Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 17th, 2015

Strong implication that NSA itself is stealing the money from banks

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NSA will doubtless deny it (if they comment at all), but as we know, NSA will lie like a rug: the agency simply cannot be trusted to make true statements. Andrea Peterson writes for the Washington Post:

The U.S. intelligence community has found ways to avoid even the strongest of security measures and practices, a new report from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab suggests, demonstrating a range of technological accomplishments that place the nation’s hackers as among the most sophisticated and well resourced in the world.

Hackers who are part of what the cybersecurity researchers call “Equation Group” have been operating under the radar for at least 14 years, deploying a range of malware that could infect hard drives in a way almost impossible to remove and cold hide code in USB storage devices to infiltrate networks kept separate from the Internet for security purposes.

Kaspersky’s report did not say the U.S. government was behind the group. But it did say the group was closely linked to Stuxnet — malware widely reported to have been developed by the National Security Agency and Israel that was used in an attack against Iran’s uranium enrichment program — along with other bits of data that appear to align with previous disclosures. Reuters further linked the NSA to the Kaspersky report, citing anonymous former employees of the agency who confirmed Kaspersky’s analysis.

NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines said in a statement that the agency was aware of the report, but would not comment publicly on any allegations it raises.

The Kaspersky report shows a highly sophisticated adversary that has found ways to worm itself into computers with even the strongest of security measures in place. This matches up with what we know about other NSA efforts from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, which showed efforts to undermine encryption and evade the protections major tech companies used to guard user data.

But the new report paints a more detailed picture of the breadth of the agency’s reported offensive cyber arsenal. And unlike other recent revelations about U.S. government snooping, which have largely come from Snowden, the insights from Kaspersky came from examining attacks found in the digital wild. Victims were observed in more than 30 countries, with Iran, Russia, Pakistan and Afghanistan having among the highest infection rates, according to the report.

One of the most sophisticated attacks launched by the Equation Group lodged malware deep into hard drives,  according to Kaspersky. It worked by reprogramming the proprietary code, called firmware, built into the hard drives themselves.  That allowed for persistent storage hidden inside a target system that could survive the hard drive being reformatted or an operating system being reinstalled, the report says.

The code uncovered by Kaspersky suggests the malware was designed to work on disk drives of more than a dozen major manufacturers — including those from Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, IBM and Samsung. But the report also notes that this particular technique seemed to be rarely deployed, suggesting that it was used  only on the most valuable victims or in unusual circumstances.

The Kaspersky report also said the group found ways to hide malicious files within a Windows operating system database on the targets’ computer known as the registry — encrypting and stashing the files so that they would be impossible to detect using antivirus software.

Equation Group also found ways to infiltrate systems that were kept off the Internet for security purposes — commonly known as “air-gapped” networks. Malware used by the hackers relied on infected USB sticks to map out such networks — or even remotely deploy code on them, according to the report.

The program would create hidden areas on an infected USB stick. If that stick was then connected to a computer that lacked Internet access, it would scoop up data about the system and save it in that hidden area. If reconnected to a computer with Internet access, it would send that information off to its controllers. Attackers could also run commands on air-gapped networks by saving code to the hidden part of the drive that would run when it was connected to a network without Internet access.

Other malware thought to be developed by the U.S. government, including Stuxnet and Flame, used similar measures to bridge air gaps and previous reports detail even more ways the spy agency has circumvented security measures and practices.

A 2013 story from the Guardian, ProPublica and the New York Timesreported that the NSA had worked secretly to break many types of encryption, successfully exploiting the technology used to protect the privacy of online communications and working with tech companies to introduce weaknesses into commercial products that consumers thought to be secure. . .

Continue reading.

Sounds as though NSA has gone into business for itself.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 9:04 pm

Refutation of an earlier post about Congress

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A while back I posted a rather cynical look at Congress. Seth Masket rebuts it at Pacific Standard:

In a thoughtful piece at Mischiefs of Faction, Peter Hanson questions the value of interviewing politicians about aspects of politics outside their expertise. As an example, he links to this Vox story by an anonymous member of Congress, entitled “Confessions of a Congressman,” that purportedly blows the lid off of Congress by revealing nine inconvenient truths that the public is not supposed to know. However, if you read through them, you find that they’re either pretty banal, untrue, or contradicted by the other points. I’ll go through them one at a time.

  1. “Anyone who is closer to your district than you are will replace you.” So much for the incumbency effect. Voters are apparently paying attention to how their member of Congress votes and will dump him if he’s not representing them. OK, interesting, but then there’s the next point….
  2. Congress panders to big donors. Ah, so members will just vote how their big donors want them to vote. But, wait, as Hanson noted, this totally contradicts point 1. Members can exclusively vote their districts or they can exclusively vote their donors, but they can’t do both.
  3. Redistricting gives everyone safe districts, which is why members love it. This is patently untrue. Redistricting may be done to achieve all sorts of ends. Yes, sometimes it’s to make everyone’s district safer. Quite often, though, it’s for one party to acquire more seats. That’s usually achieved by making more competitive districts that are slightly favorable to the majority party. This creates more seats that are less safe. The infamous 2004 redistricting in Texas dramatically increased the number of Republican House members elected from that state but made those districts more competitive. Also, members don’t necessarily look forward to redistricting. Changing the districts means giving them more voters who don’t know them; the first election after a redistricting can be a risky and tiring one for incumbents.
  4. “Both parties have destroyed your privacy at the polling booth.” I’m not really sure what he’s getting at here. Yes, in most states, party registration is public, even while votes are private, so campaigns can know how voters lean. But that’s not the same as knowing how they voted.
  5. Members of Congress just vote their party. Wait a minute. You just said they just vote their districts. Then you said they just vote for what their big donors want. If they’re just voting their party, then they must be angering their voters and donors some of the time. How is it that 90 percent of them keep getting re-elected?
  6. Committees are a waste of time. This is one of those areas where it’s actually useful to know a member’s insider perspective. Obviously, committees are important—that’s where much of the work of creating and debating legislation occurs. And just a few decades ago, a great deal of deference was awarded to committees; if they liked a bill, it generally passed. It’s quite possible a lot of that deference is gone in an era of strong partisanship.
  7. Members of Congress vote in a way to keep lobbying groups happy so they can get jobs there later. OK, wait, now members are voting how lobbyists tell them? But I thought they voted their districts, or their voters, or their party. What the hell?
  8. The best people don’t run for Congress. That’s certainly possible, although I suppose the definition of “best” is pretty important here. The system we’ve devised to pick leaders requires them to raise money, give speeches, meet lots of people, engage in debates … lots of skills that aren’t necessarily important to actually being a good representative. And that might discourage quite a few qualified people from running. As Kristin Kanthak and Jonathan Woon’sresearch suggests, it might be discouraging quite a few very qualified women from running.
  9. We shouldn’t be cynical. Got it. And a member of Congress anonymously trashing his institution should really help along those lines.

As I’ve suggested, there are a lot of problems with this list of difficult “truths.” A few of them are interesting and revealing. But some of them just aren’t true, and quite a few are contradictory. But probably the most interesting takeaway is the range of influences on a member’s vote. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 7:32 pm

On the Impossibility of Fighting ISIS

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James Fallows offers a somewhat gloomy though realistic assessment via a letter from a reader:

Through the past 13+ years the United States has fought a war of choice in Iraq, and has extended its original fully justified punitive mission in Afghanistan into a war of choice (including “surge”) there. It has the world’s most powerful and most expensive military and has won nearly every tactical engagement in each country. Yet in a strategic sense it has lost both wars.

Now it faces the challenge of the indisputably evil and brutal ISIS. Of the desirability of crushing ISIS there is no doubt. But after the previous commitments led to grief, people have looked back and asked, How could we ever have thought that [Tactic X] would have worked?

It’s worth trying to ask that question ahead of time with ISIS, as it was worth doing with Iraq. The cover story of our brand-new issue [Subscribe!] is a tremendous, thoroughly reported, vividly told analysis by Graeme Wood of the history, ambitions, strengths, and vulnerabilities of the Islamic State movement. I urge you to read it and think about its implications.

Along with Graeme Wood’s story, please consider this shorter assessment byKenneth S. Brower, a longtime defense analyst. He doesn’t agree with Wood on everything, but in the areas both of overlap and of differences I think you’ll find these essays clarifying and valuable.

Some thoughts about our so called “war” on ISIS.

By Kenneth S. Brower

As I see it the Sunni minority in Iraq and the Sunni majority in Syria are under siege by Shia. ISIS is the one successful Sunni group opposing the Shia. A very large portion of Arab Sunnis at least passively support ISIS, not because they support its extreme ideology but because they want the Sunnis to emerge victorious. A subset of the pro ISIS Sunnis actually support their extreme ideology. What we call the Iraqi military is seen by almost all Arab Sunnis as a Shia army under the influence, if not the control, of Iran. This explains why Turkey maintains open borders, as well as the policy of Jordan, Saudi and the Emirates.

I simply do not understand our strategy, assuming we really have one. If our goal is defeating ISIS’s ideology and its support of international terrorism this cannot be done by indirect fire, PERIOD! If [conclusive defeat] is our objective we have only have limited choices: either military control of 25 million Syrian/Iraqi Sunnis, which will require a sustained force of 500,000 for decades; or creating conditions whereby the majority of Sunni Arabs will see it in their self interest to subjugate the ideological minority.

If our objective is simply to maintain the borders set by colonial powers in 1919, then air power alone will suffice. But the inevitable result will be Shia control of Syria and Iraq and a strengthening of ISIS ideology and terrorism.

The use of air power is our only feasible military option, but using air power to liberate urban areas, like Mosul, means destroying them! That will only create more enemies.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no military solution to this issue that can be generated by the US. But I believe there is a political solution.

Sykes Picot

We have to give the Sunnis reason to reject ISIS. That would entail having the US come out against the Sykes-Picot borders, supporting a break up of Iraq into Kurdish, Shia and Sunni countries, incorporating most of Syria, while simultaneously and carefully decimating ISIS leadership. I simply cannot understand why it is in the strategic interest of the US to maintain current Middle Eastern borders, which are unsustainable. I see our current approach as guaranteed to fail. . .

Continue reading. It’s an important issue, and the letter is illuminating.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 4:56 pm

The obsessed US Attorney Melinda Haag won’t be stopped in her prosecution of medical marijuana

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Something is wrong with this attorney. Josh Harkinson reports in Mother Jones:

Several California congressional representatives issued a statement Friday accusing the Department of Justice of “not acting within the spirit or letter of the law” in its pursuit of a three-year-old legal case aimed at shutting down Harborside Health Center, one of the country’s largest and most respected pot dispensaries.

“As Members of Congress we have watched the public acceptance of medical marijuana develop and grow while the Federal policy on it stagnates,” wrote Reps. Sam Farr, Dana Rohrabacher, and Barbara Lee.

In 2012, US Attorney Melinda Haag initiated civil forfeiture proceedings against Harborside, which does $25 million a year in sales, on the grounds that it had grown too big. The move came as shock to many in California’s medical marijuana industry; Harborside was widely viewed as one of the state’s most ethical and legally compliant dispensaries. A few months later, the City of Oakland sued to block Haag’s case, arguing that shutting down Harborside would create a public health crisis.

“It’s clear now that Melinda Haag is the real criminal,” says Harborside founder Steven DeAngelo.

The following year, the Justice Department issued a memo laying out a more permissive federal policy on pot, and federal prosecutors dropped similar civil forfeiture proceedings against several dispensaries in Los Angeles. But in Northern California, Haag pressed on with her case against Harborside and the Berkeley Patients Group, another large, well-respected dispensary.

Motivated in part by Haag’s prosecutions, Reps. Farr and Rohrabacher won a provision in December’s federal appropriations bill that blocks the DOJ from spending money to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries or patients that abide by state laws. The move was expected to be the nail in the coffin for Haag’s pot cases. But on February 3, she appeared before 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to push the case forward, arguing that the City of Oakland shouldn’t be allowed to challenge the proceedings.

“It’s clear now that Melinda Haag is the real criminal in the Harborside case,” says Harborside founder Steven DeAngelo. Haag’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The DOJ’s ongoing pursuit of the case has led to much debate about Haag’s motivations. Some observers wonder . . .

Continue reading.

Apparently Eric Holder and President Obama have no control over this attorney.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 4:45 pm

On not learning from experience: US decides to wade into yet another war

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Kevin Drum has a post nicely summarized in its title: “Since 9/11, We’ve Had 4 Wars in the Middle East. They’ve All Been Disasters.” The post begins:

So here’s my scorecard for American military interventions since 2000:

  • Afghanistan: A disaster. It’s arguable that Afghanistan is no worse off than it was in 2001, but after losing thousands of American lives and spending a trillion American dollars, it’s no better off either.
  • Iraq: An even bigger disaster. Saddam Hussein was a uniquely vicious dictator, but even at that there’s not much question that Iraq is worse off than it was in 2003. We got rid of Saddam, but got a dysfunctional sectarian government and ISIS in return.
  • Yemen: Yet another disaster. After years of drone warfare, Houthi rebels have taken over the government. This appears to be simultaneously a win for Iran,which backs the rebels, and al-Qaeda, which may benefit from the resulting chaos. That’s quite a twofer. . .

There’s more at the link, but that’s enough to set the context for Charles Simic’s NY Review of Books article that begins:

Jon Stewart: “Right now, the Middle East is spiraling out of control. What should America do about this?”

Bassem Youssef, Egyptian comedian and satirist: “Well, how about… nothing.”

The Daily Show, February 9, 2015

Since we rarely see real images of our wars today and have to fall back on simulated ones in Hollywood movies that make us look good, I wonder what Americans would say if they were shown graphic footage of the results of US drone attacks, some of the many wedding parties or funerals we mistook for gatherings of terrorists and reduced to “bug splats,” in the parlance of those dispatching our missiles. The idea that wiping out a bunch of innocents along with a few bad guys will make us safer at home and not make us more enemies everywhere is nuts, and so is the argument that the atrocities we find appalling in others are acceptable when perpetrated by us.

All this ought to be obvious to our leaders in Washington, but apparently it isn’t. President Obama’s new request for war authorization, now pending before Congress, to fight ISIS over the next three years with further airstrikes and “limited” combat operations, despite the complete failure of all our previous attempts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to do any good, may make our wars legal, but no less foolish.

What Czeslaw Milosz said of the last century is unfortunately already true of this one: Woe to those who think they can save themselves without taking part in a tragedy. Millions of Americans certainly continue to think so, even after September 11 and all the wars we have fought since and are still fighting. Television footage and newspaper photographs do not convey the scale of destruction and death in New York City on that day. One needed to have stood at least once under the twin towers to grasp their immense height and magnitude. Although I did, it took me days and months to comprehend fully what had occurred. Even after the second airliner struck the towers, it didn’t cross my mind that they might collapse. When they did, my mind had trouble accepting what my eyes were seeing. It was like a movie, people said afterward. We’d exit the dark movie theater with a shudder and go back to our lives. I thought Americans would finally begin to understand what being bombed is like.

What has always amazed me about countries at war is the way the killing of the innocent in foreign lands is ignored. People who wouldn’t step on an ant at home have no interest in finding out what horrors their country is perpetrating abroad. This heartless attitude becomes even more offensive when one thinks back to those terrified people in New York running through fire and smoke from the collapsing towers. In the days after the attacks, our pundits and politicians clamored for a quick and brutal retaliation that would not be overly concerned with distinguishing the innocent from the guilty. In other words, let’s just start bombing the bastards and not worry about who gets killed—or about the likelihood that the bombed might want to have their own revenge one day.

Things will never be the same in this country people kept saying after September 11, and that has proved to be true. What hasn’t changed is our belief that we can eradicate evil in the world. We’re more likely to see the Taliban shave their beards and let their wives and daughters wear miniskirts than our own leaders break their addiction to militarism. Accordingly, there is no thought given in Washington to the harm our engagement in the Middle East and elsewhere has done to the societies and countries we have attacked, nor to what has caused the hatred and the desire for vengeance against us in the Muslim world. In our version of history, the September 11 hijackers who brought so much tragedy to so many people did what they did and went to their deaths because they loathed our freedoms and our values, while the tragedies we have caused in other countries are nothing more than the collateral damage of our sincere effort to liberate those countries. It’s lucky we Americans have learned to close our eyes to what we do to others; otherwise we’d be in danger of losing our cherished view of ourselves as exceptionally virtuous and innocent people and instead begin to think of ourselves as vile hypocrites. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 4:40 pm

Russian researchers expose breakthrough U.S. spying program

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Related to my previous post: Joseph Menn reports for Reuters:

The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.

That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (

The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.

A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the intelligence agency valued these spying programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.

NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines declined to comment. . .

Continue reading.

The NY Times missed this completely or, more likely, heeded government requests not to mention NSA.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 1:55 pm

Astonishing malware bank heist courtesy of NSA activity

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Here’s the story of the heist by David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in the NY Times:

In late 2013, an A.T.M. in Kiev started dispensing cash at seemingly random times of day. No one had put in a card or touched a button. Cameras showed that the piles of money had been swept up by customers who appeared lucky to be there at the right moment.

But when a Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, was called to Ukraine to investigate, it discovered that the errant machine was the least of the bank’s problems.

The bank’s internal computers, used by employees who process daily transfers and conduct bookkeeping, had been penetrated by malware that allowed cybercriminals to record their every move. The malicious software lurked for months, sending back video feeds and images that told a criminal group — including Russians, Chinese and Europeans — how the bank conducted its daily routines, according to the investigators.

Then the group impersonated bank officers, not only turning on various cash machines, but also transferring millions of dollars from banks in Russia, Japan, Switzerland, the United States and the Netherlands into dummy accounts set up in other countries.

In a report to be published on Monday, and provided in advance to The New York Times, Kaspersky Lab says that the scope of this attack on more than 100 banks and other financial institutions in 30 nations could make it one of the largest bank thefts ever — and one conducted without the usual signs of robbery.

The Moscow-based firm says that because of nondisclosure agreements with the banks that were hit, it cannot name them. Officials at the White House and the F.B.I. have been briefed on the findings, but say that it will take time to confirm them and assess the losses.

Kaspersky Lab says it has seen evidence of $300 million in theft through clients, and believes the total could be triple that. But that projection is impossible to verify because the thefts were limited to $10 million a transaction, though some banks were hit several times. In many cases the hauls were more modest, presumably to avoid setting off alarms.

The majority of the targets were in Russia, but many were in Japan, the United States and Europe.

No bank has come forward acknowledging the theft, a common problem that President Obama alluded to on Friday when . . .

Continue reading. It looks as though they may have stolen a billion dollars. An ominous note later in the story:

The silence around the investigation appears motivated in part by the reluctance of banks to concede that their systems were so easily penetrated, and in part by the fact that the attacks appear to be continuing.

What’s interesting is the debt the thieves owe to our own NSA. Ryan Gallagher reports in The Intercept:

Security researchers have uncovered highly sophisticated malware that is linked to a secret National Security Agency hacking operation exposed byThe Intercept last year.

Russian security firm Kaspersky published a report Monday documenting the malware, which it said had been used to infect thousands of computer systems and steal data in 30 countries around the world. Among the targets were a series of unnamed governments, telecom, energy, and aerospace companies, as well as Islamic scholars, and media organizations.

Kaspersky did not name the NSA as the author of the malware. However, Reuters reported later on Monday that the agency had created the technology, citing anonymous former U.S. intelligence officials.

Kaspersky’s researchers noted that the newly found malware is similar to Stuxnet, a covert tool reportedly created by the U.S. government to sabotage Iranian nuclear systems. The researchers also identified a series of codenames that they found contained within the samples of malware, including STRAIGHTACID, STRAITSHOOTER, and GROK.

Notably, GROK, which Kaspersky said is a piece of malware used to secretly log keystrokes, is tied to secret NSA hacking tactics described in documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden. Last year, The Intercept revealed that the NSA was using a tool called GROK to log keystrokes as part of a toolkit it uses to hack computers and collect data.

The other codenames identified by Kaspersky on Tuesday—such as STRAIGHTACID, STRAITSHOOTER—are strikingly similar to known NSA hacking operations. Leaked NSA documents have revealed that the agency uses hacking tools known as STRAIGHTBIZARRE and FOXACID to break into computers and grab data.

According to Kaspersky, the malware found in the latest discovery is the most advanced ever found and represents an “astonishing technical accomplishment.” It hides deep within an infected computer and can stay on the machine even after attempts to wipe or reformat the hard drive. The security firm has dubbed different variants of the malware EquationLaser, EquationDrug and GrayFish, and they are calling its creators the “Equation Group,” because of the way the spy technology attempts to hide itself in an infected computer using complex encryption. . .

Continue reading.

The NY Times story makes no mention of the NSA connection, possibly at government request (the NY Times seems to routinely censor its reporting at government request) or perhaps because the Times is simply ignorant of the connection.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 1:53 pm

Forget Bribery and Blackmail, Job Offers Are the Real Corruption in Politics

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Very interesting post by Kevin Drum, who points out the key findings from Suzanne Dovi’s op-ed in the LA Times. That begins:

Frank Underwood of Netflix’s “House of Cards” may seem like America’s most corrupt politician. He will stop at nothing, not even murder, to advance his political career. But as a political scientist, I know that real-life corruption is much more commonplace — and frankly more boring. Usually it’s just a job offer.

Remember Jack Abramoff, one of the best-connected lobbyists on Capitol Hill during the George W. Bush administration? In 2006, Abramoff was convicted on federal conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges. The scandal eventually led to the conviction of or plea bargains from 21 people, including White House officials, fellow lobbyists, congressional staffers and former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio).

According to Abramoff’s playbook on how to gain influence in Washington, you could “own” a congressional office as soon as you said to a top staffer, “You know, when you’re done working on the Hill, we’d very much like you to consider working for us.”

Those magic words win access and information more readily than campaign donations. With a job offer on the table, the official or staff member is all but working for the lobbying firm, on the taxpayers’ dime.

This isn’t just hypothetical. Political scientist Adolfo Santos has found that public officials who have plans to become lobbyists act differently while in office from their colleagues who don’t. Interestingly, they are more successful at passing the bills they introduce than officials who don’t go on to be lobbyists. Does this behavior reflect their desire to please their potential future employer or something else? We can’t tell. What we do know is that public officials who are no longer thinking about reelection are freed from the sanctioning power of constituents. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 1:38 pm

Omega 11047 boar+badger and Creed, plus more photos of collection

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SOTD 17 Feb 2015

Today I wanted to see how many passes of lather (shaving after only the first three) I could get from a single loading of the little Omega 11047 boar+badger brush. A redditor mentioned that he could not get three passes from the brush and would have to reload in the course of the shave. My experience is quite different (but note that the tap water here is fairly soft).

So I loaded the brush using Creed’s Green Irish Tweed shaving soap (a fragrance much imitated by various soap vendors, but they can’t touch the exceptional quality of the soap itself). The lather is rich, creamy, and generous.

I’m using the double-open-comb razor from Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements. It’s a vintage design, slightly modified, and though I bought it as a novelty, it really does do a good job, and indeed the friction of the cap against the skin is noticeably reduced. Three passes to a BBS result.

The relathered again, as though for pass 4; rinsed that off, relathered again as though for pass 5; rinsed that off; and started to relather again, but this pass was too thin. So 5 passes from one loading. I think the difference may be in part water quality, and perhaps also the amount loaded, though certainly soap quality might also be a factor.

I finished with a few sprays of Creed’s Green Irist Tweed EDT into the palm of my hand and that applied as an aftershave.

Altogether a great shave.

Someone asked for more views of the bathroom part of the collection:

Bathroom 1

Starting on the left end of the counter, this gives a general view. You can click the photos to enlarge.

Bathroom 2

Part of the brush collection. The top shelf are the tiny brushes as well as a couple of very tall guys.


Some razors on the counter.

Back of sink

The brushes behind the sink.

More brushes

The brush rack beside the door.

Razor shelf right

The razor shelf, right side.

Razor shelf middle

The razor shelf, middle.

Razor shelf left

The razor shelf, left side.

Thank you for viewing. Please exit through the gift shop.

Written by Leisureguy

17 February 2015 at 10:50 am

Posted in Shaving

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