t military aid be managed by government officials?
Supporting Iron Dome is merely symbolic. I read a CNN article that said each Iron Dome anti-missile costs $62,000 so that seemed like an achievable fundraising goal. As we say on our website, we will ask the Israeli government to put the money towards the cost of one anti-missile, or any other civilian defence expenses to protect Israelis. It’s only for defensive efforts to protect civilians. But Iron Dome has captured the world’s imagination as a symbol of Israel’s ingenuity and value placed on life.
Are you working with any officials in Israel to coordinate this effort?
Before we launched the website, we confirmed with the Israeli embassy in Canada that they would support this project and would help us direct the funds to the appropriate agency in Israel.
India’s NDTV has released exclusive footage of Hamas terrorists assembling a rocket to fire in a residential neighborhood in Gaza:
In the minutes before the ceasefire kicked in at Gaza this morning, Hamas fired a flurry of rockets towards Israel – 30 according to some counts.
Israel has argued that that these rockets are fired from civilian areas, and this is why its retaliatory strikes can result in civilian casualties.
But this morning, NDTV witnessed one such rocket silo being created under a tent right next to the hotel where our team was staying. Minutes later, we saw the rocket being fired, just before the 72-hour ceasefire came into effect.
NDTV made sure to note that the report was filed after their team left the Gaza Strip:
This report is being aired on NDTV and published on ndtv.com after our team left the Gaza strip – Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired. But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones.
Blogger Aussie Dave posted a report at the popular pro-Israel blog IsraellyCool mapping out the location of the launch site based on the footage within the NDTV report:
As you can see, right near not just the hotel but the beach and houses.
From the hotel room view, you can see a tall white building on the right, and a tall building with jagged balconies in the background. The building on the right partially blocks the view of building in the back.
You can see that the right side of the image, is the source of the sun in the morning launch, making it a view towards the north.
When the reporter walks away from the launch area, across the street, a bit to the north, lies the 5-star Commodore Hotel with its yellow and glass facade.
The International Business Times reports:
Pro-Palestine activists have shut down a factory in Staffordshire owned by an Israeli military company in protest at the current Gaza conflict.
Members of the London Palestine Action group scaled the roof and chained the doors of the UAV Engines Limited factory in Shenstone.
UAV states that it produces “engines for various size tactical UAVs, target drones and single mission platforms”. It is owned by Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems.
London Palestine Action are demanding a closure of the factory, as well as an “end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel”.
The group unfurled banners on the roof of the factory with the slogans “Elbit Arms Israel Kills” and “UK: Stop Arming Israel” as part of the ongoing protest.
The link between UAV and Israel has long been a subject of British speculation. A 2009 article in the Guardian reported:
UAV Engines, of Lichfield, Staffordshire, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engines for drones - unmanned aerial vehicles that are becoming critical frontline systems for military and civilian use around the world.
The company, known as UEL, is owned by the Israel drone specialists Silver Arrow, a subsidiary of the Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems.
One of its rotary Wankel engines is used in Elbit’s Hermes 450 drone. A version of the 450 makes up a squadron of the Israeli air force and has been seen over Gaza in the current conflict, being used for surveillance and targeting for Israel’s F-16 strike fighters.
Commentators on reputable defence and aviation journals and Elbit’s own website suggest that the Lichfield factory produces engines for the Hermes.
But Elbit’s head of corporate communications, Dalia Rosen, has denied this. She said: “UEL engines are provided to the British UAV programmes and to other international customers, not to Hermes 450 in the service of the IDF [Israel Defence Forces].”
When provided with references she replied: “If you want me to confirm a false speculation you can do it, but I strongly recommend that you trust my comment.” She did not respond to a request asking which other engine could be used.
The Middle East Monitor, a pro-Palestinian media agency dedicated to “creating new perspectives,” issued a report on the factory protest in Staffordshire. Referring to the protesters as “occupiers” who are pursuing a new front in the battle against UAV and Elbit, the report detailed:
The occupation comes the day after the UK government pledged to investigate whether any of £8bn of arms exported to Israel in the last 5 years are being used in Israel’s ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.
Currently, British police have cordoned off the area around the factory and are working to “ensure the protest remains peaceful and safe.” An estimated 10 protesters are on the rooftop, many of whom are live tweeting photos and messages “…saying they have enough supplies to ‘last a week’.”
A gentleman identifying himself as “Ron from Calgary, Canada” has taken it upon himself to start an Indiegogo campaign titled “Stop a Rocket” to crowdsource funding for Israel’s Iron Dome.
“Let’s stop a rocket and help Israel buy more Iron Dome anti-missles!” the campaign’s headline reads. The fundraising plea details:
So many people around the world are concerned about the terrorist attacks on Israel, especially through rockets fired by Hamas terrorists based in Gaza.
We are shocked at Hamas’s Nazi-like hatred for Jews; we feel sorrow for the victims of this violence, including innocent civilians in Gaza that Hamas uses as human shields. But most of all, we feel helpless — what can we personally do about this?
Is there something positive that people of goodwill around the world can do, both as a symbolic gesture, and that might actually save a life? We think there is.
…It wouldn’t be for an offensive weapon. You can’t use the Iron Dome to attack anyone. It’s 100% defensive — like a bulletproof vest. It only saves lives. And it doesn’t discriminate — it protects Jewish, Muslim and Christian Israelis all the same.
Let’s do it — let’s crowd fund this project, to save lives!
The campaign, which started on July 31, has already reached 27% of its goal. It is scheduled to continue fundraising until August 14.
Pamela Gellar, the blogging activist behind Atlas Shrugs endorsed the Stop A Rocket campaign, tweeting:
“Crowdfunding an Iron Dome!: FANTASTIC! I just contributed, so should you. Free people defending free people…”.
Canadian media personality and conservative political activist Ezra Levant promoted the campaign, tweeting:
“My friend Ron is crowdsourcing $62,000 to pay for one Iron Dome anti-missile. I think he’ll save a life: http://www.StopARocket.com #Israel”.
Very little has been reported on the Stop A Rocket campaign. ForCanada, the organization to which donors can send checks, is a grassroots fundraising organization that has supported a Calgary for Israel Rally, and a Stop the Riots legal fund for victims of pro-Palestinian aggression. The organization is also tied to a campaign to “fight anti-Christian bigotry in Canada”.
Critics have slammed Wikipedia, the crowdsourced online encyclopedia, saying its lack of professional editors makes it an unreliable source.
Well, that’s true when Congress gets involved.
It seems our hardworking representative(s) and/or their hardworking staffer(s) devoted time, on the public dime, to altering Wikipedia pages to accuse the Cuban government of faking the moon landings (when everyone knows it was the U.S. government that did that), and to name Donald Rumsfeld as an alien wizard.
It seems that those edits were the final straw for Wikipedia’s administrators, who implemented a 10-day ban on any changes coming from one particular IP address within the US Congress, “due to disruptive editing originating from that address”.
Don’t expect a Congressional investigation into this misuse of public funds, because…
a) It’s Congress, and
b) there’s no physical evidence, because government hard-drives never survive these sorts of incidents.
And stop laughing at us, Great Britain. Your MPs have been caught doing the same…a lot.
Apparently, it takes the declaration of a culture war for most human beings to acknowledge how dreadfully sad liberalism truly is.
Not classical liberalism, of course. The political philosophy guiding America’s founding fathers espouses an incredibly positive attitude built on, above all things, faith in the success of the individual against all odds. The liberalism I am referring to is the darker ethos that currently masquerades as Liberal, despite the fact that it is anything but. One need look no further for proof of this truth than Adam Kirsch’s response to Adam Bellow‘s call for a counterculture conservative establishment via Liberty Island.
…why does Adam Bellow continue to believe that conservative writers are a persecuted minority? The reason may have something to do with the description of the kind of work he seeks at his Liberty Island website: “At Liberty Island, good still triumphs over evil, hope still overcomes despair, and America is still a noble experiment and a beacon to the rest of the world.” The problem is not that these are conservative ideas, but that they are simpleminded ideological dogmas, and so by their very nature hostile to literature, which lives or dies by its sense of reality. If you are not allowed to say that life in America can be bad, that Americans can be guilty as well as innocent, that good sometimes (most of the time?) loses out to evil—in short, that life in America is like human life in any other time or place—then you cannot be a literary writer, because you have censored your impressions of reality in advance.
In this one paragraph Kirsch clearly defines the Liberal view of reality. According to Kirsch, Liberals view America as a “bad” place where good is defeated ”most of the time” by evil. Bellow’s desire to publish positive, hopeful literature illustrates his biased impression of reality, an implied trait among conservatives. According to Kirsch, Bellow is both deficient and needy: “…he wants reassurance, the certainty that reality—of which literature is the perceiver and guardian—is always on the side of his political beliefs.” He accuses Bellow of seeking succor through “Tea Party”-esque revenge tactics.
These accusations stand in stark contradiction to Kirsch’s conclusion in which he blatantly accepts the fact that Liberals have abused the arts, turning what used to be pleasurable cultural outlets into forums for intense, almost religious levels of political brainwashing. According to Kirsch, true writers understand that politics “must be corrected by literature” and not vice-versa. Hence, so many writers are Liberals. Liberals who busy themselves using their screeds to “correct” the political landscape. Thus, is his own grand conclusion he ends up convicting Liberals for Bellow’s supposed crimes.
In creating Liberty Island, Adam Bellow did one better than scare the Liberal literary establishment: He annoyed them. In his conservative counterculture manifesto Bellow named the sins that have turned the world of American fiction into nothing more than a finely written dystopia. It is what Bellow proposes, marketing hope to the hopeless, that is the greatest cause for alarm. Kirsch and his ilk can attempt to disinform the public by accusing conservative writers of being “out of touch” with reality. This has and will only continue to act as a public airing of their own hopeless despair. When challenged with a positive alternative, Liberal literati will ultimately fail, because in a world rife with rockets and bomb shelters, riots and dictators, wars and rumors of wars, there is nothing the public craves more than a future and a hope.
A new document released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that the British Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) has developed an extraordinary array of tools, not only for internet surveillance, but also for the purpose of promoting propaganda and manipulating social media.
The document, released to British newspaper, The Intercept, shows that the secretive spy agency — the British equivalent of the NSA — has in its possession tools created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate page view counts on web sites, “amplify” sanctioned messages on YouTube (or censor video content judged to be “extremist”), and even seed the internet with false information. JTRIG also has ability to find photos of specific targets on Facebook that are not available to the public.
The document—available here—is a Wikipedia-style page from 2012 designed to inform other GCHQ units of JTRIG’s “weaponised capability” in the area of internet technology. The document describes not only the run-of-the-mill tools used to create mayhem online by average hackers (“distributed denial of service” attacks and “call bombing”), but in a disturbing insight into the capabilities of the British government, also reveals tools that could be used to manipulate political discourse and public opinion — and even to disseminate state-approved propaganda.
JTRIG describes some of the tactics as “in development” but says most are “fully operational.” The document brags, “Don’t treat this like a catalogue. If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean we can’t build it.” Some of the capabilities described by JTRIG in the document, along with their code names are listed below:
• “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)
• “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER)
• “Mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)
• “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery”
• ”Content removal” (SILVERLORD)
• “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)
• “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)
• “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY)
• “Ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)
• “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)
• “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE)
• “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)
• “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)” (ELATE)
• “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)
• “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)
The new Snowden document also reveals that the agency has the ability to monitor Skype conversations in real time:
• “Active skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)
This raises questions about Microsoft’s cooperation with spy agencies or possible security vulnerabilities with the program. Microsoft uses advanced encryption for Skype and the company claims it “only respond[s] to legal government demands” and only complies with “orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers.” The document does note that though it is fully operational, there may be some “usage restrictions” for the Skype tool.
The Snowden document does not reveal whether all of the programs were used or how often. It does note that “there can be some reasons our tools won’t work for operational reasons” and adds that “there may also be some legal restrictions” on using the tools.
The release comes as the British parliament is considering an emergency surveillance law that would require telecom companies to retain customer data for a year. The companies had been required to retain data for 12 months under a 2006 European Union directive but the policy was thrown out in April by the European Court of Justice on the grounds that it violated human rights.
Prime Minister David Cameron has championed the surveillance legislation, saying the government’s powers must not be compromised at a time of growing concern over Brits traveling to Iraq and Syria to join militant Islamist groups. Privacy advocates have objected to the legislation, saying it is moving too quickly and without enough public debate about privacy and human rights.
The above news clip represents what the average American hears on a daily basis regarding Operation Protective Edge, the latest military spate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been going on (officially) since 1948. In the span of the 2 minute report, the Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza were mentioned 3 times. What was not mentioned: These civilians have been instructed by their Hamas government to ignore the flyers and phone calls from the Israeli Defense Forces warning citizens to get out of the way of impending rocket attacks in their areas.
While an Israeli mother putting her baby to sleep in a bomb shelter is included in the report, what the reporter didn’t bother to tell you are the number of Israelis currently being hospitalized for shock. Nor did the report include the fact that this is just another day for the residents of Sderot, who’ve received a constant barrage of rockets since Israel relinquished Gaza back to the Palestinians in 2005. That’s nearly a decade of rocket fire, making the generation who grew up under these attacks old enough to train incoming school students in how not to suffer the inevitable PTSD associated with a lifetime of death threats flying through the air and landing in your back yard.
American audiences hear none of this because the majority of American and world media have fallen prey to Hamas’s most powerful ongoing terrorist operation: A disinformation and glasnost campaign designed to destroy western support for Israel through a constant barrage of media bias.
Here is how the disinformation and glasnost campaign has been executed in response to Operation Protective Edge :
Seed of Truth: Palestinian civilians are being killed by Israeli rocket fire in Gaza.
Pack of Lies: Israelis are safely protected in bomb shelters under the Iron Dome while their military targets innocent civilians in the impoverished Gaza Strip.
Ultimate Goal: Encourage American and worldwide support for the Hamas campaign to wipe Israel off the map and eliminate all evidence of the Zionist entity, including the Jewish people and their supporters, from the face of the earth.
The glasnost element is the most perverse. Hamas plays on the western disbelief in the idea of martyrs, portraying these women and children as “innocent civilian victims” of Israeli aggression. When speaking to the non-Western media, these dead are referred to in a term most recently used by Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, “the Gazan martyrs.” Glasnost is the term for glorifying the leader’s image abroad. In this case, Hamas is using the bodies of women and children to shield their missiles in life and glorify their reputations in death.
Some news agencies and opinion sites are catching onto this disinformation campaign, willing to call it “media bias against Israel.” This is more than media bias. This is a calculated effort on the part of Hamas to sway world opinion against the only nation willing to confront and fight against Islamic terror. Therefore, whether the mainstream media is a willing partner in this endeavor makes no matter. The bottom line is, the media is marketing this disinformation to audiences in America and worldwide that are watching blind, with no Iron Dome to protect them.
A Turkish student has come up with a 3D printed cast that supposedly heals bones as much as 80% faster than conventional casts.
It’s pretty cool-looking.
Denny’s and Atari have teamed up to launch what may be the best retro app ever.
Denny’s has teamed up with Atari to release three of its classic games — Centipede, Asteroids and Breakout — on Denny’s mobile app, but with a branded twist. Asteroids, for instance, will be called Hashteroids, in a nod to Denny’s hash browns. In Asteroids, the object of the game is to destroy asteroids — which are replaced by hash browns destroyed by shooting ketchup from a spaceship-shaped bottle. Centipede is renamed Centipup, an homage to Denny’s pancakes, and Breakout is renamed Take-Out.
The campaign is for “Greatest Hits Remixed,” a new limited-time menu featuring some of Denny’s classics such as Moons Over My Hammy and the Grand Slam, though they are altered slightly. The Grand Slam meal will be “remixed” to the Red, White and Blue Slam, which includes pancakes with blueberries and a strawberry topping.
Whatever. All three of the games are very faithful recreations of the originals. The app has 8-bit bacon in the Takeout game. Bacon makes everything better.
Scientists have discovered what may have been the largest flying bird ever. It had the wingspan of a small airplane.
With an estimated 20- to 24-foot wingspan, the extinct P. sandersi was twice the size of today’s biggest flying bird, the royal albatross, according to the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina.
Researchers believe the P. sandersi lived about 25 million to 28 million years ago.
The Hubble Space Telescope (disclosure: I used to work there) has been used to find a couple of new Kuiper Belt objects.
Scientists looking for targets beyond Pluto for NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft to visit will get more time on the Hubble Space Telescope, managers decided after a two-week pilot study revealed at least two candidate objects.
The New Horizons team had spent three fruitless years using ground-based telescopes to find a Kuiper Belt Object that will be within range of New Horizons after its July 14, 2015, flyby of Pluto. Last month, scientists got two weeks of observing time on Hubble for initial scans.
The deal was that if they found at least two candidates, they could have another 160 orbits worth of telescope time to ferret out a second suitable target for New Horizons.
Analysis of an initial 200 Hubble images, taken between June 16 and June 26, showed that at least two Kuiper Belt Objects might be within range of New Horizons.
The Kuiper Belt is basically the frozen outer fringe of the Solar System. It’s where building blocks from the formation of the Solar System are thought to be, more or less like the pile of crap that building contractors amass when they build a house.
The current epicenter of the IRS scandal is the hard drive of Lois Lerner.
According to the IRS, the official at the center of the agency’s targeting scandal suffered a catastrophic hard drive crash in 2011. With that crash, she lost emails from January 2009 to April 2011 — the period during which she is suspected of targeting conservatives.
But Lerner did not lose all of her emails. Just the ones that go to people who work outside the IRS. The IRS was able to recover the others.
It’s difficult to make sense of that. Even if Lerner’s hard drive was used in a nuclear bomb test, her emails still lived on IRS Microsoft Exchange email servers.
The IRS says it recycled backup tapes, and erased all of those emails every six months. But what about people at the agencies Lerner was communicating with? What about their email servers? Lerner’s emails should be on them, or on their backups. Have they been checked?
Problem: We don’t know which exactly agencies and entities and their staff are involved. Well, Lerner does. But she has invoked Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. So she isn’t talking.
But back to her hard drive. White House lawyer Jennifer O’Connor testified this week that Lerner’s hard drive was “imaged.” Imaging a hard drive takes a full set of all of the data on that drive. So that preserved Lerner’s emails, right?
Well, no. O’Connor says that Lerner’s hard drive was imaged in May 2013 after the scandal broke. That’s roughly two years after Lerner’s alleged crash. So that’s a different hard drive altogether.
Lerner’s 2011 hard drive crash must have been truly extraordinary. The IRS claims that once that crash happened, it could not retrieve any of the data from it.
Sure, that’s possible. But data is routinely recovered in full from “crashes.” Data recovery company My Data Recovery highlights the case of a woman who used an external hard drive to back up her data, until that drive apparently died. It wouldn’t power on. My Data Recovery says that it was able to recover 100% of the data on that drive.
But that story is a commercial for a specific data recovery service. It’s a claim in advertising. Here’s another — a hard drive that was burned in a fire and soaked by the building’s sprinklers. 100% of the data on it was recovered, according to the company’s ad.
How about the story of the scientist who spilled acid on his hard drive? Full data recovery.
The woman who accidentally sent her USB drive through the washer at home? Full data recovery.
A company that suffered a fire in its office which melted data CDs to their cases? Full data recovery.
How about the story of the hard drive that had become an ant hive? Full data recovery.
None of those stories are in an ad for a data recovery company. And they’re not new. They were published in 2007, when data recovery was not as accomplished a skill as it was in 2011, or 2014.
Lerner’s drive allegedly crashed in 2011 and was subjected to attempts at data recovery. Without success. And it was recycled, so the IRS says, meaning that it was physically destroyed.
That hard drive was not, as far as anyone has said, burned, soaked, run through a washer, had a run-in with acid or been turned into a home by ants before the data recovery attempts, before the IRS decided to destroy it forever.
Just what on earth did Lois Lerner and/or the IRS do to that hard drive, before they “recycled” it?
Lois Lerner told the IT technician who was unable to recover the data from her crashed hard drive, “Sometimes stuff just happens.”
A lot is being made of both the alleged crash of Lois Lerner’s hard drive and the lack of backup tapes for the missing time period in the congressional investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. The IRS told congressional investigators last week that two years’ worth of emails sent and received by Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation, have been destroyed because of a computer crash in mid-2011. And now, we learn, the hard drives of six other IRS employees also crashed and the emails have gone missing. But some of the “stuff” that happened to Lois Lerner’s email may be the direct result of her failure to follow IRS policy.
The IRS had policies in place in 2011 to prevent destruction of federal records, including emails. At the time, they also had a policy that limited employee mailboxes to 500 MB, so when employees approached their limit they were required to delete emails from the server to make room.
The Secure Enterprise Messaging system (SEMS) establishes a standard size of 500 MB (500 megabytes) for individual mailboxes. The system mails you daily warning messages that the limit is being approached when your mailbox reaches a size of 475 MB. When it exceeds the 500 MB limit, you will receive the following warning each time you attempt to send a message:
- “You have exceeded your storage limit on your mailbox ” .
- Delete some mail from your mailbox or contact your system administrator to adjust your storage limit. (Consider whether any of the items you want to delete may be a federal record. IRM 18.104.22.168.2 above.)
When an email is sent or received it goes to the email server, called an exchange. From there, the email client (Microsoft Outlook, your phone, your home computer) can access the email. It is then stored on the server, sometimes remaining there well beyond the moment the user actually deletes the email from the client. (There are also multiple logs that record all of the actions related to the emails and the servers.) Emails can also be saved in a file on a local computer, so if they’re deleted from the server, the individual still has a record of the correspondence.
The IRS is apparently alleging two things: that Lerner’s personal computer crashed, rendering emails stored on her computer unrecoverable and also that there is no backup of what was on the email servers in 2011 because the backup tapes are overwritten every six months. Many IT professionals, including a former IRS employee, have called into question the IRS’s assertion that the agency has no backup of data stored on the servers for the time period in question. In fact, IRS commissioner Koskinen testified in March that IRS emails, including Lois Lerner’s, “get taken off and stored in servers.” The IRS also says it was able to recover 24,000 emails that related to Lerner, some of them from an “earlier 2011 data collection of Ms. Lerner’s email.” This would seem to confirm Commissioner Koskinen’s statement that the emails are “stored in servers” since the IRS says they were unable to recover any emails from Lerner’s hard drive.
In a letter explaining the missing emails to Congress the IRS said, “Any of Ms. Lerner’s email that was only stored on that computer’s hard drive would have been lost when the computer crashed and could not be recovered.” IT professionals are also scoffing at the notion that the data was not recoverable.
But before we even get to the problem of a possible backup failure or the computer crash, we must consider how Lerner got to the point of having “email that was only stored on the computer’s hard drive.”
Google’s ambitions to connect the world is set to launch into the stratosphere. Satellite builder Skybox Imaging announced Tuesday that the search giant, map maker and Project Loon creator has agreed to an acquisition deal worth $500 million. The deal hasn’t closed yet, so additional details are scarce at this point.
OK, I know that privacy is largely an illusion these days, as long as I want to use a smart phone, anyway. Still, there’s something about Google building its own satellites that makes my love/hate relationship with it a smidge more hate-y.
Odds are on the NSA being the first to call and congratulate when the deal closes.
Yeah, that’s a pretty Upworthy-esque headline. What can I say? This is a great story, and people are more likely to click on the emotional tug intro.
This story goes like this. Erik Finman got a $1,000 gift from his grandmother a couple of years ago. He invested all of it in Bitcoin. Bitcoin took off, and for him, it really took off. His $1,000 became worth a whole lot more and he sold it for $100,000. Getting in early tends to make a difference.
With that money, Finman turned around and launched a company — Botangle.com. Botangle offers tutoring in a whole lot of subjects over video chat. You can learn how to cook. You can learn about graphic design. You can learn French from someone who lives in Paris. Or you can learn how to start a business from Erik Finman. No kidding. He’s one of Botangle’s experts. He also knows a bit about robotics.
You can also offer yourself as a tutor and maybe get hired by somebody out there and make some money. You just have to give Botangle a cut of your fee. Basically, Finman brings people who want to learn something together with people who want to teach something.
Finman says he has a deal with his parents. If he makes $1,000,000 by the time he’s 18, he doesn’t have to go to college. If he succeeds, he’ll probably end up turning Botangle into a college.
BuzzFeed broke the news that the Kremlin has been actively operating a disinformation campaign targeted at readers of a number of American-based internet publications including, but not limited to, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and BuzzFeed. Additional reports name Fox News, Huffington Post, The Blaze and World Net Daily in the list of targets. Russian agents would act as trolls on these sites, filling comment sections with various forms of anti-American propaganda.
In a report dated May 21, Internet Research Agency commercial director Svetlana Boiko discussed the progress of the trolling project’s $75,000 trial period, which began April 10. The report says that during that period, the trolls left more than 2,500 comments on 30 different news websites, tweeted 1,220 times from 12 accounts, wrote 85 Facebook posts, posted 175 times in an unspecified number of forums, and made five bizarre YouTube videos attacking the U.S. government andHarry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.
As with many previous disinformation campaigns, the goal of the trolling operation is to:
…turn public opinion against the U.S. government on 40 different subjects ranging from Russia’s role in the world and the Ukraine crisis to unrelated American domestic issues like gun rights, taxes, and religion. The trolls also campaigned heavily against U.S. President Barack Obama on Twitter, where they used the hashtag #Obama to promote the keywords “fuck obama,” “ass obama,” and “ObamaCare.” The most popular account, @I_am_ass_, has 3,363 followers.
Millions of dollars are being spent on the Kremlin’s latest disinformation campaign, meant to manipulate internet freedom abroad while simultaneously increasing control within Russian territory:
The bizarre hive of social media activity appears to be part of a two-pronged Kremlin campaign to claim control over the internet, launching a million-dollar army of trolls to mold American public opinion as it cracks down on internet freedom at home.
…A new law that comes into effect in August also forces bloggers with more than 3,000 followers to register with the government. The move entails significant and cumbersome restrictions for bloggers, who previously wrote free of Russia’s complicated media law bureaucracy, while denying them anonymity and opening them up to political pressure.
“The internet has become the main threat — a sphere that isn’t controlled by the Kremlin,” said Pavel Chikov, a member of Russia’s presidential human rights council. “That’s why they’re going after it. Its very existence as we know it is being undermined by these measures.”
The trolls have also set up YouTube accounts to post anti-American and anti-LGBT propaganda videos. Comments on these videos illustrate the poor English skills of some of the Kremlin’s trolls, one of the dead giveaways of the now defamed disinformation campaign.
The Veterans Administration (VA) has been a disaster since just about its inception. Because it is government-only monopoly single-payer health care. Championed by the exact same people dying to impose it on all the rest of us.
Then-Community Organizer Barack Obama:
“I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer…universal health care plan.”
“I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to potentially be some transition process.”
Does that “transition process” look like this?
Meanwhile, the federal government is contemplating shoving the Internet under eerily similar government-managed monopoly regulations called Title II – so as to then impose Network Neutrality.
…(I)ncluding a reclassification of broadband services, something that commonly known as Title II reclassification.
About which a leading proponent says:
“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
Sound familiar? They want government-regulation-time-bomb destruction of the private sector Internet – to end up with a single-payer government-only Web. Upon which the Feds have already put a down payment.
Which has worked with Veterans Administration-esque alacrity.
It’s been such an all-encompassing, unmitigated disaster that:
But will that stop the government’s roll to control? Of course not.
How’s that for respect for federalism – and the Constitution? And the Supreme Court?
…(A) 2004 US Supreme Court decision…said the Telecommunications Act “allows states to prevent municipalities from providing telecommunications services.”….
Speaking of the Telecommunications Act – it was written in 1996. Net Neutrality wasn’t even created as a concept until 2002. It is utterly absurd to argue the law authorized something that didn’t even yet exist.
Has that stopped the government? Of course not. The FCC has already twice imposed Net Neutrality – and twice the DC Circuit has unanimously rejected it.
And yet here we are.
Including the Title II Reclassification threat.
Title II is the uber-regulatory superstructure where landline telephones exist. To think that the dynamic, interwoven, free speech-free market Xanadu that is the World Wide Web is JUST like the monolithic, monorail, virtually-unchanged-for-seventy-plus-years wired phone is…ridiculous on stilts. And incredibly destructive.
The Leviathan is relentless. It wants Reclassification because it would dramatically accelerate the “transition process” from a free market Internet to government-monopoly broadband.
The Court has already twice said the FCC overreached on Net Neutrality. The FCC’s response is to consider an overreach light years beyond these previous power grabs.
The Leviathan is relentless.
Just a couple of days after the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged that a near-miss in the skies between an airliner and drone could have had “catastrophic” results, an FAA told a drone industry conference that the agency wants to expedite approvals for some commercial drone operations.
Jim Williams, the head of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) office, said in a recent speech posted on YouTube that the incident showed the need “for detect-and-avoid standards to be developed and right-of-way rules to be obeyed” when integrating drones into U.S. airspace.
“Imagine a metal and plastic object — especially with (a) big lithium battery — going into a high-speed engine,” he told a San Francisco drone expo. “The results could be catastrophic.”
The March 22 incident involved U.S. Airways Flight 4650 coming from Charlotte, N.C., which encountered the drone five miles from the Tallahassee airport. The owner of the drone, which was flying at about 2,300 feet, has not been found, according to CNN.
At the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International drone mega-conference in Orlando today, Williams announced that the FAA is working to expedite approval of some unmanned systems uses even before rules on drone use are finalized.
Williams said industry representatives for filmmaking, powerline inspection, precision agriculture and flare stack inspection approached the FAA about expediting the approvals, and those are expected to be granted with “limited” permissions.
AUVSI and a few dozen other industry groups recently called on the FAA to allow limited operations immediately under its authority granted by Congress, arguing that they were losing too much money by waiting for the rules.
In March, a National Transportation Safety Board judge threw out the FAA’s $10,000 fine against the operator of a small unmanned aircraft, leaving the rules for drone operation and enforcement fuzzy.
“We applaud the FAA for working collaboratively with the industry and other stakeholders to help UAS technology begin to take off,” said AUVSI President and CEO Michael Toscano. “UAS have a host of societal and economic benefits, and many industries are clamoring to harness their capabilities. Limited commercial operations is a good first step, but we also need to begin the small UAS rulemaking immediately. We look forward to continue working with the FAA to advance UAS integration safely and responsibly.”
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Democrat Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel yesterday made a very good point.
Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to delay his planned May 15 vote on a draft of new network neutrality rules by at least a month….
“His proposal has unleashed a torrent of public response. Tens of thousands of e-mails, hundreds of calls, commentary all across the Internet….
“We need to respect that input and we need time for that input. So while I recognize the urgency to move ahead and develop rules with dispatch, I think the greater urgency comes in giving the American public opportunity to speak right now, before we head down this road.
“I believe that rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his proposal.”
She pointed out that the seven-day quiet period before the vote begins May 8. “That means we no longer accept public comment. I think it’s a mistake to cut off public debate right now as we head into consideration of the Chairman’s proposal. So again, at a minimum, we should delay the onset of our Sunshine rules.”
So as of today, the FCC stops listening to what we have to say. And Commissioner Rosenworcel thankfully wants to continue listening.
Chairman Wheeler, sadly, remains impervious.
An FCC source speaking on background said the vote would go on as planned….
Commissioner Rosenworcel’s impression and instincts are exactly right. And there’s a way she can get the appropriate delay – by voting “No” next Thursday.
Her Nay – combined with the likely Nays of the two Republican Commissioners – would be a majority three and stave off Net Neutrality’s imposition.
Would that mean Net Neutrality is dead and gone? Of course not – its proponents are relentless.
What it would mean is We the People would have more time to weigh in on this huge government infliction on 1/6th of our nation’s economy.
Which is just what Commissioner Rosenworcel rightly wants.
Her No vote would give us that.