Friday Squid Blogging: Toraiz SQUID Digital Sequencer

Pioneer DJ has a new sequencer: the Toraiz SQUID: Sequencer Inspirational Device.

The 16-track sequencer is designed around jamming and performance with a host of features to create “happy accidents” and trigger random sequences, modulations and chords. There are 16 RGB pads for playing in your melodies and beats, and up to 64 patterns per each of the 16 tracks. There are eight notes of polyphony per track too, and a Harmonizer section to quickly input pre-determined chord shapes into your pattern, with up to six saved chords.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on April 26, 2019 at 4:14 PM56 Comments


Clap April 26, 2019 5:20 PM

As Stuxnet has been mentioned lately quite often, I wonder if anyone can comment on the related book “Countdown to Zero” and whether this book is accurate and worth reading.

If there are any other titles on similar subjects I would like to know as well.

1&1~=Umm April 26, 2019 6:10 PM

More on 5G Huawei and the UK.

In the UK, Government ministers and others with certain special interests get to attend NSC Briefings. These are supposadly atleast confidential if not secret (however only those that attend know for certain which and when).

However what is known is often the topics discussed are not just mundane they are often also known to a lot of people. Thus the confidentiality or secrecy of these briefings are not realy about the topics but the political whittering. Which can be extreamly embarrassing to domain experts in technical fields. Kind of like watching grandpa trying to line dance at social functions to music of Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry or Harry Styles.

That said one subject that is known to come up fairly frequently is the “National Security of UK infrastructure”. That is not just it’s correct and present running but future running and development mostly for economic reasons but also for the potential for other Nation States to misuse in various ways.

One such reoccurant subject is telecommunications, as many of the readers here appreciate, it’s nolonger just “land lines” nearly all telecomms are integrated these days and form the worlds largest and most complex man made machine.

Importantly though it’s actually quite fragile in many respects. As some will know one of the most annoying and prolific threats to telecomms is “squirrels” of the cute furry kind having a snack. But “Paddy with a back hoe” and other infrastructure developments are in the running as well for accidently bringing not just telecommunications down but other infrastructure as well that is dependent upon it.

But it’s also not just accidents of man and nature breaking cables in one way or abother, there are also “gypo-cable-gangs” as some chose to call them. Alledgedly Eastern Europian / Russian criminal gangs that go in for well organised cable thefts that effect not just telecommunications but power and railway infrastructure as well.

Thus even before we talk about foreign state deliberate sabotage or espionage of the telecommunications networks and other infrastructure that depends on it, it can be seen to be fairly fragile in many ways and not at all well defended (nore realisticaly can it be).

Now with more than half the metal telecomms cable being in the “last mile” removing this last mile of cabling is very desirable for increasing not just security but availability of the telecommunications infrastructure and that which depends on it.

Thus one way to reduce the metal cable issue is to use either fibre optics or more preferably the “mobile phone” network. With the latter also reducing eye wateringly expensive and often disruptive “ground works” as wel as removing valuable metal cable that has been targeted for theft.

All of which is fairly well known in the industry thus is in effect “public knowledge”, not something that is “secret”. But it also makes the mobile phone network possibly the most critical future infrastructure in the UK and most other Nations in the world. Which makes control of it in one respect or another highly desirable to various people for many reasons. Again this is not secret information (though some aspects of the technical defence side are when described in detail).

As has been noted before, previous US and Asian mobile phone systems have had, not just technical issues, but more importantly issues of scalability and upgradability… Which is why the EU GSM standards have become fairly dominant, and importantly from an economic security point, multi-sourced from multiple nations thus not just more resilient but actually more of a competative market place. Competition is important as it tends to be the only driver not just of efficiency but technological development, which is why we have 5G as something that is being developed.

Thus GSM from 2G onwards has been of more than considerable annoyance to many. Not just those with pockets full of patents, they were aiming to use to get ten cents on the dollar for every phone sold. But certain governments also, who have had their noses put out of joint, or more importantly the SigInt agencies and military of various countries. Some of whom have been caught red handed puting implants and other backdoors including the likes of “Kill-Switches”[1] into telecommunications equipment manufactured in their country that is being shipped to other countries. Countries who’s infrastructure they are trying very hard to control or destroy for political or idiological reasons (it being cheaper and easier than “bombing them back to the stone age”).

Thus not only is mobile network infrastructure of significant importance it makes it a political hot button subject as well as being at times something covered by the UK’s Defence Of the Realm Act (DORA) and Official Secrets Act’s (OSA) as well…

To realy add to the fun, it can also be a major source of embarrassment for scheming and in-fighting politicians as well…

Because dispite the American and Australian behaviour towards thr Chinese company Huawei, the UK security services are OKing Huawei for the 5G infrestructure. With only some reservations on small parts, which GCHQ is not overly worried about as it believes it can mitigate any issues there.

Whilst this might be good news for many, for some it is bad news, especially for some politicians who were trying to make mileage / capital out of siding with what are seen as “US views” on China and other nations.

Which is why the leaking of what is in effect “public knowledge” from a UK NSC Briefing, has got so many “political panties in a wad” with cries for witch hunts, OSA prosecutions and official enquiries and all sorts of other nonsense none of which has done any good in the past, or is likely to do now or in the future,

What is effectively being hidden by most of this nonsense is that 5G is not realy a very good idea for consumers for a number of reasons. It’s not just the very real and persistent unreliability of the milimetric microwave bands in existing handsets, especially indoors, there is also the issue of it becoming a “walled garden” market. That is because service suppliers get given certain microwave bands whilst others get different microwave bands and handsets will not in most cases work with more than one band they will not work with other service suppliers 5G networks. So from a consumer perspective, not only will there be no 5G Roaming, 5G coverage will be patchy at best, and the walled gardens will create a market place without competition thus little incentive for service providers to maintain competative pricing, technology or contracts. Thus consumers would be way better to stick with 4G-LTE if and when it comes there way, as for them that is what 5G will mostly fall back to much of the time anyway, so why pay for what you are mostly not goong to get…

But what about the business community? well 5G is much more amenable for many of them and this is where consumers will get scalped. Certain businesses will be able to use their purchasing power to get the sort of deals consumers are very unlikely to be offered, and in quite a few cases below the viable market rate. Which means consumer tarrifs will not just subsidize business rates, they will also supply the development finance and profit for 5G effectively giving businesses a free ride.

Also for many businesses their points of usage will be outside or fixed, meaning they will be considerably less likely to have unreliable service issues, or they will be able to get optimal antenna positioning thus “hog the 5G bandwidth”. Unlike the majority of consumer customers wishing to use it in the comfort of their homes as they can currently with 3G through to and including 4G-LTE when it appears.

It’s no real secret that the service providers want to ditch 2G-4G as they are loosing money on 2G especially. The only reason for service providers keeping 2G up and runing is two fold, firstly is the lip-service need to cover rural areas where coverage areas need to be large which 5G will never give. And secondly in many urban areas large numbers of non consumer often fixed point “smart devices” including Smart Meters, Smart Street Lights and road signs. Also “fleet managment” of vehicle and transport devices used on trucks and containers, reps on the road and similar. All of these are inherently “low bandwidth” usage and many only need occasional SMS but in aggregate it is a huge back-haul data requirment on which much other infrastructure is now quite reliant as is increasingly the case with most Western Nations and quite a few so called “Third World” countries as well.

[1] Gulf War One demonstrated that trying to cut communications on computer networks that could not only “route around censorship” but bomb craters and Electronic Warfare, was not just “not easy” it was inordinatly expensive and unreliable at best. Thus reducing the routing ability and hiding Kill-Switches in telecommunications equipment was the direction of “future electronic warfare”, when it was in effect under the control of just one or two cooperating Western Nations. Now with not just China, but India and Brazil entering as market suppliers the “future of electronic warfare” has changed significantly and this is unsuprisingly causing issues for one or two cooperating Western Nations with military interests towards a number of second and third world nations.

Sherman Jerrold April 26, 2019 6:49 PM

re: 1&1~=Umm More on 5G Huawei and the UK.

WOW. Thanks for all the great info.

I admit with some sadness that live in the united states of corruption.

I’m still using mostly copper DSL and Cable Co. coax to connect to the internet. It isn’t blazingly fast but can reach 20Mbps usually. The ads to the sheople in the us by the ISPs like to confusingly (intentionally or just marketing stupidity?) mix Mbps with MBPS in their ads and most sheople I talk to don’t even know the difference is a factor of 8x bits vs. Bytes.

I’ve been reading articles about the telecoms here (At&t, etc.) spewing misinformation about their 5G networks. (most tech articles say they are blowing hot air up people’s orifices and that there is no true 5G network infrastructure yet) I saw an artists’ concept of 5G as implemented in a residential setting with large ~20ft. tall 5G towers spaced about every 150 feet apart because of the nature of the signal.

There was one technical article stating that some researchers want to push the 5G freq. band up to the point where it is ‘ionizing radiation’ read that as: living next to an open microwave oven and putting a small open microwave oven 5G phone next to your brain.

I am certain that the telecoms here will use 5G as an excuse to hoover lots more money out of people for ‘hot-new-gotta-have-it’ tech.

I’ve also heard that there is no new or increased security that will be offered if/when the mythical 5G is rolled out here.

Clipper April 26, 2019 9:36 PM

The way I see it, this whole 5G thing is just another failure of modern civilization.

People rely more and more on smartphones and the only true benefit is to the surveillance political complex. We have finally come to a point where USA and China openly clash over who has the right to monitor us and the only true reason to upgrade the existing infrastructure is to multiply the number of towers for more detailed surveillance. If this trend continues, the next generation will be ready to accept an electronic implant that will be connected to the grid all the time, transmitting coordinates and censor data to the government. What everyone fails to see is that it doesn’t matter if that government will be left or right, but that that government will have unprecedented powers of surveillance.

And of course, if people didn’t feel the need to check their facebook page on a continuous base, manufacturers wouldn’t be able to sell them 1000$ sets every couple of years.

Sherman Jerrold April 26, 2019 10:23 PM

reply to clipper:

You are quite right about the trend. So many people are completely unaware of how little privacy and security the have, even today. Everyone using G00Gle is being tracked and manipulated because it feeds them an ever decreasing range of search results and ads displayed on the sites they visit. They only get search results and ads that reflect exactly what G00gle’s tracking wants them to see, based on what they are clicking on and viewing. A downward and ever tightening spiral of useless pablum, no critical thinking, no broadening of their horizons.

The only thing I suggest differently is that it will be the ISPs, G00gle and Amazoon that conduct the primary surveillance. The governments will be looking over the shoulders of the ISPs, G00gle and Amazin and only get what they feed them.

Clive Robinson April 27, 2019 9:38 AM

@ Sherman Jerrold,

Theres good news and theres bad…

Firstly, as is traditional the bad,

mix Mbps with MBPS in their ads and most sheople I talk to don’t even know the difference is a factor of 8x bits vs. Bytes.

It’s actually worse than 8:1, it is sometimes worse than 10:1. What you are forgetting is the overhead of turning individual bytes into a stream of bits that form a datagram at and below the IP level. But if you send just a single key press (as happened with some protocols) you actually have just seven data bits wrapped up in the datagram, plus datagrams for the acknowledge for TCP etc…

Now for the supposed good news,

There was one technical article stating that some researchers want to push the 5G freq. band up to the point where it is ‘ionizing radiation’ read that as: living next to an open microwave oven and putting a small open microwave oven 5G phone next to your brain.

They would have to push it a long way up beyond “daylight” in fact for it to become ‘ionizing radiation’. However the “DC to Daylight” RF spectrum might not be ionizing it is certainly “watts per volume” thus has a significant radiant heating effect. A microwave works about 2.4GHz the 5G “new bands” are slated in part to be extensions down to 600Mhz from existing GSM and other mobile allocations and the millimetric bands up “somewhere” in the 30GHz region in some places as high as 47GHz is being talked about… These are all below frequencies that were used in mainly defunct body scanners. Thus somewhere between your Microwave oven and your black light heater.

Oh I know people that play at 74GHz and up, and some have world records for doing it. You’ll be pleased to know that they don’t glow in the dark or have strange growths, atleast as far as I’m aware 😉

As for the antennas every twenty feet, this is where you the customer get to feel a certain sense of intrusion as your wallet is extracted the hard way… If you look down the average suburban road you will see plenty of poles that far appart you call them things like “street lights” and “utility poles”. You can be sure that the kikes of AT&T and the various power companies are lobbying hard to get state and federal level legislation to for a cosy little cartel with all the advantages for them of a closed and stullifying market.

As for “security” that’s a “SEP” or “Somebody Elses Problem” (which Douglas Adams made famous) in essence nobody sees why they should worry about security at their level, unless there is usage based money involved. Data is these days not even “flat uniform rate” just “ramp fees” monthly or annually, so at each level some sees security as a SEP and their telescope goes to their blind eye. The simple dirty little secret of the telecommunications industry was just how significant was the cost of billing, it dwarfed other parts of the operation like the cost of maintenance. In the UK we have hundreds of empty buildings that belong to Britist Telecom (BT) or the General Post Office (GPO) as used to be. Much of the floor space in those buildings were for “line counters” or “Metering pulse counters” and the office space for reading / repairing them. The actuall old electromechanical switch frames were about a quater to a third of the space at most…

The Pull April 27, 2019 1:01 PM

Not news, but I consider it important, and believe everyone who works in the field of computer security should be acutely aware of this.

Likewise, this is a primary threat to the very concept of democracy. This stance I share, that Russia is hacking our elections not because they really stand behind one candidate or another, but to make a mockery of the very concept of democracy.

Everyone is getting engaged in this: military, intelligence, & law enforcement.

Note: I am well aware America has, in the past, thrown regimes. But, this is not about casting blame. It is about two and more titans facing it off over the very concept of democracy.

Size, does matter. 😉

[Note: I am non-partisan, a pure globalist, but do believe in a healthy Democracy. Best system we can have going, is my opinion.]

FBI Warns of Russian Interference in 2020 Election

In response to growing threats from Russia and other adversaries, the F.B.I. recently moved nearly 40 agents and analysts to the counterintelligence division, the senior bureau official said in an interview this month. Many of the agents will work on the Foreign Influence Task Force, a group of cyber, counterintelligence and criminal experts. Officials have made that task force, initially formed on a temporary basis before the midterm elections, permanent.

The Department of Homeland Security made its midterm election task forces permanent, folding them into an election security initiative at their National Risk Management Center. And the National Security Agency and the United States Cyber Command have also expanded and made permanent their joint task force aimed at identifying, and stopping, Russian malign influence, officials said.

And, for amusement, here is a song about crazy empires & war. Bad Religion. Empire Strikes First:

In other news, AI Is said to be most used in cybersecurity products currently, and last year:

As someone who worked in that area back in the 2000’s, I feel proud of watching our baby Skynet grow up. 😉

The Pull

Clipper April 27, 2019 2:36 PM

All this nonsense about Russians meddling with our elections has gone too far.

What happened to the good old way of doing the elections? Everyone and his dog knows that using electronic solutions extensively leads sooner or later to someone hacking the infrastructure, unless some serious security decisions have been made during the design phase of the system. I think all this has been created on purpose, so that at any time someone who doesn’t like the result can blame some other country for hacking the system.

@The Pull

There is no such thing as “healthy Democracy”, take a look all over the world where democratic countries pass more and more surveillance and censorship laws using the “you should have nothing to hide” line. And most people just don’t care, claiming they have nothing to hide and giving all their data to google and facebook.

BillW April 27, 2019 2:55 PM

@Clipper: The supposed election “hacking” isn’t merely voting machine hardware-based, but more to do with social engineering-related. It’s to do with where average folk get their information, in the form of news, to inform them of their voting choices.

Disruption of the social order seems to me to be the larger strategy at work. Create artificial political divides between the (supposed) “left” and (supposed) “right,” then reinforce the artificial divisions with disinformation masquerading as “news.” Force people to choose, thus reinforcing the social stratifications. Rinse, repeat.

WhiskersInMenlo April 27, 2019 3:11 PM

1&1~=Umm said:

What is effectively being hidden by most of this nonsense is that 5G is not realy a very good idea for consumers for a number of reasons. It’s not just the very real and persistent unreliability of the milimetric microwave bands…

Perhaps 5G qualifies as a useful link between 4G lower power micro towers.
Having pulled wire in buildings and trenched between buildings I suspect there is a big market
in the last half Km.

The recent auction of bandwidth in the US seems to be ill suited for handsets but for infrastructure build out
it may enable solar powered pringle can mesh nets if the price was right. Line of sight, rural or metro seem interesting modulo latency.

All that said… reports on 5G security imply that it is incomplete. Current rush to market and expensive or use it or lose it bandwidth allocations risk a rush forward ignoring completion of the standards.

For rural areas optical fiber might have costing for the fiber infrastructure between $18,000 and $22,000 per mile.
That is equivalent to RF links that cost $400 each and are 100 feet apart. Pringle can distances and SOC chips could challenge this by a lot.

The Pull April 27, 2019 3:37 PM


Yep. We need a benevolent, strong leader to take over. When, o when, will the aliens or robot overlords come and save us from our own disasters. 😉


But, seriously, one once elected official well said it, ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

Speaking of England:

However, DOH is now being fast-tracked, and it has agitated U.K. child safety and intelligence agencies enough to convene a crisis meeting on 8 May, citing child safety, cybersecurity and even terrorism as concerns.

This is always a slippery slope. People should leave well enough alone. It is not difficult to surveil systems with government resources. Why should systems all be brought into a singular net, under the guise of “safety” and “protection”? Isn’t this the same line that nations w/o internet freedom claim? That they are protecting their children, adult children, simply being their Uncle Joe Stalin, their Big Brother?

Nanny states are dangerous, IMNSHO.

Far from alarmed. Just making conversation. 😉

Maxwell's Daemon April 27, 2019 4:01 PM

@Sherman Jerrold

So long as SS& is used by the telecomm companies, well “hacked” by the various national intelligence services, security will never exist and that’s only one gaping hole. As Clive points out, unless it effects revenue it’s SEP.

@The Pull

Strictly “whataboutism” but the US has been “hacking” elections since at least the Gilded Age, if not earlier, you don’t require anything beyond “show me the money” for that. In all cases, paper ballots counted publicly take care of corrupting the electronics. All the rest is your typical propaganda war with electronic delivery and none of that is new since the Golden Age of Radio. Heck, academic treatises on doing exactly that date back to the 1920’s. The media may be “richer” but nothing has really changed in approach.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, including corporations, special interest groups, our governments, our allies and our enemies engage in these practices each and every day, everywhere. Telling them to “Stop!” certainly hasn’t worked. The only defense that does work is having a minds which engage critical thinking but we’ve stripped that out of The People as it’s a bug not a feature to our system of education, the corporations and the government. The Founding Fathers thought of a wide and deep education and critical thinking as fundamentally critical to Democracy as they pointed out repeatedly in their proceedings and writings.

This system has been broke for quite a while. Laws and technological fixes for the problem don’t exist and won’t work. And that’s speaking as an engineer and a political-economist.

A90210 April 27, 2019 4:53 PM

Some questions for a layman user.

1) DNSCrypt vs DOH vs other?

2) (Google) vs. ( OpenDNS) vs other?

3) Firefox w/DOH; any tips about implementing vs other browser configurations

4) Good VirtualBox VM guests for security (install vs. live DVD/CD)? In other words, try to keep internet hackers from host.

not zestfully April 27, 2019 5:28 PM

My educated opinion: Safety and Security cannot be teased apart from each other.

Every claim is an opportunity to internally mentally question it’s alleged validity.
This site is inherently noteworthy in terms of that exact afforementioned characteristic set.

Please consider what ‘safety’ actually means within the commonmost relevant reality.

I prefer both.

As for the cordial nature of this BBS, as they used to say within the UK, I feel that it’s “just not cricket.”

truthfully, not zestfully

The Pull April 27, 2019 6:16 PM

@Maxwell’s Daemon

Democracy, I see, as simply a vehicle for human rights sufficient enough to allow the underlining cultures the freedom to produce outstanding art. Cinema & music, clothing & architecture, technology & fiction.

We may be all lying about how good it is in such nations, be they eastern or western, middle eastern, or african.

I see there being two meta-structures in these nations, both at war with each other for dominance. One is The System, or The Beast… and the other is The Beautiful Woman. To borrow some apocalyptic imagery. Why not.

That is, there is the fiction, of what can be, and should be. And, then, there is ‘what is’ and ‘what has been’.

Here’s a great pessimistic song:

Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen, RIP), by Sigrid.

For me, that is often the best mood to have. To realize ‘the dice are loaded’. Though, in the end, I am going to be an optimist.

Because we can dream and create visions, and struggle on.

Without cold, hard cynicism — there is no hope.

gordo April 27, 2019 6:54 PM

A $5 billion fine from the FTC is huge — unless you’re Facebook
The $3 billion to $5 billion fine Facebook says it expects from the FTC probably won’t be enough to change its behavior.

Facebook’s stock price jumped after it said it expects to incur a fine of up to $5 billion from the Federal Trade Commission. And that’s all you really need to know about whether the historically large penalty matters to the company.

[. . .]

To be sure, the FTC could impose other penalties on Facebook beyond a fine, such as requiring it to change its data sharing and privacy practices. But at least for right now, the threat of what would be a blockbuster fine for the FTC doesn’t really seem to be that much of a negative for the company. In fact, investors seem to have taken it as a positive: Facebook’s stock price climbed after its announcement on Wednesday, adding about $40 billion to its market capitalization.

Facebook Fine Could Total Billions if F.T.C. Talks Lead to a Deal

The agency [FTC] can seek up to $41,000 for each violation found by the agency. In the case of Cambridge Analytica, 87 million people were affected.

Facebook now lets you know if your data was shared with Cambridge Analytica

According to Facebook, more than 70 million users whose data may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica are located in the U.S., and 1 million each in the U.K., the Philippines and Indonesia.

Simple, current approximations:

$5B fine / $41K per violation = 121,951 users

$5B fine / 70M users = $71 per violation

Simple, maximum approximation:

$41K per violation * 70M users = $2.87T fine

Among other topics, “In January, EPIC and a coalition of consumer and civil rights groups sent a letter to the FTC” writing:

2) Establish Structural Remedies

The evidence is also clear that Facebook breached its commitments to the Commission regarding the protection of WhatsApp user data. As this occurred after the initial consent order, the FTC should require Facebook to unwind the acquisition of both WhatsApp and Instagram. The companies should be reestablished as independent entities and Facebook should be required to disgorge the personal data unlawfully acquired from those firms. This will also help restore competition and innovation for Internet messaging and photo app services, two important goals for the future of the Internet economy.

Facebook should also end the practice of collecting personal data from individuals who are not in fact users of the service.

A trivial fine of Facebook without any meaningful remedies and other actions from the FTC would be a disservice to both the American people and Internet users everywhere, i.e., business as usual or maintaining the status quo should not be a consideration.

Alyer Babtu April 27, 2019 8:00 PM

@The Pull

… to allow the underlining cultures the freedom to produce outstanding art …

That seems to assert by implication that those things are the highest good, or the end, for humankind.

But, Dostoevsky – “It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.” Likewise it takes something more than love of the beautiful to love beauty. Otherwise The System and the Beautiful Woman are really the same.

And per classical authors and the scriptures, the cause of our loving is dearer to us that that which we love.

So what is that ?

Clipper April 27, 2019 9:53 PM


Don’t know about DOH, but I would prefer OpenDNS to Google. Actually I would prefer anything to Google. There’s also an open source project called opennic or something that may suit you better and offers a multitude of servers ran by who knows who. As for (3) and (4), you can try running an ISO of Tails or Parrot as a livecd under VirtualBox. Whonix is also pretty advanced, and then you can install Qubes on a hard disk for state of the art protection.

@The Pull, BillW

Isn’t this kind of meddling with elections the norm after all? Take a look at Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, politicians always used tricks to make people vote. People don’t vote based on good judgement, not to mention that many people are just idiots. Take the last elections for example, if we are to believe the “facts”, the end of the world is already here and Hillary would have saved us and so on. Let’s face it, in every democratic country democracy is governed by a number of politicians who already own the media, the newspapers, the public services, they even own people who spread their propaganda for a living. Even if the Russians employ people to post on facebook (a silly platform anyway), they don’t do anything different than what politicians always did.

When there wasn’t a thing like facebook and twitter, there were people who worked for politicians and would always try to influence the gullible, sometimes they would even promise their help and so on. So the concept of “endangered democracy” sounds like a joke to me, this is the way it has always been, the difference is that back then your local watchdog would spread rumors that you are a spy for the reds or for CIA and tell your local grocery shop that you are dangerous and everyone should avoid you, and now the same game has been translated into twitter drama.

If we want democracy, we have to change the way it works, but of course politicians wouldn’t want that, would they?

gordo April 27, 2019 10:23 PM

Senator wants Zuckerberg to be held liable for Facebook’s privacy violations
By Tony Romm | Washington Post | April 23, 2019

“Given Mr. Zuckerberg’s deceptive statements, his personal control over Facebook, and his role in approving key decisions related to the sharing of user data, the FTC can and must hold Mr. Zuckerberg personally responsible for these continued violations,” Wyden wrote. “The FTC must also make clear the significant and material penalties that will apply to both Facebook the corporate and Mr. Zuckerberg the individual should any future violations occur.”

The FTC did not respond to a request for comment. Facebook declined to comment.

Federal watchdogs considered holding Zuckerberg personally accountable as part of their last investigation into Facebook. The FTC initially sought to put Zuckerberg personally under federal order, which would have exposed him to fines and other penalties for future privacy violations, according to records obtained by the Post through the Freedom of Information Act. But agency staff ultimately removed Zuckerberg’s name from the final agreement with Facebook in 2011.

TO: Commission Staff and Commissioners
FROM: Commissioner Rohit Chopra
DATE: May 14, 2018
SUBJECT: Repeat Offenders

Additionally, I believe the FTC should hold individual executives accountable for order violations in which they participated, even if these individuals were not named in the original orders. This relief is expressly contemplated by Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d), which provides that an injunction against a corporation binds its officers. And this relief is important, because it ensures that individual executives who control the operation of the firm — and not just shareholders — bear the costs of noncompliance.

Clive Robinson April 28, 2019 4:15 AM

@ gordo,

Senator wants Zuckerberg to be held liable for Facebook’s privacy violations

Which raises “the question of this century” about Pschoberg. Which is,

    Is he to big to jail?

I’m guessing he probably thinks so, if he even thinks about it at all.

Dennis April 28, 2019 5:07 AM

@Clipper, @The Pull

“here is no such thing as “healthy Democracy”, take a look all over the world where democratic countries pass more and more surveillance and censorship laws using the “you should have nothing to hide” line. And most people just don’t care, claiming they have nothing to hide and giving all their data to google and facebook.”

Be glad our civil servants are working very hard to ensure MSM is the only de facto source for all of our 2020 election news. They’ve learned their lessons well from 2016.

Dennis April 28, 2019 5:18 AM

@The Pull, “Democracy, I see, as simply a vehicle for human rights sufficient enough to allow the underlining cultures the freedom to produce outstanding art. Cinema & music, clothing & architecture, technology & fiction.”

Like most systems, Democracy is a system of socio-political structure. And as many systems are, they are more or less a “tool” to achieve certain goals. In Democracy, the idealist goal is equality for all individuals under it, or in your example outstanding art.

However, in practice like all man-made systems, tools can be construed in such a ways to fulfill the purpose much like a dual-use system or multi-purpose computer.

Therefore, when one speaks of Democracy, it is only a means to achieve certain goal(s). In an alternative idealistic narrative, some may believe in other means to achieve similar goal(s). Thus, the difference in ideals is fundamentally independent of political systems.

Dennis April 28, 2019 5:23 AM

@Clive Robinson wrote, “Which raises “the question of this century” about Pschoberg. Which is,”

I have no doubt he won’t, unless he fail to comply to a national security letter. There Privacy show circus has been going on for decades with very few casualties.

Tõnis April 28, 2019 10:45 AM

This whole thing about democracy and election meddling is just too much nonsense.

  1. Democracy is a disgrace; it’s mob rule. The USA is a constitutional republic where a million “voters” can’t vote away the rights of one individual.

  2. The excessive amount of emphasis placed on election tampering serves only to perpetuate Americans’ delusion that they have a choice, that they are making a meaningful difference when they vote in a presidential election. “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, just get out there and vote!!!” Sure, that’s true: it doesn’t matter whom one votes for when presented only with Bad Candidate A and Bad Candidate B. Furthermore, the voting for President hype serves to neutralize the voter: He’s done enough. After all, he voted! Real meaningful differences can be made at the local, county, and to some degree the state level. That’s where one actually has some access to candidates and to elected representatives, and where one can be a meaningful part of the process (i.e on referendum questions). More than 99% percent of Americans will never get near any President, and will never be able to influence him or tell him about any concerns. (He doesn’t care anyway, he’s bought and paid for.)

crypto.gods April 28, 2019 11:41 AM

recent post on reddit: Who are the currently reigning crypto gods? “Who are the people you trust when it comes to judging current and future security of the cyphers / crypto algorithms used these days?”

Names mentioned include Bernstein, Schneier, Lange, Krebs, Elgamal, Bleichenbacher, and Duong.

The Pull April 28, 2019 12:44 PM

@Alyer Babtu

Love is in and of its’ self life, even God, and its’ existence is justifiable in and of its’ own self. Love recognizes its’ own self in others, and there is much of it behind the cultural output of key nations.

The intelligence of the world, is less then the foolishness of love.

If we do not have love, we do not have life. If we do have love, we know, it is much more sublime and smarter then us.


I do not disagree. I would say, ‘truth does not matter’. The game is what matters. The game is played with actors, good and bad. Good is your side of the table, bad is the other side. If we do not engage in the game, then we do not play our roles on the stage, and there is no theater. Theater is about true lies.

Theater provides vision, for the future which does not even exist yet. So, it is a lie. But, we need vision to keep going. Every game has the element of death to it, and it is that death we need to be preoccupied with.

The illusion of purpose is the product we provide.

It is an important product.


We do not have a healthy democracy, in the context you provide. What we do have is a very powerful Yin, and a very powerful Yang. We have each on the otherside of the table. That is all we have.

Then, we have the spin such contrary powers provide. That is actually ‘something’. Even if it is all, ultimately, just a game.

Spin is not about truth, it is about power. Power is the true opiate of the people, not religion. Power is about how deeply you can get people engaged in the game. Nietzsche was right, Marx was wrong.


I agree, and well said.


You are also correct, and I am curious as to how you view what I just stated, above, to figure those variables into your equation.

Tõnis April 28, 2019 2:09 PM

@The Pull,

Agree on love. The older I get the worse I feel about the wrongs I have done. I would suggest that love leads to compassion and ultimately to forgiveness.

Re theatre, unless it’s for learning/creativity/entertainment (and in balance), then the game is irrelevant. Why participate in the game, unless it’s to learn and to minister, to lead by example. And that would be pointless, too, unless one believes in an afterlife. If one believes in an afterlife, then death is irrelevant. No need to be preoccupied with it.

Re getting people engaged in the game, again, not just for the sake of the game. For example, I’m a half-assed vegetarian (for ethical reasons). If someone asks me sincerely, “If you’re a vegetarian, why do you wear that leather belt?” I’ll tell him how I really feel, that I’m just doing the best I can, that always there is room for improvement, that if everyone would try just a little harder and do the best he can there would be less suffering, and the world would be that much a better place. I think that’s leading by example. But if the person asking the question were merely trying to antagonize, to get me into some game for the sake of the game, I would tell him that I do it because I’m a hypocrite.

I could go on and on about this stuff, provide example after example, but my philosophy, my world view is best expressed in Ephesians 6:12 —

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The Pull April 28, 2019 3:55 PM


My allusions to “game” & “theater” are not to frivolous definitions.

And, you are correct about what is really going on.

It is really a spiritual struggle, against corrupt ‘principalities’ and corrupt ‘powers’.

The Pull

Rully April 28, 2019 9:42 PM

You’d never know the real from the horseshot, Klive.

“You can tell by the total lack of ‘Real’, usefull or factual comment.”

Useful. How long did you say you lived in the UK, lol? Thicke.

A90210 April 29, 2019 10:28 AM

Robert Caro for the hour

“AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to one of the nation’s most celebrated writers, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Caro. He’s out with a new book titled Working, that gives an inside look at his remarkable research and writing process. And it does appear that Robert Caro is always working.

Forty-five years ago, he published his first book, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. Over a seven-year-period, he conducted over 500 interviews for what turned out to be a 1,200-page book looking at how Robert Moses reshaped the nation’s largest city, New York. The Modern Library would later name The Power Broker as one of the top 100 nonfiction books of the 20th century, along with such works as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk.

And Caro hasn’t stopped working since. For the past 45 years, Robert Caro, with much help from his wife Ina, has been researching the life and times of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, from his childhood in Hill Country, Texas, to his time in the White House. Four volumes have been published so far: The Path to Power, Means of Ascent, Master of the Senate and The Passage of Power. They total more than 3,000 pages. Robert Caro is now writing the fifth volume, looking at Vietnam, the Great Society and President Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election in 1968.

Robert Caro has been described as “the greatest political biographer of our times” and “America’s biographer-in-chief.” But to reduce Caro’s work as simply biographies of great men misses the point. Caro uses both Moses and Johnson to show how political power works. Caro writes that by focusing on Robert Moses, he was able to explore, quote, “the realities of urban political power, power in cities, [power] not just in New York but in all the cities of America in the middle of the twentieth century.” With LBJ, Caro helped expose how national power works in the Senate and the presidency. Robert Caro once told Kurt Vonnegut, quote, “What I’m trying to do, is to show not only how power works but the effect of power on those without power. How political power affects all our lives, every single day in ways we never think about,” he says.

Well, with Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, who today is joining us from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, we’re spending the hour with Robert Caro.

Welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us, Robert.

ROBERT CARO: Great to be with you.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to 55 years ago. In fact, it would be 55 years ago in July that President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And go back a few months before that, when Lyndon Baines Johnson, standing next to a blood-spattered Jackie Kennedy, would be sworn in as president. He could have taken on any issue at that point, becoming president. Warned by many in his inner circle, “Don’t do the Civil Rights Act. Don’t lose the South,” he moved forward. Describe for us—set the stage and the place. Talk about LBJ’s decision to go this route.

ROBERT CARO: Four days after the assassination, he has to give an address to the joint session of Congress. He’s not even in the Oval Office yet. He’s still working out of his private home in Washington. Three or four of his speechwriters are sitting around the kitchen table trying to draft a speech. And at some point Johnson comes down wearing a bathrobe and asks them how they’re doing. They say, “Well, the only thing we’re all sure of is don’t make civil rights a priority. If you anger the Southerners who control Congress, they’re going to stop your whole legislative program, like they did Kennedy. It’s a noble cause, but it’s a lost cause. Don’t fight for it.” And Lyndon Johnson says to them, “Well, what the hell is the presidency for then?” And, of course, in his speech, he says, with all the Southern senators sitting in a row in front of him, “Our first priority has to be the passage of the civil rights bill.”

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about the battle that ensued? You particularly focus on Richard Russell, and you pit these two—well, they pitted themselves against each other.

ROBERT CARO: Well, Russell—you know, Johnson convinced the Southern senators—for 20 years before 1964, every vote that he made was on the side of the South. He not only supported every Southern bill and opposed every civil rights bill, but he was a Southern strategist. And Russell took him under his wing. Richard Russell was the most powerful figure in the Senate. He was the head of the mighty Southern Caucus. You have to understand, Amy, in that year—I forget the—I may have the numbers wrong here, but approximately right—of the 16 great standing committees in the Senate, 11 were chaired by Southerners or their allies. They had all the power in the Senate. And Russell raised Lyndon Johnson up to the position of majority leader. It was him who really put Johnson in.

So, I would speak to some of the Southern senators. And I asked one of them—I remember Herman Talmadge, who was actually dying when I finally got to talk to him. He was the senator from Georgia. Finally talked to me, and I’m asking him about this, …”

Bob Paddock April 29, 2019 11:40 AM

@Clive Robinson

” the millimetric bands up “somewhere” in the 30GHz region in some places as high as 47GHz is being talked about… ”

As of Release-15 of the 5G standard things stop at 28.350 GHz (n261).
Standard is here:

“Oh I know people that play at 74GHz and up…”

No one, other than me it seems, ever mentions the mmWaves coming from modern vehicles for their automatic breaking systems, smart parking, lane deviation etc. Some even want to point the mmWaves into the cabin to sense if there are children present. Where are the studies that show any of this is safe? Few that have been done are inconclusive or show that it is not safe such as this one on breaking DNA at THz frequencies:

TI and NXP make off-the-shelf chip sets for the mmWave vehicle market mostly in the 67 to 82 GHz range, with 77 GHz being the most common right now. Next generation stuff is expected to be around ~144 GHz.

The real drivers of 5G are the people that want autonomous vehicles and ‘smart cities’. Always over looked in current 5G discussions. 🙁

mat April 29, 2019 11:08 PM

Interesting article by Brian Krebs

A peer-to-peer (P2P) communications technology built into millions of security cameras and other consumer electronics includes several critical security flaws that expose the devices to eavesdropping, credential theft and remote compromise, new research has found.
The security flaws involve iLnkP2P, software developed by China-based Shenzhen Yunni Technology. iLnkP2p is bundled with millions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including security cameras and Webcams, baby monitors, smart doorbells, and digital video recorders.

iLnkP2P is designed to allow users of these devices to quickly and easily access them remotely from anywhere in the world, without having to tinker with one’s firewall: Users simply download a mobile app, scan a barcode or enter the six-digit ID stamped onto the bottom of the device, and the P2P software handles the rest.

Dennis April 30, 2019 4:15 AM

@The Pull wrote, “We do not have a healthy democracy, in the context you provide. What we do have is a very powerful Yin, and a very powerful Yang. We have each on the otherside of the table. That is all we have.”

That’s probably why the Chinese are so hard to be dealt with. They’ve learned thousands of years ago as demonstrated in the art of taichi. The ying and the yang works as two opposing forces that can be harnessed to foster change and act as whole. We in the US have long been trained to accept the -ism of duality and be complicit for the “greater good”.

Clive Robinson April 30, 2019 6:58 AM

@ A90210,

Appart from a few ripples the Mueller Report has had it’s news day for now, and the entire event came about very much in a predictable path since day one.

I suspect it will be reserected in the comming months as election time approaches, but again I suspect those that are hopefull will be disapointed yet again…

Even if the sitting President does not get put back in office it’s unlikely that further action will be taken. Because politicians of all stripes are waking up to the fact it’s very much a can of worms, where the lid really should not have been taken off in the first place.

The aim of many to get treason or similar raised against a political outsider failed. The indictments against various Russians are realy token gestures that show all the signs of backfiring in various ways.

The real case of election tampering by that of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook was disapated. With few in the US realising it goes right to the top with John Bolton, who was upto his neck in election tampering[1]. Which is most certainly not something the Republican backing “moneymen” are going to want to see come to light any further than it has. As I’ve mentioned before it’s unknown who John Bolton’s “master” actually is but it’s clear it’s not the current sitting President.

But what really came out of the Mueller Investigation is the level of corruption in US politics of the “insiders”, not the political “outsider”. If you look at Mueller’s original brief he should have investigated all candidates for the 2016 election, but under his discretion he chose not to. For which I suspect all the other candidates and their very probably equally as corrupt advisors etc are extreamly gratefull for.

Hence my feeling is many in politics just want it all to go away, and stay away, less their own dirty laundry gets glimpsed.

But I would advise anyone who cares about honesty in politics to dig long deep and hard into John Bolton and his associates, because there realy is a nasty can of worms behind that “Old Gramps Moustache”…

Oh and I suspect Facebook’s psycho-in-chief was rather more involved with Cambridge Analytica than has sofar come to light, and he also knows where their skeletons are buried. Hence why he might think “He is to big to jail”.

Oh and for goodness sakes folks keep your eyes on Palantir founders Peter Thiel, Nathan Gettings, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen, and Alex Karp. They are very much into collecting data on anyone and everyone and profiling them way more than Cambridge Analytica, and Facebook ever did. Thus you realy should be asking yourselves how that data and analysis is being used to genetate not just revenue but real power.

Certain parts of Silicon Valley gained considerable influance and power during the Obama Administration, and they are very very unlikely to want to give it up. This is likely to bring them into conflict with the older “moneymen” influencers of “Old ‘coal, oil and Railroads’ money”. Who have traditionalaly been the political influance purchasers via campaign and other funding. Oh and then there is that other new group who have tasted power via Cambridge Analytica, of certain US Hedge Funds paying in their table stakes to generate further instability thus profits in Europe. As I said a rather nasty can of worms that is trying to stay out of the light.

Will the next US Presidential election be bought and payed for? Yes, of course. Will it involve profiling via the PII people have lost via Big-Data? Yes, almost certainly. Will any of the above I’ve mentioned be involved? Of course they will. Will they cover their tracks up better? Yes, they’ve learned a lesson or two from being overly open in both the US Presidential and UK Brexit voting.

Thus the snake is still out their in the long grass, waiting to slither back. Whilst it has been shown that Cambridge Analytica did have influance, the evidence that is amounting for Russia diminishes by the day…

Which of course is not what most US politicians are worried about happening. They had a scare with Mueller, in that what he realy succeded in doing was routing out political insider corruption, which is effectively endemic. Mueller went far enough to prove a point of that, thus being able to claim investegatory success.

But he also took considerable care not to go to far. Thus while he’s rocked the political insiders boats quite a bit, he’s not really harmed them, just those who associated themselves with a political outsider. Thus he has done the political insiders quite a few favours, whilst also keeping the lid on their respective can of worms. Which in turn has done the US voter a considerable disservice.


A90210 April 30, 2019 4:28 PM


“A $5 billion fine from the FTC is huge — unless you’re Facebook”

You might be interested in this Opinion piece by Kara Swisher of Recode about adding a zero to Facebook’s fine.

“How can I describe the fine of between $3 billion and $5 billion that Facebook is likely to pay to the Federal Trade Commission — which will doubtlessly be touted as its largest ever — to settle the government’s inquiry into what the social networking giant called “our platform and user data practices”?

How about: It’s a parking ticket. Not a speeding ticket. Not a DUI …”

gordo April 30, 2019 5:57 PM

@ A90210,

adding a zero to Facebook’s fine

Without that additional zero the market reaction reads as a celebration of Facebook’s litany of impunity—now and forever, amen. It’s not only Facebook, but the market that needs correction.

Facebook accused of blocking wider efforts to study its ad platform
Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Facebook has been accused of blocking the ability of independent researchers to effectively study how political disinformation flows across its ad platform.

[. . .]

[A] review of the tool by not-for-profit Mozilla rates the API as a lot of weak-sauce “transparency-washing” — rather than a good faith attempt to support public interest research that could genuinely help quantify the societal costs of Facebook’s ad business.

[. . .]

So, tl;dr, Facebook can be found seizing upon privacy regulation when it suits its business interests to do so — i.e. to try to avoid the level of transparency necessary for external researchers to evaluate the impact its ad platform and business has on wider society and democracy … yet argues against GDPR when the privacy regulation stands in the way of monetizing users’ eyeballs by stuffing them with intrusive ads targeted by pervasive surveillance of everyone’s interests.


Why Facebook hired a Patriot Act author and privacy activist
By Nancy Scola and Steven Overly, Politico

The hires highlight how Facebook — under fire for multiple controversies over its handling of user data, hate speech, misinformation and political content — is pursuing a two-track approach to Washington, tapping Republican insiders to deal with the Trump administration and GOP-controlled Senate, while scooping up privacy activists to help navigate the seemingly endless user data scandals surrounding the company.

Which reminds me of politicians who change their message to suit the audience.

Mike May 1, 2019 4:59 AM

@Clive Robinson wrote, “The real case of election tampering by that of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook was disapated.”

If you watched MSM in America, you’d know where the real “election tampering” is.

A90210 May 1, 2019 9:46 AM

“… Bolton has spent decades in federal bureaucracies, complaining often of hating every minute. He has written wistfully of a note that Goldwater sent to an offending colleague: “Dear Bill: I am pissed off.” Though Bolton says that he has never written such a letter, he has established himself as a ferocious infighter—often working, either by design or by accident, against the grain of the place to which he’s assigned.

In May, 2001, Bolton was named Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. The terror attacks of September 11, 2001, came a few months later, and the State Department and the White House were often in conflict about how to react: Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, urged an assertive use of military power abroad, while Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, was more restrained. Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell’s chief of staff, told me that Bolton was appointed to his position only at Cheney’s insistence. “Everyone knew that Bolton was Cheney’s spy,” Mark Groombridge, an aide to Bolton at the time, told me.

George W. Bush’s Administration had vowed to attack any “rogue nation” that developed weapons of mass destruction, and Bolton began a public crusade against America’s enemies, real and presumed. In May, 2002, he spoke at the Heritage Foundation, where he accused the Cuban government of developing an ambitious biological-weapons program and of collaborating with such pariah states as Libya and Iran. As he prepared to give similar testimony to Congress, Christian Westermann, an analyst at the State Department’s internal intelligence bureau, told him that the bureau’s information did not support such a view. (Westermann declined to comment for this story.) Bolton, according to several officials, threatened to fire him. “He got very red in the face and shaking his finger at me, and explained to me that I was acting way beyond my position for someone who worked for him,” Westermann later testified. “I told him I didn’t work for him.” Bolton began excluding Westermann’s supervisor from daily briefings and, after an unsuccessful attempt to fire him, tried to transfer him to another office.

Carl Ford, who oversaw the intelligence bureau, complained to Powell that Bolton was misrepresenting the views of its officials. Powell decided to have Ford brief Congress in Bolton’s place. Bolton was angry enough that he didn’t speak to Ford for six months. Then, as Ford was preparing to retire, Bolton called him on the phone. “He told me he was glad I was leaving,” Ford said. (Bolton denies making this call.)

Bolton’s immersion in the arcana of weapons of mass destruction encouraged an absolutist view. “The first thing he thinks about in the morning is protecting Americans from nuclear weapons,” Sarah Tinsley, who has worked as an aide to Bolton since the eighties, told me. In 2003, as he prepared testimony for an appearance before Congress, he described Syria’s efforts to produce nuclear and biological weapons as an urgent threat—an assessment that intelligence agencies thought was exaggerated. A bitter internal debate ensued; the accusations endangered the Syrian government’s coöperation in hunting suspected terrorists. “We were getting some of our best, if not our best, intelligence on Al Qaeda from Damascus,” Lawrence Wilkerson told me. Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State, took Bolton aside and “told him to shut up,” Wilkerson said. Before Bolton testified to Congress, much of his language was diluted. Armitage reached out to a team of intelligence officers who vetted public statements made by State Department officials, and asked them to give special scrutiny to Bolton’s. “Nothing Bolton said could leave the building until I O.K.’d it,” Thomas Fingar, who led the team at the time, told me.

As the Bush White House made the case to invade Iraq, Bolton came into conflict with José Bustani, who was in charge of overseeing the Chemical Weapons Convention—a treaty, endorsed by the U.S. and a hundred and ninety-two other countries, that bans the production of chemical weapons. Bustani, a former senior diplomat from Brazil, was negotiating with the Iraqi government to adopt the treaty, which mandated immediate inspections by outside technicians. He thought that, if inspectors could verify that Iraq had abandoned its chemical-weapons program, an invasion wouldn’t be necessary. But, he told me, when the Iraqis agreed to accept the convention, the Bush Administration asked him to halt his negotiations. “I think the White House was worried that if I succeeded it would mess up their plans to invade,” he said.

Not long afterward, Bustani recalls, Bolton showed up at his office in The Hague and demanded that he resign. When Bustani refused, Bolton said, “We know you have two sons in New York. We know your daughter is in London. We know where your wife is.” (Bolton has denied this.) Bustani held firm, and the White House, determined to remove him, convened an extraordinary session of the Convention’s members—in many cases, Bustani said, paying the travel expenses of delegates to insure that they attended. The group voted forty-eight to seven, with forty-three abstentions, to cut short Bustani’s term.

Later that year, Bustani was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, for his work against chemical weapons. When U.S. troops moved into Iraq, they found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Commentators across the political spectrum have decried the invasion—even Trump calls it “a big, fat mistake”—but Bolton hasn’t changed his view. In 2015, he told the Washington Examiner,

“I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam was correct.”

[emphasis mine] …”

A90210 May 1, 2019 10:26 AM

” … A few months later [ perhaps in 2007 ], Bolton appeared on Fox News to warn viewers that their government was intolerably complacent. “Six years after 9/11, people are simply not focussing the way they should,” he said. “I hope it is not going to take another 9/11 to wake us up—particularly not a 9/11 with weapons of mass destruction.” Bolton, for years a favored guest on Fox, became a paid commentator. During the next decade, he made hundreds of appearances, often arguing that America needed to act urgently to counter threats from abroad. He spoke in favor of military strikes on Iranian training camps (“This is not provocative or preëmptive—this is entirely responsive”), forced regime change in North Korea (“the only solution”), and punitive measures against Vladimir Putin for sheltering the intelligence leaker Edward Snowden (“We need to do things that cause him pain”).

After decades of public-sector work, Bolton grew rich in the private sector. According to a financial disclosure that he filed before joining Trump’s Administration, he made at least two million dollars in 2017, including some six hundred thousand from Fox; two hundred and fifty thousand from the American Enterprise Institute, where he was a senior fellow; and a hundred and twenty thousand from Rhône Group, a private-equity firm. In the course of ten years, Bolton wrote at least six hundred newspaper articles, and the uncompromising beliefs that had piqued colleagues in government found a willing audience outside it. After the Bush Administration reduced sanctions on North Korea, he wrote, in an op-ed, “Nothing can erase the ineffable sadness of an American presidency, like this one, in total intellectual collapse.” When Bush was asked about it, he said, “I don’t consider Bolton credible,” and lamented spending political capital on him. The Obama Administration and its diplomatic efforts in the Middle East inspired even greater scorn. Following Obama’s acceptance speech for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, which Bolton criticized as “turgid,” “repetitive,” and “high-school level,” he dismissed the President as fundamentally naïve. “Homo sapiens are hardwired for violent conflict,” he said. “We’re not going to eliminate violent conflict until Homo sapiens ceases to exist as a separate species.” Later, he wrote a book-length jeremiad about international law titled “How Barack Obama Is Endangering Our National Sovereignty.”

Bolton found an especially enthusiastic reception for arguments about the dangers of Islam. From 2013 to 2018, he was the chairman of the Gatestone Institute, which describes itself as “dedicated to educating the public about what the mainstream media fails to report.” The institute, which paid Bolton a hundred and fifty-five thousand dollars in 2017, has published virulently anti-Muslim articles of questionable accuracy. During Bolton’s tenure, one article warned of an impending “jihadist takeover” of Europe, and another claimed that immigrants from Somalia and other countries were turning Sweden into the “rape capital of the West.” A report titled “History of the Muslim Brotherhood Penetration of the U.S. Government” suggested that both the anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and the State Department official Huma Abedin were sleeper agents. According to a database maintained by NBC News, at least four articles published by Gatestone were retweeted by the Internet Research Agency, the Russian intelligence front that led efforts to sow dissension during the 2016 election.

Like many conservatives in Israel and in the U.S., Bolton rejects the idea of a two-state solution. At a speech in Israel in 2017, he instead advocated a “three-state solution,” in which Israel, Jordan, and Egypt would divide up the Palestinian territories in Gaza and the West Bank, abolishing the political entities that now exist there. For that speech, Bolton received a hundred thousand dollars and a Guardian of Zion Award from Bar-Ilan University.

As Bolton became a celebrity in conservative media, he used his visibility to establish himself in electoral politics. In 2013, he set up a political-action committee, John Bolton Super PAC, which raised money to support Republican candidates. The most significant donor was Robert Mercer, the right-wing activist, hedge-fund billionaire, and co-founder of the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which later became notorious for capturing private information from some eighty-seven million Facebook users. Mercer gave the super PAC a total of five million dollars. During the elections in 2014 and 2016, Bolton’s organization paid Cambridge Analytica $1.2 million, for psychographic data to tailor messages that would help Senate candidates, including Scott Brown, in New Hampshire, and Thom Tillis, in North Carolina. But Groombridge, Bolton’s former aide, told me that the data turned out to be less effective than promised. “It was useless,” he said. “We used it the way they told us, and it had no discernible impact whatsoever.”

After forming the PAC, Bolton briefly considered running for President, but people close to him said that he was more focussed on another job. “He was running for Secretary of State,” Groombridge told me. As with Bolton’s nomination for U.N. Ambassador, there were reasons for concern that he wouldn’t pass Senate confirmation. In Bolton’s financial disclosure, he listed a forty-thousand-dollar payment, for a speech that he gave, in 2016, to Mujahideen-e-Khalq, an Iranian exile group dedicated to overthrowing the government in Tehran. The M.E.K., which professes an eccentric variant of Islam, has been characterized by many experts as resembling a cult. From 1997 until 2012, the United States listed it as a terrorist group, owing to a campaign of bombings and assassinations that it led in Iran. Bolton’s association with the group apparently went back at least to that time. During the speech in 2016, he told the crowd, “I just say again what I have been saying for ten years that I’ve been coming to this rally: the regime in Tehran needs to be overthrown at the earliest opportunity!”

Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a frequent critic of the regime, said that Bolton’s relationship with the group should have disqualified him from senior government jobs. “Anyone who pimps himself out to the M.E.K. fails the litmus test for integrity,” he said.

In 2011, Bolton became the head of the National Rifle Association’s international-affairs subcommittee. Two years later, he gave a video address to a conference hosted by a Russian gun-rights group, the Right to Bear Arms. In it, Bolton offered congratulations on the twentieth anniversary of the Russian constitution, which, he said, “signalled a new era of freedom for the Russian people and created a new force for democracy in the world.”

The conference appears to have been connected with the Kremlin’s campaign to influence politically powerful groups in the United States. It was organized by Maria Butina, who was recently sentenced to eighteen months in prison for conspiracy, after attempting to infiltrate the N.R.A. on behalf of the Russian government. Butina worked closely on the Right to Bear Arms with Alexander Torshin, a politician and an associate of Putin’s with links to organized crime. Last May, three days before Bolton became the national-security adviser, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Torshin, barring him from the Western financial system.

Bolton’s disclosure also listed payments, totalling a hundred and fifteen thousand dollars, from a foundation controlled by Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch. Pinchuk presents his foundation as a forum for diverse views, but his allegiances are murky. In 2012, he reportedly paid Gregory Craig, a former counsel for the Obama White House, to write a report intended to exonerate Ukraine’s pro-Russian President for jailing his chief opponent. (Pinchuk denies this.) Craig is now under indictment for lying about the matter to investigators working for the special counsel Robert Mueller. (Bolton’s connections later inspired questions about whether he posed a security risk. In March, 2019, Tricia Newbold, a White House personnel officer, testified that Trump had given security clearances to twenty-five White House officials who had failed to pass background checks. The names of those people were not released, but, after the news broke, the House Oversight Committee asked to see Bolton’s personnel files, along with those of several others.) …”

Be Safe May 1, 2019 7:51 PM

I will not be touching that “Toraiz SQUID” with even a 1000-yard pole made out of balsa wood. However, I don’t mind throwing in my 3 cents on a subtle major security issue:

(I believe that…) Within the USA, although difficult to substantiate via forum “soundbytes” there exist several civil wars within the following entities (yet not limited to those either):

IAC (rearrange the letters, if you will, to obtain whathaveyou)
ASN (descramble the letters, if you will, to obtain whathaveyou)
ADRAP (arrange the letters alternatively, if you will, to obtain whathaveyou)

Considering the complexities of these non-unanimous entities and their complex interactions with each other, I believe this is a huge reason why the USA is so heavily plagued from within and routinely caught blaming innocent citizens, groups, and even other nations and foreigners for USA-originating terrorism and bizarre conflicts-of-interest.

This is not merely academic to me; I find it to be a continual source of sadness, frustration, motivation, and PTSD.

Be Safe.

gordo May 1, 2019 10:53 PM

More trial balloons . . .

Exclusive: New privacy oversight on the table for Facebook, Zuckerberg
By Nancy Scola, Politico, 5/1/2019

Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission are negotiating a possible settlement that would require the company to place privacy-minded executives at the company’s highest levels, a source close to the talks told POLITICO on Wednesday — in addition to paying the expected multibillion-dollar fine it disclosed last week.

The steps, which are subject to change until a deal is final, would include appointing a federally approved privacy official at the social network and creating an “independent” privacy oversight committee that may include Facebook board members, said the person, who requested anonymity because the discussions are ongoing.

[. . .]

“The additional remedies are not meaningful,” Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told POLITICO. “Creating an independent office, or an office within Facebook — which by the way, is not independent — does not establish new privacy obligations, nor does it ensure compliance.”

“A board doesn’t create new privacy rights for internet users,” he added. “And to say that Mark Zuckerberg is personally responsible — Mark Zuckerberg is Facebook, so what does that mean? It doesn’t add anything.”

The plan, as described by the source close to the talks, includes no new restrictions on Facebook’s data handling practices, which privacy advocates have repeatedly urged. Nor does it require the removal of Zuckerberg as chairman of the Facebook board or other checks on his leadership — other ideas floated by the company’s critics.

[. . .]

If Facebook and the FTC can’t agree on a settlement, the matter could go to court. The Justice Department would need to agree to represent the FTC in such a lawsuit.

Let’s see, . . . a paltry fine; happy extraction markets; reformless oversight; latter-day-Patriot-Act-informed global and nation-state surveillance relations offices; end-to-end, TLA-approved encrypted-group-chat apps; superficial public-interest-research APIs; FaceCoins bearing you-know-whose likeness; no Clear History; and several-dozen other things not presently able to be recalled.


name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons May 2, 2019 12:19 AM

Someone needs to put a sock puppet on both hands of Pompaeo, Bolton, and Abhrams and drop them off in the middle of the countries that they claim need “humanitarian intervention”. Go ahead fellas, make that change but keep your hand puppets off the instruments of the state–they are not yours to exercise. As you’re so keen to put in refuse the documents that are the basis of your power, consider that your fate is shared.

John Chew May 2, 2019 4:21 AM

As a Canadian who is grudgingly okay with having to use his online banking credentials to authenticate him to the Canada Revenue Agency (our IRS), I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this news story

which talks about how this recently announced effort to market the use of banking credentials as secure personal identification for a wider variety of online services.

The Pull May 2, 2019 6:36 PM


Indeed. And I have a lot of China experience… been there. Know people, and they know me.

China is rational and ultimately, I believe, a good “frenemy”.

Russia is my concern these days.

But, gotta love them. 🙂

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