Just some food for thought…

JROppenheimer LosAlamos

I wasn’t planning on another piece about Apple v. The FBI. But here goes…

For all those pundits, wags, celebrities, politicians, and now Rabbis speaking out and telling Apple that they should decrypt the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, I submit this.

Apple is apparently applying the thought Robert Oppenheimer had after he helped create the atomic bomb.

When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.
– J. Robert Oppenheimer

I believe this quote is often paraphrased to;

Just because you CAN do a thing, doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD do a thing.

I’ve lived my life using that paraphrase as a test for certain actions. I look at it as a cautionary signpost for all scientists and researchers.

Project t virus by linkin368 d3gt57g

Just because you can modify the DNA of influenza to deliver a genetic update to all the people of the world… should you? What about murphy’s law? Can you really limit the unintended consequences? 

OR is it simply better to recognize that never creating the technology is the best course of action?

Thumb01m

All these people saying Apple should crack the phone, have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s not an easy task, even for Apple. Cracking encryption isn’t what you see in the movies. 

You don’t just plug a widget into a port, have some dialog about how cool you are and then hear a beep as the NSA computers start spilling all their information onto your impossibly small storage device.

At this point it’s unclear if the iPhone in question is using something as simple as a 4 digit code. It’s likely, but depending on the IOS version being used, the phone could be locked using a phrase.

If there’s a passphrase the odds of success hacking it with a brute force attack drop precipitously with each character added to the passphrase length.

James comey fbi

The brute force attack that the FBI is describing is crude and there is no guarantee that if they win in court, forcing Apple to be their bitch, that when they finally get into the phone there won’t be a nasty little application that has encrypted all the files the FBI wants using an entirely different algorithm, from another manufacturer.  If that’s the case, is the FBI going to get another court order? Probably not, because this is about the FBI making an example. Apple just happens to be the biggest target. 

It’s just as likely, this Jihadi fucker was using a messaging application that wiped the messages 5 minutes after they were read.

Federal and state fbi agent

If the guy was at all concerned about security, He probably turned off all the Apple Tracking software, I know I did right after Edward Snowden blew the whistle.

I’m not a criminal, but I value my privacy and am willing to forego my phone being able to tell me where the nearest Häagen-Dazs is, to maintain my privacy.

This means that Apple providing a custom operating system to disables the automatic wipe on the phone and allow unlimited access to the phone’s password system is likely not going to get the FBI anything more than they already have based on cell tower records.

By the way, because of the number of towers in the San Bernardino area, cell tower data can pinpoint the movements of this Jihadi asshole to within a couple hundred feet or less.

The NSA Actually Has A Program Called SKYNET

So the FBI is lying right from the get-go, when they say they want access to the phone so they can figure out where this Jihadi and his diseased rancid whore of a wife, were before, during the shooting, and after. 

The cell tower records would already provide that information and if the guy turned off his phone while visiting some nefarious underworld figure. Or dropped it in a Faraday bag or cage…

LOKSAK SHIELDSAK Flexible Fabric Faraday Cage Anti RF Protective Bag RF Fortress Radio Frequency Camouflage NDIA SOFIC 2014 David Crane DefenseReview com DR 10

Then the FBI would still get nothing from the phone because at that point the phone would have been cut off from the cell tower or any GPS information and likewise wouldn’t have been able to transmit any of that information.

But we know that the FBI has nine OTHER phones they want to force Apple to help them unlock. 

Apple icon apple

The problem here is that Apple has never created the software to unlock or hack their devices.

Why should they?

Apple tells you, “don’t lose your password, we cant help you if you do.”

So they have a secure device, and they can insure the device’s security because they’ve never created any software to undo their encryption or their locking mechanism.

Just because you CAN do a thing, doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD do a thing.

Achmed

Dear Apple customer… “If you loose your password, you can wipe the phone and start over. We strongly recommend you have the data backed up. Apple provides the iCloud service for this purpose.“

It’s recently come to light, that the FBI ordered the San Bernardino County IT department to change the password on the iCloud account and therefore broke a link that could, with Apple’s help, have gained access to the phone.

Now the FBI wants to use a court order to force Apple to UNFUCK their fuckup. But that’s not the end game.

The end game is that the FBI wants to force manufacturers to build government backdoors into all devices. 

BMZ9g3ZCMAAvZN2

The FBI is using “terrifying terrorists” and criminals, to spook congress and the courts into passing legislation that mandates government access be built into all machines. They and their supporters are using the time honored B.S. line;

For the safety and security of the public…” or that old favorite “We do this for THE CHILDREN

I’m not sure I believe in the slippery slope argument but I do think it’s a very short walk to losing rights that we’ll never get back.

That walk begins with statements that start out, “It’s worth losing a little privacy, or freedom, or changing the laws, or, or, or,  for safety.” see; The Patriot Act

 When I see our government behaving this way, and I hear people saying, “it’s just a little invasion,” I can’t help but think of the poem The Hangman.


I could see a time in the future when it’s illegal for you not to have your phone on your person.

After all, the government would only want to keep track of your movements and communications to insure your safety… Right?

Back doors in our devices are, I think just a stepping stone to full surveillance.

You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide.

Trump!

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreI’m still highly unlikely to vote for Donald Trump.

But I gotta hand it to him, he’s turning things upside down and doing his country a service by exposing the true colors of candidates, both Republican and Democrat.

He’s also ripping away the masks of smug progressive newspeople.

Almost makes me wish I’d watched the debates… Almost.

I think I still prefer reading about them the day after. By that time the left has managed to spin themselves into a self righteous santorum froth.

One thing I can say is that even if Trump is a complete buffoon, (and I’m not saying he is, that jury is still out.) he’s got to be causing some consternation among the enemies of this country.

syrian-refugees-turkey.jpg_736776827Lets look at some of the things he’s been taken to task over.

Close our borders to Middle Eastern refugees until we know what is happening and our vetting process works.

This seems to be a logical and reasonable approach, since it’s become obvious our vetting process isn’t weeding out jihadists even with the cooperation of so called “Friendly” Middle Eastern countries.

The media and other candidates practically lost their minds about this Trump suggestion.

Some called this plan unconstitutional, others called it racist. I call it neither.

Every Sovereign Nation on the planet has the right to protect itself and it’s people from threats. Our constitution conveys, codifies, and supposedly insures certain rights to the citizens of our country. International law, treaties, and agreements apply to non-citizens.

In many cases our constitution and international law parallel each other.

However, our constitution doesn’t guarantee that any foreign born person will be allowed to enter our country, or given citizenship.

Saudi-Prince-Alwaleed-bin-Talal-370x231The fact that a Saudi Prince, ISIS and CAIR all condemned Trump’s suggestion could indicate he’s on the right track.

Then Trump suggested shutting down part of the internet, particularly those parts of the internet that service the Middle East which are under control of ISIS or other radical well known groups that have stated directly that they want to destroy America specifically or the West in general.

This is WAR 101.

Deny your enemies command, communication, coordination, and supplies.

I personally ave never understood why we didn’t plant C-4 on every cell tower our troops encountered in Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Deny communication.
Thereby denying command and coordination.

Extending this philosophy to the internet makes damn good sense and it’s technically possible. But it’s better.

internet_1By killing internet connections into and out of Jihadi, ISIS, Terrorists areas.

You deny their ability to easily recruit, send money, (As Bitcoin or other e-currencies ) or communicate their agenda.

Wth the internet gone these groups lose their ability to brag about their successes in battle.  You deprive folks like ISIS the grandstanding moments of executing their enemies or destroying monuments on worldwide tv.

SanbernardiLets face it ISIS is a media whore. They want, and need the attention afforded them by distribution of shock videos. They need to romanticize themselves as the feisty righteous underdog on social media sites to attract young recruits.

If we were to cut those lines of communication, then we have a much easier time of controlling their message and we can follow their couriers back to bases of operation.

We know that the videos will still be made. We know that ISIS will try to distribute these videos. By narrowing the channels to Al Jezera, Satellite uplinks, or refugees, we make it really easy to identify sympathizers from whom we may get information. We can target the bases uplinks originate from, and easily vet refugees. (If a refugee is carrying a video, they don’t get refugee status, ever!)

So Trump’s suggestion about the internet is technically possible, easily implemented with changes to settings in routers, and no-one gets shot by doing it. Cheap & easy!

I like the minimum effort —> maximum result equation.

We own and control the technology, why let our self-declared enemies use it to potentially harm us?

Cutting ISIS off from the rest of the world is step one in containment.

Who cares if some people will call it censorship? Back in the bad ‘ol days reporters would send film or magnetic tape to their editors from Viet Nam.

Yeah, remember that? Without the instantaneous communication the internet provides, reporters turned in thoughtful well written articles. Their competition wasn’t confined solely to who could report an event the fastest, but also who reported an event correctly.

Trump’s suggestion simply takes the area back to the 1960’s. Messages written on paper, videos on physical media instead of youtube. If you think about it, It’s not actually censorship, it’s just slowing information down.

19n04planes-483393I’d bet President Putin would be agreeable to a little phone and internet silence.

After all, It’s a lot safer to fly your planes when you don’t have spotters sending info about the planes, to anti-aircraft guns all along the flight path.

I’d love to see the entire area cut off. I’d love to see what happened next.

🎶It’s Starting to look a lot like Trump’s right!🎶 AGAIN!

LA-school-closureIn the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, now LA Schools are under threat. San Bernardino Valley College is closed as well due to a threat.

Tell me again why is Trump wrong saying that we need to temporarily stop immigration from muslim countries?

Tell me again how there is no threat.

Tell me how efficient our vetting process is.

Tell me again how crazy Republicans are when they say we need to implement control over our borders.

Tell me lovely platitudes and stories about unicorns and rainbows.

I’m expecting CAIR to blather on about how Islam is a religion of peace. I expect Stompy Foot to tell us that we’re safe here in America and immediately after the words leave his mouth some insanity will unfold.

Just because Trump is strident, in your face, and direct, doesn’t mean he’s necessarily wrong. We really need to get back to listening carefully and thinking for ourselves.

I’d be happy if common sense made a comeback.

Again I find myself saying WTF?

Picture this if you will.

True story.

Sometime after 9/11, I get on a plane at LAX. There’s a young lady sitting at the window, I’m on the aisle. The middle seat is unoccupied. After a few minutes a guy dressed in a fluffy, hunting orange down jacket stops at our row. Having a jacket isn’t unusual since it’s February and this flight is heading to the midwest, the hunters orange is uhh interesting.

He’s the middle seat. It’s blazing hot in the plane and this guy doesn’t take his jacket off. My jacket is stuffed in my backpack under the seat in front of me, I’ve got the little vents in the overhead wide open, and I’m still sweating like a pig.

The young lady in the window seat flashes me a quizzical look while Mr. Middle seat is getting settled. I shrug back at her thinking, “To each his own.”

After a few minutes more of passengers boarding there’s the distinct “pop” you feel in your ears as the doors are closed and the plane starts building positive cabin pressure. Then the engines spin up and we’re backing away from the gate.

At this point Mr. Middle seat pulls a book out of his backpack.

It’s an ornate thing, gold lettering, red lettering, and looks a lot like the old illuminated books you see in museums. I happen to notice that the lettering is one of the Arabic typestyles. (You don’t test printers for years and not recognize on sight, the written characters of every language, even if you can’t read the language.) Mr. Middle Seat flips to a passage and begins reading. As he’s reading he’s rocking back and forth.

The lady at the window is now ashen, wide eyed, and clearly ready to jump out the window. We’ve just left the ground and are in the climb portion of the flight. Out the window past the clearly frightened face of the young lady I see the Pacific glittering and beautiful. The sun tracks across the cabin as the plane turns, coming to its prescribed course and heading, for a moment sunlight warms my face and I think, “I could be dead in the next few minutes.”

You see, for some reason my mind has always worked by simulating a situation. It’s a defense mechanism, a way to distance myself from shitty stuff that’s happened or happening in my life. I usually get into trouble when I actually exist in the moment experiencing an event real time.

For instance, if I were going to blow up a plane it wouldn’t be over an ocean.

With that thought in mind, I was calculating the altitude and visualizing a fully fueled 727 exploding into a fireball over the heavily populated downtown areas of either Los Angeles or Long Beach.

Yeah, if you’re going to do it go for maximum damage and chaos.

Even if a bomb didn’t take the plane out of the sky in a rain of flaming pieces…

During the climb phase of the the flight, a catastrophic event still leaves the pilot with little control and very few options to land a severely damaged plane short of crashing into the aforementioned downtown areas. Visions of the World Trade center buildings falling replay in my head.

Then I have the inescapable thought;

Here I am, completely vulnerable, bereft of even the basic ability to defend myself and strapped into a chair from which, if I’m lucky someone will be able to retrieve my charred remains. There’s nothing I can do except pray that it’s quick and relatively painless.

So I prayed. I took comfort in prayer and in those few moments calmed the panic that had begun to take hold in my gut.

Calmer, I removed my shiny metal pen from my pocket, and gripped it tightly. I thought, “If there is a bomb and it’s not using some kind of altitude detonator then this guy if he’s a terrorist, may have a switch of some kind. If that’s the case, there’s a chance that it’s not armed or at least isn’t a deadman switch because I can see his hands. Therefore, if he makes the slightest twitchy move toward a pocket or something inside that jacket, I’m gonna do my best to shove this pen through his eye and swirl it like I’ve heard doctors in insane asylums used to do during lobotomies. I’ll hope to God I’m right, and I’ll pray for forgiveness if I’m wrong.”

And that’s the way we flew to Dallas.


In retrospect the guy may simply have been afraid of flying. Lots of people are, and many of them pray through the entire flight.

Which brings me to my point(s).

Post San Bernardino it is clear that we can not know who is radicalized and who is not. We can’t know where the next attack is likely to come from. So I, like many Americans am interested more than ever in owning a gun, and obtaining a concealed carry permit.

If you’ve ever known a woman who was raped, she’ll tell you being vulnerable and feeling incapable of defending herself is almost as bad as the rape itself, because that vulnerability and fear is persistent.

Unfortunately, I’ve known several women who were raped. (Unfortunate because they had to endure rape and it’s aftermath.)

Every single one of these women carried a lot more in their purses than mints and powder. One of the women was attacked a second time by the same man, she put a bullet in him and experienced a sense of closure.

Her gun was illegal, she had no carry permit, and the kind police officers doctored the scene to make it look like the rapist had brought the gun and during the struggle my friend got the gun and fired point blank into his chest.

She lost the gun, but she knew where to get another one and called the loss, the “cost of doing business.”

Having seen the toll vulnerability and fear takes, and experienced similar vulnerability personally, I can say without hesitation that it’s not something anyone seeks out.

To fight fear some people pray. This brings them comfort, peace, and clarity, in the face of unimaginable horror or adversity. Sometimes, prayer makes people more merciful and provides a much needed time out, thus allowing clearer heads to rule the day.

Others take a proactive stance, attempting to control a situation and in asserting control, they achieve a clarity of purpose. I’m a control freak and therefore in the latter category.

I shamelessly want to get training in self defense. I will be carrying the biggest knife I can legally and practically carry, and want the appropriate training to be a concealed carry permit holder. I can’t see myself leaving my home unarmed ever again.

This is not fear… this is being prepared. I for one do not want to be put down like an ailing pet, or slaughtered in some mindless act of violence in service of a religion that is not my own.

Make no mistake, the terrorists are here in our country. They like to think of themselves as lone wolves. I want to join a pack of American Gray Wolves, (The gray wolf is the largest of the wolves,) and be ready to rip a lone wolf terrorist apart.

Indeed this shit has to stop, but it’s obviously not going to stop if we willingly become victims.

I’m confused and honestly angry that The President, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, and innumerable other politicians, reporters and celebrities saw fit to start with the anti-gun rhetoric before the bodies had even been removed from the IRC in San Bernardino.

I can’t believe that these so called leaders are advocating making us all easy targets and therefore victims. A body count is all we get from being unable to defend ourselves.

If just one or two guards, or people in that room had been able to shoot back and hit their target, there might be more people alive today. It’s possible that a six month old little girl abandoned at her grandmother’s house, might have her mommy and daddy albeit they’d be in prison but they’d be alive.

Another thing I’ve found really offensive over the past two days is the shaming, and denigration of prayer.

I had dismissed out of hand the concept that Christianity was under attack in this country. I’m re-evaluating that dismissal.

When did it become OK, even required to allow Muslims to pray while at the same time a Christian or Jew who prays is treated in the media as some kind of moron?

Regardless of your beliefs everyone prays in one way or another. There’s the old saying; “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” I personally believe that is a true statement.

Everyone in a dire situation calls upon a higher power. It’s human nature to ask for miraculous intervention. See every story about every deity ever named.

There is no shame in being human.


There is plenty of shame to go around when, in this country we try to deny people a simple moment of silence.

The shame can be spread like a thick layer of manure, when our leaders and journalists are disrespectful of the beliefs of Christians while at the same time pandering to the beliefs and demands of CAIR or Muslims in general.

The stench of shame rises like that of an overflowing porta-potty on a hot summer day when we accept that the NRA, Christians, Republicans, Gun Owners and Victims are conflated into one group, then blamed for somehow being responsible for Radicalized Jihadists legally obtaining guns then shooting innocent people in an orgy of Islamic religious ecstasy.

We all should feel shame that we’ve allowed ourselves to be inculcated against speaking our concerns about suspicious behavior out for fear of being called islamophobic or racist. That foul reek wafts across our land like rotting fish in sweltering August heat.

Our leaders are steeped in all this shame. And still they have the floor, they are safe behind their tax payer supplied armed security forces.

Standing on heaped bodies, they call for gun control, they call to end our 2nd ammendment rights, even as they blame everyone except the criminals for the heinous crime.

They ignore our demands for control, not of our guns, but control of our sovereign borders. They refuse to speak the name of our enemy.

In their profound arrogance, our leaders use anyone and any situation to forward their agendas and too many of us swallow partisan rhetoric dolled out in sound bites by the media resource we prefer to listen to, never once stopping to question the message.

Our leaders are right, this must stop, just not the way so many of them advocate.

Damn, I wish I thought of this when I was a kid.

At first I was in complete disbelief about the Texas school acting like they had a 14 year old bomber

Then this picture showed up, and I was sure that not only didn’t they have a bomber, the texas school district and police also didn’t have a “Whiz Kid” either.

I Call BULLSHIT!

Clock

The large RED rectangle is a standard LED. Available in almost any digital alarm clock

The little square in the foreground is a standard transformer.

The greenish rectangular board is a production quality wave soldered board. (The kid didn’t make this). And the kid didn’t do any of the soldering 

There’s a long board between the transformer and the what I take to be the main logic board. This appears to be a control board, most probably for buttons and switches required to set and control the clock.

The 9V battery connector is, I’m betting for a backup battery.

Sorry, this kid didn’t build anything. He gutted a standard cheap bedside alarm clock, then mounted the parts in a small box.

BIG DEAL!

clock1

The kid didn’t solder one thing, he didn’t etch those boards, he didn’t create or build anything. It even looks like he kept the plastic strain relief on the A/C cord.

Initial reports said he showed this to a shop / or engineering class teacher. 

I don’t care if the teacher was unable to identify this kludge, surely the teacher recognized that there’s nothing explosive here.

The question is what was the kid trying to do? Was he trying to impress the teacher for some reason? If the teacher was in fact an engineering teacher SHAME on them for not recognizing they weren’t looking at a kit or homemade circuit boards.

I’m looking at a photo and easily see the evidence of manufacturing and standardization. 

It’s probable the original mechanism looked a lot like the photo at right.

Just because the mess is electronic it doesn’t mean that the kid is a genius!

Now this kid’s getting job and college offers and being invited to the White House!

Really? 

If I’d only known, I’d have splayed a computer across a briefcase and gone to MIT on a full scholarship years ago.

Don’t misunderstand, I applaud the kid’s curiosity.

He should be encouraged to learn how to really build electronics and put stuff together.  I saw one twitter account that offered the kid some “Educational electronic kits”. That’s constructive…

People falling all over themselves, gushing about simple transplantation into a new case is not.

There’ve been several articles reporting that the school, due to it’s Zero Tolerance Policy, had no choice but to report “Suspicious” articles students bring to school.

So, everything that followed from the point of him showing the device to a clueless teacher, was programmed by a policy based in absolute mindless following of rules, instead of common sense. Which means that the kid’s arrest  was not about race or religion, it was simply procedural. I generally hate Zero Tolerance policies, in this case, perhaps the policy highlights an issue.

Apparently there is more to the story now.

The kid is changing schools, it seems that his father is a sometimes candidate for the presidency of Sudan, and a constant voice in the narrative about islamophobia.

All of which calls into question this whole event.

I don’t believe for an instant that the kid did anything creative here. I wonder if he was just trying to rattle cages. Reports say that he was told by the “Engineering” teacher not to show this around. Okay, why didn’t that teacher simply say “Hey, leave this here with me and pick it up at the end of school.”  That would have solved any number of problems, but it also would have required that the teacher accept responsibility.

Oh yeah, in this world, acceptance of responsibility is strictly forbidden.

My Bad!


Since I started writing this piece there’ve been several other pieces written which have debunked the narrative of “Brilliant Whiz Kid.”

I also find myself unable to refrain from pointing out the rather large elephant in the room.

In the Middle East IEDs are commonly built from re-tasked devices.  Is it Islamophobia to point that out? Is it Islamophobia to say the school may have acted properly and with caution?

Originally, when the first reports were blaring across the airwaves, I though “Oh God, Texas you’ve got to be kidding” 

Now, I think the school, and LEO acted completely within reason. 

Hey Daesh You’re funny!

FBI

Last night I’m listening to the news and one of the national broadcasts says something like; the FBI acknowledges Daesh supporters are in the US.

Further, Daesh (ISIS) communications out of the middle east are calling for American Daesh members to either join Daesh in Syria or if they can’t get to Syria they’re to kill as many Americans as possible here in the States.

JapanWWII

It occurs to me that Daesh might want to talk to the Japanese about that course of action.

I suppose I could also make a case for them talking to the British too, but at the time of the revolution we weren’t quite a country. We were working on it and the British stood in the way.

Japan, on the other hand attacked us on our soil. While we’re good friends with Japan now… At the time we went crazy.

DaeshCharm

We put Japanese Americans in internment camps. Then we bombed the living shit out of Japanese bases throughout the Pacific, then we bombed the shit out of Japan’s industrial areas on the island of Japan. Our sanity ONLY returned after we dropped the second nuclear weapon on Japan. Even then, it took us a long ass time to simmer down.

We went a little nuts after 9/11 and we all know where that ended up.

So Daesh, you really want to rethink your strategy.

DeathValley

We can herd anyone who even smells like a Daesh supporter into an internment camp in a big expanse of our country that’s environmentally similar to your home countries.

This place is aptly named “Death Valley“…

On the plus side I grudgingly should thank you in advance. I suspect I won’t have time later, because I’ll be at the gun range.

punisher

The first time your rogue fifth column manages to kill anyone, the progressive left’s assault on our second amendment will effectively end. I imagine gun sales will punch to new all time highs and concealed carry permits will be available just for the asking. That is, IF permits are required AT ALL.

Daesh, here’s a little friendly advice.

Startingyoung

Don’t start a shooting war in the Southern United States. You’ll loose badly! I was target shooting with my Dad and Grandpa by the time I was five. Most of my friends are just like me, we all know how to shoot, hunt, and gut our kill. You really don’t want us to start hunting you!

Ya might also want to avoid causing a ruckus in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia or the Dakotas. People in those states are generally nice, peaceful, church going, folks, but if you piss ‘em off… well you better hope you’re right with God because they’ll arrange a meeting for you.

If however, you really want to party… I’m absolutely sure that Americans will bring the party favors.