Sunday, March 19, 2017

What the CIA, Hacking Tools and Marketing Have in Common

Alice Salles writes in about the Wikileaks revelations and relates how the CIA has lost control of the hacking tools, trojans, viri, and other malware they produced. As I read the article, it came to me that this was only natural. They are in the same boat as marketers when it comes to keeping their “secrets”.

Considering any company selling goods or services. Some are good at it, some are horrible. Most fall somewhere in-between. What's the secret of the most successful marketers? It is no “secret” at all if you stop to think about it. They are selling whatever, thus they make it known what they are selling to the general public. Thus whatever they are doing to sell whatever they are selling has to be right out in the open. This has been long known to those who write sales copy or are marketers themselves. If you want find a magazine ad that sells, look at the last several issues. The successful ads are the ads you see again and again. Magazine ads are expensive so marketers will not, cannot continue to pay for them unless they produce results. So how does this relate to the CIA? Simple.

For the CIA's plot to work they must install that malware on computers. Your computer. My computer. Every computer they can. In order for the malware to work they must distribute a copy to every computer they possibly can. While most of us, including myself, are oblivious to all the crap running on our computers, including malware, there are those among us who like nothing more than finding it and either turning it to their own purposes or announcing their findings to the world. About that last bit, most of the world ignores such nerds so these announcements end up circulating in “nerd circles” where most never see the light of day. No matter, the information is out there. If you cared to actually search, whatever the CIA, NSA, Russians, Clinton Crime Family, or Skippy, the kid next door put on your computer, rest assured it is there, intact, and ready to be discovered. So it is no wonder the CIA cannot keep these “secret”. Now at some point they will figure out a way to make their stuff near invisible. Maybe they already have, but just so I don't give them any ideas, I will not publish my thoughts on this. Rest assured if they are successful cloaking their software, even those techniques cannot last forever. All of this involves the same principles as computer security. If you can lock it, someone will find a way to unlock it.

None of this is intended to make you feel all warm, fuzzy and comfortable with your computer again. The fact is the powers that be are determined to collected every bit of information on every one of us and use any or all of it to their distinct advantage. In my own case, where they have little, if anything, to hold against me, they can always make it up. This is the REAL danger of their intrusions into our privacy. Consider the story line in Orwell's “1984” where Winston changes a “news” story and then changes it again. The gist of this story line is the “facts” are what those in power decide those facts to be. We are witnessing this exact principle at work before our eyes! One friend, a Windows expert, once opined the only true method of securing a computer would be to dismantle it, smash it, burn it, dig a 12 foot hole, and bury it in concrete. Only then, it MIGHT be somewhat secure. He didn't think to EMP it, but I am sure he would today. My point is, our lives are not secure. Just as we've been living in a fantasy world where our God-given rights are secured by a constitutional republic, we are not at all secure in our homes, persons or possessions. Our “personal” property is always subject to taxation, inspection or confiscation at the whim of any number of government agents. While the latest revelations about the CIA are and should be disturbing, they should be of no surprise to anyone. Neither should anyone be lured into believe that we can somehow turn this nation back to anything resembling a constitutional republic. From my unabashedly Christian perspective, I contend the only real approach is to turn to our Heavenly Father and live lives pleasing to Him. We live in this age for a reason. The only reason I can ascertain is to help prepare the world for the return of His Son and our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Friday, March 10, 2017

I Was Wrong

I was wrong.

Recently, I penned an open letter to the Forth Circuit and Supreme Court. Basically I took them to task for their recent attacks on our God-given rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. Specifically I focused the Second and Forth Amendments but, really, they've trampled them all and they all know it. In brief, the Forth Circuit expanded the definition of “weapons of war” to include, at least, certain types of semi-automatic firearms. The landmark Heller opinion stated while citizens have the right to use firearms to defend ourselves, this right did not extend to “weapons of war”. Let that sink in. While those of us who hold the Second Amendment close to our hears cheered Heller, we failed to see the other shoe essentially gutted our guarantee to our God-given right. That said, I was so very wrong.

Wrong because, in writing the letter, I allowed myself the luxury to think that some how, some way, this nation will turn back to a constitutional republic. That we can take back all we have lost and while, it may be a longer, harder road than we now anticipate, it can happen. That idea is pure fantasy. No matter how much I WANT this to happen, it can not and will not. Why am I suddenly so “negative”?

First, let's get the whole “negativity” thing out of our heads. As I've said so many times, this world is on the brink of a New World Order and thus, the return of my Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ is imminent. How can that be negative? Second, while I do indeed enjoy the fruits of living in the freest, richest nation the world has ever known, much of what I believed to be true about this country is smoke and mirrors. Consider the idea this nation stands because we are ruled by “the consent of the governed”. What happened when several states no longer consented? We now refer to it as The Civil War. Yeah. Nobody is asking you for your consent and if you decide to revoke it, you may find yourself locked up or without a country. And yet, the fact is, there is no better nation to turn to. This is it and it is slipping out of our hands. Even so, it is necessary. Just as his followers had to admit their Messiah was beaten beyond recognition and died a horrible death on the cross, we need to understand we are witnesses to the death of our nation. Just as God raised Jesus from the dead, He will not forsake us. While none of us can say for certain we will live to see Jesus come with the clouds, we can rest assured it won't be long now. It cannot be.

No matter how wrong I've been, part of me will always yearn for a free nation where we can all pursue happiness without government suppression. This cannot happen at the hand of man. Just as the nation of Israel proved unequivocally that man cannot be saved from sin via the law, we have proven that freedom and justice cannot be had by a nation of laws. Without God, without His Son, there is no hope. This is hard for me to accept because I so strongly believe on the principles our nation was founded upon. I am convinced God Himself had a hand in forming and keeping this nation. It would be hard to deny we've been abundantly blessed as a nation. It is time to ask ourselves whether this nation has served God's purpose. As I reflected on my letter to the courts, I asked myself... to what end?

What did I hope to accomplish? In fact, the letter was written out of sheer anger and frustration after I realized how devastating the court's opinion was to our rights. It only got worse as I began to understand the implications alluded to in Heller. As I considered the letter itself, I realized, after the fact, that the letter could accomplish nothing. A few might read it. Some may agree with some points but then what? Would we all rise up an take to the streets? Write our ever-so-accommodating representatives? What? Of course the letter was futile. But, wait a minute, maybe there IS hope! What about the rallies in support of President Trump? We ARE taking to the streets! Maybe, just maybe...

Let us take off our rose colored glasses for a moment, shall we? While I am heartened to see people actually coming out to support President Trump, lets not ignore what is happening. First, anyone familiar with my ramblings over the past year or so, will know I've never been a Trump fan. I stopped far short of being a “never-Trumper”. Even so, I could never understand his appeal. In recent months I have warmed to him quite a bit. No matter what, he will never be a “Hillary Clinton” or even a “George Bush” and for this I am thankful. I am also impressed that he seems to sincerely reverence God. I can certainly support his efforts to accomplish his agenda for the most part. I could never say as much for his predecessor. Even so, I have never seen such resistance to a U.S. President. From the appalling behavior of the opposition party (they are really living up to the term these days!) to the rabid droolings of the press, to the violent protesters in the streets, one has to wonder what the heck is going on? And now the violence extends to those peacefully supporting President Trump. How long before pro-Trump supporters defend themselves in earnest? How long before protests start to resemble gang wars? How long before someone drives a truck through a pro-Trump rally? Or sets off a bomb? This is one reason I will not be joining a rally – it also goes against my primary principle of avoiding crowds. It is not “fear”. I've never liked crowds to begin with but these days they seem to be an open invitation for trouble. No thanks. So what is the best we can hope for? I suppose we can hope the pro-Trump attackers will all end up in jail or enough to quell the attacks and the nation will come together to support the good things Trump is trying to accomplish. As much as I'd like to see it, I cannot bring myself to hope for a return to a true constitutional republic. That would mean dismantling 95% of the federal government. Too high? Okay, so shoot for 80% or even 50% - can you really see that happening? I cannot. Nor can I see the entrenched resistance to President Trump going away.

No matter how you look at it, one has to admit a substantial number of those who legally and actively voted in this nation support a “social democracy”. That is a sugar-coated way of saying they support communism. And communism is nothing more than a front for statist rule. They have successfully embedded their cancerous politics into the fabric of our nation. Will we ever rid ourselves of Social Security, Medicaid, or Food Stamps? Actually, I believe all of these will eventually go away, but not because the people demand it. Unfortunately this will only happen when our government can no longer cough up enough fiat cash to keep them going. This may happen sooner than you think. David Stockman is already warning us about March 15th when the federal government faces yet another debt ceiling hurdle. His prediction is typically dire but he has a point – at some time our nation will no longer have the money to cover the even the interest on our ever-increasing debt, much less cash for anything else. What happens then? In a word... default. Communism ultimately fails when they run out of other people's money.

So we cannot go back and going forward is precarious, at best. The problem is “going forward” means going deeper into the communist rabbit hole. It means more government, more spending, more taxes and less freedom. For those who refuse to admit this, take a hard look around you. When has government become smaller? Even President Trump is proposing massive increases in infrastructure as well as increases in our defense budget. While I am not opposed to spending money on either cause, I would rather someone propose cuts with half of the money saved going towards an overall reduction in spending and the other half re-purposed for non-entitlement use. But that is not going to happen. The budget will grow. Spending will continue unchecked. If nothing else occurs, such as an EMP attack, we will spend ourselves into a corner and the economy will crash down upon our heads. Like it or not, this is our future.

So again I ask, has this nation fulfilled God's purpose? Certainly we could not reasonably expect it to last forever. How, then would end? I'm sure many envisioned Christ returning and then the nation falling and this is still possible. But what if the nation were to collapse in a self-destructive heap? What if this is to be the ultimate end for our nation? To me, the most horrible end to our nation – or maybe I should say the final throes – would be we become as England. The once proud, once world-dominant, nation upon which the sun never set is now a socialist nightmare. Cameras are everywhere, almost making the book “1984” pale by comparison. True, I do not think they monitor citizens homes... yet, but the technology is in place. It is now more a crime to defend oneself from criminals then commit the crime itself, i.e. criminals have far more rights than citizens. Yes, England still enjoys many freedoms, as long as they are approved by the state. Much like things are here. As many have said before me, I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees. My own prayer is we do not simply degenerate into another totalitarian police state. Unfortunately, we are already there in many ways.

While we can always fondly reflect on the nation our founding fathers intended when our constitution was ratified, the sooner we realize those lofty intentions were never realized, the sooner we can roll up our sleeves and move on. Move on to what? Move on to reality and that brings us right back to where we started. Government will continue to grow larger. Citizens will continue to gravitate to population centers and demand more and more services and entitlements. Our liberties will continue to shrink. There is no turning “back”. There is nothing to turn “back” to. Since the big government model, call it statism, communism, oligarchy... whatever, cannot sustain itself over time, it will fail. When this government fails, our sovereignty will be formally relinquished to a world government. Whether this will happen in steps or directly, I do not know. I can only anticipate the direction, not predict the future. Meanwhile this nation could suffer some sort of fatal blow from natural or man-made causes to quicken our demise. I see that possibility as a blessing, though I doubt if the reality of such an occurrence would seem as such. No matter what, I suggest you prepare however you can to make the best of whatever situation you may find yourself in.

In “survivalist” circles there is obviously lots of talk about, well, surviving any number of scenarios from a nuclear and/or EMP attack, to economic collapse and beyond. Debates are endless about how much food and water to store, whether one should bug out or huddle in place and so on and so forth. While I agree we should all prepare to weather short term problems, I am not sure I really want to survive in a world annihilated by nuclear devices. I'm not saying I'm ready to lead a charge in the name of some concept of “freedom” (which concept is unattainable), but rather, I'm not about to hole up in some bunker so I can be one of the few to restart the human race. When you think of the company I'd be likely to keep – politicians, etc. the prospect becomes even less appealing. Realistically, I don't see things coming to that but I do believe there is a line where it is just not worth doing “anything” to survive. As a Christian, my attitude is to do what I can and trust God to help me where I can't. One thing I can nearly guarantee is things won't turn out as we imagine them no matter how many scenarios we anticipate. Thus, I ask you to consider a similar mindset. Rather than prepare for anything and everything, get the basics down. Consider your circumstances. If you live in a one bedroom apartment deep in a city, you'll need to adjust accordingly. By all means turn to God and ask for wisdom and guidance, now and always. He is the one constant we can count on. Everything happening now is happening because it is supposed to and you are right where God wants you. If you are in a bad spot, and many will be, you need to lean on Him even more. Consider Joseph in the pit, or Jesus before the Sanhedrin. In both instances, things got far worse before they got better. It is easy to rail against the garbage we see on the news... from both sides. It is all spin. It is all based on half-truths and outright lies. The father of lies thinks he has the world within his grasp but it will shortly slip through his fingers. There is only one true God. I suggest you seek Him out and accept the offer of salvation through His only begotten Son who shed His blood for our sins, whom God raised from the dead for our justification.