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2017-08-18 08:02 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 77 references
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Point your eyeballs this direction....

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2017-08-17 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Politics , 337 references
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This is a pretty-good read, all-in.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

I wouldn't go so far as to claim impossible, but I would say "highly unlikely."  The second part of the statement, however, is utterly true -- it is completely consistent with either a SD card or USB flash drive inserted into a computer.

When it comes to Internet transfer of data, remember one thing: You're only as fast as the slowest link in the middle.

There are plenty of places on the Internet with gigabit (that's ~100MegaBYTE per second) speeds.  But you would need such pipes end to end, and in addition, they'd have to be relatively empty at the time you exfiltrated the data.

What's worse is that there is a real bandwidth product delay problem that most "pedestrian" operating systems do not handle well at all.

In other words as latency and number of hops go up, irrespective of bandwidth, there's an issue with the maximum realistically obtainable speed, irrespective of whether there's sufficient available pipe space to take the data.  This is a problem that can be tuned for if you know how and your system has the resources to handle it on some operating systems -- specifically, server-class operating systems like FreeBSD.  But the "common" Windows machine pretty-much cannot be adjusted in this way and it requires expert knowledge to do so.

If that was the end of the evidence it would be pretty compelling.  But it's not.  Just as with Obama's "birth certificate" there is plenty of evidence of amateur hour attempts to frame the Russians in the narrative here, including blatantly-apparent metadata tampering in the files allegedly "stolen" by the Russians.

skilled hacker -- in other words, a Russian who knows what he or she is doing -- would not make that mistake.  They certainly would not make it on a consistent basis across all the documents.  But a clown-car brigade fool trying to frame the Russians certainly would -- not intentionally of course, but rather out of ignorance.

Why would the DNC not use a skilled hacker?  For the same reason a skilled person (with something real to lose) wouldn't forge a birth certificate: They would never take the job, knowing full well that getting caught would at best end their career and might lead directly to a prison cell.

The skilled folks, in short, are intelligent enough to understand the risks in undertaking the task, they know how hard it is to do and not get caught due to accidentally leaving a trace somewhere and in addition they have a lot to lose.  They also tend not to be so arrogant as to think they're the "smartest"; the real deal folks know damn well that no matter how good you are there is always someone better, and that "better" person is capable of catching you.

Is this report the last word on the matter?  No.

But it sure does cast a long shade on the claims of "Russians!" in this alleged "hack."  The simple fact of the matter is that the evidence points to inside exfiltration of the data directly from the physical machines in question, which is no "hack" at all: It's an inside job, performed by someone who had trusted, administrative access, and then doctored the documents later to make it look like Russians.

And, I might add, poorly doctored at that.

PS: Left unsaid in the linked article, but it shouldn't have been, is that if there was an SD card or external USB device plugged into the machine there is an event log from said machine documenting the exact time that said device was attached and detached.  Find that log (or the timestamp on it being erased, which is equally good in a situation like this), match it against the metadata times, and then start looking for security camera footage and/or access card logs for where that machine is and you know who did it with near-certainty, proved by the forensic evidence.

Now perhaps you can explain why the FBI didn't raid the DNC's offices with a warrant, take custody of said logs and go through them to perform this investigation -- which would have pointed straight at the party or parties responsible..... 

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2017-08-15 19:53 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 2576 references
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Let me say this just one more time:

That someone is a Neo-Nazi, a White Supremacist, KKK member or racist does not render them bereft of the First Amendment.  Just as being a member of BLM or the Antifa does not render them bereft of the First Amendment.

It is not acceptable, legal or excusable to meet speech by any such person with violence.

Period.

To suggest, state, or advocate that such is the case, or to promote the premise that violence is an appropriate remedy for speech you find vile and outrageous is to declare civil war, because there are others who will likely find your speech vile and outrageous and by your statement you have made the claim that just punishment for speech you deem vile is to be found at the hands of a mob.

The press and now lawmakers are openly advocating for the complete breakdown of civil society -- they are stating by the droves that violence in response to mere speech that one finds offensive yet has the protection of the First Amendment is not only worthy of said violence the person uttering same is not worthy of having their assailants prosecuted or the protection and investigation of the police forces to interdict violence intended for or served upon them.

These people are explicitly refusing to call on the carpet Governor McAuliffe and everyone in the chain of command from the Charlottesville PD upward who were involved in any way in intentionally funneling opposing protesters into each other, knowing that some of them were armed and then allowed said PD to sit back and withdraw when violence occurred.

Let me remind you that not only did the "alt-right" people have a permit the city attempted to revoke it and their action was struck down by a Federal Judge who granted an injunction against the city.  The organizers not only requested and received the promise of public law enforcement support a judge signed an order demanding same -- an order that was then intentionally disobeyed by everyone from McAuliffe on down and, as a direct and proximate result, multiple deaths and myriad injuries occurred.

In fact these same members of the press and lawmakers, who I have now lost count of, are in fact stating that it is perfectly acceptable for the police to intentionally ignore persons initiating and committing violence against those who speak in a way that someone finds offensive, and even worse, to intentionally foment violent confrontations between these groups due to their direct actions and deliberate inactions, and further it is completely acceptable for all of the above law enforcement and civil officials to ignore the lawful orders of a Federal Judge.

May I remind said members of the press, politicians and others that their speech is often found offensive by someone, and that if they advocate for and promote this rank lawlessness and blatantly unconstitutional behavior they will have nobody but themselves to blame when, not if, the nation erupts into violence on a level not seen in America since the 1860s and their homes, businesses and entire cities are sacked by persons who are aggrieved by their mere speech.

I have never in my life believed -- until today -- that we would see such an event in this nation again.

Today I fully expect it to happen and when this outcome occurs it will lay at the feet of the press and lawmakers.

There has only been one person thus far -- President Trump -- with the balls to make the statement in public that violence in response to speech is never acceptable.  For this you excoriate him.

He's right, you're wrong, and your course of action is begging for the literal destruction of our society.

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2017-08-14 14:44 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1562 references
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What if it's all a scam?

What if Jason Kessler isn't really a right-wing extremist?

What if Jason Kessler used to be involved with Occupy Wall Street and was a strong Obama supporter -- right up until, quite-literally to the day, Trump won the election?

What if he's nothing more than a stooge?

In other words, what if Jason Kessler is just a plain old-fashioned *******-for-hire?

Hmmmm.....

At one recent speech in favor of Charlottesville’s status as a sanctuary city, Kessler live-streamed himself as an attendee questioned him and apologized for an undisclosed spat during Kessler’s apparent involvement with Occupy. Kessler appeared visibly perturbed by the woman’s presence and reminders of their past association.

May I remind you that The Southern Poverty Law Center, the source of the above, is thought of as a fairly hard-left organization.  In other words, it's extremely unlikely they'd try to smear this guy with an unwarranted claim that he was involved with a hard-left cause!  Yet there's the accusation that he was formerly associated with Occupy, a socialist (if not communist) cause that was about as diametrically opposed to the KKK or "alt-right" as one can imagine.

Further, nearly all of the SPLC's documented incidents of his "hard right" behavior appear to date to just after and beyond the 2016 elections.

Hmmmm....

Again folks: What if all -- or at least most -- of Charlottesville was manufactured by people operating through paid stooges with the explicit intent of fomenting violence -- or worse?

One of the "intended speakers" for that event, I note (no idea if he actually spoke) is someone who has apparently stated that he'd like to see a second Civil War in America.

And finally, what if -- just what if -- Trump knew of this jackass' history when he said that the hate and violence was present "on many sides"?

What if Trump is right and this entire incident was basically manufactured, seeking and utilizing paid stooges to set up a volatile situation which the police not only allowed to turn bad but they appear to have had a hand in intentionally stoking the violent behavior of those present by chasing off the so-called alt-right folks right into the much-larger Antifa crowd?

Oh, sure, the people who were beaten and died still were beaten and died and everyone involved in that -- on both sides -- needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  But it matters quite a bit, I suspect, if the so-called "Nazis" involved in this were paid Nazis -- that is, stooges paid to show up, put on a "uniform" with some sort of "identity" and start trouble.  Further, one must ask: Why were the cops told to stand down, who gave that order along with the order to force the original protesters into the waiting maw of the counter-protesters and what sort of political affiliation does everyone involved in that decision hold?

The job of the police when there are demonstrations (which are lawful, permit or no permit) and counter-demonstrators show up is to keep the two sides apart.  Let them scream at each other across a street if they want; free speech is important, and to be protected.

Intentionally forcing one of the demonstrating groups into and through the opposing group is a felony criminal act and when done by a police officer or officers is a rank violation of federal law -- specifically, 18 USC 242 which makes it a criminal act to deprive anyone in the United States of their lawful Constitutional Rights under power of law or authority.   

Maybe there are a few more (serious) criminal charges that need to be filed than would first appear to be necessary.....

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2017-08-14 06:15 by Karl Denninger
in Health Reform , 473 references
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This column demands a response, so here you go.

There is nothing more we can do here. We tried everything else, and now it's time to do the right thing (ed: Single Payer). It's the American way.

Well, let's see. I count three lies in three sentences, four if you call "Single Payer" the American Way.

Let's start with the first: There is nothing we can do here.  Sure there is.  We could start with my one sentence extortion-stopping bill.  We could then follow up with the linked bill outline from that article, which you can read here.  That has a link to the implementation of same, and what it would look like -- read that too.

None of this has been tried, so to say that there is "nothing more we can do here", or "we tried everything else" is a flat-out lie.

It is in fact worse than a lie; it's a knowing fraud put together by someone who advocates for and sells "medicine as a business", of course, with a focus on, in her own words, "obtain(ing) better reimbursement" (read: "more moolah!")

But let's rewind that article and go back to the start, with the claim that we have a $3 trillion annual "healthcare pot" to spend.  That's a lie too.  You see, the Federal Government runs huge deficits.  That is, we don't have a $3 trillion annual "pot" of money because we're borrowing a huge percentage of it.  This is akin to saying that if you make $30,000 a year, but spend $50,000 because you charge up the credit cards by $20 large your "pot" to spend is $50,000.

No, it isn't.  It's $30,000.  You can for a while spend the $50, but not forever.  In the case of the government the form of "not forever" doesn't come the same way it does for you.  When you try this you eventually get a declined back at the store on your plastic.

When governments do it they destroy productivity in the economy and cap GDP expansion.  We have done this serially for 30 years and it has now caught up with us, which is why we haven't had an actual "recovery" since the 2008 crash, being capped off under 2% GDP.

What has happened since the 1970s is that medical spending has gone from ~5% of GDP to almost 20%, a four-fold increase in percentage terms.

What's just as bad, however, is that the much-vaunted "Medicare" and "Medicaid" (single-payer, basically) that this chick likes to argue for has seen a roughly 9% compounded rate of increase in spend for the last 30 years.

Obamacare managed to buy one year of decreased spending -- exactly one.

On this trajectory the Federal Government will try to spend $2 trillion dollars a year by the time Trump's first term ends, nearly $600 billion more each year than it spends now.

May I remind you that $600 billion is approximately the size of the entire defense budget?

There is utterly no possible way to do that.

I remind you again: Medicare and Medicaid are single-payer.

The author also tries to present military procurement as a "success model."  Oh really?  Exactly how much over budget and behind schedule was the new Ford aircraft carrier?  Let me count that up for you -- it's over $2.4 billion above the "accepted bid cost" and the carrier was roughly 18 months behind schedule for completion as well; it was supposed to be finished in September of 2015!  Worse, while it's currently in the water and running on its own power it won't actually be operational until at least 2020.

Would you like to talk about something much more-pedestrian yet essential to the military?  How about pistols?  The military recently decided to have a "competition" for the next-generation military sidearm.  That ought to be quite simple; there are literally hundreds of sidearms currently available in the marketplace.  Let them compete, pick one, negotiate a volume discount, done.  Let me remind you that in the context of the military a sidearm isn't a primary weapon, unlike a police force. In the military a sidearm is a last-ditch, everything has gone to hell piece of equipment with its best and highest use being to fight your way to a weapon that is both longer and more-powerful. Yet police departments perform this task all the time, I remind you, for their duty (primary and "most important") weapons and it works perfectly-well for them.

But, you see, that's not what the military did.  Go look that one up for yourself as it's enough to make you want to throw up.  What the military wound up with was a bespoke variant of an existing design at materially increased cost.

We run our entire government this way -- and this is the model for health care we should adopt?

If you think that perhaps the states or cities can do better may I direct you to a bathroom in New York, in a public park.  It's a public restroom.  It has stalls, urinals, sinks.  It's not especially large and might be able to accommodate a dozen people doing their business at once.  It cost $2 million dollars and took several years to build.  In the same neighborhood you can buy an entire house for under $700,000 and a new one can be built in six months, more or less.

Again, this is the model you wish to apply to health care?

The math presented is reasonably clear -- $3 trillion and change divided by 330 million people is about 10 large a person, annually.  The problem is that this is two to three times the cost per-person in all other developed nations and essentially all of those are socialist medical systems -- that is, single payer.

I think American medicine is the best in the whole world. Not because it's expensive and not due to the corrupt ways in which it's being financed, but in spite of these things.

Oh, so we're back to what people think?  See, when you can't argue facts (because they say you're full of crap) you argue feelings and this of course leaves you open to charge anyone who disagrees with bigotry and, if you're a woman, you can claim sexism as well.

Arithmetic and statistics, of course, don't care about your feelings or what you think.

The facts are that we spend 2-3x as much per-person on health care as any other developed nation and yet we're nowhere near the top of the list among developed nations on any of the objective measures of success in health outcomes: Mortality, morbidity, longevity, infant deaths, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary disease, strokes and more.

More to the point we have 100+ years of history in economic outcomes comparing socialism .vs. capitalism across the world.  There has never been a case where socialism has "won" on an objective basis -- real GDP growth per capita, technological advancement, objective measures of personal wealth, economic upward mobility and more.

No matter what objective metric you care to use as a yardstick socialist systems consistently and persistently underperform.

What's worse is that there are myriad cases in which socialist societies have literally collapsed upon themselves leading to violence, civil unrest, coups, and even civil war.

What "single payer" boils down to, in short, is attempting to protect the medical scam.

And yes, it's a scam.

I can cite specific Medicaid issues in this regard, and some Medicare ones as well.  They're outrageous.  We're talking about situations where people are cut up to fix something ignoring severe, even life-threatening co-morbidity problems that could be at least in part alleviated first.  Not doing so means greatly increasing the risk of severely-extended hospital convalescence for which the hospital gets paid, of course.  Never mind the fact that this "decision path" also comes with a materially-increased risk of the person in question dying.  And finally, if you alleviated those co-morbidity issues the original operation might not have been required at all and that would mean they make far less money.

The medical industry doesn't want to talk about this sort of thing just like they don't want to talk about what they do now when it comes to billing in general, which is bilk you.  And I do mean bilk.  I have here in my hand a hernia repair bill sent to me by someone who had the procedure recently done.  It's roughly $20,000, of which the "insurance company" paid $3,500 and the customer paid $150.

Note that if said "customer" had a $6,000 deductible they would have paid the entire $6,000 which is close to double what the insurance company actually paid.  This, despite the fact that the customer got the exact same surgery and exact same result.  The only difference was whether he elected to pay for a "catastrophic" plan or not.

This pretty-much fits the description of extortion to a "T".  The message is clear: Buy a low-cost insurance plan for a catastrophic event and for a non-catastrophic but still serious event you will be billed double or more.

Incidentally extortion is illegal -- at least it's supposed to be.  Further, refusing to quote a price and other similar games are illegal under long-standing consumer protection laws, and colluding to fix prices is a felony under 100+ year old law (15 USC Chapter 1.)

Exactly how many prosecutions are brought over this?  Zero.

Or shall we talk about the two recent lawsuits brought against pharmacy chains (of which there are now only a handful, and thus there is effective monopoly power) alleging that people with insurance are paying more than a cash customer for medications?  Those allegations look pretty solid, seeing as they're easily backed up.  Exactly what justification can you raise for someone to pay $23 after they buy "insurance" when a cash customer can walk in and buy the exact same medication for $10?  I remind you that Robinson-Patman, part of that 100 year old 15 USC Chapter 1 law, makes illegal the charging of differential prices for physical goods that travel in interstate commerce (that would be basically all drugs), where it tends to reduce or destroy competition, between customers of like kind and quantity.

You want to put this all under "single payer"?  Where is the evidence that any of the above would be helped by doing so?  And as for the claim that "we've tried everything else" would you please point out when and where your definition of everything else involved enforcing existing, 100+ year old law -- when it's quite clear that doing so would collapse cost by at least 50% and probably something more like 70-80%!

Then there is the plethora of evidence that morbidity and mortality is intentionally stoked by Medicare and Medicaid existing in the first place.

Leaving aside the financial impact we are talking about people being screwed physically and perhaps dying unnecessarily as a consequence, all so the medical scam machine can make an even more-obscene profit.

Now you might actually get me on board if we had "tried everything else" first.

But we haven't and any such assertion, as I noted, isn't just a mistake -- it's a lie.

Right at the top of this article are two links.  They take you to a one-sentence bill that would instantly stop the extortion game played on people who have high-deductible insurance plans by requiring that a person who either has no insurance or is underinsured for the event (e.g. they have a deductible to satisfy) is not billed more than a person on Medicare is billed for the exact same procedure.

This instantly ends the medical extortion and cost-shifting game.

The second link restores competition by (1) forcing the posting of prices and agreement, when possible, to actual charges before they are incurred, (2) enforces 100+ year old law that does apply to the medical industry across-the-board, (3) aligns the interest of customers and providers in stopping infections transmitted by poor procedure or "mistakes" in clinical practice by refusing to allow said firms to bill you for that which they do to you as a result of said failures, (4) enforces "most-favored nation" status for the US on drugs, devices and supplies, preventing US consumers from being forced to fund the entire world's medical system at gunpoint, (5) allows anyone to obtain any non-invasive and non-dangerous diagnostic on their own, for cash, without a doctor's order should they so choose, (6) requires the provision of medical records in readable form to you at the time of service, and confirms your sole ownership of same, (7) ends, permanently, the provision of government-funded care to illegal invaders in this nation and (8) for the indigent dramatically increases both their options for medical care and drives down cost by enforcing anti-trust law, thereby bringing competition into the game for everyone.

If we try all of that and fail with it then I might be open to debate about single-payer.  But we won't fail if we do that.  What we will do is take that $3 trillion current spend and cut it to $1 trillion.  This will not only permanently fix the budget deficit it will make America the place in the industrialized world to start and operate a business on a cost-competitive basis.

But until all that happens any such statement that we've tried everything else is simply a bald-faced, self-interested lie by those who have ripped off Americans for more than 30 years, all of whom should be staring down an indictment right here and now.

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