Monday, May 28, 2012

What, Me Worry?

This is different from most of the stuff on this blog, but I just followed a Twitter link to an article at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory web site that deserves a little notice.

Maybe you have been following these developments more than I have.  I am a bit of a geek, I once worked out public key encryption with pencil and paper to understand how it worked but I am no expert on security nor do I follow the news or freak out over every little thing.

But I did not like the sound of this paragraph in the middle of the page:
Claims were made by the intelligence agencies around the world, from MI5, NSA and IARPA, that silicon chips could be infected. We developed breakthrough silicon chip scanning technology to investigate these claims. We chose an American military chip that is highly secure with sophisticated encryption standard, manufactured in China. Our aim was to perform advanced code breaking and to see if there were any unexpected features on the chip. We scanned the silicon chip in an affordable time and found a previously unknown backdoor inserted by the manufacturer. This backdoor has a key, which we were able to extract. If you use this key you can disable the chip or reprogram it at will, even if locked by the user with their own key. This particular chip is prevalent in many systems from weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport. In other words, this backdoor access could be turned into an advanced Stuxnet weapon to attack potentially millions of systems. The scale and range of possible attacks has huge implications for National Security and public infrastructure.
So the US bought microchips from China to use in our most sensitive military and industrial applications, and China put a feature on the chip that will allow them to disable or reprogram our weapons, nuclear power plants, and public transportation systems.

Aw, probably no big deal.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the presidential campaign gathering steam, the voters are going to be fed a lot of baloney before Election Day. One of the biggest humdingers now coming your way: The Bush tax cuts are responsible for the mess the country is in.

A recurring theme in President Barack Obama’s attacks on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his tax policies is: “We can’t go back to the same policies that got us into this mess.”

Bush’s tax cuts did not cause the fiscal crisis of 2008. Our economic calamity came in a housing meltdown — the result of years of encouraging variable-interest, no-interest, little or no down payment, and no-document or liar loans that flooded people into homes they couldn’t afford under traditional mortgage lending practices.

To its credit, the Bush administration twice advanced reforms to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, major players in pushing bad loans. Each time it was blocked by powerful Democrats, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut. Frank famously said he wanted the two quasi-governmental agencies “to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidizing housing.” Even after the home-ownership explosion was starting to be revealed to be a house of cards, Dodd declared, “These two institutions are fundamentally, fundamentally strong.”

So far, “rolling the dice” on the two “fundamentally strong” agencies has cost the taxpayer $150 billion. No wonder the Wall Street Journal calls Fannie and Freddie the “toxic twins.” The irony is that Frank and Dodd not only escaped responsibility for their roles but they foisted blame for the housing bust on high finance and authored a 2,000-plus-page bill to pile new regulations on banks and other financial institutions.

No doubt, Wall Street played an egregious role in the housing bubble, but the bottom line is that, absent the millions of bad mortgages, the speculators would have had nothing at which to throw billions of dollars in risky bets.

We can debate the merits of tax cuts vs. tax increases and spending reductions (actually slowing the growth of Washington’s profligacy) vs. government “investments” all day long, but we won’t be talking about the root causes of the housing crisis that precipitated the Great Recession.

Home sales finally may be showing signs of life, but that’s not because of anything the administration has done. Its efforts to rescue “underwater” homeowners who owe more than their houses are worth have been ineffective. The free-market system is slowly wringing out these bad loans. Still, it’s more than a little troubling that nearly four years after the bubble burst, no one has an accounting of all the sour loans.

Conflating the housing bust and the Bush tax cuts is a way to distract the voters from the failure of the administration’s yearly nearly trillion-dollar stimulus and other policies to right the economy. Distraction is also the goal of attacking Romney’s record at the equity firm Bain Capital by focusing on its few failures. The actual Bain record is one of 80 percent success in rescuing ailing firms and building new businesses, adding jobs and creating wealth for investors, millions of them in public pension funds.

Best advice to voters: Keep your eye on the Obama record on the economy

May 30, 2012 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kenyans are friendly people:

"The race is officially on.

Barack Obama called Mitt Romney on Wednesday to congratulate him on clinching the Republican nomination, after the former Massachusetts governor received more than 100 delegates in the Texas primary the previous evening.

"President Obama said that he looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America's future, and wished Governor Romney and his family well throughout the upcoming campaign," Obama for America spokesman Ben LaBolt said.

A Romney campaign aide, who asked not to be identified, said in an email that the call "was brief and cordial."

"Gov. Romney thanked the President for his congratulations and wished him and his family well," the Romney aide said.

The call took place at about 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, LaBolt said.

The two men previously shared cordial words; they shook hands and wished each other good luck in 2007 while campaigning in New Hampshire.

Although Obama and Romney have doggedly attached each other -- and allowed their campaigns to do the same -- during the campaign, they have both said they personally respect their opponent. Obama called Romney "a patriotic American who has raised a wonderful family, and he has much to be proud of" in May, while Romney has called the president "a heck of a nice guy, for a foreigner.""

May 30, 2012 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Romney Says Obama Born in the U.S., Defends Romneycare

But how low is Romney willing to go in his effort to win 50.1% of the vote??

Trump birther remarks overshadow Romney appearance

Trump has again raised doubts about whether Obama was born in the United States, an issue that is most passionately pursued by conspiracy theorists and which Romney has tried to avoid as he focuses on attacking the White House's economy record.

"A lot of people are questioning his birth certificate," Trump said on CNBC on Tuesday. "They're questioning the authenticity of his birth certificate.

"I've been known as being a very smart guy for a long time. I don't consider myself birther or not birther but there are some major questions here and the press doesn't want to cover it," he said.

Romney has said he believes Obama was born in the United States but he has drawn fire from Democrats for not distancing himself from Trump, who has alleged Obama was born in Kenya and is thus not eligible to be U.S. president.

Romney later appeared with Trump, who once had presidential ambitions of his own, at a fundraiser in Las Vegas. But Trump avoided the issue altogether when introducing Romney at Trump International Hotel.

Romney clinched the Republican nomination on Tuesday night in the Texas primary, where he picked up scores of delegates and reached the target of 1,144 needed.

Trump congratulated Romney telling the 200 people who paid as much as $50,000 to attend that Romney would "make an absolutely great president."

The Obama campaign took aim at the Romney-Trump pairing by releasing a video "highlighting Mitt Romney's failure to condemn Donald Trump's over-the-line rhetoric."

"If Mitt Romney lacks the backbone to stand up to a charlatan like Donald Trump because he's so concerned about lining his campaign's pockets," the Obama campaign said in a statement, "what does that say about the kind of president he would be?"

Romney declined to condemn Trump in remarks to journalists on his plane on Monday.

"You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me," Romney said. "My guess is they don't agree with everything I believe in. But I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."...

May 30, 2012 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON -- Fred Karger, an openly gay Republican presidential candidate, has won the first round of the discrimination complaint he brought against a leading conservative organization. And in the wake of that victory, he is floating the idea of escalating his fight with the American Conservative Union Foundation to the courts.

In a little noticed ruling last week, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights denied the ACUF's effort to throw out a complaint alleging that it had discriminated against Karger on the basis of his sexuality. Karger has said he was deprived of a booth and speaking spot at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which is a project of the ACUF, because he is gay.

The ACUF tried to have the complaint dismissed, arguing that it doesn't run CPAC -- rather, the related but separate American Conservative Union does -- and has a First Amendment right to chose who speaks at its events. The group also argued that its disagreement with Karger was over his support for gay marriage and not his own sexual orientation. Gustavo Velasquez, the Office of Human Rights' director, rebuffed that argument, and found that "an investigation is warranted" into the causes of Karger's exclusion from CPAC.

"Good news," Karger said in a phone interview, "they stood up to the bullies."

A spokesman for the ACUF did not return a request for comment.

ACUF does have a right to apply for reconsideration, which it is poised to do in the near future. But Elliot Imse, a spokesman for the Office of Human Rights, said it had not yet received such an appeal. Even if one was filed, Imse said, it might not be enough to avoid a formal mediation process. The reconsideration process will take place in the next week or so, if it fails, a formal investigation will be conducted over the subsequent three to four months. If a resolution is not reached, the D.C. Commission on Human Rights could be brought in to determine if there was "probable cause" for Karger's exclusion.

The resulting proceedings could prove discomfortable for the conservative movement at a time when the debate over gay rights is at the forefront of the public consciousness. Karger is hardly alone when it comes to feeling excluded from the Republican Party because of his sexuality. GOProud, a pro-gay rights conservative group, was also barred from CPAC this year. Its executive director, Jimmy LaSalvia, told The Huffington Post that the group "will cooperate with any government investigation we are asked to participate in."

May 30, 2012 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, the Office of Human Rights in the wacko land of DC

they can't be wrong, right?

this is the place where 12 jurors found John Hinckley innocent

meanwhile, despite liberals attempts to ridicule simple questions as crazy will someday look foolish when the truth is revealed

1. Obama's grandmother says she attended his birth but has never left Kenya

2. the promotional bio from the publisher of Obama's first book said he was born in Kenya

3. Obama's tardily released "birth certificate" lists his race as "African", a term that didn't begin to be commonly used to describe black Americans until the 90s

4. none of his college transcripts and applications stating his place of origin can be located

5. no friends, acquaintances, or co-workers of his parents have come forward to attest to his birth in the US, despite the fact that a white women giving birth to a black child would have been rare at the time

around the same time, Sammy Davis' marriage to a white women caused an intenational sensation

yet, no one remembers this

it is all very odd

May 30, 2012 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what you going to do, anon, nullify all his accomplishments? You want to bring bin Laden back to life, re-crash the economy? It's the dumbest thing, there is no evidence beyond wishful thinking to support the idea that Obama in not American born. These things you list - an erroneous book blurb, a "strange" word on a legal document, nobody remembering a baby born half a century ago - are nothing.

And so what? What are you going to do? You can't undo history. You are sounding dumber and dumbest and in the meantime he is going to win the next election and preside for four more years and idiots like you, dumbest and dumbissimo, and are going to continue clucking like old hens. He will do whatever he can do, and then somebody else will be elected, and you can't take any of it back.

May 30, 2012 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So what you going to do, anon, nullify all his accomplishments?"

no, although it would take some doing to come up with any

what we have with that guy is simply more debits than credits

"You want to bring bin Laden back to life,"

that was actually a national effort begun long before Obama was elected to the Senate

it's surprising that Democrats are shameless enough to tout Obama's success in fighting terrorism when he acted the opposite of how he campaigned and promised

really, can we just imagine how Obama would have railed against George Bush if he sat in the Oval Office with his satellite cameras and drone buttons, wiping out citizens around the globe?

you guys have any problem with that?

"re-crash the economy?"

the economy never uncrashed

the percentage of people over 26 not working is as high as any time since the Great Depression

just because the unemployment rate has dropped due to people who have stopped looking for employment doesn't mean Obama will get a Nobel Prize in economics to go with his well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize

"It's the dumbest thing, there is no evidence beyond wishful thinking to support the idea that Obama in not American born"

there were the things I listed

"These things you list - an erroneous book blurb,"

erroneous? any idea how such an error would be made? the idea must have come from somewhere

and, why didn't Obama correct it when it happened? his first book and no one paid attention to his promotional bio?

if this were a court of law, a jury would require a reasonable explanation to ignore

if we uncovered something similar about any historical figure of the past, we'd all assume it was correct

"a "strange" word on a legal document,"

not just "strange" but incongruous in a specific way that would have happened if someone without a working knowledge of the period had photoshop forged it

"nobody remembering a baby born half a century ago"

it's quite odd that no one who knew them has come forward after all this time and controversy

I mean, come on

"- are nothing."

you forgot the grandmother and the "missing" college files

"And so what? What are you going to do? You can't undo history."

not planning to but he could be forced out just like Nixon was

actually, Nixon actually had some accomplishments, unlike Obama, and no one "undid" them

"You are sounding dumber and dumbest"

so you keep saying but, if this is true, what does it say about a guy like you who can't think of a thing to counter my points?

"and in the meantime he is going to win the next election and preside for four more years and idiots like you, dumbest and dumbissimo,"

not looking likely

May 30, 2012 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it's surprising that Democrats are shameless enough to tout Obama's success in fighting terrorism when he acted the opposite of how he campaigned and promised"

Your ignorance is showing again.

“What I have said is we're going encourage democracy in Pakistan, expand our non-military aid to Pakistan so that they have more of a stake in working with us, but insisting that they go after these militants. And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaida. That has to be our biggest national security priority."
-- Senator Barack Obama, October 7, 2008, Second Presidential Debate

"Remember back during the 2008 election when John McCain — and Hillary Clinton — pummeled Barack Obama for saying he would go into Pakistan to get Osama bin Laden if the Pakistani government wouldn’t?

We do…"

And we remember the FLIP FLOP Political positions of Mitt Romney on Pakistan too:

"In 2007, Romney criticized then-candidate Barack Obama for stating that, as President, he would launch military strikes against "high-value terrorist targets" in Pakistan, even without the Pakistani government's approval. In 2011, after such a strike resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, Romney said that, if he had been President, he would have done "exactly the same thing."

May 31, 2012 8:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home