Tag Archives: NSA

The Feds Can’t Crack An iPhone?

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And now comes the big iPhone hacking controversy.   I find it terribly curious and even funny that the FBI and presumably even the recently formed NSA can’t get into an iPhone without Apple’s help.   It would be funny, except that – according to our newest unimpeachable source, Wikipedia – the monolithic National Securty Agency, which that brilliant tactician and critical thinker, George W. Bush put together in his big push for smaller government,  has an estimated annual budget of $10.8 billion.

And they can’t get into an iPhone?    Or maybe they’re unhappy with the FBI and just don’t want to share their resources?   Or maybe hacking into terrorist’s cellphones isn’t their thing?   Or pherhaps Apple is just that good and the federal government is really that bad?

If the United States Government can’t get into an iPhone,  if their radar-equipped blimps, which apparently don’t work anyway despite costing billions,  float away and need to be shot down by local law enforcement before they crash into houses, just how safe are we?

According to one report, local cops used shotguns to bring down the wayward JLENS blimp before it floated away and did any more damage.   How analogue is that?    The Baltimore Sun reports that “After 17 years of research and $2.7 billion in funding, the system has been hobbled by defective software, poor reliability and vulnerability to bad weather.”

It seems strange that with all the technology at our command, be it satellites and ground-based or naval radar, the best our government can do to protect the east coast from incoming threats is to revert to putting blimps in the air, a defense technique that dates back to at least 1908?   A system that failed to detect a protester flying into DC airspace on a gyrocopter?

Is it possible that some things simply cannot be anticipated and therefore defended against, unless we all go live in a cave?

The problem now you see, is that the government had better get those blimps back up in the air, because if they don’t, and if there’s another attack on the east coast, those who supported the program will surely condemn those who did not, and will cry out loudly that “if only we had our blimps up there this woudn’t have happened!” 

So go ahead honorable members of Congress, cover your  backsides and  provide more funding for the failed blimps.   While you’re at it, maybe you can come up with enough money to build a better biplane?

Identifying The Enemy: Dick Cheney And The Neocon Right

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Dick Cheney’s latest assertion is that the world’s deal with Iran to control their development of nuclear power is akin to handing them nuclear weapons.   Of course Cheney, doesn’t put it quite that way, his assertion is that, “Obama’s about to give them nuclear weapons.”

Forget the other five major nations cutting the deal, in Cheney’s mind,  it’s all Obama’s fault.  That’s the blame-game the Republicans and their Neocon wingnuts have been playing for more than six years, and the game they continue to play, partly because there’s an election coming up, and partly because they are entirely fear-based thinkers.   Fear, is something they know how to use.

Instilling as much fear as possible in the hearts of all Americans was a most convenient technique for their power grab, with the Patriot Act at its center.

Fear-based thinking has taken us by the throat since a handful of crazies flew planes into the World Trade Center the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.   Admittedly, it was a terror creating situation and measures had to be taken.  However, letting fear dictate our actions going forward was entirely wrongheaded.    Giving the government absolute power through the Patriot Act, was perhaps the worst of all,  outstripping both the NSA and creation of the mammoth new and possibly unnecessary Department of Homeland Security.   But fear was dictating our actions and now the NSA  continues to conduct mass collection of what should be our private electronic messages with bogus “warrants” going out to cover tens of thousands of messages at a crack, while the military has the power to snatch any American off the street or out of his or her home without a warrant and without any appearance in any court,  sending them to a holding cell somewhere in Turkey where they can be imprisoned indefinitely without the assistance of counsel.

We’re supposed to be better than  this.

You can be “rendered” to some stinking cell in some foreign nation until you rot, and there is nothing you can do about it.   That, is absolute power.   To the best of my knowledge, the principles of “rendition” and the absence of any requirement for due process for someone suspected of having a connection to any kind of terrorist plot (whatever that might be)  have been extended with each new approval of the Defense Appropriations Act even though the Patriot Act has ceased to exist.   The situation is so confused and the waters so muddied that it’s difficult to know what’s happening with regard to the fear motivated attack on our constitutional rights.

This is what’s wrong with fear-based policy and it’s bastard child, absolute power.  It eliminates our freedom.   Moreover, once a government begins using fear to control the populace, it can’t stop.  If it does, if the populace returns to calm and sane thinking, then the government loses absolute control.    This isn’t anything new, it’s been axiomatic for years.   The Nazis used it as a prime motivator.  Throw a big enough scare into the populace and they’ll let you do almost anything that may or may not be necessary to protect the “homeland.”

We would do well to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Hear, hear.   We would all be so much better off if Dick Cheney and his fear-based Neocon minions from hell would shutup and go away.  They’ve already done almost incalculable damage.   But the lightning is out of the bottle.  We have to somehow figure out a way to stick it back inside.  Or, conversely, we can put our absolute faith in the federal government, trusting them to do the right thing.