Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Saturday, 14 January 2012
Be ahead of the crackers and hackers and use good paswords
Now Playing: Password Tips - Security and Peace of Mind
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE
Secure Passwords Keep You Safer
By Bruce Schneier
January 15, 2007
Ever since I wrote about the 34,000 MySpace passwords I analyzed, people have been asking how to choose secure passwords.
My piece aside, there's been a lot written on this topic over the years -- both serious and humorous -- but most of it seems to be based on anecdotal suggestions rather than actual analytic evidence. What follows is some serious advice.
The attack I'm evaluating against is an offline password-guessing attack. This attack assumes that the attacker either has a copy of your encrypted document, or a server's encrypted password file, and can try passwords as fast as he can. There are instances where this attack doesn't make sense. ATM cards, for example, are secure even though they only have a four-digit PIN, because you can't do offline password guessing. And the police are more likely to get a warrant for your Hotmail account than to bother trying to crack your e-mail password. Your encryption program's key-escrow system is almost certainly more vulnerable than your password, as is any "secret question" you've set up in case you forget your password.
Offline password guessers have gotten both fast and smart. AccessData sells Password Recovery Toolkit, or PRTK. Depending on the software it's attacking, PRTK can test up to hundreds of thousands of passwords per second, and it tests more common passwords sooner than obscure ones.
So the security of your password depends on two things: any details of the software that slow down password guessing, and in what order programs like PRTK guess different passwords.
Some software includes routines deliberately designed to slow down password guessing. Good encryption software doesn't use your password as the encryption key; there's a process that converts your password into the encryption key. And the software can make this process as slow as it wants.
The results are all over the map. Microsoft Office, for example, has a simple password-to-key conversion, so PRTK can test 350,000 Microsoft Word passwords per second on a 3-GHz Pentium 4, which is a reasonably current benchmark computer. WinZip used to be even worse -- well over a million guesses per second for version 7.0 -- but with version 9.0, the cryptosystem's ramp-up function has been substantially increased: PRTK can only test 900 passwords per second. PGP also makes things deliberately hard for programs like PRTK, also only allowing about 900 guesses per second.
When attacking programs with deliberately slow ramp-ups, it's important to make every guess count. A simple six-character lowercase exhaustive character attack, "aaaaaa" through "zzzzzz," has more than 308 million combinations. And it's generally unproductive, because the program spends most of its time testing improbable passwords like "pqzrwj."
According to Eric Thompson of AccessData, a typical password consists of a root plus an appendage. A root isn't necessarily a dictionary word, but it's something pronounceable. An appendage is either a suffix (90 percent of the time) or a prefix (10 percent of the time).
So the first attack PRTK performs is to test a dictionary of about 1,000 common passwords, things like "letmein," "password1," "123456" and so on. Then it tests them each with about 100 common suffix appendages: "1," "4u," "69," "abc," "!" and so on. Believe it or not, it recovers about 24 percent of all passwords with these 100,000 combinations.
Then, PRTK goes through a series of increasingly complex root dictionaries and appendage dictionaries. The root dictionaries include:
- Common word dictionary: 5,000 entries
- Names dictionary: 10,000 entries
- Comprehensive dictionary: 100,000 entries
- Phonetic pattern dictionary: 1/10,000 of an exhaustive character search
The phonetic pattern dictionary is interesting. It's not really a dictionary; it's a Markov-chain routine that generates pronounceable English-language strings of a given length. For example, PRTK can generate and test a dictionary of very pronounceable six-character strings, or just-barely pronounceable seven-character strings. They're working on generation routines for other languages.
PRTK also runs a four-character-string exhaustive search. It runs the dictionaries with lowercase (the most common), initial uppercase (the second most common), all uppercase and final uppercase. It runs the dictionaries with common substitutions: "$" for "s," "@" for "a," "1" for "l" and so on. Anything that's "leet speak" is included here, like "3" for "e."
The appendage dictionaries include things like:
- All two-digit combinations
- All dates from 1900 to 2006
- All three-digit combinations
- All single symbols
- All single digit, plus single symbol
- All two-symbol combinations
AccessData's secret sauce is the order in which it runs the various root and appendage dictionary combinations. The company's research indicates that the password sweet spot is a seven- to nine-character root plus a common appendage, and that it's much more likely for someone to choose a hard-to-guess root than an uncommon appendage.
Normally, PRTK runs on a network of computers. Password guessing is a trivially distributable task, and it can easily run in the background. A large organization like the Secret Service can easily have hundreds of computers chugging away at someone's password. A company called Tableau is building a specialized FPGA hardware add-on to speed up PRTK for slow programs like PGP and WinZip: roughly a 150- to 300-times performance increase.
How good is all of this? Eric Thompson estimates that with a couple of weeks' to a month's worth of time, his software breaks 55 percent to 65 percent of all passwords. (This depends, of course, very heavily on the application.) Those results are good, but not great.
But that assumes no biographical data. Whenever it can, AccessData collects whatever personal information it can on the subject before beginning. If it can see other passwords, it can make guesses about what types of passwords the subject uses. How big a root is used? What kind of root? Does he put appendages at the end or the beginning? Does he use substitutions? ZIP codes are common appendages, so those go into the file. So do addresses, names from the address book, other passwords and any other personal information. This data ups PRTK's success rate a bit, but more importantly it reduces the time from weeks to days or even hours.
So if you want your password to be hard to guess, you should choose something not on any of the root or appendage lists. You should mix upper and lowercase in the middle of your root. You should add numbers and symbols in the middle of your root, not as common substitutions. Or drop your appendage in the middle of your root. Or use two roots with an appendage in the middle.
Even something lower down on PRTK's dictionary list -- the seven-character phonetic pattern dictionary -- together with an uncommon appendage, is not going to be guessed. Neither is a password made up of the first letters of a sentence, especially if you throw numbers and symbols in the mix. And yes, these passwords are going to be hard to remember, which is why you should use a program like the free and open-source Password Safe to store them all in. (PRTK can test only 900 Password Safe 3.0 passwords per second.)
Even so, none of this might actually matter. AccessData sells another program, Forensic Toolkit, that, among other things, scans a hard drive for every printable character string. It looks in documents, in the Registry, in e-mail, in swap files, in deleted space on the hard drive ... everywhere. And it creates a dictionary from that, and feeds it into PRTK.
And PRTK breaks more than 50 percent of passwords from this dictionary alone.
What's happening is that the Windows operating system's memory management leaves data all over the place in the normal course of operations. You'll type your password into a program, and it gets stored in memory somewhere. Windows swaps the page out to disk, and it becomes the tail end of some file. It gets moved to some far out portion of your hard drive, and there it'll sit forever. Linux and Mac OS aren't any better in this regard.
I should point out that none of this has anything to do with the encryption algorithm or the key length. A weak 40-bit algorithm doesn't make this attack easier, and a strong 256-bit algorithm doesn't make it harder. These attacks simulate the process of the user entering the password into the computer, so the size of the resultant key is never an issue.
For years, I have said that the easiest way to break a cryptographic product is almost never by breaking the algorithm, that almost invariably there is a programming error that allows you to bypass the mathematics and break the product. A similar thing is going on here. The easiest way to guess a password isn't to guess it at all, but to exploit the inherent insecurity in the underlying operating system.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:38 PM PST
Saturday, 31 December 2011
What is a wish but a wish to build a dream on
Now Playing: Holy Wish List Batman
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 7:35 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2011 7:51 PM PST
Sunday, 25 December 2011
Zen Christmas - A Story Zen Style
Now Playing: Merry Zen Christmas
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE
A Christmas Story: Zen Style
It seems in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, there is a small monastery where the master is illiterate. The teacher was a farmer’s son and he had been taken to the temple when he was very young. He had never learned to read or write but he completed the koan study and came to complete enlightenment.
The teacher didn’t really know other religions except Buddhism, he scarcely realized until he heard the monks discussing Christianity. One of the monks had been to the University of Tokyo and the teacher asked him to explain Christianity.
“I don’t know that much about it,” the monk said. “But I will bring you the holy book of the Christian religion.”
The master sent the monk to the nearest city and the monk returned with the Bible.
“That’s a thick book,” the master said, “and I can’t read. But you can read something to me.” The monk thumbed through the pages and started with the story of baby Jesus and the three wise men.
The monk knew the Bible and then read the Sermon on the Mount. The more he read the more the master was impressed. “That is very beautiful,” he kept saying. “That is very beautiful.” When the monk finished the sermon the master said nothing for a while. The silence lasted so long that he monk put the Bible down, got himself into the lotus position and started meditating.
“Yes,” the teacher said finally. “I don’t know who wrote that, but whoever he was, he was either a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. What you read there is the essence of everything I have been trying to teach you here.”
moral: we become what we have been subjected to. We are who we are as a direct influence of our environment growing up. We later learn of other cultures and religions, traditions and ways of life. By this time we are pretty much set in our ways but can always learn from what others do. Be open minded.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 1:48 PM PST
Friday, 23 December 2011
Veterans Peace Teams to stand with Occupy Movement
Now Playing: Vets and Peace and the fact that police are hurting occupiers
Veterans For Peace
216 S. Meramec Avenue St. Louis, MO 63105 (314) 725-6005 12/22/11
Veterans Peace Teams to stand with Occupy Movement
People of color, including Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, and working class communities in America have long been on the receiving end of police brutality.
Now with the recent police violence directed toward the Occupy movement, the country at large is waking up to the unpleasant reality that the violence of the system can and will target anyone who stands up for justice and opposes the exploitation of the 99 percent by the 1 percent.
The Veterans For Peace mission statement states that we pledge to work for peaceful conflict resolution and the elimination of war—the ultimate violence. As veterans of conscience, we are compelled to take a stand against police violence toward the national Occupy movement.
Veterans For Peace will establish Veterans Peace Teams to be made available as we can, to those Occupy sites where the local general assemblies feel our participation would be helpful. We propose that these nonviolent Veterans Peace Teams act as a buffer between Occupy protesters and police violence and ask any and all military/law enforcement veterans to join us in this endeavor.
As veterans, we stand with the Occupy movement as members of the 99 percent and oppose any and all use of force by police against peaceful protesters exercising their right to peaceably assemble to seek redress of grievances as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
We also stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tahrir Square and worldwide, standing up courageously, leading and often dying in the struggle for equality and justice as they are exposed to massive state-run police and military violence. We recognize that our common enemy is the wealthy power elite, those who control, ravage and exploit.
Excessive use of force by police toward those in the Occupy movement has led to arbitrary arrests, a fractured skull for one veteran and a ruptured spleen for another, near-asphyxiation and trampling of peaceful protesters and pepper-spraying of students sitting peacefully on a sidewalk obstructing nothing at all, among many abuses and injuries. Pepper spray, tear gas, bean bag projectiles, rubber bullets, tasers and other weapons—all of which can cause grave injury and death—have all been deployed against peaceful U.S. citizens.
This abuse of unarmed civilians exercising their constitutional First Amendment rights must cease.
As veterans and as citizens, we implore individual officers, police agencies, elected officials and government agencies to use restraint, negotiation and common sense when dealing with peaceful protesters. We will continue our efforts to convince law enforcement to avoid excessive force, brutality and injury to all involved. We also oppose the increased militarization of police agencies.
We seek to prevent deaths and additional injuries in domestic protests of governmental policies. We realize that those employed in law enforcement are part of the 99 percent, and we call upon all police personnel not to be a domestic front line force for the 1 percent—but to honor and perform their duty to serve and protect the people.
Veterans For Peace
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:45 AM PST
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Friday, 16 December 2011
Obama allows the congres to call America a battlefield
Now Playing: Obama: Principles in favor of Politics
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
Obama and his loss of Principles in favor of Politics
Politics Over Principle
The trauma of Sept. 11, 2001, gave rise to a dangerous myth that, to be safe, America had to give up basic rights and restructure its legal system. The United States was now in a perpetual state of war, the argument went, and the criminal approach to fighting terrorism — and the due process that goes along with it — wasn’t tough enough.
President George W. Bush used this insidious formula to claim that his office had the inherent power to detain anyone he chose, for as long as he chose, without a trial; to authorize the torture of prisoners; and to spy on Americans without a warrant. President Obama came into office pledging his dedication to the rule of law and to reversing the Bush-era policies. He has fallen far short.
Mr. Obama refused to entertain any investigation of the abuses of power under his predecessor, and he has been far too willing to adopt Mr. Bush’s extravagant claims of national secrets to prevent any courthouse accountability for those abuses. This week, he is poised to sign into law terrible new measures that will make indefinite detention and military trials a permanent part of American law.
The measures, contained in the annual military budget bill, will strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military, which has made clear that it doesn’t want the job. The legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial. The bill, championed by Republicans in the House and Senate, was attached to the military budget bill to make it harder for Mr. Obama to veto it.
Nearly every top American official with knowledge and experience spoke out against the provisions, including the attorney general, the defense secretary, the chief of the F.B.I., the secretary of state, and the leaders of intelligence agencies. And, for weeks, the White House vowed that Mr. Obama would veto the military budget if the provisions were left in. On Wednesday, the White House reversed field, declaring that the bill had been improved enough for the president to sign it now that it had passed the Senate.
This is a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency. To start with, this bill was utterly unnecessary. Civilian prosecutors and federal courts have jailed hundreds of convicted terrorists, while the tribunals have convicted a half-dozen.
And the modifications are nowhere near enough. Mr. Obama, his spokesman said, is prepared to sign this law because it allows the executive to grant a waiver for a particular prisoner to be brought to trial in a civilian court. But the legislation’s ban on spending any money for civilian trials for any accused terrorist would make that waiver largely meaningless.
The bill has so many other objectionable aspects that we can’t go into them all. Among the worst: It leaves open the possibility of subjecting American citizens to military detention and trial by a military court. It will make it impossible to shut the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. And it includes an unneeded expansion of the authorization for the use of military force in Afghanistan to include indefinite detention of anyone suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda or an amorphous group of “associated forces” that could cover just about anyone arrested anywhere in the world.
There is no doubt. This bill will make it harder to fight terrorism and do more harm to the country’s international reputation. The White House said that if implementing it jeopardizes the rule of law, it expects Congress to work “quickly and tirelessly” to undo the damage. The White House will have to make that happen. After it abdicated its responsibility this week, we’re not convinced it will.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:37 AM PST
Updated: Friday, 23 December 2011 11:47 AM PST
Thursday, 8 December 2011
10 best - PDX burgers places worth mentioning
Now Playing: Vegetarians Please ....dont read this
Topic: ANYBODY * ANYDAY
The top 10
classic burgers in the Portland area
Published: Friday, December 09, 2011, 5:47 AM Updated: Friday, December 09, 2011, 5:49 AM
But the hamburger we crave doesn't resemble these at all. What we want is the classic, a grilled patty, melted cheese and fresh veggies on a toasted bun.
All across Oregon, from tiny trailers next to busy roads to hidden restaurants in downtown office buildings, burger joints selling quality versions of the classic burger are alive and well. Many of these roadhouses, taverns and former drive-ins have been there for decades. Others are new, but have a throwback look.
Last month, we asked Oregonian readers for their favorite basic burgers. The reaction was overwhelming, with more than 100 different suggestions for Oregon and southwest Washington drive-ins and roadhouses coming in via email, phone calls and online comments.
We broiled down that list, narrowing our parameters to burgers within the metro area that cost less than $8. We also threw out any that hedged too close to bistro burger territory. And then we ate.
Craving a classic burger? Hop in the car and try one of our 10 favorites.
1. HELVETIA TAVERN
Set in a bucolic landscape with rolling hills and babbling brooks across a winding road from a donkey farm, Helvetia Tavern is two miles north of U.S. 26 in Washington County -- but feels like it could be a thousand miles away.
Longtime manager Mike Hutchins calls Helvetia Tavern a special place.
"We get a little bit of everyone out here," he says. "You can run into the high-tech Intel guy sitting next to the farmer out here. Who doesn't like a cheeseburger?"
That cheeseburger is about as close to burger perfection as you can find: a soft sesame-seed bun, a thin burger patty with light char and a hint of pink inside (harder than it looks with thinner patties), melted American cheese, thinly sliced tomato, onions, shredded iceberg, tangy mayo and plenty of sliced pickles on the side.
A tavern has stood in this red building since at least 1946. The current owner, Mike Lampros, bought it from his parents, Nick and Mary, a few years ago. The trucker hats famously pinned to the tavern's ceiling aren't going anywhere, but Lampros has made one change: By next summer, the tavern will have a large patio with additional seating in the back.
11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday; 10275 N.W. Helvetia Road; 503-647-5286
2. SKYLINE RESTAURANT
Times have changed since the first restaurant opened in this perch atop Portland's West Hills. The Speck, which opened in 1935, sold fried chicken at a time when Northwest Cornell Road was a fairly significant thoroughfare from Beaverton to St. Johns. There was even a gas station on the corner of this remote intersection with Skyline Boulevard.
The gas station is gone, and fried chicken quickly gave way to burgers, which come today much as they did in the middle of last century. A "butter-brushed" sesame-seed bun holds a seasoned patty, your choice of cheese, full leaves of iceberg lettuce, thin tomato and onion slices, crinkle-cut pickle slices and a healthy coat of mayo on the bottom bun.
"Two fries, two doubles, bacon, cheese," manager Frances Kang calls out while speaking on the phone last week. "We still call the orders back," she explains.
Skyline Restaurant opened a second restaurant, Skyline Burgers, on Northeast Broadway this year. But back on the hill, some things will never change.
"There's still always five or 10 people a day going, 'I'm lost, how do I get to the St. Johns Bridge?'" she says.
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sundays; 1313 N.W. Skyline Blvd.; 503-292-6727; Facebook: Skyline Restaurant
3. CANYON GRILL
Canyon Grill opened three years ago, making it a relative newcomer on this list. But the small triangular shack on Canyon Road in Beaverton has already gathered plenty of fans.
The burger matches the classic space, decked out in ads for nickel hot dogs and pictures of classic cars.
Owners Parry and Opal Lawson buy Painted Hills beef and have it ground fresh several times a week. Each thicker-than-average burger comes on a French roll and is topped with your choice of Tillamook cheese with vegetables cut fresh daily.
For fans of the Canyon Grill burger who live in Portland, the couple just opened a second spot -- the Glisan Burger Barn and Grill -- on Northeast Glisan Street and 79th Avenue.
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday; 8825 S.W. Canyon Road, Beaverton; 503-292-5131, thecanyongrill.com
4. MIKE'S DRIVE-IN
Burgerville, the Vancouver-based chain, is well-known for its commitment to local ingredients. But Burgerville isn't alone.
At Mike's Drive-in, your burger can come on a Dave's Killer Bread bun for 50 cents extra (the standard comes from Portland's Franz Bakery) and all burgers come with Tillamook cheese. Burger patties are made daily and vegetables are sliced fresh each morning.
Mike's, the 37-year-old mini chain, serves a tasty cheeseburger with light char and a faint pinkish hue, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion (raw or grilled) and pickle slices.
There are three Mike's locations, one each in Milwaukie, Oregon City and Portland's Sellwood neighborhood. Each has a classic look, with red and white paint and signature peaked roofs at the Sellwood and Oregon City locations.
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday; Sellwood: 1707 S.E. Tenino St., 503-236-4537; Milwaukie: 3045 S.E. Harrison St., 503-654-0131; Oregon City: 905 Seventh St., 503-656-5588 (Oregon City location closes one hour earlier); Facebook: Mike's Drive-In
5. GIANT DRIVE IN
With its A-frame roof, Giant Drive In could almost be mistaken for a ski cabin, tucked amid tall trees off Boones Ferry Road. But the restaurant's bright yellow sign, of a large man eating a large burger, lets drivers heading to and from downtown Lake Oswego know what they're in for.
Inside the bright space, the throwback burger comes on a nicely toasted bun, with a thin patty cooked medium-well, with melted American cheese, onions, tomatoes, shredded iceberg and mayo.
Bill and Gail Kreger opened Giant Drive In in a former Mr. Swiss, a bygone sandwich and soft-serve chain. Using custom ground sirloin -- never frozen -- the Kregers expanded the menu to 30 types of burgers, including the signature (and massive) giant. Order at your own risk.
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 15840 Boones Ferry Road, Lake Oswego; 503-636-0255
This little trailer has sold burgers and hot dogs -- mostly hot dogs -- from its Milwaukie location since the 1930s. If you've ever driven past, you might remember it best for the sign mounted on its top, showing a long red dog outlined in neon.
And though Roake's is known for its long hot dogs -- local high school kids once called the place Long John's -- their burgers are a classic, too.
A quarter-pound burger patty comes with a grilled sesame-seed bun and melted American cheese, shredded iceberg, thin tomato slices, pickles and house mayo-based sauce on the bottom bun.
On the walls are key dates in Roake's history. According to one poster, in the 1970s, the trailer served 175,000 people each year.
10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 18109 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd., Milwaukie; 503-654-7075
7. HUMDINGER DRIVE-IN
"It's your first time here? How long have you been in Portland?"
That's a one-liner you might hear from the cashier when you walk into Humdinger Drive-In, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Southwest Barbur Boulevard burger spot.
A restaurant has occupied this space since the late 1950s, but it's been Humdinger since the early 1980s, and the menu seems to have kept expanding since. There are burgers, of course, but also more than 40 milkshakes, as well as fried oysters and clam strips.
Stick to the burger, which comes on a soft sesame-seed bun holding a well-done patty layered between two slices of cheese, slices of tomato and plenty of pickles. It's served in a tight, memento-cluttered dining room small enough that the cashier can hand your food over the counter while you're sitting in one of the four booths.
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 8250 S.W. Barbur Blvd.; 503-246-8132
On a recent night at Stanich's, the classic Northeast Portland sports tavern, a table of large guys were plowing through a few burgers. As they got up to leave, a server approached and asked the men -- players for the Portland State University football team -- to sign a school pennant.
The pennant was surely destined for Stanich's wall, where it would join hundreds of others -- some for sports teams at colleges, like Albertson, that have since changed names.
Stanich's first opened in 1949, and it's become one of Portland's burger standbys.
The burger comes with a hand-formed patty on a soft French roll with gooey American cheese, chopped iceberg, tomato and mayo on the bottom. It's a traditional burger (though I wouldn't mind a little more char on the patty), except for one twist: Instead of pickle slices, each burger comes with a spread of sweet relish on the bottom bun.
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 4915 N.E. Fremont St.; 503-281-2322; stanichs.com
9. DEA'S IN & OUT
Dea's In & Out (no relation to the California In-N-Out burger chain) has been serving burgers in Gresham for more than 50 years.
The burger stand, with its long rectangular burgers, has moved once, onto Northeast Burnside Road, but little had changed inside.
Dea's still cooks everything to order, with the same thin burger patties. They still make their own flour-dusted buns in house as well, and serve each burger and tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, pickles, minced onion and their house sauce.
It's a time capsule. Walk inside on any given day and you'll see several generations of Dea's fans sharing a meal.
5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, 755 N.E. Burnside Road, Gresham; 503-665-3439; facebook.com/deasinandout
10. GEORGE'S GIANT HAMBURGERS
The draw at Tigard's George's isn't necessarily the burger -- with its beef fresh-ground daily -- it's the salad bar.
All of George's burgers, from the giant on down to more modest sizes, come unadorned, with a lightly seasoned burger patty and melted American cheese.
But, just inside the front door, there's an array of condiments and toppings, from fresh sliced vegetables to mayonnaise to pico de gallo salsa.
The real fun comes in stacking up your burger with fresh lettuce, or, for serious pickle fans, as many slices of dill or scoops of relish as you want.
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11640 S.W. Pacific Highway, Tigard; 503-639-8029
-- Michael Russell
In close-in Portland, the bistro burger reigns supreme: jaw-aching creations amped up with pork belly or foie gras and stabbed through the heart with a knife as if the stability of their contents depended on it (and it probably does).
© 2011 OregonLive.com. All rights reserved.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
US Drones and the secret world that revolves around them
Now Playing: Al Jazeera Drones: A deeply unsettling future
Drones: A deeply unsettling future
The rapid expansion of a drone arms race has emerged both domestically and abroad, leaving everyone vulnerable.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2011 11:54
|At least 50 countries already have unmanned aerial fleets - and that number is rising every month [EPA] |
San Francisco, California - On Sunday, Iran claimed to have taken down a US drone in Iranian airspace - not by shooting it out the sky, but with its cyber warfare team.
Reports confirm that the US believes Iran is now in possession of "one of the more sensitive surveillance platforms in the CIA's fleet", but deny Iran's involvement. Of course, Iran’s claim of overtaking the drone with its cyber warfare team should be tempered with a serious dose of scepticism, as cyber security experts say the facts may not add up. But this is just the latest story in a series of incidents that raises worrying questions about security problems caused by drones. And given the coming proliferation of drone technology both domestically and abroad, this should be a concern to citizens all over the world.
| Pakistan angry with US over deadly NATO air strike |
Two years ago the Wall Street Journal reported Iran-funded militants in Iraq were able to hack into drones' live-video feeds with "$26 off-the-shelf software". In another unnerving incident, Wired reported in October that a fleet of the Air Force's drones was infected with a computer virus that captured all of drones' key strokes. Technicians continually deleted the virus to no avail. How did the drones get infected? The military is "not quite sure". Worse, the Air Force's cyber security team didn't even know about the virus until they read about it in Wired.
Wired reported in a separate story that an upcoming Congressional report will detail how hackers broke into the US satellite system. With one satellite, hackers "achieved all steps required to command" it, "but never actually exercised control".
Last summer, a drone caused a scene in the nation's capital, when, as New York Times wrote, "fighter jets were almost scrambled after a rogue Fire Scout drone, the size of a small helicopter, wandered into Washington's restricted airspace". A similar incident took place in Afghanistan where military planes had to shoot down a "runaway drone" when pilots lost control.
The US, of course, leads the world in drone use for both surveillance and combat missions. Attacks are carried out in Pakistan every four days on average. Many times, the US isn't even sure exactly who they are killing. Despite the fact that the location of vast majority of drone bases are classified, journalist Nick Turse pieced together a startling picture of the massive US fleet. He determined that the US has at least 60 drone bases operated by either the US military or the CIA around the world, and "most of these facilities have remained unnoted, uncounted, and remarkably anonymous - until now".
But drone use is not just relegated to US military. Drone manufacturers already command a $94bn market, according to some estimates, and the drone arms race is in full swing. As the Washington Post reported, the constant buzz of drones and threats of attack now dominates the lives of civilians in Gaza. And Turkey plans to have Predator drones in operation by June 2012.
Meanwhile, Chinese contractors unveiled 25 types of unmanned aircraft last year. In all, at least 50 countries now have some sort of unmanned aerial vehicles, and the New York Times reports that "the number is rising every month". That number also includes Iran, which is seeking to upgrade its fleet. Even the Libyan rebels had their own surveillance drone - provided to them by Canadian defence contractors - before they were in full control of their own country.
The technology itself is also developing at an alarmingly rapid pace. The New York Times reports that researchers in the US are working on "shrinking unmanned drones, the kind that fire missiles into Pakistan and spy on insurgents in Afghanistan, to the size of insects", along with oversized drones that can capture video of an entire city. There are birdlike drones, underwater drones, drones within drones, facial recognition drones, and perhaps most terrifying, completely autonomous drones - currently being tested in Georgia - which will require no human control at all.
As Micah Zenko, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told me last month, "It's a very impressive and responsive tool that should be used sparingly. Even if we’re responsible now, we might not be forever."
But in the US, drones will become yet another way authorities can compromise the privacy of ordinary citizens, as the FAA plans to propose new rules for their domestic flight. As Newsweek reported, police forces and border patrols in the US are buying the technology from defence contractors, and one has already been spotted flying over Houston. Police departments are already using GPS and cell phone tracking without warrants, this will another powerful surveillance weapon in their arsenal. As privacy advocates warn, "drones can easily be equipped with facial recognition cameras, infrared cameras, or open Wi-Fi sniffers". And while these drones will be used for many surveillance purposes (a scary thought in and of itself), contractors admit they are equipped to carry weapons, such as Tasers.
Whether they are being used for surveillance or all-out combat, drones will soon pose serious risks for all of the world's citizens. They can offer governments, police departments, or private citizens unprecedented capabilities for spying, and given their security vulnerabilities, the potential consequences could be endless.
Trevor Timm is an activist and blogger at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He specialises in free speech issues and government transparency.
Follow Trevor Timm on Twitter: @WLLegal
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Occupy Wall Street and Anarchy Roots connection
Now Playing: A report from Al Jazeera on Occupy Wall Street and Anarchism Roots
Topic: OCCUPY PORTLAND
OCCUPY WALL STREET AND ANARCHY ROOTS CONNECTION
Occupy Wall Street's Anarchist roots
The 'Occupy' movement is one of several in American history to be based on anarchist principles.
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2011 07:06
New York, NY - Almost every time I'm interviewed by a mainstream journalist about Occupy Wall Street I get some variation of the same lecture:
"How are you going to get anywhere if you refuse to create a leadership structure or make a practical list of demands? And what's with all this anarchist nonsense - the consensus, the sparkly fingers? Don't you realise all this radical language is going to alienate people? You're never going to be able to reach regular, mainstream Americans with this sort of thing!"
In-depth coverage of the global movement If one were compiling a scrapbook of worst advice ever given, this sort of thing might well merit an honourable place. After all, since the financial crash of 2007, there have been dozens of attempts to kick-off a national movement against the depredations of the United States' financial elites taking the approach such journalists recommended. All failed. It was only on August 2, when a small group of anarchists and other anti-authoritarians showed up at a meeting called by one such group and effectively wooed everyone away from the planned march and rally to create a genuine democratic assembly, on basically anarchist principles, that the stage was set for a movement that Americans from Portland to Tuscaloosa were willing to embrace.
I should be clear here what I mean by "anarchist principles". The easiest way to explain anarchism is to say that it is a political movement that aims to bring about a genuinely free society - that is, one where humans only enter those kinds of relations with one another that would not have to be enforced by the constant threat of violence. History has shown that vast inequalities of wealth, institutions like slavery, debt peonage or wage labour, can only exist if backed up by armies, prisons, and police.
Anarchists wish to see human relations that would not have to be backed up by armies, prisons and police. Anarchism envisions a society based on equality and solidarity, which could exist solely on the free consent of participants.
Anarchism versus Marxism
Traditional Marxism, of course, aspired to the same ultimate goal but there was a key difference. Most Marxists insisted that it was necessary first to seize state power, and all the mechanisms of bureaucratic violence that come with it, and use them to transform society - to the point where, they argued such mechanisms would, ultimately, become redundant and fade away. Even back in the 19th century, anarchists argued that this was a pipe dream. One cannot, they argued, create peace by training for war, equality by creating top-down chains of command, or, for that matter, human happiness by becoming grim joyless revolutionaries who sacrifice all personal self-realisation or self-fulfillment to the cause.
It's not just that the ends do not justify the means (though they don't), you will never achieve the ends at all unless the means are themselves a model for the world you wish to create. Hence the famous anarchist call to begin "building the new society in the shell of the old" with egalitarian experiments ranging from free schools to radical labour unions to rural communes.
Anarchism was also a revolutionary ideology, and its emphasis on individual conscience and individual initiative meant that during the first heyday of revolutionary anarchism between roughly 1875 and 1914, many took the fight directly to heads of state and capitalists, with bombings and assassinations. Hence the popular image of the anarchist bomb-thrower. It's worthy of note that anarchists were perhaps the first political movement to realise that terrorism, even if not directed at innocents, doesn't work. For nearly a century now, in fact, anarchism has been one of the very few political philosophies whose exponents never blow anyone up (indeed, the 20th-century political leader who drew most from the anarchist tradition was Mohandas K Gandhi.)
Yet for the period of roughly 1914 to 1989, a period during which the world was continually either fighting or preparing for world wars, anarchism went into something of an eclipse for precisely that reason: To seem "realistic", in such violent times, a political movement had to be capable of organising armies, navies and ballistic missile systems, and that was one thing at which Marxists could often excel. But everyone recognised that anarchists - rather to their credit - would never be able to pull it off. It was only after 1989, when the age of great war mobilisations seemed to have ended, that a global revolutionary movement based on anarchist principles - the global justice movement - promptly reappeared.
How, then, did OWS embody anarchist principles? It might be helpful to go over this point by point:
1) The refusal to recognise the legitimacy of existing political institutions.
One reason for the much-discussed refusal to issue demands is because issuing demands means recognising the legitimacy - or at least, the power - of those of whom the demands are made. Anarchists often note that this is the difference between protest and direct action: Protest, however militant, is an appeal to the authorities to behave differently; direct action, whether it's a matter of a community building a well or making salt in defiance of the law (Gandhi's example again), trying to shut down a meeting or occupy a factory, is a matter of acting as if the existing structure of power does not even exist. Direct action is, ultimately, the defiant insistence on acting as if one is already free.
2) The refusal to accept the legitimacy of the existing legal order.
The second principle, obviously, follows from the first. From the very beginning, when we first started holding planning meetings in Tompkins Square Park in New York, organisers knowingly ignored local ordinances that insisted that any gathering of more than 12 people in a public park is illegal without police permission - simply on the grounds that such laws should not exist. On the same grounds, of course, we chose to occupy a park, inspired by examples from the Middle East and southern Europe, on the grounds that, as the public, we should not need permission to occupy public space. This might have been a very minor form of civil disobedience but it was crucial that we began with a commitment to answer only to a moral order, not a legal one.
3) The refusal to create an internal hierarchy, but instead to create a form of consensus-based direct democracy.
From the very beginning, too, organisers made the audacious decision to operate not only by direct democracy, without leaders, but by consensus. The first decision ensured that there would be no formal leadership structure that could be co-opted or coerced; the second, that no majority could bend a minority to its will, but that all crucial decisions had to be made by general consent. American anarchists have long considered consensus process (a tradition that has emerged from a confluence of feminism, anarchism and spiritual traditions like the Quakers) crucial for the reason that it is the only form of decision-making that could operate without coercive enforcement - since if a majority does not have the means to compel a minority to obey its dictates, all decisions will, of necessity, have to be made by general consent.
4) The embrace of prefigurative politics.
As a result, Zuccotti Park, and all subsequent encampments, became spaces of experiment with creating the institutions of a new society - not only democratic General Assemblies but kitchens, libraries, clinics, media centres and a host of other institutions, all operating on anarchist principles of mutual aid and self-organisation - a genuine attempt to create the institutions of a new society in the shell of the old.
Why did it work? Why did it catch on? One reason is, clearly, because most Americans are far more willing to embrace radical ideas than anyone in the established media is willing to admit. The basic message - that the American political order is absolutely and irredeemably corrupt, that both parties have been bought and sold by the wealthiest 1 per cent of the population, and that if we are to live in any sort of genuinely democratic society, we're going to have to start from scratch - clearly struck a profound chord in the American psyche.
Perhaps this is not surprising: We are facing conditions that rival those of the 1930s, the main difference being that the media seems stubbornly willing to acknowledge it. It raises intriguing questions about the role of the media itself in American society. Radical critics usually assume the "corporate media", as they call it, mainly exists to convince the public that existing institutions are healthy, legitimate and just. It is becoming increasingly apparent that they do not really see this is possible; rather, their role is simply to convince members of an increasingly angry public that no one else has come to the same conclusions they have. The result is an ideology that no one really believes, but most people at least suspect that everybody else does.
Nowhere is this disjunction between what ordinary Americans really think, and what the media and political establishment tells them they think, more clear than when we talk about democracy.
Democracy in America?
According to the official version, of course, "democracy" is a system created by the Founding Fathers, based on checks and balances between president, congress and judiciary. In fact, nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution does it say anything about the US being a "democracy". The authors of those documents, almost to a man, defined "democracy" as a matter of collective self-governance by popular assemblies, and as such they were dead-set against it.
Democracy meant the madness of crowds: bloody, tumultuous and untenable. "There was never a democracy that didn't commit suicide," wrote Adams; Hamilton justified the system of checks and balances by insisting that it was necessary to create a permanent body of the "rich and well-born" to check the "imprudence" of democracy, or even that limited form that would be allowed in the lower house of representatives.
The result was a republic - modelled not on Athens, but on Rome. It only came to be redefined as a "democracy" in the early 19th century because ordinary Americans had very different views, and persistently tended to vote - those who were allowed to vote - for candidates who called themselves "democrats". But what did - and what do - ordinary Americans mean by the word? Did they really just mean a system where they get to weigh in on which politicians will run the government? It seems implausible. After all, most Americans loathe politicians, and tend to be skeptical about the very idea of government. If they universally hold out "democracy" as their political ideal, it can only be because they still see it, however vaguely, as self-governance - as what the Founding Fathers tended to denounce as either "democracy" or, as they sometimes also put it, "anarchy".
If nothing else, this would help explain the enthusiasm with which they have embraced a movement based on directly democratic principles, despite the uniformly contemptuous dismissal of the United States' media and political class.
In fact, this is not the first time a movement based on fundamentally anarchist principles - direct action, direct democracy, a rejection of existing political institutions and attempt to create alternative ones - has cropped up in the US. The civil rights movement (at least its more radical branches), the anti-nuclear movement, and the global justice movement all took similar directions. Never, however, has one grown so startlingly quickly. But in part, this is because this time around, the organisers went straight for the central contradiction. They directly challenged the pretenses of the ruling elite that they are presiding over a democracy.
When it comes to their most basic political sensibilities, most Americans are deeply conflicted. Most combine a deep reverence for individual freedom with a near-worshipful identification with institutions like the army and police. Most combine an enthusiasm for markets with a hatred of capitalists. Most are simultaneously profoundly egalitarian, and deeply racist. Few are actual anarchists; few even know what "anarchism" means; it's not clear how many, if they did learn, would ultimately wish to discard the state and capitalism entirely. Anarchism is much more than simply grassroots democracy: It ultimately aims to eliminate all social relations, from wage labour to patriarchy, that can only be maintained by the systematic threat of force.
But one thing overwhelming numbers of Americans do feel is that something is terribly wrong with their country, that its key institutions are controlled by an arrogant elite, that radical change of some kind is long since overdue. They're right. It's hard to imagine a political system so systematically corrupt - one where bribery, on every level, has not only been made legal, but soliciting and dispensing bribes has become the full-time occupation of every American politician. The outrage is appropriate. The problem is that up until September 17, the only side of the spectrum willing to propose radical solutions of any sort was the Right.
As the history of the past movements all make clear, nothing terrifies those running the US more than the danger of democracy breaking out. The immediate response to even a modest spark of democratically organised civil disobedience is a panicked combination of concessions and brutality. How else can one explain the recent national mobilisation of thousands of riot cops, the beatings, chemical attacks, and mass arrests, of citizens engaged in precisely the kind of democratic assemblies the Bill of Rights was designed to protect, and whose only crime - if any - was the violation of local camping regulations?
Our media pundits might insist that if average Americans ever realised the anarchist role in Occupy Wall Street, they would turn away in shock and horror; but our rulers seem, rather, to labour under a lingering fear that if any significant number of Americans do find out what anarchism really is, they might well decide that rulers of any sort are unnecessary.
David Graeber is a Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London.
This original article can be found here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/2011112872835904508.html
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, 15 January 2012 12:04 PM PST
Monday, 24 October 2011
Survival Podcasts - Information
Now Playing: Modern Financial Survival
Episode-770- Modern Financial Survival
Yesterday I stated that we are about to in effect go into the middle of a financial war. I am not sure the analogy was fully understood it wasn’t so much about fighting the battle but more about the way that even if good is the end result how many can be harmed in the process.
This resulted in a litany of people trying to nit pick about the justification for WWII, why the US prospered after the war, etc. Such people are literalists that don’t comprehend analogies and tell “ants are socialists”, when you tell them the ant and grasshopper story.
Today I will revisit a few things people took exception to (very briefly) and will spend most of the show outlining my “modern financial survival guide” for the coming future.
Join Me Today as We Discuss…
- Is the Catholic Church calling for a “World Bank” and global tax or not
- What exactly do I mean by a financial war
- Why do I believe so emphatically that I am right about the coming collapse
- What I think you need to do to be financially prepared for the future
- Get rid of debt (especially floating rate debt)
- Try to save at least 20% of your income (6 months security)
- Know your exit points for every investment
- If you are in stocks by only the best companies
- Do not hold any and I mean any long term bonds
- Keep an eye on TIPS Bond Yields
- Remember most “experts” on TV are actually idiots
- Develop your local community
- Don’t bet on any government money (specifically @ 100%)
- Consider land as the best investment (not houses)
- Increase your financial IQ daily – start with vocabulary
- Focus on gaining some % of self sufficiency with the 5 needs
- Try to be as “cash rich” as possible
- Don’t act in fear, think before you do anything
- Do not listen to conventional wisdom during unconventional times
- Remember the prepared can always profit and prosper
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PDT
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