My Take On Guns In The U.S.

MY TAKE ON GUNS IN THE U.S.

 

As most folks probably know there was another mass shooting here in the U.S. this week. Once again it was a coward who chose a very ‘soft’ target, a school. This disgusting piece of human flesh shot and killed 17 high school students and wounded another 14 before leaving the scene. It is my belief that he should be chained against a rock wall and machined gunned to death asap. I believe that if a person commits premeditated murder that they should be put to death in the same manner that they chose to kill.

 

Now that I got my rant out, I would like to speak with you about why I do believe that the people in every country have the absolute right to have firearms. Here in the U.S. this ‘RIGHT’ is GUARANTEED to the people through the Second Amendment of the Constitution. There are several simple reason why the Founding Fathers wrote this into Law and that is so that the citizens of our Country could have the possibility of self-protection and for the protection of our families. The main reason the Founding Fathers wrote this RIGHT into law was so that the citizens could protect themselves from the Government when and if the Government became abusive in their ‘powers’. These Founding Fathers had come from Europe and they had experienced first hand the over reach of ‘Royalty’ and of the Wealthy Land Barron’s. When a government disarms their citizens they know that they can run them over like mange dogs and there is nothing that the people can do about it. As long as the ‘elite’ have to fear a lone gunman putting a bullet between their ears they tend to be at least a little bit tempered in their illegal inhumane acts toward the poor. Another reason that the Second Amendment was written into law was for making it possible for people to be able to hunt for food. Then of course there is the reason of people being able to protect themselves and their families from gangsters and evil people who might break into their homes or rob them while they are out and about in their daily lives.

 

Let me make this clear, I do have several firearms, pistols and long guns yet in my 60+ years of life I have never shot any living thing. I do on occasion do some target practicing in my back yard but I have never ever even aimed a firearm at another living person and I pray that I will never have to. Yet I have a concealed carry permit and in my State I can ‘open carry’. In this State ‘Kentucky’ if I go down to the very busy corner convenience store and I decide that I want to rob them, the people that work at the store most likely have their own guns on premise plus, lets say there are 10 other people in the store most likely at least three or four of them are carrying a gun also. So, there is the reality that if I want to act a fool and pull my weapon, I am going to be filled full of holes, only an idiot would try to rob any business here in Kentucky. Back in 1981 I moved to the state of Texas and within the first two or three years there were at least three mass shootings in fast food restaurants, then the state made it legal for people to get concealed weapons permits, I never heard of another one of those mass shooting in Texas again.

 

What I am getting at is the fact that these ‘shooters’ like the one at the Florida High School this week, are cowards! Taking guns away from people like me only makes it more likely of their being even more mass shootings by these cowards, lot less of them. These cowardly scum bags want to go into places where they can get the highest ‘body counts’ possible and they do not want to get shot themselves. They choose these ‘soft targets’ because there are no guns there to shoot back at them. When is the last time here in the States that you heard of a gunman going into a police station or a military check point and start shooting? When was the last time you heard of a Donuts Shop being robbed? Do you notice that it is people like Hillary Clinton who yell and scream about how we the people should not be allowed to have guns to protect ourselves with while they are guarded 24×7 by small police forces themselves.

 

I don’t like it but I do believe that because all schools are such soft targets where the body counts can be racked up very quickly that every school needs to be guarded by at least 6 armed police or military personnel. This would be two on the inside watching monitors and one on each side of the school. I say two on the inside because if something odd is noticed on a monitor one could go check it out while one continues to watch the monitors. I know it is an expense, but aren’t our children worth it? Think about how schools like in Russia where armed groups of Jihadists have stormed schools and killed hundreds of kids at one time, how are we going to handle this when it happens here in the States? Do not be foolish, such things are going to happen here, it is only a matter of when.

 

There are some things that I believe do need to be changed in our National gun laws though. To me the biggest one would be the shutting down of the ‘Gun Show’ loopholes. The one I am talking about is it must be made totally illegal for anyone to buy or to sell any firearm outside of the ‘Show’ floor. The way things are now I can buy pretty much anything I want out in the parking lot of these Shows, as long as I have the cash. I could be a member of a well-known street gang or a member of a Jihadist terrorist cell and I could load my SUV down with weapons, with no paper work, no paper trail at all.

 

Why Some People Believe It Is Okay To Murder Other People

WHY SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE IT IS OKAY TO MURDER OTHER PEOPLE

Hopefully this title can help make a person stop their scanning and do a double take. I can easily see a person saying to themselves “I didn’t see that correctly did I”. One of the problems for the human race is the absolute fact that many millions of people do believe in this idea. I am a 61 yr old white male and I have lived all of my life within the borders of the lower 48 States of the U.S.. Through my life experiences (mostly as a long haul truck driver) I have learned many things, as I hope that all people have been able to do.

I am going to tell you a true story where the center point would be about February of 1978 in a small town in south-west Virginia named Galax. I had shortly before this time gotten out of the military and had decided to live in Galax which is the town where I was born instead of going back to the town where I spent my growing up years at in northern Illinois, in a town named Belvidere. During my growing up years in Belvidere I attended the local Church of Christ, so when I moved to Galax I started attending services there at the South Side Church of Christ.

I only attended services there for three weeks. The Preacher with his wife and young daughter were from the state of Pennsylvania so they were not local folks, in fact they were Yankees, so I was a bit surprised that he had even been hired there in the first place. After services on the third Sunday evening the Preacher turned in a thirty-day notice. It was easy to see that there was something wrong going on at this Church, so as I was filling out of the building that evening I spoke with the Preacher to ask him why he was quitting because I was thinking about becoming a regular there and if there was something bad going on here I would like to know about it so to help me in deciding if I would continue attending there. The answer the Preacher gave me, I will tell you what he said toward the end of this story. But, what he told me opened my eyes to a question that had puzzled me for many years. The inner question within my thoughts was “why in some people’s minds is it okay to murder other people, why does anyone think they have the right to do that to anyone”?

In world history there have always been wars, both big and small, and for many different reasons. It is expected that people kill other people during a war. But it is not expected during a peaceful time. If you kill people during a war battle there will be no repercussions leveled against you. What I want to speak to you about is the killing of people in the civilian world. For an example, look at the violence in the south side of Chicago Illinois. It seems that most of this violence is about drugs and turf wars. Who or what gives a person the right to do all of this killing? Look at world history, it is filled with blood. Just looking at the US history, look at how all non-whites were treated for about 400 years. Didn’t matter whether you were Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Indian they were all disrespected horribly. The question again, what made some people think they had some God-given right to commit these acts of hate?

Now I want to go back to 1978 and my talking with the Preacher who was quitting. My eyes were opened by his answer. He told me that the people there at that congregation believed that the only people who had Souls were whites, to say the least, my shadow never darkened that doorway again. What my eyes were opened to was the fact that if a person looks at another person and in their eyes they are not looking at another human, just an animal, it makes it easy to kill that person if you believe that way. Throughout human history some of the most horrible acts of violence have been committed in the name of God. When you look toward the Middle East you see that most everyone in the region hates Israel and most Israelis have no love loss for Islamist. Almost everyday you hear of Jihad’s against people within and outside of their own faith. Us Christians should not get to uppity, we have had many people killed where both sides did what they did in the name of Jesus Christ. How much blood was spilled in wars between Protestants and Catholics? They both believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died and was raised the third day by the power of the Holy Spirit, so how does either side think that God will approve their actions? Hopefully now you will have a better understanding as to why some people think it is okay to kill someone else. In the name of God, no one has the right to be offensive toward anyone else and if there is no offence then there is no need for a defense. But that is only wishful thinking, humans are simply too egotistical to put others up onto their own plain and to quit thinking of others as being of less worth than themselves. Contrary to some religions beliefs and contrary to some groups beliefs all people are human beings and thus all people do have a Soul. Jesus told us plainly that no murderer has any part in the Kingdom of God. There was a time before the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ that only the Royal Bloodline could have salvation and by Jesus’s own words we (Gentiles) were considered not be a people. In fact Jesus in a parable referred to all of us Gentiles as dogs. Yes God is great, and humans are at times animal-like and, dumb as a stump.

Five members of Jewish community among 17 killed in Florida massacre

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Five members of Jewish community among 17 killed in Florida massacre

Deaths of Jamie Guttenberg, Alyssa Alhadeff, Meadow Pollock, Alex Schachter, Scott Beigel announced by families, local community

Students grieve outside Pines Trail Center where counselors are present, after Wednesday's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, February 15, 2018. (AP/Joel Auerbach)

Students grieve outside Pines Trail Center where counselors are present, after Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, February 15, 2018. (AP/Joel Auerbach)

Four Jewish students and a teacher were confirmed Thursday to be among the 17 victims killed during a massacre at their Florida high school the day before.

The dead included four students — Jamie Guttenberg, Alyssa Alhadeff, Alex Schachter, Meadow Pollack — and teacher Scott Beigel, heralded for putting himself in the line of fire to save others.

The five deaths were reported by family members, friends, and community members. Rabbi Mendy Gutnick of Chabad of Parkland, who has been in touch with many of the families of those killed and injured, confirmed the five deaths to The Times of Israel.

This video screen grab image shows shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, at Broward County Jail in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on February 15, 2018.(Miguel GUTTIEREZ/AFP TV)

A former student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, armed with an AR-15 rifle, opened fire at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, officials said, in a harrowing shooting spree that saw terrified students hiding in closets and under desks as they texted for help.

Broward County officials said they would release a full list of victims later Thursday.

The Jewish community in Parkland was reeling over the massacre at the large school, with many members of the community belonging to the student body.

Rabbi Melissa Stollman, a rabbi at Congregation Kol Tikvah, a reform temple in Parkland, spent Thursday meeting with students and their families. “One student expressed how she heard something and she ran. She got out really fast and she ran far away. But other students were locked in closets for two and a half hours, not knowing what was going on,” she told The Times of Israel.

Rabbi Bradd Boxmann, also a rabbi at Kol Tivkah, said a “huge number” of congregants attended the school.

Guttenberg’s mother, Jennifer Guttenberg, was a specialist teacher in the synagogue’s pre-school, working with children to develop handwriting skills. Stollman’s two twins are in her class.

Guttenberg’s father announced her death in post to his Facebook page in which he wrote “My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school.”

Jamie’s own Facebook page was changed to “Remembering.”

The death of Alhadeff, 15, was announced by her mother Lori, in a post to her Facebook page. “My daughter Alyssa was killed today by a horrific act of violence,” Lori Alhadeff wrote.

Just two weeks ago, the Alhadeff family celebrated Alyssa’s brother’s bar mitzvah, which Gutnick officiated. The rabbi said that Alyssa had attended the local Chabad’s Hebrew School and teen programs. She flew to Israel in 2015 to have her bat mitzvah at the Masada desert fortress.

“It’s absolutely shocking,” Gutnick said. “I’ve been with that family most of the day today. No words really to say to them. There are no mechanisms we have to process this.”

On Thursday night, the families of children who were missing were told to wait at a local Marriott while more information came to light. Gutnick was there with some of the Jewish families who had not gotten in touch with their kids.

“Families obviously began to fear the worst as no news was coming about their children. Twenty families and their friends were gathered in one big room for seven hours while they waited to hear confirmation,” he said. “Finally, one by one, they were all told the worst news. You can imagine just the absolutely gut-wrenching feeling and emotional numbness that was taking place. It was devastating.”

On Wednesday night, Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan of nearby Temple Beth Chai described the scene at the hotel as “chaos and devastation.”

“Everyone is just waiting and praying. No words can describe what happened here,” he told JTA.

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Flordia, on February 14, 2018. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

The parents of Pollack, 18, said Thursday morning that their daughter too was a victim, the Palm Beach Post reported. The night before, her father Andrew had spoken to the press of his harrowing search for his daughter.

Congregation Beth Am, in Longwood, Florida, in a post to its Facebook page, wrote that Alex Schachter was also killed in the shooting.

Beigel, a geography teacher, was also confirmed killed in media reports. Camp Starlight, a camp where he had worked, called him a “beloved friend and a hero.”

Students said Beigel tried to lock the door to the classroom where students were hiding to prevent the shooter from entering, but was gunned down.

Rabbi Shuey Biston of Chabad of Parkland said rabbis have coordinated with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel to ensure that the bodies of any Jewish victims be released for burial as soon as possible, in keeping with Jewish tradition.

According to the rabbis, several teens who were in the school and survived the shooting came to the Thursday morning prayers to recite a traditional blessing giving thanks for salvation from a life-threatening event.

“This is a very close-knit community,” Gutnick said. “It’s a very high-density Jewish community, as well. Demographically, it’s one that always felt very pristine and sort of protected from any bad news or any crime or anything like that. It’s one of the safest cities in America. And this has changed the whole city. We’ve lost our innocence.”

He went on, “There is just a feeling of absolute numbness. Kids don’t know what to do, they don’t know what to think. Every single kid is traumatized. The emotional scarring on this city is absolutely devastating and people are hoping that we can come together and we can show solidarity and somehow manage to move on. But the truth is this city will never be the same.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Ukraine Ejects Ex-Georgian President, Deporting Him To Poland

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR AND THE BBC)

 

Ukraine Ejects Ex-Georgian President, Deporting Him To Poland

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili speaks to the media prior to a scheduled court hearing in Kiev last month.

Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Ukrainian authorities have deported Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president who has emerged as a vocal antagonist of the government in Kiev. Ukraine’s border agency confirmed his deportation to Poland on Monday, while videos on social media purported to show Saakashvili getting seized by masked men.

“This person was on Ukrainian territory illegally,” the agency said in a statement released Monday, “and therefore, in compliance with all legal procedures, he was returned to the country from which he arrived.”

Representatives of Saakashvili are describing the incident in starkly different terms.

Earlier Monday the populist politician’s Facebook account released a plea for help, saying “unknown people in masks kidnapped [him] and drove him in an unknown direction.” At the same time, the account uploaded several videos appearing to show his “abduction” in a restaurant at the hands of several shouting men.

Hours later, he called reporters from Warsaw with his account of the confrontation: “They broke into the cafe,” he said. “They tried to close my eyes, tie my hands.”

Within hours he had been placed on a plane to Poland.

Saakashvili and his supporters have cast the move as an attempt to remove a prominent threat to President Petro Poroshenko, a former ally who granted Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship and even appointed him governor several years ago — only to strip him of that citizenship after Saakashvili quit amid a flurry of accusations that Poroshenko was blocking his attempts at reform.

Saakashvili — a populist politician who also faces a three-year prison sentence in Georgia for embezzlement and abuse of authority during his presidency there — lost his rights as a Ukrainian last summer while he was in the U.S. He returned, though, gathering supporters on the Poland-Ukraine border for a climactic push back into the country in September. Since then he has drawn a considerable following in Ukraine, even as Ukrainian officials have condemned him as a provocateur backed by a pro-Russian criminal group.

Earlier this month Saakashvili lost his appeal for protection against the possibility of getting extradited to Georgia to stand charges.

“The Georgian authorities never asked for my extradition when I was in America or in Europe,” the 50-year-old opposition leader told The Guardian last week, when he was still living and working in central Kiev. “They only did it when I returned to Ukraine because Poroshenko asked them to.”

Now, after grappling with Saakashvili for months, Kiev has managed to eject him. Time will tell whether he will stay out of Ukraine or whether, as he did last year, he will somehow manage to return. In the meantime, Saakashvili might be out of the country — but he is not exactly out of earshot.

“This is not a president and not a man,” he said of Poroshenko in a statement after the deportation Monday, according to Reuters. “This is a lowlife crook who wants to wreck Ukraine. All this shows how weak they are. We will of necessity defeat them.”

Read All About It: Breaking News

South African lions eat ‘poacher’, leaving just his head

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

South African lions eat ‘poacher’, leaving just his head

A lion stretches out by the Luvuvhu river in Kruger National Park, South AfricaImage copyrightCAMERON SPENCER/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionLocal police said the lions ate almost all of the man’s body (file picture)

A suspected big cat poacher has been eaten by lions near the Kruger National Park in South Africa, police say.

The animals left little behind, but some body parts were found over the weekend at a game park near Hoedspruit.

“It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions,” Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP.

“They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains.”

Police have not yet established the victim’s identity. A loaded hunting rifle and ammunition were found next to the body, South African website Eyewitness News reports.

Lion poaching has been on the rise in Limpopo province in recent years.

The big cats’ body parts are sometimes used in traditional medicine, both within Africa and beyond.

Wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation says lion bones and other body parts are increasingly sought-after in South East Asia, where they are sometimes used as a substitute for tiger bones.

In January 2017, three male lions were found poisoned in Limpopo with their paws and heads cut off.

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Attacker slashes churchgoers with sword, injuring 5 in Indonesia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Attacker slashes churchgoers with sword, injuring 5 in Indonesia

Indonesian police carry evidence after an attack at a church Sunday in Sleman, Yogyakarta province.

(CNN)A sword-wielding attacker slashed worshippers as they prayed at a church in Indonesia on Sunday, injuring five people, CNN Indonesia reported.

The victims included the pastor of the church, according to police officials. They said the congregation was praying when the attack happened at Santa Lidwina Church in the Yogyakarta province of Java.
Church security tried to prevent the attacker from entering the church, but he forced his way in, police officials told CNN Indonesia. Police opened fire on the attacker, who’s been hospitalized, it said.

Waivers of Gun Rights: A New Shot at Gun Repression

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NRA-ILA)

 

Waivers of Gun Rights: A New Shot at Gun Repression

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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2018

Waivers of Gun Rights: A New Shot at Gun Repression

Lawmakers in California must have temporarily exhausted their store of ideas for legislating against law-abiding gun enthusiasts. After years of padding the bureaucracy with ever more complicated rules, restrictions and bans for people who legally own and enjoy guns, lawmakers are now considering a measure to strike a preemptive declaration against gun ownership.

The California bill, AB 1927, introduced by Assembly Member Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, directs the state’s Department of Justice to “develop and launch a secure Internet-based platform to allow a person who resides in California to voluntarily add his or her own name to the California Do Not Sell List.” This list would be uploaded to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), meaning the system would affect a person’s ability to acquire a firearm not just in California, but anywhere in the country.

On registering, a person has the option of providing the state with the names and email addresses of up to five contacts, who have the right to be notified as soon as the registrant seeks a restoration of the right to acquire guns. The bill makes it a crime to knowingly sell or transfer a firearm to a person on the list (and a licensed gun dealer is liable to lose their dealer’s license, too). “Receipt” of a firearm is “unlawful” for anyone on the list, although the bill specifies that mere possession is not prohibited (“possession after the moment of receipt is not unlawful and the fact of possession may not be relied upon to prove a violation” of the law).

While getting on the Do Not Sell List may be as simple as a few clicks of a mouse, getting off the list is challenging different matter entirely. The registrant must file a petition with a court to have his or her name removed. All persons on the registrant’s contact list are entitled to advance notice of the date, time, and location of the court hearing. And although a person may register on the list for any reason (or no reason at all), a court is authorized to remove a registrant off the list only after he or she establishes, by a “preponderance of the evidence that he or she is not at elevated risk of suicide.” The evidence needed to satisfy this standard isn’t specified, but it’s safe to assume that a mental health evaluation and testimony from a mental health professional will be required. Once a court grants the order, the state must remove the person from the NICS Index and expunge all records related to the person’s registration on the list.

A similarly inspired bill to allow a “voluntary waiver of firearm rights” is pending in Washington State.  S.B. 5553allows anyone to file a waiver document with the court, and to include the name of a “person to be contacted” if a voluntary waiver is later revoked. All waivers are fed into a state police database used to determine eligibility to purchase a handgun. The person is free to revoke the waiver at a later date, but the waiver must stay in effect for a minimum of two weeks (seven days, plus another week in which the police must delete the waiver from the database). The bill makes it a felony to provide a gun to a person where there is reasonable cause to believe the person is subject to an active waiver, and a licensed dealer is prohibited from selling or transferring a gun to such persons.

The apparent rationale behind these bills is to provide those at risk of suicide with a way to declare themselves “prohibited persons” for the purposes of future gun purchases. Assemblyman Bonta describes his bill as giving “people the power to create a potentially life-saving barrier,” and the summary on the Washington proposal claims it will prevent suicide by helping “people in crisis maintain their autonomy while saving their lives.”

Overlooking several practical issues, the bills’ effectiveness isn’t likely to match the declared sentiment of advocates.

The California bill requires that the “Internet-based platform” for the list “credibly verif[y]” the identity of those who sign up online. Neither bill, though, has a corrective procedure to remove anyone included because they share a name and birthdate with someone properly listed, or because of some other error. The only way the bill provides for getting de-listed on California’s registry is convincing a court not that there’s been a mistake, but that the registrant has a non-elevated risk of suicide.

Waivers of constitutional rights “must be voluntary and must be knowing, intelligent acts done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.” In Washington State, persons contemplating a waiver should be aware that the waiver remains effective even after it is revoked because the police have a week to process the revocation, with ensuing legal consequences. Because of the time lag between actual revocation and the update to the police database, a person who seeks to obtain a gun after revocation but during that period is liable to be reported to a separate police database of people who attempt to acquire guns while prohibited under state or federal law.

The most distressing thing about these bills is the focus on the method while bypassing the underlying, core problem of the person’s suicidal impulses, depression, or other mental health emergency. Experts estimate that the vast majority of persons who commit suicide suffer from a mental illness at the time of their death. The same mindset impelled “gun violence restraining order” laws in California and Washington State, aimed specifically at disarming persons at risk of harming themselves (but only with a gun). Regardless, Assemblyman Bonta, resorting to the favorite catchphrase of the gun control movement, describes his bill as “a common-sense measure” to allow people to “self-restrict their ability to purchase a firearm.”

While lawmakers continue to look for new ways to restrict gun rights, people seeking help may find there’s a lot of talk about promoting health through “innovative” prevention strategies for at-risk individuals, without much in the way of actual help.

Macau’s Cyber-security Law: More About Surveillance (And Censorship)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Macau’s Cybersecurity Law: Less About Security, More About Surveillance (And Censorship)

Graffiti art of surveillance camera. Published and labeled for reuse on Pixabay.

The following article is based on a translation of a post that appeared first in Chinese on Hong Kong citizen media outlet inmediahk.net.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony and a special administrative region on the south coast of China, has begun public consultations on a proposed Cybersecurity Law.

The Macau government is proposing the legislation in an effort to ensure the “security of network communications.” The law would establish a local cybersecurity standing committee and a cybersecurity center which would monitor online information flows in binary code to keep track of and investigate future cyber attacks. The center would coordinate with government departments to supervise and implement protection procedures for companies in 11 crucial sectors, including internet operators, media organizations, water and energy suppliers, financial and banking companies, gambling companies and medical institutions, among others.

The law would also obligate telecommunication operators and internet service providers (ISPs) to implement a real-name registration system, in which all users would be required to be fully identified in all their online activities. The law would require ISPs to keep users’ online activity logs for at least one year.

Various critics say the proposed law will provide a legal framework for mass surveillance, much more so than improve network security.

To look into the rationality behind the legislation, the Chinese Q&A news team interviewed a senior information security analyst who works in one of the 11 crucial sectors listed in the consultation document, to get an insider’s perspective.

Q: Have any hacking incidents taken place in Macau in the past few years? Does the information security sector find it necessary to set up a mechanism for monitoring data flows?

A: There haven’t been any major hacking incidents [affecting public security] in Macau in recent years, neither the public nor the public sector has been attacked by hackers. (The WannaCry kind of ransomware is not target specific attack.)

[Editor’s note: according to media report, apart from the WannaCry ransomware, a Macau ISP operator was hacked in January 2013, but only 34 clients’ information were stolen. This, however, was not considered a serious security breach.]

There is no need to set up a mechanism for monitoring data flows. If we have to monitor data flows, we have to record and analyze all of the data, much like immigration officers unpacking travelers’ baggage. Moreover, this type of monitoring system cannot prevent a cyber attack.

To take it a bit further, here are the two most common forms of cyber attack:

1. Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDOS): A massive DDoS would produce a tremendous amount of data. Recording the data flow would require a huge storage space and a good deal of manpower. In other words, you can’t possibly monitor data flows in a DDoS attack.

2. Hacking of website and private network: In the case of targeted hacking attack, the incident response team of the cybersecurity center would have to get evidence from the server under attack. Of course, evidence can be obtained from a network facility. However, recording and unpacketing all the data packet on the network is a very ineffective way of gathering evidence in the investigation of a cyber attack.

On the other hand, the data flow monitoring mechanism is effective for keyword filtering. For example, when the data packet contains keyword like “Vindication of June 4”, the monitoring system can send out an alert. But this is not a network security measure — it looks much more internet censorship, in the style of mainland China.

Q: The proposed Cybersecurity Law will affect the 11 crucial sectors the most. Has the commercial sector submitted any opinion so far?

A: Commercial sector representatives are still in the process of understanding the content of the proposal. For example, the proposal mentioned that operators of the 11 crucial sectors have to hand in a network security report, but it did not mention what should be included in the report. It also said that operators should conduct a qualification and professional background check when appointing key positions. But what do they mean by “qualification”? Should the employees obtain a license from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information? And what is the meaning of “background check”? Do they need to prove that they love China and Macau? These are major concerns from the information security sector.

Q: Has there been any consultation on the listing of 11 businesses as crucial sectors?

A: There was no consultation among the business sector. The proposal was released on 8 December 2017 without prior notification and we had just one week to prepare for the consultation, which made it a very rushed process.

Q: For the IT sector, what kind of mechanism is more reasonable?

A: As a cybersecurity worker, I don’t think the proposed cybersecurity management framework is capable of maintaining what the draft proposes, which is a “three-level monitoring system that involves top [government authorities] and bottom [business operators] who will integrate strategy and implementation in an organic manner”. To the contrary, the framework will obstruct cybersecurity work.

From the cybersecurity sector’s viewpoint, policy makers and executive personnel should be familiar enough with the technology in order to integrate strategy and implementation in an organic manner.

In the so-called three-level cybersecurity management framework, the business operators would be supervised by government administrative bodies.

Would the government authorities have the ability [i.e. technical know-how] to supervise and protect network safety or assist the business operators to defend against cyber attacks? Why not set up an independent department with professional knowledge to manage the cybersecurity work?

Q: Would the proposed law, such as the policy of SIM card real name registration, affect the economic interest of the business sectors, in particular the gambling, media and ISP sectors?

A: First, regarding real-name registration of SIM cards, the policy would have little effect on the gambling and ISP sectors. Currently when applying for service, users have to provide their identity card or passport for registration. As for media, this is rather sensitive. Reporters’ communication is subjected to wiretapping. If all SIM cards have to be registered with real name, there will be certain negative impact.

Second, regarding operators’ cybersecurity reports, the content of the reports may involve some business secrets and of course the business sector doesn’t want any third party (including the government) to get hold of their secrets. Would the government allow the operators to submit a security report that hides sensitive and important information?

Third, regarding the duty of cooperators, the proposal mentioned that operators have to allow representatives of the cybersecurity center to enter its facilities and offices and assist their work by providing information and cooperation as requested. For those who cannot fulfill their duties, they would be seen as violating the administrative regulation and subjected to a MOP$50,000-150,000 fine for a minor offense and a MOP$150,000-5,000,000 fine for a serious offense.

However, if a business is subjected to cyber attack, the first thing that they do is try to recover the system. In the case of gambling businesses, the security incident would be handled by internal security staff as well as cybersecurity subcontractors who have the most advanced tools and knowledge. Moreover, they have signed an agreement of confidentiality. However, according to the government proposal, the police and the director of Postal and Telecommunication services would be responsible for cybersecurity alerts and prevention measures. For the business sector, of course they would seek help from a professional security team rather than the government authorities. Yet, by doing so, will the business be fined? If the government demands that investigation should come before system recovery, who would cover the loss?

Q: Would the proposed law infringe citizens’ privacy and freedom?

A: It would create a chilling effect for the public. Real-name registration will assist the monitoring of data and people will be worried about the security of private communication. Moreover, currently, ISPs already have the power to monitor our online activities or even intercept the data in the network. With this legislation, such power would be in the hands of the police and people would not know if their communication is being intercepted.

Trump White House Protects Known Serial Wife Beater

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

White House officials knew about Porter’s abuse allegations and scrambled to protect him

(CNN)Allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob Porter by his ex-wives were known among senior aides to President Donald Trump for months, even as his stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources told CNN on Wednesday.

Porter denied the allegations but resigned on Wednesday.
A scramble ensued inside the West Wing to defend him when the claims became public this week, the sources said. That effort continues even after his resignation.
Senior White House officials were aware for months of the allegations made against Trump’s staff secretary, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday after Porter resigned.
Trump himself first learned of the allegations this week, two sources familiar with the matter said. He was upset when shown reports of the abuse, which first emerged on Tuesday. His daughter Ivanka Trump, serving as a White House senior adviser, was also deeply disturbed by the allegations, particularly by photographs of the alleged abuse, the sources said.
Porter’s ex-wives detailed the allegations to the FBI over the course of a routine background check, they told CNN’s MJ Lee on Wednesday. A year into the administration, Porter does not hold a security clearance.
By early fall, it was widely known among Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff John Kelly — both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining the clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff.
Instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter’s standing. He was one of a handful of aides who helped draft last week’s State of the Union address. He traveled instead of Kelly to the World Economic Forum in Davos last month. And he was one of a select group of aides who shook Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hand during a state visit to Beijing in November.
The White House declined to comment on Wednesday when asked about Kelly’s knowledge of the allegations against Porter.

CNN obtained this 2005 photo of Colbie Holderness, who is the first ex-wife of White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Porter resigned on Wednesday, February 7.

Colbie Holderness, Porter’s first wife, and Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s second wife, both said their ex-husband’s consistent abuse was the reason for their respective divorces.
Porter denied the allegations in a statement issued in the wake of his resignation.
“These outrageous allegations are simply false,” Porter said in his statement. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”

Intensive defense

The appearance of a top aide accused of abusing two ex-wives led to an intensive defense campaign on Tuesday evening, when the reports first emerged in the Daily Mail. Before the allegations first surfaced on Tuesday, the White House prepared a response defending Porter. Hope Hicks, who serves as the White House communications director and has been romantically involved with Porter, helped draft a supportive statement from Kelly, who spent much of Tuesday on Capitol Hill in immigration talks.
“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him,” the statement from Kelly read. Hicks worked with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and Josh Raffel, another White House spokesman who is close to Porter, to draft the statement, people familiar with it said.
Top officials remained staunch in their support of Porter on Wednesday. Kelly, who encouraged Porter to remain in his post despite the allegations, did not alter his effusive statement. Trump himself has “full confidence in his abilities and his performance,” according to Sanders.
When Hicks and Kelly discussed the matter on Tuesday, both agreed the White House should defend Porter, sources said. But by the next day, it was evident the show of support wouldn’t quiet the controversy.
Neither Porter nor Hicks were present in a Wednesday morning senior staff meeting, a White House official said. The White House press office was sent scrambling after more allegations against Porter were made, and several staffers spent the morning preparing to deal with the fallout.
Kelly, who has relied on Porter to execute a strict system of information control to the President, insisted that he’d be able to weather the allegations and remain in his job, according to a White House official. But Porter resigned anyway, over Kelly’s objections. Kelly has long insisted that Porter stay in his job, even as he considered approaches from the private sector, including from Uber, according to one administration source.
A person familiar with West Wing dynamics said Porter has expressed interest in an elevated policy role over the past weeks, beyond the position he currently holds. Last month he told colleagues that he wasn’t planning on leaving the White House to take an outside role.

White House responsibilities

As staff secretary, Porter’s responsibility was mainly in the flow of paper that crossed Trump’s desk, including the wave of executive orders and actions that Trump inked during the first months of his tenure. A lawyer, Porter also participated in the process of legally vetting the myriad documents that require the President’s signature.
Porter’s role was under-the-radar, and Trump himself remained largely unfamiliar with him for weeks before his role was explained. The President was impressed by Porter’s educational credentials — including degrees from Harvard and Oxford — a person familiar with the matter said.
When John Kelly replaced Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff, Porter’s role expanded. Kelly — looking to correct an issue that plagued the White House under Priebus — imposed a strict system of information flow to the President, elevating the importance of Porter’s task in managing the documents, news clippings and briefing books that entered the Oval Office.
Many aides in the West Wing described themselves as shocked at the allegations, which they said are not in character with the mild-mannered lawyer they have worked alongside over the past year.
And some expressed dismay that the allegations against Porter weren’t acted upon when senior members of Trump’s team became aware of them.

Another uncomfortable moment

It proved another uncomfortable situation for a White House that has been largely out of step with the #MeToo movement that has swept the country. Trump, given the range of sexual harassment and assault allegations against him, has long struggled to respond to the nationwide focus on the mistreatment against women.
During the election, at least 15 women accused Trump of ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape of Trump released in October 2016 caught him saying on a hot mic: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
But the White House — through spokespeople Sarah Sanders and others — have dismissed all the allegations against him as old news that had been litigated during the 2016 campaign.
Trump told the British broadcaster Piers Morgan in January that he was not a feminist because he was “for everyone.”

In Afghanistan, Governors Don’t Just Step Down Because the President Asks Them To

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

In Afghanistan, Governors Don’t Just Step Down Because the President Asks Them To

Atta Mohammad Noor, former governor of Balkh Province, right, pays respect to Afghan flag in Balkh province. Creative Commons. U.S. Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Jeff Nevison.

As Mohammad Daud begins his fiftieth day in office as governor of Afghanistan’s Balkh region, he may wonder whether he will ever receive the keys from his predecessor.

President Ashraf Ghani officially announced Daud as a replacement for long-serving Ata Mohammad Noor on December 18, 2017, but the popular Noor did not feel like a job change.

For the past month, Balkh’s had 2 governors (3 if u count the Taliban shadow gov). One’s ruled the province like a king, now refusing to leave, trying to emerge larger in defying Ghani. His successor – ready in a 3-piece suit & dyed beard – cant get it inhttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/world/asia/afghanistan-atta-muhammad-noor-president.html 

Atta Muhammad Noor talking to an aide at the governor’s compound in Mazar-i-Sharif. Since being fired by the Afghan president, he has been at work every day.

The President, the Strongman, and the Next U.S. Headache in Afghanistan

Atta Muhammad Noor, who has ruled his resource-rich province like a king, is refusing to leave despite being fired by country’s president last month.

nytimes.com

In addition to refusing to step down from a position he has held for over 13 years, Noor ordered Daud’s arrest on murder charges. Local authorities in Balkh seem more inclined to cooperate with the old governor than the new one, making it virtually impossible for Daud — presently working out of Kabul — to step foot in Balkh.

Pre-election power struggle

Noor has said the decision to sack him is “without legitimate basis” and attributes the move to Kabul’s preparations for elections in 2019. Speaking to Reuters, he said:

This is about the 2019 presidential election. [Allies of Ghani] have no grassroots support among the people and they are afraid of public figures who do.

He also said he offered his resignation to Ghani months ago, but on several conditions — the appointment of key allies to top posts in government — which have not been met.

At the heart of the standoff is a rivalry between leaders of the two ethnic groups that dominate Afghan politics — Pashtuns and Tajiks.

Noor is a senior leader of the Tajik-dominated Jamiat Party, whose candidate Abdullah Abdullah lost a bitterly contested presidential election to Ghani, a Pashtun, in 2014.

Ever since this victory, Ghani and his allies have seemed on a mission to exploit the divisions in the Jamiat Party in order to break it up.

Noor, for instance, is no longer on speaking terms with the party’s former nominee, Abdullah, who accepted the consolation prize of Chief Executive Officer after initially contesting the result of the 2014 vote.

Daoud, Balkh’s de jure governor, is also an ethnic Tajik and a member of Jamiat, but one who owes his new position to Ghani, rather than the party.

Officially the Jamiat Party has spoken out against Noor’s dismissal and accused Ghani of centralizing power. They also claim authorities are out to destabilize Balkh region, which has traditionally been one of Afghanistan’s most politically stable, emerging as a northern economic hub during Noor’s time in charge.

Divide and rule

Nevertheless, the fact that so many Jamiat members are in the government has compromised its stance on the issue and weakened it as a potential opposition force.

Jamiat is 50% of the current govt, which means they are also 50% responsible towards everything. If they criticize the govt, they criticize their authority as well… Get this simple formula! Don’t spit in the wind…

For the past month, Balkh’s had 2 governors (3 if u count the Taliban shadow gov). One’s ruled the province like a king, now refusing to leave, trying to emerge larger in defying Ghani. His successor – ready in a 3-piece suit & dyed beard – cant get it inhttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/world/asia/afghanistan-atta-muhammad-noor-president.html 

Party interests aside Jamiat should also disdain from parallel power hubs, if they are visionary they should seek centralization of power otherwise tomorrow if a Jamiat member is elected as the president the same will repeat but in different parts of Afg.

These demands of Jamiat-I-Islami shows that talks will fail eventually and the president will be left with no option but to remove Atta Noor through the use of power.http://www.1tvnews.af/fa/news/afghanistan/32994 

تلویزیون ۱ به بسته‌ی خواست‌های جمعیت اسلامی از ارگ، دست یافت

تلویزیون ۱ دریافته که هیات مذاکره‌ کننده‌ی جمعیت اسلامی در جریان گفتگوها یک بسته‌ی ۱۱ ماده‌ای از خواست‌هایش را به نمایندگان ریاست جمهوری پیشنهاد کرده است.

1tvnews.af

It is believed that the Jamiat will agree to Noor’s dismissal only if the party itself, rather than Ghani, is able to name his successor.The party also wishes to reform the constitution of Afghanistan, by holding traditional grand council (Loya Jirga).

Face-to-face talks between Jamiat and Ghani’s office have yet to result in any breakthrough, however.

Washington wades in

Afghanistan is heavily dependent on American civilian and military aid and Washington has intervened in a number of domestic political standoffs.

On January 16, the White House produced a readout of US Vice-President Mike Pence’s phone conversation with Ghani, touching on the situation with Noor:

Vice President Pence and President Ghani discussed the political leadership in the Balkh province. The Vice President emphasized his support for the Afghan government to engage with Balkh Governor Atta and conduct a peacefully negotiated transition of leadership.

Afghan security analyst Bashir Bezhen pointed out that Pence’s legitimising reference to Noor as governor made it unlikely that Kabul would resort to force to dislodge him.

There was fear before the phone call that the government will resort to a military move to oust Atta, and his supporters would respond with force…Now that fear is gone.