Privacy and Security – Not a “Zero-sum Game”

Are you concerned about privacy in the US? Worried that the government is coming to harvest your secrets? Well you damn well should be!

Warrantless wiretapping merely tested the waters; Data siphoning by NSA was just a prelude. Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell has got plans for every bit that flows in the US, plans that were hinted at by a member of the team putting together the new Cybersecurity Initiative:

In order for cyberspace to be policed, internet activity will have to be closely monitored. Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search. “Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation,” he said. Giorgio warned me, “We have a saying in this business: ‘Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'”

The New Yorker

Supported by the same false dichotomy used for every power grab since 9/11—privacy must be traded to achieve security—McConnell plans to turn the Internet into one vast government overseen database. Consider that for a moment. Every email, every IM, every VoIP, every transaction (even presumably the “secure” ones) will be available to the NSA, CIA, FBI, IRS, TSA, DHS, and whomever else can get a hold of the data.

And to defend this nonsense, the Feds use an intellectually dishonest argument, the little lie that goes: “The US government can be trusted not to abuse such expansive authority.” Though, we already know that this is not the case. Hell…Bu$hCo wants to grant retroactive immunity to telcos for participating in sweeping abuses of the 4th Amendment. (Remember you only need immunity when you’ve done something wrong. The law already indemnifies you if you had reason to believe what you were doing was legal.)

But let’s cut to the chase: A ‘zero-sum’ relationship between security and privacy only holds water as long as GOVERNMENT ITSELF IS NOT THE THREAT. Clearly here, as in other modern democracies, this is no longer the case.

I Want In On This Conspiracy Theory

A new conspiracy theory surfaced this past week. When that happens, you have to decide quickly if you’re going to believe it or not–no slow pokes, sitting on the fence, waiting for facts (like these facts here) to materialize. Oh no, I took that approach too many times and I missed out on some damn fine conspiracies–Don Siegelman, Sibel Edmonds, the AIPAC espionage trial, the fired U.S. Attorneys, Dick Cheney’s safe fire, Dick Cheney’s blood alcohol level when he shot that guy, and many more.

Well, I’ll admit, I was actually all over those conspiracies, but this story about someone (read: our international overlords) cutting off vast swaths of the internet, including Iran’s, stinks to high heaven.  Every day since Bush has been President one could make the case that “something is brewing,” but something is brewing.

Yet, the square media is already calling us nuts whackjobs:

From ABC (servants of the Mouse):

Conspiracy theories emerge after Internet cables cut
By Simon Lauder

Is information warfare to blame for the damage to underwater internet cables that has interrupted internet service to millions of people in India and Egypt, or is it just a series of accidents?

When two cables in the Mediterranean were severed last week, it was put down to a mishap with a stray anchor.

Now a third cable has been cut, this time near Dubai. That, along with new evidence that ships’ anchors are not to blame, has sparked theories about more sinister forces that could be at work.

For all the power of modern computing and satellites, most of the world’s communications still rely on submarine cables to cross oceans.

When two cables were cut off the Egyptian port city of Alexandria last week, about a 100 million internet users were affected, mainly in India and Egypt.

The cables remain broken and internet services are still compromised.


So, the pejorative term ‘conspiracy theory’ is being thrown at this event by the very trustworthy American theme park-military-industrial-pharmo-media complex.

Despite the lack of a thorough debunking, I feel inclined to just shrug it off and go, “Eh, probably nothing. Move along.”

But moving along becomes a bit difficult when I read that story, then, within two minutes, I come across this sweet little story. You see, the military part of our theme park-military-industrial-pharmo-media complex has internally characterized the internet as an enemy “weapons system”.

Eh, probably nothing to it. Sure thing.  No big deal that ships’ anchors didn’t cut the lines the way Egypt said they did.  Move along.  Right.

By the way something, Greg Laden has a sweet map of all the under sea internet cables.

My Dream Ticket – Huckabee vs. Whoever

The California presidential primary approaches, and frankly I no longer care which Democrat wins. My man Edwards is out of the race. Senator Obama is unqualified and Senator Clinton is a corporate shill who I don’t really think will change anything.

One Nation Under God?That is not to say I don’t care how this election shapes up. I do. The fact that a Democrat is probably going to romp notwithstanding, I want my party’s standard bearer to beat the right opponent, and by that I mean the right opponent—the far right—as right as it gets, and that’s Mike Huckabee.

“Why Huckabee?” you might ask. After all, on a number of issues, like incarceration, he’s more progressive than his GOP stablemates. Nope…it’s because evangelical conservatives are lining up to support him, and they’re my real target. You see I want a repudiation of the, “God’s country,” “Christian Nation,” “…my country right or wrong,” wackos who’ve controlled debate for a couple of decades now. I want the Constitution to again be the supreme law of the land and liberty to be our guiding principle. In short, I want there to be wailing, rending of clothing, and gnashing of teeth from the buckle to the tip of the Bible Belt!

Robert Tilton - ParasiteI want to see money-grubbing televangelists laid low, with the IRS as the avenging angel. I want some good old-fashioned book burning. Keep the Bible but pile up the pseudo-religious pamphlets—“Your’s for only a $20.00 donation to our godly ministry!”—bring on the gasoline, and light ’em up!

I want to see 12-step programs for neo-cons. “Hi. My name’s Paul Wolfowitz, and I used to flog the idea of preemptive war. – Hi Paul”. I want every Republican who ever used the term ‘gay agenda’ to occupy a special float in the next San Francisco Pride Day Parade. In short, I want Huckabee because he’s the standard bearer for a group that typifies everything that is wrong with this nation. I want him to lose and lose badly. Then…and only then, I’ll start to hope.

My 12 step program

Hi, my name’s Frogette and I’m a lurker. For years I’ve been hovering in the background on great blogs like Blognonymous (hi Honey!), Morning Martini, Mr. Blog, and Genius of Insanity. I hung out at the back of the room like a wall flower at a high school dance. I wasn’t sure how to approach all of you cool kid bloggers. So I waited. “My moment will come”, I thought. One day I’ll have something important to say.

Well that never happened, but I did find I have a lot of unimportant things to say. So stay tuned because I’ve done my 12 steps and I’m ready to join the party!

The Ultimate Fast Food


Hang on to your hats America, a Hayburner Restaurant is about to open near you. Australia produces nearly 17,000 non-performing racehorses each year and in a user pays society they have to go somewhere to earn their birthright.

Up to now Japan, Russia, Belgium and France have been more than happy to mop up this excess of delectable horse flesh, but the US consumption of gallopers is rising rapidly. For export countries a growth market is a godsend.

I’m waiting for the ads – 50% less fat – though they won’t tell you it’s because it is too expensive to add any more to this very lean meat. But the buns and a piquant sauce should make up the difference.

The overall marketing is fascinating as well, horse meat needs an acceptable name. I’m thinking something like ‘presidential steak’ or even ‘bush meat’. Okay, my marketing skills aren’t all that great, horse meat actually sounds more attractive that the Bush link.

I just hope you love to enjoy your Derby Burgers, Neddy Nuggets, Long Shots and other offerings from the broken dreams of equine passion.

What a waste – Blog item rendered moot by the news

Thompson wins endorsement of TV’s Arthur Branch

Sen. Fred Thompson today received an important celebrity endorsement, with the “Law & Order” star throwing his own support behind himself in his bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. The announcement came this morning in the master bathroom of Thompson’s home in McLean, VA.

“I think I’m the best man for the job, and I’m proud to give myself my full support,” said Thompson, who played Arthur Branch on the long running NBC police procedural.

Thompson’s endorsement of himself is a much needed shot in the arm for the Tennessean’s lagging presidential bid, as his rivals have already scored the backing of a number of high profile stars. Chuck Norris (Mike Huckabee), Arnold Schwarzenegger (John McCain), Adam Sandler and Jon Voight (Rudolph Giuliani), and comedian Gallagher (Alan Keyes) have already committed.

Before today’s announcement, Thompson had won the endorsement of only country singer Lorrie Morgan, his former girlfriend.

Thompson spokesperson Farrah Fawcett-Frandle explained that her candidate had been working very hard seeking celebrity endorsements. “There are a lot of actresses and starlets out there who were up for grabs, and Fred Thompson has been dating all of them,” said Fawcett-Frandle, ticking off a long list that includes America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”), Amber Tamblyn (“Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”), and Sean Young (“Los Angeles County Hospital Observation Ward”).

“Unfortunately, it’s been highly competitive, the most sought after endorsements are going elsewhere,” she said.

Fawcett-Frandle gave Cheryl Ladd as an example: “Fred and Cheryl spent three passion filled days together in a beachside love nest in Cabo San Lucas, but in the end she went with Giuliani.”

Who Will Protect Us Now?

Don’t tell anyone, but we’re defenseless. By defenseless I mean we have no capacity to defend ourselves from a military attack, rather than we’re morally indefensible butchers, murderers, etc. Though we are that too, the information in this post is more about the former than the latter.

From AP, via Rising Hegemon:

The U.S. military isn’t ready for a catastrophic attack on the country, and National Guard forces don’t have the equipment or training they need for the job, according to a report.

Even fewer Army National Guard units are combat-ready today than were nearly a year ago when the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves determined that 88 percent of the units were not prepared for the fight, the panel says in a new report released Thursday.


Okay, that’s very annoying. Mr. Bush, You’re telling me that since 9/11/2001 we’ve managed to make our country nakedly vulnerable? Outstanding!

Now, how can the Bush administration and their business partners convert this into an opportunity for a lucrative military contract… Let me think…

Well, luckily, Rachel Maddow stepped in on her radio show and pointed out a key piece of information buried five paragraphs deep in the coverage.

In response, Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, chief of U.S. Northern command, said the Pentagon is putting together a specialized military team that would be designed to respond to such catastrophic events.

Every indication from the rest of the article is that this force will be comprised of a re-organized portion of the National Guard.

Maddow doesn’t buy it. Want to know who she thinks will eventually step in and fill the need?

Old Blackwater keep on rollin’…

The Week in iNews

To Ragebot readers: Original R&D work on the iNews family of Wi-Fi Headline Translators was done by Air America Radio’s old morning show. That prototype unit, the Model 5000, was acquired by Wiseline Institute Northwest in early 2007 at a garage sale. An OS update CD found at a Pike Place Market pawn shop upgraded it to Model 9000 Turbo.

Ever since it has been activated most Fridays at Mr_Blog’s Left Turn. By special arrangement, we are pleased to install it here on Ragebot for your enjoyment.

From the iNews 9000 Turbo Wi-Fi Headline Translator:

Headline: Israel wants Egypt to reseal Gaza border
Translation: No economic stimulus package for Palestinians

Headline: Bush – faith helped beat addiction to alcohol
Translation: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines”

Headline: M’s will need more than Bedard
Translation: Seattle pitchers and catchers report to Lourdes

Headline: I-90 closed at Snoqualmie Pass due to avalanche
Translation: Huckabee, in search of landslide, yodeled

Headline: #3 al-Qaeda Leader Killed
Translation: Continued vacancy at #2 hailed as “makin’ good progress”

Headline: Schwarzenegger Endorses McCain
Translation: McCain pledges to build “Skynet” computer-based defense system

Headline: Cable Snafu Cuts Internet Access in India
Translation: Indians unable to email selves for tech support

Headline: Messenger’s Pictures From Mercury Surprise Scientists
Translation: Queen front man, thought dead, returns – will tour with Zeppelin this year

Headline: Chicago voters join early voting trend
Translation: Fetuses now outnumber dead in voter registrations

Headline: Giuliani’s epic collapse
Translation: Only received 911 votes in Florida

What economy, stupid?

If a government that protects ordinary people is a “nanny state,” then one protecting the super-rich deserves the title of “super nanny state.” Bernanke and the Super Nanny-State

Don’t look now America, but your leaders have abandoned any pretensions to economic management. Back in ‘06 I made an unpopular prediction that the Republicans would tank in the mid terms because they ignored the household economy of middle America.

The Republicans were blindsided when rust belt states started turning against them. How could it be? The markets are booming!

You are being led by a bunch of economically illiterate dingos. Sure they gave away economic responsibility to The Fed and a bunch of corporate mates. Maybe they knows more about economics…

Great move, the corporate mates don’t give a rat’s arse about you, unless you are a shareholder. The Fed champions monetarist policy which essentially means looking after the corps, the big money. So when the Fed cuts rates it is intended to help the big boys out, the markets.

The markets aren’t the economy; the markets are a side game like poker in the parlour. Unless you manage to slip a few chips out of the pot while no one is watching the game gives nothing to the house. If you play like me it would probably take a fair bit.

So now the US is in deep shit, and despite what commentators, IMF et al try to tell you, the US is in that shit pit pretty much on their own. China and India might feel a blip, but they are in a major growth period. They have your manufacturing industries.

Australia fell into bed with these giants and is in danger of being swamped in cash, an economy stretching the bounds of growth. Europe is more complex, but has enough diversity and manufacturing to get through.

And don’t let your leaders put all the blame on the sub-prime market. That was just one element of the rampant greed encouraged by get rich quick merchants you believe are there to protect you.

It seems like old Abe was wrong on one issue, “you can fool most of the people all of the time.” But then the US has always rewarded the robber barons at the cost of the people. You are now living in the Super Nanny State.

Vanity Choice

For those of you following the Arizona debate over “Choose Life” license plates–vanity plates backed by the Arizona Choose Life coalition–the culmination was reached this week in the US 9th Circuit Court. This is the way it went down:

'Choose Life' plateBack in 2002/2003 the ACL petitioned the Arizona License Plate Commission (that’s the group that decides which not-for-profit causes get to enshrine their views in metal for your rear bumper) to support a new plate with the slogan “Choose Life”. And… when the commission turned down the request, the ACL sued claiming that they’re First Amendment rights were violated.

You know what? I think that 9th Circuit 3 judge panel was probably right. If we’re going to slap stupid slogans on license plates, why not allow every cracker organization with an ax to grind to put their thoughts in your face while you’re driving? “Choose Life”? How about, uh… “Choose Choice?” (Hmmm… maybe that doesn’t work so well.)

But setting aside the strict constitutional interpretation, seems to me that the real issue is about sticking your thoughts in someone else’s face. I mean nobody ties you down and forces you to read my rantings. But America has a manic for child-bearing, and it seems that when a baby (fetus…whatever) is involved privacy, propriety, and personal space go out the window.

Here’s how it ought to go down:

“Touch my belly and draw back a stump.”

“No you can’t hold my baby!”

“It’s my god-damned choice, and I don’t need your stupid license plate to tell me otherwise!”

Impure thoughts for complex times.