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Daily Digest 3/7 - Republicans Unveil Health Care Bill, 'Deep State' Rumblings?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 9:26 AM

Economy

Republicans Unveil Health Care Bill to Bridge Gaps in Party (jdargis)

Seven years after Republicans began promising repeal, the proposal is the most comprehensive look yet at how the GOP will approach replacing the health law, which brought coverage to an estimated 20 million people. Republicans have blamed the ACA for rising insurance premiums and high out-of-pocket costs, and criticized its requirement that everyone have health insurance or pay a penalty.

'Obamacare Lite'? Not Quite. (jdargis)

There’s a much more radical change to Medicaid in the bill, though, and it involves the restructuring of the program’s federal funding to a hard per-capita cap. The full ramifications of that restructuring can be viewed in detail here, but suffice to say that states will probably be receiving less federal funds than before, and will have much less flexibility year-to-year in their spending. Additionally, the funding increases scheduled to allow Medicaid funding to keep up with medical inflation have been reduced from the original draft bill.

Rumblings of a ‘Deep State’ Undermining Trump? It Was Once a Foreign Concept (jdargis)

Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Bannon has used the term “deep state” publicly. But each has argued that there is an orchestrated effort underway, fueled by leaks and enabled by the news media, to cut down the new president and interfere with his agenda.

“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said on Sunday.

Oklahoma state bill would let property owners shoot down drones (jdargis)

American law does not currently recognize the concept of aerial trespass. But as the consumer drone age has taken flight, legal scholars have increasingly wondered about this situation. The best case-law on the issue dates back to 1946, long before inexpensive consumer drones were technically feasible. That year, the Supreme Court ruled in a case known as United States v. Causby that a farmer in North Carolina could assert property rights up to 83 feet in the air.

Donald Trump's Worst Deal (jdargis)

The Trump Tower Baku originally had a construction budget of a hundred and ninety-five million dollars, but it went through multiple revisions, and the cost ended up being much higher. The tower was designed by a local architect, and in its original incarnation it had an ungainly roof that suggested the spikes of a crown. A London-based architecture firm, Mixity, redesigned the building, softening its edges and eliminating the ornamental roof. By the time the Trump team officially joined the project, in May, 2012, many condominium residences had already been completed; at the insistence of Trump Organization staffers, most of the building’s interior was gutted and rebuilt, and several elevators were added.

EPA relationship with Monsanto under scrutiny in Roundup trial (jdargis)

Several countries, including Colombia, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Bermuda, and the Netherlands have responded to the IARC cancer listing by banning the sale of Roundup and other herbicides that contain glyphosate. Argentina, Brazil, and Germany are considering bans, and France banned their use in home gardens.

Trump To Undo Fuel Efficiency Standards (Michael K.)

"If the Trump administration were to rely on facts and sound science, they would come to the same conclusion that the EPA staff and outside experts reached: The 2025 standards are achievable and in a way that will save consumers trillions in fuel costs," Margo Oge, former head of the EPA’s office of transportation and air quality, told the LA Times.

The Amazon forest is the result of an 8,000-year experiment (jdargis)

Working with data from the Amazon Tree Diversity Network, Levis and her colleagues identified 85 domesticated tree species out of 4,962 species in the Amazon. But these 85 species had an outsized influence on the composition of the forest itself. "We found that 20 of these 85 domesticated species are hyperdominants: five times higher than the number of hyperdominant species expected by chance," they write in Science. Overall, about 20 percent of all species in the Amazon forest today are the result of ancient domestication. In areas where large ancient civilizations existed, the numbers of domestics are closer to 30 percent.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 3/6/17

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11 Comments

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
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Vault 7

I'm on my phone today as our internet is down.  

Are you guys catching the Vault 7 WikiLeak stuff?

Jim H's picture
Jim H
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initial review... vault 7

Time2help's picture
Time2help
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Weirder by the day

SWAT Raids Home of Armed Washington Post Employee Posing as ICE Agent (EventChronicle)

Quote:

An IT engineer employed by the Washington Post was arrested last month for allegedly impersonating an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, and trying to enforce laws.

Itai Ozderman, 35, who currently lives in Maryland, is accused of dressing as an ICE agent, complete with bulletproof vest with the ICE logo, in Falls Church, Virginia, on multiple occasions.

When a SWAT team raided his home on February 22, they discovered body armor, tactical vests, ammunition, and 10 weapons, including several handguns, rifles, and a shotgun. He also had a Baltimore County Police Department badge and a fully-functioning police radio.

Ozderman was born in Israel and has never worked for ICE, or any police department, according to the Department of Homeland Security. He had been working at the Washington Post for approximately two years, and was previously at a software company. It is unclear when he moved to the United States.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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vault 7

Every single new revelation just underscores my enthusiasm for never, ever employing "smart" appliances.  They're just another surface for an attack.  Is anyone really surprised that the camera and mic on the samsung "smart TV" was hacked?  If you are surprised...you haven't been paying attention.

And for those who imagine that "p2p financial transactions are unstoppable" - I give you, Vault 7.  If its not the NSA owning your box, it will be the CIA.  And maybe the FBI.  We have yet to hear from them.

And these are just two US operators.  You imagine that China are just a bunch of rubes?  How about Russia?  Idiots, all?

And once the weaponized malware makes its way out of the intel agencies and into private hands, as it seems to have done already, these same tools will be applied to financial accounts (or to vulnerable central banks - SWIFT) for fun and profit.

You imagine that these guys can't break into your computer and swipe all your bitcoins?  At the very least, store them on a USB stick that you don't use for anything else, and you never leave plugged into your computer.

One small example of how hard it is to stop this sort of thing.  You might imagine that snipping mic wires on your computer will protect you from room-bug hacks.  I once had such delusions.

As the hardware types will no doubt remember, electrically, speakers are not very different from mics - and on the computer end, all you need to do is switch the output to an input, apply an A/D converter, and Bob is your Uncle.  Its called "jack retasking" - which can be done entirely in software.  Apparently almost all audio chips provide this functionality built-in, and the device drivers even implement it, but from what we can tell, "almost no-one seems to use it, or even know about it."

https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2016/11/24/how-your-speakers-could-be-turned-into-eavesdropping-microphones/

Most of today’s built-in sound cards are to some degree retaskable, which means that they can be used for more than one thing… the kernel exposes an interface that makes it possible to retask your jacks, but almost no one seems to use it, or even know about it.

So every computer that has speakers attached can act as a microphone.

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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Israeli Itai Ozderman Impersonates Police and ICE LEOs

Time2Help posted this link above in a news source I had never heard of.  Here it is from Sputnik News (owned by the Russian government).

https://sputniknews.com/us/201703071051358106-wapo-employee-raided-imper...

Here is a briefer version on ABC News

http://www.abc2news.com/news/state/montgomery-co-police-charge-man-with-...

This guy, Itai Ozderman, is Israeli (or from Israel), works at WaPo (which is firmly aligned with the Neocon group trying to take down Trump), impersonates both a Baltimore Police Officer and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent ("multiple times").  And of course, immigration enforcement policy is the biggest wedge being driven between Trump and the liberal GREEN Meme citizenry.

It is reported in a Russian news agency, which is understood to have an interest in Trump's longevity.

Is Ozderman a Mossad agent?  Is he a part of a larger operation?  (Israeli spy networks have been documented to operate in the US.)

Lets see what becomes of this.  I would love to have the LEO's help track this situation.  Will it be settled out of court quietly?  Will it disappear completely and quietly?   Or was this a "lone deranged nut-case."

Tim Ladson's picture
Tim Ladson
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Posts: 78
Disconnect ?

I have all of our "smart" enabled electronics including wifi, which to my thinking disconnects the Apple products, on surge protected power strips that I turn off when not in use, does that offer any protection ?

Tim.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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Posts: 5067
power down

If the spyware/"smart" product has a big battery you're still hosed; your iphone can still happily store everything you say for retransmission later.  The TV - I'm not sure what sort of battery it might have.  Its probably just the one for keeping the clock alive during power down.  You notice that most things these days don't need to have their clocks set?  That's because of batteries.

Recording / compressing sound is fairly power intensive - with the compression taking most of the power.  It probably can't run for too long, so unplugging probably keeps you safe, unless the battery has a decent size.

Some computers actually have a wacky "extra" CPU that is separate from the main CPU that runs on the battery that can receive control packets over the Ethernet.  That used to just be in the server space (good for fixing computers that had failed - you could ask the small, low-power supervisor computer to poke at the "main" computer via the ethernet) but maybe the PCs have them today.  I don't know.

You should definitely think of your router as a computer.  I'm not certain there's an actual speaker inside, but there sure might be.  Speaker = mic.  Most routers have a cut-down version of a general purpose OS inside them - some variant of linux.  You don't have to scratch the surface very hard to be able to log in (via telnet, or SSH) to your router and play with it as if it were a real computer.  Mainly because it is.  It has flash, and memory; I've reflashed routers with new versions of the OS & filesystem.  http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index

I'd guess dd-wrt is better/safer than the standard OS shipped with your router which never, ever gets fixed.  Once there's a known zero day in your router, pretty much anyone can own it at any time.  And a router is a great jumping-off place to infect everything on the network.

Your printer also runs an OS.  Does it have a speaker too?  If it can "beep", then I think so.  And printer firmware never gets upgraded.  There were some really awesome hacks a few years back where you get sent a document to print out that when you actually print it, it definitely ends up spitting out a document, but it also infects your printer with malware that lets it act as an ethernet monitoring device.  HP had a whole line of printers that were "ownable" this way.

It takes about $10 in chips today to enable a battery-powered general purpose computer.  I.e. a roombug that runs Linux, that can talk over wifi or bluetooth or ethernet.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1598272670/chip-the-worlds-first-9-computer

In short, power off is good, but may not be complete if the thing has a decent-sized battery.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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Binney Says: "Trump was absolutely right"

https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-03-07/nsa-whistleblower-bill-binney-says-trump-is-absolutely-right-about-wiretap-claims

President Donald Trump is "absolutely right" to claim he was wiretapped and monitored, a former NSA official claimed Monday, adding that the administration risks falling victim to further leaks if it continues to run afoul of the intelligence community.

"I think the president is absolutely right. His phone calls, everything he did electronically, was being monitored," Bill Binney, a 36-year veteran of the National Security Agency who resigned in protest from the organization in 2001, told Fox Business on Monday. Everyone's conversations are being monitored and stored, Binney said.

 
Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
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Posts: 772
Aside from that, the numbers say all computers are hacked.

Just a point: in 1992, we had the Pentium, Windows 3.1, and SVGA. The main component of consumption of processing is video /sound analysis and manipulation, so you can scale the additional amount of power that SHOULD be required by the increase in graphical capability. What comes out is that your computer does about 100 times more work nowadays.

But the thing is still slow?

It's got more than 10000 times the speed.

So you're only getting 1% of your power. Something else ("system processes") is actually using the rest.

It isn't resting, or it wouldn't slow you down.

So the numbers told me long ago that some security state has a massive thumb on everyone's computer.

We KNOW the NSA hacked the Cisco server hardware. We also know there's a Verizon building dedicated to illegal wiretaps. (thanks, NPR, for gaslighting us by saying that it would require too many players involved to be possible, the NSA, the telecomms, and such.)

We KNOW that there is a lot of hacking dedicated to jumping the air gap, that already was done by a security state.
So I long ago concluded that my computer mainly isn't mine.

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
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Umm, look it up; USB is also a hacked computer.

Every USB stick has its own processor, predesigned to be hackable, preset to enable malware to "jump the airgap". And yes, the computers are also able to be infected by soundwaves from one computer to another.

In other words, it wasn't just software that was hacked; it wasn't just CISCO hardware that was hacked ; it is the whole kit-n-kaboodle.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 5067
i agree

Yes I agree about the USB sticks.  However, I believe that having bitcoin on USB is better than having them on your drive.  It moves you from the category of "low hanging fruit" to the second tier of "more difficult to get."

Using soundwaves as a transport - do you have any links that provide examples?  Certainly its possible (as we know, those 300 baud modems used sound on those old POTS lines) but it would be pretty low bandwidth.  If the only thing you needed to communicate were command messages (turn on wifi/turn on bluetooth/tell me who you are) then it would be pretty effective, assuming the environment wasn't too noisy.  That's yet another example of me not being paranoid enough.

Re: your "cpu" performance analysis; I don't think there is ongoing, active surveillance on every computer everywhere.  If you are overseas, or you do anything "suspicious" (such as using encrypted communications), then possibly yes, but there is always the problem of data exfil and data overload.

I also think that software bloat easily accounts for eating up all that CPU speed.  That's something I observed long ago.  I use python now - way back when, I used C.  C is much, much faster in production, but with the current CPU speeds, that performance difference doesn't matter for general computing tasks, and python requires 1/3 the lines of code do the same thing, sometimes even 1/10th, while being maybe 5-10 times slower (or worse).  So for me, the speed/productivity choice is easy, and it shows up on your end as a tax on your CPU.

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