Sunday, 28 June 2015

China got what it came for. They'll be back just for dessert.

China got the mother lode with stolen US OPM data.    Updates will be handy but life files on the entire US government are complete enough to drill down for high-placed workers to target.   95% of what they could possibly want, they already have.   “We won’t see another massive attack like this. Instead, it will be more targeted ones” (Tony Cole)    Article at The Hill.

Is there an ideal outcome?
More paper files in safes and fewer in digital links ... will help.  (If you're thinking of the federal election this fall in Canada, be glad for paper ballots instead of hackable digitry.)
Further down the road I see less privacy. It gets harder and harder to keep secrets.
Returning the hacking favour to let putative enemies know you know what they know ---is a good outcome.  An efficient market in information will be a more competitive one.
Scary but makes sense.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Breaking: Saudis bribe and threaten to manage the news worldwide. 70,000 documents released by Wikileaks.

Half a million more stolen documents from the Saudi foreign ministry will become available. At this point they are on-line and searchable in Arabic. One teaser points to money spent in Canada for good vibes.   Watch for surprises as documents emerge in English.  This story is of the same size as the global warming scandal that broke in 2009 when  University of East Anglia documents were stolen and all were released.
"The Saudi Cables are rife with similar examples, some detailing the figures and the methods of payment. These range from small but vital sums of around $2000/year to developing country media outlets – a figure the Guinean News Agency "urgently needs" as "it would solve many problems that the agency is facing" – to millions of dollars, as in the case of Lebanese right-wing television station MTV".
This publishing of stolen data is going to be the norm soon. Expect to read what Hillary hid.  Expect privacy to be the refuge of the extremely wealthy and the insignificant.

Related from 2013:

“The Saudis and the Qataris are reported to be deploying huge amounts of money for bribery, bribery to the families and political and business interests of these members of congress,” Tarpley said in an interview with Press TV on Friday. “Hillary Clinton has received 500,000 dollars in jewelry from the king of Saudi Arabia and Hillary Clinton just came out for war,”

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Haida Walked To The Charlottes.

People freak about a few feet of ocean coming up and want boogeymen to blame.  Just remember the Hecate Strait between Haida Gwai (The Queen Charlotte Islands) and Prince Rupert is modern history covering hardly thirteen thousand years. The mile deep glacier over much of Canada disappeared before the IPCC convened their first meeting.  Seas rose and in that area some land sank while other land rebounded. And the Haida walked where ocean surges now. Scientists found a stream fishing weir 400 feet down.

From Parks Canada:
"Research at a site on Richardson Island related to rising sea levels and continental rebound revealed stone and bone artifacts excavated from archaeological deposits up to 5 m thick. Most of the artifacts date from about 10,500 to 9,500 years ago, a time when sea levels may have risen by as much as 5 m over the course of a person’s lifetime."

Old King Canute is reputed to have set his throne up on the tidal flats of England and commanded the ocean to stop moving.  It didn't. He decided to move too. The precious snowflakes who want the world to stay just exactly the way it already is will have to move too or be over-run. Maybe a few election cycles from now we'll get relief.

Adapt or die.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Pope moves off the Rock.

With Pope Francis' latest encyclical, he is moving off the rock and onto the sand.  His authority rested on apostolic succession, the words of Christ and the written scriptures.  (You shall be called Peter and upon this rock I shall build my church....Feed my sheep...My Kingdom is not of this world).  Now he is turning his back on the distinctives of faith and leaning on the authority of popular science.  This can lead to no good.  Instead of calling for redemption, he is arguing for transfers of earthly wealth through government bodies as do all good communists and their fellow travelers. How can a pope be occupied with fixing climate and increasing Caesar's dominion when the Bible is clear that sin  is the core problem and a unique path of redemption through Christ is the only cure?

I don't personally believe those doctrines but I know what those scriptures say.  Basing arguments on a political body like the IPCC instead of the words of Christ is a fools game and will profoundly undermine the authority of the catholic church.  And bring on state taxation of their properties, too.


Gleaned from many comments:
He's gone bankrupt a bunch but this could be a bug (bad management) or a feature (the guy will rescue Washington when the money's gone).
The media will chase Trump stories to suck oxygen away from strong GOP candidates.
He's a stalking horse for the Democrats, see quote below.
He puts being rich on the table with lots of his own money and shows Hillary is a phony who won't be honest about her own money.
He's one-dimensional about success and defines it in dollars.
Few take him seriously but most say he's better than Barack.
Along with Fiorina, he makes people wonder if business instead of law is where we should look for politicians.

And one of the most thoughtful observations from Wintermute:
"I know there's a deep desire to have a messenger that speaks his mind and promises bold things for conservatives...I have that same desire...but be very, very wary of Trump. Most know Trump these days through his reality TV career. But those of us from NYC have known him for far longer.  First, he's not a conservative, he just plays one one reality TV."    (read the rest)
Trump is a sore loser and could pull a Ross Perot, running as a third party, putting Hillary in the catbird's seat.

From Andrew Malcolm: (Writing for
Trump's well-financed game of political pretend will get much undeserved media attention in coming weeks, just as showman P.T. Barnum's hoaxes did. But Trump's ruse is damaging, as intended.
Trump is in reality a stalking horse for Democrats, including the Clinton couple, who ruled the last time our nation endured a reality-show presidency. Trump has contributed countless thousands of dollars to re-elect and curry favor with the Clintons, their foundation and other Dems.
Hillary is his pal. So, suddenly he's Republican, which helps her, feeds his ego and hurts the GOP. Win-win-win for everyone on that side, especially Trump,

Saturday, 13 June 2015

China knows who's been naughty and nice. Stolen US data story keeps getting worse.

Fourteen million files, not four million stolen security files is closer to the truth about the OPM breach.  The breach is a digital Pearl Harbour for America.  The files include the ultimate disclosure form, SF-86.    Its 127 pages document everything that might make you easy to blackmail, you being every US government employee past and present and apparently some CIA and FBI too.  Senators and their aides, presumably too.  In there are your brushes with the law, whom you sleep with, any drug use, mental institutions, and risky behaviour that would make you an easy target for America's enemies.    Even your contacts with foreign nationals are disclosed.  As a Chinese intelligence officer, I'd go through those contacts, punish Chinese citizens who concealed them and reward the others to keep it up.

You've been scolded for years to upgrade your passwords but the scolders themselves are the juicy target.   Chuang Tzu nailed this thousands of years ago:

"In taking precautions against thieves who cut open satchels, search bags, and break open boxes, people are sure to cord and fasten them well, and to employ strong bonds and clasps; and in this they are ordinarily said to show their wisdom. When a great thief comes, however, he shoulders the box, lifts up the satchel, carries off the bag, and runs away with them, afraid only that the cords, bonds, and clasps may not be secure; and in this case what was called the wisdom (of the owners) proves to be nothing but a collecting of the things for the great thief."

Thursday, 11 June 2015

China has the security clearances of the entire US government.

That hack into the data of every US government employee is worse than you imagine. The fingers point straight to China. China now owns it all.  What's in those data files?  90% of all the security clearances given to US government staff.  (Story at Hot Air).
"(Questionnaire S-86) runs 127 pages and demands incredibly personal information, not just about the applicant but about relatives, too. Are you a close relative or an in-law of an executive-branch employee with a security clearance? The hackers now have your information, too, and there’s no getting it back from them. Are you a foreign national that had a business relationship with a person who later became a cleared federal employee, or even had contact with them?"

That last line in the quote is click bait for any serious spy. China had a year to roam through several million searchable files looking for tasty bits.   This can't be fixed.  The names of people in your network that have security clearances and the social service numbers are what they are.
"It’s impossible to overstate the scope of this defeat in cyberwarfare, or its utter permanence".
"China has the security clearances of the entire US government" is how I read the story but it isn't proven.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

More about that drop of blood with your lifetime virus history

You probably read the story.
The lede: One drop of blood can give your life time history of viral infection.  A single $25 test can find them all.
Here's more detail:

First, only 206 viruses are known to infect man.   This is a manageable problem.  That's true even if nose-cold rhinoviruses retweak their code every season.
Second, with major strains, we are still only facing about a thousand.  Still manageable.
Third, amazingly, only about a dozen past species of infection are found in one person.  Even though people with AIDS get exposed to more than that, this shrinks the problem of beating the bugs to a near trivial level.

How did they do it?  They rounded up 93,000 snippets of DNA code off the "name-tags" of known viruses.   In the lab they "crazy glued" them onto a tamed attack virus until they had custom built 1000 different attack viruses, one for each major strain of virus in man.  The attack virus is called a bacteriophage, not because it's some kind of bacterium but because it likes to get inside bacteria and eat them.

A slurry of all 1000 attack viruses is mixed with one drop of blood.  After a bit, everything is washed away and the attack viruses recovered.  The ones with crud on the "name-tag" tell that you once were sick with that virus and made antibodies to it.   Pay $25, wait a day for the results and push PRINT.

My wife says, "So, what do you do with that?"

Sources:  Wired and Science Daily News.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Using guilt to increase profits : Big Business and the Big Left cluck at us.

Seen at a Save-On-Foods store in BC: All the good price eggs have an alarming messasge: "CAGE EGGS  hens in cages, behaviours restricted".   

Does that remind you of the incandescent light bulbs that are losing shelf space to expensive bulbs from the same manufacturers, bulbs that are better for some things and much worse for others? (Around here I think of $3.69 as a good not-on-sale price for large brown eggs and prices close to $5.00/dozen being common for anything with a fancy green pedigree.)

Pick up a dozen from the Cage Eggs rack if you must but make sure no one is watching you.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Power corrupts even angels. "Make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing".

Mark Twain joked that congress is America's only native criminal class.  It's human nature we're talking about.   We' re foolish to expect no corruption in our politicians.  The alpha animal in every pack is offered and trades in favours.  You and I would do the same.   The power and wealth that top dog politicians can redirect is a sought after food source.  There will always be competition for it.  Competition means schmoozing, bribing, marrying, flattering, having sex with, trading favours, and threatening shame and violence too.

Quoted by Instapundit: “If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.”

Rather than change human nature so only the sinless shall run for office, I have two proposals:

1.  Make it easy and legal for politicians to get rich in office.  Offer every MP millions of dollars for achieving bench marks like seeing unemployment fall below 4% or 2 successive surpluses on their watch.
2.  Introduce more of the market to the allocation of government largesse.  Let thousands of people instead of merely hundreds have access to insider knowledge as the policy and tax pie is being baked and served.  The internet and social media have that in their favour, that they bring more people to the table and bring them right now, to clamour for their reward.  Competition for the spoils of government will make the re-allocation more efficient.

As Milton Friedman said:  "Make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing." This exploits human nature instead of wagging a finger at it's failings.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Quick take on the Alberta vote.

The NDP didn’t look so bad after Redford did her mini-me version.
The Wildrose option didn’t look so good after its shiny shillings jumped into the PC purse.
The PC didn’t look so good, in love with its perks , the view in the mirror and its divine right to rule.
The NDP put forward Notley with enough character to help conservative voters hold their nose while voting change.

The culture of school teachers and reporters and unions continues its death march towards big government that tells people how to run their lives and scooping off the cream of it before redistributing the milk of it.   It’s winning in Canada, winning in the US and winning in Europe, yet to be bankrupted or even pushed back.

A comment from the Calgary Herald twitter feed: The NDP wont be bringing in a sales tax to pay the bills because they view it as a regressive tax.  In other words, it’s a fair tax that doesn't gouge the rich.
Someone at the CBC live coverage came up with the line that the Alberta Liberal party has been dead for years but this election they found the body.

Schools are Orphanages.

"Schools that do everything parents should are not schools".  (Joy Pullman at The Federalist)
More at the link.
Here in BC when teachers walk out, the issue is babysitting.  What are parents supposed to do when they're not around and teachers won't sit for them?
Cradle to Grave: The Orphanage (1891) at the Victoria Cridge Centre
is now an assisted living seniors home.  For everything else
there's schools.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Alien Puppeteers Show Up To Riot

Those shocking tweets that make the riot news cycle are contaminated by people and states who hate you. Assume people are lying to you when you get angry on the net. Nowadays when stakes are high, assume alien states have deployed a nasty crew or two to do their bit. It doesn't cost much.   The Baltimore Sun reports on ZeroFox which did forensic review of the tweets and Facebook posts flooding the net during the riots.  Bad actors from outside the area including Russia, China, India and the Middle East had fake news, automated accounts and 100 spoof accounts pretending to belong to the authorities.  "I just killed a pig" was tweeted with a years old photo from South America of a dead cop. I saw that one the night of the first riot and mostly believed.

A Baltimore 2015 story at Huffington Post references the use of a 2011 gangsta style picture with a pistol and a KFC destroyed in Pakistan in 2012.

#BALTIMORELOOTCREW from nowhere near Baltimore posted photos of pilfered prescription drugs and demolished store shelves. Photo borrowed below from Buzzfeed is from a 2012 Beauty Blog post that was repurposed to show looting glee. The "stolen" makeup was staged.

People are lined up to to take your money, steal your trust and get you to wreck things while they dissemble.  Instead of reading news about the sorts of places Sharpton goes, you could have fun writing letters to wealthy Nigerians looking for help to smuggle millions into your bank account.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Puffed US inventories brought GDP Above Zero In First Quarter..

First quarter GDP growth rang in at 0.2%, way below guesses.while inventories grew by over 120 billion in those thirteen weeks.  People are making and stockpiling stuff they don't have customers for and doing it at record levels.  Their optimism doesn't match the slow down in economic activity.  If you believe Zero Hedge, the economy shrank a couple full percentage points in that time, masked by orders for stuff there are no customers for.   This may become the biggest story of the decade.