Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Old Lady Wins

Lucille decided to give herself a big treat for her 70th birthday by staying overnight in a really nice hotel.. When she checked out the next morning, the desk clerk handed her a bill for $250.00. She demanded to know why the charge was so high "I agree it's a nice hotel, but the rooms aren't worth $250..00 for just an overnight stay - I didn't even have breakfast!"

 The clerk told her that $250.00 is the 'standard rate,' and breakfast had been included had she wanted it. She insisted on speaking to the Manager. The Manager appeared and, forewarned by the desk clerk, announced: "This hotel has an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference center which are available for use." "But I didn't use them." ''Well, they are here, and you could have." He went on to explain that she could also have seen one of the in-hotel shows for which they were so famous."We have the best entertainers from the world over performing here." "But I didn't go to any of those shows.." "Well, we have them, and you could have." 
No matter what amenity the Manager mentioned, she replied, "But I didn't use it!" and the Manager countered with his standard response. After several minutes discussion, and with the Manager still unmoved, she decided to pay, wrote a check and gave it to him. 

The Manager was surprised when he looked at the check. "But Madam, this check is for only $50.00 

"That's correct I charged you $200.00 for sleeping with me." "But I didn't!" "Well, too bad, I was here, and you could have."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Train Would Get You From NYC to D.C. in 1 Hour — But America Will Never Build It

The news: Japan is ardently encouraging the United States to build a high-speed, ultra-futuristic maglev train line along the Northeast Corridor. In fact, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is so devoted to the project that he’s offered to comp the first 40 miles of such a line, which could stretch between D.C. and Baltimore. Were it to be built, the blisteringly fast maglev would permit commuters to travel between New York City and the nation’s capital in under an hour, far quicker than a three-hour Acela ride and even swifter than the hour-and-15-minute flight between the cities.

On Saturday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosted a bevy of retired American politicians who are advising The Northeast Maglev, a D.C.-based company that thinks it can finally get high-speed rail project off the ground in the United States. Former Senate Majority Speaker Tom Daschle, former Governors George Pataki and Ed Rendell, and former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters were treated to a 315 mph trip on a demonstration stretch of Central Japan Railway Company’s (J.R. Tokai) maglev line. 

Here’s what a test run of the shockingly fast train looks like:


Pretty freaking cool, right? The future.

The background: Japan, unlike the United States, has long been a world leader in high-speed rail. It began developing its Shinkansen network of bullet trains in the mid-1950s, and currently operates some of the fastest lines in the world. J.R. Tokai is currently constructing a high-speed maglev track between Tokyo and Osaka, which will become the second maglev line in Japan. (Linimo, a lower-speed “urban maglev” operates in Aichi Prefecture, and is one of the three fully-operational maglev lines in the world that’s open to the public.)

Abe is hoping to mitigate the $100 billion cost of the Tokyo-Osaka line by creating an industry to export the technology behind it, adding to his reputation for economic prowess, and distracting from his disquieting nationalism.

Why we can’t have nice things: High-speed rail is among the safest and most reliable forms of transportation, and its arrival would be a welcome relief for the congested Northeast Corridor, where highways, railways, and airline routes are all routinely overwhelmed by travelers. Unfortunately, given the United State’s botched implementation of the modest Acela system and underfunding of Amtrak in general, Vice President Smokin’ Joe Biden might not be able to kick back and crack a 9% a.b.v. India Pale Ale on a maglev train any time soon. Americans have been reluctant to shell out for plain ol’ tracks-and-wheels high-speed trains, let alone a futuristic floating foreign-born behemoth that would require its own right-of-way through a crowded landscape — and, by proxy, countless eminent domain debacles.

The problem isn’t that Japan is living in the future, but that between bureaucratic friction and over-reliance on the automobile, the United States is living in the past.

On the bright side, the president of Amtrak’s board of Directors, the improbably named Joe Boardman, has a pretty sweet mustache.

Crockpot Beef & Broccoli


BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND



CROCKPOT BEEF AND BROCCOLI



Ingredients

1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef consumme
½ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cooled sauce from the crock pot after being cooked


Fresh broccoli florets (as many as desired)
Hot cooked rice (brown rice, or riced cauliflower)


Directions
1. Place beef in a crock pot.
2. In a small bowl, combine consomme, soy sauce, brown sugar/honey, oil, and garlic. Pour over beef. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. In a cup, stir cornstarch and sauce form the crock pot until smooth. Add to crock pot. Stir well to combine. (If your sauce is not thickening, try bringing your sauce to a boil on the stovetop with the corn starch mixture. Boil until your desired consistency is reached).
4. Add broccoli to the crock pot. Stir to combine.
5. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on high (the sauce has to boil for it to thicken).
6. Serve over hot cooked rice.


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— with Francesca Mandacina, Dana Flores Hernandez, Tammy Morrison Blum, Duane Dumont, Lisa Warren and Angie Brown Pack- Crum.

Throwing a party? Here are some NOM ideas (23 photos + recipes)


See and Hear: Mount Etna Volcano Erupts in Sicily

On Nov. 17, 2013, the volcanic eruption of Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy, was captured on video.

Mount Etna is the most active volcano in Europe, and in this video you can hear it rumbling as its lava shoots towards the sky, lighting up the sky above the Italian island.


if you've never heard a volcano before, click here...

This Story Will Get You

new-aesthetic
World’s first robot SUICIDE as family return to find Roomba cleaning gadget had turned to ash - Mirror Online

"Somehow it seems to have reactivated itself and made its way along the work surface where it pushed a cooking pot out of the way and basically that was the end of it," fireman Helmut Kniewasser told The Daily Mail. "I don’t know about the allegations of a robot suicide but the homeowner is insistent that the device was switched off—it’s a mystery how it came to be activated and ended up making its way to the hotplate."

found at new-aesthetic.tumblr

more news from poorrichardsnews.tumblr


  poorrichardsnews  



Great news! Obama admin still hasn't fired "black nationalist" at DHS who advocates murdering whites 


image


Ayo Kimathi was placed on administrative leave from the Department of Homeland Security after it was revealed that he ran a black supremacist website calling for the murder of white Americans, but he still hasn’t been fired. Four months later, Kimathi is still an employee of the Obama administration. 

from National Journal:


The black-nationalist Department of Homeland Security employee who was placed on leave almost four months ago for running a website that espouses the mass murder of whites has still not been fired, an agency spokesperson told National Journal.

The Southern Poverty Law Center first exposed Ayo Kimathi in August, prompting a small media firestorm that led DHS to place the procurement officer on administrative leave with pay pending review. DHS deputy press secretary Gillian Christensen confirmed that his status has not changed and that he is still on leave pending review.

Kimathi, using the online nom de guerre “the Irritated Genie,” called for “ethnic cleansing” of “black-skinned Uncle Tom race traitors” on his website, which envisioned a massive race war on the horizon. “In order for Black people to survive the 21st century, we are going to have to kill a lot of whites—more than our Christian hearts can possibly count,” he wrote.

In other postings, he warned that whites and their enablers like President Obama are trying to “homosexualize” black men in order to make them weaker, and suggested that a woman’s primary role in life should be to “keep a strong Black man happy.” He also seemed to hold anti-Semitic views, claiming in a Facebook post that his website was under attack from a conspiracy of “zionist smallhats, the Uncle Tom koons,” and, naturally, “the haters.”

Kimathi, who has been at DHS since 2009, works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and made $115,731 in 2012. Civil service laws make it difficult for the federal government to fire employees.

read the rest

For the record, Kimathi was one of the people at DHS in charge of buying firearms and those millions of rounds of ammunition that have made news in recent months. If the Obama administration can’t legally fire this guy, we’re screwed.  How backwards could our legal system possibly be that this would not be grounds for permanent dismissal?


found on tumblr.............

poorrichardsnews
BOOM! Justice Depart files court briefing admitting Obamacare will end MOST employer health plans

image

After promising Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans, President Obama now erroneously claims that only 5% of Americans will lose their plans under Obamacare.  However, the Justice Department just filed a brief in court saying that up to 80% of employer-provided health insurance plans will lose their grandfathered status be forcibly cancelled under Obamacare’s regulations. 
from NRO:
According to the administration’s numbers, nearly 80 million additional Americans, “a majority” of those on employer-sponsored health plans, may also be out of luck.
“It is projected that more group health plans will transition to the requirements under the regulations as time goes on,” DOJ lawyers wrote in response to court challenge to the law’s requirement that insurance plans provide coverage of contraception. “Defendants have estimated that a majority of group health plans will have lost their grandfather status by the end 2013.”
The DOJ cites the June 17, 2010, edition of the Federal Register, which acknowledges that within the first year of Obamacare’s employer mandate, the insurance plans offered by many employers will be canceled because their policies will not be grandfathered under the administration’s regulations. ”The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small-employer plans and 45 percent of large-employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,” the Register says. “The low-end estimates are for 49 percent and 34 percent of small and large-employer plans, respectively, to have relinquished grandfather status, and the high-end estimates are 80 percent and 64 percent, respectively.”

This is President Obama’s own Department of Justice, using the Obama administration’s own numbers.  

President Obama continues to lie to the American people on a daily basis. He knows that Obamacare’s central function is to push people onto new government-run plans. This is by design. It is how Obamacare works.

The bottom line is this: you will not be able to keep your health plan…period.  You can keep whatever plan Obama says you can keep until he says you can’t.

This Is Really Cool

skandolous:
Ink Calendar designed by Oscar Diaz. The ink will slowly color each day of the month as time passes by.
literally the coolest darn thing i’ve ever seen.
EVER.

found on tumblr.com 

This Baptist Minister of Music is a "REAL ENTERTAINER"



This is a very clevrly done performance by a Southern church music director...

it runs about 12 minutes but it is worth your 12 minutes..................


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

Police force black men to act like chimps, film it


Police officers in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, recorded humiliating videos of black men in Detroit and texted the videos to friends, according to a recent news story.

The Motor City Muckracker obtained the videos from a source whose identity was withheld due to safety concerns. Investigative journalist Steve Neavling declined to publish all the videos, describing them as “humiliating.”

The two he did publish depict black men making ape-like faces and motions on the orders of police, who filmed them.

An officer identified as Mike Najm instructs one black man to “Go ahead. Do your song.” Another photo shows a black man riding in the back of a wagon attached to a truck. The officer who texted the picture included the caption, “Got to love the coloreds.”

The Huffington Post reported that Najm’s ex-wife may be Neavling’s source.  Neavling told The Daily Caller that the rest of the videos and pictures contained similar, racially-demeaning content.

“It’s a lot of the same kind of stuff where black men are asked to sing or make noises that are chimp-like that [the officers] wanted them to make,” he said. “It’s these humiliating things that they are having them do.”

Neavling said it was clear that the images and videos had been sent to other phones

Grosse Pointe Park is an affluent suburb bordering the city of Detroit. The police department did not respond to a request for comment, but released a statement promising to investigate the matter.

http://dailycaller.com/police-force-black-men-to-act-like-chimps-film-it/

The Coming Superbugs

The “wonder drugs” that we have been using since the middle of the last century are rapidly losing their effectiveness, and medical authorities are warning that the emergence of very powerful antibiotic-resistant superbugs represents “one of the gravest threats in the history of medicine“.  Of course the “wonder drugs” that I am talking about are known today as antibiotics.  

These drugs attack bacteria, and when they first began to be developed back in the 1950s and 1960s they were hailed as “miracles” that would save countless numbers of lives.  Well, it turns out that nature is having the last laugh.  All over the planet bacteria are developing resistance to these drugs, and scientists are warning that they can’t really do anything to stop these superbugs.  With each passing year these superbugs are gaining ground, and there appears to be not much hope on the horizon of being able to fight them.  In fact, no new classes of antibiotics have been invented since 1987, and none are being developed right now.  Meanwhile, scientists are telling us that many current antibiotic treatments will be completely obsolete by the year 2030.  Are you starting to understand why so many high profile members of the scientific community are using the words “catastrophic threat” to describe this crisis?

An article about these superbugs that appeared in the Independent the other day got a lot of attention all around the world.  That article claims that prominent British doctors are warning that these superbugs could undo “a century of medical advances”…
Drug-resistant “superbugs” represent one of the gravest threats in the history of medicine, leading experts have warned.
Routine operations could become deadly “in the very near future” as bacteria evolve to resist the drugs we use to combat them. This process could erase a century of medical advances, say government doctors in a special editorial in The Lancet health journal.
That sounds quite serious.

So what would life be like without antibiotics?

Well, before antibiotics were invented if you scraped your knee and got an infection, there was a good chance that they would cut off your leg
In the period before World War II … people that got infections, they had to cut it out. They had to cut off limbs, cut off toes, because there weren’t antibiotics. And oftentimes, when people talk about the fact that we might have to go back to a pre-antibiotic age, that’s what they mean — that a simple scrape on the playground could be fatal.
Are you ready to go back to such a time?

You might not have to wait long.  According to one very prominent doctor quoted by the Daily Mail, we have already reached the end of the age of antibiotics…
A high-ranking official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared in an interview with PBS that the age of antibiotics has come to an end.
‘For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about “The end of antibiotics, question mark?”‘ said Dr Arjun Srinivasan. ‘Well, now I would say you can change the title to “The end of antibiotics, period.”’
And all over the world the number of people becoming infected with these superbugs is rapidly growing.

In fact, right now 23,000 people a year are being killed by these superbugs in the United States alone…
More than two million people are infected by drug-resistant germs each year, and 23,000 die of their infections, federal health officials reported Monday. The biggest killer by far is C. difficile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in its first big overview of a growing problem.
Doctors have been warning of the problem for decades, yet up to half the prescriptions written for antibiotics are unnecessary, the CDC report says. And all these unneeded antibiotics are making the superbug problem worse.
Most Americans have never even heard of many of these superbugs, but they can be extremely deadly…
C. difficile has become a scourge of hospitals and infection is often made possible when patients are heavily treated with antibiotics to fight other infections. It can cause unstoppable diarrhea and the latest treatment doesn’t even involve antibiotics, but a transplant of so-called good bacteria from healthy patients.
CREs are a group of bacteria that resist even the strongest antibiotics. They include Klebsiella pneumoniae, which saw its infection rate jump 550 percent between 2001 and 2011.
“CRE is a nightmare bacteria we reported on in March, bacteria that can resist virtually all antibiotics,” Frieden said.
Gonorrhea may not be immediately life-threatening, but it’s developing resistance to the drugs that used to easily treat it. Patients can be left infertile, and, in January, Canadian researchers reported that seven percent of patients weren’t cured by the only pill left to treat gonorrhea.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Experts are warning that we could soon see millions of people a year die from these superbugs all around the globe.

So why haven’t we heard more about this?

Why is this not being widely publicized?

Some are suggesting that some of the governments of the western world are engaged in an effort to keep this under wraps.  For example, just check out what has been going on in Canada
The federal government is hobbling efforts to control antibiotic-resistant microbes by sitting on reports about bacteria that sicken and kill thousands of Canadians each year, several doctors say.
Infectious disease experts say Ottawa is treating national microbial surveillance reports like “sensitive government documents.” And the doctors are so frustrated, they are releasing the data they can obtain on their own website.
“Otherwise, it’s years before we see it on the federal website,” says Dr. Mark Joffe, president of the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada (AMMI), which represents physicians, clinical microbiologists and researchers.
What would the motivation be for doing this?

Are they trying to avoid panic?

Or is a more sinister motive at work here?

Ultimately, this is a crisis that is only going to get worse as time goes by.

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are rapidly spreading and becoming more powerful.

Meanwhile, scientists all over the world are telling us that there is not a thing that they can do to stop them.

The era of antibiotics has come to an end, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.

Only 8.5 Trillion Not Accounted For?

We’ve repeatedly documented that military waste and fraud are the core problems with the U.S. economy.

For example, we’ve noted that we wouldn’t be in this crisis of hitting the debt ceiling in the first place if we hadn’t spent so much money on unnecessary wars … which are horrible for the economy.

But it goes far beyond actual fighting.  We could easily slash the military and security budget without reducing our national security.

For example, homeland security agencies wasted money on seminars like “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?” and training for a “zombie apocalypse” instead of actually focusing on anti-terror efforts.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn notes that the Department of Defense can reduce $67.9 billion over 10 years by eliminating the non-defense programs that have found their way into the budget for the Department of Defense.

BusinessWeek and Bloomberg point out that we could slash military spending without harming our national security. Indeed, we could slash boondoggles that even the generals don’t want.

BusinessWeek provides a list of cost-cutting measures which will not undermine national security. American Conservative does the same.

Moreover, we’ve shown that the military wastes and “loses” (cough) trillions of dollars.  See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this. (see story for all of the actual links--alexis)

The former Secretary of Defense acknowledged in May 2012 that the DOD “is the only major federal agency that cannot pass an audit today.”  The Pentagon will not be ready for an audit for another five years, according to Panetta.

Reuters quantifies these numbers today:


The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.

http://www.zerohedge.com/85-trillion-taxpayer-money-doled-pentagon-never-been

Monday, November 18, 2013

Guy leaves the best voicemail after witnessing a car accident (Video)

THIS IS A CLASSIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

.................................LISTEN TO THIS

YAHOO VOWS TO ENCRYPT ALL ITS USERS' PERSONAL DATA

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Yahoo is expanding its efforts to protect its users' online activities from prying eyes by encrypting all the communications and other information flowing into the Internet company's data centers around the world.

The commitment announced Monday by Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer follows a recent Washington Post report that the National Security Agency has been hacking into the communications lines of the data centers run by Yahoo and Google Inc. to intercept information about what people do and say online.

Yahoo had previously promised to encrypt its email service by early January. Now, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company plans to have all data encrypted by the end of March to make it more difficult for unauthorized parties to decipher the information.

Google began to encrypt its Gmail service in 2010 and has since introduced the security measure on many other services. The Mountain View, Calif., company has promised to encrypt the links to its data centers, too. A Google engineer said that task had been completed in a post on his Google Plus account earlier this month, but the company hasn't yet confirmed all the encryption work is done.

Other documents leaked to various media outlets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden this year have revealed that Yahoo, Google and several other prominent technology companies, including Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc., have been feeding the U.S. government some information about their international users under a court-monitored program called PRISM. The companies maintain they have only surrendered data about a very small number of users, and have only cooperated when legally required.

The NSA says its online surveillance programs have played an instrumental role in thwarting terrorism.

The increased use of encryption technology is aimed at stymieing government surveillance that may be occurring without the companies' knowledge. Even when it's encrypted, online data can still be heisted, but the information looks like gibberish without the decoding keys.

"I want to reiterate what we have said in the past: Yahoo has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency," Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wrote in a Monday post on the company's Tumblr blog.

Facebook also has said it's cloaking its social networking network with greater encryption, but hasn't publicly set a timetable for getting all the added protection in place.

Debunking the perception that the NSA and other U.S. government agencies can easily vacuum up potentially sensitive information about people's online lives is important to Yahoo, Google and other Internet companies because they need Web surfers to regularly use their services so they can sell more of the digital ads that bring in most of their revenue.

The companies fear the government spying revelations eventually will drive some people away from their services and make it more difficult to attract more users outside the U.S. If that were to happen, it could slow the companies' financial growth and undercut their stock prices.

Yahoo has been struggling to boost its revenue for years, making it even more important for the company to reassure its 800 million users worldwide about the sanctity of their personal information.

http://hosted.ap.org//US_YAHOO_DATA_SECURity

Fudge For Anytime

)of course it's diet chocolate fudge....what else would do?(


Welcome Home


Three-Chocolate Fudge 


3-1/3 cups sugar

1 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
32 large marshmallows, halved
2 cups (12 ounces) Nestle Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2 milk chocolate candy bars (7 ounces each), broken
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans

In a large saucepan, combine first four ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a rapid boil; boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in marshmallows until melted.

Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Add chocolate bars and chopped chocolate; stir until melted. Fold in vanilla and pecans; mix well. Pour into a greased 15 x10 x 1-in. pan. Chill until firm. Cut into squares. Makes about 5-1/2 pounds.


Recipe Source: Tasteofhome.com

Hamburger Casserole In The Crock Pot


My version of the "hamburger casserole"......
                                           so yummy and good!!!



Hamburger casserole:

2-3 potatoes cubed (I used three, will only do two next time)

1 Bag of frozen peas
1 bag of frozen corn
1 lb ground beef (I used deer meat)-brown
1 can tomato soup mixed with half the can of water

I added: 1 can of diced tomatoes


Layer bottom of crockpot with potatoes; top with salt/pepper (I used seasoned salt instead)

Next, layer with peas...season
Next, layer with corn....season
Add browned meat to top
Pour soup mixture over top

I added the diced tomatoes after this...I drained, but won't next time

I mixed a little....cover....cook on low 3-4 hours....it needs longer for the potatoes to soften....I would say 5-6

Enjoy!!

Sit Back And Laugh

We’ve selected the 25 funniest Auto Correct Fails of 2012. The more you read, the funnier it gets.

NSA links to St Petersburg FL Drug Ring

Skyway Global LLC, the St. Petersburg, FL company that owned the DC-9 airline busted in Mexico carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine, made its headquarters in a 79,000 sq ft building owned by Verint Systems (NASDAQ: VRNT), a foreign tele-communications company with a contract to wiretap the U.S. for the NSA through the communication lines of Verizon, which handles  almost half of all landline and cell phone calls in the U.S.

Verint’s founder and CEO, Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, is a former Israeli intelligence officer who is today a fugitive from justice living in Namibia, where he has for several years been fighting extradition to the U.S.

On Verint’s Board of Directors is Lieutenant General Kenneth A. Minihan, former director of the NSA, which has led to speculation that the company today is a joint NSA-Mossad operation.

Verint’s founder and CEO, Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, is a former Israeli intelligence officer who is today a fugitive from justice living in Namibia, where he has for several years been fighting extradition to the U.S.

On Verint’s Board of Directors is Lieutenant General Kenneth A. Minihan, former director of the NSA, which has led to speculation that the company today is a joint NSA-Mossad operation.

Joining McClain in the Big House is  Jonathon Curshen, who got twenty years for fraud and money laundering.  Curshen, an American con man from Sarasota Florida,  controlled a company in Costa Rica called Red Sea Management, which (at least on paper) generously provided— in return for 28,000,000 shares of common stock in SkyWay—the 1966 McDonald Douglas DC9 aircraft that shortly thereafter began carrying cargo which came to include 5.6 tons of cocaine worth several hundred million dollars.

SkyWay put out a press release announcing the deal:  "The DuPont Investment Fund 57289, Inc. Satisfies $7 Million Funding Agreement with SkyWay Communications Holding Corp."

"Some guy in Costa Rica"

“They wrote it up in a press release, touting how they’d just received a big investment from the DuPont Foundation," explained a former SkyWay executive. "It turned out to be bogus. It was just some guy (Curshen) at a desk in Costa Rica.”

But what is known about SkyWay may also illustrate just how much we still don’t know about the NSA. 


Musical chairs and the "known unknowns"


It has always struck some observers as odd that a fledgling start-up like SkyWay—with at the time just a few dozen employees—moved in to a huge 79,000 square foot facility in January of 2003, the recently-vacated American headquarters of Tadiran Tele-Communications, which had moved its U.S. operations to New York. 

So I took a closer look at the Israeli telecom company which passed on its U.S. headquarters to a tiny start-up with no prospects and little money. According to a press release, Tadiran Tele-com (TTN) moved its U.S. headquarters to the newly-constructed facility in Clearwater in early 1997. 

When I first learned of Tadiran, the company didn’t set off any alarm bells. 

Now a little probing indicated that the Israeli entity housing itself in Clearwater Florida didn’t call itself “Tadiran” for long. In early 1999, Tadiran’s global surveillance division, housed in Clearwater, was sold to another Israeli telecom, ECI-Telecommunications (Nasdaq: ECTX). 

guatemala-sfSpan 

The Israeli Government’s Clearwater-based Surveillance entity (whatever its name-of-the-moment) was finally sold to Verint Systems Inc. in early February 2004.  

 
One possible explanation for the game of musical chairs is that Tadiran’s name had already become tarnished, after the company was accused of being involved in worldwide espionage.  

In Guatemala, the company became infamous for having installed two intelligence computers which were reportedly used to select death squad victims, as well as pinpoint urban guerrilla safe houses.   

Rigoberta MenchuTadiran also funded an electronics school for the Guatemalan army. At the same time Israel was setting up a factory to manufacture ammunition and replacement parts for Guatemala’s Israeli-made rifles, and advising the Guatemalan military by providing military, counterinsurgency, and intelligence advisers for what human rights groups called a genocidal war which included forced resettlement schemes in the rural highlands against a largely Mayan Indian population. 

N900SAThe DC9 (N900SA) was the first of two drug planes with apparent ties to the U.S. Government caught carrying multi-ton loads of cocaine in Mexico over an 18-month period.  The second, a Gulfstream II business jet (N987SA), was cited by European authorities for flying extraordinary renditions missions for the CIA. 

In 2006, during the same year SkyWay’s drug plane was seized, the Bush Administration chose SkyWay landlord-partner-co-conspirator Verint to install a $3 million telephone and Internet wiretapping center in Mexico, allowing authorities there to eavesdrop on every landline and cell phone call made in the country. 

“In 2006 the Bush Administration entered into a quiet agreement with the Mexican Government to fund and build an enormous $3 million telephone and Internet eavesdropping vendor that would reach into every town and village in the country,” reported James Bamford. 

In fact, a press release suggests the program in Mexico probably began three years earlier. The headline read: “Comverse (which became Verint) Selected by Telefonos de Mexico to Implement a Widespread Expansion of Voicemail Services.” 

Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) is owned by Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim HelĂș, whose own links to the drug trade have been the subject of rumors for years. And with some reason: 

When Amado Carrillo Fuentes, known in Mexico as “Lord of the Skies" for his vast armada of planes, died in 1997 while undergoing plastic surgery, he was worth $25 billion, according to the AP. 

If you do the math, that means that Drug Lord Amado Fuentes managed to salt away no more than $10 or $15 billion a decade… And HE was in the cocaine business, where counting your money can be a bigger problem than making it.

for more on this report................



New Hi-Tech Police Surveillance: The “StingRay” Cell Phone Spying Device


Blocked by a Supreme Court decision from using GPS tracking devices without a warrant, federal investigators and other law enforcement agencies are turning to a new, more powerful and more threatening technology in their bid to spy more freely on those they suspect of drug crimes. That’s leading civil libertarians, electronic privacy advocates, and even some federal judges to raise the alarm about a new surveillance technology whose use has yet to be taken up definitively by the federal courts.

StingRay cell phone spying device (US Patent  photo)

The new surveillance technology is the StingRay (also marketed as Triggerfish, IMSI Catcher, Cell-site Simulator or Digital Analyzer), a sophisticated, portable spy device able to track cell phone signals inside vehicles, homes and insulated buildings. StingRay trackers act as fake cell towers, allowing police investigators to pinpoint location of a targeted wireless mobile by sucking up phone data such as text messages, emails and cell-site information.

When a suspect makes a phone call, the StingRay tricks the cell into sending its signal back to the police, thus preventing the signal from traveling back to the suspect’s wireless carrier. But not only does StingRay track the targeted cell phone, it also extracts data off potentially thousands of other cell phone users in the area.

Although manufactured by a Germany and Britain-based firm, the StingRay devices are sold in the US by the Harris Corporation, an international telecommunications equipment company. It gets between $60,000 and $175,000 for each Stingray it sells to US law enforcement agencies.

[While the US courts are only beginning to grapple with StingRay, the high tech cat-and-mouse game between cops and criminals continues afoot. Foreign hackers reportedly sell an underground IMSI tracker to counter the Stingray to anyone who asks for $1000. And in December 2011, noted German security expert Karsten Nohl released "Catcher Catcher," powerful software that monitors a network's traffic to seek out the StingRay in use.]

Originally intended for terrorism investigations, the feds and local law enforcement agencies are now using the James Bond-type surveillance to track cell phones in drug war cases across the nation without a warrant. Federal officials say that is fine — responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) and the First Amendment Coalition, the Justice Department argued that no warrant was needed to use StingRay technology.

“If a device is not capturing the contents of a particular dialogue call, the device does not require a warrant, but only a court order under the Pen Register Statute showing the material obtained is relevant to an ongoing investigation,” the department wrote.

The FBI claims that it is adhering to lawful standards in using StingRay. “The bureau advises field officers to work closely with the US Attorney’s Office in their districts to comply with legal requirements,” FBI spokesman Chris Allen told the Washington Post last week, but the agency has refused to fully disclose whether or not its agents obtain probable cause warrants to track phones using the controversial device.
And the federal government’s response to the EFF’s FOIA about Stingray wasn’t exactly responsive. While the FOIA request generated over 20,000 records related to StingRay, the Justice Department released only a pair of court orders and a handful of heavily redacted documents that didn’t explain when and how the technology was used.

The LA Weekly reported in January that the StingRay “intended to fight terrorism was used in far more routine Los Angeles Police criminal investigations,” apparently without the courts’ knowledge that it probes the lives of non-suspects living in the same neighborhood with a suspect.

Critics say the technology wrongfully invades technology and that its uncontrolled use by law enforcement raised constitutional questions. “It is the biggest threat to cell phone privacy you don’t know about,” EFF said in a statement.

ACLU privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian told a Yale Law School Location Tracking and Biometrics Conference panel last month that “the government uses the device either when a target is routinely and quickly changing phones to thwart a wiretap or when police don’t have sufficient cause for a warrant.”

“The government is hiding information about new surveillance technology not only from the public, but even from the courts,” ACLU staff attorney Linda Lye wrote in a legal brief in the first pending federal StingRay case (see below). “By keeping courts in the dark about new technologies, the government is essentially seeking to write its own search warrants, and that’s not how the Constitution works.”

Lye further expressed concern over the StingRay’s ability to interfere with cell phone signals in violation of Federal Communication Act. “We haven’t seen documents suggesting the LAPD or any other agency have sought or obtained FCC authorization,” she wrote.
StingRay pricing chart (publicintelligence.net)

“If the government shows up in your neighborhood, essentially every phone is going to check in with the government,” said the ACLU’s Soghoian. “The government is sending signals through people’s walls and clothes and capturing information about innocent people. That’s not much different than using invasive technology to search every house on a block,” Soghoian said during interviews with reporters covering the StingRay story.

Advocates also raised alarms over another troubling issue: Using the StingRay allows investigators to bypass the routine process of obtaining fee-based location data from cell service providers like Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Comcast. Unlike buying location data fro service providers, using StingRay leaves no paper trail for defense attorneys.

Crack defense attorney Stephen Leckar who scored a victory in a landmark Supreme Court decision over the feds’ warrantless use of a GPS tracker in US v. Jones, a cocaine trafficking case where the government tracked Jones’ vehicle for weeks without a warrant, also has concerns.
“Anytime the government refuses to disclose the ambit of its investigatory device, one has to wonder, what’s really happening,” he told the Chronicle. ”If without a warrant the feds use this sophisticated device for entry into people’s homes, accessing private information, they may run afoul of a concurring opinion by Justice Alito, who ruled in US v Jones whether people would view unwarranted monitoring of their home or property as Constitutionally repugnant.”
Leckar cited Supreme Court precedent in Katz v. US (privacy) and US v. Kyllo (thermal imaging), where the Supreme Court prohibited searches conducted by police from outside the home to obtain information behind closed doors. Similar legal thinking marked February’s Supreme Court decision in a case where it prohibited the warrantless use of drug dogs to sniff a residence, Florida v. Jardines.

The EFF FOIA lawsuit shed light on how the US government sold StingRay devices to state and local law enforcement agencies for use specifically in drug cases. The Los Angeles and Fort Worth police departments have publicly acknowledged buying the devices, and records show that they are using them for drug investigations.

“Out of 155 cell phone investigations conducted by LAPD between June and September 2012, none of these cases involved terrorism, but primarily involved drugs and other felonies,” said Peter Scheer, director of the First Amendment Center.

The StingRay technology is so new and so powerful that it not only raises Fourth Amendment concerns, it also raises questions about whether police and federal agents are withholding information about it from judges to win approval to monitor suspects without meeting the probable cause standard required by the Fourth. At least one federal judge thinks they are. Magistrate Judge Brian Owsley of the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi told the Yale conference federal prosecutors are using clever techniques to fool judges into allowing use of StingRay. They will draft surveillance requests to appear as Pen Register applications, which don’t need to meet the probable cause standards.

“After receiving a second StingRay request,” Owsley told the panel, “I emailed every magistrate judge in the country telling them about the device. And hardly anyone understood them.”

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