Liberty · Equality · Eternity
  Neutering the Net
Deconstructing Obama Cybersecurity Spiel, 13/2/15

President Obama has been ignoring the priceless advice I’ve been dispensing. For instance, that he should resign. There are openings at Comedy Central and NBC where he could make much more money and have fewer responsibilities, possibly even be less bored. I am suggesting replacement employment, which is more than he has done for millions who continue to lose jobs as a result of his policies.

I also cautioned against overexposure. Viewers tire of seeing anyone, even if he is not so unsettling. Dishonest persons have greater difficulty hiding the truth when they must keep embellishing, or, as a wise man said, The more you say, the more you give yourself away.

On Friday, the thirteenth, he addressed cybersecurity at Stanford Junior University. I watched it on FBN, then printed out a transcript filling almost four pages of fine print. He begins by buttering up his audience, praising the institution’s president for “outstanding leadership,” as if the US President is familiar with that concept. Obama says he likes Stanford grads, mentioning two shining stars, Valerie Jarrett and Susan Rice, also Penny Pritzker, who is Secretary of Commerce. Surprised Obama even knew that. It's not as if he hold cabinet meetings.

OBAMA again

After more small talk, he reiterates his claims of an improving economy. Things like more jobs, without mentioning the workforce drop, and claiming that “wages are beginning to rise again.” Sure they are. If you lower expectations significantly, anything is an improvement. He claimed that high school graduation rates have hit an all-time high, and “more Americans are finishing college than ever before.” Obama did not mention that more recent college graduates are unemployed than ever before, while seasoned college graduates cannot find quality jobs, either. He boasts that “we’re working to connect 99% of America’s students to high-speed Internet,” as if that is his job. Young persons seem to have no trouble accessing the Web.

Then he goes into teaching mode, reciting Obama’s history of computers and the Internet, without mentioning that some of the most important contributors to that process dropped out of college. He claims that innovations were “built on government-funded research.” Tell that to Apple. The President even works in his theory that no individual is responsible for computing advances, saying, “the reality is that each contribution has to follow on previous work.” That is a linear interpretation, but advances are unpredictable, resulting from inspiration, experimentation and luck. Reality is never neat.

After recounting the success of the Internet and of hackers, he promotes his real message: Net neutrality. No one knows what that means but, if the government is behind it, we know that it’s probably the opposite of what it claims to be. Maybe identity theft and other problems are a threat to our security “and to the wellbeing of our children,” as he said, but any time a government official mentions children, be afraid. So many idiotic laws are passed by invoking “the children.”

This job is hard

Esssay on why we must fight evil

Cyber threats are a serious problem, presumably less serious than the climate changing, more serious than jihadist rampages. So while private industry have developed great protections, for businesses and individuals that employ them, Obama thinks the government should be involved. (He always thinks government should be involved.) He wants Homeland Security and industry to work together as true partners. You know, like the US and Israel.

Why? You see, he says, “when something like Sony happens, people want to know what can government do about this.” Who are these people? I don’t want the government to do anything. I want to know why Sony were so damned careless.

The President admits “it’s not appropriate or even possible for government to secure the computer networks of private business.” It’s not even possible for government to set up a functioning Web site like obamacare.com. He’s proven that.

As the bureaucrats insinuate themselves, Obama wants to protect “the privacy and civil liberty of the American people.” Is there some reason to believe that claim, especially from the least transparent, most unaccountable administration ever? Ask Sharyl Attkisson what she thinks.

What Sharyl thinks:

…the Obama administration is working overtime to try to turn it all around — not the government’s behavior, mind you, just the public’s perception of it. That translates into tightening the noose around government secrets and those who hold them.

Some new group will pretend to tackle cybersecurity, so Big O wants Congress to fund Homeland Security (DHS), its parent body. “This is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” he says disingenuously. (Another lie.) Opponents of his executive order on immigration plan to stall that DHS budget to stop Obama’s power grab. And while he claims he wants Congress to act, the President signed another executive order to create yet another do-nothing department, unless you count wasting money as doing something.

He’s also proposing a “national standard,” where consumers must be informed within 30 days if their information has been stolen. That seems like a long time, but it is far faster than the administration responds to Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests, when they do so at all. Reiterating the hypocrisy, he goes on:

"This should not be an ideological issue. And that’s one thing I want to emphasize: This is not a Democratic issue, or a Republican issue. This is not a liberal or conservative issue. Everybody is online, and everybody is vulnerable. The business leaders here want their privacy and their children protected, just like the consumer and privacy advocates here want America to keep leading the world in technology and be safe from attacks."

But will we be safe from a tax? Naturally, the President didn’t deny it was a libertarian issue. For it’s one thing to voluntarily provide information to Google, or even Microsoft, it’s something else for the government to seize information without your consent. All is political for Barack Obama.

He says he values his privacy and his family’s privacy. Of course he does. But we’ve seen that he values no one else’s privacy. As if they’ve been trying to improve, he admits that “making sure the government itself is not abusing its capabilities is hard.” Try impossible. If it were easy, the government might (might) be able to do it. The Obama White House uses hackers to attack reporters exposing government blunders and cover-ups. That is scarier than foreign intruders, and easier to stop. It merely requires a Presidential order that is not forthcoming.

Once again, I am struck with the thought that either Obama is simple or he thinks the American people are. If you cannot trust someone, you do not want that person protecting you.


Watch it on YouTube

Posted 15 February 2015   Mouse, apple, etal

For more on government spying and intimidation,
read Stonewalled by Sharyl Attkisson. It's excellent.


Critics, primarily Republicans, have decried the President's Buzzfeed video as demeaning the office. Consider it his "The Daily Show" audition. The president is a man, or a woman, if Yancy Butler gets elected. Better he or she has fun we can see than commit heinous acts in secrecy.

"Person Of Interest" fans may wonder what happened to Sameen Shaw (the wonderful Sarah Shahi). She is doubly pregnant, which renders her unable to meet the demands of a weekly action programme, where she performs most of her stunts. We wish her well and hope she can return in future. And by we, I mean me.
HEAD
  apologies to Graham Nash

The United States’ two-party system results in off-kilter debates about irrelevancies. That problem carries over to the military or, as politicians deceptively call it, Defense.

Recently, we’ve seen tension over a movie, American Sniper. I have not seen the film because I do not go to theatres, but that never stops idiots from making stupid comments. Guys like Michael Moore and Howard Dean attack the movie, the latter extending his criticism to the motives of those who see it. Dean has yet to figure out that most people spend a chunk of their hard-earned money to be entertained, not to fulfill some political agenda. Movies are expensive to make, hopefully generating a profit.

While some on the Left wear their ignorance as a badge of honour, those on the Right are no better. They keep referring to soldiers as heroes. Not long ago, a hero was either a sandwich or someone who did something extraordinary, like running into a burning building to save a child. In wars, a hero risked his life to save others. Enlisting in the military and doing your job did not make you a hero.

Eisenhower quote

Part of this confusion stems from the idea being promulgated that the armed forces are protecting us, keeping us free. That is nonsense. First off, a military career is a job, with low pay and excellent benefits. Second, much of their activity occurs in places like France, Germany and almost every other country in the world, where the biggest risk is contracting an STD. They are either maintaining a presence in a peaceful country or engaging in combat in the Mideast. The one thing they are not doing is protecting the USA from attacks, as was painfully obvious on 11 September 2001, when nothing was done to mitigate the worst attack ever on American soil.

The other false narrative is by small-government advocates who lambast every federal department, except Defense. I agree that keeping us safe is a legitimate responsibility of the government, but they claim that is the one area where government works. It is not.

The military is at least as bloated and inefficient as any other federal bureaucracy, yet increased spending is touted as greater security, another false premise.

Rachel Maddow (yes that Rachel Maddow) wrote a fascinating book, Drift, which documents the runaway spending that drives our bloated military budget. It’s in paperback now but, if you don’t have time for a whole book, an article in The Atlantic by James Fallows [see: The Tragedy of the American Military/ Jan-Feb 2015] provides a less extensive blueprint of failure.
ATLANTIC 2015
[While there, read William Deresiewicz’s essay, which uses the word "paradigm" nine times,
a possible record.]

As President Eisenhower warned in 1960 [see: total text.], the military-industrial complex is the winner and actual defense the loser. As he put it, "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

The Defense budget has become a pork-barrel tool, with ineffective weapons, like the F-35, being developed at the expense of useful, less expensive technologies, simply because they have a political constituency. As Fallows puts it, “we spend too much money on the military, and we spend it stupidly, thereby shortchanging many of the functions that make the most difference to the welfare of our troops and their success in combat.”

Consider drones. Experts, including L·E·E, have warned that the US will not have exclusive use of drones forever. Once they were employed, most diligently by the Obama Administration, there should have been a counter-technology in place. Because this country is vulnerable to drones, more so than desert rats getting their just desserts.

The other day, a drone overloaded with methamphetamine crashed in Mexico near San Ysidro, apparently on its way into the USA. It could as easily have contained weapons. Another drone landed in front of the White House last month. Inevitably, drones will be used to attack Americans within the USA. What is the Pentagon doing to prevent that? The same thing they did to stop the airliner that crashed into their headquarters in 2001. Nothing.

Should we have a strong military? Yes. But whether we deploy them or they are just on stand-by, they should have the most efficient tools (okay, weapons) money can buy, not the most expensive that make Congress look like heroes to local manufacturers, helping incompetents remain in office for perpetuity.

Posted 1 February 2015   Cat Admiral

do not cross

Obama's Banner Week

Kicking off the week with a Groundhog Day budget release, like the movie of the same name, our hero keeps submitting unbalanced budgets that have been resoundingly rejected by all partisans in Congress.

Speaking at the annual prayer breakfast, Obama blame the USA for the Crusades. Not sure if he was putting that on Native Americans because there sure as hell weren't any Europeans on this continent in the Middle Ages. A lot of people still thought the Earth was flat then, much like the Mideast today. He blamed Democrats for slavery and Jim Crow laws. Oh,—wait, he omitted that detail, instead blaming institutional racism on Christians. Mr Obama also overlooked godless regimes that slaughtered millions of their own citizens in the name of radical Communism and Nazism in the last century.

RICE ain't nice

Friday, National Security Advisor Susan Rice returned to the Brookings Institute supposedly to lay out the Administration's security strategy. I was fortunate to catch her on CSPAN, where I could not figure out whether she was spouting bullshit or horse shit. At least there was a common denominator. Rice rehashed Obama's State of the Union message, using some of the same phrases in a cut-and-paste fantasy collage. She spoke in generalities, giving discrimination against transgender people equal importance to jihadis killing homosexuals, children and anyone they dislike. At least she didn't blame any videos for terrorist attacks. The highlight was when she referred to our golf partners. I had to rewind that to get that she said “Gulf” partners. Understandable, you'll agree, considering the White House's priorities.

Instead of reading security briefings, the Administration are studying Kierkegaard. Don’t worry if you don't know who or what that is. The Common Corps will bring you up to speed. Today’s word is "existential." Or "obfuscate."

We learned from Rice that elections don't matter, specifically those in which Obama is rejected, like November 2014 and November 2000. We also learned that Washington clowns believe they can alter the world's climate, operating under the illusion that climate change is exceptional and harmful, neither of which has any scientific underpinnings.

The obvious conclusion is that the 2016 election cannot happen soon enough although, despite the Administration's belief, they can no more change time than they can climate. My initial survey of the uninspiring current crop of contenders appears at GT HOUSE. [See: 2016 Election, GT's Take 1].

Posted 7 February 2015   Racist Pilgrim?

Contribute


War on Workers Obama's war on you
who benefits?

The Democratic party’s war on women is well documented.
Scarier is their war on workers [see: 'The poor better off with Republicans'].

I’ve recounted the numerous times over his term that President Obama has said “we” need to concentrate on jobs, a pro-nouncement never followed by action. Now he has shifted (rhetorically) to what he calls a Middle Class Economic Plan, which renames his Administration's policies. Of course, he continues to claim that the job market is improving [see FRED chart below for the reality], thanks to desperate folks accepting part-time and/or low-paying jobs.

Two of his big initiatives are:
  1. increasing the minimum wage, and
  2. increasing “education” spending.
Sorry, “investing,” like offering free tuition for worthless junior colleges. In other words, adjusting the price to what that schooling is worth to the student.

The arguments for increasing the minimum wage are sensible within the Progressive worldview. First, it hasn’t increased in years. Second, you can’t live on it. Problem is it has increased in many states and localities [see below], without doing much for anyone, except reduce hours and employment. No one has supported himself (or herself) on a 40-hour week earning minimum wage, explaining the popularity of prostitution as an occupation. If the wage was increased to $15, it would not be enough. Could you live on $600 a week (gross)? No politician could, that’s for sure.

Less work for all
Death by Recession

Another victory for eradicating the middle class, and not just their jobs. Mental depression is way up and, with it, suicide. The Economist reports that over 40,000 Americans took their own lives in 2012. That is more than died in car crashes, according to the American Association of Suicidology.

Traditionally, those over 75 are more likely to kill themselves because they are lonely and ill. Obamanomics have spread the sadness to younger Americans. In 2012, the rate was 20 per 100,000 persons aged 45 to 54. By contrast, the general rate during the Depression, the real one, was 19 per 100,000. They didn’t have anti-depressants then, or Obama.

And no American Association of Suicidology.



Thanks to the Unaffordable Care Act (UCA), more of those minimum-wage jobs are part time, with no overtime. Congress want to change that flaw in the law, which Obama promises to veto, as a strategy in his war on workers. (He may have no strategy on Islamic terrorism, but he is focused when it comes to killing the Middle Class in the USA.)

[See why UCA gets suckier each day at Obamacare costs a fortune.]

MINIMUM RAGE
For specifics, consider Seattle, where the minimum wage is rising to $15/hour. Avik Roy of Forbes.com reports that Howard Behar, the former president of a Seattle-based coffee shop chain, said, “You’re going to see more automation… Don’t be surprised if Starbucks goes to all-cashless payment” to eliminate cashiers. Even after Starbucks sheds workers, Behar calculates, the
$15-an-hour wage mandate will jack up a $5.20 order to $6.20. “That dollar might not seem like much if you’re making six figures at Microsoft or Google,” but higher retail prices raise the cost of living for those struggling to survive the current economic assault.

With wages declining, food and other prices increasing, working-class and poor Americans are reeling, not Obama’s wealthy comrades, who have benefited from his cockeyed economic fiddling. Forget Iraq, Vietnam, the Drug War. The Democrat's War on Workers is the first victorious conflict since World War II.

Posted 11 February 2015   Working Cat


 

 

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Israel or Unreal?

Wow! Barack and Angela together in a news conference. He always kicks off these things with something positive, like congratulating Merkel on being one of the longest-serving chancellors of Germany, having been there for about ten years. Quite an accomplishment, not quite as long as Konrad Adenauer (1949-1963) and, of course, Adolf Hitler (1933-1945) I always enjoy Obama pretending everything is not political, as when he claims a meeting with Netanyahu “could be perceived as partisan politics.” That’s never stopped him before.

At least Obama has an excuse. The Vice President claims he will be out of the country, at a destination nation to be announced. That’s like the girl who says she can’t go out with you tonight because she is going to shampoo her hair, an excuse Biden probably couldn’t get away with, even on MSNBC. The Chief Executive ignored a press question about Democrats in Congress boycotting Netanyahu. I guess they would rather hear from George Soros.

Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, Congress’ only Jewish Republican, said if lawmakers boycott Netanyahu’s speech, “it’s a horrendous, irresponsible message to send to Israel.” He called Israel “a free, democratic society thriving in an area of the world where radical Islamic extremism is growing most rapidly.” So wrote the Huffington Post.

our motto

I agreed with something Obama said. None of the alternatives to an agreement with Iran are attractive. Problem is, none of the agreements Iran have made over the past decade have been honoured, including verification. It seems as if POTUS's policy is to hope the Islamic terror-exporting state will delay for another two years before announcing it has a nuclear weapon, an announcement that might take the form of a deployment.

Obama's remarks, if you can believe it:

"What’s the rush?
  Unless your view is that it’s not possible to get a deal with Iran.

"As the President of The United States, I’m looking at what the options
  are if we don’t get a diplomatic resolution. And those options are
  narrow and they’re not attractive."

What I see is Obama not wanting to accept the world as it is, the one thread that runs through what passes for his foreign policy agenda. It may be possible to get a deal with Iran, but you cannot trust them. This is not an Obama problem. Previous administrations have tried dealing with Iran as if they were a rational power. All have failed. It’s like saying you can get an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. If both parties wanted to settle and end the killing, they would have by now.

Posted 7 February 2015   Reflective Kitty
Mohammad's wife holding mirror

 
Spine on Merkel
URKEL in 2016
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