Security v. Privacy- Not an Either Or Proposition
Here are my thoughts on the tension between security and privacy.
We have become overly reliant on what are known as technical means for gathering intelligence. We scour the Earth with satellites, the airwaves with radio interceptors, and the World Wide Web with bad PowerPoint presentations (according to Snowden). There are certainly uses for all of those, well except for PowerPoint, that is never justified and possibly both cruel and unusual. But, we need to require that these tools be used in a focused manner and justified by law. Plus, didn't we actually spy on bad guys at one point? As much fun as it must be to pour through the personal emails of diplomats, someone needs to don a tuxedo, valet park an Aston Martin and do some secret agent stuff. I would attach my email address and invite our intelligence community to contact me, but I figure they already have it (just kidding, or am I?)...
There is nothing in the (fictional) international rule book that says you can only have security or privacy, not both. There is also nothing that says sacrificing one enables the other. But, we seem stuck in this endless back and forth where we are told they are mutually exclusive or categorically at odds. We are also forced to endure the endless quoting of Ben Franklin opining "They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." This is usually delivered in a tone of moral superiority by those with little understanding of Liberty or Safety or the healthy tension between them, or more importantly why the word "essential" sits in front of Liberty.
Snowden, the Government & You
I have another post up at my day job about our good friend,well actually enemy, Mr. Snowden and some of the implications of the info he spread around the world.
Edward Snowden is now a pawn in a couple of games much bigger than himself. After the NSA incident, he fled to Hong Kong and provided information about US Intelligence operations to the Chinese press. He then moved on to Russia where he has been granted temporary asylum. Neither of these countries is a friend of the United States, and we don't really know what he may have given or what they may have taken. We will see how much Mr. Snowden likes Russian hospitality once Putin decides he is no longer a useful tool. If we ever get our hands on him, he will join Manning at Leavenworth making little rocks out of big ones.
Leadership lessons from Ronald Reagan
Man I miss this guy. When I was in the Army and people asked me what I do, I used to say "I work for Ronald Reagan". He was glinting in the sun today and so I risked the ire of the airport cops to stand in the road and take this shot. He led from the front, and along with the Iron Lady and John Paul II stared down and shut down the Soviets. We could use some of that today.
Does information really want to be free?
My day job has been keeping me hopping and I will have some interesting things to tell about it in the not too distant future. Think real privacy online and you are on track. Plus we are working with the government about this problem they have with their own information. Again, more to follow soon. Today I will point you at our recently launched blog and my first post. Note the suit and tie in the picture, not your Uncle Jimbo status quo.
Does information really want to be free?
This has been a rallying cry of many activists regarding digital information on the internet. The term free has been used to mean both without cost and unconstrained in distribution.
One of the earliest uses was by Stewart Brand talking to Apple's Steve Wozniak at a hacker conference back in the 80's:
"On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other. " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_wants_to_be_free
The very nature of the internet and World Wide Web facilitates the easy replication and sharing of pretty much any type of digital content. The hard thing is actually stopping that from happening, as many musicians, movie studios and other media types have been made painfully aware. Napster was the first major breakthrough in making free information a "product" (that is if a free piece of software that helps you trade music you didn't pay for can be called a product).
A Hallelujah Christmas
As Linus told Charlie Brown and all of us so long ago:
And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
I got a chance to help welcome Jesus on Christmas Eve at a wonderful church along with some beautiful people who have changed my life. Merry Christmas to all.
This is Army!
The proper way to deal with a pesky and mouthy squid.
They may win the football game, may, but they sure don't want to meet us with the pads off. Go Army, Beat Navy!
Wreaths Across America
Some people truly do get it. Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath and the rest of the folks behind the Wreaths Across America project are great examples of that.
Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to Washington D.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career in business, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their Country.
In 1992, Worcester Wreath found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s Veterans. With the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.
Intrepid leader of the Maine Wounded Heroes program Pam Payeur and some of her comPATRIOTs are heading down to Arlington for the wreath laying this year. We salute them and will be joining them Saturday morning at 9:30.
I took this picture a few years back after they had dressed a section at Arlington. What a brilliant, beautiful and touching tribute. Bravo!
Cutting military retirement?
Our elected representatives have a responsibility to get the obscene growth of our disgracefully wasteful and inefficient Leviathan of a government under control. But screwing over those who have dedicated their lives to keeping all of us safe is a reprehensible way to do so.
There is a greater recognition too –in Congress and among the Joint Chiefs— that it must come to terms with personnel-related costs, which are eating up more and more of what money remains.
“Forty-four cents of every dollar we spend goes to military personnel,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R.-Calif.) “You look at Detroit, you look at General Motors, you look at what happens when you build up these costs, but we aren’t doing anything about it in our [defense] bill this year.”
Buck McKeon is a good guy, but last time I checked those overpaid auto workers were not humping a one hundred pound ruck sack up and down the Hindu Kush while pretty much everyone there tried to kill them.
They have looked at raising costs to the military and retired folks for medical care and now they are looking at basically giving a pay cut to active duty folks and using that to help fund retirement. I think it might be time to start ringing the phons of our representatives and letting them know what we think about this.
Peace in our time with Iran
I would say this deal is abject surrender from a winning position, but that is far too kind. Naivete, foolishness, hubris, and the arrogant misconception that wolves will become sheep if we just treat them sweetly, have combined to give the world's most dangerous totalitarian theocracy a green light to build a nuclear bomb at their leisure.
I could go on, and on and on. This deal is really that bad. But James Carafano of Heritage did the heavy lifting. Over to you Mr. Carafano.
No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century.
The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its foreign-policy spear.
The saddest part of this negotiated fiasco is that everyone agrees why Iran came to the bargaining table. The sanctions worked; the mullahs had run out of cash, and Tehran determined that the easiest way to get the funds flowing was to get the West to back off.
This is where the realists and the idealists part company. Realists knew that the sanctions were good for only one purpose: to weaken the regime to the point where it would collapse or be overthrown. They crossed their fingers, hoping that would happen before Tehran got a nuke it could turn on the West. Regime change remains the only realistic option to bombing or bearing the danger of living with a nuclear-armed Iran.
Idealists, on the other hand, held that sanctions were the magic button for getting the Iranians to be reasonable. Once Tehran started on the path to accommodating the West (they theorized), the mullahs would realize that the benefits of collaboration and transparency outweighed the burdens of isolation and confrontation.
Veterans Day Doucheasaurus
I do not require that anyone support the troops, or respect them or even agree that they are brave and selfless defenders of freedom and liberty. That is kinda the deal with this whole Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights: They are all about saying "You can't make me do that", except for the whole taxes thing. Over all you don't have to give a rat's ass about the troops if you don't want to.
But if you want to write a pitiful little screed on Veterans Day about how all this support for the troops makes you ill, then you have to be prepared for a little blowback. And if you make statements as stunningly dense and incandescently stupid as the following, well, you are gonna get mocked and mertilized verbally.
"The “freedoms” most Americans think of when they hear the term are enshrined in constitutional and statutory law. They are in no way dependent on the size, scope or even the existence of the U.S. military. If John Lennon’s ghost assumed dictatorial control of the U.S. government tomorrow and, as his first order of business, disbanded the entire military, Americans’ “freedoms” would not suddenly vanish."
First let me grant that there is a tiny little kernel of truth in that streaming pile of excremental ignorance. John Lennon's ghost would be unlikely to do much damage to our freedoms: now a Yoko Ono regime scares the crap out of me. But.....the idea that our freedoms are not and vouchsafed by our military is kinda dumb, devastatingly dumb actually. And the dismal failure to remember and recognize that the only reason those freedoms ever came to fruition was when in the course of human events better men than Justin Douche-little took up arms and won them in battle.It was called the Revolutionary War not the Revolutonary Sit In or Occupy Bunker Hill. Well actually it was occupy Bunker Hill, but that was by some brave soldiers not by a bunchg of dirty, nasty, patchouli-smelling hippies.
That is right, Our freedoms sprung forth directly from the use of a musket by an American soldier. They were scribbled down using a quill and parchment, and they were composed in the minds of a mixed set of soldiers and civilians. But absent the soldiers, there would have been a unrealized Declaration stained crimson with the blood of those civilians. And we would have remained vassals of the British crown. Those pesky soldiers rose up again and again whenever evil reared its ugly head. They ended slavery and reunited the country, they bailed the Brits and French out in WWI. Then when the Japanese and Germans decided a little global tyranny might be fun in the 30s and 40s they beat that assault on freedom down wickedly. Heck the fact that Justin's piece is in English is a tribute to their valor.
I would love to read Justin's piece on the pathetic obeisance paid to the Mullahocracy in Iran as published in the Teheran Times. I really would, but I don't think Justin has the stones to write that, or to pay the inevitable price when the whip comes down. Or his takedown of the cult of personality surrounding Vlad "The Impaler" Putin in Pravda. That kind of truthiness will get you a beatdown and a cell next to the Pussy Riot chickies. Nope, Justin sits smugly growing his hipster douchebag beard, drinking organic, shade grown espresso and smoking America Spirit cigs safe and warm like the spineless little pissant that he is.
You don't have to thank anyone for your freedoms Justin and you can squeak out all the sad, sorry, embarrassingly-constructed, reasonless, painfully poor prose that you want. I will thank the military on your behalf and thank you for providing some extremely light work giving you the virtual knee to the gnads you so desperately asked for and deserve. The fact that this ass-whipping was done with words and not a cat-of-nine tails is courtesy of the United States military past and present. Feel free to retain your blissful ignorance as to the irony you have entertained us all by providing. JACKASS!!!
A dead tango truly worth dancing about
Hakeemullah Mehsud was a bad guy, a major bad guy, and now he is simply worm food. And in honor of that we will do the dead tango dance. Yay!
This may be the first time I ever waited longer than Bill Roggio at Long War Journal to announce a successful return of a terrorist to room temperature.
After years of effort, the US has finally succeeded in killing Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban Pakistan, in the latest drone strike in Pakistan's tribal agency of North Waziristan. Hakeemullah, who was responsible for numerous attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as the failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in May 2010, was killed just as the Pakistani government was formally opening negotiations with the terrorist group.
While the Taliban have not released an official martyrdom statement for Hakeemullah, an official spokesman known as Shahidullah Shahid told Pakistani reporters that the emir is indeed dead, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The Muhajideen Shura in North Waziristan also threatened to attack the Pakistani state and military to avenge his death.
Syrian tank round FAKE
No Freakin' Way! There is currently quite a bit of breathless commentary about a video purporting to show a Syrian tank firing a round that comes right at the videographer. I think it is fair to say that the tank did fire and a round was launched, but the round shown in the video is almost certainly a fake.
Since this wasn't an episode of Mythbusters, I sincerely doubt the camera in use was of the way high speed variety necessary to capture a tank projectile traveling at the speed of BAKOW! Nice special effects work, but not the real deal. That said, I am sure it sucked massively to be on the near receiving end.
Of his honor & his glory, the people would sing
An interesting thing happened yesterday. I bought some CDs and was listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Greatest Hits. The first song was Lucky Man, a beautiful story of a privileged soul with all of the rewards of earthly life.
He had white horses
And ladies by the score
All dressed in satin
And waiting by the door
But he chose to serve a higher calling.
He went to fight wars
For his country and his king
Of his honor and his glory
The people would sing
War respects no man's status or class and so...
A bullet had found him
His blood ran as he cried
No money could save him
So he laid down and he died
Yet the refrain comes back and reminds us.
Ooooh, what a lucky man he was. Ooooh, what a lucky man he was
He died for something larger than himself. Greater love hath no man than this: That a man lay down his life for his friends. As I sat pondering what a beautiful song and tale this was, I looked on Facebook and I saw a post from Mike Brennan remembering his son Josh and this video. I then looked at the bracelet I have worn every day for about 5 years.
At that moment it was still the 25th of October, but it occurred to me that it was already the 26th in Afghanistan where Josh and the Rock paratroopers had been fighting the Taliban. Godspeed Josh, You were a Lucky Man.
Mike Brennan gave me the KIA bracelet at a fundraiser to welcome home Josh's unit from the war. He also asked me a funny question, "Hey Uncle J, I remember you from a few years ago. Did you counter-protest an anti-war event at the recruiting station here in Madison back in '04?"
That caught me by surprise, but the answer was yes. Mike was a City of Madison Police Detective and he said "I thought so. I was there in plainclothes to keep an eye on things. When this big guy with a huge sign on a 2x4 showed up, I got assigned to follow him around and make sure he didn't beat anyone with it. That was you. Your cute little blonde daughter was with you, right?" Again the answer was yes. He said "Yeah, I had a great time that day. You went around and argued with all the hippies and ripped 'em up. I wished I coulda said those things to them. That was one of my more enjoyable days on the force." Well, there was a mind blower, for sure.
It was great to meet Mike and the rest of the Brennans. They are the kind of people that make me proud to be from Wisconsin and an American. I'm thankful God put us together then and gave a very cool reminder of that yesterday. I carry Josh's warrior spirit on my wrist every day, not as a reminder, but as a symbol. When asked about the KIA bracelet I wear, I have the opportunity to tell about SGT Josh Brennan, an American hero. He will always be remembered, as will all the Lucky Men and Women who have given their lives for freedom.
Oracle sees the value of vets
It is easy for corporations to donate money to wounded warrior programs or veterans groups and pat themselves on the back for being good people. And doing that is certainly a good thing. But vets don't really want a handout as much as a hand up and Oracle has done a great job with that. They regularly hire and train wounded warriors and other veterans and both the vets and Oracle benefit from the arrangement.
They are holding an event here in Virginia. Good on 'em.
In keeping with our history of supporting those who serve our country
Welcomes Veterans to join us at our
Leadership and Get Connected Event for Veterans
- Meet Oracle leaders and learn about employment opportunities andthe Oracle Veterans Program
- Get connected to our Oracle veteran partners and resource organizations
- Join the panel discussion on the transition from military to corporate life, and hear what hiring managers are looking for now
Enjoy a special screening of the award-winning documentary
An unforgettable story of 11 wounded warriors and 1 Gold Star Mom who climb Mt Lobuche in the Himalayas
Meet Oracle Senior Producer & High Ground cinematographer
John Von Seeburg
and SSgt Cody Miranda, USMC, Retired
Thursday, November 21, 2013
2:30 - 6:30 PM, at the Oracle Campus in Reston, VA
Iranians almost certain to finish their nukes
The follies that are talks with the Iranians about their nuclear weapons program are ongoing and just as substance free as ever. The chances are near zero that the Ayatollahs will give up their decades long plan to become the second nuclear power in the Middle East. But if you listen to the reports from poolside at some four star hotel, you might be fooled again.
For the first time in a long time, the news out of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, was extremely positive.
In a statement at the close of talks Wednesday—the first ever such joint statement from the Iranian and P5+1 delegations (the permanent five UN Security Council members plus Germany)—European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif hailed “two days of substantive and forward looking negotiations.”
“I've been doing this now for about two years, and I have never had such intense, detailed, straightforward, candid conversations with the Iranian delegation before,” said a senior U.S. official after the talks. “And I would say we are beginning that kind of negotiation to get to a place where, in fact, one can imagine that you could possibly have an agreement.” The official continued, “I think if you talk to any of the P5+1 members–and some of them have been doing this for a lot longer than I have… they would tell you the same thing.”
Let's play count the weasel words in that statement from one of our poolside pantywaists. "beginning", "get to a place", "one can imagine", "possibly have an agreement" Oh FFS, I can begin to get to a place where I can imagine that I could possibly have an agreement to be King of Siam, but that don't make it even the remotest of a real possibility. Just because one or more of these formalized liars in formal wear commented on the dashing cut of the tux of another doesn't mean the Mullahs aren't still building bombs. Those centrifuges are spinning faster that all the jaws at these talks are flapping and they are going to actually create something real, and real dangerous.
The fact that the Iranians are saying nice things to the toothless dogs we send to these soirees is more likely a sign that they are close enough to boom that they want to divert attention. That these clowns think this is a sign they have reconsidered their cunning plans to dominate the region and maybe the globe, shows just how naive they are.The clock is ticking and since there is no chance the West will do a damn thing, expect an Israeli action of some sort. They won't get fooled again.