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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 12:47 PM
Number of posts: 10,352

Journal Archives

'Grassroots' gun control org "Moms Demand..." is utterly astroturf

(More formally, "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America")


Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to reduce drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (www.momsdemandaction.org) was created to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms. We are a non-partisan grassroots movement of American mothers demanding new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws, loopholes and policies that for too long have jeopardized the safety of our children and families.


Shannon Watts's Overview

Founder at Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Freelance Senior Consultant/Counselor at Fleishman-Hillard
Founder and President at VoxPop Public Relations
Vice President, Corporate Communications at WellPoint

And not exactly run by a progressive, either:


...At WellPoint, Troughton led a team of 40 public relations professionals responsible for implementing communications programs for the 14 states in which the company operates, as well as the company's business units.

Previously, Ms. Troughton served as director of Global Communications for GE Healthcare, a $15 billion medical diagnostics and device business within General Electric.

Troughton also served as director of Public and Corporate Affairs for Monsanto Company in St. Louis where she led external initiatives designed to generate positive, proactive media coverage of the company's agriculture biotechnology products.

In addition, Troughton was vice president of Corporate and Public Affairs at Fleishman-Hillard public relations agency in Kansas City, Missouri, where she developed strategic issues and crisis management programs to help protect and enhance the reputation of public and private organizations and corporations.

A 'grassroots' organization that just happened to be founded by someone with decades of
experience in the PR industry and who ran her own firm?

Suuuure it is.

P.S.- Troughton Watts also produced this gem:


"An assault weapon enables humans to shoot 10 rounds in one minute"

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Nov 8, 2013, 02:10 PM (42 replies)

"..his choice of music genre". You need to educate yourself on the history of Afrobeat:

Seems like the guy who pretty much invented it didn't have a problem
with white guys playing it...

And it looks like some of the guys in Antibalas (the premier Afrobeat band around)
are a little melanin-challenged:


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Oct 28, 2013, 08:13 PM (1 replies)

How The NSA Deploys Malware: An In-Depth Look at the New Revelations


How The NSA Deploys Malware: An In-Depth Look at the New Revelations

October 8, 2013 | By Dan Auerbach

We've long suspected that the NSA, the world's premiere spy agency, was pretty good at breaking into computers. But now, thanks to an article by security expert Bruce Schneier—who is working with the Guardian to go through the Snowden documents—we have a much more detailed view of how the NSA uses exploits in order to infect the computers of targeted users. The template for attacking people with malware used by the NSA is in widespread use by criminals and fraudsters, as well as foreign intelligence agencies, so it's important to understand and defend against this threat to avoid being a victim to the plethora of attackers out there.

Deploying malware over the web generally involves two steps. First, as an attacker, you have to get your victim to visit a website under your control. Second, you have to get software—known as malware—installed on the victim's computer in order to gain control of that machine. This formula isn't universal, but is often how web-based malware attacks proceed.

In order to accomplish the first step of getting a user to visit a site under your control, an attacker might email the victim text that contains a link to the website in question, in a so-called phishing attack. The NSA reportedly uses phishing attacks sometimes, but we've learned that this step usually proceeds via a so-called “man-in-the-middle” attack.1 The NSA controls a set of servers codenamed “Quantum” that sit on the Internet backbone, and these servers are used to redirect targets away from their intended destinations to still other NSA-controlled servers that are responsible for the injection of malware. So, for example, if a targeted user visits “yahoo.com”, the target's browser will display the ordinary Yahoo! landing page but will actually be communicating with a server controlled by the NSA. This malicious version of Yahoo!'s website will tell the victim's browser to make a request in a background to another server controlled by the NSA which is used to deploy malware...

...The NSA has a set of servers on the public Internet with the code name “FoxAcid” used to deploy malware. Once their Quantum servers redirect targets to a specially crafted URL hosted on a FoxAcid server, software on that FoxAcid server selects from a toolkit of exploits in order to gain access to the user's computer. Presumably this toolkit has both known public exploits that rely on a user's software being out of date, as well as zero-day exploits which are generally saved for high value targets.2 The agency then reportedly uses this initial malware to install longer lasting malware.

Also discussed here:


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Oct 9, 2013, 10:57 PM (2 replies)

Is there any way for DU to determine if multiple IP addresses are using a single name?

I suspect certain member names are being used by multiple posters, and am wondering
if the admins are OK with this.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Oct 3, 2013, 04:45 PM (1 replies)

Here's how we can tell if Starbucks is sincere about what they say re guns:

Do Texas Starbucks have '30.06 signs' posted prohibiting guns?

For those unfamiliar, they would look like this:

In Texas, anything else is not a legal prohibition on the carriage of concealed weapons.
Unless a SB in Texas has one of these by the front door, concealed handguns are still allowed there.

Without one of those in every Lone Star Starbucks, you can be certain that Howard Schultz
merely offered up some fine words that have gulled the credulous
into thinking they've achieved something...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Oct 3, 2013, 04:40 PM (12 replies)

EFF racks up another courtroom victory over the NSA: damning docs to follow


EFF racks up another courtroom victory over the NSA: damning docs to follow

Cory Doctorow at 9:00 am Sat, Sep 28, 2013

The Electronic Frontier Foundation continues to rack up victories in its Jewel v NSA suit, through which it has been suing the US spy agency over illegal mass-surveillance for nearly a decade (three successive administrations have stalled the suit by invoking official secrecy, a deadlock that was broken thanks to the leaks released by the whistleblower Edward Snowden). The latest news is that Judge Jeffrey White has ordered the government to unseal "any declassified material, like exhibits, declarations, and other ex parte submissions that the government had previously submitted to the court under seal" and refused to entertain the DoJ's appeal. EFF believes that the release will show that the DoJ lied to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court).

In light of the declassifications inspired by the June leaks, Judge Jeffrey White ordered the government to unseal any declassified material, like exhibits, declarations, and other ex parte submissions that the government had previously submitted to the court under seal.

In response, the government asked that it only release a new declaration. The Department of Justice lawyers reasoned that reviewing the material submitted since the case began in 2008 would be a heavy burden. We objected, noting that recently declassified documents have shown that the government had submitted misleading material to the court overseeing the spying, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court).

Judge White denied the government's request, noting that the government had the resources to carry out such a review. He also noted that there should be a "fulsome" record for the court, the public, and the plaintiffs to draw from. The judge also set a briefing schedule on the procedural issues that it wanted resolved before turning to the critical question—whether the spying program is legal and constitutional.

More from the EFF here:

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Sep 29, 2013, 02:20 PM (8 replies)

The No-Fly List: Where the FBI Goes Fishing for Informants


The No-Fly List: Where the FBI Goes Fishing for Informants

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:21am

Over the last three years, the FBI has dramatically expanded its No-Fly List of suspected terrorists, including blacklisting innocent Americans who present no threat to security.

The Americans we represent in Latif v. Holder, the ACLU's challenge to the government's No-Fly List procedures, provide a prime example. They were each denied boarding on planes, deprived of their right to travel, and smeared as suspected terrorists. Yet the government continues to deny them any after-the-fact explanation for their blacklisting or any meaningful chance to clear their names...

...FBI agents put this pressure on ACLU clients Abe Mashal, a Marine veteran; Amir Meshal; and Nagib Ali Ghaleb. Each of these Americans spoke to FBI agents to learn why they were suddenly banned from flying and to clear up the errors that led to that decision. Instead of providing that explanation or opportunity, FBI agents offered to help them get off the No-Fly List—but only in exchange for serving as informants in their communities.Our clients refused.

The ACLU's report,Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI's Unchecked Abuse of Authority, explains what happened to Nagib Ali Ghaleb. Nagib was denied boarding when trying to fly home to San Francisco after a trip to visit family in Yemen. Stranded abroad and desperate to return home, Nagib sought help from the U.S. embassy in Yemen and was asked to submit to an FBI interview. FBI agents offered to arrange for Nagib to fly back immediately to the United States if he would agree to tell the agents who the "bad guys" were in Yemen and San Francisco. The agents insisted that Nagib could provide the names of people from his mosque and the San Francisco Yemeni community. The agents said they would have Nagib arrested and jailed in Yemen if he did not cooperate, and that Nagib should "think about it." Nagib, however, did not know any "bad guys" and therefore refused to spy on innocent people in exchange for a flight home.

The complete ACLU report is available as a *pdf file here:


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Sep 29, 2013, 01:51 PM (8 replies)

How the Insurance Industry Is Dealing With Climate Change

Short answer: The reinsurance markets know it's real, and are acting accordingly.


How the Insurance Industry Is Dealing With Climate Change

September 24, 2013

When it comes to the calculating the likelihood of catastrophic weather, one group has an obvious and immediate financial stake in the game: the insurance industry. And in recent years, the industry researchers who attempt to determine the annual odds of catastrophic weather-related disasters—including floods and wind storms—say they’re seeing something new.

“Our business depends on us being neutral. We simply try to make the best possible assessment of risk today, with no vested interest,” says Robert Muir-Wood, the chief scientist of Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a company that creates software models to allow insurance companies to calculate risk. “In the past, when making these assessments, we looked to history. But in fact, we’ve now realized that that’s no longer a safe assumption—we can see, with certain phenomena in certain parts of the world, that the activity today is not simply the average of history.”

This pronounced shift can be seen in extreme rainfall events, heat waves and wind storms. The underlying reason, he says, is climate change, driven by rising greenhouse gas emissions. Muir-Wood’s company is responsible for figuring out just how much more risk the world’s insurance companies face as a result of climate change when homeowners buy
policies to protect their property...

...For his own part, Muir-Wood puts his money where his mouth is. “I personally wouldn’t invest in beachfront property anymore,” he says, noting the steady increase in sea level we’re expecting to see worldwide in the coming century, on top of more extreme storms. “And if you’re thinking about it, I’d calculate quite carefully how far back you’d have to be in the event of a hurricane.”

Hmm, looks like the teabaggers and RW media either don't know what they're talking about or
are consciously lying...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat Sep 28, 2013, 01:59 AM (0 replies)

Wall Street Firm Hasn't Sold Off AR-15 Maker Despite Newtown Promise


Wall Street Firm Hasn't Sold Off AR-15 Maker Despite Newtown Promise

The Huffington Post | By Jillian Berman Posted: 09/24/2013 3:49 pm EDT | Updated: 09/24/2013 4:16 pm EDT

A coalition of advocates are urging a private equity firm to make good on its now nine-month-old promise to stop investing in gun makers.

Amid a flurry of media attention in the wake of the Newtown massacre that killed 20 children and six adults, Cerberus Capital vowed to sell of its controlling stake in the Freedom Group, a holding company that owns some of the biggest American gun manufacturers -- including Bushmaster, a maker of the AR-15, which was the Newtown murderer's weapon of choice.

"Cerberus Capital Management has not sold a single penny of its investment in Freedom Group. This is inexcusable and these delays can no longer be tolerated,” reads a letter delivered to Cerberus on Tuesday by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), families of Newtown victims and other gun-control advocates who demand the company sell its stake in the Freedom Group in the next 30 days.

Many took Cerberus’ December announcement that it would stop investing in firearms as an indication that renewed vigor in the gun control debate made guns a riskier bet for Wall Street firms. Indeed, Cerberus initially had trouble finding potential buyers and the company’s CEO mulled putting up his own offer for the Freedom Group to ward off low bids. Ultimately, he dropped the plan as bids for the company started to roll in, the Wall Street Journal reported in July.

But as Quartz notes, Cerberus has likely been making money off of Freedom Group over the past nine months. As increased attention to gun control boosted sales, the Freedom Group reported a 51 percent increase in sales this year from second quarter 2012.

And thus Cereberus's limited partners discovered that doing what was promised cost money,
so it was not done.

In business, as in politics, 'tis better to watch what the hands do instead of
listening to what the mouth says...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Sep 27, 2013, 03:09 PM (0 replies)

Are you going to support universal background checks IF they come without registration?

I ask this after reading krispos42's excellent OP the other day:


A proposal for universal background checks and reducing arms trafficking

I certainly will, and no doubt others will as well. I suspect, as others allude to in that thread,
that many will not as they prefer an 'all or nothing' approach.

Let the replies (or lack thereof) show how many of those on the other side of the issue
from me really do want compromise...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Sep 23, 2013, 09:42 PM (28 replies)
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