In a 2010 radio interview, Frazier Glenn Miller, the man suspected of killing three people Sunday at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement center in Kansas, said he was interested in the tea party, voiced support for then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and spoke approvingly of Ron Paul, the Texas Republican congressman and presidential candidate. In late April 2010, Miller, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, was a guest on The David Pakman Show, a nationally syndicated left-of-center radio and television program. At the time, Miller was running for US Senate as an independent in his home state of Missouri with the slogan "It's the Jews, Stupid," and Pakman pressed Miller on his extreme views.
During the interview, Miller was unabashed about his anti-Semitic positions. When asked whether he thought the United States would be better off if Hitler had succeeded, Miller responded, "Absolutely, the whole world would…Hitler would have created a paradise on Earth, particularly for white people. But he would have been fair to other people as well." He added, "Germans are blamed collectively because of the alleged so-called Holocaust."
Not surprisingly, Miller denigrated most American politicians, but cited one positively: "If I had my way [all US senators] would be in jail right now for treason, if not hung from a sturdy oak tree…Ron Paul is the only independent politician, representative in Washington." He also spoke highly of another conservative: "Patrick Buchanan, he's a great man, he's a great historian, he's one of the very few journalists who has the courage to speak out against Jewish domination in the country." Miller called Howard Stern "a Jew liar." When asked whether he supported the tea party, Miller replied, "The school's still out on them. They're a new movement. I'm watching them closely. I suspect, however, they'll be infiltrated by the Jews and therefore led into defeat."
During the interview, Pakman asked Miller whom he would "elect, deport, and waterboard"—given the choices of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former Fed chair Alan Greenspan. Miller answered, "I like Obama more than the other two, by far." He chose to elect Obama, deport Greenspan, and waterboard Biden. Miller said, "I have a great deal of admiration [for] Louis Farrakhan," and he called Ahmadinejad "a great man" because he "has guts and he tells the truth about the Jews."
"I'm a convicted felon and I'm proud of it," Miller boasted, noting that he "was convicted of declaring war on the federal government and possession of illegal weapons." He added that Jews "were responsible for my conviction that prompted me to go underground and declare war…Morris Dees mainly, he's a Jew that runs the Southern Poverty Law Center." (The SPLC monitors hate groups.)
In November 2013, Pakman had an exchange of emails with Miller in which Miller noted that he was "close friends" with Craig Cobb, a white supremacist who had attempted to form an all-white town in Leith, North Dakota. According to Miller, the two had worked together "on several White Nationalist projects, including the Aryan Alternative newspaper." Referring to the recent news that a DNA test indicated that Cobb had African ancestry, Miller told Pakman, "I can't believe a man as intelligent as you, actually believes Craig Cobb is an octoroon. Surely, you know it's just another jewsmedia fraud."
Religious conservatives are urging the GOP to scratch Sin City off its list of potential locations for the 2016 Republican National Convention,the Dallas Morning News reports. According to the paper, advocates are concerned that Las Vegas' reputation as a gambling and prostitution haven will discourage conservatives from attending the event and that the city is a "trap waiting to ensnare" convention attendees.
"The GOP is supposedly interested in reaching out to conservatives and evangelicals. Maybe that’s just a front, but if they really mean it this is not the way to do it," James Dobson, founder of Family Talk, a Christian radio show that broadcasts across the United States, told the paper. "Even though Vegas has tried to shore itself up and call itself family-friendly, it’s still a metaphor for decadence. There's still 64 pages of escort services in the yellow pages."
Dobson, along with leaders of the American Family Association, Eagle Forum, the Traditional Values Coalition, and Family-PAC sent a letter to Republican chairman Reince Priebus warning him to choose another destination.
Las Vegas is considered a frontrunner for the 2016 convention. Other cities under consideration are Dallas, Denver, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Kansas City, Missouri. The Nevada city has never hosted a national political convention for either Democrats or Republicans, but it's been aggressively courting the GOP. The city's promotional video for the convention does not feature any gambling. Instead, it emphasizes Las Vegas' hotels, sunshine, rock climbing, proximity to the Hoover Dam, NASCAR, places of worship, and the "growing Asian population." The video pans to Disney's logo.
Las Vegas has a strong lobbying campaign behind it. The team includes casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who spent over $98 million on GOP candidates in 2012, resort businessman Stephen Wynn, and Washington political strategists, according to the New York Times. Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition, told TheDallas Morning News that while she supports Adelson, she fears that with all of the escorts and prostitutes available in the Las Vegas area, she "can see all the setups that are going to take place."
Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of the conservative blog RedState.com, also expressed concern about the GOP choosing Las Vegas. "Good Christian delegates getting drunk, gambling, stuffing dollar bills in strippers' g-strings, etc. will be the toast of not just MSNBC, but the front page of the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, the Huffington Post, and more." he wrote. Not to mention, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) might wake up with a tiger in his bathroom.
Update: The NSA knew about the Heartbleed bug for at least two years and actively exploited it in order to gather intelligence, Bloomberg reported on Friday. This means that under the pretense of protecting Americans, the NSA intentionally didn't notify millions of Americans that they were vulnerable to identity theft. Go read that book, now.
On Tuesday, news broke that the safeguard many websites use to protect sensitive information on the internet has had a major security flaw for about two years. These sites use a security system called OpenSSL to encrypt data like content, passwords, and Social Security numbers. But thanks to a small coding error in a popular version of OpenSSL, nicknamed "Heartbleed," hackers can potentially steal sensitive data from vulnerable websites. Richard Bejtlich, chief security strategist at FireEye, a network security company, notes that there's no evidence that malicious hackers have exploited the flaw yet. But the secrecy-minded Tor Project, which enables anonymous internet browsing, nevertheless recommended on Monday that, "If you need strong anonymity or privacy on the internet, you might want to stay away from the internet entirely for the next few days while things settle." Here are seven reasons why you might want to stop looking at cat videos right now:
1. Lots of popular websites have the security problem.
According to the New York Times, up to two-thirds of sites on the internet rely on OpenSSL. A user on Github, an open-source coding site, compiled a list of sites that were allegedly vulnerable after a test was conducted on Tuesday. The Github list included Yahoo, Flickr, OkCupid, and Eventbrite, among dozens of other companies. (Some may have since updated their security.) Facebook and Google both released statements confirming they are not affected by the flaw. If you'd like to test a specific site to see whether it's could be exploited—although this doesn't meant that it has—go here.
2. Your most sensitive personal information is at risk.
When websites use SSL, that's a good thing. The security layer is deployed during sensitive transactions to protect data like bank details, social security numbers, and passwords. Runa Sandvik, a staff technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), says that she's heard, "this is even worse than if SSL wasn't used at all, because it's used to protect sensitive information. A site that isn't protected at all, you might not submit sensitive information there in the first place." The good news is, some security researchers are reporting that hackers may not be able to get the private keys to an entire website's content. The bad news is, the flaw is still "a great way to steal passwords from recent logins" according to researchers at Errata Security.
3. Canada is freaking out.
The Canada Revenue Agency announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily shutting down its online services as a result of the Heartbleed bug. The moves come mere weeks before Canadians are expected to file their taxes. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said in a statement Wednesday that its website has not been affected by the bug.
4. Right now, hackers are racing to get at that information.
"With these things, you can practically hear the shotgun go off. We're in a race now between the attackers and the defenders, to see how quickly attackers can build viable attacks, and how quickly the defenders can put out their defenses," says Christopher Budd, a spokesperson for Trend Micro, a Japanese security software company. He notes that while exploiting the vulnerability right now is fairly difficult, as hackers share information, people could build tool kits and it will become significantly easier.
5. You won't necessarily know if your information has been hacked.
“It’s a serious bug in that it doesn’t leave any trace,” David Chartier, chief executive at Codenomicon, told the New York Times. “Bad guys can access the memory on a machine and take encryption keys, usernames, passwords, valuable intellectual property, and there’s no trace they’ve been there.”
6. It won't be easy for websites to fix the problem.
Budd says fixing the problem is "simple, but not easy." While there is a fixed OpenSSL version that websites can download, it can take time to roll out the new program across a website's entire infrastructure. Budd notes that companies will have to weigh the risk of an attack against the potential that the entire website might come crashing down if a new coding error is introduced. That might dissuade companies from acting quickly. Additionally, after a website installs the new "fix," it needs to update its SSL certificate, a process that can take a little time. Jeremy Gillula, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, notes that even if a website has downloaded the fix, if it hasn't updated its certificates, it "could still be subject to a man-in-the-middle-attack on its users."
7. Changing your passwords right away isn't necessarily going to help you.
After news of Heartbleed broke, you probably got a lot emails from people telling you to change your passwords. Not so fast, experts say. If you change your password prior to a site getting rid of the bad SSL, your new password could be just as vulnerable as your old one. Sandvik from CDT says, "I'm in the same situation as everyone else. I would look for statements issued by companies before logging in, and if there is no statement, contact them and ask them. Also test their website." Budd advises, "This is one of those situations where the best thing people can do is stick to best practices, don't panic, and wait to hear information from people to know what's going on. If you get instructions, follow them."
Voters waiting to vote at Wagner Middle School in New York City, Nov 6, 2012.
When the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to overturn a key section of the Voting Rights Act last June, Justice Ruth Ginsburg warned that getting rid of the measure was like "throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet." The 1965 law required that lawmakers in states with a history of discriminating against minority voters get federal permission before changing voting rules. Now that the Supreme Court has invalidated this requirement, GOP lawmakers across the United States are running buck wild with new voting restrictions.
Before the Shelby County v. Holder decision came down on June 25, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act required federal review of new voting rules in 15 states, most of them in the South. (In a few of these states, only specific counties or townships were covered.) Chief Justice John Roberts voted to gut the Voting Rights Act on the basis that "our country has changed,"and that blanket federal protection wasn't needed to stop discrimination. But the country hasn't changed as much as he may think.
We looked at how many of these 15 states passed or implemented voting restrictions after Section 5 was invalidated, compared to the states that were not covered by the law. (We defined "voting restriction" as passing or implementing a voter ID law, cutting voting hours, purging voter rolls, or ending same-day registration. Advocates criticize these kinds of laws for discriminating against low-income voters, young people, and minorities, who tend to vote for Democrats.) We found that 8 of the 15 states, or 53 percent, passed or implemented voting restrictions since June 25, compared to 3 of 35 states that were not covered under Section 5—or less than 9 percent. Additionally, a number of states not covered by the Voting Rights Act actually expanded voting rights in the same time period.
States that were previously covered in some part by Section 5 moved quickly after it was invalidated. Within two hours of the Shelby decision, Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that the state's voter identification law—which had previously been blocked by a federal court—would be immediately implemented. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, another Republican, also immediately instated his state's voter ID law. About one month after the Shelby decision, Republicans in North Carolina pushed through a package of extreme voting restrictions, including ending same-day registration, shortening early voting by a week, requiring photo ID, and ending a program that encourages high schoolers to sign up to vote when they turn 18. In October, Virginia purged more than 38,000 names from the voter rolls. Mississippi's Republican secretary of state, Delbert Hosemann, told the Associated Press in November that the state was going to start implementing its voter ID law by the June 2014 elections. (This proposal was undergoing Justice Department review when the Shelby decision came down.) In January, Republican Gov. Rick Scott attempted again (unsuccessfully) to purge noncitizens from Florida's voting rolls, a move he had tried previously in 2012, before being blocked by Section 5. And thanks to the Supreme Court ruling, South Carolina was able to implement a stricter photo identification requirement.
Data shows that the law really did work at preventing voting restrictions: Between 1982 and 2006, the Justice Department blocked more than 700 voting changes on the basis that the changes were discriminatory. But experts say it's hard to say definitively whether all of these new laws would have been blocked if Section 5 had still been in place. The new birth certificate requirements in Arizona and Kansas, for example, would likely have gone forward regardless of the Shelby decision. But Katherine Culliton-González, a senior attorney and director of voter protection for Advancement Project, notes, "There is a heavier concentration of voting restrictions in those states that were previously covered."
Three outliers are Kansas, Ohio, and Wisconsin, all of which passed or implemented voting restrictions this year, and were never covered under Section 5. But Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's voting rights project, argues that they could have still been influenced by the Supreme Court decision. "When you see half a dozen or more states immediately passing laws to restrict voting after Shelby, that spreads to other parts of the country," he says. "It's not like Vegas. What happens in one state doesn't stay there."
Members of Congress have attempted to introduce legislation that would resurrect the key protections shot down by the Supreme Court, but have not yet been successful. And none of this is great news for Democrats, who could lose the Senate in 2014. On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden denounced the GOP effort and urged Democrats to stand up for voting rights. He said, "If someone had said to me 10 years ago I had to make a pitch for protecting voting rights today, I would have said, 'You got to be kidding.'"
A disability rights advocacy group sued Montana officials this week in federal court for allegedly placing mentally ill prisoners in extreme forms of solitary confinement for months and years at a time, often because the prisoners displayed symptoms of their illness or expressed suicidal thoughts. The prison's psychiatrist also accused prisoners with well-documented mental illnesses of using their symptoms to get attention and ceased giving them medication, according to the lawsuit.
Disability Rights Montana, a federally mandated civil rights protection and advocacy group says that Montana State Prison's treatment of prisoners amounts to "cruel and unusual punishment" and is unconstitutional. The group filed the lawsuit after conducting a year-long investigation with the ACLU of Montana. According to the Associated Press, the groups hope that the matter can be resolved through negotiations with the state, not through legal action. Prison officials are "taking the allegations seriously" according to the AP. Judy Beck, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Corrections, told Mother Jones that the state would file its response within 60 days and could not comment.
According to the lawsuit, prisoners are subject to solitary confinement in spaces that sometimes have blacked-out windows, as well as "behavior management plans"—whereby a prisoner is put in 24-hour solitary confinement with only a mattress, blanket, a suicide smock, and nutraloaf, a tasteless, controversial food product that civil rights groups have alleged is unconstitutional. (In 2003, the Montana Supreme Court also ruled that certain behavior management plans are illegal.) "One prisoner with serious mental illness explained that being placed in solitary confinement makes him feel like a young child locked in a closet with nothing to do and, as a result, he spreads feces on the walls of his cell to keep bad spirits away," the complaint reads.
In a case outlined in the lawsuit, a 50-year-old prisoner sentenced "guilty but mentally ill" in 2006, was placed in a state hospital and diagnosed with schizophrenia. At the state hospital, staff allegedly described him as "polite, friendly, cooperative, and socializing appropriately with staff and peers." But after he was suspected of stealing another patient's jewelry, he was transferred to prison and placed in solitary confinement. In 2012, the prison's doctor allegedly discontinued the prisoner's antipsychotic medication, because he believed the man was "malingering." The prisoner told mental health staff that he wanted to cry when placed in "the hole" because he did not "do hole time well," according to the lawsuit.
In another case outlined in the lawsuit, a 43-year-old prisoner with a very low IQ score of 78, was transferred to prison from a community group home. There, he was placed in solitary confinement for more than three years for acts that the plaintiffs allege were related to his mental illness, such as "banging his head until it bled on his cell door while asking for real food instead of nutraloaf, crying and saying people on the floor were talking to him[, and] attempting suicide," according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs claim that the doctor also stopped giving the prisoner medication, on the basis that he was "simply malingering," and "laughed at" the prisoner after he complained about losing his medication.
In 2011, a United Nations specialist on torture said that solitary confinement lasting more than 15 days should be abolished. He also said it shouldn't be used at all on people with mental disabilities. According to the ACLU, "Isolation creates and exacerbates symptoms of mental illness in prisoners, undermining successful re-entry into society and jeopardizing public safety."
A 33-year-old prisoner—with a long history of self-harm—who was mentioned in the lawsuit was transferred from the state hospital to prison, allegedly to keep him from harming himself. There, he was placed in solitary confinement for "significant periods of time." In July 2011, he told mental health staff that he had "been in locked housing for way too long" and was worried about doing "something stupid." In August, when he was taken out of solitary, he murdered another prisoner and was sentenced to life without parole.
About five years earlier, prior to being placed in extended solitary confinement, he filled out a "treatment planning worksheet" on how staff could help him get better at the prison's Mental Health Treatment Unit, the plaintiffs claim. The prisoner wrote: "Groups with homework. Give me stuff to do so I can keep myself and my mind busy" and "be there to talk to me when I'm having problems."