Bitcoin Swatting in New York

Posted by Keeley on October 27, 2014 at 9:37 PM

ServingJustice is a hacker who released key personal information about a judge in New York, Katherine Forrest, to protest the trial she is handling of Ross Ulbritch, the suspected owner of Silk Road, a digital site that was used to trade narcotics. "I hope some drug cartel that lost money with the seizure of Silk Road will murder this lady and her entire family." This anonymous hacker is certainly a young high IQ male with an anarchist pose, given the language and the fairly recent tradition of swatting or phoning in false alarms to ensure a swat team or other police force surrounds the house of, for example, someone who is beating you in a video game, as recently happened. That someone with a high degree of computing skills also possesses such a low degree of any sense of civic purpose, is a real problem with the emerging decentralized digital currencies, featuring Bitcoin but including others as well. Swindlers, drug dealers, utopian radicals, and computer-literate misfits co-exist with businessmen and women willing to invest in their schemes in the expectation of widespread adoption sometime soon.

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Could the Ottawa Shooter Have Been Stopped?

Posted by Keeley on October 23, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was a petty criminal with robbery and drug charges, born in Quebec, Canada, who had converted to Islam. But according to police north of the border he was a "lone wolf" with no connection to ISIL. You see, he wasn't on a police list, so he couldn't have been weaponized. He couldn't possibly have been motivated to act out violently against innocent civilians and murder Corporal Nathan Cirillo, from Hamilton, Canada, a reservist with dreams of becoming a full time member of the Canadian military and who died from gunshot wounds to the abdomen suffered while guarding the National War Memorial a few blocks from the Parliament Buildings. Until Michael Zehaf-Bibeau appears on some list, he can't possibly have a connection to islamic terrorism, specifically ISIL, according to police in Canada.

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Panetta Spills the Beans on Obama's Foreign Policy

Posted by SPBrooker on October 20, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Leon Panetta, the former Director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense for President Obama, criticizes his former boss in his just released memoir. Where Gates and Clinton both offered minor criticisms of the president in their books, Panetta takes the award for the most scathing in Worthy Fights. Central to Panetta's views of Obama are that the latter is prone to taking half steps and hesitating in foreign matters, both which have contributed to our deteriorating position internationally. The picture that Panetta paints is one that has been spoken of for some time, that policy in the White House is highly political and that Obama is more concerned with what his personal advisors say than those of cabinet members. To hear this from someone as senior Panetta though is shocking and reveals an administration that is lost in foreign policy.

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Colorado Please Just Vote

Posted by AllardK on October 14, 2014 at 8:57 PM

Last year, several counties in Colorado apparently put forth ballot measures to secede from the state in reaction to gun laws and renewable energy quotas enacted by the state legislature. The measure was successful in several northwestern counties but was voted down in other counties, including Weld county, by far the most populous county of those that voted, and so the measure did not prosper. But it was a warning shot across the bows and a strident display of Colorado voter activism in a state that has a history of keeping a cautious eye on their legislature. So perhaps predicting exactly how new regulations on mail-in ballots will affect the results of midterm elections for senator in Colorado should be approached cautiously. In a fairly tight race, both sides are predictably saying the new rules will favor their candidate. In an average of recent polls Republican Rep Cory Gardner led Democratic Senator Mark Udall by a little over 1 percentage point. So how the new rules affect undecided voters is clearly important to the results.

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Free markets & peace

Posted by Christine & John on October 11, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Free markets are good not only for economic reasons. They also remove many causes of conflict by providing an effective way to make common decisions w/o forcing everyone agree on a common course of action. They disperse decision making and dilute identities. People in a market economy have a large variety of interests instead of just a few that they can fight about. This is the article that got me thinking about this.

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If you vote Democrat this fall you are voting for Obama

Posted by Christine & John on October 10, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Republicans have long been unhappy with President Obama, but now even Democrats are so ashamed of him they won't even admit they supported him. The latest features the Democratic candidate for Senate in Kentucky refusing to admit she even voted for the man.

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News today about dropping energy prices

Posted by Christine & John on October 9, 2014 at 7:17 AM

We underestimate the power of the American energy boom and how it has strengthened us. Our economy is still not booming, but w/o the energy bonanza we would be in much more serious trouble. But the biggest boost is geopolitical. We have taken the energy weapon out of the hands of various adversaries. Imagine dealing with Putin or the Iranians if they could still wield the energy hammer.

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The Secret Service Debacle: Terrifying

Posted by SPBrooker on October 6, 2014 at 9:20 PM

As of late the Secret Service has come under heavy scrutiny for a variety of incidents over the past few years which have made it fodder for comedy. These range from the prostitution, drunken escapades in Columbia that involved over 10 agents to a night of drunk partying in the Netherlands that saw an agent fall asleep in the hallway of a hotel. Most recently though, the misstep made by the Secret Service is in no way comedic, rather it is quite alarming. What I speak of is the September 19th case of a man who jumped the White House fence and ran into the building. This isn't a partisan issue for me; this is the matter of an agency that serves to protect the most powerful man in the world, thoroughly failing at its mission.

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Obama and the ISIS Blame Game

Posted by SPBrooker on October 1, 2014 at 12:33 PM

This past Sunday, President Obama speaking on 60 Minutes admitted that the U.S. underestimated ISIS. More specifically, the blame was placed on Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. True our intelligence community, which mind with its enormous budget and resources has blundered quite often. But when members of that same intelligence community along with military leaders, and civilians of all sorts have been saying this is a group that deserves further attention for well over the past year, I think a good portion of the blame should also fall on the shoulders of the president. I've said this before and I'll say it again, playing the blame game is not a sign of leadership.

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Farewell Eric Holder!

Posted by SPBrooker on September 26, 2014 at 8:21 PM

On Thursday September 25th, Attorney General Eric Holder announced he is to resign from his position since assuming it nearly six years ago. I for one am not sad to see him go as I never really cared for him. A close friend of President Obama and one of the last remaining members of the original cabinet, I always saw Holder as a political tool used by the president. Despite whatever good he has done, his legacy will be forever scarred by multiple scandals including Fast and Furious while he will be viewed as having performed his job with a heavy political bias. Now we must wait and see who is appointed by the president and I can only hope that it is a person more interested in applying the law through an objective lens.

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The Disconnect between the President and His Generals

Posted by SPBrooker on September 24, 2014 at 7:41 PM

In the war against IS, a rift has already emerged between the President and the military leadership. The root of the rift is the question over the use of ground troops, something President Obama has explicitly ruled out. This isn't the first time Obama and the military haven't seen eye to eye nor is it unique to this presidency. What does make this unique at least to me is how public it is and that it isn't one flag officer speaking out but many, both active and former. Ultimately the opposition from the military primarily centers on the president limiting their ability to effectively destroy IS.

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Scottish Independence From the Viewpoint of An American

Posted by SPBrooker on September 22, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Right now U.S. media is giving full attention to IS in Iraq and Syria and U.S. plans to attack this radical group. Unfortunately what is not getting so much attention is the upcoming vote on independence in the United Kingdom. After weeks of polls showing the probability of independence being gained by the Scotts as a far off dream, the situation has suddenly changed with such a prospect becoming a very real possibility when the vote takes place Thursday September 18th. As a history buff and an Anglophile, the prospect of a break-up of the union is worrisome. More importantly if such an event were to occur, the ramifications wouldn't be confined to sentimental fluff. There are big consequences for the EU and for existing international security structures. This vote deserves far more attention than what it is receiving.

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The dilemma of dilettantes

Posted by Christine & John on September 18, 2014 at 9:09 AM

I will probably have to retire next year & I am looking for things to do. Among other things, I am considering part-time teaching. This would be a way to share some of my education and experience with the next generation. They call this a generative aspiration because it is meant to be helpful and useful. But it is also a bit of a problem in today's labor market.

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The Obama Presidency a Failure According to a Majority of Americans

Posted by SPBrooker on September 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM

In a recent poll from the Washington Post and ABC News, a majority of Americans believe that the Obama administration has been a "failure." Interestingly enough this includes a sizable number of Democrats who are fed up. Now what does this mean for the president? Well most certainly this view of the American people will be put forth in a tangible way this November where Republican congressional candidates are expected to pick up multiple seats. It can also hurt Obama's ability to gain support among Democrats for issues such as immigration reform as some might be unwilling to stand with a toxic president. Whatever the case may be I'm forced to ask, how is hope and change working out?

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Welles Crowther: The Man in the Red Bandanna

Posted by bigtex on September 11, 2014 at 8:25 PM

If you only watch one video today, make it this one.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world."
-Mr. Rogers-

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