So Much for Texas

Texas always tries to make themselves sound like total bad asses. Thus when the federal government threatened to turn Texas into a no-fly zone over their bill that would allow people to charge members of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for their rampant sexual assaults I figured a big middle finger would be sent from the state to Washington D.C. Instead Texas folded like a piece of paper:

The legislation, which would have made it illegal for Transportation Security Administration agents to perform hand searches at airport security checkpoints unless there was probable cause, was approved by the Texas House.

But the U.S. attorney general’s office threatened to cancel flights to Texas if the bill passed, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported this week, and that was enough to give Texas senators cold feet.

So much for Texas being a shining example of a state willing to fight the federal government.

iPhone Encryption “Cracked”

One of the features I really like about the iPhone that Android appears to lack is the ability to encrypt the data on the device. Well news has been floating around that a company has found a means of cracking the iPhone’s encryption but from everything I’ve read it appears as through they are just brute forcing the password of the backups.

From the feature list it seems the program attempts to brute force the encrypted iPhone backups on your computer using the Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) to speed up the process. What I find funny is one of the listed features is “Decrypt iPhone/IPad/iPod backup (with known password).” Oh look at that if the application knows the password to decrypt the backup is can… decrypt the backup. No fucking shit. You know how I decrypt encrypted information? By using my password.

Two solutions exist to prevent this application from working on your phone; use a strong pass phrase to encrypt your backup and encrypt the hard drive of your computer for additional security. I’m not sure if the software is able to brute force the passkey on the phone but as my phone wipes all it’s data after 10 failed attempts to unlock it I feel as through I don’t have to worry about this particular problem.

A Secret PATRIOT Act

We all know and loathe the PATRIOT Act (unless you’re a statist in which case feel free to sodomize yourself with a retractable baton) but it seems things may be even worse than we realized. Senator Wyden or Oregon is claiming that a secret PATRIOT Act exists:

Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a “dragnet” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.

“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden tells Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”

I think this news should put to bed any concept of the United States being a government of the people, by the people, for the people. It appears as though our “representatives” are just fine making up secret laws now.

Where is Your Line

I don’t think I have to point out the fact once again that the United States is quickly becoming ever closer to an authoritarian society. Although many say they wish to prevent this country from turning into a police state I firmly believe we area already there. The question is no longer how to prevent the development of the police state but how far are you willing to be pushed until you say “no more!” This article challenges you to determine where your line is by questioning various factors.

The line for many people is very close and they are willing to turn their own family members in for using substances that the state says are verboten. Others, such as myself, place the line far away and are unwilling to cooperate with the state if that cooperation means a person will become a victim of the state’s wrath without actually having hurt anybody or damaged anybody’s property. Are you willing to submit to Homeland Security’s “if you see something say something” program? Will you turn your neighbor in for tax evasion even though such a crime doesn’t harm you? Do you believe it’s OK to call the police because you neighbor is in possession of a machine gun without the appropriate government issued tax stamp?

I believe this is an important issue for everybody to consider. I’m not going to tell you where you should draw the line, that’s up to you and your conscious. The decision is a weighty one with many consequences including the fact that lack of cooperation very well could lead to violence being used against you.

The Federal Government Threatens to Turn Texas Into a No-Fly Zone

Texas has been getting sick of the legal sexual assault performed by agents of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which lead to legislation being put forth that banned such acts by those federal thugs. As the federal government has a long history of threatening any state that dares disobey their demands it’s no surprise to learn threats are being made against Texas:

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice upped the ante in a high-stakes political game of chicken. Lobbying against pending legislation in the Texas legislature which would criminalize any searches conducted without probable cause, U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy sent a letter to a few high-ranking members of Texas’ government warning against promoting the bill and threatening a complete closure of all flights to and from the state.

The following is the threat made against Texas by the federal government:

“If HR [sic] 1937 were enacted, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute,” Murphy wrote. “Unless or until such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.”

Basically the federal government would enact a form of sanctions that would bar all air travel into and out of Texas. This is what happens when a state abides by the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution, threats of violence are brought against the legally acting state. The government of Texas has seen fit to prevent federal authorities from sexually assaulting its citizens which is a good thing and should be applauded. Other states should follow the example being put forth by Texas and if need be they should band together and resist the tyranny of the federal government.

Spammers Utilizing Their Own URL Shortening Services

I’ve explained my hatred for URL shortening services in the past and it seems that hatred continues to be justified. I feel that URL shortening services are a security threat as they prevent a user from knowing where a link will actually take them. This is why I have a policy on this website to delete any and all comments that continue a link to a URL shortening service. Well it appears as through spammers are now using their own shortening services:

Under this scheme, shortened links created on these fake URL-shortening sites are not included directly in spam messages. Instead, the spam emails contain shortened URLs created on legitimate URL-shortening sites.

These shortened URLs lead to a shortened-URL on the spammer’s fake URL-shortening Web site, which in turn redirects to the spammer’s own Web site.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. The obvious danger here is a link that appears legitimate (a known URL shortening service link) could redirect you to a spammer controlled shortening service link which could redirect you to a site that attempts to compromise your computer.

Before anybody brings this up I do realize that my Twitter feed uses a URL shortening service. I can’t do anything about that and if you don’t like it then subscribe to the RSS feed instead like normal people.

FBI Notes That Crime is Down

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) have released their preliminary Unified Crime Report for 2010 and strangely enough they’ve noted that crime is down:

According to the FBI’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report released today, the nation experienced a 5.5 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes and a 2.8 percent decline in the number of property crimes in 2010 when compared with data from 2009. The report is based on information the FBI gathered from 13,007 law enforcement agencies that submitted six to 12 comparable months of data for both 2009 and 2010.

This further disproves the anti-gunners lies about gun ownership rates correlating with violent crime rates. According to the arguments made by the likes of the Brady Campaign violent crime should be up because the number of guns on the street has increased as right to carry laws have become more favorable to the average citizen. The FBI’s data shows otherwise.

We’ve had right to carry legislation on the books for ages now and so far the “blood in the streets” claims parroted by anti-gunners has yet to come to fruition. Thus their hypothesis of liberalized (using the classic definition of the word of course) gun laws leading to higher violent crime has been completely disproved (actually it was disproved long ago but this adds yet another nail to the coffin). Of course organizations like the Brady Campaign will never acknowledge this because it means their sweet Joyce Foundation money would dry up and they would actually have to pursue employment elsewhere.

Rand Paul Proposed an Amendment to The PATRIOT Act Exempting Firearm Records

Even though our “representatives” are trying to ram the PATRIOT Act renewal through so they don’t actually have to have a debate on aggression against the American people I would like to point out that not everybody on Capitol Hill is on board. Senator Rand Paul proposed eight amendments to the PATRIOT Act which would have at least added some semblance of improvement to the horrible law (granted anything beyond complete abolition of the PATRIOT Act is unacceptable in my book). One of the amendments I found interesting was an exception of government access to firearm records:

Firearm Records Amendment: Clarifies that the authority to obtain info under the USA PATRIOT Act does not include authority to obtain certain firearm records. Supported by Gun Owners of America.

The law is still a horrible piece of shit but at least a few “representatives” aren’t willing to just ram the damned renewal through.

SAF Suing California Over “Assault Weapon” Ban

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is bring out a new lawsuit in the first for gun rights. This time SAF is suing California over their “assault weapon” ban:

The Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in California, seeking to have the state’s definition of so-called “assault weapons” declared unconstitutionally vague.

Joining SAF and Calguns in the lawsuit is Brendan John Richards, an Iraq combat veteran who served as a U.S. Marine, and whose arrest and six-day incarceration in the Sonoma County jail – and subsequent dismissal of all charges – was the catalyst for this legal action. Named as defendants are California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the California Department of Justice, the City of Rohnert Park and police officer Dean Becker.

Richards was jailed in May 2010 after Officer Becker, investigating a disturbance at a motel where Richards was staying, learned that Richards had two pistols and a rifle, all unloaded, in the trunk of his car. Becker, arrested Richards for unlawful possession of an assault weapon. However, in September of last year, the charges were dismissed by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office, based on a report from the state Department of Justice that showed none of the guns met the state’s definition of an assault weapon.

The lawsuit rightfully claims that California’s definition is “assault weapon” is vague at best. There is no reason a person should be subjected to state aggression because they possess a rifle that looks scary to some people.