Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday 07-22-13

“Top IRS officials in Washington, D.C. planned and oversaw the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups, according to the 72-year old retiring IRS lawyer who will testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee,” the Daily Caller reports:
Retiring IRS lawyer Carter C. Hull implicated the IRS Chief Counsel’s office, headed by Obama appointee William J. Wilkins, and Lois Lerner, the embattled head of the IRS’ exempt organizations office, in the IRS targeting scandal and made clear that the targeting started in Washington, according to leaked interviews that Hull granted to the Oversight Committee in advance of Thursday’s hearing.
Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George will return to Republican chairman Darrell Issa’s committee Thursday along with two central characters in the IRS saga: Hull and Cincinnati-based IRS employee Elizabeth Hofacre, who previously gave Hull’s name to congressional investigators, fingering him as her Washington-based supervisor.
Hull is naming names.
“In April 2010, Mr. Hull was instructed to scrutinize certain Tea Party applications by one of his superiors in Washington. According to Mr. Hull, these applications were used as ‘test’ cases and assigned to him because of his expertise and because IRS leadership in Washington was ‘trying to find out how [the IRS] should approach these organizations, and how [the IRS] should handle them,’” according to Oversight Committee documents.
“According to Hull’s testimony, Ms. Lerner…gave an atypical instruction that the Tea Party applications undergo special scrutiny that included an uncommon multi-layer review that involved a top advisor to Lerner as well as the Chief Counsel’s office,” according to Oversight Committee documents.
Much more, right after the page break.
As Ace noted last week, “Lerner Embraces Theory That The Process Is The Punishment” — and does so quite publicly and cavalierly:
Patterico found an important Lerner quote from 2011:
1 March, 2010 – IRS officials start targeting organizations with “tea party”, “patriot”, and “9-12;” in their names.27 June, 2011 – Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Operations, learns of the inappropriate targeting. She initiates an audit of the office involved, but the targeting continues.
17 November, 2011 – Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Operations, tells Businessweek that receiving a thick questionnaire from the IRS is a “behavior changer.”
Incredible. Patterico is taken with the fact that she admits this to a magazine; if this is the sort of thinking she brags about to a national news magazine, one can only tremble at what she’s holding back.
In America — in any free country — you are supposed to be free from punishment and compulsion unless you are found guilty of some misbehavior through Due Process.
But Lois Lerner doesn’t like that idea. Instead, she embraces the notion that people can and should be punished and compelled into acting the way she prefers, not after Due Process has found them blameworthy, but before anyone even thinks to file charges.
She’s decided that the process itself can and should be a tool of state coercion. She doesn’t need a finding from a legal tribunal to impose burdens on freedoms and to compel what she considers “correct” behavior — she’ll serve as judge and jury herself, and impose the punishment of a “thick questionnaire” as a tool of “behavior change.”
For Lerner, trying to cohesively strong arm others into changing their “behavior” is a pattern that dates back at least into the previous decade:
Under the direction of Lois Lerner, the Federal Election Commission sued the Christian Coalition in the 1990s. She harassed the Christian Coalition for three election cycles. Eventually, she lost her case. At one point Lerner even asked a conservative if Pat Robertson prayed over him. (Sound familiar?)
Then there’s this…
Lois Lerner made this offer to Republican Senate candidate
Al Salvi in 1996, “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we’ll drop this case.”
Tomorrow (Thursday) should be fun if this report plays out:
FOX News reporter Carl Cameron told Bill O’Reilly tonight that on Thursday House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has information that will move the IRS scandal up into the White House. “What he said to me today was make sure to watch tomorrow’s hearing because he’s going to present the evidence to prove it…. That he can get it right up all the way into the White House before it was all revealed.”
And just as a reminder, in 2009 President Obama “joked” about siccing the IRS on his enemies.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday 07-20-13

Here is an email from a friend that speaks volumes, but it is a shame, no one listens.  Kind of like the trail in the news, there are thousands that are protesting it and speaking about it, but none of them find fault with the trail, none of them say what he did was unlawful, they just don't like that he was wrongfully convicted.  Amazing.

10) Only in America ... could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 a plate campaign fund-raising event.
9) Only in America ... could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black. 40 % of all federal entitlements go to black Americans.  3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics, ?X the rate that go to others!
8) Only in America ... could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
7) Only in America ... can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
6) Only in America ... would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just 'magically' become American citizens.
5) Only in America ... could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."
4) Only in America ... could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
3) Only in America ... could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public, because the price of gas went up, when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).
2) Only in America ... could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year - for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.
1) Only in America ... could the rich people - who pay 86% of all income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.


and the second one is a privacy update

Secret court lets NSA extend its trawl of Verizon customers' phone records

Latest revelation an indication of how Obama administration has opened up hidden world of mass communications surveillance

The National Security Agency has been allowed to extend its dragnet of the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon through a court order issued by the secret court that oversees surveillance.
In an unprecedented move prompted by the Guardian's disclosure in June of the NSA's indiscriminate collection of Verizon metadata, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has publicly revealed that the scheme has been extended yet again.
The statement does not mention Verizon by name, nor make clear how long the extension lasts for, but it is likely to span a further three months in line with previous routine orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa).
The announcement flowed, the statement said, from the decision to declassify aspects of the metadata grab "in order to provide the public with a more thorough and balanced understanding of the program".
According to Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein, the Verizon phone surveillance has been in place – updated every three months – for at least six years, and it is understood to have been applied to other telecoms giants as well.
The decision to go public with the latest Fisa court order is an indication of how the Obama administration has opened up the previously hidden world of mass communications surveillance, however slightly, since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed the scheme to the Guardian.
The ODNI statement said "the administration is undertaking a careful and thorough review of whether and to what extent additional information or documents pertaining to this program may be declassified, consistent with the protection of national security."
The Verizon metadata was the first of the major disclosures originating with Snowden, who remains in legal limbo in the international airport in Moscow.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday 07-08-13

Research on Antibiotics Reveals Silver Acts as a Booster
By Dr. Mercola
The use of silver in the battle against pathogenic bacteria goes way back into antiquity. Hippocrates was one of the first to describe its antimicrobial properties in 400 B.C. Over the past few years, several studies have demonstrated the fact that silver is indeed one of the most effective agents in the battle against antibiotic-resistant super pathogens. Yet conventional medicine has largely dismissed such claims, relegating colloidal silver to the “woo-woo” section of medical myth.
They may be inclined to change their tune however, in light of the latest research which shows that low doses of silver can make antibiotics up to 1,000 times more effective, and may even allow an antibiotic to successfully combat otherwise antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
As reported by Medical News Today: “...Not only did silver boost the ability of a broad range of commonly used antibiotics so as to stop mice dying of otherwise lethal infections, but it made at least one resistant bacterium succumb to antibiotics again. The addition of silver also broadened the effect of vancomycin, an antibiotic that is usually only effective at killing Gram-positive bacteria like Staph and Strep; aided by silver it killed Gram-negative bacteria such as those that cause food poisoning and dangerous hospital-acquired infections.”
For example, by adding a small amount of silver to the antibiotic, a powerful synergism occurred, and a urinary tract infection caused by tetracycline-resistant E. coli was successfully eradicated. Silver also helped save the lives of 90 percent of mice suffering with a life-threatening abdominal inflammation by adding it to the antibiotic vanomycin. In the group receiving vanomycin only, a mere 10 percent survived. The researchers discovered two mechanisms that help explain how silver can boost the effectiveness of an antibiotic:
Silver interferes with the bacteria’s metabolism, increasing production of reactive oxygen species14 (ROS); products of normal oxygen consuming metabolic processes in your body that, in excess, can damage cell membranes and DNA. Many antibiotics are believed to kill bacteria by producing ROS compounds, and here, the researchers found that adding a small amount of silver boosted the antibiotic’s ability to kill anywhere from 10 and 1,000 times more bacteria
Silver makes the bacteria’s cell membrane more permeable. This may explain the beneficial effect of silver on gram-negative bacteria, the cells of which are often impenetrable to antibiotics due to the molecular size of the drugs
What About Potential Toxicity of Colloidal Silver?
As for toxicity, the researchers found that the doses of silver required were far smaller than the dose needed to harm either mice or cultured human cells, suggesting that oral and injectable silver should be quite safe. That said, quality is extremely important, as misrepresentation of colloidal silver by less scrupulous manufacturers has in the past led to some of its more negative connotations. According to a Commercial Product Report15 by, a site that provides detailed laboratory analyses of colloidal silver products, there are three distinctly different types of silver products on the market that are all labeled and sold as “colloidal” silver:
True colloidal silver vrs Ionic silver
Silver protein: Due to the high concentration of large silver particles, silver protein products are known to cause argyria, which turns your skin blue-gray color.
When purchasing colloidal silver, it’s very important to avoid silver protein formulas. True colloidal silver seems to be the most recommended, but ionic silver could probably also be used. In the featured study, they used ionic silver (Ag) in a silver nitrate salt (AgNO3), which, again, was found to be quite non-toxic in animals and human cell cultures. Substantial antimicrobial activity was found at 30 microns (μM) against E. coli. If you take ionic silver products according to the manufacturer’s recommended dosage, ionic silver will not cause argyria.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday 07-05-13

Woman’s Survival Garden Seized and Destroyed by Authorities

Survival GardenA woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma is suing the city’s code enforcement teams after they illegally cut down her entire survival garden. Denise Morrison, who started the garden after becoming unemployed, had over 100 medicinal and edible plants in her front and back yard.
She told local Tulsa reporters that she started her garden after becoming unemployed as a way to feed herself and treat a variety of medical issues. Instead of relying on government handouts, this woman took matters into her own hands and decided to become self sufficient. She filled her yard with things like, fruit trees, berries, nut trees, and a wide variety of edible and medicinal herbs. She used these herbs to treat her diabetes, high-blood pressure and arthritis.
Is the Self-Reliant Lifestyle Now a Crime in America?
All her hard work ended when the local code enforcement team showed up to her house and forcibly removed her entire survival garden. before after code enforcment teamMorrison says that she tried to explain how everything in her yard followed the local code enforcement rules. You see, she had problems with these people in the past and this time she was determined to do things by the book.
She obtained the local ordinances and followed every rule to the tee. She made sure that everything in her garden had a purpose, and that her garden looked its best at all times. Local ordinances stated that no plant could be over 12-inches tall unless they were being used for human consumption.
Morrison made sure every plant in her garden could be eaten, but that didn’t matter to the city. They could care less about what the law actually said, they were determined to take out her garden. “Every word out of their mouth was, ‘we don’t care,’” Morrison said.
Over 100 plant varieties were removed by the code enforcement team leaving her with no way to feed or medicate herself. They took almost everything, including a number of her fruit and nut trees. She told local reporters in Tulsa, “I came back three days later, sat in my driveway, cried and left.”
Government Crack Down on Liberty
Uncle Sam Propaganda PosterWhile this case is extremely sad, it’s also becoming more and more common throughout the country. From “nuisance abatement teams” that have been forcing Off-Griders in California to hook back into the grid, to the heartbreaking story of Andrew Wordes who took his life after code enforcement teams seized his home, this country is making it harder and harder for self-reliant people to live on their own land.
While some dismiss these cases as localized issues, I believe they’re part of a larger movement to control anyone who dares to live a self-reliant lifestyle. I think evidence of this can be seen in the federal governments attempts to regulate small farms out of existence, their use of the EPA to seize private land, the formation of the Department of Homeland Security’s Green Police Force, their attempts to seize control of the Great Lakes, oceans, and waterways, and their use of organizations like The National League of Cities to take control of local governments.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday 06-24-13

Privacy and security on the internet – What you need to know to thwart big brother spying

by Sam
lock Privacy and security on the internet   What you need to know to thwart big brother spyingPrivacy and security are both important aspects of being safe on the Internet. In some ways the two overlap but they are actually different concepts.
Internet security is about preventing access to your network, computers and data by unwanted people. You don’t want to give hackers, be they government-sponsored or freelancers, access to your system or your personal information. In these cases, you’re dealing with someone who may actively try to access your information without your knowledge and without your permission. One might ask why some government or freelance hacker located on the other side of the world would be interested in their computer. There are two reasons. Your computer could contain a lot of personal information such as credit card, bank account or social security numbers.
If you do your tax returns on your computer, your entire return (with everything one needs to accomplish identify theft) is right there. Getting access to that information is worth money to these people. Another reason is to gain control of your machine. If a hacker can gain control of your machine, they can use it to do things on the internet and make it look like as though it’s coming from your location. It doesn’t take much imagination to see why some hacker somewhere in the world would find that to be a really useful thing. This sort of thing happens every day to a lot of people and, in most cases, they don’t even realize that it’s happening.
Internet privacy is about protecting your personal information, your interests and habits from being recorded by people and web sites that you visit or have to interact with. They are not hacking your network or computer to get this info you’ve laid it right out in front of them, with your online actions.
Many will say, “Who cares? I have nothing to hide.” But it’s not quite that simple. Most people, if they were told that every telephone conversation they had would be monitored and recorded by multiple individuals, would not tolerate such an invasion of privacy. So why are internet discussions and habits any different than phone conversations?
However, the most important concept that makes the “I have nothing to hide” logic faulty is that you really don’t know what you have to hide. Things that you think of as being trivial today could become crimes at some future date. Everyone is currently freaking out about how 30-round magazines may soon become illegal even though they are perfectly legal now. Is it so unreasonable to believe that things you discuss with others via email, discussion groups and forums or web sites which you visit today may become illegal in future times? So why would you want anyone to have a permanent record of this to possibly use against you?
And don’t think that there won’t be a record as there already is. Search engine companies such as Google and Microsoft / Yahoo are all about capturing and indexing every bit of information they can. This information is worth immense sums of money. Web site owners, and especially social sites like Facebook, are equally adept at gathering and indexing every piece of information they can get about you. Email services all keep records of your emails for years even after you delete the emails from your account. The only person who no longer has access to one of your deleted emails is you. You see, once Pandora’s box opens, you cannot put it all back in. You potentially have a great deal to lose by letting your information out.
So I suppose the better question is what negative could there possibly be in protecting your personal information today so that you never have to worry about it later? That way, someday, when your friends are devastated and thinking “how could this have happened?” you’ll be breathing a sigh of relief that at least you took actions to protect yourself.
Now that we’ve defined the terms, let’s talk about internet security. Common sense is the first line of defense. Going to sites known for seedy activities is just plain not a good idea. Opening up emails that have attachments, from people you don’t know, is also not a good idea. Most of us already know this.
Home wireless connection: When using a wireless connection at your house, be sure to enable WPA2 encryption with a strong key. Strong keys are long and random. The key dfh&hBNfp%2#hjfdow1ZR is an example of a strong key. The key passw0rd is not. Many people like to replace the letter O with the number 0 in words or similar substitutions thinking that this is somehow going to fool a hacker.
Do not use WEP because anyone capable of a Google search can learn how to break it.
All of this is important for two reasons. First, if someone connects from the outside to your wireless network, they are that much closer to your computer. They don’t have to attack from the Internet since they are on your local, trusted network. The second reason is that you don’t want your neighbor or someone parked outside of your house using your wireless and doing something criminal on it. The knock on the door by law enforcement isn’t something you need to hear when they track the crime back to your IP address.
Public Networks: If you use public networks, it’s important to understand that everyone on that network can see everyone else’s traffic. It doesn’t take a lot of skill to sit back at a coffee shop or hotel lobby and sniff the network for all the data passing through it. Using a VPN to encrypt and tunnel your connection is essential if you value your security and privacy. It will protect your data from being seen and will protect your computer from a direct attack.
Software updates: Always make sure your computer is up to date on its security patches. Bugs, and ways to exploit them, are found every day. An otherwise well protected system can easily be compromised because a new bug was not patched. However, this approach is not without privacy risks. As the operating system manufacturers add more and more features to their software, some of which could track your activities and behavior, the updates will increase security but could decrease privacy.
Hackers: There are a couple of basic ways that a hacker can get to your system and information. The first is by attacking your network directly. Your network, via its IP address, is constantly targeted by people trying to see if there is a way in. With some malware prevention programs, you’ll often see messages saying “such and such IP address has been successfully blocked”. What that’s telling you is that an attack was sensed and was blocked. Oftentimes, these IP addresses originate in China but they happen from all over the world. The people running these scans are looking for weak spots and have racks of computers, running 24/7, scouting for openings.
The first line of defense against this type of attack is your computer’s firewall. All modern operating systems, whether Mac or Windows, have a standard firewall included with their systems. At the very least, this firewall has to be able to prevent outside access to your computer unless the contact has been initiated from within. For example, if you get on your browser and go to a web site, you want that web site to send back the information you requested. However, you don’t want some random web site or computer to be able to send your computer anything if you haven’t initiated the connection.
Firewalls included with your operating system are fairly good these days and, unless you need to do a lot of tweaking to allow various ports and protocols (which is beyond the scope of this article), you don’t really need an aftermarket version, although many antivirus suites include a firewall with the application.
The second way an attacker may try to compromise your system is by placing malware on your computer. There are an unlimited number of viruses, Trojans and bots out there and new ones are written every day. Some are written by freelance hackers, others are written by government-employed hackers. It doesn’t really matter where they originate. Some of this malware is designed to cause havoc on your computer just for the fun of doing so. But most of it has a specific purpose as described earlier.
Antivirus: Everyone knows that antivirus and antimalware software are essential to combat these threats. There is a lot of such software on the market and most of it is decent. Both Avast and Webroot offer really good software, either free or at a very low price. There are others out there that are good as well.
Regardless of what antivirus software you choose, you also need dedicated, anti-malware software. The best here is Malwarebytes. It’s the go-to solution for most severe malware infections and having it running on your computer will go a long way. And it’s well worth the small price of the paid version to have it running 24/7, as opposed to the free version.
For the average person, doing all of the above will protect you from random attacks both over the network and from malware-filled web sites and emails. Obviously, if you are a high-profile individual at very high risk of intrusion, more needs to be done. But that level of firewalling and protection is beyond the scope of this article.
Web habits: There are many ways to enhance your Internet privacy. A lot of it depends on what you do on the Internet. If you are posting your life story and all your family pictures on Facebook, then you simply have no privacy and you are giving Facebook or similar sites unlimited access to all of this material. With the popularity of sites like Facebook, it’s clear that most people don’t care. Some believe that if they keep their profiles private then they are safe. But since Facebook owns everything you post on their site (and will keep it forever) you can bet they will use it to make money.
Perhaps people should think about their children whose photos and stories are being posted there. Does it occur to them that perhaps that child may not want to be an open book when he or she grows up? Ever think that the cute picture of your little boy, dressed in camouflage and holding his favorite toy gun, could be grounds for child abuse charges at some future time? Or perhaps your discussion about how you eat at fast food joints every day or ride your dirt bike on weekends turns into grounds for denial of life insurance coverage? In any case, if one’s Internet activity revolves around social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google +1, then no amount of privacy protection procedures can do anything for you.
If you are one of the relative few that care about their privacy, there are a number of ways to enhance it yet still remain online. We hear about OPSEC all the time in article after article related to survival activities. It’s recommended not to let others know how much food you have, what kind of survival plans you have and how many guns and how much ammo you have. The idea is that you don’t want to be targeted when the day comes. When you visit blogs, forums, firearms sites and prepper supply sites from your home internet connection, you are violating this golden rule.
Your ISP knows all the sites you went to. If you used Google to search for them, Google knows all the sites you went to. Even if you didn’t use Google directly but the web site you went to had a Google analytics link embedded in it, they still would know. Both your ISP and Google see this information as a money-making opportunity because they can sell it to someone down the road. I’m sure everyone has heard of the newspaper that published the names of all the CCW holders a few weeks ago. What’s to stop a similar paper or web site from buying a ‘Prepper’ list compiled from all of this data and publishing that?
And let’s not forget — the government knows all the sites you went to. You may ask how the government knows. It’s because they have systems installed at every ISP and monitor all the traffic. I know you may think that the government has neither the time/resources to monitor everything nor the desire to do so. You couldn’t be more wrong. They have more than enough computing power to monitor everything happening anywhere and anytime. To believe otherwise is naive and wishful thinking. They are expanding their spy networks at an unbelievable pace and it grows more powerful every day.
In any case, there are a lot of people who could potentially know about your survivalist plans and preparations. Some will argue that an IP address does not reveal ones identity. While at a simplistic level that is true, it is not true in the world of massive databases which record everything. Coupled with powerful computers, your IP address can easily be data mined and your identity determined pretty easily. And, of course, your ISP knows exactly who you are as does the government who has their systems collocated at the ISP.
Staying Private: So let’s look at a few ways to stay as private and anonymous as possible.
Changing your IP address by using a VPN to hide your traffic from your ISP and your IP form web sites is a very big first step.
Then, you need to secure your browser to prevent it from sending out information. This was discussed a little while back here so I will not repeat it again.
Assuming you have your browser properly configured and are closing it down and deleting all the cookies and history every time, consider installing a cleaning program on your computer — and use it, often. For Windows, CCleaner is great. For Mac, try Mac Cleanse. These programs will delete old information from your machine and clear all the caches when they are run. They can also be run to clear out all the free space on your hard drive to permanently erase all the “deleted” data which is not really gone but just marked as deleted.
I recommend using or as your go-to search engine and relegate Google and Bing to the bench, to be used only when absolutely needed. Both or search engines claim that they do not track you or your searches. I would support them in their effort by using them.
If you log into a web site that requires a log-in, always close out the browser after each use. When signing up for such a web site, use an alias if possible and provide a throw away email address. Obviously, you can’t do this for shopping sites where you must provide a credit card. But there are a lot of sites that require you to sign on in order to access otherwise free content. They don’t need to know who you are or what your real IP address is. You might also consider a throw away email address even for sites you shop with. That way, after a few months when they have sold your email to everyone, you can just change it and move on, reducing spam significantly.
If you buy a lot of goods online, you might want to use an offshore email address that doesn’t save your emails. Although the shopping site knows who you are and what you bought, as well as your credit card company, there is no need for your email provider to know by scanning the email.
If you log into a web site where you have to provide your real contact info, such as a shopping site, be sure to close the browser after the session in order to delete all the history and cookies. This will prevent the next site (or even Google) from following your path across the net.
When using your VPN, it’s also good to change your computer’s clock to match the location of the VPN. While not a really big deal, it won’t raise any questions if you seem to be coming from a different country if your computer’s time also concurs with that same country.
One final note, which while not directly related to Internet security it is still a good thing to do, is to secure your computer’s drive by fully encrypting it. A great program for this, which is public domain, is TrueCrypt. It is very easy to use and encrypts your entire hard drive to government, top secret-level encryption standards. If you do your part by picking a long passphrase and making sure to maximize the randomness of the key generation, it will be impossible to break. Within the encrypted hard drive, you might also want to create a small virtual encrypted drive that does not open when you start your system.
In this drive you would place all of your personal information such as credit card numbers, tax returns, bank accounts etc. Since you only open this drive when needed and close it right after use, it might prevent your information being stolen (in a situation where your computer is hacked) because it won’t be accessible to the malware or the hacker. I would not trust encryption software provided with your operating system. There have been rumors that this software includes ‘back doors’ to allow government agency access. Because much of this software is not public and the source code is not available to the public, nobody really knows. While there is no absolute guarantee that software such as TrueCrypt or OpenPGP are not also compromised, the fact that the source code is open for review and compilation makes it unlikely.
To sum up privacy and anonymity online, it boils down to providing as little real information as possible and as much disinformation as possible. Recognize how easy it is for companies with massive databases to take small pieces of info and stitch them together. Then it will become crystal clear why providing the smallest amount of information possible is absolutely critical to maintaining your privacy.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday 06-21-13

I know there is a lot of news worth putting up, but I thought today I would post something more important. More important because you can not do much about the news, it will help you be more aware, but the articles today ( got one from an email and one from Survival Blog notes) but only if you actual put it into practice.
Alimentary, My Dear
Ready, Set, Go!
The Birth of the Bug‑Out Box
Horn of Plenty
By Tamia June 18, 2013 Cooking is a dying art. As people spend more time in their cars, driving ever greater distances to and from their jobs (at every slower speeds), there aren't many hours left for making meals. Which means that — on most days, at any rate — harried moms and dads pop precooked frozen dinners into the microwave and then sit down to eat a hasty meal, one eye always on the clock. Maybe they'll watch a celebrity chef on the TV while they're scraping the last crumb of Yummy Lasagna from its plastic‑lined tray, but that's pretty much it for home cooking. Things were different when I was growing up. Even though I appeared on the scene when the post‑World War II baby boom was already fizzling out, families still made meals the old‑fashioned way. They cooked from scratch. Few mothers worked full‑time jobs, and many people lived within walking distance of their workplaces. Even the little farm town where I spent much of my childhood had two large, private employers: a seed plant and a hospital. Both have since shut their doors, however, and in the early morning hours local roads now resemble the opening lap of the Daytona 500, as commuting couples start their engines in preparation for the hour‑long drive to the nearest city. This will come as no surprise to most readers, of course. Similar stories could be told about rural communities across America. Times change, and we change with them. What choice do we have, after all? But growing up as I did, when I did, I learned the art of cooking from women (and men) who were superb cooks, with an appreciation of good food that was sharpened by memories of the Great Depression. Convenience foods were few and far between back then (even popcorn had to be made from scratch), everyday meals were important family occasions, and "good plain cooks" enjoyed the same measure of respect as that now accorded financial planners and personal trainers. My nascent interest in cooking even survived several years of forced labor — this was how it seemed to me at the time, at any rate — in my parents' roadside restaurant, when I was still in my early teens. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a slave to nostalgia. A lot of things have changed for the better in the last half‑century. Nor am I ready to heap scorn on the ever‑growing number of shelf‑stable, easy‑to‑prepare meals. Shopping for backcountry trips used to be a complicated exercise, and if you wanted the lightest pack possible, you had to send away to specialty outfitters for costly freeze‑dried entrées. Worse yet, what you got for your dollars wasn't always edible, let alone tasty. Farwell speaks feelingly about a week spent hillwalking with nothing to eat but a prepackaged Norwegian touring ration. He says it nearly put him off eating altogether. Nowadays, of course, it's a lot easier to shop for a trip, whether you're going out for a weekend or a month. You can probably find everything you'll need at your local HyperMart. And much of it — if not exactly gourmet fare — will be at least as good as the meals eaten at home by most of us, most of the time. The cost? Higher than meals made from scratch, to be sure, but a lot easier to prepare, and nowhere near as dear as the freeze‑dried mystery meals of old. "Man cooks" and minimalists can now eat very well indeed. There's also another benefit to be had from the ready‑meal revolution. It's easy to lay in a stock of portable food "just in case." I'm not talking zombie apocalypse here. I'm thinking of spur‑of‑the‑moment getaways: the trips we take when a window in an otherwise busy week suddenly and unexpectedly opens. How can it happen? Let me count the ways. A business meeting is rescheduled. A project deadline is extended — just as you were rolling down your sleeves and congratulating yourself on a job well done. A workshop (that you really didn't want to go to) is cancelled. A medical appointment proves unnecessary. The result? You're suddenly and unexpectedly set free — free for a day, or even a long weekend. And your thoughts turn immediately to a nearby river, lake, or seacoast. There's no time for shopping, let alone menu planning. If you're ready to go right then and there, your passport's made, and you'll make the most of your accidental holiday. But if you're not ready, it's "Sorry, Charlie" time. You've lost your chance. "Fortune," an old proverb reminds us, "favors the prepared mind." Or as Baden‑Powell put it, in succinct imperative mode: Be Prepared! This came naturally to the children and grandchildren of the Depression. Even city apartments had pantries in the '50s and '60s, and other things were sacrificed to keep those pantries well‑stocked with staple foods. But today — notwithstanding the imminent threat of the aforementioned zombie apocalypse — such prudence is often condemned. If you keep any food in the house beyond that needed for the next week's meals, you risk being branded a "hoarder." The label isn't intended as a compliment. At the same time, though, various government entities enjoin us to keep an emergency stock of food and water in our homes, "in case of a disaster." I guess this is the sort of thing Emerson was alluding to when he wrote that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Well, I'll risk being outed as a hoarder. I keep enough food in the house to survive for several months. I've had reason to be glad I do, and my hoarding habit has a welcome offshoot: I'm always ready to take advantage of any opportunity for a short getaway. It's paid off again and again. Two days exploring a chain of beaver ponds may not give you bragging rights on Facebook, and the video you shot of the beaver family at play probably won't make you a YouTube millionaire, but your short break will do a lot to lighten the next week at work. It might even make the hours you spend stuck in traffic a little more bearable. Readiness is all, of course. Which is yet another way of saying "Be prepared." And here's what's involved in … Keeping a Supply of Camp Food at the Ready I make it as easy as I can, collecting suitable staples and easy‑to‑prepare entrées in a large cardboard carton I call my bug‑out box. When it's full, it holds several weeks' worth of food for the two of us. That's more than enough for casual getaways. And I can see what's available in an instant, just by glancing down. (Someday, I suppose I'll replace the rather tottery box with a plastic bin, but my hoarding instinct extends to discarded boxes, as well. Cardboard does the job. That's all I ask — or need.) My Master Menu guides me in stocking the bug‑out box, and it helps me decide what to take from it when I light out for the territories, too. In other words, the Master Menu serves as both shopping list and meal planner. Of course, not every staple foodstuff lends itself to storage in the bug‑out box. Some small items (e.g., spices, herbs, and nuts) have permanent berths in my kitchen cabinets, while others (fresh fruit and starchy vegetables) wait patiently on pantry shelves, and a few perishables (Hundred‑Mile Plus Oatmeal Bars and a variety of other portable rations, along with store‑bought mini‑bagels and hearty breads, plus cheeses of every description) chill out in the freezer or fridge. No matter. Grabbing what I need from these dispersed stores is the work of a New York minute, and bagging it all up takes only a little longer. Any frozen items will be thawed by the time I cycle to the put‑in. Now let's return to the bug‑out box. Here's what it looks like:
Box Set
It was somewhat depleted when I shot this photo: Spring brings more opportunities for getaways, and I often go several weeks between restocks. (This is one of the advantages of "hoarding." You don't have to devote a good part of every weekend to shopping.) But the diminished contents of the bug‑out box are still representative. They include packaged entrées — Rice‑a‑Roni, Near East Couscous, Knorr Pasta Sides — as well as instant oatmeal, fig bars, noodles, dried potatoes, and imitation bacon bits. There's also a box of ziplock bags for easy repackaging. (Any boxed entrée selected for a trip is immediately transfered to doubled bags, along with the cooking instructions, if necessary.) Just out of the shot — either on nearby shelves or hidden under the top tier of bug‑out items — are other staples: pasta, rice, couscous, bulk oats, dried milk, canned chicken, single‑serving packets of condiments, instant cocoa, tea, coffee, dried soups, dried fruit, chocolate, and the like. Taken all together, they're a moveable feast in the making. Such a motley collection doesn't assemble itself, of course. So let's take a closer look at … The Care and Feeding of a Bug‑Out Box It begins with a list. As I've already mentioned, I use my Master Menu as my guide. Since I prepare much of what we eat at home from scratch, I make only limited us of prepackaged meals in the ordinary course of day‑to‑day life. But staple foods are just that: staples. And on the rare occasions when their use‑by date approaches, these get pulled from the bug‑out box and transfered to my kitchen shelves. In many instances, I avoid the need for such sleight of hand altogether, by the simple expedient of taking staples directly from my kitchen stores, as and when needed. The subject of stock rotation deserves a few more words, however. I use older items first, never losing sight of the fact that a bug‑out box is like a checking account: any withdrawals must be offset by timely deposits. At one time, I kept detailed notes of each item I removed and then used this as a shopping list. Now I find that I can keep track of the balance in my head. I make it a point to replace withdrawals within a couple of weeks, though. This makes it less likely that I'll forget anything when the time comes to hit the HyperMart. That said, I don't rely entirely on my (demonstrably fallible) memory. At least twice a year — usually in early spring and late fall — I conduct a comprehensive stock‑taking, inventorying not just the contents of the bug‑out box, but all the staple foodstuffs in the house. Any item that's not likely to make it through the coming season without spoiling is immediately tagged for current consumption. I take pride in throwing out very little food of any description. Waste not, want not, after all. This was the rule that my grandparents lived by, and I see no reason to reject it now. I make only one exception: If I have cause to doubt the safety of any food, I toss it out. (This is the Nelson Corollary to Fletcher's Law: If in doubt, doubt. Then throw it out.) But there's the reverse of the coin to consider, too. No matter how seductive the packaging, no new item goes into the bug‑out box before it's been subjected to a full Test Kitchen trial. A backcountry trip is a bad time to experiment with untried or unfamiliar foods. Farwell will long remember paddling through the James Bay Lowlands with a large, covered cooking pot under his seat in lieu of a ship's head, a martyr to his own haphazard meal‑planning. He's become a much more cautious eater ever since.
The moral of the foregoing paragraphs? In the words of a 19th‑century publisher's blurb, a bug‑out box should contain "nothing that is superfluous, and all things that are useful." That's your passport to a speedy getaway.
Boiling the Kettle
Making the most of unexpected holidays is one of life's happier challenges, and none of us likes to see golden opportunities lost for want of preparation. Which is where the getaway pack comes in. Yet it's not the whole solution to the problem. Paddlers, like soldiers, travel on their stomachs, and good meals are pleasant interludes in camp life. That's why I've assembled a bug‑out box of ready‑to‑go entrées and staples. I haven't patented the idea, though. You can have one, too. All it takes is an old cardboard box and a little planning. Then it's ready, set, go. You're off! Do you have a better idea, or another way of doing the same thing? Don't keep it to yourself. I'd love to hear from you. And with your permission, I'll pass the word along to others, as well.

Head Strap Flashlight

Site Member       
Is your emergency kit complete?You need head strap flashlights in any kit that includes a flashlight. Every car should have one. I think every member of the family should. have used these for years I didn't realize there was Head Strap Flashlight "divide." Some people don't have them because they look goofy. Once you use them in a real world situation, you'll be a convert.The primary factor is "hand free" lighting. You often don't realize how much holding a light gets in the way of accomplishing tasks and compromising your safety.A tire change or any other car repair in the dark is far easier with both hands.Walking down flights of stairs or using a ladder in the dark is safer with both hands.When walking through the woods at night you are less likely to get injured with both hands available to balance yourself or break a fall. There are version that clips to the brim of your cap if you wear a ball cap.There are some good features to look for.Multiple brightness settings. Red lights for preserving night vision or not attracting bugs. Flashing lights to make you more visible.Some are powered with the over-sized watch batteries. The advantage is that they are compact. The disadvantage is that the replacement battery costs almost as much as the unit. Use the "AAA" version if you use them more often than emergencies. If you can try some varieties out, take the opportunity. Some are poorly angled and cause glare.There are two drawbacks. The normal LED draws in bugs, right to your face. You have to get used to not looking at who you are talking to. Get hands free lighting for your emergency kits and cars.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday 06-20-13

The don't use drones on Ameicain soil, now we do use drones but we dont have guidelines for the use of drones yet, but they do have guidelines for how many times an employee can go to the bathroom


Mueller: FBI uses drones for surveillance

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI uses drones for surveillance of stationary subjects, and the privacy implications of such operations are "worthy of debate," FBI Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday.
He said the law enforcement agency very seldom uses drones now, but is developing guidelines that will shape how unmanned aerial vehicles are to be used.
There will be a number of issues regarding drones "as they become more omnipresent, not the least of which is the drones in airspace and also the threat on privacy," Mueller said in an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"We already have, to a certain extent, a body of law that relates to aerial surveillance and privacy relating to helicopters and small aircraft ... which could well be adapted to the use of drones," Mueller said. "It's still in its nascent stages ... but it's worthy of debate and perhaps legislation down the road."
Drones "allow us to learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel," the FBI said in a statement following Mueller's comments at the Senate hearing.
The FBI used drones at night during a six-day hostage standoff in Alabama earlier this year. The standoff ended when members of an FBI rescue team stormed an underground bunker, killing gunman Jimmy Lee Dykes before he could harm a 5-year-old boy held hostage.
The FBI said its unmanned aerial vehicles are used only to conduct surveillance operations on stationary subjects. In each instance, the FBI first must obtain the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration to use the aircraft in a very confined geographic area.
The aerospace industry forecasts a worldwide deployment of almost 30,000 drones by 2018, with the United States accounting for half of them.

Noonan: Privacy Isn't All We're Losing

The surveillance state threatens Americans' love of country.

The U.S. surveillance state as outlined and explained by Edward Snowden is not worth the price. Its size, scope and intrusiveness, its ability to target and monitor American citizens, its essential unaccountability—all these things are extreme.

The purpose of the surveillance is enhanced security, a necessary goal to say the least. The price is a now formal and agreed-upon acceptance of the end of the last vestiges of Americans' sense of individual distance and privacy from the government. The price too is a knowledge, based on human experience and held by all but fools and children, that the gleanings of the surveillance state will eventually be used by the mischievous, the malicious and the ignorant in ways the creators of the system did not intend.

For all we know that's already happened. But of course we don't know: It's secret. Only the intelligence officials know, and they say everything's A-OK. The end of human confidence in a zone of individual privacy from the government, plus the very real presence of a system that can harm, harass or invade the everyday liberties of Americans. This is a recipe for democratic disaster.

If—again, if—what Mr. Snowden says is substantially true, the surveillance state will in time encourage an air of subtle oppression, and encourage too a sense of paranoia that may in time—not next week, but in time, as the years unfold—loosen and disrupt the ties the people of America feel to our country. "They spy on you here and will abuse the information they get from spying on you here. I don't like 'here.' "

Trust in government, historically, ebbs and flows, and currently, because of the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, Benghazi, etc.—and the growing evidence that the executive agencies have been reduced to mere political tools—is at an ebb that may not be fully reversible anytime soon. It is a great irony, and history will marvel at it, that the president most committed to expanding the centrality, power, prerogatives and controls of the federal government is also the president who, through lack of care, arrogance, and an absence of any sense of prudential political boundaries, has done the most in our time to damage trust in government.

But again, you can always, or every four years, hire a new president. The ties you feel to your country are altogether more consequential, more crucial. And this is something we have to watch out for, and it has to do with the word "extreme," more on which in a moment.

How did we get here? You know. In the days after 9/11 all the clamor was for safety. Improve intelligence, find the bad guys, heighten surveillance. The government went to work. It is important to remember that 9/11 coincided almost exactly with the Internet revolution. They happened at pretty much the same time.

In the past 10 years technology sped up, could do more and more—big data, metadata. Capabilities became massive, and menacing.

Our government is not totalitarian. Our leaders, even the worst of them, are not totalitarian. But our technology is totalitarian, or rather it is there and can be used and abused by those whose impulses tend, even unconsciously or unthinkingly, in that direction.

So what's needed? We must realize this is a crucial moment: We either go forward with these programs now or we stop, and think. Some call for a conversation, but what we really need is a debate—a real argument. It will require a new candor from the government as to what the National Security Agency does and doesn't do. We need a new rigor in the areas of oversight and accountability—including explicit limits on what can and should be allowed, accompanied by explicit and even harsh penalties for violations. This debate will also require information that is reliable—that is, true—from the government about what past terrorist attempts have been slowed or stopped by the surveillance state.

Closing thoughts.

The NSA is only one of many recent revelations and events that have the ability to damage the ties Americans feel toward their country. It's not only big stories like the IRS, but stories that have flown mostly below the media's interest. Here is one: There was a doctor in Philadelphia who routinely killed full-term babies for years, and no one wanted to stop him for years. It got out of hand—he was collecting body parts in jars—and he was finally arrested, tried, sent to prison. People who are not extreme—people, forgive me, who are normal—who followed the story watched in a horrified, traumatized wonder. "They have places where they kill kids in America now, and it's kind of accepted." Those who watch closely say there are more such clinics, still up and operating. There's a bill in Congress now to limit abortions after the fifth month, the age at which hospitals can keep babies alive. It's not an extreme proposal, not in the least, but it's probably going nowhere. It's been called anti-woman.

I feel that almost everyone who talks about America for a living—politicians and journalists and even historians—is missing a huge and essential story: that too many things are happening that are making a lot of Americans feel a new distance from, a frayed affiliation with, the country they have loved for half a century and more, the country they loved without every having to think about it, so natural was it.

This isn't the kind of thing that can be quantified in polls—it's barely the kind of thing people admit to themselves. But talk to older Americans—they feel they barely know this country anymore. In governance it's crucial to stay within parameters, it's important not to strain ties, push too far, be extreme. And if you think this does not carry implications for down the road, for our healthy continuance as a nation, you are mistaken. Love keeps great nations going.

Some of the reaction to the NSA story is said to be generational. The young are said not to fear losing privacy, because they never knew it. The middle-aged, who grew up in peace and have families, want safety first, whatever it takes, even excess. Lately for wisdom I've been looking to the old. Go to somebody who's 75 and ask, "So if it turns out the U.S. government is really spying on American citizens and tracking everything they do, is that OK with you?" They'll likely say no, that's not what we do in America.

The other day on Fox News Channel I saw 79-year-old Eugene Cernan, an Apollo astronaut. Mr. Cernan's indignation about the state of things was so sincere, so there. China had just blasted into space, bringing its pride and sense of nationhood with it. America doesn't do that anymore, said Mr. Cernan, we're not achieving big things. Now we go nowhere.

The interviewer, Neil Cavuto, threw in a question about the spying.

Yes, we're under attack, said Mr. Cernan, but "we can handle it," we can go after "the bad guys" without hurting "the good guys," you can't give up your own liberty and your own freedom.

Exactly how a lot of us feel about it, rocket man.

Walmart's White Cloud toilet paper is tops

White Cloud Ultra toilet paper (Photo:
You're standing before a wall of white in the toilet paper aisle of your local retailer, thinking: How much difference can there really be between brands X,Y and Z? So you go with the cheapest, or the one you know best, only to be reminded later that, actually there's a big difference between good and bad TP. That's plain to see in Consumer Reports' toilet paper Ratings, where fifty points separate our first and last-place products. So before restocking your supply, be sure to check the results.

We test toilet paper on four key criteria, using a combination of machinery and sensory panelists. Strength is measured by an apparatus called an Instron, which pushes a steel ball through stacked sheets of paper. The same machine also evaluates tearing ease. All-important softness is determined by panelists, who gently caress each toilet paper. Disintegration, indicating how well paper will move through your home's plumbing, involves a water-filled beaker, a 20-inch stirring rod, and a vibrating plate.
The tough tests turn up quite a few stinkers. Take our bottom-rated CVS Earth Essentials, which received subpar scores for both strength and softness. Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value and Walgreens' Big Roll performed only slightly better. These toilet papers are almost sure to disappoint.
Great Value Ultra Strong toilet paper from Wal-Mart(Photo:
Out of the two dozen-plus products we tested, five performed well enough to make our winner's circle. Three are Walmart exclusives, including a pair of White Cloud products and Great Value Ultra Strong. Softness is superb with all three toilet papers, though only the top-rated White Cloud 3-Ply Ultra Soft and Thick combines softness with superior strength and disintegration. As a result, it was tops in our tests by a wide margin.
If you're not a Walmart shopper, consider our picks from Quilted Northern or CVS.
(See also: Is Starbucks really the best coffee?)
Looking for a green toilet paper? The most eco-friendly options are made from fibers recovered from paper that would otherwise end up in a landfill or incinerator, as opposed to trees from responsibly managed forests. Seventh Generation meets that claim, and it was quite soft in our tests, though not as strong as models that make our recommended list.