Monday, September 26, 2016

Pockets of Poverty In America

Originally Published January 19, 2016; Last Updated September 26, 2016; Last Republished September 26, 2016:

In the absence of  "triple-a-security-revenue-bond-streams" maybe we can utilize presidential declarations of emergency to abate and eliminate the pockets of poverty across our nation, including the deleterious and debilitating effects?


UPDATED 03/22/2016 NSF, Cleaner Water, Clearer Future:Engineering New Water Technology


Puerto Rico: (46.2% poverty):

UPDATED 06/30/2016 Reuters, Puerto Rico still faces debt default despite rescue law

Do not abuse the oversight board by avoiding "haircuts" for the New York (and elsewhere) casino-cowboy-cannibal capitalists or create a Greece size economic stagnation, which further exacerbates the poverty in Puerto Rico.

UPDATED 06/11/2016 Bloomberg, Puerto Rico Economy Worsens With Crisis, Most Anywhere You Look

More fallout from the cowboy capitalist's eight year "laissez-faire" (aka neo-anarchism) parade, which culminated in the Great Recession of 2007 debacle.

President Obama entered office scooping up the shit up after their "laissez-faire" parade and will leave office still scooping!

Thank you Mr. President for doing seven plus years of heavy lifting amid extraordinarily challenging and reactionary circumstances—the next general election and history will likely be kinder to you and your efforts than the reactionaries in Congress.

Tyler, Alabama (All Age Poverty Dallas County Alabama 2014, 35.2%): 

NYT, Too Poor for Proper Plumbing: A Reality in 500,000 U.S. Homes

It seems a useful recall that Jefferson county recently emerged bankruptcy after its inability to service to the lopsided $3.2 billion sewer bond issue, which J.P Morgan's and Company hedge fund cobbled together.

McKinley County, New Mexico (35.8% poverty): 

UPDATED 04/04/2016 NPR, New Mexico's Truth: Stunning Vistas And Child Poverty? and Poverty map of the United States courtesy

Baltimore, Maryland Poverty-Disease:

UPDATED 06/08/2016 WH, The Front Lines of Social Innovation Significant and sustained social innovations require structural changes.

UPDATED 03/12/2016 SA, Better Parenting Skills May Break the Poverty–Disease Connection

Flint, Michigan Water:

UPDATED 06/28/2016 WP, More than 5,300 U.S. water systems violated lead-testing rules last year
UPDATED 04/20/2016 MoJo, Three Officials Charged in Flint Water Crisis
UPDATED 04/18/2016 Youtube, Tonight with John Oliver: Lead

Sesame song for Congress on funding lead abatement.

UPDATED 03/24/2016 Cloud, Flint Water Advisory Task Force, Final Report March 2016
"Flint water customers were needlessly and tragically exposed to toxic levels of lead and other hazards through the mismanagement of their drinking water supply." --FWATF, Final Report--
UPDATED 03/22/2016 WH, White House Water Summit and USAToday, Got lead in your water? It's not easy to find out and NYT, Unsafe Lead Levels in Tap Water Not Limited to Flint

UPDATED 03/15/2016 WP, Tainted Water, Little Hope
UPDATED 01/26/2016 Atlantic, The Private Sector Is Now Providing Basic Services to Flint
UPDATED 01/23/2016 NPR, Politicians Work To Remedy Flint Water Crisis
UPDATED 01/22/2016 Guardian, US authorities distorting tests to downplay lead content of waterUPDATED 01/22/2016 DFP, President Obama declares emergency in Flint An emergency declaration provides limited resources—significantly less than a disaster declaration. 
UPDATED 01/22/2016 NYT, Events That Led to Flint’s Water Crisis

Guess our "free-market-zealots" (aka neo-anarchists or libertarian extremists or anarcho-capitalists)1 forgot to conduct the cheap, simple, and routine water quality tests on the river water before deciding it was safe to send into our citizen-consumers' homes?

CNN, How tap water became toxic in Flint, Michigan and Flint, Michigan, Water Crisis: Obama Signs Emergency Declaration and BBC, Flint: Poisoned drinking water causing irreparable brain damage - BBC News 


1. Our neo-anarchists or libertarian extremists or anarcho-capitalists will quickly remind us that it was not the "free market", but "government intervention" that sent the poisonous river water into our citizens' homes.

Sound familiar? It should, our neoanarchists were quick to remind us that "government intervention" into our mortgage markets caused the 2007-current blow up of our global economy.

It's not unusual for proponents of these hybrid concepts to blend in variants of religious orthodoxy or dogma.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cyber Command Pursues Perfect Citizen

Originally Published August 17, 2010; Last Updated September 23, 2016; Last Republished September 22, 2016:

Cyber Command Pursues Perfect Citizen

UPDATED 06/09/2016 NIST, The Stakeholders Have Spoken: NIST to Refine Cybersecurity Framework
UPDATED 11/03/2015 NSF, Cybersecurity: Tech, Tools, and Training
UPDATED 10/20/2015 NSF, Cybersecurity research looks to guard networks from 'insider threats'
UPDATED 07/03/2013 NIST, Draft Outline of Cybersecurity Framework for Critical Infrastructure
UPDATED 09/28/2012 NSF, Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC)
UPDATED 09/07/2010 Networking and Information Technology Research and Development
UPDATED 09/07/2010 GAO, Cybersecurity: Key Challenges Need to Be Addressed to Improve Research and Development (pdf)
Wikipedia, United States Cyber Command


UPDATED 09/23/2016 Quanta, Hacker-Proof Code Confirmed and DARPA, High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) and 2016 CyLab Partners Conference
"...HACMS will produce a set of publicly available tools integrated into a high-assurance software workbench, which will be widely distributed for use in both the commercial and defense software sectors..."
and CSIS, Deepening U.S.-Australia Cyber Security Cooperation

UPDATED 07/27/2016 CSIS, Webcast Live: Hacking the Skills Shortage (also, NIST, National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework
UPDATED 06/14/2016 Reuters, U.S. sees progress in latest cyber talks with China
UPDATED 02/19/2016 WEST 2016, Panel, Information Warfare: Identifying the Gaps and Seams in Cyber Security and NIST, Cybersecurity “Rosetta Stone” Celebrates Two Years of Success

UPDATED 02/11/2016 WH, The President Meets with his National Security and Cybersecurity Advisors

UPDATED 10/19/2015 NYT, Cybersecurity Firm Says Chinese Hackers Keep Attacking U.S. Companies
UPDATED 09/14/2015 Wired, We’re at Cyberwar: A Global Guide to Nation-State Digital Attacks
UPDATED 08/31/2015 WP, U.S. developing sanctions against China over cyberthefts

...and working to develop international protocols for incorporation into international agreements—no counterattack necessary—just an invoice and current account offset.

UPDATED 08/14/2015 UCTV, The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex
UPDATED 07/09/2015 CFR, Strategic Risks of Ambiguity in Cyberspace
UPDATED 07/07/2015 Guardian, Hacking Team hacked: firm sold spying tools to repressive regimes, documents claim and Reuters, Surveillance software maker Hacking Team gets taste of its own medicine and WP, U.S. firm helped the spyware industry build a potent digital weapon for sale overseas and SonS, Hacking Team Is Hacked (includes mirror to leaked documents)  and CL, Open letter to Hacking Team

UPDATED 02/13/2014 WH, Launch of the Cybersecurity Framework
UPDATED 01/31/2014 NYT, N.S.A. Choice Is Navy Expert on Cyberwar and NavyMil, Navy Short Bio Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers

UPDATED 07/03/2013 MoJo, Why the Story on Snowden and the NSA Doesn't Add Up

The President's comment that he won't be "scrambling military jets to go after a 29-year-old hacker" is interesting in the context of this article.

UPDATED 06/09/2013 Guardian, Obama orders US to draw up overseas target list for cyber-attacks
UPDATED 06/02/2013 NYT, U.S. and China Agree to Hold Regular Talks on Hacking

Unsupported hyperbolic statements by well-meaning Chinese and American generals are distinctly unhelpful and unlikely to motivate an improved bilateral relationship.

UPDATED 03/20/2013 DiscoveryNews, Teens Prepare for Cyberwar
UPDATED 03/12/2013 Time, Hack Attack: China and the U.S. Trade Barbs on Cyberwarfare

UPDATED 01/28/2013 NYT, Pentagon Expanding Cybersecurity Force to Protect Networks Against Attacks
UPDATED 11/14/2012 WP, Obama signs secret directive to help thwart cyberattacks

Classified cybersecurity directive 20 must be publicly published in its entirety—if cybersecurity directive 20 cannot be immediately published in its entirety those asserting its classification must immediately publicly publish a "sanitized version" pending public disclosure of cybersecurity directive 20 in its entirety. (UPDATED 07/03/2013 above Guardian article on Snowden leaks: Obama orders US to draw up overseas target list for cyber-attacks)

UPDATED 10/29/2010 SFGate, Napolitano: Military to aid civilian cybersecurity.

It will be useful to formally rely on laws and published policies and procedures that guarantee protection against infringement of our civil rights.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Promotion Of Product Intended To Kill

Originally Published August 16, 2012; Last Updated September 21, 2016: Last Republished September 21, 2016:

Any government permitting the promotion of usage of a product that when used as intended has a scientific certainty of killing its citizenry1 is not aiding and abetting "free markets"—at best it's aiding and abetting negligent homicide; at worst its guilty of mass murdering its citizenry.

Kudos to the Australian High Court for its decision in JT International SA v Commonwealth of Australia; British American Tobacco Australasia [sic] Limited & Ors v Commonwealth of Australia
Australia Plain Pack

Scientific process and progress can be expected to routinely and sometimes rapidly render products harmful or deadly—it's a perverse legal system that permits or enables scientific process and progress to promote products that when used as intended kills its citizenry2, 3.


UPDATED 09/21/2016 CDC, Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking
UPDATED 04/01/2016 Cell, DNA Methylation in Newborns and Maternal Smoking in Pregnancy: Genome-wide Consortium Meta-analysis
UPDATED 09/14/2015 Nature, Tobacco smoke carcinogens, DNA damage and p53 mutations in smoking-associated cancers
UPDATED 09/09/2015 MedNews, What is nicotine?
UPDATED 08/15/2015 NIH, Smoking, p53 Mutation, and Lung Cancer
UPDATED 07/24/2015 FDA, Tobacco Products; (August - Biomarkers of Tobacco Exposure: A Public Workshop)
UPDATED 07/02/2015 SmokeFree
UPDATED 03/14/2015 NAP, Understanding the U.S. Illicit Tobacco Market: Characteristics, Policy Context, and Lessons from International Experiences and Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products
UPDATED 11/02/2014 UCSF, The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library and NIH, The economic burden of smoking in California, [1999] (pdf) and TRDRP, The Cost of Smoking in California, [2009] dated October 2014 (pdf)
UPDATED 10/03/2013 WHO, FCTC [ Framework Convention on Tobacco Control] Health Warnings Database and WHO, MPower Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) and WHO, Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2013: Enforcing Bans on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (pdf)

Pictures and pictograms are important in countries whose development has not yet achieved sufficient educational attainment.

It's not without significant irony that the same economic system capable of propelling a nation's development is also capable of propelling a nation's demise, if or when incorrectly operated and managed.

Our nation has signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control but Congress has not, yet ratified it. Our Congress may be applying its bizarre and delusional "Exceptional America" logic to justify its failure to ratify this important international framework?

UPDATED 08/17/2012 Lancet, Tobacco use in 3 billion individuals from 16 countries: an analysis of nationally representative cross-sectional household surveys (available at no cost but requires registration)
UPDATED 08/17/2012 CDC, Cigarette Package Health Warnings and Interest in Quitting Smoking --- 14 Countries, 2008--2010


UPDATED 09/21/2016 SA,
UPDATED 09/02/2016 NYT, Tobacco Industry Works to Block Rules on E-Cigarettes

Evidently, big tobacco is incapable of constructively producing products beneficial to civil society? Perhaps, a law that revokes its ability to respond in federal courts resulting in default judgments for the harm its products produce will make sure it ceases producing harmful products? Similar to revocation of a nuisance litigant's ability to file lawsuits, but with damages attached.

Alternatively, our citizenry can vote to impose taxes (i.e a form of liquidated and ascertained damages) on its products proportional to the harm it is and will inflict on civil society?

UPDATED 07/28/2016 LBL, All E-Cigarettes Emit Harmful Chemicals, but Some Emit More Than Others

"Regular cigarettes are super unhealthy. E-cigarettes are just unhealthy.”

UPDATED 07/26/2016 NAM, National Academy of Medicine and FDA Select Four Individuals for 2016-2017 Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellows 
UPDATED 07/23/2016 American Stroke Association, Sex, Smoking, and Risk for Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (Medline, Women Smokers at Higher Risk for Brain Bleed)

"There is no safe level of smoking" ... --Dr. Joni Lindbohm of the University of Helsinki, lead researcher studying female smokers' subarachnoid hemorrhage risk--

UPDATED 07/20/2016 SA, Tobacco and Oil Industries Used Same Researchers to Sway Public
UPDATED 07/18/2016 MedLinePlus, 1 in 5 Americans Uses a Tobacco Product

Cigarette smoke has toxic particulate that requires strict regulation to make sure it never involuntarily impacts another person.

UPDATED 06/22/2016 NutritionFacts, American Medical Association Complicity with Big Tobacco

A reminder of how imperfect (some might say criminally negligent 5) our government can be when promoting the general Welfare of our present and future citizenry (see U.S. Constitution).

UPDATED 06/21/2016 Reuters, Smokers may try to quit 30 times before it sticks

The absurd notion that a smoker lacks will power to quit because they cannot stop smoking on the first attempt likely hinders or prevents many smokers from quitting.

It may take many more than 30 attempts before quitting this highly addictive and deadly habit!

UPDATED 05/23/2016 BBC, Axa stubs out €1.7bn tobacco industry investment and Reuters, CalPERS to study possible reinvestment in tobacco

It is retrogressive, misguided, and malevolent tax policy that permits or enables any investment in a product, which has a scientific certainty of killing humans to be profitable.

UPDATED 05/19/2016 BBC, Tobacco laws: Bid to overturn packaging rules dismissed
UPDATED 05/16/2016 Reuters, U.S. top court rejects Philip Morris appeal of judgment in smoker's death

UPDATED 05/11/2016 WP, New, sweeping federal rules bar e-cigarette sales to teens younger than 18 and WSJ, India’s Supreme Court Orders Tobacco Companies to Comply With Health Warning Rules and Reuters, U.S. cracks down on e-cigarettes and cigars, bans sales to minors

A corporation producing any product that has a scientific certainty of harming people when used as intended (e.g. tobacco products) must expect comprehensive prophylactic government regulation throughout its (products and corporate entity) entire life cycle.

It's unclear how our corporations learned that they can freely produce otiose and odious products as a matter of right—clearly the expectations for our 21st century corporations need to dramatically increase!

Somehow a corporation learned it can dump a product into the stream of commerce and forget about it, until sued, ad nauseam for incremental damages, while their product(s) continues harming people! Corporations must transparently and publicly account for its product(s) in perpetuity or until all instances of the product(s) no longer exist, including all existing or future harm.

UPDATED 03/28/2016 ACS, Cigarettes Cheaper than E-cigarettes in 44 of 45 Countries Studied Oft touted reason for switching a nicotine addiction from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is unsupported by the data.

UPDATED 03/02/2016 SFGate, Supes raise age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 — lawsuit possible

The law is one of the many tools that governments on all levels (municipal, state, federal etc) should constantly and creatively deploy to minimize the direct and indirect baleful human impacts of tobacco usage.

UPDATED 02/06/2016 BBC, Do e-cigarettes make it harder to stop smoking? and Lancet, Respiratory Medicine ; E-cigarettes and smoking cessation in real-world and clinical settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis

...Odds of quitting cigarettes were 28% lower in those who used e-cigarettes compared with those who did not use e-cigarettes...

UPDATED 01/22/2016 PBS, Why these anti-smoking TV ads are working

CDC's latest "Tips" anti-smoking campaign:


UPDATED 12/29/2015 NM, E-cigarettes damage cells in ways that could lead to cancer

How many of our citizens will die before this "free-market-product" becomes intolerable like its sibling free-market-product, cigarettes (i.e. mobile source of toxic and hazardous pollution)?

UPDATED 12/18/2015 NZHerald, Australia welcomes plain cigarette packaging win and WSJ, Big Tobacco Challenges U.K.’s Plain-Packaging Laws in High Court  and WSJ, Tobacco Companies Revive Suit Against FDA Over Packaging

It's difficult to take seriously a First (speech clause) or Fifth (taking clause) Amendment challenge to our government's efforts to curtail or eliminate the usage of a product that kills so many of our citizenry.

Surely, a nation's toolbox includes tools short of declarations of illegality, which directly impact interests in a deadly product? Stated differently, declarations of illegality are not a condition precedent to subsequent actions that may impact an interest in a product subsequently discovered to be deadly.

UPDATED 12/08/2015 Telegraph, E-cigarettes contain flavouring chemical linked to deadly 'popcorn lung'

No need to await decades of accumulated health issues before challenging the promotion of products with a significant likelihood for negatively impacting human health.

UPDATED 12/01/2015 SFGate, Which counties smoke the most in the Bay Area?
UPDATED 11/14/2015 AP, Residents mixed on proposed smoking ban in public housing

 "There is no safe level of secondhand smoke."
Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy

UPDATED 09/28/2015 BBC, Rare 'healthy' smokers' lungs explained

"The strongest thing that people can do to affect their future health in terms of COPD and also smoking-related disease like cancer and heart disease is to stop smoking."

UPDATED 09/15/2015 FDA, FDA issues orders that will stop further U.S. sale and distribution of four R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company cigarette products
UPDATED 07/16/2015 Economist, Quitting is so Hard

"Everybody now knows how people can be persuaded to stop smoking. So all countries should be doing it"

UPDATED 06/01/2015 Reuters, China launches campaign to snuff out smoking
UPDATED 04/18/2015 Reuters, Youth e-cigarette data prompts new calls to speed regulation
UPDATED 12/30/2014 YouTube, Hard-hitting anti-smoking campaign 'aims to save lives'

It's important, as nations' public health specialists roll-out these "hard-hitting" adverts, to recall the nefarious and baleful history of tobacco—The history of the discovery of the cigarette-lung cancer link: evidentiary traditions, corporate denial, global tollBig Tobacco knew radioactive particles in cigarettes posed cancer risk but kept quiet, List of cigarette smoke carcinogens (which excludes several thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke whose biological interactions still require elucidation).

"The cigarette is the deadliest artefact in the history of human civilisation."—The History, Robert N. Proctor

...and just in case you think tobacco's shameful shenanigans are in the dustbin of history—our conflicted corporations and perverse politicians are continuing to gamble on our citizen-residents' smoking rates! (ProPublica, Behind New Jersey's Tobacco Bond Bailout, A Hedge Funds 100 Million Payday)

UPDATED 11/27/2014 CDC, Adult Cigarette Smoking Rate Overall Hits All-time Low
UPDATED 08/26/2014 CSM, Why WHO calls for indoor ban on e-cigarettes
UPDATED 08/11/2014 ProPublica, How Wall Street Tobacco Deals Left States With Billions in Toxic Debt

Unfortunately, the tobacco industry related infliction of misery and mayhem does not end with the hundred of thousands smokers who die each year.

Perhaps if our corporate containers possessed the anthropomorphic attributes our Supreme Court has assigned them the inflicted misery and mayhem would cease accumulating over decades, along with the mob-like interest on financial instruments commonly referred to as capital accumulation bonds.

UPDATED 04/24/2014 WT, FDA extends its reach to e-cigarettes in proposal and  FDA, Extending Authorities to Additional Tobacco Products

Public comment on the proposed extension of authority begins April 25, 2014.
UPDATED 04/16/2014 NYT, Early Data in E-Cigarette Study May Raise Safety Concerns

It seems amazingly absurd that any 21st century civil society structure would enable its manufacturers of any product to use its citizenry as laboratory rats for the safety testing of that product. Particularly if that product has an uncertain but related status as a substitute or complement for any product that kills to a scientific certainty when used as intended (e.g. tobacco products).

UPDATED 04/14/2014 UPI, New congressional report presses for e-cigarette regulation
UPDATED 04/03/2014 NYT, Britain Shows Support for Tougher Cigarette Laws
UPDATED 02/05/2014 LiveScience, CVS to Become 1st National Pharmacy Chain to Stop Selling Tobacco and FDA, FDA launches its first national public education campaign to prevent, reduce youth tobacco use ( includes link to ads)
UPDATED 01/29/2014 ThomsonReuter, Cigarettes kicked out of school in China
UPDATED 11/28/2013 Telegraph, Plain cigarette packaging could be brought in by 2015

Opponents to governments' efforts to demote cigarette smoking by our citizenry often selectively use the curious concept of  "freedom to [insert activity]", but fail to exposit this freedom within a context of  "scientific certainty".

Often their explanations or logic simply substitute or incorporate a plethora of unchallenged personal and cultural myths, assumptions and assertions.

Some governments not only ignore "scientific certainty" but completely blow-up science by ascribing anthropomorphic attributes to an inanimate corporate object, then "reason" that our government cannot constitutionally demote cigarette smoking because demotion infringes the ascribed anthropomorphic attributes.

It's truly bizarre when the living anthropomorphize the dead, which proximately kills the living, to a scientific certainty!

UPDATED 08/01/2013 LBNL, Secondhand Smoke in Bars and Restaurants Means Higher Risk of Asthma and Cancer

It seems worth noting that our restaurant sector has not historically provided healthcare insurance or the wages necessary to purchase healthcare insurance.

Perhaps, just another example of our accumulating market failures that will be ameliorated by our Affordable Healthcare Act and eliminated when our citizenry have universal healthcare.

UPDATED 07/26/2013 Economist, No Butts Some country per capita smoking percentages.
UPDATED 07/01/2013 LBNL, Berkeley Lab Confirms Thirdhand Smoke Causes DNA Damage

Baleful cigarette weaponry continues to menace, molest, mutate, maim and collaterally kill members of our civil society while our judiciary considers whether requiring prominent pictograms on "product packaging" is permissible. You can't make this stuff up!

UPDATED 01/24/2013 ScienceDaily, Smoke-Free Law Linked to Large Fall in Child Asthma Hospital Admissions
UPDATED 12/28/2012 BBC, Graphic anti-smoking ad launched

UPDATED 12/19/2012 WSJ, EU Proposes Tougher Tobacco Rules Prominent text and images
UPDATED 11/27/2012 Reuters, Judge orders tobacco companies to admit deception

UPDATED 11/13/2102 USN, Study: Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packs Would Be Effective

Evidently, pictures and pictograms are important to smoking cessation in countries whose development has achieved sufficient educational attainment, too!

UPDATED 11/12/2012 ManilaBulletin, Healthier Crops
UPDATED 08/25/2012 Reuters, U.S. court strikes down graphic warnings on cigarettes It seems odd that any legal system would endowed a corporate entity with commercial speech rights4—it seems positively perverse for our legal system to then use those commercial speech rights to enable our corporations to promote a highly addictive product that has a scientific certainty of killing our citizenry when used as intended!

Hopefully, our Supreme Court will reverse R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. FDA (pdf)—surely the odd concept of corporate commercial speech developed and used by our U.S. Supreme Court does not include the right to produce and promote a highly addictive product that has a scientific certainty of killing our citizenry when they use this product as intended3!

Some legal decisions can cause an uninitiated reader to wonder if its author isn’t really a toddler hilariously answering a question that has overwhelmed their still developing conceptual capacity. Surely the court is not saying that if industry can produce a lethal product sufficiently addictive that death precedes usage cessation our government cannot emotionally, experimentally, or otherwise require or compel graphic images for the purpose of prompting, promoting or provoking usage cessation short of death.
"...FDA has not provided a shred of evidence—much less the “substantial evidence” required by the APA—showing that the graphic warnings will “directly advance” its interest in reducing the number of Americans who smoke. FDA makes much of the “international consensus” surrounding the effectiveness of large graphic warnings, but offers no evidence showing that such warnings have directly caused a material decrease in smoking rates in any of the countries that now require them...."
Our FDA is acting under the Family Smoking Prevention And Tobacco Control legislation, which aims to prevent smoking and promote its cessation, without expressly banning tobacco products.

UPDATED 08/17/2012 Reuters, UPDATE 1-"Alarming" smoking habits found in poorer countries
"...The WHO says tobacco already kills around 6 million people a year worldwide, including more than 600,000 non-smokers who die from exposure to second-hand smoke."


1. Weaponry used in warring is the promotion of usage of a product that when used as intended has a scientific certainty of killing other nation's citizenry—should an exported cigarette be characterized as weaponry?

Current cigarette consumption in the United States has been estimated by the CDC at Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco—United States, 2000–2011, August 3, 2012 / 61(30);565-569

2. It seems useful to note that if no nation operated a perverse legal system then "its citizenry" could be changed to "human beings".

3. The rapidly developing field of genomics and related fields will likely routinely demonstrate to a scientific certainty that a product is harmful to human beings—corporate commercial speech rights, however interpreted by our U.S. Supreme Court must not enable mischief to that scientific process and progress.

4. Corporate entities are inanimate objects created and chartered by governments—speech is typically not an attribute one associates with inanimate objects—much less constitutionally protected speech that its creator or charter cannot alter.

5. UPDATED 06/23/2016 The Supreme Court recently ruled that the European Union could not criminally pursue RJR Nabisco Inc. under the RICO statute ( RJR Nabisco Inc. v. The European Community, No. 15-138) for claimed injury extraterritorial to the United States. (NYT, Supreme Court Sides With R.J. Reynolds in RICO Case)

This ruling should not prevent the subsequent assertion of criminal and civil logic, which continually holds "big tobacco" responsible and accountable for all harm their activities (both territorial and extraterritorial) inflict.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

White House Promotes Our National Microbiome Initiative

The White House promotes a big joint private-government National Microbiome Initiative to fundamentally and comprehensively1 study the tiniest of creatures. This is definitely not yesterday's biology.

Kudos to our President!  It's difficult to overstate how important a continuously fully funded national initiative to study these tiny creatures is, which have such dramatic impacts on a scale of piconewtons and picometers.


UPDATED 09/20/2016 UCTV, 2015 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science: Rob Knight

UPDATED 06/21/2016 YoutubeNature, Innate lymphoid cells

summarizes years of dedicated research on cell signaling and pathways


UPDATED 05/16/2016 Nature, White House goes big on microbiome research


NCBI, Journal mBio
PlosOne, Microbiome


UPDATED 05/21/2016 MayoClinic, Center for Individualized Medicine’s Microbiome Program
UPDATED 05/21/2016 UnivConn, Joins National Microbiome Initiative
UPDATED 05/21/2016 UnivMich, U-M joins new National Microbiome Initiative announced today at White House
PenState, New Penn State research initiative part of White House microbiome event
Berkeley Lab, M2B

UCSD, Center for Microbiome InnovationBerkeley Labs, Microbes-to-Biomes


1. UPDATED 05/25/2016  Includes reproducibility of results.

Originally Published May 13, 2016; Last Updated September 20, 2016; Last Republished September 20, 2016:

The Least Secretive Of Nations Is The Strongest Of Nations Update-2

Originally Published October 28, 2013; Last Updated September 23, 2016; Last Republished September 20, 2016: 

Our government's unmeasured and unconstrained psychotic pursuit of secret surveillance initiatives undermines and threatens both our democracy and its foundational First Amendment.

Only after the intervention of a courageous young whistleblower-leaker, competitive China and cantankerous Russia has some of our government's representatives begun to acknowledge that our government's secret surveillance initiatives require constraints.

Our government representatives' acknowledgement that its secret surveillance initiatives require constraints is a good beginning. However, the acknowledgement must be coupled with government transparency, significant whistleblower-leaker reforms and inviolable reporter shields, but that will require the intervention of our increasingly concerned citizenry.  


UPDATED 03/18/2016 CRS, Encryption: Selected Legal Issues Mar 2016 (courtesy FAS)
UPDATED 02/26/2016 Scribd, Apple's Motion to Vacate Magistrate Order Directing Apple to Render Technical Assistance to FBI Re Opening Encrypted Device ED No. CM 16-1(SP) and Wired, FBI Motion for Apple Assistance Re Opening Encrypted Device ED No. 15-0451M

UPDATED 02/25/2016 YouTube, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, World Wide Threats Hearing, February 25, 2016

UPDATED 02/23/2016 CRS, Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations (courtesy, FAS)

UPDATED 06/29/2015 Intercept, How the NSA Started Investigating the New York Times’ Warrantless Wiretapping Story

UPDATED 06/24/2015 Independent, A Question of Trust, Report of the Investigatory Powers Review by David Anderson Q.C. Independent reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, June 2015 (pdf)

UPDATED 07/14/2014 IETF, RFC 7258, Pervasive Monitoring Is an Attack dated May 2014 (pdf) and IETF RFC 7258, Pervasive Monitoring Is an Attack dated May 2014 (txt)
enWikipedia, Protection of Sources


UPDATED 09/23/2016 FASSecrecy, When the President Pardoned a Leaker

Presidential pardons, whistle-blower protections, media-press shields, affirmative legal defenses, evidentiary exclusions, spying, leaks, and transparency are tools in the effective government-citizen's toolkit used to run, manage, and support a credible intelligence community.

Opacity9 is not part of an any democratic citizen-government's effective toolkit used to run, manage, and support a credible intelligence community.

UPDATED 09/20/2016 FASSecrecy, Sorting Through the Snowden Aftermath

Sorting through the Snowden aftermath (NSA leaks) will likely prove difficult or impossible for many years? Our government has determined a priori that our citizenry has not been "cleared" and does not have a "need to know" the information required for any meaningful analysis and debate! Fortunately, such drivel from our intelligence communities is often being met by our citizenry's increasingly vociferous demands for government transparency.

General Michael Hayden makes a strong case for pardoning Snowden and other NSA whistleblowers when he states:
" will take years, if not decades for us to return to the position we had prior to his disclosure..."
Notwithstanding the House of Representatives' letter, our nation must never return to place before the Snowden disclosures. Our nation must lead in field of transparent governance, not just lecture others on the subject!

UPDATED 08/24/2016 Guardian, WikiLeaks posted medical files of rape victims and children, investigation finds and NPR, Save The Children Ex-Employee Leaks Details About Refugee Abuse On Nauru
Governments, regimes, and failed states cite incidents of transparency, which results in perceived harm to persons, usually to justify, support, continue, or extend their policies of opaqueness.  Rarely, if ever do these entities voluntarily reveal and explain the more numerous (some might argue continuous) episodes of government opaqueness that result in harm.

Australia and other opaque governments, including the United States often use non-disclosure agreements, which include draconian penalties to coerce compliance with their policies of opaqueness, even  in the face of the most infandous harm. The rule of law demands that government non-disclosure agreements, which hide infandous harm are void ab initio.

Fortunately, most major nations agree to transparently govern, but argue ad infinitum whether transparent means translucent?!

UPDATED 08/24/2016 CSM, NSA leak rattles cybersecurity industry Really!? and Intercept, The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm NSA's unprecedented recklessness has turned it into a target!

UPDATED 05/31/2016 Guardian, Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed 'public service' with NSA leak

Instead of calling a leaker a traitor we can refer to them as citizens' informants, guaranteeing them a proper level of protection?

A government secretly misbehaving is unlikely to fully appreciate the benefits of public disclosure, total transparency, or citizen disapprobation.

UPDATED 05/23/2016 Guardian, Future of national security whistleblowing at stake in US inquiry
UPDATED 05/22/2016  Reuters, U.S. targets spying threat on campus with proposed research clampdown

The burdens of such a program are likely to far outweigh any benefits (mostly imagined). Our universities must not be required to get a license from some anonymous military officer at the political desk of our State Department to teach students computational biology or any other subject or conduct laboratory experiments.

Just another dangerous and mischievous form of watch listing more indicative of fascist and dictatorial forms of governments than a leading democracy.

UPDATED 05/22/2016 SA, What the Apple vs. FBI Debacle Taught Us
UPDATED 05/17/2016 Intercept, Snowden Archive—The SIDToday Files  and NYT, Intercept Publishes N.S.A.'s Internal Articles Detailing Employee Life [or more appropriately lack thereof]

Only in the constipated compartments of our cloistered clandestine communities are these data considered classified!

The acronym SID substitutes for Signals  Intelligence Data

UPDATED 04/29/2016 Atlantic, The Supreme Court Expands FBI Hacking Powers Proposal to amend Rule 4, 41, and 45 of the Federal Federal Rules of Criminal Proceedure, effective Dec2016 unless changed by Congress.

UPDATED 04/04/2016 Panama Law Firm’s Leaked Files Detail Offshore Accounts Tied to World Leaders


The most important and interesting part of this leaked data and whistle-blowing story has not yet been told—law firm Mossack Fonseca's et al. assertion that what they've been doing is legal—sound familiar?

UPDATED 03/29/2016 WP, DOJ Motion to Vacate Search of Apple iPhoneUPDATED 03/19/2016 MB, Lavabit's Forgotten Encryption Fight Looms Over the Apple Case
UPDATED 03/15/2016 Crypto-gram, March 15, 2016 Includes a great survey of links related to Apple v FBI

UPDATED 03/14/2016 Deadline, President Obama’s SXSW Keynote: Call To Action, Memes Aimed At Tech World (includes transcript of the President's keynote interview/remarks)

Mr. President, "healthy skepticism" of trust in our government, really? How about catastrophic collapse of trust in  our government! Your SXSW appearance may be necessary, but grossly insufficient to repair the rapidly diminishing trust in our government.

SXSW (left video) Apple Encryption Question Begins at Approximately 34:10

Absolutist's logic is not required to decry any model that eliminates our citizenry's personal privacy based on outlier events.

It is useful to recall that pursuit of absolute encryption for personal privacy, if achievable, is likely potentiated and propelled by our government's propensity for unconstrained, unaccountable, unmeasured, or unconstitutional action.

Stated differently, Mr. President our FBI lost the current Apple encryption debate before it began.

UPDATED 03/08/2016 Guardian, FBI quietly changes its privacy rules for accessing NSA data on Americans
UPDATED 03/03/2016 NPR, FBI Chief And Apple's Top Lawyer Head Into First Encryption Hearing and NPR, New York Judge Sides With Apple In Another Legal Faceoff With The Government
and Wired, Top iPhone Hackers Ask Court to Protect Apple From the FBI
UPDATED 02/25/2016 NewYorker, Daily Cartoon, Thursday February 25th; "Apple Comes Up With a Phone That's Impossible To Unlock" and MoJo, FBI Director Ducks the Most Important Question in the Apple Fight and SA, Apple Defiant as FBI iPhone Deadline Approaches and LAT, FBI director calls Apple case 'hardest question' in government and WP, Apple says FBI seeks ‘dangerous power,’ files motion opposing court order to help unlock iPhone and Wired, Apple May Use a First Amendment Defense in That FBI Case. And It Just Might Work

UPDATED 02/24/2016 BBC, Bill Gates calls for terror data debate and HouseR, Congressman Ted Lieu Statement [to FBI Director] on Apple Court Order

"Should governments be able to access [all] information at all or should they be blind, that's essentially what we are talking about," he told the BBC.

Like all complex policy questions balanced responses are rarely binary; it depends on the competing interests.

Surely, our government (all three branches) must be completely disabused of any notions that it can chant what it considers talismanic words like "terror" or "national security" or "grave danger" or "existential threat" or "capable of chewing through hydraulic hoses" or  "[fill in your favorite secret, undisclosed or unsubstantiated hyperbole]" entitles it to (un)conditional access to any information.

UPDATED 02/22/2016 Atlantic, Apple vs. the FBI: James Comey Chimes In and Reuters, U.S. government, Apple take encryption case to court of public opinion

Law enforcement should never be ashamed to inform any victim(s) that they pursed all investigative leads as far as conflicting and competing public policy, interests, as represented by the law permitted.

Pursuing leads is not synonymous with obtaining (un)expected information—pursuit of leads is often truncated for a variety of limitations (e.g. mistake, ability, policy, economic, capability, technical, legal, chance, uncertainty, ignorance, irrelevance etc.).

UPDATED 02/19/2016 NYT, Justice Department Calls Apple’s Refusal to Unlock iPhone a ‘Marketing Strategy’

How soon before, our duplicitous and now pouting proponents of secrecy, through their spokesperson(s) over at our FBI transparently inform our citizenry in court filings that anyone not cowering when confronted with the government's talismanic words "national security" has blood on their hands?

UPDATED 02/19/2016 WP, Apple vows to resist FBI demand to crack iPhone linked to San Bernardino attacks and NYT, Apple Fights Order to Unlock San Bernardino Gunman’s iPhone and Reuters, Apple phone ruling reignites privacy vs law enforcement debate and Wired, Apple’s FBI Battle Is Complicated. Here’s What’s Really Going On

How ironic that our government now seeks to rely on transparency and the law in its "fight against terrorism"—after our duplicitous proponents of secrecy effectively shredded all government  trust and credibility.

UPDATED 02/05/2016 Commonwealth, Barry Eisler, Former CIA Directorate of Operations

UPDATED 02/05/2016 Wired, Julian Assange’s 3.5-Year Detainment in Embassy Ruled Unlawful
UPDATED 02/01/2016 NYT, New Technologies Give Government Ample Means to Track Suspects, Study Finds

It's encouraging that some of our citizenry are beginning to challenge not only government opaqueness, but it’s routine forecasts of certain harm when required to operate transparently.

UPDATED 01/29/2016 Intercept, Spies in the Sky
UPDATED 12/31/2015 WSJ, U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress and NYT, House Intelligence Chair Seeks Answers on NSA Spying Report and Intercept, Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated

The creators of a system of mass surveillance are surprised when it surveils them—really?

Transcripts and mp3s (will enable more efficient and effective parodies and jokes) of the the intercepted conversations should be made published in their entirety.

UPDATED 12/05/2015 Fortune, NSA Surveillance Programs Are Far From Over Despite New Limitations

UPDATED 11/28/2015 Reuters, NSA to shut down bulk phone surveillance program by Sunday

Oversight of our intelligence community cowboys, who tend to think any schemes they dream up are acceptable, provided they attach the talismanic phrase "national security", requires much more than terminating one unconstrained, unaccountable, unmeasured, and unconstitutional program.

UPDATED 11/20/2015 Ted, Art that lets you talk back to NSA spies

UPDATED 11/17/2015 SA, Weakening Encrypted Communications Would Do Little to Stop Terrorist Attacks, Experts Say

Unsurprisingly, some individuals in our intelligence components cite strong encryption for the inability to provide timely terrorist related data, which some individuals in our government seek ... wonder if these individuals are trying to govern using with an obsolete model?

...using an obsolete model to pursue counter (or defeat kill if you're a congressional religious zealot) those using an obsolete model—it would be hilarious absent the created carnage.

UPDATED 11/16/2015 SA, NSA Efforts to Evade Encryption Technology Damaged U.S. Cryptography Standard
This is an earlier article republished by Scientific American as a reminder of our government's efforts to intentionally weaken an encryption standard it promoted.

UPDATED 11/10/2015 U.S. judge rules against NSA in phone spying case
UPDATED 11/05/2015 Reveal, California increases scrutiny of cellphone surveillance

UPDATED 11/04/2015 Guardian, Theresa May unveils UK surveillance measures in wake of Snowden claims  MPs demonstrate how not to legislate for increased Internet security.

UPDATED 10/19/2015 NYT, The NYPD Is Using Mobile X-Ray Vans to Spy on Unknown Targets

Who could ever believe that a Bill Bratton bozo blueprint would include blasting urban bodies with ionizing radiation?

One begins to wonder whether "the terrorists" or well-intended, unconstrained, unmeasured, and unaccountable bozo blueprints surveilling "the terrorists" are more of a threat!

UPDATED 10/06/2015 Reuters, Schrems: the law student who brought down a transatlantic data pact
UPDATED 09/17/2015 Ted, How to Avoid Surveillance...With Your Phone | Christopher Soghoian | TED Talks; also, Wired, Christopher Soghoian: Encrypt Now or Surrender to Surveillance; also, Wired, NSA Boss: Encrypted Software Needs Government Backdoors; also, InfoWorld, Obama advisors: Encryption backdoors would hurt cyber security, Net infrastructure vendors

Past governance by surveillance does not mean future governance by surveillance—perhaps our government will learn and practice new methods of governance, like consent8 of the governed?

Lack of governance by surveillance does not imply criminal advantage, as this speaker asserts.

UPDATED 08/30/2015 CADC, Opinion; D.C United States Court of Appeals; Larry Elliot Layman; No. 14-5004; Decide August 28, 2015 (pdf)
"The court reverses the judgment of the district court, and for the reasons stated in the opinions of Judge Brown and Judge Williams orders the case remanded to the district court. (Judge Sentelle dissents from the order of remand and would order the case dismissed.) The opinions of the judges appear below after a brief explanation of why the case is not moot."
UPDATED 08/25/2015 WP, There’s a new crayfish species and it’s named after Edward Snowden

Powerful pinchers are likely required when challenging a government's whose practices have become unconstrained, unmeasured, and unaccountable. Particularly when that government has intentionally made those practices opaque by assertions of national security.

UPDATED 08/15/2015 NYT, AT&T Helped N.S.A. Spy on an Array of Internet Traffic

UPDATED 08/06/2015 Economist, Espionage: What laws in the jungle?
UPDATED 07/28/2015 NJ, NSA to Purge Database of Phone Records Collected Under Mass Surveillance

UPDATED 07/28/2015 WP, After two years, White House says ‘no’ to petition asking for pardon of Edward Snowden

UPDATED 06/09/2015 Guardian, Obama lawyers asked secret court to ignore public court's decision on spying
UPDATED 06/06/2015 Slate, Why Obama Should Offer Edward Snowden a Deal

Our government is likely incapable of governing transparently, which a public interest defense implies7.

A primary objective, if not the primary objective of our dysfunctional, if not defunct "classification system" is to obviate all public interest justification!

Hell, it's likely that "repurposing" the entire NSA's computational capacity to, say, computational biology is more in the public interest than collecting and analyzing signals intelligence from terrorists and other religious-wackos?

UPDATED 06/06/2015 NYT, Edward Snowden: The World Says No to Surveillance 
UPDATED 06/01/2015 CBS, After the Patriot Act Provisions Sunset, What's Next?
UPDATED 05/30/2015 WH, Pass the USA Freedom Act

Mr. President, we're not surrendering tools for tracking terrorists. We're demanding transparent and knowledgeable debate, which objectively demonstrates that our government is continuously utilizing a minimally effective set of tools that our citizenry have knowingly authorized. Not any set of tools which an unconstrained, unmeasured, and unaccountable national security community can dream up or imagine might possibly be useful for tracking terrorists.

It's unfortunate that our national security community has behaved with such recklessness that it has jeopardized, if not entirely forfeited all its credibility.

Yet, another "national security plea" is unlikely to restore that lost credibility.

UPDATED 05/23/2015 Atlantic, The Weird End of the NSA's Phone Dragnet
UPDATED 05/19/2015  WP, Tech giants don’t want Obama to give police access to encrypted phone data and Cnet, Google, Apple among tech giants urging US to support encryption and Atlantic, The Last Defenders of the NSA

Governing transparently will not be easily advocated, mastered, or practiced by proponents of opaque governance. Ironically, these same proponents are some of our most strident advocates of democracy!?

UPDATED 05/18/2015 NYT, A Debate Over How Long Democracy Can Wage Battles in Shadows
UPDATED 05/16/2015 SeattleTimes, Former NSA official: Secret phone records grab was mistake

“How could anyone think the bulk collection program would remain secret? ... It’s not that there no longer can be national security secrets, ... the idea that the broad rules governing your activities —not specific operations, but the broad rules can be kept secret is a delusion. And they should not be kept secret.” --Joel Brenner, Former Inspector General, NSA--
Any national security secret should be rare, require extraordinary justification, and of minimal duration measured in hours and days, not months and years.

UPDATED 05/08/2015 NYT, N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Illegal, Appeals Court Rules and WP, Appeals court blunts NSA phone snooping program

Unfortunately, during periods of perceive or declared exigent circumstances (e.g. national application of force or one of our numerous quasi-wars) our appellate courts suffer a self-induced ignorance until the exigency subsides.

Fortunately, our appellate courts eventually restore, return or revert to the rule-of-law.

UPDATED 04/27/2015 AP, US unveils 6-year-old report on NSA surveillance
UPDATED 01/20/2015 UPI, Snowden Documents Show China Stole Fighter Jet plans, U.S. Gearing Up for Cyber War

So, let's bill China for their prorata research and development costs, annual licensing fees, cross-licensing fees for all design and manufacturing improvements, and logistics support!

Minus the the costs saved from not having to steal the aircraft design or hardware for reverse engineering and threat assessment analysis.

UPDATED 12/25/2014 Ted, The Year in Ideas TED Talks of 2014

 Ongoing NSA Spy vs. Citizenry Tragicomedy
UPDATED 12/25/2014 CSM, Regin spying tool linked to NSA among first malware meant for espionage
UPDATED 12/08/2014 BBC, Surveillance laws 'not fit for purpose', MPs say
UPDATED 12/07/2014 FirstLook, Operation Auroragold How the NSA Hacks Cellphone Networks Worldwide 
UPDATED 11/04/2014 ProPublica, The Best Secure Messaging Tools
UPDATED 10/19/2014 ProPublica, NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies

Our national security components appear to have "accomplished" the extraordinarily fascinating, albeit destructive feat of transitioning from "spy vs. spy" to "spy vs. citizen".

Much future research and study will be required to understand this transition? To date our government's "research and study" appears to consist of superficial and self-serving accusations focused at leakers and whistleblowers. However, nothing of value will be learned by continued pursuit of this path of "research and study".

UPDATED 10/13/2014 TedTalk, Glen Greenwald, Why Privacy Matters

Greenwald boldly asserts privacy matters. Fundamentally, his assertion can be expressed more powerfully, not as trades between security and privacy or good and bad behavior, but as trading privacy for the destruction of our civil society.

How ironic that those supposedly working to preserve our civil society would destroy it!

The good news is that a significant number of our citizenry has demanded and continues demanding that our government dismantle6 its secretly constructed and continuously operated mass surveillance apparatus.

Additionally, our government must continuously and transparently constrain, measure and account for all its past and future surveillance activity.

It's likely not chance that our government has begun complaining about its surveillance activity going dark.

UPDATED 10/08/2014 FAS SecrecyNews, Gov’t Resists Court Review of State Secrets

UPDATED 09/06/2014 VOA, Surveillance Software Key Concern at Internet Governance Meeting

Wonder why governments (particularly ours) find it difficult or impossible to govern transparently and without ubiquitous surveillance? Opaque and ubiquitous surveillance seems like the antithesis of freedom, not to mention optimal, good and preferred democratic governance.

UPDATED 08/06/2014 Ted, Hubertus Knabe: The dark secrets of a surveillance state

UPDATED 07/07/2014 WP, In NSA-intercepted Data, Those Not Targeted Far Outnumber the Foreigners Who Are

Our intelligence community is secretly smothering (and smoldering) under haystacks of irrelevant data.

A significant benefit of constitutionally collecting data is that analysts are not required to spend significant time focused on the irrelevant.

Unfortunately, inefficiencies and storage costs are not the only downsides and negatives that result from our nation operating secretly undefined, unmeasured, unaccountable and unconstitutional program(s).

UPDATED 07/03/2016 PCLOB, Report on the Surveillance Program Operated Pursuant to Sec 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act5

Welcomed recommendations by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. However, the reasonable inferences of the recommendations belie the report's constitutional conclusion.

A conclusion that agencies' section 702 actions passed constitutional muster requires, at a minimum, transparently defined, measured and accountable actions—boldly or baldly asserted conclusory statements notwithstanding.

UPDATED 06/06/2014 CSM, NSA leaks: A year later, US tech leaders demand quicker surveillance reform

Substantial and significant shifts to our government surveillance paradigm are required to accommodate modern corporate entities methodologies—these shifts conflict with our mature corporate entities methodologies (sound familiar?).

Resolving these conflicts will require more than a letter from our modern corporate entities, arguably our best experts on the requirements for designing, operating and maintaining a successful 21st century information economy infrastructure, or a set of senate hearings on the USA Freedom Act (S. 1599, H.R. 3361)4.

UPDATED 06/06/2014 Guardian, Pentagon report: scope of intelligence compromised by Snowden 'staggering'

After every transparency event (leak) our intelligence community or government spokesperson will always assert that the "compromise" has caused "serious" (term used when transparency event involves documents classified secret) or "grave" (term used when transparency event involves documents classified top-secret) damage.

These are reactionary assertions that occur by definition of the leaked document's classification level. Asserting otherwise would be to acknowledge that the secret or top-secret document was improperly classified!

Those familiar with our classification system: will not assume any document is properly classified; will be routinely amused by the quantity and quality of improperly classified documents; will discount all G-Gordon-Liddy-like pronouncements of "serious" or "grave" damage, which are supported by reams of redacted pages; and will be staggered, not by the results of a transparency event, but by the sums spent on secret and opaque governance!

UPDATED 06/06/2014 MSNBC, The House committee on intelligence needs oversight of its own

Congress's hostility to transparency and transparent governance will not bode well for our intelligence community and nation.

Continued opacity will likely further erode any residual confidence in our intelligence community and those pretending to oversee its actions.

UPDATED 05/21/2014 PBS Frontline, United States of Secrets
UPDATED 05/21/2014 Reuters, In cyber spying row, Chinese media call U.S. a 'mincing rascal' and Reuters, China confronts U.S. envoy over cyber-spying accusations and NYT, Fine Line Seen in U.S. Spying on Companies

Kudos to our President and DOJ for obviating the traditional "spy vs spy" extrajudicial approach that has balefully prevailed among nation states—nations need not publicly protest but rather publicly present facts to a routinely convened court of law complying with common international standards.

Some proponents of partially perpetuating the "spy vs spy" extrajudicial paradigm make the illusory distinction between economic and non-economic spying—asserting the former purpose is impermissible while the later is ok?

The illusion works only if you think there exists a bright line between our government spies and our private enterprises—such a bright line does not exist.

For example, suppose our intelligence collectors physically or virtually collect an exotic piece of hardware, firmware or software—the collectors will directly or indirectly use our private enterprises to analyze and understand that hardware, firmware or software. If the collected hardware, firmware or software advances the state of art (improbable but not impossible, if you're collecting against mostly developing nations) our private enterprises will economically and non-economically exploit that advance.

UPDATED 05/19/2014 Reuters, Post-Snowden, the NSA's future rests on Admiral Rogers' shoulders

A more relevant question is not whether Rogers can salvage a non-salvageable-agency, but whether our nation and its leaders can learn to govern under 21st century transparency? To date, their efforts mostly seem futilely focused on salvaging opaque governance and secrecy!

UPDATED 04/14/2014 Pulitzer Prize, The 2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners, Public Service
Awarded to The Washington Post for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.
Awarded to The Guardian US for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.
UPDATED 04/11/2014 NYT, Journalists Who Broke News on N.S.A. Surveillance Return to the U.S.

Presentation for national security reporting category of George Polk Awards:

UPDATED 04/03/2014 WP, Germany opens hearings on U.S. spying

UPDATED 03/12/2014 NYT, How a Court Secretly Evolved, Extending U.S. Spies’ Reach

Even the chairwoman of our Senate Intelligence [over, under or no sight?] Committee has begun expressing "shock, amazement and outrage" over our intelligence community's "off leash" or more appropriately "unleashed" behavior.

Reportedly, the "off leash" or "unleashed" behavior has been or will be referred to our Justice Department (for what?)—bleating echoes of "its never bitten before" can't be far-off?

UPDATED 03/11/2014 CSM, Listening to Edward Snowden at SXSW The poor quality video link's audio is garbled and echos—have a transcript of the video conference handy.

UPDATED 03/10/2014 WT, US Network to Scan Workers with Secret Clearances

We can only hope our government stumbles upon transparency while staggering toward increased secrecy.

UPDATED 01/26/2014 NPR, Transcript: NSA Deputy Director John Inglis

An interesting Kabuki dance between NSA's Inglis and NPR's Inskeep—evidently NSA's new strategy is to pursue transparent secrecy.

There is much to parse, discuss and debate from the transcript (e.g.):
Inglis: "...The FISA Amendments Act that came in in 2008 essentially made it clear that no matter where you are on the planet earth, if you're a U.S. person, if you have U.S. person status, if NSA or any other foreign intelligence organization within the U.S. is going to target them, they must first get a probable cause statement from the court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court..."
Is the secret FISA court probable cause statement substituting for individualized searches of American citizens based on probable cause, specificity and a warrant?

UPDATED 01/24/2014 Reuters, In China, U.S. tech firms weigh 'Snowden Effect

It seems a stretch to ascribe fluctuations in corporate earnings to a "Snowden Effect"—let's ascribe corporate earnings fluctuations to an "NSA Effect" or "Secrecy and Opaque Effect", or "Panda Effect or [insert your favorite effect].

UPDATED 01/23/2014 UPI, Snowden seeks extra Russian protection after U.S. threats

Hopefully, these alleged threats, if made originate from blathering idiots and not our government?

UPDATED 01/19/2014 WP, NSA program defenders question Snowden’s motives and NYT, Congressional Leaders Suggest Earlier Snowden Link to Russia

Debating whether recent NSA leaks contain more heat than light or policymakers' reciprocating castigations contain more mud than meaning distracts from urgently needed efforts to constitutionally constrain our secret opaque national security hydra.

UPDATED 01/18/2014 YouTube, President Obama Speaks on U.S. Intelligence Programs and ProPublica, Four Questionable Claims Obama Has Made on NSA Surveillance and WP, Obama calls for significant changes in collection of phone records of U.S. citizens and WP, Tepid global reaction to Obama’s NSA vow

President Obama proposes to partially restore some constraints on our secret opaque national security hydra while retaining nearly ubiquitous surveillance. Implicitly citing as justification the standard dystopian tripartite bogeymen of fear, perpetual conflict and potential war.

President Obama's noble efforts at rehabilitating our national security hydra's fidelity and simultaneously maintain its opaque secrecy is likely to be unsuccessful.

Hopefully, "Plan B" includes an options for total transparently monitoring, measuring and constraining each national security program?

Interestingly and surprisingly, President Obama is seems unable to imagine projecting our national power using transparently operated national security assets.

UPDATED 01/14/2014 WT, Spy court judge slams proposed privacy advocate

FISA court proceedings must not only be opposed they must be open and transparent! It's insufficient to assert secrecy or “operational security reasons”.

Additionally, there is no reason not to appoint, as FISA court judges, persons with advanced training in privacy, security, programming, algorithms, digital hardware and software, engineering, mathematics, etc.

It's unclear why we associate security with secrecy or vice versa.

UPDATED 01/14/2014 CSM, NSA snooping didn't make America much safer, report says

Unsurprisingly, those erecting and perpetuating our opaque secret national security hydra find it difficult to articulate the benefits from the bulk collection of communications. One suspects that quantifying, measuring and monitoring other individual components of our opaque secret national security hydra would quickly demonstrate a similar lack of benefits, likely by orders of magnitudes.

Unfortunately, in the absence a transparent national security apparatus we must learn these data, after the fact, from whistle-blowers and leakers. How much better for our nation if our citizens openly discussed and debated the benefits and burdens, before the fact?

UPDATED 01/12/2014 CSM, Five overlooked costs of the NSA surveillance flap
UPDATED 01/05/2014 UPI, What Snowden hath wrought
UPDATED 01/03/2014 eCommerceTimes, Surveillance Rights and Wrongs, Part 1: Begging the Questions

UPDATED 12/29/2013 Der Spiegel, Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit
UPDATED 12/28/2013 ProPublica, Judge on NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn’t Actually Support His Ruling

UPDATED 12/28/2013 UPI, Judge rules NSA Surveillance Programs to be Constitutional and NYSD Court Opinion, ACLU v. Clapper Declined to enjoin NSA's mass collection of metadata for domestic calls.

Only in fairy tale do kings bulk collect straw or hay believing that sprites can turn it in to gold for profit while relying on spies to discover the codeword, Rumpelstiltskin, to avoid any costs.

One expects a certain amount of unproved threat hyperbole from our national security apparatus—many do not expect our judiciary to parrot their hyperbole.

Admittedly, perspective and national security threats are not often difficult to simultaneously combined, but orders of magnitude more Americans die annually from shootings, suicides or flu viruses than a relatively rare "terrorists attacks"!

One wonders what gains could be achieved by repurposing our national security apparatus's capabilities and resources to solving marginally greater threats than regressing over five years of mass collected communication records for any statistically significant parameters (patterns)?

Then again, it may be significantly easier to justify "big data capability" costs using national security threat hyperbole than computational molecular biology; human connectome; climatology; particle physics or [your insert] hyperbole?

UPDATED 12/25/2013 UPI, Snowden: Orwell's '1984' 'nothing' compared to NSA spying and WP, Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished
UPDATED 12/23/2013 Propublica, Surveillance Articles Series
UPDATED 12/23/2013 WP, Peter King: Obama should ‘stop apologizing’ for NSA

Apologists for our opaque secret national security apparatus' most recently discovered abuses should at least hold a leash attached to an empty dangling collar in their hands when making their assertions. The prop will add some comedy to an otherwise developing tragedy and obscure the reason for any subsequent laughter.

UPDATED 12/21/2013 CSM, NSA surveillance: Revelations damaged US security, Obama says (+video)

Mr. President, how can we meaningfully debate and arrive at an optimal balance for our national security apparatus in the absence of total transparency?

Are you really justifying our national security apparatus's unconstrained, unmeasured, unlawful, unconstitutional, undemocratic, unproven, unnecessary, and imbalanced ( independent psychiatrists will have to determine if some the cowboy's are unbalanced?) collection methodologies by pointing out that Russia's regime is more repressive!!? 

UPDATED 12/20/2013 YahooNews, Obama hints at changing phone records collection and Reuters, Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer and Reuters, Insight: How U.S. spying cost Boeing multibillion-dollar jet contract

Mr. President, seems like an opportune time to transition away from covert opaque unilateral competitive cowboy collection methodologies toward open transparent multilateral cooperative cowgirl collection methodologies. 

UPDATED 12/19/2013 Reuters, Analysis - U.S. surveillance case: Tech may clash with 18th Century right and WH PressRelease, President Obama’s Meeting with the Review Group on Intelligence Communications Technologies and WH PressRelease, [Aug 2013] Statement by the Press Secretary on the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology

Group participants publish 46 tepid recommendations mostly focused on adding players and functionality to an already costly and dysfunctional national security apparatus game of  whack-a-mole (or find-a-needle-in-the-haystack, if you prefer).

Even if fully implemented, the group's recommendations will do little to ensure a default national security apparatus capable of effectively and transparently delivering more benefits than burdens.

Our president should publish the group's recommendations in the Federal Register for the purpose of seeking public input specifically focused on what can be subtracted (not added)3 to improve our costly and dysfunctional national security apparatus.

UPDATED 12/16/2013 NYT, Federal Judge Rules Against N.S.A. Phone Data Program and NYT, Obama Panel Said to Urge N.S.A. Curbs and YouTube, 60 Minutes Inside the NSA Part 1 and 60 Minutes, The Snowden Affair Part 2 2 and Cryptome, Transcript of 60 Minutes NSA Part 1 and 2

Well it's been slightly over a decade since King Bush the Idiot kicked-off his Global War on Terror (substantially continued by President Obama) in retaliation for the acts of a relatively few terrorists.

Since then our nation continues struggling through the Great Recession, Great Renege (pensions), Great Democracy Decline and now the Great Rein In of a nascent secret opaque Orwellian national security state apparatus.

In summary our nation has struggle through close to a decade of self-inflicted disaster! Oh, almost forgot to mention that the head spook over at our NSA, General Keith Alexander, recently informed our nation (6o Minutes) that the probability of a terrorist attack is increasing2! To borrow a recent out burst from House Speaker, John Boehner, "are you kidding me"!

Let's see if we can avoid turning our nation's decade of self-inflicted disaster in to a dozen years Great Demise! Firstly, by immediately and transparently transfiguring General Alexander's et al. vision of a nascent secret opaque Orwellian national security state apparatus in to open, transparent and constitutionally constrained tools for informing our citizenry.

UPDATED 12/08/2013 NYT, Tech Giants Issue Call for Limits on Government Surveillance of Users and Reform Government Surveillance
UPDATED 12/05/2013 Rueters, Sweden key partner for U.S. spying on Russia: TV and WP, NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show and UPI, Report: NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide
UPDATED 11/26/2013 WP, Julian Assange unlikely to face U.S. charges over publishing classified documents

When our government learns (an admittedly steep learning curve) how to govern transparently there will be nothing to leak and no leakers to prosecute!

Unfortunately, until our government climbs the learning curve some will suffer (including our nation as a whole) from the many methods, myths and diversions dreamed up to maintain and justify opaque governance.

UPDATED 11/07/2013 YouTube, Living in a Security State Mikko Hypponen's Ted talk on how to live above a surveillance state.

When you're building or participating in a secret surveillance state (and they're always secret, initially) it's extraordinarily difficult to perceive the dysfunctional environment, not unlike battered spouses secretly participating in a dysfunctional environment. Only when a spouse voluntarily or involuntarily exits the dysfunctional environment or its opacity otherwise becomes transparent1 are the dysfunctional properties properly perceived.

UPDATED 11/06/2013 Reuters, U.S. Power to Shape Global Web Seen Undermined by NSA Spying
and FP, Does Listening to Angela Merkel's Phone Calls Make America Safer?

It's unclear whether our government ever had the power to shape the global web or that  nations' spying produces any meaningful transparency or greater global stability

VoiceOfRussia , Free Snowden: JSPDF Launches Website to Fund Whistleblower’s Defense Campaign


1. Fortunately, disclosure of dysfunctional environments has become more common. However, a perpetrator rarely appreciates, acknowledges or learns from these disclosures, so it may be necessary to protect a discloser from retaliation.

2. Part 2 opens with a couple of cheap shots by career NSA Snowden Leak Task Force Coordinator, Rick Ledgett. Outsiders familiar with the paranoid and pathological environments existing within our national security apparatus will amusingly recall the asymptotic mental compartmentalization that's required for a  25 year veteran insider to criticize unusual behavior (viewing a video terminal under black felt) and stealing secrets (key to a test) for advantage!

Part 2 closes with head spook General Keith B. Alexander's statement on the increased probability of terrorism.

Between Part 2's opening and closing is a continuing NSA promo that could be titled the "Refocusing on NSA Basics, Really!". How NSA lost its focus, constraints and measures will require another James Risen tome (perhaps a well resourced joint endeavor with James Bamford!).

3. Additions simply increase the number of  possible failure paths.

4. Even more substantial and significant shifts will be required to accommodate the citizenry of modern civil societies. It's not without irony that those whose information is, has been, or will be bulk collected by our government are not participating in the hearings (e.g. German Chancellor Merkel).

Perhaps, these participants must await further government transparency events?

5. A companion report was released early 2014; Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court date January 23, 2014.

6. As an alternative to dismantling these assets they can be entirely or partially repurposed, minus the generals (e.g. quantitative and synthetic biology, emergence, materials, spectral, and chaos etc.). Cost-benefit analyses must replace chants of "the terrorists are coming" and "God [insert your favorite verb] America".

7. Of course if our government could govern transparently there would be no espionage prosecution and thus no need for a public interest defense.

8. It can be useful to view government governance on a coercion-consent continuum with greater government coercion required to sustain greater societal imbalances.

A decaying government will ignore destabilizing societal imbalances and cite these destabilizing societal imbalances as justification for utilizing greater government coercion, thereby accelerating its further decay and eventual destruction.

9. Our government has been slow to acknowledge that opacity is primarily used as a convenient societal management tool—national security is the cover story.