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Poll_Blind's Journal
Poll_Blind's Journal
June 12, 2015

America deserves better than Clinton v Bush - Telegraph

America deserves better than Clinton v Bush:
It looks like 2016 will be a Bush v Clinton rematch. But the primaries are full of angry alternatives representing different ideological responses to the same problem - the impoverishment of American ideals.

The prize for bravest face in the US presidential contest goes to Rick Santorum. The ultra-conservative running for the Republican nomination visited Iowa this week and only one woman showed up to say hello. But the candidate still called the event a success. Iowa is a state that you win one vote at a time. Just 30,000 more meetings like that and it’s in the bag for Rick.

The Republican and Democrat races supposedly have their primary frontrunners already: Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton respectively. Both are deemed winnably moderate, both wallow in cash. But things are more complicated than they seem. The determination of little guys like Santorum reflects an electoral cycle full of ideological turmoil and possibility.


A full breakdown on the current participants in the 2016 presidential campaign, both on the left and the right.

March 15, 2014

Russian Forces Seize Ukrainian Village Beyond Border, Hotels In Crimea Stormed By Masked Gunmen

Source: Huffington Post

Russian forces have invaded the Ukraine, according to the Foreign Ministry in Kiev, with troops taking control of the village of Strilkove, six miles beyond the border of Crimea. The move comes ahead of Sunday’s referendum on whether the Black Sea peninsula should secede and become part of the Russian Federation.

According to AP, the seizure of the village, which involved troops, helicopter gunships and armoured vehicles, is the first move outside the peninsula by the Kremlin’s forces. There were no reports of gunshots fired in the village.


Within Crimea, reports from journalists suggest that Russian Special Forces have stormed hotels, with masked men brandishing "silenced Kalashnikovs" placing residents under house arrest. Russian and Crimean authorities are claiming the move is part of a training exercise.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/15/russian-forces-invade-ukraine_n_4971538.html

December 19, 2013

WTF? Report Suggests NSA Engaged In Financial Manipulation, Changing Money In Bank Accounts:

Report Suggests NSA Engaged In Financial Manipulation, Changing Money In Bank Accounts

Matt Blaze has been pointing out that when you read the new White House intelligence task force report and its recommendations on how to reform the NSA and the wider intelligence community, that there may be hints to other excesses not yet revealed by the Snowden documents. Trevor Timm may have spotted a big one. In the recommendation concerning increasing security in online communications, the second sub-point sticks out like a sore thumb:

Not much more at the link but there are links peppered throughout it, so worth a visit. (hat-tip to kulkke for the post on Reddit)

Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial system.

My oh my.

December 9, 2013

Fucking scary: Indiana State Police tracking cellphones - but won't say how or why

Dude. Check this shit out:

Indiana State Police tracking cellphones but won't say how or why:
This year, the Indiana State Police paid $373,995 for a device that law enforcement personnel have described as a powerful tool in the fight against crime and terrorism. It could allow investigators in a surveillance vehicle to park in a crowded area and track the movements of anyone nearby with a cellphone and capture the numbers of people’s incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

All of which concerns civil liberties and open-government groups.

They worry that the technology could be used to violate innocent Hoosiers’ constitutionally protected rights to privacy if proper checks and balances aren’t in place.

But officials at Indiana’s largest police agency aren’t saying what they do with the technology; they’re mum on whose data they’ve collected so far; and they’re not talking about what steps they take to safeguard the data.

Citing concerns that releasing any information would endanger public safety by hindering the agency’s ability to fight crime and combat terrorism, they won’t even say whether they ask a judge for a search warrant before they turn the equipment on.

Ah, as the Big Brother (Federal) does, so does the Little Brother (State).

But if your metaphorical balls aren't in your throat about it yet, a sidebar on the article describes how it works:
Often installed in a surveillance vehicle, the suitcase-size Stingrays trick all cellphones in a set distance — sometimes exceeding a mile, depending on the terrain and antennas — into connecting to it as if it were a real cellphone tower.

This article from USA Today, published just a few minutes ago has an interactive infographic showing you how the Stingray system works.

November 28, 2013

Pay attention: U.S. gov busted pirating $250M in software, settles out of court for fraction of that

U.S. Government Caught Pirating Military Software, Settles For $50 Million
For years the U.S. military operated pirated copies of logistics software that was used to protect soldiers and shipments in critical missions. Apptricity, the makers of the software, accused the military of willful copyright infringement and sued the Government for nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in unpaid licenses. In a settlement just announced, the Obama administration has agreed to pay $50 million to settle the dispute.

In recent years the U.S. Government has taken an aggressive stance towards copyright infringement, both at home and abroad.


In 2004 Apptricity signed a contract with the U.S. Army to license enterprise software that manages troop and supply movements. The deal allowed the Government to use the software on five servers and 150 standalone devices, and since then it has been used in critical missions all over the world.


While Apptricity was happy to have the Government as a client, the company was shocked to find out that the army had secretly installed thousands of unlicensed copies of the software. This unauthorized use was discovered by accident during Strategic Capabilities Planning 2009, when the U.S. Army Program Director stated that thousands of devices used Apptricity software.

As it turned out, the army had installed pirated copies of the software on 93 servers and more than 9,000 standalone devices. With license fees of $1.35 million per server and $5,000 per device, Apptricity calculated that the Government owed the company $224 million in unpaid fees.

You can read more at the link. Two points not to miss. The first is, of course, that while the government was using almost a quarter of a billion dollars in unlicensed software, it settled for only $50 million in fines. The second, and something worth noting, is that Apptricity was suing for the absolute minimum possible- merely the difference in licensing fees, not damages, which can run up to $200,000 per infringement.

Now, I'm sure you're familiar with the government settling out of court with big companies who commit grievous crimes against large corporation, often for relatively small percentages of the full fines incurred by such crimes according to law. Here's an example of it working the other way.

So who are these copyright laws designed to really keep in line? You.

The government and the corporations only hurt themselves if they truly go after one another.

It's you that's for dinner. You're their bread and butter.

July 16, 2013

USA Today: Nazi-fighting 'Night Witch' dead at 91

Nazi-fighting 'Night Witch' dead at 91:
There can't be too many World War II heroes with a better nickname than this: The "Night Witches" were a group of Russian women who piloted bomb-laden crop dusters over the invading German army, and their story is getting a fresh look in the wake of the death of one of the first and most celebrated women to join their ranks. Nadezhda Popova, who died in Moscow on July 8 at age 91, can claim 852 of the 30,000 missions the women flew in a 4-year span. (PRI's The Worldshares this amazing counterpoint: U.S. bomber pilots were generally "rotated out" of combat after completing 25 missions.) During that time the "Night Witches" unleashed 23,000 tons of bombs on the Nazis, helping push them out of Russia.

They got their name from the Germans, who likened what the New York Times calls the "whooshing" of their planes to the sound a witch's broomstick might make; the Washington Post explains they killed their engines right before unloading their bombs to up the surprise factor. And they were good at what they did, so much so that Germans spewed rumors that the women relied on pills and injections that gave them cat-like night vision.


I'm just in love with that second paragraph. Look, life doesn't go on forever and we all have to die sometime. But when you've lived a life which includes an obituarial anecdote that your combat against the Nazis was so fierce they thought you had supernatural powers? You had a very good run.

July 3, 2013

NYT: In unexpected bid for coveted prize, US gov't makes move Tuesday to "out dick" rest of world


NYT: In surprise bid for coveted prize, US makes move Tuesday to "out dick" rest of world:

New York - Tuesday began like any other hot July day but by noon there were already whispers among the nation's top newspaper editors that the U.S. government appeared to be making a bold bid for "World's Biggest Dickhead" award for 2013. Affectionately referred to as the 'Dickie', the award was originally created in 1996 to recognize Oasis band member Liam Gallagher's historic dickheadedness and has only been awarded to individuals thus far. An unnamed Obama administration source expressed the belief that "After today we're going to be the frontrunner for this year's prize and the runner-up won't be within a country mile."

It began with a press release from the Treasury Department that the Obama administration had chosen to delay, for a full year, enforcement requiring businesses to provide workers health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Shortly thereafter followed news that US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, flat-out admitted he lied to Senator Ron Wyden and all of congress when questioned about allegations of snooping illegally on innocent Americans with an as yet mostly secret network of telephone and internet bugging devices- some of which famously came to light through leaks by security whistle-blower Edward Snowden. And as Tuesday concluded, New York time, major news and social media were ablaze with reports that Bolivian President Evo Morales' presidential jet had been denied overflight privileges over several countries at the request of the United States on the belief that whistle-blower Snowden was aboard.

It was later revealed that Snowden was not aboard president Morales' jet.


"This is a huge play for the prize this year." said a source close to the 'Dickie' prize voting committee. "The judges are going to find it tough not to look at what the United States has achieved in a single 24 hour period today and just go 'Fuck, what epic goddamned dickheads!'"

More at the link!




June 28, 2013

LOL! Dude, you just gave me the "Don't go out with a black girl" speech my mom did when I was 17

First, I wanna be up front- what you said has nothing to do with race or anything like that. I'm not claiming that. But that, what you said, I'll forever know that as the "Don't go out with a black girl" speech my mom gave me when I was a junior in high school, because there was this black girl I was thinking about dating.

"Mom loves you. You know that. I'm sure you like this girl and I'm sure she likes you too. And I'm sure she's pretty. Isn't she? I bet she is. (pause, head tilt) But if you go out with this girl...there's going to be all sorts of problems. Problems you didn't expect. People will cause problems, maybe big problems, for you and her around here. I know I can't change your mind if that's what you want to do. But I'm asking you, because I love you, not to go out with this girl.

It's just...going...to...cause...all...kind...of...problems."

That's not quite it but close enough. It's been forever.

Arley, I think I speak for all of us when I say we're real glad and all that you don't want us to mistakenly support a putch against a duly-elected Democratic official.

We don't want that either.

We're going to have opinions that're different from yours or, maybe, the exact same. But let's all remember that we can have different opinions and not be, ahem, on the wrong side of history...eh?


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