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Big surprise here, right?  Nope.

Google Tuesday removed a smartphone app called “Disconnect Mobile” from its Android Play store because it violated a policy prohibiting software that interferes with other apps.

Interference was precisely the point of Disconnect Mobile, a privacy tool aimed at stopping other apps from collecting data on users. In the six days it was available in Google’s store, it was downloaded more than 5,000 times.

Google has long refused to allow "ad blocker" programs on the Play Store; you have to sideload them.  Most of them also require a rooted phone, since one of the easiest ways to implement ad-blocking is to put in private "routes" for the IP addresses of the ad servers that go nowhere.  That means inserting entries in the "hosts" file, and that file can only be written with privileges.

Thus, you need a rooted Android device to do it.

Disconnect didn't target traditional advertising, however.  It instead targeted invisible linkages between various ad networks and the pages you browse, and did so by using a private VPN -- allowing it to intercept those silent and invisible requests and strip them from the returned data stream.  In doing so it also destroyed any value that would have otherwise accrued from monitoring IP addresses, since everything appeared to come from their VPN.

Google didn't like that and threw 'em out.

Well, that's not a surprise -- Google's entire business model relies on tracking everything you do.

Google, in short, as with Apple for IOS, sells you to various vendors.


If you're ok with that, well, then have at it.  But if not, then you might want to go ahead and load whatever protection(s) you think you need from such activity.

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The latest is that Putin wants "immediate talks" over Eastern Ukraine -- and the word "statehood" was mentioned.

He also allegedly has said that the Ukraine situation is an "internal" matter -- more akin to a civil war of sorts, I suppose.

Uh huh.

Look folks, I go back to what I said originally on this mess: Crimea was and is the only Russian 12-month deep-water naval port.  The only way that was ever going to change was through the literal destruction of Russia's government, because no government in its right mind would ever cede their only 12-month naval port to anyone.

Geography is what it is.

We (and the EU) had no business interfering in Ukraine's internal political situation in the first place, but we did.  Yes, the "old guard" was a corrupt bunch of bastards, but we're not the Ukranian police force, nor is it any or our damn business whether their government is corrupt or not.

Unfortunately what we have now is a situation that is unstable and moving toward greater instability rather than lesser.  Ukraine could rationally be partitioned at Crimea, as Russia could reasonably-easily build the infrastructure necessary to provide both power and fuel to the peninsula independent of the existing overland links to Ukraine's remaining land mass.  However, that only "works" if Russia perceives that Ukraine is at least non-hostile to Russian interests, and of course from Putin's perspective friendly is what he wants.

The challenge is that Putin has little reason to back down; we're not going to go in there with military force and neither is anyone else.  Anyone attempting to do so is asking for an actual war to break out almost instantly; the presence of western troops or material that is verified by Russia would be exactly the sort of provocation they would like to have in order to greatly advance their acts.  Yet as things stand right now it appears that a "soft" invasion is in fact already happening, with both troops and mechanized equipment crossing the border essentially at will.

That the pantiwaist EU got caught with its natural gas sources up its own ass doesn't help things at all.  Nor do the trade implications of wider sanction activity.  Germany is already getting hammered in this regard to some degree and the impact will only grow with additional sanctions.  However, this much is certain -- Putin understands both displayed resolve and displayed weakness, and what he's seeing right now from Europe is weakness.  In addition he has the strong support of his own people, which is essential if he is going to carry on in a fashion that will bring economic consequences to Russia extending beyond a few oligarchs.

I see nothing in the immediate offing that will functionally deter Putin from doing what he wants, and he certainly has no deterrence against lying with regard to his intentions as there is no penalty associated with it whether domestically or otherwise.  Therefore the question becomes what is the EU (and potentially the US) prepared to do about it?

There are a number of real actions that could be taken and all would have a very material impact but all impact not just Russia but also everyone who trades with the country.

For the EU (and to a lesser extent the United States) the problem isn't that there aren't available actions that can be taken, it is that threats without the willingness to immediately carry them out (not "get ready in one week") are toothless and simply invite your adversary to erect yet another middle finger in your direction, or worse, say he's going to do something you want but lie about it, consuming the time you give him not to comply but rather to circumvent!

On this point the EU blew it badly during their recent meeting -- and you can bet that didn't go past the Kremlin without them noticing.  

The EU, in short, needs to either grow a pair of balls or shut up.

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Still think you have "freedom" eh?  Still think you're the actual parents of your children, and that you should be the ones making decisions about their lifestyle and heatlh?  Or are you simply where all the liabilities reside for the decision to have them, while the choices belong to someone else -- you know, like a slave?

Police have rejected criticism of their search for a five-year-old boy with a brain tumour removed from a UK hospital by his parents against medical advice.

Ashya King was found in Malaga on Saturday and his parents arrested, following an international search.

His father Brett King defended his actions in a video posted on YouTube, saying there had been a "ridiculous chase".

Hampshire Police said medical advice was that Ashya was in "grave danger".

The parents, it turns out, wanted their kid to be treated using a therapy not offered by the UK's socialized medical services.  Specifically, they wanted to use proton beam therapy rather than what the UK wanted to use (effectively gamma radiation.)  The difference is that proton beam therapy is a more-targeted form of radiation than gamma.  Both are of the same general type, and there is much dispute as to whether proton therapy is as effective in specific cancers.  Then again there's plenty of argument over whether radiation therapy actually "works" (that is, does less harm and good) in these cases to begin with.

Brain cancer sucks, by the way.  The most-effective means of getting rid of a cancer is to (as you'd expect) cut it out with a knife.  That's often impossible when the growth is in the brain, and it's ineffective when the cancer has spread, since in that case you generally can't get it all, and if you don't get it all you've only changed the time before the inevitable -- and usually not by much either.

But this case, as with the case of Justina Pelletier, shows that the government believes that children are in fact their property.  Let us not forget that in Justina's case the state finally came to the conclusion that they were wrong and the parents (and their advocates in the medical system) were right.  That is, they effectively admitted to kidnapping her, in retrospect.

So who went to prison for that?  Nobody, and nobody will either.  Justina, after a year of this, actually had custody of her formally awarded to the state.  

And what is going to happen in this case?  The parents have been arrested and will be extradited back to the UK and, of course, have been forcibly separated from their child.

Doesn't this tell you exactly what sort of relationship the state recognizes -- or doesn't, as the case may be -- when it comes to your children?

We're not talking about a situation here where two parents disagree and someone has to make a decision of some kind (e.g. in the instance of a divorce.)  These are both cases where an intact family disagrees with what a state actor believes about a child born to that family.  As soon as that happens you discover that the state in fact has claimed ownership of that child.

That's utterly outrageous -- but it in fact happens every day and nobody has done a thing to stop it.

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You're an idiot.

Yeah, you've raised your terror threat.

You said you won't "appease", but in fact you do and have -- and will.

Further, you think that banning mere speech and ideas will in some way address this issue, and that Islam generally doesn't support the sort of activity that is going on over in the Middle East today.

You're wrong on all counts.

First, speech is how we resolve differences peacefully.  The solution to offensive speech is not to ban or even criminalize mere speech.  It is to expose those who are idiots to the ridicule of other speakers, allowing both to speak provided neither turns to violence.  

Now let's deal with the last.  There are nutjobs in all religious practices.  We just heard of a new one in the Christian community; a so-called "minister" who thinks that little girls are his sexual playground.  He's not the first and won't be the last, just as we've had Christian nutjobs who think shooting doctors is their "right" because those physicians provide a procedure they disagree with.

I'm sure there are Jewish nutjobs too.

Here's the difference: Christians who are not nutjobs are the first ones to line up and demand that anyone committing murder or sexually abusing children in the name of Christ be indicted, prosecuted and punished for their crimes.

So out of those billion allegedly peace-loving Muslims where are the immediate and loud demands for those who are perverting the Muslim religion to be similarly prosecuted and punished?

There's a stunning silence coming from the Mosques and Imans in this country. Indeed, among all of them around the world there is an utterly outrageous silence coming from what is billed as The Great Religion of Peace in the wake of these atrocities -- a silence that has been utterly deafening since long before 9/11!

Let's not forget that cutting off Foley's head is hardly the first time these animals have taken to such acts.  How short our memories are these days.... Nick Berg anyone?

And let's not forget that these same people held a dam right near Mosul; they could have easily blown it up (precision and skill are not required; just lots of explosives), murdering many and destroying huge portions of the city below.  But that would have been disastrous to their PR in the region; after all, killing the very people who are part of your caliphate, whether they consent or not, isn't very good for your reputation among those in the area.

Murdering a western journalist on camera, however, is free from that perspective -- and the reaction they get from us is vastly greater.  Consider this: These same animals have murdered dozens if not thousands of Iraqi and Syrian citizens -- and soldiers -- over the last few months.

We're far more outraged about one journalist being beheaded than we are about dozens or even hundreds of Iraqi and Syrian women and children being raped and murdered....... right?

Maybe we ought to be doing a bit of reflection here, and this is in no way a cheap shot at Foley or his family.  Rather it's one at all of us, myself included.  It's one thing to be nonchalant about Syrian military members who fall in the line of duty; it sucks when people die, but soldiers know the risk going in and they choose to serve their country, cognizant that they may make the ultimate sacrifice in doing so.

Civilians that are brutalized for sport are another matter entirely, and it shouldn't matter who or where they are, or what color their skin is.

This isn't a new issue for America and Americans.  Anyone remember Rwanda during Clinton's Presidency?  Betcha you don't, but you damn well should.  How outraged were you while somewhere around 3/4 of a million people were shoved in the hole, with most of them murdered over the space of just a few weeks?  Was the lack of outrage and reaction in America a function of it not being on TV, or was it the color of their skin and economic status, along with the party of the President at the time that led you to look away?  The reaction of Americans to that event could be best described as "let's have a beer!

We have a problem in this country as does Britain when it comes to these sorts of issues.  Peaceful religious groups don't sit silently while some nutjob group co-opts their alleged God and commits murder and mayhem in his name.  Armed aggression for the purpose of subjugation, irrespective of who's doing it and why, whether it be ISIS over in the Middle East or our alleged peace officers pointing firearms at peaceful protesters, is outrageous no matter who's doing it and what their claimed justification might be.

At the core of appeasement is our refusal to call things what they are.  Pointing a gun at a peaceful protester is felony assault. Killing someone because they won't pray as you demand is murder.  Shoving 800,000+ people in the hole in the space of three months is genocide, an act that was in that case (Rwanda) preceded by (surprise surprise!) the disarming of the general population; after all, it's much harder to shove someone in a ditch and hit them with a shovel if they have a gun!  Running over a bicyclist because you're keying a text message in your car is manslaughter.  And flying an aircraft into a military installation on purpose, when the evidence shows that a foreign government provided both logistical assistance and money, is an act of war.

Wake up America -- Britain apparently has refused to, but we still can.

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Amazing crap coming from this man.

DOHA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East, the Saudi state news agency reported late on Friday.

The king made the statement during a reception for foreign ambassadors held in Jeddah.

So Mr. Abdullah, may I politely ask why are you not in prison -- or dead?

See, there's this wee section of the report in 9/11 that nobody wants to talk about, and has been redacted.  It claims that your nation and its consulate network in the United States not only helped fund the 9/11 hijackers it also provided logistical support for them.

Now maybe that's true and maybe it's not.  I suspect it's true.  It's also been actively suppressed from public view, so while we know the gist of the claims we don't know the exact details.

Gee, why is that Mr. Abdullah?  And more to the point, when you talk about stopping those evil terrorists are you prepared to begin with yourself?

Just askin'.

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