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More Trumped-up nonsense? December 11, 2015

Posted by wastedspacer in Government, Islam, Political Issues, Rants.
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donald-trumpWhile I find almost all of the seemingly hateful rhetoric from the odious Donald Trump distasteful I find it even more challenging to totally condemn all of it when visiting the UK¬†I stumble upon material that actually appears to support some of his claims. A particular example: as Trump alluded, there really may be seemingly radicalized no-go areas in London where many local inhabitants and some UK Police officers feel this way ūüė¶

Daily Mail article citing a number of British Police Officers unable to wear a uniform in some parts of London.

News clip on emerging “No-Go” areas in London from 2012.

Trump’s¬†approach to dealing with¬†Islam are nothing new, here’s an interview from 2011 where he makes his views on Islam clear.

The problem with all of this material is that it focuses mostly on the most radical and extreme aspects of Islam. Nobody bothers making a documentary on “normal” tolerant¬†Muslims since it would in all likelihood be rather boring.

However, I also think Trump in his incessant bouts of (possibly feigned)¬†stupidity has extrapolated his suggestion of a ban for US incoming Muslims as akin to the wartime proclamations of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, including ‚ÄúAlien Enemies ‚ÄĒ Japanese‚ÄĚ (No. 2525); ‚ÄúAlien Enemies ‚ÄĒ German (No. 2526).‚ÄĚ . His kindergarten level logic suggests while not only the US but the entire civilized part of the planet is at war with “Islamic State” and IS claim to be the only “true” Muslims. Trump therefore is absurdly supporting the IS view and presents a statement that all Muslims must be banned from US entry for the time being! What he missed is that part of the civilized world IS MUSLIM most of who will declare that miniscule number of Islamic State followers violate just about every tenet of what it is to actually be a devout Muslim!

So why would we want to ban those who would be allied against IS rather than turn them away at the door and risk alienating a few to the point they become radicalized!

The same simplistic logic could be applied to ban Christians if we used the doctrine of Timothy McVeigh, the KKK or the Spanish Inquisition as paragons of Christianity they clearly would be unwelcome in a civilized society.¬†However,¬†when compared to other¬†religions Islam¬†has many political¬†and more subversive components¬†perhaps making it¬†a more¬†effective religious platform from which to launch radical ideals ūüė¶ Take a look at the Islam and Politics Crash Course.

Perhaps Trump is merely a self-appointed spokesperson for a large contingent of society that refuses to evolve? Here in Britain there is an ever increasing backlash from both Islamic and non-Islamic factions.

Here’s a few¬†examples from several years ago¬†illustrating growing hatred within a polarized British society: Driving through a formerly innocuous part of London

A series of UK documentaries about the same time titled “Generation Jihad” paint a similar story:

The bottom line is that with the current trend, it would appear that civilized society as we know it is on the verge of collapse. Above all we need new counter-terrorism directions despite¬†media fuelled societal,¬†and¬†political¬†imperatives to react violently with even more indiscriminate military action¬†or to¬†create even more¬†“care-bear” security policies with new taxpayer funded organizations. To fear, collectively identify, react¬†and acknowledge the terrorist simply adds credibility and more encouragement to those hate groups.

If societal collapse is ever to have a hope of reversal,  massive majority of the civilized and tolerant world must rally together. Despite threats, enable avenues of communication, reach out to educate the ignorant and the religiously repressed and to ultimately stop fomenting hatred.  Easier said than done especially from within more radicalized societies but everyone who advocates tolerance over hatred and knowledge over ignorance needs to drive towards this goal despite the threats from within.

Where do we stop? Does banning Muslims at the US border actually provide a solution or merely further inflames the domestic¬†Muslim communities already resident within each country’s borders?

Darkweb and the consumer facing state of Cybercrime November 10, 2015

Posted by wastedspacer in Government, IT Security, Social State.
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The latest BBC Panorama episode (now available via YouTube) is a really effective and appropriately disturbing expose on the current state of cybercrime:

BBC Panorama How Hackers Steal Your ID BBC Documentary 2015

Darkweb = the eBay of Cybercriminality!

On the 9th of November BBC Panaroma put together this thought-provoking piece on the current state of the Darkweb. The primary focus was the volume of valid and current credit card numbers including the CVV were generally available via BitCoin payment for just a few dollars.

The recent internet provider breaches Talk-Talk and Comcast are merely the latest examples of known identity thefts that have been offered for sale via the Darkweb.

Many thefts begin with just general situational awareness and basic contact details (such as provided by these breaches) can provide organized criminal call-centers essential ingredients to perpetrate convincing but sophisticated identity theft along with personally targeted financial fraud.

According to the documentary, the Darkweb also provides sophisticated storefronts anonymously used by criminals to access all manner of highly illegal activities: Drugs, human and organ trafficking, child pornography, guns, valid passports, and even contract killings!

This raises the question: Is the leading edge of cybercrime pulling away from the ability of our law enforcement agencies to combat it?

Sadly¬†the Panorama piece’s¬†rather¬†tepid “keep your anti-virus program current” advice from London Police commissioner – Adrian Leppard is not even altogether sound. Antivirus programs, once considered bastions of cyber-defense are marginalized and¬†now under serious attack¬†when seen by criminal hackers (and government spy agencies) as themselves potentially¬†effective methods of malware delivery!

There are at least some publicly known indications of a response from international law enforcement such as the JTRIG team at the UKs GCHQ in concert with the NCA (National Crime Agency).

A simple credo to apply to all things internet related –¬†always be seriously cynical and TNO (Trust NoOne)

DMV = Department of Misguided Values! September 9, 2015

Posted by wastedspacer in Government.
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Earlier this year we bought a BMW i3 electric vehicle. It puts the ‚Äúfun‚ÄĚ back in funky, my wife and I affectionately refer to the new wheels as Sparkie.

For our anniversary, my wife ordered an appropriate custom plate for the i3 Рnamely SPARK13 (Sparkie and Sparki3 were already in use). Otherwise this seemed to me a pretty innocuous request. Imagine our surprise when we received a letter that the plate designation had been refused after being scrutinized and presumably extensively researched by the sinister sounding DMV Special Processing Unit!  According to the mandarins at this unit there may be an alleged gang affiliation and they use of CA Vehicle Code Section 5105 to deny our request. Seriously, do they think any self-respecting gang-banger is going to brag and get any street cred seen driving an EV?

Spark13

So dear DMV, you keep asking the public for more money to fix the ocean of potholes crippling California freeways. Why not look closer to home to see the types of low-value activities where you appear to employ a significant number of well compensated staff.

I searched for images, references and other possible known gang affiliations but turned up nothing matching the reference. The closest thing I could find suggests the affiliation they picked up on¬†could be¬†this Hispanic gang out of Santa Clarita: “Val Verde park 13“. I would have to recharge the i3 a couple of times along the way to even make it to Santa Clarita!

I am totally nonplussed! Compared to all the paraphernalia they CAN’T control like¬†gang derived stencils, ganger styling, bumper stickers and car-paint schemes – the license plate is a miniscule and almost irrelevant issue! In fact I would suggest that having gang affiliation license plates would make law-enforcement tracking of “persons -of-interest” MUCH easier!

Based on recent estimates, the California DMV currently employs approaching ten thousand personnel. Given the average employee expected salary and burden, the costs to the taxpayer should be well North of $1 billion. Saving some of this burden by eliminating pointless processes might mean there is more money left over to go and fix more of those darned potholes!

filling_in_potholes

Rant over, drive safe out there!