Encryption Back Doors Already There

Wednesday 25 November 2015 Leave a comment

Perhaps you are aware of this ongoing stupidity from the government. There’s no real debate, of course, just government figures ignoring the obvious. The motives may vary among themselves, but not a single one of them honestly serves your interest.

At any rate, the US government for one has been pushing for backdoors to encryption systems and software so that they can snoop at will. What they aren’t telling you is that it’s not just about snooping, but the authority to plant malware at their whim. Techies might tell you there is a difference between breaking encryption and breaking other kinds of security, but I assure you it’s all one package. The government admits to wanting a secret key that allows them to break encryption. They don’t admit to demanding the authority to plant malware, but they do it frequently enough for folks to notice and report on it. Keep your eye on encryption but never forget that the government is using this merely as a starting point for having complete access to monitor all computer activity.

But while this stupid government kvetching carries on, getting particularly loud when anything “bad” happens anywhere in the world (like the mass murders Paris), you have to know that the major private industries are complying without telling you. That is, they are going along with the government demands in secret. All this noise about resisting and trying to come up with systems to protect their customers is just noise — they are lying through their teeth. Not all of them in quite the same way at exactly the same time, but you can bet they want to keep their foot in the door on big government contracts, so they will find ways to give the government what it wants.

There is a network protocol most users don’t know about that has to do with issuing certificate numbers to certain players on the Internet. Those certificates are collected and cataloged and placed in computer operating systems and in browser packages so that when you visit a certain website, it can offer a certificate that your browser or operating system can recognize as valid. Then you can negotiate for a temporarily encrypted connected that excludes eavesdropping. That way you can do your banking, log into various other kinds of services, and feel comfortable that it will be safe and secure.

Awhile back, Lenovo caught hell from technicians because they were selling laptops with a certificate that went into the operating system itself, and it was issued by Lenovo on behalf of third party advertisers so that they could slip their ads into your browser even when it was supposed to be an encrypted connection. That’s because the ad certificate overrode the safeguards. This was darned near a criminal act.

Just recently, Dell was caught doing something equally stupid. No, it was even stupider. It took advantage of a weakness Google intentionally built into the ultimate standard of certificate security, and Google adamantly refuses to fix it. And while Dell is fixing their part of this stupid mistake, it comes with a second similar certificate blunder that Dell refuses to even talk about.

Granted, this Dell crap only works if you are running Windows, but the huge freaking doorway Google put into the certificate process itself touches everybody online. In effect, Google has created a permanent weakness so that anyone with the ability to plant a certificate on your computer can gain access to all your connected, encrypted or otherwise.

That includes every connection you might use to download stuff, like maybe even computer updates. Granted, most Open Source operating systems use a different system for protecting their updating process that doesn’t require using encryption certificates. And most Linux distributions are always discussing ways to make it even more secure, but I have zero confidence in the way Windows gets its updates. That’s where the government malware comes in. And if a frequently bumbling incompetent government agency can do it, what’s to keep other agencies from using that system?

It just keeps getting crazier.

Proverbs 20 (Part 2)

Wednesday 25 November 2015 Leave a comment

(Recall that the context here is contrasting human justice against God’s divine moral character.)

16. Take the garment of him who is surety for a stranger; and take a pledge from him for strangers. Making loans on these terms are not a good bet, but divine justice is not measured that way. The Law of Moses specifically requires that you be willing to lend things to your neighbors, and that you further be ready to absorb a loss on such loans. In Hebrew society, your neighbors will typically be relatives in the first place. If nothing else, the whole nation of Israel was one big family, so there’s no excuse for failing to treat any fellow citizen as a brother or sister. Don’t fret that your cousin wants to be generous to some outsider. The limitation is in what God places in your hands to offer. You can’t magically translate this into Western society, but the idea is to stop scalping folks and playing loan shark, because profit is not your god.

17. Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel. The word translated “deceit” here specifically means it was intentional, not harmless, but meant to defraud. Nobody takes this proverb literally, of course. It’s not our concern how or under what terms God turns stolen bread into gravel, but that we know He doesn’t ignore these things.

18. Purposes are established by counsel; and with good advice make war. Simply living is a war; conflict is hard-wired into our fallen human nature. Stop whimpering about it and make sure you understand what’s involved. Both in terms of crafty tactics and in long-term strategy, seek to shed your personal blindness by cultivating folks who see through your personal biases and help you make just choices.

19. A gossip is a revealer of secrets; so do not mix with him who flatters with his lips. Perhaps the first phrase would better read, “A scandal-monger strips away your privacy.” It’s not a question of losing any advantage, but of losing your identity and sense of personal integrity. This is the simple wisdom of not trusting humans, including the person in the mirror. Wise people have no use for an ego massage.

20. Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in deep darkness. Translation destroys the play on words here. The specific term for cursing is making something thinner and lighter, and sometimes by implication, falsely shiny. It doesn’t require a direct affront to make fools of your parents. Don’t try to look so smart at the expense of those who love you. A lamp wick flares brightly just before the fire consumes it when the oil runs out.

21. An inheritance gotten hastily in the beginning, even the end of it shall not be blessed. This echoes the previous verse. It reflects on a fundamental flaw in human nature: Instant gratification destroys the soul. A true sense of moral discernment requires the full awareness of our fallen nature, gained in part by consciously embracing time-space limitations. This becomes paramount in seeking the blessings of shalom. Far more than merely your personal property inheritance, this affects the entire fabric of social stability under the Covenant that arises from living according to how Creation actually works.

22. Do not say, I will repay evil; wait on the LORD, and He will save you. Do not concern yourself with fixing other people’s sin. Even if you are the king, justice is confined to acting in your best discernment to protect your mission from God. Thus, it is never a question of what someone deserves; that’s God’s domain alone.

23. Different kinds of weights are hateful to the LORD, and a false balance is not good. This echoes verse 10 above, but in a slightly different context. Following upon the previous proverb here is the warning not to weigh a response based on improper factors. Don’t take it personally even if it was spiteful, but consider what will actually stop the harm.

24. Man’s steps are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way? Westerners tend to misread the rhetorical question here. Broadly, we are to regard the net behavior of humanity as steered by God. Do you want to understand where your personal pathway will take you? The obvious answer is to rely on the same God who is running all the rest of Creation.

25. It is a snare to a man to say rashly, “A holy thing,” and afterward vows to ask about it. This requires we understand that the common Hebrew expression of declaring something holy means that it is set aside as an offering to God. It occurs commonly in moments of high emotion, and too often in front of witnesses to impress them. The typical English translation confuses things a bit here, because the second phrase implies that the man goes to inquire of the Lord whether He took the vow seriously.

26. A wise king scatters the wicked and brings the wheel over them. This is more a matter of effects, in that royal wisdom typically makes it difficult for people to plot against the throne. Cynicism expects a certain flavor of trouble based on the context and prepares for it as with all the other routine business. The image is that of threshing a harvest of grain; spread it out and crush it with a grinding wheel.

27. The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. In the Hebrew culture, the belly was the seat of emotions. However, it is not limited to the Western concept of emotions, but more like the broader collection of animal impulses natural to life in this realm of existence. Not necessarily evil, but weak; they are what they are and generally help keep us alive. Not fit to rule, but not to be ignored. The word for “spirit” here is well above the mind; the latter was merely the chief of staff, as it were. The spirit was a far higher faculty directly linked to God’s Person, and it is this that rightly rules what is appropriate for the appetites in various contexts.

28. Mercy and truth preserve the king; and his throne is upheld by mercy. In the Ancient Near East, a king was just the family chief over a really big family, like a tribe. What kept such a ruler on the throne was a combination of two things. Kindness (“mercy”) is necessary when dealing with your family, because if you don’t love them, you have no business ruling them. Truth is the quality of being morally consistent and trustworthy. However, the nature of his position rests entirely on mercy, not merely playing at Truth Police. In other words, you must rule from the heart, not merely from reason and logic.

29. The glory of young men is their strength; and the beauty of old men is the gray head. The ancients seldom stated it in blunt terms, but they knew instinctively that gray hair was not merely a sign of aging, but a result of having lived through a lot of sorrow. Thus, youth is aflame with physical vigor, but living long enough to talk about it wisely is more precious. Take advantage of vigor while you can, but consult with elders how to do it well.

30. The stripes of a wound cleanses away evil, and strokes the inward parts of the belly. Figures of speech here translate poorly into English. Within the Covenant context, most of your troubles arise from paying too much attention to your appetites and not enough to what’s necessary for social stability. Truly just punishment doesn’t aim at the pain, but at what pain produces in terms of moral adjustments.

The One Thing

Wednesday 25 November 2015 Leave a comment

I won’t use the terminology of the giants on whose shoulders I stand; they encouraged me to find my own voice from merging myself into the message. So if I had to pick one thing to talk about as the singular core of my existence, the drive to keep functioning daily in this human form in our Fallen Realm it’s this:

Discover the unique mind and logic of your heart. If you need scientific background, go here for my summary on that. In a follow-up chapter I describe how it works for religious believers. However, you can toss aside as much of that as you please, so long as you grasp the notion that your heart has its own separate faculty for knowing and deciding things, and that its proper operation requires your intellect play the servant, not the ruler. Once you get that working in any way at all — your heart feeding guidance down to your mind — everything else takes care of itself.

That’s what drives me. If you need to hear something about my interest in such things, let me assure you: If more people operated under the guidance of their heart-minds, my life would be far, far better than it is now. It might be hard to explain in mere words how that works, but I’m utterly convinced it is so. If I can get you sensing and deciding from your heart, I can afford to let you run off on your own path far, far away from me and my ideas and my plans. Find your heart and forget about me, because my own heart tells me nothing can possibly do me as much good as you learning to live by your heart.

So perhaps you’ll be a little less surprised or annoyed when I make so much noise about how computers and the Internet are a big part of what I do. It’s probably just a little easier to understand that I am not driven to sell my favorite brand of Linux or BSD for personal gain or some kind of religious satisfaction. Use what you find effective in your heart-led operations, but if more people use some kind of Linux, the Internet will work far, far better than it does now. It would vastly simplify my mission. So long as things stay like they are, I spend the vast majority of my time working on fixing all the problems that naturally arise from that. Not just time spent fixing other people’s computers, but dealing with all the resulting hassles of a virtual world running on dumb-assed crazy lies about what matters in computer networking.

My technology concerns are shaped by my moral concerns with heart-led living. It’s not about Linux; come up with something viable that does the same job better and I’ll support it. (That’s the same thing I say about the modern State of Israel: Come up with a state that actually follows God’s Laws and I’ll be first in line to support them, even immigrate there.) How much time I have to mess with it is a consideration, but if what you have is genuinely better for my mission, I’ll jump right on it.

So here I come to the point of this post: The reason I make so much noise about survival in terms of technology and cyberwarfare is because that’s the basis for what comes after our little taste of Armageddon. Yes, we are going to experience some drastic changes in the system that makes life possible right now. We might not have anything so well defined as to call it a “war” in classical terms, but there will be lots of destruction and death. If you think we’ve got too much of that now, just wait; it will spread like wildfire all too soon. I am quite convinced there is no single human source that understands it well enough to describe what’s coming, and what it will look like, or what you will experience on the way. I am utterly convinced that we will pass through some really crazy shit.

But I am equally certain that, while the Internet will see some drastic changes, it won’t go away. If anything, a form of global networking will become even more functional and more central to continuing human existence. So I’m doing my best to prepare for that unseen future with measures I sense in my heart are highly likely to remain viable through this mess and out the other side — whatever that might mean in real terms.

Some of you surely understand Windows, for example, well enough to keep it viable for the time being. Great; God bless you and keep up the good work. Learn how to share your blessing in such things, because we are all called to play shepherd one way or another. That’s the fundamental nature of God’s call on people who can hear His voice: Feed the sheep and keep them alive and growing. People need shepherding for their computer networking, too. All the more so because the coming civilization will stand on that foundation. But in my case, the best I can do is steer folks away from Windows because I’m convinced it will be less hassle and less time wasted if you can shift your habits over to the Linux world. If computers matter to your calling and daily life, I believe you’ll have less hassle once you get over the initial hump of learning a different OS. To me, this seems a far shorter path for folks who have better things to do.

Just use my blather as some kind of example of driving hard after God, of knowing beyond all doubt what He wants you to do for His glory.

What They Deserve

Tuesday 24 November 2015 2 comments

It’s really simple folks: Unless you first study to understand God’s moral character, as revealed, you cannot pretend to know what is just or unjust. Every other standard is from Satan. That’s what we teach here.

Further, you cannot process any part of God’s revelation in your intellect. It’s designed for the heart. For those who live in the Western confusion of the terminology in the Bible, that’s the same as saying you must operate from a living and active conviction that can overrule mere human logic. God will not speak to your brain, only your heart; He speaks through a driving sense of conviction. You cannot know God any other way.

Finally, then you stand in the position to understand the general moral guideline that we never judge anyone according to what we might imagine they deserve. Only God knows that in the first place. Rather, we judge on the basis of what we must do to please Him. We cannot allow anger to vote on the disposition of anyone who falls into our hands. Rather, we must have already walked through the Valley of Death in our own souls and know what it is that God requires of us. Whenever someone intrudes into that calling and mission, we react not on any other basis but the mission.

The mythology of “justice” being a matter of punishment and what someone might “owe” society is not in the Bible; it’s from a heathen Western background. There is no “society” in the first place; that is a further complicating perversion in this whole question. Too many Westerners want others to bow down to their personal sense of victim-hood, which translates into a demand that someone else must buy the guilt and shame. “I have earned the right to humiliate you!” That’s blasphemous, because it belongs to God alone and His revelation forbids us going there. The question is under whose earthly dominion that violator falls, and no part of Western Civilization understands that question, either.

If we do not get a grip on what God revealed about all these things, we cannot even pray appropriately, much less act according to divine justice.

Robocall Abuse

Monday 23 November 2015 Leave a comment

Until recently I owned a mobile home. That means you pay county taxes and your name shows up on the public records. A handful for asshole operations troll those records for names and numbers of people who would never call them and have no use whatsoever for whatever it is they are selling. But then they sell those numbers to even more aggressive outfits that use robocalling, and even spoof their numbers so you can’t complain to the FTC.

The vendor of ill repute here is ADT Home Security Systems. They seldom do their own sales calls any more, passing it off to contractors who get a fee for referral, I suppose. At any rate, some of those contractors are psychopaths. Over the past couple of months as I wound down my ownership of that residence and moved out of it, the calls actually got worse.

If they call you, most likely it starts with those oddball electronic cues to warn you that the machine on the other end is waiting for you to pick up the phone and say “hello.” If you say nothing, it will eventually hang up. Once they register a human voice, a recording begins. “Good morning (afternoon/evening), this is Jonathan with home security….” But there’s no Jonathan there, just a recording. After hearing a portion of the spiel, I looked up the key words under robocalling and found out it was a lead marketer for ADT. Since that time, I simply hang up every time I hear that recording.

A week ago that robocalling system went ballistic on me. It called 3 or 4 times daily. It escalated until it was eight calls in one day. I decided it was time to hunt down someone at ADT. The website says little or nothing useful, because all they want is for you to call their salesman and force you to hear their spiel one more time before lying about not calling you again. And if you know something about checking who owns a website and how to contact them, you’ll discover their website has a blind registration through a proxy to prevent you knowing.

Using my Internet sleuthing skills, I eventually found an email address reported by one of the BBB sites in their home state. It was worth a shot.

In sum, I told the recipient that I live in an apartment and I felt this was abusive. Someday in the future when I want to consider home security systems, I won’t do business with anyone who can’t secure me against phone calls from ADT. That got a response. I was referred to the “ADT Do Not Contact” team. Gave them my phone number and I haven’t heard from any robocallers in several days now.

Psst: It’s jracz at adt dot com


Monday 23 November 2015 1 comment

Just a personal note…

I rode my bike to the VA today. I waited a couple of hours in the prosthetics department to be evaluated for some kind of orthotics. This involves measuring my legs for an apparent disparity in length. Turns out my left leg was just about 1/8″ (3mm) shorter, and the official answer is to try heel lifts first. All that means is a hard foam wedge of that thickness is cut and shaped to fit in my shoe under whatever insole liner there might be. The technician gave me a spare as well.

I can tell you that my stride seems more natural, but my left heel is complaining at the unexpected hard presence inside the shoe. You can’t win. However, I can assure you that if it takes pressure off my right hip because the pelvic girdle is now better aligned, I’ll be happy with all that other stuff. It’s funny how the littlest things can affect so much of your body.

Sunday Coffee Chatter

Sunday 22 November 2015 Leave a comment

Come in and have a seat; let me pour you a mug of joe.

WordPress told me that I have just passed the eight year mark here with them. I must be full of it, because most of those days I’ve posted at least once. Lord, how far I’ve traveled in that time. Then again, I’d hate to be the same man I was two weeks ago. Without progress in our moral existence, we are already dead.

I used to study the underground patriots, but lately I’ve spent more time researching their close cousins in the Internet conspiracy circles. Much of it is traded by emails, but some of the stars can get their articles posted on dozens of sites, and linked on dozens more. As I’ve noted often enough, this stuff typically has an element of truth because virtually every government on the planet is the result of a conspiracy to rule, whether to take power or simply to keep it. I’ve also made it clear that not a single government does things according to God’s expectations, nor even according to some literal reading of the Bible, so we shouldn’t trust any of them to be honest. Our world is shaped by various real conspiracies to herd us places we don’t want to go and probably shouldn’t go.

Someone close to me gets a portion of these emails, and it seems their correspondent rather likes Benjamin Fulford. Yes, he was once a real journalist for Forbes Magazine and claims to have renounced his “Illuminati” family background. What? Oh, he’s a Canadian-born Jew whose father was a diplomat. Fulford spent most of his adult life in Asia, particularly Japan. I think it’s because the Japanese tend to allow almost any crackpot air-time, and he’s very much a cracked pot of nonsense. He’s simply a Westerner fluent in Japanese, and that opens lots of doors for him. It’s like some kind of TV suspense series, with his standard list of characters and their typical behavior patterns, always drawing in his audience with amazing secretive machinations and conflicts.

It taps into the vast keyboard commando faux-activist hopes that somehow things will get better when someone delivers us from these awful oppressions. You would think they all still believe in Santa Claus. Somewhere there has to be a magic key that will open our jail cells and set us free to march victorious to our own imaginary Eden.

You’ll notice not a single genuine mystic is involved in this crap. That is, none of conspiracy flakes promotes a genuine otherworldly viewpoint. None of them talks about activating the heart-mind or walking in the divine character of God. They don’t even know what symbolic logic is and can’t be bothered to understand anything that isn’t fully contained within Western traditions.

Anyway, I’ve discovered these folks do run in packs. Each group has their allies and their own groupies. Once you figure out who the stars are, you can determine which site or supporting cast member belongs to which faction by whom they praise or castigate. Each throws rocks at the others, exposing their hidden flaws. “Well So-n-so is actually related to This-n-that, or serves the Other-bigshot bad guys.” When you put it all together in one big picture, you realize all of them are different flavors of the same cheap Kool-aid. Plain water won’t hurt you, but they can’t make a living selling that, so they keep mixing in various kinds of cartoonish nonsense to keep the kids coming back for more.

Of course, our teaching here is that if you get too focused on individuals, you lose sight of the moral gravity of things — “for our striving is not against flesh and blood, but against powerful moral forces shaped by demonic creatures” (Ephesians 6:12f). That’s why I said flatly that The Cult as I identified it was not a specific group of individuals, but a consistent influence behaving in predictable ways. The question is not people, but how the Enemy of our Souls keeps us distracted from getting to know God better. Some tricks work better than others, and The Cult represents a collection of established methods of asserting control over humanity. It’s much more subtle than any simple human political agenda because that never has lasting power to drive anyone. It does include a semi-religious devotion to some dream, which makes it a cult instead of a mere political agenda.

Speaking of weird religious ideas, in this research into conspiracy nuts I keep bumping into the British-Israelite or Christian Identity folk. On the one hand, they have assembled a truly excellent body of research on the bogus nature of Judaism, but it’s driven by some truly wacko premises. They believe Caucasians are the real Israelites, while Jews are the literal bastard race of Satan’s sexual seduction of Eve. In fact, the children of Adam and Eve are the first White humans, while all the other “mud races” were already in existence as part of the animals God created before He made “humans” (AKA Whites). Thus, Anglo-Saxons were simply displaced Israelis, pushed out of their homeland by the evil Devil-people (Jews). The Peter Ruckman KJV-Only folks are part of this. It’s all a very big part of the push to make Jesus into a Germanic figure and their heritage the truth of God. So British-Israelitism is the logical conclusion to the slavish devotion of Western Christianity to Germanic tribal mythology.

Hm? Well, the best defense is to remember what Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 3:9 — When it comes to genuine moral holiness, the value of family lineage and DNA is roughly equal to rocks on the ground. God’s revelation was never a question of bloodlines, but of His moral character expressed and manifested through the various covenants. Anyone born anywhere on the earth could partake of the Covenant of Moses simply by embracing all its requirements. You could gain full Israeli citizenship from any other race of people. So far as we know, only the Amalekites had extra hoops to jump through, and that was only in the context of Moses specifically. You can still claim all the same blessings of shalom without the ceremonial observances so long as you don’t claim the Covenant of Moses itself. The Covenant of the Cross trumps all of it, anyway, since His mission was to bring that covenant to a close.

He warned about wars and rumors of wars following His departure back into Heaven. English translations of His comments (Matthew 24-25) are bad enough, since it is translated from His native Aramaic into Greek in the first place. However, Western evangelicals have really twisted this stuff completely out of shape. He told His disciples not to ignore human events, but not to set their hearts on them, either. Flee Jerusalem when things get rough, but do so because that’s just God’s signal to take the message into the world.

Just so, I’m convinced our modern military conflicts are merely symptoms of other things. Even on a purely human level, the real conflict is in cyberspace. If you want to understand the future, keep your eyes on cyberwarfare and what sort of things make it possible to survive virtual battles. Look at how the sheeple are being herded this way and that. In the same sense Jesus was talking about the Roman siege of Jerusalem, I speak of things like CentOS. If you really have to be involved in the Internet, and you don’t have time to really dig into computer technology, just learn enough to install and use CentOS and you’ll have about as much computer security as anyone really needs. If you have the time and inclination to really learn about it in detail, I recommend Debian. By all means, get away from Windows and Mac if you can. It’s not a question of superiority; nobody can answer that for you. It’s a question of what the crooks and spooks don’t want to mess with, and the threats avoid CentOS as a desktop operating system. People who understand Debian are already a hard nut to crack. It’s just a matter of keeping out of the line of fire so that you can pursue your calling.

But in the final analysis, it’s just like that cup of coffee in front of you there. You are the one drinking it, so you have to take responsibility for flavoring it just right. I can take the blame if I make bad coffee, but you are the one who decides whether to drink it in the first place. You aren’t going to hurt my feelings if you accept a cup and don’t actually drink any. All I have is what God has given me. I’ll gladly share, but it’s between you and Him whether it’s useful in your life.

Addenda: If you would like to read more commentary on the secular scene — war and international political analysis — I recommend The Saker (who also seems to know about Debian), not so much for content as that you could learn a great deal from his approach to the subjects about which he writes. And yes, I suggest you consider a donation to him if it seems right in your heart.


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