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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 12:47 PM
Number of posts: 10,329

Journal Archives

"..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)

W.B. Michaels pegged it a few years ago in his book "The Trouble With Diversity"



Let Them Eat Diversity: multiculturalism as an artifact of neoliberalism

...Major social changes have taken place in the past 40 years with remarkable rapidity, but not any in any sense inimical to capitalism. Capitalism has no problem with gay people getting married and people who self-identify as neoliberals understand this very well. So I think the main thing to say there is that, maybe in the book a lot of the examples tend to be academic examples, but I think you can find examples in American society everywhere of the extraordinary power, the hegemony of the model of anti-discrimination, accompanied by defense of property, as the guiding precepts of social justice. You can see this in the study that people have recently been making fun of—the one that shows that liberals are not as liberal as they think they are. What it showed was that when people were asked about the question of redistribution of wealth they turned out to be a lot less egalitarian than they thought they were. People who characterized themselves as “extremely liberal” nevertheless had real problems with the redistribution of wealth. And someone pointed out, I think he teaches at Stanford, that that’s the wrong way to think of this, because yes it’s true that especially as people get more wealthy they tend to become less committed to the redistribution of wealth but there are lots of ways in which they become “more liberal”—with respect to gay rights, antiracism, with respect to all the so-called “social issues,” as long as these social issues are defined in such a way that they have nothing to do with decreasing the increased inequalities brought about by capitalism, which is to say, taking away rich liberals’ money.

The truth is, it’s hard to find any political movement that’s really against neoliberalism today, the closest I can come is the Tea Party. The Tea Party represents in my view, not actually a serious, because it’s so inchoate and it’s so in a certain sense diluted, but nonetheless a real reaction against neoliberalism that is not simply a reaction against neoliberalism from the old racist Right. It’s a striking fact that what the American Left mainly wants to do is reduce the Tea Party to racists as quickly as humanly possible. They’re thrilled when some Nazis come out and say “Yeah, we support the Tea Party” or some member of the Tea Party says something racist, which is frequently enough. But you can’t understand the real politics of the Tea Party unless you understand how important their opposition to illegal immigration is. Because who’s for illegal immigration? As far as I know only one set of people is for illegal immigration, I mean you may be , but as far as I know the only people who are openly for illegal immigration are neoliberal economists.

First of all, neoliberal economists are completely for open borders, in so far as that’s possible. Friedman said years ago that, “You can’t have a welfare state and open borders,” but of course the point of that was “open the borders, because that’ll kill the welfare state.” There’s a good paper you can get off the web by Gordon Hanson, commissioned by whoever runs Foreign Affairs, and the argument is that illegal immigration is better than legal immigration, because illegal immigration is extremely responsive to market conditions.

So it’s quite striking that you have all this protesting against illegal immigration, and especially at a time when it’s down. So why are people so upset about it? They are upset about it not because it has gotten worse, it hasn’t, but because they somehow recognize that one of the primary sort of marks of the triumph of neoliberalism in the U.S. is a very high tolerance of illegal immigration, and that illegal immigration is the kind of ne plus ultra of the labor mobility that neoliberalism requires. I mean that’s why for years—even though it’s a kind of contradiction in terms—as a policy it’s worked well. The Bush administration did everything it could to talk against illegal immigration but leave it alone and I’m sure the Obama administration would do the same thing except its hand’s being forced by the Tea Party. So you get these people who are saying illegal immigration sucks, and even Glenn Beck will say “immigration good, illegal immigration bad” and, what he’s reacting against is not, as he thinks, socialism but currently existing capitalism, but he has no clue....

Walter Benn Michaels is the author of The Trouble with Diversity.

This explains how uber-capitalist Michael Bloomberg has essentially bought the silence of parts of the
Democratic Party by his financial support for gun control. Bloomie may be evil, but he's certainly
not stupid...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Sep 18, 2013, 01:04 PM (0 replies)
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