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Wells Fargo Puts a Ceiling on Subprime Auto Loans

Posted on March 3rd, 2015 at 0:37 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

[Quote]:

Wells Fargo, one of the largest subprime car lenders, is pulling back from that roaring market, a move that is being felt throughout the broader auto industry.

The giant San Francisco bank, known for its stagecoach logo and its steady profits, has been at the center of the boom in making loans to people with tarnished credit scores. Wall Street, meanwhile, has been bundling and selling such loans as securities to investors, reaping big profits while allowing millions of financially troubled borrowers to buy cars.

Now where did I hear this thing before….

They are people like Zheng Hui Dong, a Chinese immigrant who bought a 2010 Honda Civic from a dealership in Queens for a total cost over the life of the loan of $42,000 — or nearly four times the resale value of the car, according to court records. And Beatriz Rodriguez of Queens, who filed for bankruptcy last year, but still tries to keep up with her $900 monthly payments on the Honda she uses to take care of her grandchildren.

Hmmm…

“Let that sink in,” he told the audience. “That means it is not uncommon today for a family with subprime credit to take a loan at 110 percent of a used car’s value that they will be paying off for seven years.”

Nope. No clue. Anybody?


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Comments:

  1. Exploiting the poor has always been good business, one of the best examples of capitalism in this country.

Apple officially wants to be recognized as a car maker

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 at 23:49 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

Whether Apple is actually building a car, or it’s just a controlled leak to show that the company has more planned after the Apple Watch, isn’t known yet. What is sure, though, is that Apple is now legally covered if it wants to slap its name and logo onto an automobile.

Using its regular law firm Baker & McKenzie in Zurich, Apple recently expanded its corporate description to not just include the current array of watches, smartphones, tablets and computers, but vehicles, too. And Apple’s lawyers aren’t taking any chances, either. Apple aircraft, anyone?


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DEA warns of stoned rabbits if Utah passes medical marijuana

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 at 23:46 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

Utah is considering a bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of marijuana. If the bill passes, the state’s wildlife may “cultivate a taste” for the plant, lose their fear of humans, and basically be high all the time. That’s according to testimony presented to a Utah Senate panel (time stamp 58:00) last week by an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“I deal in facts. I deal in science,” said special agent Matt Fairbanks, who’s been working in the state for a decade. He is member of the “marijuana eradication” team in Utah. Some of his colleagues in Georgia recently achieved notoriety by raiding a retiree’s garden and seizing a number of okra plants.


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The first ever photograph of light as both a particle and wave

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 at 21:01 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Quantum mechanics tells us that light can behave simultaneously as a particle or a wave. However, there has never been an experiment able to capture both natures of light at the same time; the closest we have come is seeing either wave or particle, but always at different times. Taking a radically different experimental approach, EPFL scientists have now been able to take the first ever snapshot of light behaving both as a wave and as a particle. The breakthrough work is published in Nature Communications.


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Fewer Women Run Big Companies Than Men Named John

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 at 20:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John, a sure indicator that the glass ceiling remains firmly in place in corporate America.

Among chief executives of S.&P. 1500 firms, for each woman, there are four men named John, Robert, William or James. We’re calling this ratio the Glass Ceiling Index, and an index value above one means that Jims, Bobs, Jacks and Bills — combined — outnumber the total number of women, including every women’s name, from Abby to Zara. Thus we score chief executive officers of large firms as having an index score of 4.0.


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Beautiful Chemical Reactions

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 at 14:06 by Paul Jay in category: News

Beautiful Chemical Reactions from L2Molecule on Vimeo.


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Chris Christie Settles ExxonMobil Case After Oil Giant Gave RGA Big Cash

Posted on March 1st, 2015 at 19:13 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Before Gov. Chris Christie’s administration abruptly settled long-running state environmental litigation against ExxonMobil for far less than originally expected, the oil behemoth donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Republican group that Christie ran and that financed his election campaigns. Additionally, the Christie administration office that engineered the settlement had been run by a former Exxon lawyer.

When the case was initiated in 2004, when Democrat James McGreevey was governor, New Jersey sought $8.9 billion in damages in a suit alleging that ExxonMobil damaged more than 1,500 acres of waterfront and meadows. Yet, according to documents reported on by the New York Times on Friday, the Christie administration is settling the suit for just $250 million.


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Comments:

  1. Blimey. Is this person still running for president?

Former employee suing Costco for religious discrimination

Posted on March 1st, 2015 at 10:29 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

The devout Muslim says he was working as a cashier’s assistant at the Costco in Sunset Park Brooklyn in September of 2012 when pork came across the conveyor belt.

It’s against his religious beliefs to touch either pork or alcohol.

Camara says after telling his managers this, they transferred him outside collecting the shopping carts.

Camara says they never told him why he was reassigned.

When I refused to do my assigned task, they gave me another one. Discrimination!

My own religious beliefs prohibit me from breaking a sweat, “loss of sacred essence” and all that, so I demand my employer to allow me to lay on my ass all day. Also I get to eat hamburgers.

It’s my religion, dude. Don’t question it.


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Comments:

  1. Perhaps he should wear gloves. I don’t want my pigmeat and booze contaminated by people who handle money…

Surveillance-based manipulation: How Facebook or Google could tilt elections

Posted on February 28th, 2015 at 16:12 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

When you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, you don’t see every post by every friend; what you see has been selected by an automatic algorithm that’s not made public. But someone can pay to increase the likelihood that their friends or fans will see their posts. Corporations paying for placement is a big part of how Facebook makes its money. Similarly, a lot of those links to additional articles at the bottom of news pages are paid placements.

The potential for manipulation here is enormous. Here’s one example. During the 2012 election, Facebook users had the opportunity to post an “I Voted” icon, much like the real stickers many of us get at polling places after voting. There is a documented bandwagon effect with respect to voting; you are more likely to vote if you believe your friends are voting, too. This manipulation had the effect of increasing voter turnout 0.4% nationwide. So far, so good. But now imagine if Facebook manipulated the visibility of the “I Voted” icon based on either party affiliation or some decent proxy of it: ZIP code of residence, blogs linked to, URLs liked, and so on. It didn’t, but if it did, it would have had the effect of increasing voter turnout in one direction. It would be hard to detect, and it wouldn’t even be illegal. Facebook could easily tilt a close election by selectively manipulating what posts its users see. Google might do something similar with its search results.


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We Now Know The NSA And GCHQ Have Subverted Most (All?) Of The Digital World: So Why Can’t We See Any Benefits?

Posted on February 28th, 2015 at 16:05 by John Sinteur in category: Security

[Quote]:

As Mike pointed out recently, thanks to Snowden (and possibly other sources), we now know the NSA, with some help from GCHQ, has subverted just about every kind of digital electronic device where it is useful to do so — the latest being hard drives and mobile phones. That’s profoundly shocking when you consider what most non-paranoid observers thought the situation was as recently as a couple of years ago. However, given that’s how things stand, there are a couple of interesting ramifications.

[..]

If the NSA and other parties do have ways of turning practically every digital electronic device into a system for spying on its users, that essentially means there is no criminal organization in the world — ranging from the so-called “terrorist” ones that are used to justify so much bad policy currently, to the “traditional” ones that represent the bulk of the real threat to society — that is not vulnerable to being infiltrated and subverted by government agencies.

And yet we don’t see this happen. Drug cartels thrive; people trafficking is surging; the smuggling of ivory and endangered animals is profitable as never before. Similarly, despite the constant and sophisticated monitoring of events across the Middle East, the rise of Islamic State evidently took the US and its allies completely by surprise. How is it that global criminality has not been brought to its knees, or that such massive geopolitical developments were not picked up well in advance — and nipped in the bud?


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Comments:

  1. What I saw in 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry was implementation of much technology for no reason other than that it was there. I think the same applies here. It simply becomes a business proposition. How many drug tests and back ground checks actually derail employment? Very few I think, but somebody’s making a boatload of money off of them. Regarding surveillance tech, it certainly is used when it helps support the folks in power (as in monitoring and subverting legal protests). Our lawmakers certainly need to hold the agencies that invade our privacy to account for the supposed benefits they provide.

  2. Regarding the third paragraph: I don’t think the 1% really care about any of those things. Why would the government try to stop any of it? The worse crime is committed by congress, impersonation of someone that really give a rat’s ass.

  3. @chas: I think the elite do care. A lot, but they don’t want it stopped. They are the ones running the tax schemes and jurisdictional shopping to benefit their corporations. They are the ones hiding personal wealth in tax havens.

Not just a river in Egypt

Posted on February 28th, 2015 at 15:47 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Millions of people watched and shared the video of Caldwell during a “call up” to the front of the church at the 2014 Church of God in Christ conference in St. Louis. Some Christian denominations feature a point in their services at which sinners are called to the altar by an inner voice to repent their sins and testify before the church about their “deliverance” into a state of holy grace.

“I’m not gay no more!” Caldwell famously declared. “I’m delivered! I don’t like mens no more! I like women! Women women women women!”

[..]

“They think that they can preach the homosexuals away in the Church of God in Christ,” he said. “And you can’t.”

“I still have desires,” he confessed.


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Comments:

  1. “I don’t like mens no more! !”
    “I don’t like mens any less, neither!”

Apple boss: We have a human right to privacy

Posted on February 28th, 2015 at 14:50 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

“None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.”

[..]

“Apple has a very straightforward business model,” he said. “We make money if you buy one of these [pointing at an iPhone]. That’s our product. You [the consumer] are not our product. We design our products such that we keep a very minimal level of information on our customers.”

It also means that Apple’s strategy has made it less profitable than it otherwise might have been, at least in the short term (and even though few shareholders are likely to have noticed, given its massive cash pile).

“We don’t make money selling your information to somebody else. We don’t think you want that. We don’t want to do that. It’s not in our values system to do that. Could we make a lot of money doing that? Of course. But life isn’t about money, life is about doing the right thing. This has been a core value of our company for a long time.”


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The Palindrome Game of the Enigma Codebreakers

Posted on February 28th, 2015 at 13:34 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

After meeting Alan Turing and his colleagues at Bletchley Park, Winston Churchill reportedly said to MI6’s Stewart Menzies, “I know I told you to leave no stone unturned to find the necessary staff, but I didn’t mean you to take me so literally.”

Few are aware that in their spare time, these same codebreakers held a competition that created several of the finest English-language palindromes, those sentences that read the same backward and forward.

Peter Hilton, the young math student who (in the film, anyway) had a brother on a doomed Royal Navy convoy, won by writing what many consider the best palindrome ever:

Doc, note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.


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Comments:

  1. I’m personally partial to “We panic in a pew.”

Wounded vets and amputees told to verify condition and needs every 3 years

Posted on February 28th, 2015 at 11:43 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

A wounded soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan will have to verify his condition and the kind of support needed, including his wheelchair, to Veterans Affairs every three years, rather than annually under a policy change.

The revision was quietly unveiled in the House of Commons on Friday by Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary to the veterans minister.

In addition, Lemieux told opposition parties that veterans who are required to complete these renewals under the veterans independence program will have six months to hand in the paperwork, considerably longer than under the current system.

So now veterans will only have to amputate those regrowing limbs every three years instead of every year. I’m sure they’re glad about this change!


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Comments:

  1. Madness. Problem is, the Canadian government (secretly) thinks that all PTSD sufferers are are faking their disabilities.

Samsung is still lying about the encryption on its Smart TVs

Posted on February 28th, 2015 at 11:34 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

When news broke that Samsung’s Smart TV’s listened to conversations and sent them to a third-party server company, the Korean manufacturer countered by claiming that all data transmissions to and from its televisions were encrypted. When testing demonstrated that the data in question wasn’t encrypted (despite being sent via Port 443, which is typically used for HTTPS traffic), Samsung modified its stance, claiming that new TVs were encrypted properly but older sets were not. This, too, has now been proven false.


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Leonard Nimoy

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 20:19 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.


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Comments:

  1. A little logic goes a long way. The biggest enemy of the state.

Meet the man who could own Aviva France

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 18:18 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The company was L’Abeille Vie. In 1987 it began to offer a special deal to its richer clients, a Fixed Price Arbitrage Life Insurance Contract.

Life insurance is a popular savings product in France, and typically the customer allocates their money among different investment funds offered by the insurer. But this contract was not typical: prices for the funds were published each Friday, and clients were allowed to switch funds at those prices anytime before the next price was published, even if markets moved in the meantime.

L’Abeille Vie called this an arbitrage, but really it was a gift. Is the stock market up this week? Just call your broker to buy it at last week’s price and pocket the difference.

If I were using an obtuse loophole to get 68% returns from an insurance policy in the U.S., I’d be afraid to have an “accident” every day..


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Under U.S. Pressure, PayPal Nukes Mega For Encrypting Files

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 17:47 by John Sinteur in category: Security

[Quote]:

“MEGA has demonstrated that it is as compliant with its legal obligations as USA cloud storage services operated by Google, Microsoft, Apple, Dropbox, Box, Spideroak etc, but PayPal has advised that MEGA’s ‘unique encryption model’ presents an insurmountable difficulty,” Mega explains.


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‘Pro Life’ GOPer Says It’s Fine For Kids to Die in the Name of God

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 16:55 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane, Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

In a deeply religious section of Idaho, a Republican state representative says that the state has no right to protect children from their parents who refuse them needed medical treatment in favor of faith healing.

“Children do die,” says Rep. Christy Perry. And it’s fine with her if Idaho children die in the name of God. Perry’s district includes many followers of a religious cult, Followers of Christ, that eschews medicine. She says that the sect’s members are more comfortable confronting death when it happens to their children.

“I’m not trying to sound callous, but [people calling for reform] want to act as if death is an anomaly. But it’s not. It’s a way of life,” she says.

[..]

On her website, Perry ironically proclaims that she’s “a pro life mother and grandmother and emphasizes her honor and value of all human life, born and unborn.” Perry also claims she’s “an ardent supporter of defending each child’s right to life.”

Terminating am embryo without a nervous system or therefore the ability to feel pain: worst thing in the world. Letting your grown child suffer slowly and die from an easily preventable disease: perfectly OK and within parents rights. Got it.

Perhaps we should declare all abortions to be done in the Name of God. After all, the bible has explicit instructions on how to perform abortions.


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The Dumbest Tweets of 2015

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 14:06 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

And the year is still young…


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Comments:

  1. “Kids Say the Darndest Things (with Expletives)”.

Jim Inhofe Brings A Snowball To The Senate Floor To Prove Climate Change Is A ‘Hoax’

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 10:28 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


“Global warming isn’t real because I was cold today! Also great news: World hunger is over because I just ate.”

– Stephen Colbert


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GOP Chair of House Science and Tech Subcommittee: I Didn’t Vaccinate My Kids

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 8:47 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Georgia Republican who recently became the chair of a key congressional subcommittee on science and technology, didn’t vaccinate most of his children, he told a crowd at his first town hall meeting last week.

Loudermilk was responding to a woman who asked whether he’d be looking into (discredited) allegations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had covered up information linking vaccines to autism. He responded with a rather unscientific personal anecdote: “I believe it’s the parents’ decision whether to immunize or not…Most of our children, we didn’t immunize. They’re healthy.”

I guarantee this idiot made sure some shaman said a magic incantation over every one of his kids to protect them from the devil and provide them entrance to a make-believe land of salvation.

But to actually trust science and medicine, and take real action to safe guard his children and everyone else? “Nah, think I’ll pass.”


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Comments:

  1. I see he’s described as an “opponent of climate change”. I think we should all be opposed to climate change, because we’re screwed if it’s allowed to proceed unchecked.

  2. A nothing of f_cking idiots run by idiots. Vicious circle.

  3. I thought internet exposure would improve the quality of our elected officials. It seems just the opposite happened. People don’t have to use logic anymore, Fuxed News will tell them what to think. The extent of my GOP friends’ intelligence is “Obama did it too” or “Clinton did it too”. I’m glad that haven’t started saying “Hitler did it too”, at least not yet.

Burger King franchisee owner gives $120K in bonuses after winning ‘Franchisee of the Year’

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 8:37 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Employees of an Arizona chain of Burger King restaurants received a big surprise last week when they learned many employees would receive bonuses for winning Burger King’s ‘Franchisee of the Year.’Barnett Management Company runs 24 Burger King restaurants throughout Arizona and won the award thanks to excellent customer service and corporate inspections, according to 3TV.Besides the recognition, the CEO of the company received a new Corvette and a Rolex watch from Burger King’s corporate offices.Initially, employees joked with Barnett, asking just for the chance to take the brand new Corvette for a test drive. They later found out Barnett had much more in store for them, employee Eric Tejeda told 3TV.Tom Barnett sold his prizes and redistributed that money among more than 100 employees of the restaurants.

And THAT is why he won. You treat your employees well, they make your business shine like a fucking diamond. It’s that simple.


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A Few Silent Men – You want the dialogue? You can’t handle the dialogue.

Posted on February 26th, 2015 at 21:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


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This might be the worst argument against the Apple Car

Posted on February 26th, 2015 at 20:27 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

There are dozens of ways in which Apple’s apparent effort to build an Apple-branded car could go wrong, but there’s one argument against the idea that I’m hearing a lot of that really doesn’t make sense. From Henry Blodget to former GM CEO Daniel Akerson to the LA Times to Yahoo Finance people are saying this won’t work because the car industry is a “low margin” business in contrast to the fat margins Apple is used to earning most of all on its workhorse iPhone.

The misperception here is that Apple earns high margins because Apple operates in high margin industries. The truth is precisely the opposite. Apple earns high margins because it is efficient at manufacturing and firmly committed to a business strategy of sacrificing market share to maintain pricing power. If Apple makes a car, it will be a high margin car because Apple only makes high margin products. If it succeeds it will succeed for the same reason iPhones and iPads and Macs succeed — people like them and are willing to buy them, even though you could get similar specs for less.


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Comments:

  1. The shrieking virgins notwithstanding, the car industry isn’t a “low margin” business by any means. The cars may perhaps be sold at a low margin (some models), but the financing, parts, service and leasing etc. make loadsamoney.

    This is one of the good things about our mercantilist system; if a corporation wants to go into a new market they can do it.

EFF unearths evidence of possible Superfish-style attacks in the wild

Posted on February 26th, 2015 at 16:49 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy, Security

[Quote]:

It’s starting to look like Superfish and other software containing the same HTTPS-breaking code library may have posed more than a merely theoretical danger to Internet users. For the first time, researchers have uncovered evidence suggesting the critical weakness may have been exploited against real people visiting real sites, including Gmail, Amazon, eBay, Twitter, and Gpg4Win.org, to name just a few.


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Poll: 54% of Republicans say that, “deep down,” Obama is a Muslim

Posted on February 26th, 2015 at 14:06 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

Screen_Shot_2015-02-25_at_12.20.25_PM.0

[Quote]:

Over half of Republicans answered “Muslim” when asked which religion describes President Obama’s “deep down” beliefs, according to a newly released poll by Alex Theodoridis of the University of California at Merced.


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Comments:

  1. Thomas Jefferson: a well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy.

The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’

Posted on February 26th, 2015 at 13:54 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.


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Home Security

Posted on February 25th, 2015 at 22:06 by John Sinteur in category: Security

IPSNRmY


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Comments:

  1. Question: if he calls 911 for a medical emergency, who responds? Do the agencies first fight a turf war; Do they all send in there swap teams who collide at the door? Does one these agency first throw a stun bomb through the window giving the poor chap a heart attack?

  2. What would happen if everyone did this? They’d have to monitor us all…

It’s time to break up the NSA – Bruce Schneier

Posted on February 25th, 2015 at 22:03 by John Sinteur in category: Security

[Quote]:

The NSA has become too big and too powerful. What was supposed to be a single agency with a dual mission — protecting the security of U.S. communications and eavesdropping on the communications of our enemies — has become unbalanced in the post-Cold War, all-terrorism-all-the-time era.


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