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How idiotic can you be, America?

The latest technology used by Apple and Google to meet consumers’ demands on securing private data is hitting a nerve with the Department of Justice.

In a meeting last month with Apple executives, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department said the company’s new encryption technology that locks out law enforcement would lead to a tragedy, The Wall Street Journal reported. A child would die and the police would not be able to search the suspect’s phone, the official allegedly said.

Note two things:

  • The scaremongering using children, the typical way that the government shuts down anything reasoned debate.

  • Not even a pretense that the desired change would prevent the death -- it would only be the post-hoc search of the phone that would be curtailed!

In a word, so what?  If little Suzy is dead then we have a suspect and a body; the fact that there was a murder hasn't changed.  That the police have to actually do their work the old-fashioned way doesn't change anything either, nor does access to someone's phone (or lack thereof) change DNA and other physical evidence.

Apple's executives apparently took this the same way I did, which is good.  Credit where credit is due.

But pay attention folks, because there are some 330 million of us here and complying with the DOJ's demands will get a hell of lot more of us killed than just little Suzy!

Washington (CNN) -- China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure through a cyber attack, the head of the National Security Agency told a Congressional panel Thursday.

Admiral Michael Rogers, who also serves the dual role as head of U.S. Cyber Command, said the United States has detected malware from China and elsewhere on U.S. computers systems that affect the daily lives of every American.

These attacks are possible because of crap, hole-ridden so-called "security" and the use of off-the-shelf garbage that is riddled with back doors and just plain old-fashioned shoddy programming.

I used to write bespoke software -- ground-up, from the operating system level that ran on bare hardware, to run fairly-critical infrastructure.  It was not only air-gapped it ran out of PROMs that could not be field-programmed in the first place.

For convenience and cost reasons most modern command and control, along with many process-control systems, run not only on commodity hardware (which could be tampered with at manufacturing time) but also on commodity commercial software as well.  The latter is potentially disastrous because such machines and software are designed to be field-upgraded.

The capacity for anyone to override the user's security measures, including cryptographic integrity of the operating system and applications themselves, places that machine at the risk of compromise by malicious third parties who can be half a world away -- including nation-state third-parties.

Just a couple of days ago I detected and successfully interdicted a high-intensity attempt to break into my infrastructure here at The Ticker coming from Germany.  There are dozens of attempts daily that hail from China, Russia and parts of what were previous the USSR, but they tend to be low-intensity attacks that are in the noise level and, other than a nice report that I get every morning with a litany of failures, are unremarkable.  This one was different; it was high-intensity and sustained over the space of several hours, and was a clear probe attack aimed at penetrating SSL negotiation.

It is highly likely that the actual machines assaulting my infrastructure were not the "true source"; that is, those systems were under control of someone else -- and that "someone else" may well be in China or Russia somewhere.  They might even be part of or paid by the government.  In fact, I'd bet on it.

But there's not much here at stake if, by some chance, I screw up and someone gets in.  Oh sure, it's a hassle and maybe something gets stolen that's here, or a disk gets scrambled.  That would be annoying, but not fatal to anyone.

The same problem at a nuclear power plant or large substation could have critical or even catastrophic consequence.

As I wrote the other day for our government to demand this sort of "back door" access will get Americans -- and large numbers of them -- killed.  It might get a significant percentage of our population killed, and might result in the collapse of our economy and society -- all because of the ignorant arrogance of people in our government.

We must not permit this to happen.

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Why does this surprise anyone?

Hours after the leaders of the world's 20 most developed economies sought to boost confidence by promising to increase global output by $2 trillion over five years, Japan said it had fallen into recession.

That leaves the country — the world's third-largest economy — on a long and growing list of troubled economies. China is slowing as well, and Europe can't seem to take off.

Among major economies, only the United States and Britain are growing at decent rates, and how long that lasts depends on how much trouble their trading partners are in.

No we're not.

You must subtract the amount of "QE" in percentage terms of the economy from the nominal growth rate.  This is basic algebra; you must remove the same term from both sides when you solve an equation; you cannot add (or remove) it from only one side.

Yet that's the fraud that exists when you state "GDP" without removing all deficit financing and monetary emission from the figures!

It is, in fact, the predicate of this series:

Growth?  What growth?

And yes, credit emission is not limited to central banks or governments -- in point of fact they're not the largest source of the problem in that they step in only when private banks can't or won't!

Everyone wants to scream "END THE FED!" but in fact if you ended the Fed you'd do nothing for two reasons:

  • The Fed is not the largest source of the problem; that is (by a huge margin) found in the private banking cartel.

  • The Fed can only buy US Government securities.  Therefore, if there is no deficit there is no Fed buying activity.

It's that simple folks when you boil it all down.  The Fed can want to engage in QE but if there are no government bonds to buy then it is unable to do so.  Without continued new emission of more and more bonds (that is, more and more deficit spending) The Fed is unable to perform "QE"; it is not mathematically possible given the boundaries they are forced to operate under.

The reason that such attempts cannot work is that the smaller is never able to upstage the greater.  That is, a minority position is never larger than the whole.  By definition it is impossible for The Fed or any other Central Bank to violate this precept; it is simple arithmetic.

So why do it?

That's easy: It's far easier to steal, and you're less likely to get shot doing it, if you steal by subterfuge than engaging in your theft through a straight-up "in your face" assault.

But it is The Federal Government and their cronies, not The Fed itself, that is doing the stealing.

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This clown needs impeachment -- now.

This is not an option for the House.  Any President who willfully and wantonly refuses to faithfully execute the laws of this nation must be impeached and removed from office.  It is a duty of the Congress, not an option that Congress has.

Tonight you heard Obama appeal over a young girl who "came here" and is a great student.  He quoted scripture (not that I believe he has ever actually read it.)  We all know Presidents don't write their own speeches in the modern day, at least we do if we have a brain in our heads.

To declare that the law will not be enforced on a blanket basis for huge groups of people because the President disagrees with the Congress -- which has the absolute right to set immigration policy -- is a complete stick in the eye to any premise of The Rule of Law that you might believe remains.

I note that to refuse to decide is still a decision, and Congress is within its rights to do exactly that.  Congress has no imperative to pass anything; it acts through absence of legislation more often than it legislates, in point of fact, and this is exactly what the founders intended -- and how all Constitutional Republics that are functional operate.

I find it particularly galling that Obama cited the "innocent" child who was "caught up" in the illegal acts of his or her parents.  Not only does he propose to shield the "innocent child" he also proposes to shield the actual lawbreakers, the parents, themselves as well!

This is tantamount to endorsing the taking of hostages in the form of children to force the government to grant both of you amnesty.  What you should get as an adult for doing this is prison time -- first for your lawless act, and then again for taking you child hostage and using him or her in this fashion.  That latter act ought to be a felony, standing alone.

But tonight Obama instead celebrates it.

Well, tell that to the actual innocent people who have had their property stolen under "civil forfeiture" yet they're never charged.  Double standard?  It's worse than that -- it's just a complete absence of anything that could be called The Rule of Law at all -- it's not even vestigal in the United States any more.

So here you go folks -- if the Congress will not immediately impeach, and you know they won't, then they're going along with it.  And that means that there is not just a lawless President in Washington DC there are 536 lawless individuals and their minions comprising the entirety of the executive and legislative branches that have decided that THERE IS NO MORE RULE OF LAW IN AMERICA.

We've seen literal hundreds of examples over the last few years and I've written about many.

My only remaining point of amazement is that this nation's citizens are willing to put up with it.

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You knew it was coming -- the death of the "like" meaning anything -- at least for commercial entities.

The party’s over for advertisers on Facebook–at least for those brands who were enjoying the free advertising they received through “organic” posts, i.e. brand messages that would pop in people’s news feeds like any other status update from a friend. Starting next year, Facebook will start weeding those organic posts out, reports WSJ.

Only about 5% of these "reach" people now; after the first of the year, zero.

The impact of this is quite profound: "Likes" no longer result in anything meaningful in terms of penetration of your message.  This turns the model up until now on its ear; you could promote your company through doing things that led people to "like" you, but now you must instead simply buy advertising, and what's worse, all that effort you spent in the past has been devalued to zero.

Here's the real problem Facebook has -- does advertising actually sell on their network?

That is, does it result in tangible benefit that exceeds cost?  I don't think it can given the metrics the company reports in terms of how much advertising revenue it is getting today on a per-user basis.  The only logical explanation for this is that firms think they're getting the rest of the value (and more, since you must make a profit all-in on your advertising or it's simply burning money instead of investing it in your brand) from their "organic" traffic -- that is, the "Likes"!

Well, that's gone now folks, and there goes the only rational explanation for the revenue number in the first place.

This looks like a classic case of business hubris to me, and if I'm right this firm crashes and burns in a big way during 2015.

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