Tag Archives: Politics

Government:origin,growth& form in the United States

I received a very thoughtful Christmas gift from Kamila this year. It was a book titled “Government : its origin, growth, and form in the United States, Ohio Edition“. The book showed an amazing amount of perspective into who I am. Books are very valuable to me — particularly books of this age (printed in 1902) with regards to government.

Governement: Its origin, growth and form in the United States - Ohio EditionFirst, the book is a historical view of government in the United States. Anyone that knows me well knows this is important to me. I love history , and more specifically United States history.

Second, it was entertaining that it was an Ohio edition since that is where I grew up.

Third, I love the book’s perspective. The book still describes our founders as men with character and conviction — men who put country first. While I’m interested in truthful historical perspective, I don’t like the concentration placed solely on the negative information we can find about our founders.

For instance, I’m well aware that Ben Franklin was womanizer. I don’t overlook it. I take in Ballot insertperspective, however, with my admiration for the man. He was one of America’s biggest life-hackers in history. He was an inventor. While today LifeHacker.com might point to iPhone apps developed to improve your life, others were and still are pointing to Franklin’s inventions as aides in every day life. I also consider the fact that to the day he died many ridiculed Franklin (in spite of his obvious contribution to the country) for being an abolitionist (after owning slaves earlier in life). I admire a man who can examine his own beliefs and take difficult positions after careful introspection.

All of that points out that while I am aware of how Mr. Franklin behaved in the presence of women, I am more prone to talk about the positive. I would want me kids to emulate the positive, not the negative.

Lastly, I love this book because it demonstrates her understanding that I don’t need expensive gifts — thoughtfulness was key here. I only wish I could return that sentiment – I’m a horrible gift giver. I’ll endeavor to do better next year!

This book was the perfect gift for me. Thanks Kami!

OT: Bank transaction privacy

BankRate.com is reporting a story about the use of financial transactions being used to track down terrorism.  Of course, our anti-American partners at MSN are, of course, lapping up the story like a dog to a toilet bowl. 

The article states:

According to their rules, any group of transactions totaling $5,000 or more that “is not the sort in which the particular customer would normally be expected to engage” can cause enough suspicion to create a SAR [Suspicious Activity Report].

Having engaged in more than my fair share of transactions last year that involved more than $5000 on a weekly basis, and having had my fair share of “irregular” bank transaction requests, I can state that I more than likely have one or more of these reports generated about me and suprisingly enough, I’m not cowering in a corner waiting for the feds to bust down my door.  Now, if I had engaged in any illegal activity, I am sure I’d be singing a different tune. I also appreciate the fact that our government is trying to track possible terrorist activities and I’m thankful that we have a President who is willing to do what is necessary to meet that need.

It seems to me I remember some certain “Jersey Girls” complaining:

I watched my husband murdered live on TV. . . . At any point in time the casualties could have been lessened, and it seems to me there wasn’t even an attempt made.

Among other things, they charge that nothing was done in a meaningful timeframe to save anyone’s life, that the delay was on purpose, and that [President] George Bush was responsible for the deaths of three thousand people.

I actually can understand the sentiment and complaints. I can even sympathize with the rationale, but these same women are complaining when we do try to gather intelligence.  Democrats are proud to bring up the intelligence failures of 9/11, but are also quick to leak intelligence to ensure failure again in the future — and they wonder why they lost the Presidential election as well as the House and Senate in 2004?

Now, I’m certain I’ll be attacked for taking this stand, but I want to get one thing straight. I don’t believe that the government should be so involved in our lives either.  I think that we have let the government etch itself too deeply into our way of life. Let’s not forget that the government was never intended to control so much of our lives.  Instead, we’ve perverted it to do so and now we are paying the consequences of those decisions.  Socialism has crept into our society years after we supposedly defeated it.  We’ve put the burdon of our every-day lives onto the government and now that the government is taking what we have given them over the years, we are going to complain? 

You cannot have it both ways. Either you have a government that is in charge of distributing wealth, protecting citizenry, giving “free” health care to “everyone”, establishing what is moral and what is not, literally robbing from the not-so-rich and giving to the not-so-poor, educating our children (if you can call it that) and caring for our every need, or they can be a thin layer of government that conforms to the will of the people and doesn’t have the ability or business of prying into our every day lives.

Protests in Seattle: anti-communist?

The news has been reporting about China’s President Hu visiting Seattle, its businesses and, of course, Bill Gates’ home. What wasn’t widely publicised was the number of protesters in the area. Monday night, I had to run back up to my office and grab some paperwork I left in my desk. On my way up there, I saw several protesters at the corner of 40th and 156th in Redmond. Their banners decried alleged ill treatment of Falun Gong supporters, and, of all things, communism. Having only been in the Puget Sound area for a short while, I find myself wondering how this can be. They don’t call this side of the continental US the ‘left coast’ for nothing. That puts us square in the center of the pro-socialism crowd. So again, I ask, what are these people complaining about? This is what this side of the country yearns for — complete government control over what you can and can’t say at what time, in the presence of what company and with what tone. If government were a drug and communism were crack, socialism would definitely be cocain — the perfect gatway drug to ease you into the rest of your useless life as a crack adict. So I say, put your banners down and bring peace to this riddled puget sound area. Quit rocking my boat! The government of China knows what is best for their people and has every right to tell people what they can and cannot do with their money, their children, their weapons, and, of course, their voice. And don’t you worry with programs like social security, medicare, medicaid, welfair, unemployment, national endowment for the arts, Department of Education, FCC, minimum wage, income tax, tarrifs, gas taxes, sin taxes and the like, you will never have to worry about forming your own opinions on what is an appropriate income at retirement, what drugs are best for you, being responsible at work, painting something that someone is willing to pay to look at, what your children are and are not allowed to learn, what your radio DJs are and are not allowed to say, how much crack a single mother of four can afford to buy while holding down a part time job at McDonalds, how much you are allowed to earn for yourself, what you are allowed to buy from other countries, where you can afford to travel, or what habits infringe on another person’s rights so much that you have to pay extra for the right to continue it. Isn’t socialism fun?

What part of conserve gas do you not understand?

Forgive the non-technical post and the language, but this has me a bit upset.

There is nothing I hate more than to see millionaires complain about money problems. NASCAR is apparently having some difficulty with their races due to the recent gas hike. My favorite quote was:

“We also are seeing it in our aircraft. Our charter company, because we charter our team planes, has given us an extra charge directly due to the raise in fuel costs.”

Well boo-f ‘ ing-who.

Hackers Attack via Chinese Web Sites

I don’t know if anyone caught the Washington Post story a few days ago titled “Hackers Attack via Chinese Web Sites“. It seems to have slipped past everyone in the news. Of course, The WP has become so disreputable and biased that it shouldn’t surprise me that no one paid attention. However, we were warned well in advance, so it should be no surprise.

This begs the question, however. The government has to be, without a doubt, one of the largest consumers of computer goods and services. While I am not an advocate of increased tax spending, this area could use some. Perhaps its time to take a different approach with that spending, however. We have tried many things over the years: Internet War Games, hiring our own elite forces, and even creating more laws and policies. These are certainly deterrents, but security in depth is the key here.

Any good football team has a good offense, a good defense, and a great different game plan depending on who their enemy is. We have the offense now (as mentioned above), we have ‘some’ defense as well. Laws do us no good when dealing with hackers in foreign countries. So what is the answer? I will not purport to have that ‘nail in the coffin’ answer to cyber terrorism and anyone that claims they do is selling you a bill of goods (And they will typically have the abbreviations “Sen.” or “Rep.” in front of their name). However, there are a few other things we need to explore. One mark of a great football team is that they have the ability to surprise and misdirect their enemy. Making the opponent attack in the wrong direction has often led to victory in some of the best games I have seen played. In IT, the misdirection can be supplied with honey pots and misinformation. We can take a trip from the tabloids and start putting out information that sounds correct and feasible, but is nothing more than fodder for the masses. For instance, sending out communications that will most likely be intercepted to “expose” a weakness that is actually a strength can cause a huge failure on an attacker.

This is also not a new concept in typical warfare. Many of you may remember the move “The Patriot”, which was a loose description of the revolutionary war battle in Cowpens, SC, made use of a “double envelopment” strategy, which essentially used a perceived weakness to entice the enemy into a trap. Obviously, this was not the first use of the strategy either, but is highly notable due to the movie’s popularity. Honey pots and misinformation are highly useful in this same context. We strengthen what we may now understand is a weakness, and then taunt the enemy with the weakness again. While the enemy attacks, we have a better chance of pinpointing their location, and perhaps sending them a nice drone-delivered “ACK” to their received packets.

The football analogy works to some degree when trying to put together a cyber security policy. However, we do not “play” against one enemy at a time. We play every team out there — known and unknown. This is why defense is our most important aspect of policy. Our defense needs to be highly educated, state of the art, and driven. We have no way of knowing who is going to attack and when. There is no way we can be prepared for every attack possible. However, we can at least provide some misdirection while we shore up our defense and plan our counter-attacks.

School Security:Blaim the kids & send them to jail

So now you can now send kids to prison and charge them with felonies when your security is so lax that they can waltz in. Here’s the long story.

Here’s the short story.

A school handed out Apple iBooks to 600 students in a school. These laptops had various “security” features on them to keep them from accessing parts of the internet, or installing anything. They also had monitoring software that allowed a school administrator to see what was being viewed on the student’s laptop. I appologize that I don’t know if the software was custom made or if it was a known package. In any case, the password used to bypass these features was foolishly taped to the back of the laptops.

Using this password, the kids bypassed the software so they could download iChat to talk to each other. They also reportedly turned the tables on their school by monitoring the administrator’s desktops instead of the other way around.

This is typical childhood behavior. Kids are currious and given the opportunity to explore, they are going to do so. Given a challenge that they “cannot do x”, they will do x, y and z to prove you wrong. As the kids pointed out, and I oddly enough agree with the kids for once — the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. I’ll go one step further to say the punishment doesn’t fit the right people. Those involved with the “security” of these systems need to be shot. We’ve had examples of disobience to simple rules that date back to Adam and Eve and a simple piece of fruit. What makes you think that history will somehow change itself and kids will simply obey an order? If they are curious, and you leave the door open enough to fit their fingers through, they will find a way in.

In my mind, the correct response to this would be to give them a slap on the wrist for the disobedience, put the kids in some sort of programming course , nurture their natural abilities, sack the programmers who wrote the systems to begin with, and charge the kids with designing a better system. To me, that’s education!

Where’s the liberal/conservative outrage now?

Things I haven’t heard on Air America and America Right that I thought for sure I would:

“Newsweek lied, people died”

“Guns don’t kill people, Newsweek Kills People”

I guess I shouldn’t be suprised. Both republicans and democrats have tricked most of the nation into taking one side or the other without question. Citizens don’t seem to be able to find fault when there is definite blame to be placed. They can’t give credit, when there is definite kudos to be delivered. There is no co-operation for fear that the “other side” might appear to be making progress.

Why in the world can we not disagree civily anymore? Why does everything have to be a political tool? As intelligent citizens of this nation, can we not at least shame ourselves into seeing things for what they are? Newsweek went to print with this story because of this political hatred that has been spread from one end of the nation to the other. There was a day and age when common sense dictated that although there might be a story somewhere, some stories just shouldn’t be told for the sake of the nation. In this case, it was a story that was just flat out wrong, and all because an entire news organization is hell bent on killing this nation in favor of increasing a subscriber base.

This nation belongs to every citizen herein. Can we not find common ground and attack those areas that we agree on and forgive those that we cannot? I’m not asking you to drop your leftist/rightwing agendas, but why does everything have to be a federal law? Why can’t we let the states and local municipalities decide what is right for their communities? It leaves far more people happy than not. Its what the framers of our government intended.

I feel like I’m rambling, and believe me, I could ramble forever on this topic. But I won’t. I’ll just post this message as a prayer to the nation’s citizenry that we stop the bickering, and start fixing things that desperately need our attention.

Minutemen Incident — So funny!

msn.com is still set as my home page. This morning there was an article posted that had me chuckling to myself because of the picture at the top of the article.  It was a picture of an ILLEGAL IMIGRANT holding up a T-Shirt. I will never call these people “undocumented workers” so people can help you forget the first thing they do is disrespect our country by breaking the law to get here and disrespecting the many people who stand in line to come here the legal way.

In any case, the funny part was what the T-Shirt said:  “Bryan Barton caught an illegal alien and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

I don’t know why it made me laugh so much, but I thought I would share it.