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Monday, November 10, 2014

Net neutality, neo-cons and FBI malware

You've got mail -- from the FBI. People are talking about FBI Director James Comey's admission that the Bureau used a malware-laced email attachment to catch a 15 year-old who had made bomb threats against his school.
Comey said the agent posing as an AP reporter asked the suspect to review a fake AP article about threats and cyberattacks directed at the school, "to be sure that the anonymous suspect was portrayed fairly."

The bogus article contained a software tool that could verify Internet addresses. The suspect clicked on a link, revealing his computer's location and Internet address, which helped agents confirm his identity.
You can bet the rent money that the Bureau has used similar tactics against targets who posed a less obvious threat.

Long-time readers may recall that, at one point during the 2008 campaign, more than a year's worth of emails went mysteriously missing from my old Yahoo email account. Not long before, I had opened an attachment that came (allegedly) from "Evelyn Pringle." (I had frequently quoted Evelyn Pringle investigative research into Obama.) The attachment turned out to be blank. I wiped the drive -- but not soon enough, alas. When I brought the matter to Yahoo's attention, their reply was...strange.

From that time to this, the only attachments I've opened came from people I know very well -- and who communicate via other email accounts.

Run as a liberatarian, govern as a neocon. One of the untold stories of the last election is that the Republicans often won by running attacking the Dems from the left, at least on certain key issues.
Indeed, it is now possible for a Republican soldier like Frank Luntz to explain the Republican victory by writing, “People say Washington is broken and on the decline, that government no longer works for them — only for the rich and powerful.”
The Koch brothers’ pals basically swiped this whole critique of Obamacare from the populist left.

American Crossroads, one of Karl Rove’s personal agitprop units, was even worse, constantly pounding Democratic candidates with critiques that were also derived from, well, us. The group, or one of its allied super PACs, assailed Mark Begich for allegedly paying female staffers less than he pays men. It described Rep. Bruce Braley as being “on the side of billionaire special interests, not Iowa workers,” a reference to campaign donations Braley got from the wealthy environmentalist Tom Steyer. It accused Sen. Kay Hagan of cutting Medicare to pay for Obamacare and blasted her for supporting a “controversial” plan to raise the Social Security retirement age — a reference to the Bowles-Simpson Grand Bargain, which was only “controversial” because people like Paul Krugman opposed it.
There are many more examples. Infuriatingly, these same pseudo-lefties -- or pseudo-liberatarians -- are now demanding an interventionist foreign policy far to Obama's right. And that's going some, because -- let's face it -- Obama is already an intolerable interventionist.

In Forbes, Doug Brandow writes:
Unfortunately, pressure for military intervention will grow with Republican control of the Senate. That body’s most war-happy members, such as John McCain, will enjoy increased influence.

The result of any new conflicts likely will be similar as before. America will be intervening again in a few years to try to clean up the mess it is creating today. And then going to war a few years after that for the same reason.
Even Rand Paul is an interventionist now:
Kentucky senator Rand Paul tells the AP that he would seek to "destroy ISIS militarily" if he were president:
Speaking to a ballroom later, some of the loudest applause for Paul came when he quipped: "If the president has no strategy, maybe it's time for a new president."

In an emailed comment, however, Paul elaborated by saying: "If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily."
Don't expect this Congress to offer much of a fight. Republicans will say anything to get elected -- but once in office, dreams of empire take hold.

I wish I could say that Democrats never dream those dreams, but lately...

Obama does something right. Credit where due, and all that. Our President has belatedly taken the correct stance on net neutrality. He even went so far as to say that internet providers should be public utilities...
“For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access into and out of your home or business,” Mr. Obama, who is traveling in Asia, said in a statement and a video on the White House website. “It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call or a packet of data.”
The vast majority of people who wrote to the FCC on this issue have expressed support for neutrality. However, the tea partiers continue to denounce the very idea. Ted Cruz, a senator whom we may call "Mr. TP," offered a particularly insane attack:
"Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
Remember, the people who want to end net neutrality are the ones who intend to slow down your access to certain websites. Before Obamacare, only the better-off could get health care. When net neutrality ends, only those who pay a premium will be able to see sites like this one.
Neo cons stopped being neo cons just long enough to dupe progressives.

I heard a rant on KFI radio last Sunday that put together some successes the Obama administration has had of late, including unemployment being down, gasoline prices down, stock market double what it was when he took office, and so on.

However, Obama did basically nothing to protect millions of homeowners from unfair foreclosures, instead choosing a much longer route that only now offers some respite. I think Obama peeled off perhaps 5 million of his core followers because of his lack of foreclosure protection and that probably did the democrats in this time around.
It's hard to know if Obama's refusal to adhere to his ostensibly progressive principals was the result of his pulling a fast one on the electorate or if he was brought to heel by the real power within the US government, but either way the outcome was the same.

He didn't even attempt to fight for single payer healthcare; he ceded that before the fight even started. He collapsed like a house of cards during the debt ceiling hostage negotiations, which effectively allowed the GOP to tie his hands. He didn't go to the mat to close Guantanamo, he didn't immediately pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, he didn't demand a truth and reconciliation commission t deal with the torture issue, nor did he ever acknowledge the lies and propaganda that got us into those wars in the first place.

The stock market recovering has far less to do with Obama than it does with the fact that corporations have been hoarding profits since the financial crisis. Wages have been stagnant but the parasitic capital class is doing just fine reaping all of the profits for themselves.

He's been largely silent on the environment, didn't bring his fist down during the Cliven Bundy debacle, remained largely silent during Ferguson, oversaw the coordinated police action against the Occupy movement, and failed to bring even a single banker to trial for their roles in the mortgage crisis.

In short, he's no progressive hero. The machine kills those. It's almost as if Obama was installed to solidify the belief that there is no room in American politics for anyone with even a slightly progressive agenda.

Also, would it have killed him to have made this overwhelmingly popular comment about the internet before the midterms? He waits until after the slaughter? What a schmuck.
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