10/28/2015 inevitable CISA:
CNET.COM introduced its CISA Senate-passage report with an apparently erroneous statement: "If you value security over privacy, you might applaud the US Senate's vote Tuesday to pass the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act". Of course the bill will have negligible effect on security yet enormous impact on "freedom". Offering counterpoint the piece later quotes Mark Jaycox of the Electronic Frontier Foundation like this: "With security breaches like T-Mobile, Target, and [the US government's Office of Personnel Management] becoming the norm, Congress knows it needs to do something about cybersecurity...It chose to do the wrong thing".
Ostensibly the new bill "allows companies to share evidence of cyberattacks with the US government, without fear of lawsuits if that information also violates your privacy". In reality it empowers "authorities" to extort anything desired about you from major Internet players whether or not highly personal information is involved and whether or not probable cause exists. The bill nullifies legal recourse for unsuspecting victims thereby making the bill autocratic and highly tyrannical—and much in favor with the U.S Congress, essentially the same bunch that blessed kidnapping, torture, clandestine incarceration, and illegal invasions of sovereign nations in the name of exceptionalism and righteousness.
Attempting to thwart the bill by writing your U.S. district's congressman is an exercise in futility but arguably prerequisite for "griping rights"—so do it anyway. Characteristically The Guardian has published a more comprehensive article. See it HERE.
10/26/2015 FBI "solutions":
The current Director of the FBI has an avowed aversion to cell phone encryption because he believes that it impedes law enforcement efforts. His trammeled and unimaginative solution is to advocate technological "doors" through which law enforcement personnel ["authorized" government officials] can readily eavesdrop on anyone at any time. Apparently little consideration has been given inevitable unauthorized use of those doors or to an eventual product encryption by the technological communities of other sovereign nations. Apple encryption with "backdoors" likely would have considerable difficulty competing with the "unbreakable" encryption of a foreign product. Outlawing the possession of such devices is apt to work about as well as Prohibition—so where does it all end?
Mr. Comey also has an aversion to photographers who capture police activities on camera. He seems much less concerned with police activities than with "viral videos" being produced by amateurs. Here is how USA Today presented the information this morning: "'Recent criticism and scrutiny of police departments and viral videos of officer-involved killings might explain the rise in violent crime in some cities', FBI Director James Comey said Friday." Well, maybe, but I'll stand with ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka who according to Huffington Post said on Friday that he disagreed with Comey's assessment: "Police officers who respect civilians and the law will only enhance the reputation of their departments when recorded by civilians...And officers should be trained to conduct themselves with professionalism regardless of whether a camera is recording them."
In any case what is most disturbing is that law enforcement methodologies appear to be considered of greater import than Magna Charta principle and officialdom continues to ignore perpetual enervation of national mental health precipitously accelerated by country-wide militarization. As in completely militarized societies there is virtually no accountability at the upper echelons of American government and public liars head-up the most secret [once sacred] "intelligence" activities. Associate Justice Brandeis' dissenting opinion in the 1914 Olmstead case is fairly well-known and still sheds more light on contemporary national problems than the shallow self-serving opinions of the current FBI director: "Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means—to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal—would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face."
10/23/2015 Canadian hopes:
Canada has recently elected Pierre Trudeau's son Justin as Prime Minister to replace staunch conservative Stephen Harper. Like his father, who last served as Prime Minister in 1984, young Trudeau appears to harbor excellent judgement along with courage of his convictions—a trait combination long absent from DC. According to Tim Harper of Canada's THESTAR.COM [journalist not related to the outgoing Prime Minister] "we are about to drop the bellicosity that marked the Stephen Harper years and engage in some old-fashioned diplomacy"—something desperately needed in U.S. government as well. On the day following his election Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will be withdrawing from anti-Islamic State airstrikes.
The Canadian electorate has accomplished this apparent diplomatic progress by producing "a stunning [liberal] victory in national elections"—something else America desparately needs although probably too corrupt to achieve. It seems another loser vs loser power competition will probably be the 2016 political reality show from the "entertainment capital of the world". Inspecting the current field it appears the only truly worthwhile ticket which might ultimately restore some worldwide U.S. prestige while reinvigorating moral courage within the citizenry and a fair sense of play back into government might be Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in any order. In any case the Canadian journalist Harper also predicted that the Justin Trudeau "curiousity factor" is likely to get him "more media attention than any anti-Putin diatribe by his predecessor...and his energy and relative youth will transform our [Canada's] image abroad"—something else America needs, a gigantic image transformation.
10/22/2015 better leadership:
Earlier today Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered an extremely worthwhile and important 30 minute speech before the final plenary session of the 12th annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Russia's Sochi—a session devoted to the crisis in the Middle East. The entire speech can be seen HERE on youTube or can be assessed from the writings at THIS URL.
Contemporary U.S. foreign policy may not be especially sane or effective but there is a definite thread of consistency revealing that diplomacy and detente take a backseat to belligerence at every opportunity. Apparently those pugilistic U.S. administration officials even resent the conciliatory efforts of wiser soles—perhaps also resenting their relative and almost instantaneous successes against Syrian terrorism in order to ultimately quell the continuing chaos American "diplomats" seem to favor,
And thanks to Wikileaks' posting some of CIA director John Brennan's documents we know that not all U.S. officials are complete duds—assuming the hackers are not CIA in "Crackas With Attitude" clothing, a possibility one reader has already raised. It was several years ago that Brennan documented the positive effects of Iranian help with what once was euphorically called "post-Taliban Afganistan" and subsequently advised higher-ups "that Iran would become 'a major player on the world stage' and an important piece in terms of regional stability" and that "the US should 'tone down the rhetoric' against the country and establish a 'direct dialogue' with Tehran"—much as should be done with Russia, Syria, and still Iran today. Consistency.
Of course absurd U.S. support of history-revising fear-feeding Netanyahu constantly lamely attempting to perpetuate regional dominance and remain the only nuclear power in that small area of the planet contributes substantially to both ill-advised policy and Republican coffers.
10/12/2015 petard hoisting:
Now is a good time to get acquainted with Lawrence B. "Larry" Wilkerson if you have not already done so. He's a retired United States Army Colonel and a former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Last Friday he was interviewed by RT.COM where he offered extremely worthwhile insights into the current state of Syrian affairs. Certainly America could use someone with his level-headed honesty in the upper echelons of so-called U.S. "intelligence" circles. At least he can think and didn't buy into the military-industrial gang's "strategy" to demonize Russia—although it looks like all our "officials", from POTUS on down, DID.
Many individuals worldwide perceive the U.S. Director of National Intelligence to be a self-serving liar who misled Congress, the American people, and the entire world about mass surveillance and presumably other issues where enormous revenue streams are at stake. Certainly there is little or no reason to trust his publicly aired assessments of "terrorist" organizations. Conversely Igor Sergun the head of Russia's military intelligence appears more thoughtful and candid and more focused on reality. According to RT.COM "Sergun said the US has a long-term goal of preventing stabilization in Central Asian countries and surrounding Russia and China with a network of regimes loyal to America and hotspots of tension" —comments which resonate with history and yankee track records..
Whatever the reality Russia appears to have had significant success toward defeating terrorism in Syria in a very short time with both Russian strategy and success noted by many. The recent use of Russian warships in the Caspian Sea elicited this comment from Britain's Admiral Lord West: "..the first thing is to destroy ISIL. And we can only do that, I believe, if the whole coalition is involved with Russia and also Iran, and, I am afraid, also with Assad. No matter how much some of us in the West don't like Assad, it has got to be all those people involved because we've got to destroy ISIL - that is the first priority".
Another take comes from Virginia State Senator Dick Black who told RT this September that "if the US stopped training jihadists and arming jihadists, the war will end". That comment was an incidental part of this very worthwhile polemic seeking truth.
According to RT.COM the "Pentagon [finally] has admitted its [10/3] airstrike erroneously hit a hospital in Afghanistan...General John F. Campbell, said that Afghan forces told US forces on the ground that they needed air support. So US forces proceeded with the strike, which led to several civilians being 'accidentally struck' he said". What the "top commander of US and coalition forces in Afghanistan" apparently calls "several civilians being 'accidentally struck'" could be considered an understatement. Most definitely there is more to the story.
Nowadays facts seem less desirable than spin to western media outlets. When Russia began its Syrian bombing, reports and pictures of civilian casualties were released in western media before Russian aircraft left the ground. America has been destroying the Middle East for over 15 years with bullets, bombs, drones, sanctions, inherent disdain, and ludicrous foreign policy yet western newspapers typically won't carry pictures of civilian casualties—until now, when others might be blamed. Of course that effort is backfiring too. There is growing world-weariness with American exceptionalism and all that's associated. If American "news" people could show war and all its ugliness in context, U.S. troops likely would have been recalled from the Middle East years ago, but the military-industrial-surveillance boys won't allow it.
10/02/2015 blaming Russia:
"Clearly, for those behind the new information war, we're meant to forget what our leaders have been telling us about ISIS all year. We're meant to have brains the size of a pea and memories that don't go back for more than a few days. The latest propaganda assault to get us to hate Russia for fighting against terrorism in Syria is not only laughable, it's deeply insulting to our intelligence" is how Neil Clark concludes his very worthwhile assessment of Russia's entry into the Syrian fray.
10/01/2015 Vladimir Putin is correct:
Don't miss his extremely worthwhile 25 minute address to the UN General Assembly earlier this week.
Fighting Syrian terrorism at the request of the legitimate Syrian government is certainly in line with international propriety and expectations. Siding with one terrorist faction against another terrorist faction both of which oppose the legitimate government of Syria seems like a rather foolish ploy but that's what the "leader of the free world" has chosen to do—conspire with terrorists who wish to overthrow a legitimate government which refuses to "play ball" with America [as did Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi].
Creating Middle East power vaccuums, inspiring rabid terrorist organizations, and consequently choreographing the greatest worldwide refugee crisis since WWII is the net result of America's ill-advised foreign policies instigated by Dubbya-era Republicans and sustained by contemporary Democrats—neither party seems relevant if substantive issues are broached. There is enormous denial of U.S. fault and Republican would-be presidential debates are reduced to "he said, she said" exchanges because none of the candidates appear to have capacity to adequately discuss substance of real issues.