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Last post Author Topic: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications  (Read 64503 times)

Stoic Joker

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I'm not so sure that the government is entirely to blame at this point. It's their alphabet soup minion that's completely out of hand. Nobody really knows what these overpowered spooks are up to. My take on a solution:

Repeal the Patriot Act immediately - It's a rabid dog level bad idea and needs to be put down accordingly.

Keep the FBI - They get to handle the internal "big stuff".

Keep the CIA - Yes even with their insanely checkered past they get to stay (on a short leash) and handle the outside (the country) stuff.

Coastguard and boarder patrol can stay - They do at least server a function.

The rest of the alphabet spooky soup agencies get disbanded, disassembled, and completely destroyed (e.g. no storing of volatile "records" that could get misused later on..).

Now we only have two agencies that should have no problem cooperation with each other - Oh what a selling point that was for half of this evil crap back in post 01 - and should stay nice and too busy doing their actual jobs to be pissing around in the citizenry's business.


Stop all this idiotic touchy feely squeal to mommy 'if you see something say something' bullshit. If anybody learned anything from flight 93...(which displayed the forethought to choose to disobey the prevailing wisdom of cooperating with hijackers)...the correct answer is if you see something Do Something..!

Take twenty minutes and go say hi to you neighbors now and then and get to know them like a proper community is supposed to. Don't spy on them out a window making blind assumption on whether or not to report their behavior to the authorities. It's impossible to unify a bunch of people that speed all their time peek out the curtains looking for the boogie man. Which is precisely what they want ... Scared people who are afraid to talk and are easy to control/lead (to their demise).

CWuestefeld

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This isn't about party.  It's about the whole government.  And unless we can/are willing to throw them all away and start over

wraith, I don't know your party affiliation, and it's none of my business. But whatever it is (assuming you have one), are you willing to vote entirely against that party to ensure that the jerks who perpetrated these things are kicked out?

And will you be willing to vote in that other guy even if his platform is anti-[your favorite sacred cow]?

And will you be willing to do so one year, or even three years from now, when you've cooled down a little (and maybe even forgotten)?

wraith808

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I've never (and will never) vote along party affiliations.  I vote for the person that I perceive to be the best for the job.  It's the only way the system as set forth works, and also the reason that it doesn't... because most don't.

TaoPhoenix

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How about this wrinkle in light of the moving news stories?

Slashdot's title:
"Cornell Researchers Unveil a Virtual Notary"
http://virtual-notary.org/

From the actual site:
"Welcome to Virtual-Notary - a free and secure electronic notary service.
How does it work?

You select a factoid that you would like notarized. We check that factoid, create a record of it that you can refer to later, and issue you a cryptographically-signed certificate that attests to that factoid.

What would you like notarized?

*Web Page
Notarize the HTML content of a web page*"

(Emphasis Mine)




wraith808

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Unintentionally funny in light of this conversation... I received a note of a graphic novel on sale on DriveThruComics.  Looked a the sample... and had to post this screen cap.

huge image and vaguely political
judgedredd.png


TaoPhoenix

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That's viral gold if they'll let it!

40hz

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This isn't about party.  It's about the whole government.  And unless we can/are willing to throw them all away and start over

wraith, I don't know your party affiliation, and it's none of my business. But whatever it is (assuming you have one), are you willing to vote entirely against that party to ensure that the jerks who perpetrated these things are kicked out?

And will you be willing to vote in that other guy even if his platform is anti-[your favorite sacred cow]?

And will you be willing to do so one year, or even three years from now, when you've cooled down a little (and maybe even forgotten)?

As a "party:unaffiliated" voter (and lifelong "political non-Euclidean") I'd have no problem dumping 99% of them on unemployment and allow them to roam free on their own recognizance while awaiting trial! And all without the tiniest doubt, or a hint of regret, on my part.
 ;D

But here's the rub...when voting someone out...who steps in to fill the void?

In some cases they'll be appointed by the same politicos you're trying to toss out the door. Otherwise, they'll be slated for 'free election' by the same political party machines that put the people in office you just got rid of.

You're looking at a systemic failure of representative government here. So I have scant hope it will be able to be corrected by rational discussions among "men of goodwill." I think the entrenched powers have already dug in. And whatever reforms take place won't come quickly or without some very heavy pushback.

I think it's also instructive to note the huge build-up of surveillance, police power, and military technology in the last ten years. And even more chilling, the emphasis on remote control capabilities for same. Who exactly are they so worried about? An occasional terrorist cell that might succeed on generating a few dozen casualties? Another commandeered airliner suicide pact? That's the justification for treating every American who boards a plane these days as a potential security threat? That's the justification for handing every single police department in the country, no matter how small, an arsenal of overpowered weapons and a crash course in paramilitary operations?

Have you ever seen how local police respond these days to even a minor complaint? Time was a single squad car would show up. Maybe with backup if it were a robbery in progress or a domestic dispute. But now, the smallest complaint from a neighbor results in at least half a dozen 20-something "tactical" police officers armed with HK-G36s in stand-down/ready position showing up to do some of the "overwhelming force" and "fear and awe" stuff they were taught at that 5-day training session they went to. Here's an example of happened in my own state when the "boys with their toys" showed up half-cocked and "ready for trouble" in about as rural an area as you can find around here. (Note: The town where it happened has a population of only 7490 people (7150 white). Median age is 41. The town is 27 square miles and is "gentrified country" in the extreme. It has a median household income of $132,000 for approximately 2500 households. So as you can see, this is not the type of place that requires the sort of presence the police elected to show up with on that occasion.)


But it gets worse...

Time was when you could hopefully count on the discretion and ethical judgment of field personnel to mitigate some of the most egregious attempts at abuses of official power. But with the direction this government want to go with tech (drones, field robotics, etc.) it's rapidly reaching the point where a moderately small cadre of "loyal Americans whose patriotism doesn't get reelected every four years" could easily hold much of this country under the yoke from "undisclosed secure locations" in places like Colorado, Utah, Maryland, or Virginia. Because they've certainly demonstrated it's possible to locate and kill somebody via a drone they're controlling by satellite from half way around the world that way. They're even proud enough they've boasted about it.

Not that you'd need t hat kind of tech...

Look how successful Nicolae Ceaușescu's secret police, the Securitate were in Romania. And all they had was basic wiretaps and bugs (plus a scared populace) to help them.

From Wikipedia:

Quote
In the 1980s, the Securitate launched a massive campaign to stamp out dissent in Romania, manipulating the country's population with vicious rumors (such as supposed contacts with Western intelligence agencies), machinations, frameups, public denunciations, encouraging conflict between segments of the population, public humiliation of dissidents, toughened censorship and the repression of even the smallest gestures of independence by intellectuals. Often the term "intellectual" was used by the Securitate to describe dissidents with higher education, such as college and university students, writers, directors and scientists who opposed the philosophy of the Communist party. Assassinations were also used to silence dissent, such as the attempt to kill high-ranking defector Ion Mihai Pacepa, who received two death sentences from Romania in 1978, and Ceauşescu decreed a bounty of two million US dollars for his death. Yasser Arafat and Muammar al-Gaddafi set one more million dollars reward each.[5] In the 1980s, Securitate officials allegedly hired Carlos the Jackal to assassinate Pacepa.[6]

Forced entry into homes and offices and the planting of microphones was another tactic the Securitate used to extract information from the general population. Telephone conversations were routinely monitored, and all internal and international fax and telex communications were intercepted. After coal miners' unions went on strike and several leaders died prematurely, it was later discovered that Securitate doctors had subjected them to five minute long chest X-rays in an attempt to have them develop cancer.[7] After birth rates fell, Securitate agents were placed in gynecological wards while regular pregnancy tests were made mandatory for women of child-bearing age, with severe penalties for anyone who was found to have terminated a pregnancy.[7]

The Securitate's presence was so ubiquitous that it was believed one out of four Romanians was an informer. In truth, the Securitate deployed one agent or informer for every 43 Romanians, which was still large enough to make it all but impossible for dissidents to organize. The regime deliberately fostered this sense of ubiquity, believing that the fear of being watched was sufficient to bend the people to Ceausescu's will. For example, one shadow group of dissidents limited itself to only three families; any more than that would have attracted Securitate attention.[8

Is any of the above starting to sound strangely familiar? :huh:

Uh-huh!
fascism.jpg

« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 05:14:22 PM by 40hz »

40hz

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You know what? I have to stop posting on this stuff for awhile. I'm getting too disgusted.

I'll join back in when I feel less overwhelmed. 40hz over and out for now. :) :Thmbsup:

wraith808

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But here's the rub...when voting someone out...who steps in to fill the void?

That is the question, is it not?  And there's no way to answer it really.  In our current system of politics, you have to have money in order to serve.  Either yours, or someone else's.  That's indicative of a larger problem.  And the people that would be best for the job in general don't have any aspirations towards it.  That's how you usually tell that someone would be good for the job.

So that was my point in the whole don't start talking boot people out.  What fills the void will probably not be any better... and may just be worse.

TaoPhoenix

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But here's the rub...when voting someone out...who steps in to fill the void?

That is the question, is it not?  And there's no way to answer it really.  In our current system of politics, you have to have money in order to serve.  Either yours, or someone else's.  That's indicative of a larger problem.  And the people that would be best for the job in general don't have any aspirations towards it.  That's how you usually tell that someone would be good for the job.

So that was my point in the whole don't start talking boot people out.  What fills the void will probably not be any better... and may just be worse.

Let's use Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan for an example. Theoretically let's say "a billionaire" (pick one besides from Microsoft!) decided to jump into this "Prez gig". He'd need 10 of his friends on the Congressional side to be able to have a hope of getting any actual bills through. Obama is far from perfect, but the general Republican Stonewalling wouldn't be ANY better for an "outsider". Because then you'd have BOTH parties doing their damnest to go all "temporary alliance on his a$$". (Dollar signs intentional!)

CWuestefeld

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But here's the rub...when voting someone out...who steps in to fill the void?

That is the question, is it not?

I think a possible answer is: anybody else.

If we just keep throwing out any bum that won't follow the rules, I hope they'd learn that *we* are the masters, and get their acts together. After just a few cycles, things would get better.

I'm not sure that's true, but I think it's worth trying.

barney

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Probably irrelevant, but I don't recall voting for anyone since I achieved - acquired? - majority.

[edit] Wouldn't that be pretty much going for the lesser of evils?  If we've gone that far (or are that far gone)  ...

wraith808

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If we just keep throwing out any bum that won't follow the rules, I hope they'd learn that *we* are the masters, and get their acts together. After just a few cycles, things would get better.

There was a conference made up of movers and shakers from several fortune 500 companies.  The moderator of one of the main sessions asked a question: if you could play by the rules and in 10 years double the profits of the company and have a stable company, or in 2 years triple it, knowing it would be out of business in 5, which would you do.

The majority said the out of business in 5.

One of the checks and balances against the abuse of power, I think, is the existence of people already in power, paradoxically.  Without that bulwark, and without knowing the quality of those being put into power, and knowing that they had a limited time to get what they could, I think you'd see a lot more slash and burn.

kyrathaba

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Reated article in The Guardian

CWuestefeld

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More worth reading:

http://antiprism.eu/
Quote
We are appalled to learn of the unprecedented surveillance of Internet users worldwide through PRISM and similar programmes. Blanket surveillance capabilities such as these, especially when implemented without citizens' scrutiny, seriously threaten the human rights to free speech and privacy and with them the foundations of our democracies.

...

Maybe Europe can help us out. If their business won't work with us because of objections to spying, maybe our business will put enough pressure on the government to dump the spying.

wraith808

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Remember that whole "Keep the FBI"?

I'm just going to leave these right here...

FBI Admits It Surveils U.S. With Drones

Why Won’t the FBI Tell the Public About its Drone Program?

Stoic Joker

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Remember that whole "Keep the FBI"?

I'm just going to leave these right here...

Oh yes, I'm well aware that none of the alphabet soup crowd has been keeping their hands above the covers these days. But their past indiscretions aren't the point. The point is that we now have such a veritable laundry list of these ultra-spook agencies that it's simply impossible to keep control of them. They have tons of power and time...and nobody to really report to per se, as perilously close to nobody even knows that they exist...let alone WTF they're doing.

So... Idle hands being the devils workshop. The obvious solution is to pair them down to a more manageable size. This greatly enhances communication as there would only be two groups that would need to share with each other. And the best part is that with only the two groups - and such a big scary world out there.. - they would be far too busy doing their actual jobs for a F'ing change to have time to be futzing about in everyone's underwear drawers.

The Feds using drones on the citizenry is an annoying side effect of the Patriot Act...which of course needs to be kicked to the curb immediately. The really scary part is that now local law enforcement agencies are wanting to start using these things to catch J-walkers and shit. The cops already have fully automatic weapons and standing orders to shoot only if it's any time they goddamn feel like it. That's screwed up enough they don't need even more toys to abuse badly. When they can show that they've learned not to shoot people for not "Following their commands fast enough" (quote from a local news report), then "we the people" will discuss their getting more toys.

Stoic Joker

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More worth reading:

http://antiprism.eu/

Hay, nothing like peer pressure to buckle ones resolve. If enough countries jump on the USA's ass perhaps they'll have to concede.

TaoPhoenix

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So... Idle hands being the devils workshop. The obvious solution is to pair them down to a more manageable size. This greatly enhances communication as there would only be two groups that would need to share with each other. And the best part is that with only the two groups - and such a big scary world out there.. - they would be far too busy doing their actual jobs for a F'ing change to have time to be futzing about in everyone's underwear drawers.

Not so obvious. They WERE smaller 15 years ago. Then they complained that they couldn't stop crime because they were understaffed. They used that as part of their marketing pitch to add more people and hardware.

barney

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They WERE smaller 15 years ago. Then they complained that they couldn't stop crime because they were understaffed. They used that as part of their marketing pitch to add more people and hardware.

And they still haven't stopped crime  :( >:( :P!

Tinman57

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  Just a bunch of politicking for the sake of looking good.  Of course the U.S. just BS'd them and sent them on their merry way.....

Quote
EU commissioner wants to protect citizens from Prism
06.14.2013 9:40 AM
Europe's Justice Commission said Friday that she would not sacrifice European citizens rights for United States national security.

http://www.pcworld.c...-not-negotiable.html

Shades

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Or we could do what Aerosmith was/is still singing about....'Eat the rich'.

That would solve quite some issues quickly  ;)

CWuestefeld

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Or we could do what Aerosmith was/is still singing about....'Eat the rich'.

Lightweights. Do it the right way, with Motörhead:

40hz

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Even more from the NYT <article here>...

Quote
Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders
By JAMES RISEN and NICK WINGFIELD
Published: June 19, 2013


WASHINGTON — When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he did not go to Google, Twitter or a similar Silicon Valley concern. Instead the man who was responsible for protecting the personal information of Facebook’s more than one billion users from outside attacks went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency.

Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business. Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.

The only difference is that the N.S.A. does it for intelligence, and Silicon Valley does it to make money.

Quote
A Skype executive denied last year in a blog post that recent changes in the way Skype operated were made at the behest of Microsoft to make snooping easier for law enforcement. It appears, however, that Skype figured out how to cooperate with the intelligence community before Microsoft took over the company, according to documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the N.S.A. One of the documents about the Prism program made public by Mr. Snowden says Skype joined Prism on Feb. 6, 2011.

Microsoft executives are no longer willing to affirm statements, made by Skype several years ago, that Skype calls could not be wiretapped. Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment.

Here's the Skype blog post referenced in the NYT article. I pulled a copy because I expect it to disappear or be 'edited' "real soon now."

It's long...
Quote
What Does Skype's Architecture Do?

07/26/2012 in Big Blog by Mark Gillett


In the last few days we have seen reports in the media we believe are inaccurate and could mislead the Skype community about our approach to user security and privacy. I want to clear this up.

At Skype, we continue to be humbled and grateful for the commitment to our product that we see from our truly global user community. We focus every day on building the best possible product for sharing experiences whenever people are apart. We want Skype to be reliable, fast, easy to use, and in most cases – free. It works for Moms and Dads, teachers, soldiers, kids and sisters, brothers, grandparents, lovers and old friends all over the world. Our growth during the last nine years shows we are on the right path, and to our entire community, we say “thank you.” We are privileged to serve 250 million active users each month and support 115 billion minutes of person to person live communications in the last quarter alone. We believe that communication is a fundamental human need and that while we’ve been privileged with tremendous success we are just scratching the surface of the communications experiences that we plan to create.

Of course, this doesn’t happen by magic. It is no small technical challenge to make sure that people can connect whenever and wherever they wish. It requires investment, innovation and commitment to using new technology and capabilities. In addition to solving the challenges of scaling and providing reliable, dependable communications that people love, we operate globally and have an obligation to operate responsibly. We are committed to doing a great job at both – providing a phenomenal experience for all users, and acting as a responsible global citizen.

Despite these efforts, some media stories recently have suggested Skype may be acting improperly or based on ulterior motives against our users’ interests. Nothing could be more contrary to the Skype philosophy.

Let me restate some of the allegations and provide the facts.

It has been suggested that Skype made changes in its architecture at the behest of Microsoft in order to provide law enforcement with greater access to our users’ communications.

False.

Skype’s architecture decisions are based on our desire to provide the best possible product to our users. Skype was in the process of developing and moving supernodes to cloud servers significantly ahead of the Microsoft acquisition of Skype. Skype first deployed ‘mega-supernodes’ to the cloud to improve reliability of the Skype software and service in December 2010. These nodes have been deployed in Skype’s own data centres, within third-party infrastructure such as Amazon’s EC2, and most recently within Microsoft’s data-centers and cloud. The move was made in order to improve the Skype experience, primarily to improve the reliability of the platform and to increase the speed with which we can react to problems. The move also provides us with the ability to quickly introduce cool new features that allow for a fuller, richer communications experience in the future.

Early this year we completed our move of all of our supernodes into Microsoft’s global data-center footprint so we and our users can benefit from the network connectivity and support that powers Microsoft’s other global scale cloud software including Xbox Live, Bing, SkyDrive, Hotmail and Office 365. This provides a real benefit to our users and to our ability to continue to scale the Skype product.

It has been suggested that Skype has recently changed its posture and policies with regard to law enforcement.

False.

The move to supernodes was not intended to facilitate greater law enforcement access to our users’ communications. Skype has had a team of Skype employees to respond to legal demands and requests from law enforcement since 2005. While we are focused on building the best possible products and experiences for our users, we also fundamentally believe that making a great product experience also means we must act responsibly and make it safe for everyone to use. Our position has always been that when a law enforcement entity follows the appropriate procedures, we respond where legally required and technically feasible. We have a policy posted to our main website that provides additional background on our position on this matter.

It has been suggested that as a result of recent architecture changes Skype now monitors and records audio and video calls of our users.

False.

The move to in-house hosting of “supernodes” does not provide for monitoring or recording of calls. “Supernodes” help Skype clients to locate each other so that Skype calls can be made. Simply put, supernodes act as a distributed directory of Skype users. Skype to Skype calls do not flow through our data centres and the “supernodes” are not involved in passing media (audio or video) between Skype clients.

These calls continue to be established directly between participating Skype nodes (clients). In some cases, Skype has added servers to assist in the establishment, management or maintenance of calls; for example, a server is used to notify a client that a new call is being initiated to it and where the full Skype application is not running (e.g. the device is suspended, sleeping or requires notification of the incoming call), or in a group video call, where a server aggregates the media streams (video) from multiple clients and routes this to clients that might not otherwise have enough bandwidth to establish connections to all of the participants.

We believe that servers are the best way to solve these technical challenges, and provide the best possible experience to our user community.

As has always been the case, SkypeOut calls and incoming telephone calls to Skype on-line numbers (PSTN calls) do flow through gateways of our PSTN partners as this is required in order to connect them to the traditional telephone network.

It has been suggested that the changes we have made were made to facilitate law enforcement access to instant messages on Skype.

False.

The enhancements we have been making to our software and infrastructure have been to improve user experience and reliability. Period.

In order to provide for the delivery and synchronization of instant messages across multiple devices, and in order to manage the delivery of messages between clients situated behind some firewalls which prevent direct connections between clients, some messages are stored temporarily on our (Skype/Microsoft) servers for immediate or later delivery to a user.

As I have outlined above, if a law enforcement entity follows the appropriate procedures and we are asked to access messages stored temporarily on our servers, we will do so. I must reiterate we will do so only if legally required and technically feasible.

Some commentators have suggested that Skype has stopped protecting its users’ communications.

False.

Skype software autonomously applies encryption to Skype to Skype calls between computers, smartphones and other mobile devices with the capacity to carry a full version of Skype software as it always has done. This has not changed. The China-only version of the Skype software provided locally through our joint-venture partner tom.com contains a chat filter in accordance with local law.

As I described at the outset, our users and their Skype experience is our first priority.

We have an amazingly loyal and committed global user community and we believe that our users deserve the best products we can build.

Every day we focus on connecting Skype users to the people who matter to them, whether they are in Moscow, Miami or Mumbai and whether they are on PCs, iPhones, televisions, Windows Phones, Macs or Android devices. We constantly strive to design and deliver effective, safe and reliable communications software that is easy to use. We hope you will continue to love Skype.

Thank you for your continued support, use and passion about our products.

- Mark


I particularly appreciate the spin doctoring when they chose to use the weasel-worded phrase: "It has been suggested..."  when it would have been far more accurate, and in keeping with the the nature of the original concerns to say: "Skype has been accused..."
 :-\

TaoPhoenix

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I particularly appreciate the spin doctoring when they chose to use the weasel-worded phrase: "It has been suggested..."  when it would have been far more accurate, and in keeping with the the nature of the original concerns to say: "Skype has been accused..."

Oh! I know this song!
"I called the Spin Doctor and what did he say? I called the Spin Doctor and what did he say? He said, "Ohh, eee, Ohh Ahh Ahh, Microsoft Bing, Walla Walla Ching Chang!"