Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obamba's First 100 Days - Less Popular Than George W. Bush

You wouldn't think that is true from reading the MSM. But Gallup poll numbers in April show it.
According to Gallup's April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969. The only new president less popular was Bill Clinton, who got off to a notoriously bad start after trying to force homosexuals on the military and a federal raid in Waco, Texas, that killed 86. Mr. Obama's current approval rating of 56 percent is only one tick higher than the 55-percent approval Mr. Clinton had during those crises.

As the attached chart shows, five presidents rated higher than Mr. Obama after 100 days in office. Ronald Reagan topped the charts in April 1981 with 67 percent approval. Following the Gipper, in order of popularity, were: Jimmy Carter with 63 percent in 1977; George W. Bush with 62 percent in 2001; Richard Nixon with 61 percent in 1969; and George H.W. Bush with 58 percent in 1989.

From watching CNN and the other "news" coverage, you'd think this was completely off. But then they haven't been actual journalists in quite some time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Virtual Anthropologists

Interesting article from the Danger Room over at Wired.

Sounds like something I wouldn't approve of.

Given all the problems the Pentagon has faced recruiting anthropologists to work with the military, it may have finally hit upon an easier solution: create computerized virtual anthropologists to replace flesh and blood human beings. In a new request for research proposals aimed at small businesses, the Pentagon says it wants technology that would “enable accurate forecasting of a given populations’ potential responses to military relevant events…”

While not outright suggested as a replacement for the controversy-plagued Human Terrain System, which sends anthropologists into the field with the military, the new request for proposals does say this tool would be “used to facilitate or to replicate wholly or in part many of the tasks that a human anthropological consultation would provide such as, counter-insurgency, reconstruction or support operations, allowing faster and more accurate development of social-cultural behaviors.”

Not like we've never seen military devices used (abused) in use against the private citizenry. I'm sure when the ONE gets his national health-care database online and forces everyone into it, then they add the RealID data on top, and the terrorist watch list and any other number of databases into this mess that they won't end up with something so broken that we'll all be in jail.

Never happen. Nope. Couldn't happen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

NYC Flyover Heads Another Appointee Under the Bus

This is stunning in the level of stupidity. No doubt the ONE had nothing to do with it.
President Obama's White House was forced to issue an apology Monday after a photo opportunity gone badly wrong — an Air Force 747 plane did a low flyover over Lower Manhattan, prompting terrified citizens to flee from their offices and high-profile accusations of government insensitivity in the post 9/11 era.

White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera issued a brief statement saying he was too blame.

"Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," he said. "While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, its clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused."

The panic started Monday morning when a backup 747 known as Air Force One when the president is aboard flew by Lower Manhattan with a U.S. fighter jet closely following, rattling windows and causing some limited evacuations.

Astounding. This guy deserves to be under the bus, but it would be interesting to know who thought up this "mission."

All for a photo op. Damn. At least Bush's "mission accomplished" photo op didn't terrorize thousands of citizens.

Pretty strong proof that the terrorists have won on that basic level. Nice to have the present administration confirm it for the world to see.

UPDATE: I wonder why these people decided to do this instead of maybe using Photoshop.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jemma's Assault on Assault Weapons

Some former president's should be reminded just how moronic they really sound. He just continues circling the bowl. Begin with "I'm a Gun Guy" statement.
I have used weapons since I was big enough to carry one, and now own two handguns, four shotguns and three rifles, two with scopes. I use them carefully, for hunting game from our family woods and fields, and occasionally for hunting with my family and friends in other places. We cherish the right to own a gun and some of my hunting companions like to collect rare weapons. One of them is a superb craftsman who makes muzzle-loading rifles, one of which I displayed for four years in my private White House office.
Then add really moronic contention that assault weapons are for killing police.
But none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives. That’s why the White House and Congress must not give up on trying to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, even if it may be politically difficult.
Right, no other reason to want those nasty black things. I got my flintlock and that should be good enough for anyone. Moron.

He goes into his MSM and Brady bunch stats on how "most people want gun control and bans on assault weapons" of course ignoring the rather lively sale of those same rifles at the moment. Nothing like stats to make you forget what is actually happening in the world. But being out of touch is Jemma's MO.

And to no great surprise the evil villain is the NRA.
Heavily influenced and supported by the firearms industry, N.R.A. leaders have misled many gullible people into believing that our weapons are going to be taken away from us, and that homeowners will be deprived of the right to protect ourselves and our families. The N.R.A. would be justified in its efforts if there was a real threat to our constitutional right to bear arms. But that is not the case.

Instead, the N.R.A. is defending criminals’ access to assault weapons and use of ammunition that can penetrate protective clothing worn by police officers on duty. In addition, while the N.R.A. seems to have reluctantly accepted current law restricting sales by licensed gun dealers to convicted felons, it claims that only “law-abiding people” obey such restrictions — and it opposes applying them to private gun dealers or those who sell all kinds of weapons from the back of a van or pickup truck at gun shows.

Nothing outrageous there. Nice to see just because you were a president ensures you get voice to the public no matter how much an idiot you are.
What are the results of this profligate ownership and use of guns designed to kill people?
Wow. What planet is this guy from? Guns were designed originally for killing people. Probably their first actual use. But I suppose Jemma knows better. Or is just senile.
Across our border, Mexican drug cartels are being armed with advanced weaponry imported from the United States — a reality only the N.R.A. seems to dispute.
Didn't we all know that that was going to show up. Shock of Shocks, he continues that foolishness that the liberals keep throwing out there which completely denies reality.

Funny how Jemma perpetually opens his mouth and proves himself an idiot.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hayden and Mukasey on the "Torture Memos"

This is a rather informative piece from Hayden and Mukasey with regards to the need and reasoning for the release of the memos. Some choice bits:

Disclosure of the techniques is likely to be met by faux outrage, and is perfectly packaged for media consumption. It will also incur the utter contempt of our enemies. Somehow, it seems unlikely that the people who beheaded Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl, and have tortured and slain other American captives, are likely to be shamed into giving up violence by the news that the U.S. will no longer interrupt the sleep cycle of captured terrorists even to help elicit intelligence that could save the lives of its citizens.

Which brings us to the next of the justifications for disclosing and thus abandoning these measures: that they don't work anyway, and that those who are subjected to them will simply make up information in order to end their ordeal. This ignorant view of how interrogations are conducted is belied by both experience and common sense. If coercive interrogation had been administered to obtain confessions, one might understand the argument. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who organized the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, among others, and who has boasted of having beheaded Daniel Pearl, could eventually have felt pressed to provide a false confession. But confessions aren't the point. Intelligence is. Interrogation is conducted by using such obvious approaches as asking questions whose correct answers are already known and only when truthful information is provided proceeding to what may not be known. Moreover, intelligence can be verified, correlated and used to get information from other detainees, and has been; none of this information is used in isolation.

The terrorist Abu Zubaydah (sometimes derided as a low-level operative of questionable reliability, but who was in fact close to KSM and other senior al Qaeda leaders) disclosed some information voluntarily. But he was coerced into disclosing information that led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh, another of the planners of Sept. 11, who in turn disclosed information which -- when combined with what was learned from Abu Zubaydah -- helped lead to the capture of KSM and other senior terrorists, and the disruption of follow-on plots aimed at both Europe and the U.S. Details of these successes, and the methods used to obtain them, were disclosed repeatedly in more than 30 congressional briefings and hearings beginning in 2002, and open to all members of the Intelligence Committees of both Houses of Congress beginning in September 2006. Any protestation of ignorance of those details, particularly by members of those committees, is pretense.

Agreed. This is politics as usual. The politicos had access to the info about the interrogation methods, just as they did about the Iraqi WMDs and the issues in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, yet they all didn't know it was that bad and as shocked to find this out now.
The techniques themselves were used selectively against only a small number of hard-core prisoners who successfully resisted other forms of interrogation, and then only with the explicit authorization of the director of the CIA. Of the thousands of unlawful combatants captured by the U.S., fewer than 100 were detained and questioned in the CIA program. Of those, fewer than one-third were subjected to any of the techniques discussed in these opinions. As already disclosed by Director Hayden, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations.
That basically follows the left's extreme view that torture doesn't work. Well, yes it does if you're smart enough to use it correctly. In fact the enhanced interrogation methods were all that was needed to gain the information and no real torture. I'll gladly parse any argument that what the US did in these cases was torture. The usual assumption from those screaming the loudest is that the interrogators are imbeciles and haven't an understanding of how the interrogated will resist or deflect. Well, you can't expect the left to actually reason through such a scenario.

Read through the rest of it. It does provide details that no one, especially the MSM are choosing to discuss.


Apparently Peter Hoekstra points out how much involved and notified congress was back when these techniques were all started.
It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002. We believed it was something that had to be done in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to keep our nation safe. After many long and contentious debates, Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses.
Members of Congress calling for an investigation of the enhanced interrogation program should remember that such an investigation can't be a selective review of information, or solely focus on the lawyers who wrote the memos, or the low-level employees who carried out this program. I have asked Mr. Blair to provide me with a list of the dates, locations and names of all members of Congress who attended briefings on enhanced interrogation techniques.
No no, they WILL focus on only what suits them, and the MSM WILL only report what supports Obambi's work.

Well, maybe someone will learn something from this, but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Obama's Spending Spree

Krauthammer puts it quite clearly.
Undaunted, Obama offered his New Foundation speech as the complete, contextual, canonical text for the domestic revolution he aims to enact. It had everything we have come to expect from Obama:

The Whopper: The boast that he had "identified $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade." It takes audacity to repeat this after it had been so widely exposed as transparently phony. Most of this $2 trillion is conjured up by refraining from spending $180 billion a year for 10 more years of surges in Iraq. Hell, why not make the "deficit reductions" $10 trillion -- the extra $8 trillion coming from refraining from repeating the $787 billion stimulus package annually through 2019.

The Puzzler: He further boasted of his frugality by saying that his budget would reduce domestic discretionary spending as a share of GDP to the lowest level ever recorded. Amazing. Squeezing discretionary domestic spending at a time of hugely expanding budgets is merely the baleful residue of out-of-control entitlements and debt service, which will increase astronomically under Obama. To claim these as achievements in fiscal responsibility is testament not to Obama's frugality but to his brazenness.

The Non Sequitur: "To make sure such a crisis [as we have today] never happens again," Obama proposes his radical health-care, energy and education reforms, the central pillars of his social democratic agenda. But Obama's own words contradict this assertion. Notes The Post: "But as his admirable summation of recent history made clear, these pursuits have little to do with the economic crisis, and they are not the key to economic recovery." Obama rarely fails to repeat this false connection. A crisis -- and the public's resulting pliability to liberal social engineering -- is a terrible thing to waste.

The Swindle: The Obama administration is spending money like none other in peacetime history. Obama is smart. He knows this is fiscally unsustainable. He has let it be known privately and publicly that he intends to cure the imbalance with entitlement reform.

An excellent strategy. If it takes throwing nearly $1 trillion of "porky" (to quote Sen. Charles Schumer) stimulus spending to soften up a Democratic Congress and make it amenable to real entitlement reform, then fine. Reforming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid would save tens of trillions of dollars, and make the current money-from-helicopters spending almost trivial by comparison.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Raising the Stakes on Piracy

As is apt with the Ass Press, they have gone into full hand-wringing mode over the actions of the US Navy in recovering a US citizen from pirates.
The killing of three Somali pirates in the dramatic U.S. Navy rescue of a cargo ship captain has sparked concern for other hostages and fears that the stakes have been raised for future hijackings in the busy Indian Ocean shipping lane.
Sunday's rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips followed a shootout at sea on Friday by French navy commandos, who stormed a pirate-held sailboat, killed two pirates and freed four French hostages. The French owner of the vessel was also killed in the assault.

The two operations may have been a setback for the pirates, but they are unlikely to quell the brigands, who have vowed to avenge the deaths of their comrades.

Experts indicated that piracy in the Indian Ocean off Somalia, which transformed one of the world's busiest shipping lanes into one of its most dangerous, has entered a new phase with the Navy SEAL rescue operation of Phillips.

It "could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

So it would have been nice if they had reported what Bill Gortney thought was the right action here. He's given this tiny blip of a comment and you wonder if he didn't have more to opine on. Was it the right act? Any dunce can see that this could cause an escalation in violence. Anyone resisting a thug runs the risk of an escalation.

The issue with the whole article is that they seem more concerned about the held hostages that they are about stopping the whole cycle. The ship owners have caused piracy in this region to become a lucrative business. Can't blame them, they have huge risks of loss and the safety of their crews to worry about. Except that they could always save a bunch of money by arming them or providing security crews.
The comrades of the slain pirates immediately threatened retaliation.

"From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them," said Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed pirate, told The Associated Press by telephone from the pirate hub, Eyl.

Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship in the pirate den of Gaan, a central Somali town, told the AP that pirates will not take the U.S. action lying down.

"We will retaliate for the killings of our men," he said.

Go right ahead. Just expect that ship owners know this and will now, with luck, start making plans to react to the threat.

Steve Schippert
over at discusses the proper action.


The US Navy (or any other navy) is not the answer. Wholly cost-ineffective, incapable of covering all areas and like swatting mosquitoes with a sledgehammer. The open seas reaction time is too great. The pirates' take-over of a ship will have (pardon, has) already taken place and the opposing force is faced not with preventing the pirates' boarding, but rather with boarding the vessel themselves in a hostage situation, risking the lives of the crew a second time. We are reacting haphazardly (and slowly) rather than preventing or deterring.

Or, as has been the alternate course more often than not, nations and firms can enter into post-action negotiation for the return of their vessels, goods and men. Paying pirates is a remarkably poor option, particularly after one is so keenly aware of the threat.


The only tenable solution is to put the prevention at the point of risk: Aboard the vessel.

It is the only solution - sans magical liquidation of all pirates and their havens - that is fast-reacting enough or cost effective enough. (Have you ever checked the expense tab of operating a US Navy destroyer for a 24-hour period of steaming? It's an expense only a stimulus's mother could love.)

What does the security team look like? Pretty simple, actually. 4-6 men from the contracting outfit, with small arms with enough reach and punch to introduce a speedboat to the ocean floor. There is an array of potent automatic rifles available. The team should possess at least one .50 caliber weapon for both range and punch. Certainly no 5.56mm M-16's. As well, some form of grenade weapons should be on hand (RPGs, grenade launchers and/or other shoulder-fired explosive weapons suitable for maritime use.) Night scopes and night vision goggles are essential as well. There are plenty of arms experts who know what would and would not work best. Point is, it isn't rocket science. Get it done.

The world navies shouldn't be a direct answer, but a reactive answer. They should be looking to sit outside of the known pirate havens and ensure they can't come out. You don't have to do it all of the time, just periodically. They could also periodically play convoy escort and challenge any ship that approaches. I find it unlikely any pirate will then approach a convoy, but you can bet there will at least be a couple of clashes. The US Navy sledgehammer isn't a solution overall.

Steve also has this discussion about the Obama administrations activity around this.
But, regarding the greater issue ashore in Somalia, it is difficult to just cast aside the pointlessness of the pondering by "several" anonymous "senior national security officials" afforded space by the Washington Post story, "Obama Team Mulls Aims Of Somali Extremists".

The very first graph stops you so dead in your tracks that you find yourself reading it over and over just to be certain you haven't fallen to sudden temporary dyslexia. But the text, in fact, appears just as it was written.

Senior Obama administration officials are debating how to address a potential terrorist threat to U.S. interests from a Somali extremist group, with some in the military advocating strikes against its training camps. But many officials maintain that uncertainty about the intentions of the al-Shabab organization dictates a more patient, nonmilitary approach.

Not sure about al-Shabaab's intentions? And "many" officials? Who are these people?

The al-Shabaab terrorist group is (not was) actively recruiting from within the United States and threatening attacks, possibly through newly trained terrorists returning to America. Al-Shabaab has concrete links to al-Qaeda. In fact, it was widely expected in counterterrorism circles that al-Shabaab would finally just come out and officially announce its franchise status within al-Qaeda early this year.

Shabaab's military commander - until he was killed in a US missile strike in May 2008 - was Aden Hashi Ayro, who trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and maintained close ties. Al-Qaeda has been trying to secure their foothold in East Africa through first the ICU and now it's offshoot al-Shabaab ('The Youth'). It regularly publishes video propaganda of its aims and deeds, and draws praise from the highest echelons of al-Qaeda's senior leadership. What 'uncertainty' causes such pause?

Wading into Somalia guns-ablazin' in short order is not an option. That said, it is one thing to pause and weigh options and paths to address the situation based on resources available, running contingencies, and the pressing context of the nexus of global counterterrorism operations. But to pause because of "uncertainty about the intentions of the al-Shabab organization"?

Want more on the battle of the brains holed up in DC?

Some in the Defense Department have been frustrated by what they see as a failure to act. Many other national security officials say an ill-considered strike would have negative diplomatic and political consequences far beyond the Horn of Africa. Other options under consideration are increased financial pressure and diplomatic activity, including stepped-up efforts to resolve the larger political turmoil in Somalia.

Financial pressure? On quite possibly the poorest country on Earth? Is this not akin to threatening a burn victim with fire? And how in the world can anyone see the light at the end of the "stepped-up efforts to resolve the larger political turmoil in Somalia" tunnel without first (or coterminously) physically defeating radical al-Qaeda-linked Islamists armed to the teeth, blowing up anything in their path and running half of Somalia?

You seriously cannot make this up.

You have to agree that either the reporting is astoundingly out to lunch or the report is based on an astoundingly weak understanding of what needs to be accomplished. Somalia is a failed state with imbedded terrorists groups. The piracy portion is no doubt partially related to the terrorists, though there is likely a section that is purely economical/criminal in nature.

So what is the solution? I'd have to guess it will be as complicated as that we had to provide for Iraq or Afghanistan, but the present administration will never ponder such a reaction. It is highly improbable that the US will ever invade any section of Somalia. And from what they are putting out at the moment it sounds more like Clinton's reaction to the first world trade center bombing. Toss a couple cruise missiles in and call it a success. Sadly it will take much more fortitude and much more investment if the world really cares to solve the problem.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hacking the Power Grid - Another Government Control Scheme

This obviously starts at the WSJ's rather excited article about the power grid being hacked. Go ahead and read it. You'll not no actual facts, names or anything to move forward investigating with. This isn't an article, but more of an editorial.
The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven't sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.

"The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid," said a senior intelligence official. "So have the Russians."

The espionage appeared pervasive across the U.S. and doesn't target a particular company or region, said a former Department of Homeland Security official. "There are intrusions, and they are growing," the former official said, referring to electrical systems. "There were a lot last year."

Blah, blah, blah. Horse-Shit.

Anyone who remembers the Y2K horrors will understand we must act NOW NOW NOW or we're all DOOMED!!!!!

Or more likely not.

Schneier puts some perspective out on this.
Read the whole story; there aren't really any facts in it. I don't know what's going on; maybe it's just budget season and someone is jockeying for a bigger slice.

Honestly, I am much more worried about random errors and undirected worms in the computers running our infrastructure than I am about the Chinese military. I am much more worried about criminal hackers than I am about government hackers. I wrote about the risks to our infrastructure here, and about Chinese hacking here.

And I wrote about last year's reports of international hacking of our SCADA control systems here.

Read at some of the links. Some perspective is really needed here.

I'm not sure I'd be that laid back about the the topic, but there definitely is no reason to be freaking out like many of the MSM article writers appear to be.

There is little doubt that this won't be used, if it isn't already being used, to push Obama's Smart Grid controls. You remember that. Where the power grid is made smart and can turn down your thermostat when you're being bad.

Here are a couple of articles on the ONE moving us forward on the smart grid. I like this one:
Most smart grid stakeholders are well aware of this dilemma and have looked for hope in the various standards efforts at international bodies such as the IEEE's BPL, WiFi and WiMax processes (we found an IEEE smart grid interoperability slide presentation with more on that) as well as industry-led efforts such as the ZigBee Alliance, Europe's OPERA and the HomePlug Powerline Alliance.

But that's not enough. The whole smart grid needs to be fused with IP, high-level security and iron-clad interoperability standards -- and a new champion has come on the scene and is taking steps to get it done. His name is President Barack Obama.

Obama's predecessor was in favor of the smart grid but never seemed to show much awareness of the problems in the industry or much interest in getting them fixed. George Bush signed the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 (EISA) that included the first-ever smart grid language including setting money and efforts aside at DOE to get the smart grid done. Title 13 of that law sets out efforts to get interoperability standards created (more on that later in this story).

No doubt this was written by an Obot. You know that dummy Bush didn't do anything, but put a bunch of money toward developing the system. Stupid George. Now we have the brilliant Barry to drive this home and no doubt will code it all and make electricity free and unicorns will fart rainbows and.........

Isn't it wonderful that the savior walks the earth? [What an idiot.]

So what is really happening? Here's a link that actually gives you some information.
Operational Problems:
And there are other problems that are more deeply embedded in the day-to-day operations of a utility's business. Network control software that utilities buy from outside vendors often includes the ability to run Web servers and enable remote access and wireless access. Then there are configuration problems, such as routers and other systems that use default passwords, or worse, don't use passwords at all, according to Zatko and others who have tested the systems.

Many warnings have been sounded over the years. In 1999, Zatko compiled a list of about 30 utilities whose plant control networks could be accessed remotely, and he says many of them still have the same problems today. In 2004, Gartner did a report concluding that the use of IP networks for critical infrastructure could serve as bait for cyberattackers.

"It's painfully easy to exploit" the control systems, said Frank Heidt, chief executive of professional security services company Leviathan Security. "Energy management systems really can't be connected to the Internet. It's going to be painful for some companies, but they're going to have to change this."

Last year, a security expert at the RSA conference detailed how easy it is to break into power plants by downloading malware to employee computers through a socially engineered e-mail that directs them to a malicious server. Meanwhile, Core Security found a hole in the Suitelink software that is used to automate operations at power stations, oil refineries, and production lines.

Lewis of the CSIS acknowledged that using the Internet opens utilities up to cyberattack risks, but said there are "sound economic reasons" for them doing so.

"Most of the critical infrastructure on the Internet is there for legitimate business purposes," agreed John Bumgarner, a research director at the nonprofit U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit.

I'm still trying to figure out for what reason you would link key infrastructure to the internet. What "legitmate business reason" would there be?

I've a feeling that these companies are basically the same as most who don't see any reason for security or they don't balance the risks, or even address those risks before doing these things.

Read the article. There is a lot of history and related information there.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Little Green Book

When I worked for the Government there was a partly bent little man who kept a little green "memo" book in his pocket where he wrote down every little comment and the name of the person whom he believed had offended him. Apparently, Barry O has an official version on his Blackberry.
"Don't think we're not keeping score, brother." That's what President Barack Obama said to Rep. Peter DeFazio in a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic Caucus last week, according to the Associated Press.
As Simon Jester points out, I don't think many people are especially surprised, well except for the usual Obots who likely will deny this could possible be true.

I typically read Rove's opinions, because he's usually accurate with his facts and most of the time I can find sources that back him up, even if he doesn't provide them himself. (Which I really wish he and most commentators would.)

As for Barry O calling the Repugs the "party of no" I seem to recall Nancy Pelosi justifying her party in doing just that not so long ago. How is this any different? I don't especially like anyone playing that silly game, but to have the Democrat in Chief come out with that after promising bi-partisanship, which he never delivered on, is quite offensive.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Obama's Warrantee

Krauthammer puts out some pretty clear words on Obama's latest car care policy.
The big sideshows, of course, are the credit crisis, which Obama has contracted out to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and the collapse of the U.S. automakers, which Obama seems to have taken on for himself.

That was a tactical mistake. Better to have let the car companies go directly to Chapter 11 and have a judge mete out the bitter medicine to the workers and bondholders.

By sacking GM's CEO, packing the new board, and giving direction as to which brands to drop and what kind of cars to make, Obama takes ownership of General Motors. He may soon come to regret it. He has now gotten himself so entangled in the car business that he is personally guaranteeing your muffler. (Upon reflection, a job best left to the congenitally unmuffled Joe Biden.)

Some find in this descent into large-scale industrial policy a whiff of 1930s-style fascist corporatism. I have my doubts. These interventions are rather targeted. They involve global financial institutions that even the Bush administration decided had to be nationalized, and auto companies that themselves came begging to the government for money.

Hopefully Obama won't keep this up. If he continues to walk this course, and that of his pet economist Geithner, we can pretty much guarantee that Ford will be looking good while GM slowly circles the drain.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Ward "Eichmann" Churchill Gets the Dollar

Good thing I wasn't on that jury.
A jury found on Thursday that the University of Colorado had wrongfully dismissed a professor who drew national attention for an essay in which he called some victims of the Sept. 11 attacks “little Eichmanns.”

Ward Churchill, who was a tenured professor at the University of Colorado, left, walked with his lead attorney David Lane out of the courtroom after a jury ruled that he was wrongly fired by school administrators, on Thursday.

But the jury, which deliberated for a day and a half, awarded only $1 in damages to the former professor, Ward L. Churchill, a tenured faculty member at the university’s campus in Boulder since 1991 who was chairman of the ethnic studies department.

The jurors found that Mr. Churchill’s political views had been a “substantial or motivating” factor in his dismissal, and that the university had not shown that he would have been dismissed anyway.

“This is a great victory for the First Amendment, and for academic freedom,” said his lawyer, David A. Lane.
Couldn't disagree more.

I really hope they don't give him his job back. Maybe he can get a hand from Ayers.

In Need of an International Diplomacy Charm School

Go to the link first and look at the pictures.

The Obamateur probably thinks this is just ducky. Personally, I find it nauseating. Just seeing the picture of him kowtowing to the King of Saudi Arabia is repulsive. Doesn't he get that bowing is recognition of their superiority? Bet that won't be fanned around the Ismalonutcase propaganda machines. He's the President of the Freaking United States. You don't Bow to ANYONE!

Mark Steyn:
So let me see if I understand American protocol in the age of Obama: The First Lady hugs Queen Elizabeth as if she's some granny at a seniors' center photo-op, but the President of this republic prostrates himself before King Abdullah as if he's a subject of the Saudi pseudo-Crown.

This is a very weird presidency. But something tells me Abdullah won't be getting the discount DVD pack of Psycho and :Lawrence Of Arabia.

It's not just a weird presidency, its one occupied by someone who is making George Bush look like a senior diplomat.

I wonder where that iPod was made? No doubt he couldn't find a nice bit of American Art or something else truly indicative of America to give as a gift.

Who let this dolt drive?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Obama BrownShirts

Looks like the Senate rubber stamped Obama's official brown shirts. This is very disturbing.

The “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act” (GIVE act). HR 1388 has just passed the Senate.

In the bill, Obama sets up the mechanics that he passed in the Stimulus Package for his volunteer operations — including setting up a government funded corporation with a Board of Directors and CEO. What is frightening is the tentacles that this will entail as all agencies need to create positions for these volunteers. Yada … yada .. I could go on as how he has tied his FEMA Scheme for the Civilian Security Defense Force into this legislation, but now they’re called “National Volunteer Reserve Corps.” This creates images of the Peace Corps, but it is something far more sinister. In addition, the legislation is targeting foster kids, disadvantaged teens and more specifically BLACK colleges and universities. Reading the provisions, it smacks of a program tailor-made for ACORN. It is a bill that has reverse discrimination all over it as it is NOT designed for middle-class Americans to benefit from — regardless of your race. But this is NOT what has piffed me off.

In the bill, Obama sets up the mechanics that he passed in the Stimulus Package for his volunteer operations — including setting up a government funded corporation with a Board of Directors and CEO. What is frightening is the tentacles that this will entail as all agencies need to create positions for these volunteers. Yada … yada .. I could go on as how he has tied his FEMA Scheme for the Civilian Security Defense Force into this legislation, but now they’re called “National Volunteer Reserve Corps.” This creates images of the Peace Corps, but it is something far more sinister. In addition, the legislation is targeting foster kids, disadvantaged teens and more specifically BLACK colleges and universities. Reading the provisions, it smacks of a program tailor-made for ACORN. It is a bill that has reverse discrimination all over it as it is NOT designed for middle-class Americans to benefit from — regardless of your race. But this is NOT what has piffed me off.

The GIVE Act has 12 amendments. The one I am outraged over is House Amendment 49. It reads: “H.Amdt49 Pass Amendment to prohibit organizations from attempting to influence legislation; organize or engage in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes; and assist, promote, or deter union organizing.”

If I read that right, your First Amendment rights of Free Speech just were legislated out the door. ( Kalani in the Atlas comments section here)

I blogged on it when it passed the house here: House Passes Mandatory Service Bill

Nice to know that in NH the Republican got it right and the Democrat chose not to be re-elected. Jeane Sheheen has apparently missed what state she lives in.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Chinese Hacking Network

Now, this is a Schneier blog entry that shows the value of blogs. He gives you far more information and links to the reality of the story than is pretty much ever seen in the MSM. [And this time without any political bloviating.]
The story broke in The New York Times yesterday:
In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved.


Their sleuthing opened a window into a broader operation that, in less than two years, has infiltrated at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including many belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, as well as the Dalai Lama's Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels, London and New York.

The researchers, who have a record of detecting computer espionage, said they believed that in addition to the spying on the Dalai Lama, the system, which they called GhostNet, was focused on the governments of South Asian and Southeast Asian countries.

The Chinese government denies involvement. It's probably true; these networks tend to be run by amateur hackers with the tacit approval of the government, not the government itself. I wrote this on the topic last year.

There is more if you're interested.

No doubt the loose association between the Chinese government and the "amateur" hackers is intentional. I always am a bit baffled by the use of amateur with the term hacker because it isn't something you can easily draw the line on who is an amateur and who is a professional. I've met some professional hackers and found them to be quite amateur. But I guess you can call yourself anything these days.

Privacy, Cyberspace and Technology

Schneier has put together a fairly good article on privacy and the future expectations with regards to technology overall. There is a lot of discussion of cyberspace and his usual rant against the Bush administrations abuse of privacy (while ignoring that the ONE has effectively continued those same policies).
Aerial surveillance, data mining, automatic face recognition, terahertz radar that can "see" through walls, wholesale surveillance, brain scans, RFID, "life recorders" that save everything: Even if society still has some small expectation of digital privacy, that will change as these and other technologies become ubiquitous. In short, the problem with a normative expectation of privacy is that it changes with perceived threats, technology and large-scale abuses.

Clearly, something has to change if we are to be left with any privacy at all. Three legal scholars have written law review articles that wrestle with the problems of applying the Fourth Amendment to cyberspace and to our computer-mediated world in general.

George Washington University's Daniel Solove, who blogs at Concurring Opinions, has tried to capture the byzantine complexities of modern privacy. He points out, for example, that the following privacy violations -- all real -- are very different: A company markets a list of 5 million elderly incontinent women; reporters deceitfully gain entry to a person's home and secretly photograph and record the person; the government uses a thermal sensor device to detect heat patterns in a person's home; and a newspaper reports the name of a rape victim. Going beyond simple definitions such as the divulging of a secret, Solove has developed a taxonomy of privacy, and the harms that result from their violation.

His 16 categories are: surveillance, interrogation, aggregation, identification, insecurity, secondary use, exclusion, breach of confidentiality, disclosure, exposure, increased accessibility, blackmail, appropriation, distortion, intrusion and decisional interference. Solove's goal is to provide a coherent and comprehensive understanding of what is traditionally an elusive and hard-to-explain concept: privacy violations. (This taxonomy is also discussed in Solove's book, Understanding Privacy.)

There's a lot more, so take a look. It's worth the time and the links are worth the time as well.

UNHuman Rights Council Seat

Pretty much the One is going after a seat on a council controlled and manned by a bunch of countries with no reason to change the standing policies of their countries. No doubt the US will get harshly criticized by saying one thing and then actually fighting back when terrorists started to kill our citizens. Makes you wonder what the critic's countries would have done? [That was rhetorical since we all know that most would have been far worse and all would have done at least the same thing.]
UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- The Obama administration has decided to seek a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Tuesday, reversing a decision by the Bush administration to shun the U.N.'s premier rights body to protest the repressive states among its membership.

The United States announced it would stand as a candidate in elections May 15 to decide three seats on the 47-member council, joining Belgium and Norway on a slate of Western candidates. New Zealand, which had planned to run as well, offered to step aside to allow the United States to run unchallenged.

Clinton and Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the decision was part of a broader push for "a new era of engagement" in U.S. foreign policy.

"Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy," Clinton said in a statement. "With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system to advance the vision of the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights."

The decision was criticized by U.S. conservatives, who regard the council as fatally flawed.

"This is like getting on board the Titanic after it's hit the iceberg," said John R. Bolton, ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 and 2006 under President George W. Bush. "It legitimizes something that doesn't deserve legitimacy."

The UN itself doesn't deserve this level of legitimacy, never mind the Human Rights Council.
The Obama administration and rights advocates concede that the council has failed to emerge as a powerful champion of human rights and has devoted excessive attention to alleged abuses by Israel and too little to abuses in places such as Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Sudan's Darfur region.
And with the US joining we'll get nothing in change except for more Clinton era style police actions where US troops are under the command of UN designated generals who prefer to hide in their compounds and get massacred when they take action. [Recall Blackhawk down incident?]

More change that isn't.

Depressing Look From Scipio

Note I don't think things are this bad, but my confidence in any action that will change the present economic and political climate is very low. I often think we'll be seeing a change toward the utopia that Yevgeney Zamyatin wrote of in his book We. I don't see 1984 coming about, mainly because the people would fight back against tyranny sooner or later in this country. But give them a nice soft pillow, lots of drugs and sex and you own the world.

This comes from The Return of Scipio.

Our archeologist, while rummaging among the ruins of our fallen civilization, met a ghost from the long dead race of Americans. The wraith boasted much about what we had been as a people.

We died in the hundreds of thousands to end slavery here and around the world.

We invented Jazz.

We wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg address.

We went to the moon to see how far we could hit a golf ball.

We lifted a telescope into orbit that could see to the edge of the universe.

When people snuck into the country against our laws, we made parking lots and food stands off to the side of the road so they wouldn’t get hurt, and we let them use our hospitals for free, and we made their children citizens.

We didn’t care what God you worshipped as long as we could worship ours.

We let the People arm themselves at will. Just to make sure.

We gave everybody the vote.

We built Disneyworld. Just for fun.

We had a revolution so successful it was still going strong two and a quarter centuries later.

We had so many heroes, even at the end, that we felt free to hate them and burn them in effigy.

We electrified the guitar.

We invented a music so compelling that it rocked the world.

The archeologist asked, “If you accomplished all of this, then why did your nation collapse?” The ghost answered, “Because we went insane.”

“Please explain.”

The ghost took a breath and said,
Read the rest. It isn't perfect, but it's in the 10 ring.