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Message 362551 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 16:36:23 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2006, 16:39:30 UTC

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Message 362579 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 17:18:36 UTC

I haven't been around much lately, just checking once in a while and I didn't see how long PT [16] had gotten.

As for the claim that has sparked some discussion, the (proposed) law banning possession of malicious software has itself been called illegal because it requires proof of "intent" to use the software for an illegal reason. The claim that requiring intent makes a law invalid is simply not true.

Criminal laws always (with rare exceptions) require the prosecutor to prove both: an illegal act, and a culpable "state of mind". Thus, the crime of murder is both the act of killing someone, and a particular guilty state of mind, such as doing the killing "intentionally" or "knowingly". Both the "act" and the "state of mind" must be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt. This is regularly done, and has been the requirement for centuries.

For example, if you kill someone without any "knowlege" that you have done so or "intent" to do so, you will not be guilty of murder. In most states killing someone "recklessly" is manslaughter, killing someone "negligently" is called negligent homocide, but a person found not guilty by reason of insanity is not criminally guilty because that person can not, or did not, have the state of mind required to find the person guilty. (In such cases, all states have options of holding dangerous, criminally insane people in custody until their mental illness is deemed "cured" and the person is no longer dangerous--which may be never).

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Message 362589 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 17:38:03 UTC

Keep Our "Addiction" to Oil, End Our Allergy to Self-Assertion

By Alex Epstein

Politicians and commentators from both parties are decrying our "addiction to oil." They exhort us to embrace costly programs to reduce our consumption of oil as quickly as possible. The primary rationale for this is national security. Our oil consumption is dangerous because, in the words of a New York Times editorial, "Oil profits that flow to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries finance . . . terrorist acts." With the same justification, President Bush has called for cutting "more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025 . . . and mak[ing] our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past."

But Americans are not "addicted" to oil. "Addiction" implies an intense desire for something harmful. But we do not desire oil irrationally; we consume it because it is a wonderful, life-sustaining product. Oil is unmatched as an efficient, safe source of portable energy. It enables us to affordably ride, drive, or fly anywhere we wish, and fuels a transportation industry that enables us to trade anything with anyone from anywhere around the world. We are not addicted to oil any more than we are addicted to the myriad values it makes possible, like fresh food, imported electronics, going to work, or visiting loved ones.

The problem we face today is not our love of oil, but oil-rich dictatorships like Iran and Saudi Arabia--who use ill-gotten profits to spread totalitarian Islamic ideology around the world and terrorize us with their minions. The solution is not to punish ourselves by renouncing oil--but to punish our enemies until they renounce their aggression.

As the most powerful nation on earth, the United States has many options at its disposal.

One means of ending the Iranian and Saudi threat would be to issue an ultimatum to these regimes: cease all anti-American aggression immediately, or be destroyed. Many, witnessing the Iraqi quagmire, might scoff at this option. But such a course is eminently practical if America's unsurpassed military forces are committed to the task, not of "rebuilding" or "liberating" these states, but of making their inhabitants fear threatening America ever again.

Another means of addressing the threat would be to remove Middle Eastern oil fields from Iranian and Saudi control, put them in the hands of private companies, and then employ surveillance and troops to secure that oil supply. Contrary to popular assumption, Middle Eastern dictatorships have no right to their nationalized oil fields, which should be private property--the property of individuals who work to find and extract the oil.

Still another option might be a comprehensive, all-out embargo by the United States and its allies to starve the leader of the enemy, Iran, until the regime crumbles and the Islamic totalitarians lose their will to fight.

Which policy is best is for military strategists to determine--but our politicians and intellectuals refuse to consider any of these options. Instead, they decry our "addiction to oil," condemn us for not all wanting to drive Priuses, and urge, as penance, that we cut ourselves from the world oil market. Can anyone honestly believe that such asceticism will protect us from attack--given that Saudi Arabia and Iran both actively sponsored terrorism when oil was $10 a barrel?

Why do our leaders eagerly embrace impractical policies that punish Americans, while eschewing practical options that would punish our enemies? Because the practical policies would involve "going to war for oil," "America imposing its will on the rest of the world," upsetting the "international community," and all of today's other foreign policy taboos--i.e., they are branded immoral because they involve American self-assertion.

Our leaders do not believe that America has a moral right to assert itself in self-defense. This is why we engage in self-effacing, appeasing "diplomacy" with easily defeated enemies like Iran and Saudi Arabia. And this is why, when we actually do go to war (after such diplomacy fails), we pull our punches and declare our purpose to be lavishing the good life on hostile foreign peoples. Now, after over 2,500 American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars put in service of mob rule in Iraq, we are told to give up the lifeblood of our civilization rather than wage real war against our enemies. Could anything be more encouraging to our enemies than the knowledge that America will make Americans, not them, pay for their aggression?

This senseless sacrifice must stop. It is past time to adopt a foreign policy of self-assertion and self-interest--i.e., a truly moral policy.

Alex Epstein is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.




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Message 362735 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 20:48:42 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2006, 20:51:37 UTC

1. A port scanner is not a malicious piece of software, by itself. It is only capable of scanning for open ports, not exploiting them. Not to mention that the average PC users has no need for port scanners or key loggers or any other "questionable" piece of software since the average user is not a network administrator.

There are several US statutes that purport to criminalize "intent," but that intent is always measured against some quantifiable criteria. Posessing twenty or thirty doses of an illicit drug is considered "intent to distribute." Similarly, if someone's computer has a dozen hacking tools, and hundreds of unlicensed commercial software packages, that might constitute "intent" to hack.

I haven't read the treaty in question. These international efforts tend to be long on intrusiveness and short of effectiveness.
2. You have a Constitutional right to bare arms in the USA with a permit and background check, which does not include fully-automatic weapons and some assualt rifles. Not to mention this isn't a global right, but rather one that's pretty darn unique to Americans.

And let's be realistic about this one for a second. If you saw a kid walking down your street with a pistol, shot gun, or assualt rifle....are you thinking "that's his 2nd Amendment right" or are you thinking, "I better call the cops"?

The Second Amendment doesn't mention permits and background checks. However, the US's legal tradition tempers rights with "reasonable" controls. A felon is demonstrably unable to live by the rules, and thus allowing a felon to bear arms is "unreasonable" in most states (this would be a reason for someone to continue appealing a conviction even after the sentence is over). One has the right to political speech, but the courts have decided that it is unreasonable to allow major media outlets to accept ads from one candidate and not his/her opponent.
3. If you need to "hack" into someone's elses computer for information, then you're not supposed to have that information. I see no difference here than if someone broke into my house for "TV watching purposes".

There are legitimate reasons to hack a system, just as there are legitimate reasons to crack safes or stockpile explosives. In the latter cases, governments tend to license the practitioners and limit the distribution of the tools/materials. Software "hacking tools" are inherently difficult to inventory, and much of the IT industry is anethema to government regulation of any kind.



I agree.

I'm not saying the software should be outlawed. I'm saying "Joe Blow" has about as much use for hacking software as he does with a vulcan 20mm cannon. simply possessing such items should not only raise suspicion about the intent of their use, but also in how they were acquired. The "average" person does not write their own hacking software, grow their own pot or make their own fully automatic weapons, they acquire them from other people who are also engaged in illegal activity.
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Message 362739 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 20:50:51 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2006, 20:51:24 UTC

Judge: FBI Raid on Lawmaker's Office Legal

By TONI LOCY
Associated Press Writer


WASHINGTON (AP) -- An FBI raid on a Louisiana congressman's Capitol Hill office was legal, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said members of Congress are not above the law. He rejected requests from lawmakers and Democratic Rep. William Jefferson to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson's office.

In a 28-page opinion, Hogan dismissed arguments that the first-ever raid on a congressman's office violated the Constitution's protections against intimidation of elected officials.

"Congress' capacity to function effectively is not threatened by permitting congressional offices to be searched pursuant to validly issued search warrants," said Hogan, who had approved the FBI's request to conduct the overnight search of Jefferson's office.

Jefferson had sought the return of several computer hard drives, floppy disks and two boxes of paper documents that FBI agents seized during an 18-hour search of his Rayburn Building office.

At issue was a constitutional provision known as the speech and debate clause, which protects elected officials from being questioned by the president, a prosecutor or a plaintiff in a lawsuit about their legislative work.

"No one argues that the warrant executed upon Congressman Jefferson's office was not properly administered," Hogan wrote. "Therefore, there was no impermissible intrusion on the Legislature. The fact that some privileged material was incidentally captured by the search does not constitute an unlawful intrusion."

The raid on Jefferson's office angered members of Congress, some of whom threatened to retaliate by tinkering with the FBI and Justice Department budgets.

President Bush stepped in and ordered the solicitor general to take custody of the seized materials so Congress and the Justice Department could work out procedures to deal with similar situations in the future.

The president's 45-day "cooling off period" ended Sunday with no compromise worked out but with assurances from the Justice Department that it would not seek to regain custody of the materials until Hogan ruled on Jefferson's request.

Because Hogan signed the search warrant authorizing the search, Jefferson's legal team was not surprised by his ruling upholding it.

"While a Congressman is not above the law, the executive branch must also follow the law," said Jefferson's lawyer, Robert Trout. "We appreciate the consideration the judge accorded our motion for the return of the seized property, but we respectfully disagree with his conclusion, and we intend to appeal the ruling."

Hogan said a search warrant seeking material is very different than a subpoena seeking testimony.

"Jefferson may never be questioned regarding his legitimate legislative activities, is immune from civil or criminal liability for those activities, and no privileged material may ever be used against him in court," the judge wrote.

Jefferson has been under investigation since March 2005 for allegedly using his position to promote the sale of telecommunications equipment and services offered by iGate, a Louisville-based firm, that sought contracts with Nigeria, Ghana and other African nations.

In return for his help, Jefferson allegedly demanded stock and cash payments. Jefferson has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.

----

Well, a JUDGE has ruled. Since the Democratic Party can't win at the ballot box, they run to the courtroom to get their way. This time, it didn't work out the way they wanted.

I wonder if we'll hear Democrats complaining about "legislating from the bench" or if the blame will simply be directed personally at President Bush like it is for every other issue.


EDIT: Spelling
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Message 362743 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 20:54:06 UTC - in response to Message 362735.

I'm not saying the software should be outlawed. I'm saying "Joe Blow" has about as much use for hacking software as he does with a vulcan 20mm cannon. simply possessing such items should not only raise suspicion about the intent of their use, but also in how they were acquired. The "average" person does not write their own hacking software, grow their own pot or make their own fully automatic weapons, they acquire them from other people who are also engaged in illegal activity.

I have a network in my house. It's a small network, but if some virus scrambles the Administator password on one of my machines, I'm going to download some utility to fix it, and I probably won't delete the utility right afterward.

Software falls outside most of the "common sense" that applies to physical goods. It needs careful consideration before cumbersome legislation is enacted. Treaties are even worse because they're nearly impossible to amend.
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Message 362764 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 21:06:58 UTC - in response to Message 362743.

I'm not saying the software should be outlawed. I'm saying "Joe Blow" has about as much use for hacking software as he does with a vulcan 20mm cannon. simply possessing such items should not only raise suspicion about the intent of their use, but also in how they were acquired. The "average" person does not write their own hacking software, grow their own pot or make their own fully automatic weapons, they acquire them from other people who are also engaged in illegal activity.

I have a network in my house. It's a small network, but if some virus scrambles the Administator password on one of my machines, I'm going to download some utility to fix it, and I probably won't delete the utility right afterward.

Software falls outside most of the "common sense" that applies to physical goods. It needs careful consideration before cumbersome legislation is enacted. Treaties are even worse because they're nearly impossible to amend.


Surely you are not under the assumption that the average person has their own network @ home?

I also read in your profile that you do computer repair....does that sound like the trade of an average PC user?

Military personal are allowed to carry fully automatic weapons, just like network admins would be allowed to have port scanners....I'm talking about the average person who has no need for such items.
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Message 362782 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 21:21:28 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2006, 21:25:24 UTC



I realize this data is nearly 10 years old, but it may help to prove my reasoning.

In 1997 only 14% of American housholds with incomes in excess of 50k had 2 or more computers.....only 14% of Americans making over 50k per year had any need what so ever of software like port scanners and/or key loggers.

That's a pretty small # of Americans, and even if you quadruple that number, you're still talking about barely over half of those with incomes in excess of 50k per year.
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Message 362791 - Posted: 10 Jul 2006, 21:34:32 UTC

There was much more useful things to discuss earlier.....people frustrate me sometimes with what they find to be important...oh well.

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Message 363042 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 2:03:34 UTC
Last modified: 11 Jul 2006, 2:06:15 UTC

This reply is continued from Political Thread [16].

1. A port scanner is not a malicious piece of software, by itself. It is only capable of scanning for open ports, not exploiting them. Not to mention that the average PC users has no need for port scanners or key loggers or any other "questionable" piece of software since the average user is not a network administrator.


But without using a port scanner for discovery, it would be like suicide to try to hack into any system or network. Unless of course the hacker is a complete idiot and tries to hack into a system without scanning first. So a port scanner is an essential tool for hacking. But...

No, the average "Howard Johnson" probly wouldn't have any use for a scanner, but it's still a legitimate tool that can be used for legitimate purposes even if "Howard Johnson" doesn't use it. A person has the right to conduct a scan on any computer that's connected to the internet. For example, you notice that some known or unknown program on your puter is trying connect to some IP address that you're not familiar with and you decide to conduct a scan of the destination/source address. Is that wrong? Nope, it's perfectly normal. But some phony political type is going to determine that it's suggestive of some illegal activity? Shiit maan.

2. .....And let's be realistic about this one for a second. If you saw a kid walking down your street with a pistol, shot gun, or assualt rifle....are you thinking "that's his 2nd Amendment right" or are you thinking, "I better call the cops"?


That's not really a good comparison to having programs on your puter that can be used for hacking. The cosnequences would be much more different.

3. If you need to "hack" into someone's elses computer for information, then you're not supposed to have that information. I see no difference here than if someone broke into my house for "TV watching purposes".


But this brings us to the one of the obvious points of the article itself. By what prophetic means would it be decided that a person actually intends to hack into someone elses computer?

Breaking into your house simply for tv watching purposes would be a definite sign of retardedness. The art of hacking is quite different from that.
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Message 363049 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 2:07:23 UTC

Forcing changes in international law

JIM HOAGLAND
THE WASHINGTON POST

July 10, 2006

Despite itself, the Bush administration is reshaping and revitalizing international law as a governing concept and a force in world politics. This White House gives new meaning to the notion of unintended and devoutly unwanted consequences.

Its high-handed policies in the war on global terrorist networks and the occupation of Iraq have provoked sharp reaction at home and abroad. Over time, this reaction has turned into a search by others for legal and political frameworks to contain President Bush's campaign to concentrate national security power in his hands and shield it from even cursory scrutiny and consultation.

This is the unwritten subtext of the Supreme Court's recent rebuke to the administration for mishandling the prosecution of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a GuantÁnamo Bay detainee who was once Osama bin Laden's chauffeur.

The majority's legal reasoning in Hamdan is mundane and mechanical, which is all that is needed to demolish the administration's shoddy case. But the majority's political argument is extraordinary and explosive for its heavy reliance on “customary international law” and “the law of war” to prescribe Hamdan's treatment in the American criminal justice system.

This appeal to international standards is a stretch for the court. But it is justified as a wake-up call to the administration on an obvious point: What is reasonable – legally speaking – in emergency conditions is not necessarily reasonable on an enduring or permanent basis.

The White House has had sufficient time to work with Congress on long-term national security legislation covering detainees, the court pointedly noted. The same reasoning applies to telecommunications surveillance and other aspects of the administration's self-described “long war” on terrorism.

But Bush has resolutely refused to do this until now. The irreducible working principle of this White House has been that only the president can be relied on to resist the pressures and temptations that will cause Congress to leak, vacillate or turn tail on even the gravest national security problems. The same misperception has also applied in large part to allies abroad.

The Bush White House is still determined to entrench its secretive and autocratic methods, run through intelligence agencies, as the way future administrations must operate in an era of new, unpredictable dangers. Bush and Vice President Cheney put a positive spin on Napoleon's dictum that nothing endures as long as the temporary.

The tragedy is that most in Congress – and for that matter the Supreme Court's majority in Hamdan, and most of America's global allies – actually agree with Bush that new methods for fighting a significant danger are needed. They do not agree that Bush and a few trusted aides should determine those methods alone and in secret.

Bush and Cheney are no doubt sincere in their misplaced concerns, which just happen to reinforce Karl Rove's political strategy of running against Congress, the media, pusillanimous foreigners and other reputed national security weaklings. But Bush and Cheney underestimate the costs of their policies and the countervailing forces they inevitably trigger.

European governments and civil liberties groups are pressing for new laws to prevent CIA secret renditions of terrorism suspects from or through European territory. They may also seek to limit other cooperation of their own secret services with Washington, especially after the arrest on July 5 of two Italian secret service agents for allegedly helping the CIA abduct a terrorism suspect in Milan and fly him to Egypt.

Even in Iraq, the administration is creating a strong local and international backlash by refusing resolutely to discuss with Iraqi politicians a status of forces agreement, or SOFA, which would provide a vital new measure of Iraqi sovereignty and stability by putting foreign troops under nominal Iraqi control. The lack of a SOFA and of accountability to Iraqi authorities is rapidly becoming a major irritant in U.S.-Iraqi relations.

Before the invasion of Iraq, Bush made a strong case that international law had failed to deal with Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. Three years later he has not produced a workable alternative that commands general consent or respect. His secretive methods have too often become the center of attention rather than the dangers that still threaten.

The contrast with the majority's reasoning in Hamdan is illuminating. The decision is everything al-Qaeda hates and wages war upon: an exaltation of the individual and of individual rights protected by transparent secular institutions.

A new framework for international law is being developed in reaction to Bush's global policies – without other significant American input. That is the message from America's allies, from Congress and now from the Supreme Court that the president should finally heed.
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Message 363278 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 4:36:04 UTC

Dr. Onkar Ghate, senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, is scheduled to appear on CNBC's "Morning Call" tomorrow, Tuesday, July 11, between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m. (EST) to discuss America's so-called addiction to oil.

ARI Media

PS: Announcements of upcoming TV interviews are sent to you as soon as the program producers confirm our appearance. Sometimes interviews are cancelled by the producers after you have received our announcements. We unfortunately have no control over these last-minute program changes and regret any inconvenience they may cause you.




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Message 363279 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 4:37:07 UTC

I've heard this guy lecture before (online). He's worth listening to...
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Message 363324 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 6:16:43 UTC
Last modified: 11 Jul 2006, 6:21:04 UTC

From today's edition of the European Wall Street Journal:

*********************************************


Russia-U.S. power balance shifts
By Yochi J. Dreazen


WASHINGTON—The decision by President George W. Bush’s administration to allow Russia to house spent nuclear fuel highlights a dynamic that is likely to shape this week’s Group of Eight summit: the shifting power balance between a U.S. facing challenges on several fronts and a Russia moving aggressively to reassert itself on the world stage.


Less than a week before the start of the summit of G-8 leading industrial nations in St. Petersburg, the Bush administration’s need for Russian support in political showdowns with Iran and North Korea is forcing the U.S. to accede to Russian demands on a range of contentious issues. The White House already has quietly agreed to downgrade its standard pro-democracy push in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s clear refusal to make it a major focus of the gathering, and administration officials concede they are likely to bow to a range of other Russian demands over the course of the summit.


The moves represent a frank acknowledgment by the administration that on a range of hot-button issues, the U.S. needs Russia more than Russia needs the U.S. The White House says it wants to use diplomacy to persuade Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclearweapons programs, but that approach depends heavily on Russian diplomatic support at theUnited Nations and in the continuing multination negotiations with the two countries. The U.S. also wants to ensure that Russia doesn’t use its vast oil and natural-gas holdings as weapons in its continuing disputes with the fragile democracies in neighboring Georgia and Ukraine.


Russia has hinted it would be willing to offer at least conditional support to the American-led diplomatic initiatives over Iran and North Korea, but at a cost.


In a briefing late last week with American reporters, a top Putin aide, Igor Shuvalov, said Moscow hoped to win final U.S. approval for Russia’s bid to enter the World Trade Organization during a bilateral summit between Messrs. Bush and Putin on the eve of the summit. Mr. Shuvalov also said Moscow wanted White House assurances that Russian firms would be able to freely invest in the U.S. without facing the kind of political scrutiny that derailed recent proposed acquisitions of U.S. assets by firms from China and theUnited Arab Emirates.


Administration officials said the decision to allow Russia to store spent nuclear fuel was meant as a further inducement to Mr. Putin, who has long demanded that Russia be given a larger piece of the lucrative business. The decision, reported Saturday by theWashington Post, is set to be formally unveiled after the bilateral meeting between the two leaders at the start of the summit, the officials said.


The deal is a reversal for the U.S., which has long refused to allow Russia to store nuclear waste because of Moscow’s role in helping Iran build and operate its first large-scale nuclear reactor. There also has been concern that Russia hasn’t provided good security for its nuclear facilities against accidents or possible theft.


The U.S. supplies much of the civilian nuclear fuel for global markets and continues to control that material when it is spent, even in foreign countries. Without an agreement with the U.S., no country receiving U.S. nuclear materials could send their spent fuel to Russia for storage.


Bush administration officials say they are hopeful that agreeing to the Russian demand will spur Mr. Putin to lend at least tacit support to any future American pushes to impose sanctions on Iran or pass a U.N. Security Council resolution that could clear the way for possible military action against the country in the event of a crisis.


Still, the deal is certain to be deeply controversial in theU.S. Congress, where anti-Russia sentiment is running high because of Mr. Putin’s continuing crackdown on his country’s media and political opposition. A U.S.-Russian accord on nuclear waste doesn’t need congressional approval, but it could be blocked if both chambers vote to do so with 90 days of its signing.


“This is another example where the Russians have got to understand again that their continued autocracy…should not be rewarded with an agreement that is probably more beneficial to them than to us,” Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said during a televised interview.


—Michael M. Phillips contributed to this article


***************************************************

Didn't I tell you guys that Putin has ten times the smarts of Bush?
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Message 363468 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 11:40:11 UTC - in response to Message 363042.
Last modified: 11 Jul 2006, 11:42:55 UTC

This reply is continued from Political Thread [16].

1. A port scanner is not a malicious piece of software, by itself. It is only capable of scanning for open ports, not exploiting them. Not to mention that the average PC users has no need for port scanners or key loggers or any other "questionable" piece of software since the average user is not a network administrator.


But without using a port scanner for discovery, it would be like suicide to try to hack into any system or network. Unless of course the hacker is a complete idiot and tries to hack into a system without scanning first. So a port scanner is an essential tool for hacking. But...

No, the average "Howard Johnson" probly wouldn't have any use for a scanner, but it's still a legitimate tool that can be used for legitimate purposes even if "Howard Johnson" doesn't use it. A person has the right to conduct a scan on any computer that's connected to the internet. For example, you notice that some known or unknown program on your puter is trying connect to some IP address that you're not familiar with and you decide to conduct a scan of the destination/source address. Is that wrong? Nope, it's perfectly normal. But some phony political type is going to determine that it's suggestive of some illegal activity? Shiit maan.


Again, I'm talking about the average PC user. The average user isn't aware that his/her computer is trying to connect to some IP he/she is unfamiliar with.....that's why spyware and viruses are such a problem. If most of the users in the world noticed things like that, there wouldn't be a problem.

2. .....And let's be realistic about this one for a second. If you saw a kid walking down your street with a pistol, shot gun, or assualt rifle....are you thinking "that's his 2nd Amendment right" or are you thinking, "I better call the cops"?


That's not really a good comparison to having programs on your puter that can be used for hacking. The cosnequences would be much more different.


I think it's an excellent comparison. Firearms and hacking software both have a place in our society, both are dangerous in the hands of "children", and the presence of either in the hands of a child should send up mental warning flags in every responsible adult.

[quote]3. If you need to "hack" into someone's elses computer for information, then you're not supposed to have that information. I see no difference here than if someone broke into my house for "TV watching purposes".


But this brings us to the one of the obvious points of the article itself. By what prophetic means would it be decided that a person actually intends to hack into someone elses computer?

Breaking into your house simply for tv watching purposes would be a definite sign of retardedness. The art of hacking is quite different from that.


It's simple.....possession of items/materials you don't need.

You catch a guy with a garage full of fertilizer and diesel, but no farm or tractor....chances are he's making a bomb. You catch a kid with key loggers and port scanners with no network to administer....chances are he's a hacker or at least a potential threat worthy of investigation.
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Message 363584 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 13:36:06 UTC - in response to Message 363049.

The majority's legal reasoning in Hamdan is mundane and mechanical, which is all that is needed to demolish the administration's shoddy case. But the majority's political argument is extraordinary and explosive for its heavy reliance on “customary international law” and “the law of war” to prescribe Hamdan's treatment in the American criminal justice system.

This is a troubling trend in US Supreme Court decisions. The US Supreme Court is charges with adjudicating laws passed by the federal/state/local governments of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party. The Supreme Court does not have authority to pick and choose from the laws and treaties of other nations to force its will upon the US. Article 2 of the Constitution explicitly gives lawmaking powers to the Legislature. If the US Legislature intended for those laws to apply to the US, it would have passed US laws saying so. This is a blatant example of the Supreme Court overstepping its authority, but judicial activism has been so common in the US that it hardly warrants a shrug.

By the way, nowhere in the US Constitution does it authorize the courts to strike down laws or parts of laws. This abuse of power has become routine.
This appeal to international standards is a stretch for the court. But it is justified as a wake-up call to the administration on an obvious point: What is reasonable – legally speaking – in emergency conditions is not necessarily reasonable on an enduring or permanent basis.

While the idea of a semi-permanent emergency is legally unsound, the appeal to non-US laws is absurd. Two wrongs don't make a right.
The White House has had sufficient time to work with Congress on long-term national security legislation covering detainees, the court pointedly noted. The same reasoning applies to telecommunications surveillance and other aspects of the administration's self-described “long war” on terrorism.

Agreed. But it's not up to the Supreme Court to decide this. The Legislature makes laws.
But Bush has resolutely refused to do this until now. The irreducible working principle of this White House has been that only the president can be relied on to resist the pressures and temptations that will cause Congress to leak, vacillate or turn tail on even the gravest national security problems. The same misperception has also applied in large part to allies abroad.

Again, it is the Legislature that is failing in its duties. The Constitution allows a 2/3 majority of Congress to override a Presidential veto precisely to reign in Presidents abusing their power. Just because the Legislature isn't doing what the Supreme Court thinks it should be doing does not grant the Supreme Court power to do what it wants.

By November 2006, every Senate seat will have been up for re-election once and every House of Representative seat will have been up for re-election three times. If the people leave these legislators in office, the people are permitting the Legislature to ignore this issue. The Supreme Court is not above the people. The US Constitution is explicit about this.
Bush and Cheney are no doubt sincere in their misplaced concerns, which just happen to reinforce Karl Rove's political strategy of running against Congress, the media, pusillanimous foreigners and other reputed national security weaklings. But Bush and Cheney underestimate the costs of their policies and the countervailing forces they inevitably trigger.

This is not a misplaced concern. Programs have been leaked and ruined from within Congres and the intelligence agencies. These were the worst kind of leaks, "source intelligence." The leaks told the US's enemies how the US gathered intelligence about them.
Even in Iraq, the administration is creating a strong local and international backlash by refusing resolutely to discuss with Iraqi politicians a status of forces agreement, or SOFA, which would provide a vital new measure of Iraqi sovereignty and stability by putting foreign troops under nominal Iraqi control. The lack of a SOFA and of accountability to Iraqi authorities is rapidly becoming a major irritant in U.S.-Iraqi relations.

I was under the impression that a SOFA already existed. If not, that is a troubling wrinkle in US-Iraqi relations. However, given this author's track record of misunderstanding how governments work, I'm not sure I buy his assertion that no SOFA exists. Maybe it's just classified.
Before the invasion of Iraq, Bush made a strong case that international law had failed to deal with Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. Three years later he has not produced a workable alternative that commands general consent or respect. His secretive methods have too often become the center of attention rather than the dangers that still threaten.

Or in other words, the opposition party is playing politics with national security.
A new framework for international law is being developed in reaction to Bush's global policies – without other significant American input. That is the message from America's allies, from Congress and now from the Supreme Court that the president should finally heed.

The message that the President and Legislature should heed is that the Supreme Court is making itself "the decider" rather than limiting itself to the powers delegated to it by the Constitution.
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Message 363619 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 14:06:20 UTC

excerpt q/ (the Declaration of Independence) . . .

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another
and to assume, among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal
station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a
decent respect to the opionions of mankind requires that they should
declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

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Message 363695 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 14:56:12 UTC - in response to Message 363619.

excerpt q/ (the Declaration of Independence) . . .

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another
and to assume, among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal
station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a
decent respect to the opionions of mankind requires that they should
declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

How do you feel that this quotation furthers the discussion? What is the context?

Do you think that the Supreme Court should impose its version of the-right-thing-to-do regardless of its defined powers, as the colonies did against England? If this is your position, the Supreme Court did not "declare the causes which impel them" to do so. Rather, the Supreme Court's communications have indicated that it regards its actions as customary, not exceptional.
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Message 363744 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 16:10:58 UTC

q/ "... that it regards its actions as customary, not exceptional"

as you said . . .
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Message 363781 - Posted: 11 Jul 2006, 17:02:27 UTC - in response to Message 363744.
Last modified: 11 Jul 2006, 17:03:16 UTC

q/ "... that it regards its actions as customary, not exceptional"

as you said . . .

I'm not going to make your argument for you. My assertion is:

  • The Supreme Court exceeded its authority.
  • This is not the first time.
  • The Supreme Court did not make a case for 'exceptional action' then or now.


You responded with a quote about how a group should explain itself when taking extraordinary action. No explanation has been provided, and the Supreme Court hasn't even claimed that what it did was exceptional.

If the perception that a President is exceeding his authority gives everyone the heebie-jeebies, why is it okay when the Supreme Court obviously exceeds its authority?

This is why I'm asking you to clarify your argument. If you want to structure your argument as a long string of quotations, fine... all I ask is that you just be coherent.

(EDIT: typo)
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