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Obama's government has repeatedly claimed in court filings and elsewhere, including when the IRS itself made it's "determination" that you could have a subsidy even if your state did not set up its own exchange, that this was an "interpretation" of what the drafters of the law intended.

There's a problem: One of the actual architects is on video saying not once but twice, in two widely-spaced and different appearances, that the intent of the subsidy was to coerce states to set up said exchanges -- and that you would not obtain the subsidy without one.

Last night, the Competitive Enterprise Institute broke a heck of a story: A video showed Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, supporting the plaintiff's argument in Halbig v. Burwell.

Gruber claimed that he "misspoke" during the Q&A.  Perhaps believable -- once.

But not twice.

We have a major problem in this nation with The Rule of Law -- or rather, the lack thereof.  It is that specific issue that leads to all sorts of other problems, most of them hurting you as citizens.  Whether it be the monopolist actions of the medical industry, the games played with so-called "insurance", rigging of Wall Street markets and more, The Rule of Law is a bad joke in this country.

Simply put it is clear not only from the legislation itself but from the context and statements made by one of its chief architects that the intent of the subsidies was to coerce the states into setting up exchanges.  

It was a blatant threat, and thus, by black letter law, residents of the states that opted out are ineligible -- not only on the black letter wording but the clear intention behind the clause in the statute itself.

But what startles me is that not "someone" has mentioned this -- hell, I've brought it up several times, including a number of years ago when the IRS decided to change the law on its own initiative, which it is not allowed to do.

No, it's that this comes from Bloomberg, which has never seen a lefty proposal -- or interpretation -- it didn't like.

Until now.

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2014-07-27 11:31 by Karl Denninger
in 2ndAmendment , 152 references

So much for the thugs in Washington DC (the government ones, not the gangs.  Oh wait; that's just another faction of the gangs.  Nevermind.)

A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Saturday overturned the city’s total ban on residents being allowing to carry firearms outside their home in a landmark decision for gun-rights activists.

Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. wrote in his ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia that the right to bear arms extends outside the home, therefore gun-control laws in the nation’s capital are “unconstitutional.”

Aside: I'm an "activist" if I believe that all persons have the right to life, and that if someone desires to criminally take that from me I have a fundamental right to defend myself with the only device ever invented for personal protection that makes all persons equal irrespective of size, gender or physical prowess?  What planet are these writers from?

And so we see yet another of the places where unconstitutional "laws" (which in fact are no law at all, but the people seem to put up with it instead of doing something about it) is struck.  Incidentally, Washington DC is one of the places where you are most-likely to get shot by a goon, and the obvious reason why is that the goons know damn well that law-abiding citizens are supposed to all be targets, since they are (by dictatorial decree) unarmed.

Both Heller and Chicago, of course, are binding precedents.  One decision is now six years old, the other four.  You would think that DC would have folded by now, six years in, but of course they did not -- until they were forced to.

There is only one "law" that needs to be enforced in this regard, and it's the Second Amendment.  Law-abiding citizens have no need for permission to exercise a fundamental liberty interest.  

It is already unlawful to possess or use a firearm to further an illegal act, such as robbery, rape, murder and similar.  It is also explicitly lawful under our Constitution to defend one's own life in the gravest extreme, as The Constitution is the highest law of the land, but even it bows before your rights, which can only be recognized by government, never granted (since the government never had them in the first instance.)

To Vincent Gray and the City Council: Repeal your laws in their entirety on the carry, both openly and concealed, of firearms.  If and when someone uses a weapon (no matter what sort) to commit a crime that stands alone then prosecute them for the actual offense.

Do that and your violent crime rate will plummet like a stone.

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Let's throw open the floor for commentary on this question: Why continue?

Seriously.  Why not just go fish on a literal basis?

Let's look at just two recent items to make the news.

We'll start with MH17.  The number of people I have banned from the Ticker over outrageously stupid "comments", most of which I didn't even dignify with approving for visibility first, has to be a record for any news story since The Ticker began publication. 

The worst part of the mass-idiocy on this incident is that people who claim wide swaths of support and "respect" are issuing the same crap, and it's probably coming from them and thus mindlessly being reflected in other places, including the attempts to post their claims here.  I speak specifically of Ron Paul and Paul Craig Roberts (who got his column published on Paul's site.)

The problem with the narrative these two (and a bunch of others) are running and the parroting that is taking place by people in general is that they require a particular basic thing to have happened, which I'll get to in a moment.  Let's first start with the allegations themselves:

The media has reported that the plane must have been shot down by Russian forces or Russian-backed separatists, because the missile that reportedly brought down the plane was Russian made. But they will not report that the Ukrainian government also uses the exact same Russian-made weapons.


They will not report that neither Russia nor the separatists in eastern Ukraine have anything to gain but everything to lose by shooting down a passenger liner full of civilians.

They will not report that the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia, and that the Ukrainian prime minister has already expressed his pleasure that Russia is being blamed for the attack.

Notice the claims made here -- that the Ukranian government shot the plane down.  But there's a missing claim in there, and it's the important one.

Did you notice it, and ask why it's missing?

Probably not.  But that's the critical point on which the entire question of probability (as it applies to what is likely to have happened) turns.  See, the separatists, rebels, whatever you want to call them -- don't have any air assets.  Further, the plane's flight path was charted using open public data all the way to the last 10 or so minutes the plane was in the air, as is available for virtually all scheduled service.  The flight came from the north and west, which is the opposite direction of the separatists -- and Russia itself.

This is the salient point of all of that: To argue that the Ukranian military shot down the plane you have to argue that they did it on purpose.

No such argument is necessary for the separatists shooting down the plane; for them it could quite-reasonably be an accidental targeting, thinking they were aiming at a military flight.  Indeed, they had previously hit a military aircraft operating at about 20,000', and in the last couple of days they also hit two more military aircraft at similar altitudes.  All three were flying at altitudes well beyond the range of shoulder-fired missiles.  In other words they were hit by a sophisticated air defense weapon -- the same sort of weapon that is presumed to have hit MH17.

So on one hand we have a side of the conflict that shot down a plane just before MH17 and then two more after it, all three of them flying at altitudes beyond the reach of common shoulder-fired missiles.  None of those shoot-downs is in dispute; all three have been claimed by that side and no attempt to retract or refute their claims has been made by them or anyone else.  That particular side has a reason to target military aircraft engaged in various acts related to the ongoing fighting as well.  If you're at war with someone then attempting to shoot down their military aircraft should be expected.  Being that they're "separatists" and probably not particularly well-trained or disciplined, to accidentally target and hit a civilian aircraft in the same general area, thinking it is a military aircraft, is quite plausible.

On the other hand we have a formal military unit of a government that we must presume has some resemblance of discipline remaining.  It possesses these weapons as well, but the separatists they are fighting against have no aircraft.  In addition, the separatist strongholds and the Russian government that is accused of backing them are both to the east of the military's position.  The flight came from the north and west, in other words, from the wrong direction to plausibly be associated with the separatists and irrespective of that the separatists don't have any aircraft that would be legitimate Ukranian military targets.

So if you believe the Ukranian government shot the plane down you are accusing them of targeting and shoot down a civilian airliner on purpose as a premeditated act of mass-murder.

If you're going to make that accusation -- specifically, the accusation that a government committed mass-murder of innocent civilians -- then you don't get to do it by inference and sneaky back-door horse****.  

You either stand up as a man and make your accusation of mass murder against the Ukranian government or you sit down and shut the **** up.

Now it may be that I'm wrong about the source of the inbound projectile that took out MH17.  But I very much doubt it, for the above reason.  I don't buy that either side of this conflict has or would target unaffiliated civilians on an intentional basis and murder them.  I do buy that in a war people make mistakes, and that this can (and does) mean that civilians get targeted by accident.  Indeed, military elements accidentally shoot their own troops due to mistakes on occasion.  War sucks and since humans are fallible they make mistakes when waging it, just like they do when engaged in anything else.

That doesn't relieve the separatists, or Russia for that matter if they supplied or assisted in concealing the weaponry, of culpability for the incident.  To the contrary; one of the first things you're taught when you learn to use a basic firearm is that you are responsible for each and every round that you fire, no matter how it is fired or what it is aimed at, from the time it is fired until it comes to rest.

Such is the case for all projectiles, no matter whether they're simple handgun rounds or missiles.  You're responsible not only for positively identifying your target but also knowing what lies beyond it should you miss, along with being fully culpable for anything you destroy with said weapon.

But there's a huge difference between being responsible for a stupid and reckless act and premeditated and intentional mass-murder.

Mr. Roberts and Ron Paul are both, I presume, intelligent individuals.  Their position can thus not be dismissed as the simple rambling of an unfocused mind.  Rather, one must ask what sort of agenda these two jackasses are trying to push, and why?

What purpose is served beyond their own mental masturbation?

I don't have an answer to that question, but this much I'm pretty sure of: Those pressing such a claim without having the balls to stand and accuse the Ukranian military of intentional mass-murder have an agenda they're not disclosing, as nobody ever hides this sort of thing unless they think you'd believe them to be a lunatic, dangerous or both if they told you the whole story behind their advocacy.

Now let's go on to the other piece: Apple, spyware, the NSA and similar.

I have no evidence (at this time) that the NSA or any other government agency orchestrated the software hidden for years inside Apple IOS products that can and does expose user data from literally anywhere to any device that has ever paired with that particular unit, including data that the user reasonably believes is protected.

But there is no congruent explanation I can concoct for these services to be there as legitimate elements of the operating system.  There is also no rational explanation that leads to a conclusion that these were left in the system "by accident" or "were intended for diagnostics" or any such nonsense.  Were they intended for diagnostic purposes they wouldn't be enabled unless the device was in developer mode (they are instead enabled all the time) and were they left in "by accident" from testing years ago they wouldn't have been updated as the operating system underwent revisions over time, and the allegation is that they have been -- that is, they're being actively maintained.

The worst part of this isn't just that these included "features" allow access to data without the use of the encryption password -- these services also allow literal wiretapping of the packet traffic into and out of the device itself.

In a world where people had the first hint of common sense such a revelation, and the apparent fact that this software has been in IOS firmware for a very long time, would lead to instantaneous destruction of Apple as a company, for the following reasons:

  • It would instantly implicate and force divestiture of the devices from any business that has a fiduciary or other legal requirement to segregate and protect client data.  Examples of this are found in the medical field (HIPPA), employment and medical (ERISA), brokerage, banking and more.  How anyone can possibly meet those legal requirements when the manufacturer has included "back door" facilities like this is beyond me.  I could not defend such a situation were I the CIO or other person responsible for network security, and were I still an employee in such a position within a firm I would be forced to go to the Board of Directors and demand that either all of these devices be removed from the network immediately or I would have to resign as to continue would be to knowingly allow devices with these security compromises to continue to connect to resources I am responsible for the security of.

  • Among consumers and corporate users alike the network wiretapping is absolutely outrageous and leads to all sorts of potential abuses, such as being able to eavesdrop on what are believed to be privileged and private communications.  Many if not most users on local networks have no reason to encrypt their sessions (e.g. "https") when using in-house resources because their data never flows outside where someone can theoretically intercept it, particularly if the network they're connected to (e.g. wifi) is secured.  The presence of a packet logger and trap in the device renders all such presumptions moot, and worse, depending on exactly where the interception takes place in the code even the use of https might not be enough!  The idea that your phone could be "spying" on you sounds like some sort of James Bond thing, and most of us (including myself) have poo-pooed that in the general sense -- absent infection with a virus or tampering of some sort.  To have such facilities embedded by the manufacturer and enabled without notice to the user is so far beyond reason as to lead me to judge anyone who buys and/or continues to use such a device as mentally deficient.

  • Without customers and trust by said customers you have no business at all, no matter what business you're in.

The most-disgusting part of this little saga is that the news broke right in front of Apple's most-recent earnings announcement and conference call.  There was utterly no focus or attention paid to this issue at all in either.  What does this say about the so-called "duty" of so-called "investment managers" who were on that call and who make their recommendations?

Apple for its part has tried to downplay concerns in this regard and claims these facilities are for "diagnostics".  The problem is that there is no legitimate purpose in "diagnostics" related to your contact list, as one example, nor to packet-level network traffic inspection.  Further, if they were for "diagnostic" purposes they'd only work with the device in developer mode, so you'd know you were at-risk when it was enabled, and if only intended for enterprise users they'd only work on a centrally-managed device, and only from the management console.  They would also prompt you before each access for permission, explaining what was about to be allowed.

Further, do you really believe that your photosvideoscontact list and call history, among other things, are "diagnostic data"?  Further, do you really believe that if they were for diagnostic purposes the software wouldn't alert you each and every time it was accessed, asking for your permission to proceed -- never mind asking permission before wiretapping your communications on a real-time, packet-by-packet basis -- with all of this available over a wireless link, without prompting, while your phone is, so you think, safely tucked away in your pocket?


Never mind that Apple also provides no means for you to look at the devices your phone or tablet has paired with and remove any you no longer want to have access.  This means that one mistake -- or intentional act by someone in a moment of inattention on your part -- leaves you wide-open forever.

So here's my question to readers:  Why continue?

Make your case, if you dare try, but do be aware: Comments are, in fact, read before being approved.

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A follow-up was posted by the forensic security guy who uncovered Apple's spookware on IOS devices on the 23rd.  Let me point out a few salient points from it (and Apple's attempt at a "response"):

Additionally, this claim that your data is respected with data-protection encryption. The pairing record that is used to access all of this data is sent an escrow bag, which contains a backup copy of your key bag keys for unlocking data protection encryption. So again, we’re back to the fact that with any valid pairing, you have access to all of this personal data – whether it was Apple’s intention or not.

This is the 900lb gorilla in the room.

The keyring is part of the pairing data.

You have to understand how all of this works.  When you turn on your phone it has to load the encryption keys (if it, or any data on it), is encrypted.  Those keys have to be on the device, but you have a "master key" that unlocks the "safe" in which those keys are stored. 

If you use a password management tool like KeePass you know how this works on your PC.  You have a password for your KeePass file, and in that file are lots of passwords.  With the key to unlock the safe, you can get to the actual keys (passwords) for each of the sites you're storing credentials for.

Disk (and file) encryption works more or less the same way.  The key itself is a random (you hope actually random!) series of bits.  That of course would be damned near impossible to memorize, so the computer conveniently "envelopes" that in what amounts to a safe, and your password (or passcode, or whatever) unlocks that safe.

The problem here is that your passcode isn't the actual key itself -- and that key is in the pairing record!  So with a pairing record everything on your device is exposed.

Like Jonathan, my issue here isn't whether the NSA was involved.  I frankly don't care if the NSA was involved in designing and implementing this, if the FBI was involved, or who was involved.  That's not the point.

The point, as I've repeatedly made, is that it is the height of arrogance to believe that you're smarter than everyone else.  To include this sort of back door facility in a piece of software under the belief that nobody but the intended persons will use it (no matter who that is, and under what pretense) is ridiculous, it is grossly negligent and it is unacceptable.

Indeed this is exactly the same crap that the NSA did do when it was alleged they weakened certain public-key generation routines on purpose so they could break them.  To believe nobody else would figure that out and exploit it is ****ing stupid beyond words.  The NSA is not the smartest bunch of guys on the planet, now and forevermore, and neither is Apple.  Someone is always smarter and always able to figure it out.  As soon as you intentionally put in the means to break security someone else, other than the intended people, will do so and use that capability you put in place to screw you.

The real problem with this revelation, as with the NSA's key generation games, are the myriad entities that would love those pairing records that are not governments with a legitimate (or even illegitimate) beef against you.  Consider the value such capability has to criminals, especially when people talk about allowing your phone to be used to work as if it was your VISA card, for instance.  Or, for that matter, how many of you have an app on your phone that accesses your bank?  Note that with access to protected storage while I might not be able to get your password I almost-certainly can get your account and routing numbers, and with that I can drain your checking account.

Do you still think you shouldn't care about things like this because you're not doing anything wrong?

Second, there is the claim that you must "pair" the device to expose the risk.  That's true.  It's also true that as of IOS7 you get asked if you want to trust a plugged-in connected device.  For how many seconds do you have to take your eye off your device while you're somewhere for a person who you don't implicitly trust to jab a connector in the socket and hit the prompt?  Are you sure that's never going to happen?  Remember -- if it does, even once, what the person who does it gains is the ability to break back into your phone any time they're on the same network you are forever, unless you hard-reset the phone back to factory defaults!

At its core the problem this revelation exposes, and the length of time this has been "in the wild" underlines, that there is zero accountability for the so-called security promises that companies make with their products.  You simply cannot claim to have "encryption" as a feature when you give the ******ned keys away without telling the user you're doing it and getting his explicit permission to permanently void his security!


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It appears that at least one doctor has had enough of people trying to argue that "the only people who should have guns are government agencies."  Good thing too, or he'd be dead.

Authorities are attempting to determine why a patient fatally shot a caseworker at a suburban Philadelphia hospital complex and whether a psychiatrist who pulled out his own gun and wounded the patient had concerns about him.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman, was grazed in the temple during the gunfight in his office Thursday afternoon with patient Richard Plotts, Delaware County  District Attorney Jack Whelan said.

The patient apparently entered the facility and shot a caseworker.  The psychiatrist drew his own weapon (which policy at the hospital prohibited him from having) and put a stop to the assault.

In doing so he almost-certainly saved lives, although he was hit (but not seriously) in the exchange of gunfire.

Indeed, had he been unarmed the patient could have simply wandered through the facility shooting people until he ran out of ammunition of the police arrived. He would have run out of ammunition first, of course.

Enough with the BS "gun control" garbage.  As I have repeatedly noted people with criminal intent don't give a damn what the law is, including the laws related to firearms.  

The only thing that stops a murderous bastard with a gun is a good guy with gun, and the closer the good guy is, no matter who he is, the better the chance of minimizing or preventing the loss of innocent life.

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