Daily Archive: 03/05/2015

Mar 05 2015

General Betrayed US to His Lover

Former Director of the CIA and four star general David H, Patraeus has reached a plea deal with the Department of Justice for passing classified information to his mistress in exchange for sexual favors. He will plea to one misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material and a $40,000 fine. No jail time.

This is what he handed his girlfriend:

The Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged back in 2012 that Petraeus gave secret information to Paula Broadwell, but the seriousness of the information wasn’t clear until now.

While he was commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus “maintained bound, five-by-eight inch notebooks that contained his daily schedule and classified and unclassified notes he took during official meetings, conferences and briefings,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina writes in a statement of fact regarding the case.

The notebooks had black covers with Petraeus’s business card taped on the front of each of them.

All eight books “collectively contained classified information regarding the identifies of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings… and discussions with the president of the United States.”

The books also contained “national defense information, including top secret/SCI and code word information,” according to the court papers. In other words: These weren’t just ordinary secrets. This was highly, highly classified material.

Besides lying to the FBI twice, this man compromised lives of undercover operatives, the troops operating in the field and national security and all he gets is a slap on the wrist. Pater Maas, writing at The Intercept, says that this deal reveals a two tiered justice system for leaks. He cites the penalties handed down to other defendants who did far less than the general:

For instance, last year, after a five-year standoff with federal prosecutors, Stephen Kim, a former State Department official, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act when he discussed a classified report about North Korea with Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2009. Kim did not hand over a copy of the report – he just discussed it, and nothing else – and the report was subsequently described in court documents as a “nothing burger” in terms of its sensitivity. Kim is currently in prison on a 13-month sentence. [..]

In 2013, former CIA agent John Kiriakou pleaded guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by disclosing the name of a covert CIA officer to a freelance reporter; he was sentenced to 30 months in jail. Kiriakou’s felony conviction and considerable jail sentence – for leaking one name that was not published – stands in contrast to Petraeus pleading guilty to a misdemeanor without jail time for leaking multiple names as well as a range of other highly-sensitive information. [..]

In 2013, Army Private Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act by leaking thousands of documents to Wikileaks, and she was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Manning received a harsh sentence even though then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2010 that the leaks had only “modest” consequences.

In an interview at The Guardian, Pentagon Papers leaker, Daniel Ellsberg commented on Edward Snowden and former CIA analyst Jeffery Sterling:

The factual charges against [Edward Snowden] are not more serious, as violations of the classification regulations and non-disclosure agreements, than those Petraeus has admitted to, which are actually quite spectacular. [..]

Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer, was also just convicted of leaking classified information to New York Times journalist James Risen last month, “having first revealed it to Congress, as I did”, according to Ellsberg. Sterling was convicted of felony counts under the Espionage Act, and faces sentencing at the end of April. Ellsberg says Sterling’s “violations of security regulations were in no way more serious than what Petraeus has now admitted to”, and that, while it’s too late to do anything about his conviction, the judge should take the Petraeus plea bargain into account at his sentencing.

“If disclosing the identities of covert agents to an unauthorized person and storing them in several unauthorized locations deserves a charge with a maximum sentence of one year,” Ellsberg said, “then Edward Snowden should face not more than that same one count.”

As in the past when those in power violate the law and lie to congress and the FBI there are little to no consequences. So much for the Obama administration’s respect for the rule of law.

Mar 05 2015

Some Thoughts from Bill Black

Iceland’s Supreme Court Upholds Jail Sentences of Four Banking Executives, February 23, 2015

An Irish-Style Banking Inquiry into the 2008 Financial Crisis, February 27, 2015

HSBC Offshore Tax-Evading Scandal Widening, March 1, 2015

Mar 05 2015

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Trevor Timm: Building backdoors into encryption isn’t only bad for China, Mr President

Want to know why forcing tech companies to build backdoors into encryption is a terrible idea? Look no further than President Obama’s stark criticism of China’s plan to do exactly that on Tuesday. If only he would tell the FBI and NSA the same thing.

In a stunningly short-sighted move, the FBI – and more recently the NSA – have been pushing for a new US law that would force tech companies like Apple and Google to hand over the encryption keys or build backdoors into their products and tools so the government would always have access to our communications. It was only a matter of time before other governments jumped on the bandwagon, and China wasted no time

As President Obama himself described to Reuters, China has proposed an expansive new “anti-terrorism” bill that “would essentially force all foreign companies, including US companies, to turn over to the Chinese government mechanisms where they can snoop and keep track of all the users of those services.” [..]

Bravo! Of course these are the exact arguments for why it would be a disaster for US government to force tech companies to do the same. (Somehow Obama left that part out.) in demanding the same from tech companies a few weeks ago.

Jed Lund: The Hillary Clinton email ‘scandal’ says more about us than about her ethics

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not use a government email account during her time in the administration. She didn’t have to, but she should have! The first part of that sentence should be the end of any potential scandal discussion; the second part should be the beginning of our discussion of how we feel about public records. But since we live in a far more useless world, we’re going to wind up doing this backwards.

It’s all happening again. It’s going to happen forever. The Clintons might have taken another shortcut and may be hoping their fans will bail them out; the Republican Party has furnished another disingenuous bit of likely non-scandal to a press corps that knows “Unethical Clintons!” stories draw a lot of eyeballs. People will, again, define a government ethics issue through the lens of fan advocacy.

Usually, Slate’s reflexively contrarian default stance isn’t useful, but in a world in which everyone is running after the Clintons and making ominous “boogieboogieboogie” noises, Josh Vorhees is helpful: no one can point to a specific law Clinton violated. The Obama administration’s public records law mandating a public email account was passed after the end of her Secretary of State tenure; the National Archives and Records Administration’s 2013 bulletin stating that “agency employees should not generally use personal email accounts to conduct official agency business” reads more like a suggestion and, again, post-dates Clinton’s time at State. The 2009 NARA guidelines that Politico’s Dylan Byers cites in his reporting may have been binding, but it also may have been satisfied by Clinton’s voluntarily handing in over 55,000 pages of private emails. And Michael Tomasky notes at the Daily Beast that the New York Times – which got a lot of mileage out of Whitewater – went to press with a piece heavy on emphasis and thin on concrete details for something that’s supposed to be a clear-cut ethics violation.

Eugene Robinson: Boehner’s Sorry Spectacle

House Speaker John Boehner needs to decide whether he wants to be remembered as an effective leader or a befuddled hack. So far, I’m afraid, it’s the latter.

Boehner’s performance last week was a series of comic pratfalls, culminating Friday in a stinging rebuke from the House Republicans he ostensibly leads. Boehner wasn’t asking for much: three weeks of funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which was hours from shutting down. He came away, humiliated, with just seven days’ worth of operating money for the agency charged with keeping Americans safe from terrorist attacks.

By any standard, the whole situation was beyond ridiculous. The government of the world’s leading military and economic power cannot be funded on a week-to-week basis. There was no earthly excuse for this sorry spectacle-and no one to blame but Boehner.

Robert Reich: Will the Democratic Nominee for 2016 Take on the Moneyed Interests?

It’s seed time for the 2016 presidential elections, when candidates try to figure out what they stand for and will run on.

One thing seems reasonably clear. The Democratic nominee for President, whoever she may be, will campaign on reviving the American middle class.

As will the Republican nominee — although the Republican nominee’s solution will almost certainly be warmed-over versions of George W. Bush’s “ownership society” and Mitt Romney’s “opportunity society,” both seeking to unleash the middle class’s entrepreneurial energies by reducing taxes and regulations.

That’s pretty much what we’ve heard from Republican hopefuls so far. As before, it will get us nowhere.

The Democratic nominee will just as surely call for easing the burdens on working parents through paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, childcare, elder-care, a higher minimum wage, and perhaps also tax incentives for companies that share some of their profits with their employees.

All this is fine, but it won’t accomplish what’s really needed.

Scott Ritter: Bibi’s Blustery Blunder

On March 5, 1946, almost 69 years ago to the day, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave his famous “Iron Curtain” speech before an audience of thousands in Fulton, Missouri. Churchill was in Fulton at the invitation of Westminster College, where he spoke. He traveled there aboard a train, accompanied by President Harry Truman. In his speech, Churchill declared that “an Iron Curtain has descended across the [European] Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe… all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere.”  [..]

On March 3, 2015, the serving Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke before a joint session of the United States Congress about the existential threat to Israel and the world — including the United States — by what he termed Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Netanyahu was at the nation’s capital at the invitation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ohio Republican John Boehner. Netanyahu, in a breech of protocol, had failed to consult the President of the United States, Barak Obama, about his visit. His appearance before the assembled elected political might of the United States Congress came little more than a week removed from a closely contested election in Israel where Netanyahu’s continued tenure as Prime Minister is anything but assured.

Netanyahu claims that his speech, which attacked a looming deal being negotiated by the United States, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany with Iran over its nuclear program, was a wake-up call about a bad deal that would empower an out-of-control theocratic state sponsor of terrorism with a break-out capability to produce nuclear weapons. Netanyahu and his supporters claim he has a case. That may well be. But one cannot escape the highly politicized environment, both here in the United States and back in Israel, which surrounded his appearance before the United States Congress. The level of acrimony that exists between the White House and Netanyahu because of this speech is unprecedented in the history of these two nations. Winston Churchill left Fulton, Missouri in the company of President Harry Truman, arm in arm. Netanyahu leaves Washington, DC having received the cold shoulder from President Barak Obama, and the subject of acrimonious commentary from a White House that feels betrayed by an Israeli politician — not leader — who has hijacked American national security objectives for his own political use.

Mike Lux: The D.C. Centrists’ Straw Men

One of the tiredest clichés in all of American politics — and a favorite of D.C. “centrists” — is that economic populism is all about beating up on the rich and redistributing income instead of pursuing economic growth.

A note here before I get into the main point of this piece: In that sentence above I put “centrists” in quotation marks because in Washington, D.C., centrism seems to be about being in line with certain kinds of big-money special interests rather than supporting what the center of the country, in terms of voters, believes. D.C. centrists believe in cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits; not taxing Wall Street tycoons at the same levels as their secretaries; weakening regulations on the kinds of financial speculation that caused the 2008 financial panic; bailing out bankers when they get in trouble, and not prosecuting them when they break the law; and doing trade deals that have historically benefited mostly big business and created bigger trade deficits. Voters are in opposition to all those policies by very big numbers, so those positions certainly aren’t centrist to them, but that doesn’t seem to matter much to the insider D.C. “centrists.”

The latest exhibit appears in an article in The Hill, “Centrist Dems ready strike against Warren wing“: {..]

Mar 05 2015

The Breakfast Club (FREAK Out)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgWell, I had hoped for a nice quiet discussion of wave/particle duality again because there are new developments that are worthy of note or perhaps a good chuckle at Homer Simpson predicting the GeV of the Higgs Boson to within experimental error because I’m just a sucker for the intricacies of Quantum Physics, BUT…

The big news of the day is on the technology front and particularly NSA v. Encryption.

Now I’ll take it as a given that you know thanks to Ed Snowden and Thomas Drake and subsequent public testimony that the NSA is obsessed as an organization by collecting every communication you have.  What you may not know is how far back that goal goes and why it compromises all of our security.

Way back in the days of the Big Dog when all we had to worry our pretty little heads about was blowjobs and blue dresses the Internet started gaining steam as a place to buy things.  People were rightly concerned about personal information and credit card numbers falling into the hands of thieves (though I’ll tell you quite frankly that you’re in much more danger from your food server if you’re a bad tipper because they have plenty of time alone with your card to write down all your imprint numbers as well as the ones that are just printed which is sufficient for ruining your credit by telephone, let alone computer).

Anyhow the major Internet Retailers and the companies that served them started demanding an encryption scheme to bolster public confidence that it was safe to buy things.  Thus Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

Even this paltry (and believe me it is, though I recommend the study of The Reichenbach Fall because not everything is complicated and mysterious) level of security was deemed by the NSA “too dangerous for export” so they made an even weaker one with 40 bits of encryption instead of 128 (too hard, my brain hurts) for use overseas.

Well, Moore’s Law and all, and today even 128 bit encryption is somewhat passe and 40 bit can be cracked in 7 hours using Amazon Cloud computers.

The reason this is important is because websites, in order to be compatable globally, are designed to accept ‘export’ keys as valid along with ‘domestic’ keys.  A switch in the site software allows them to be forced into ‘export’ key mode via a third party who is not a valid client and once that is done it’s easy to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks that compromise the connection by appearing as the host site to the client and a valid client to the host.

Now I’ve been very careful to try and make it clear that this is not a bug or a flaw.  The NSA deliberately influenced the design of the standard to make this possible.

Since then there have been new standards adopted that are not subject to this type of spoofing, but adoption inertia being what it is over a third of websites worldwide are vulnerable including the NSA’s.

So what is the solution?  For a user nothing much, browsers are rightly designed to be compatible with as many sites as possible.  If you are paranoid enough you can get software plugins that ‘protect’ you from vulnerable sites, but ‘protect’ in this case means you can’t use them.  Secure browsers like Tor already do this and as I’ve said before what’s notable about them in action is how many things you used to do that you can’t anymore.

For sites there is a minor code fix that won’t allow a third party to force ‘export’ mode and we will see a rush of them implementing it.

What makes it interesting politically is context.  In recent months tech companies have been forced by public demand to implement more secure encryption schemes.  The NSA in turn has been petulantly stamping its feet and holding its breath in a tantrum insisting that these be designed with backdoors that can be accessed by State Spy Services.  They claim that this can be done so that only ‘responsible’ parties acting under the rule of law will have these abilities.

There are at least 2 problems with this.  First, a backdoor is a backdoor and anyone can use it.  It doesn’t care if you’re a White or a Black Hat, it’s just a door.  Second, other governments are demanding the same thing.  Governments like China.  If you’re the NSA it’s pretty hard to make the case that our computer communications should be less secure so that China can spy on them.

In the long run either our Representatives will put a stop to this or Engineers will make it technically impossible.  Mr. Market will be served.  In a positive sign this will happen the NSA was forced to give up crypto restrictions in 2000 because it was ruining the export business of the tech titans.  Given what we are aware of today I don’t think it will be nearly that long before the blowback begins.

FREAK: Another day, another serious SSL security hole

by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet

March 3, 2015 — 22:19 GMT

It seemed like such a good idea in the early 90s. Secure-Socket Layer (SSL) encryption was brand new and the National Security Agency (NSA) wanted to make sure that they could read “secured” web traffic by foreign nationals. So, the NSA got Netscape to agree to deploy 40-bit cryptography in its International Edition while saving the more secure 128-bit version for the US version. By 2000, the rules changed and any browser could use higher security SSL. But that old insecure code was still being used and, fifteen years later, it’s come back to bite us.

The Washington Post reported today that cryptographers from IMDEA, a European Union research group; INRIA, a French research company; and Microsoft Research have found out that “They could force browsers to use the old export-grade encryption then crack it over the course of just a few hours. Once cracked, hackers could steal passwords and other personal information and potentially launch a broader attack on the Websites themselves by taking over elements on a page, such as a Facebook ‘Like’ button.”



Nadia Heninger, a University of Pennsylvania cryptographer, told the Post, “This is basically a zombie from the ’90s… I don’t think anybody really realized anybody was still supporting these export suites.”

Heninger, who has been working on cracking the obsolete 40 to 512-bit RSA encryption keys, found that “she could crack the export-grade encryption key in about seven hours, using computers on Amazon Web services.” Once done, this enables hackers to easily make “man-in-the-middle” attacks on the cracked websites.

Guess what? Over a third of “encrypted” websites, according to tests made by University of Michigan researchers J. Alex Halderman and Zakir Durumeric, are open to FREAK attacks. Specifically, OpenSSL and Apple TLS/SSL clients such as the Safari Web browser are vulnerable to FREAK. When using these programs, it’s relatively simple to downgrade their “secure” connections from “strong” RSA to the easy-to-break “export-grade” RSA.

All of this has happened because as Matthew Green, a cryptographer and research professor at Johns Hopkins University, succinctly put it, the NSA made sure that the early “SSL protocol itself was deliberately designed to be broken.”

And, now, it has been. It’s just that it’s now open to being broken by anyone with basic code-breaking smarts and easily available computer resources. The key problem is that OpenSSL and Safari both contain bugs that cause them to accept “RSA export-grade keys even when the client didn’t ask for export-grade RSA.”

Websites, generally speaking only create a single export-grade RSA key per session. They, like Apache with mod_ssl, will then re-use that key until the web server is rebooted. Thus, if you break a site once, chances are you’ve broken into it for days, weeks, even months.

Many of the websites that are “FREAKable” seem to be on Content Delivery Networks (CDN)s such as Akamai. That’s the reason why, for example, the NSA site is vulnerable. Akamai is working on fixing its web servers.

Encryption Backdoors Will Always Turn Around And Bite You In The Ass

by Mike Masnick, Tech Dirt

Wed, Mar 4th 2015 10:50am

As you may have heard, the law enforcement and intelligence communities have been pushing strongly for backdoors in encryption. They talk about ridiculous things like “golden keys,” pretending that it’s somehow possible to create something that only the good guys can use. Many in the security community have been pointing out that this is flat-out impossible. The second you introduce a backdoor, there is no way to say that only “the good guys” can use it.

As if to prove that, an old “golden key” from the 90s came back to bite a whole bunch of the internet this week… including the NSA. Some researchers discovered a problem which is being called FREAK for “Factoring RSA Export Keys.” The background story is fairly involved and complex, but here’s a short version (that leaves out a lot of details): back during the first “cryptowars” when Netscape was creating SSL (mainly to protect the early e-commerce market), the US still considered exporting strong crypto to be a crime. To deal with this, RSA offered “export grade encryption” that was deliberately weak (very, very weak) that could be used abroad. As security researcher Matthew Green explains, in order to deal with the fact that SSL-enabled websites had to deal with both strong crypto and weak “export grade” crypto, — the “golden key” — there was a system that would try to determine which type of encryption to use on each connection. If you were in the US, it should go to strong encryption. Outside the US? Downgrade to “export grade.”



(T)he lesson of the story: backdoors, golden keys, magic surveillance leprechauns, whatever you want to call it create vulnerabilities that will be exploited and not just by the good guys.



Whether it’s creating vulnerabilities that come back to undermine security on the internet decades later, or merely giving cover to foreign nations to undermine strong encryption, backdoors are a terrible idea which should be relegated to the dustbin of history.

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science News and Blogs

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Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

Mar 05 2015

On This Day In History March 5

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 5 is the 64th day of the year (65th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 301 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1770, a mob of angry colonists gathers at the Customs House in Boston and begins tossing snowballs and rocks at the lone British soldier guarding the building. The protesters opposed the occupation of their city by British troops, who were sent to Boston in 1768 to enforce unpopular taxation measures passed by a British parliament without direct American representation.

The Incident

The event began on King Street, today known as State Street, in the early evening of March 5, in front of Private Hugh White, a British sentry, as he stood duty outside the Custom house. A young wigmaker’s apprentice named Edward Gerrish called out to a British officer, Captain Lieutenant John Goldfinch, that Goldfinch had not paid the bill of Gerrish’s master. Goldfinch had in fact settled his account and ignored the insult. Gerrish departed, but returned a couple of hours later with companions. He continued his complaints, and the civilians began throwing rocks at Goldfinch. Gerrish exchanged insults with Private White, who left his post, challenged the boy, and struck him on the side of the head with a musket. As Gerrish cried in pain, one of his companions, Bartholomew Broaders, began to argue with White. This attracted a larger crowd.

As the evening progressed, the crowd grew larger and more boisterous. The mob grew in size and continued harassing Private White. As bells, which usually signified a fire, rang out from the surrounding steeples, the crowd of Bostonians grew larger and more threatening. Over fifty of the Bostonian townsmen gathered and provoked White and Goldfinch into fight. As the crowd began to get larger, the British soldiers realized that the situation was about to explode. Private White left his sentry box and retreated to the Custom House stairs with his back to a locked door. Nearby, from the Main Guard, the Officer of the Day, Captain Thomas Preston, watched this situation escalate and, according to his account, dispatched a non-commissioned officer and seven or eight soldiers of the 29th Regiment of Foot, with fixed bayonets, to relieve White. He and his subordinate, James Basset, followed soon afterward. Among these soldiers were Corporal William Wemms (apparently the non-commissioned officer mentioned in Preston’s report), Hugh Montgomery, John Carroll, James Hartigan, William McCauley, William Warren and Matthew Kilroy. As this relief column moved forward to the now empty sentry box, the crowd pressed around them. When they reached this point they loaded their muskets and joined with Private White at the custom house stairs. As the crowd, estimated at 300 to 400, pressed about them, they formed a semicircular perimeter.

The crowd continued to harass the soldiers and began to throw snow balls and other small objects at the soldiers. Private Hugh Montgomery was struck down onto the ground by a club wielded by Richard Holmes, a local tavernkeeper. When he recovered to his feet, he fired his musket, later admitting to one of his defense attorneys that he had yelled “Damn you, fire!” It is presumed that Captain Preston would not have told the soldiers to fire, as he was standing in front of the guns, between his men and the crowd of protesters. However, the protesters in the crowd were taunting the soldiers by yelling “Fire”. There was a pause of indefinite length; the soldiers then fired into the crowd. Their uneven bursts hit eleven men. Three Americans – ropemaker Samuel Gray, mariner James Caldwell, and a mixed race sailor named Crispus Attucks – died instantly. Seventeen-year-old Samuel Maverick, struck by a ricocheting musket ball at the back of the crowd, died a few hours later, in the early morning of the next day. Thirty-year-old Irish immigrant Patrick Carr died two weeks later. To keep the peace, the next day royal authorities agreed to remove all troops from the centre of town to a fort on Castle Island in Boston Harbor. On March 27 the soldiers, Captain Preston and four men who were in the Customs House and alleged to have fired shots, were indicted for murder.

The Trial of the Soldiers

At the request of Captain Preston and in the interest that the trial be fair, John Adams, a leading Boston Patriot and future President, took the case defending the British soldiers.

In the trial of the soldiers, which opened November 27, 1770, Adams argued that if the soldiers were endangered by the mob, which he called “a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes, and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tarrs,” they had the legal right to fight back, and so were innocent. If they were provoked but not endangered, he argued, they were at most guilty of manslaughter. The jury agreed with Adams and acquitted six of the soldiers. Two of the soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter because there was overwhelming evidence that they fired directly into the crowd, however Adams invoked Benefit of clergy in their favor: by proving to the judge that they could read by having them read aloud from the Bible, he had their punishment, which would have been a death sentence, reduced to branding of the thumb in open court. The jury’s decisions suggest that they believed the soldiers had felt threatened by the crowd. Patrick Carr, the fifth victim, corroborated this with a deathbed testimony delivered to his doctor.

Three years later in 1773, on the third anniversary of the incident, John Adams made this entry in his diary:

The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.

“This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest Proofs of the Danger of Standing Armies.

Mar 05 2015

The Daily/Nightly Show (Drugs are bad. Mmmk?)

Shooting Hitler would have done no good and might just have prolonged WW II or (worst case) led to a bad outcome.

One of the defining features of the Third Reich was Hitler’s poor Generalship and the inefficiency of his Administration which were responsible for things like the failure of the initial Soviet invasion (at least arguable, Russia BIG and not particularly wedded to Moscow as a capital so maybe inconclusive even if it is captured), Stalingrad (no arguing on that one), delays in the development and deployment of Jet propulsion, flaws in the allocation of Naval resources to strategic goals (Doenitz never had enough subs in the Battle of the Atlantic), etc.  I mean his Military tried to put together a couple of coups he was so bad.

We’d be living in a different world today if Hitler had been competent.

What’s not arguable is that given the punitive sanctions of the Versailles Treaty and collapse of the economy in the Depression, Germany was a failed state and likely to have fallen under the sway of one Dictator or another, so Hitler didn’t really matter that much.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Virulent anti-Semitism.  Look, virulent anti-Semitism was popular and pervasive throughout Europe so I’m not sure many Jews would have been saved.

Shoot, shiv, or shout?  I’d have shouted a little louder and not at Hitler who was already a hopeless psychotic by 1920, but at the Allied governments about the potential threat of Germany and their own stupid economic and moral (did I mention pervasive anti-Semitism?) policies.

Now, if you’d have shot him after 1942 when the war was clearly lost…

Tonight we talk about marijuana legalization, but probably not about the racism and tobacco and alcohol monopolism that led to its prohibition.  Most likely it will be a bunch of sophomoric stoner jokes.

Continuity

Admiral Zhao

This Week’s Guests-

Viacheslav Fetisov is one of Russia’s most recognized Hockey players and did several years with the New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings, returning to the Devils as an Assistant Coach.  He’s one of 4 people to win the “Grand Slam” of Hockey (Stanley Cup, World Ice Hockey Championship, Winter Olympics, World Ice Hockey Junior Championship, and Canada/World Cup Championship).  He was head of the Russian organizing committee for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and currently serves in the Russian Parliament as a Representative from the Vladivostock area.  In 2009 he became president of HC CSKA Moscow and after injuries to many key defensive players took the ice himself at the age of 51 after an 11 year layoff.

The real news below.