AP: High-level Federal Employees Used Work Internet Systems to Join Ashley Madison

As night follows day, you knew this was coming….  From the Associated Press via Fox News:

The AP traced many of the accounts exposed by hackers back to federal workers. They included at least two assistant U.S. attorneys; an information technology administrator in the Executive Office of the President; a division chief, an investigator and a trial attorney in the Justice Department; a government hacker at the Homeland Security Department and another DHS employee who indicated he worked on a U.S. counterterrorism response team.

Hackers this week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website one month after the break-in at Ashley Madison’s parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc. The website — whose slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair” — is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs.

Many federal customers appeared to use non-government email addresses with handles such as “sexlessmarriage,” “soontobesingle” or “latinlovers.” Some Justice Department employees appeared to use pre-paid credit cards to help preserve their anonymity but connected to the service from their office computers.

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But who is slickwillie42dPrez@clintonemail.com ?  Whoever he is, at least he didn’t use a gummint server….

Thank You For Your Input

North-Korea's-vice-premier-

North Korea vice-premier Choe Yong-gon ‘executed’

Mr Choe was executed after he “expressed discomfort against the young leader’s forestation policy”, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports.

Close to 70 officials have been killed under Kim Jong-un’s rule, Yonhap says.

The BBC has not been able to verify the claims. North Korea rarely confirms the South’s reports of executions.

Mr Choe was last seen publicly in December, South Korea’s unification ministry said.

The ministry said it was “closely monitoring the possibility of any changes in Choe’s circumstances”.

The BBC has the story, via Yonhap.  Apparently, Lil’ Kim didn’t get the memo about inclusiveness and validating your people “taking ownership”.   But, I spose such is the way of a brutal Communist dictatorship.  I bet they never even have seminars on TQM.   And it is easy to have a really lean six-sigma because people are starving to death.

On a possibly related note, who do you think Hillary will pick for Veep?

More on Door-Kicking, Aggressive, Unnecessarily Escalatory “Peace Officers”

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From that urbane sophisticate, LTCOL P over at Op-For, where he references WAPO, via SurvivalBlog:

The culture that encourages police officers to engage their weapons before gathering information promotes the mind-set that nothing, including citizen safety, is more important than officers’ personal security.

Worth the read, both LTCOL P’s cogent commentary and the original article.

Police officers should understand the risks in their jobs when they enroll in the academy, as well. That means knowing that personal safety can’t always come first.

Very tired of Police Officers asserting that their “safety” trumps Constitutional liberties.  Especially when they are more aggressive toward law-abiding American citizens than I was ever allowed to be toward Iraqis.  Sadly, as LTCOL P points out, they behave like Volkspolizei because we have allowed it.

The Greek “Haircut”; Watching How It’s Done

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Pay attention to Greece.  It seems that the EU countries that have loaned billions to Greece, which continues to hemorrhage cash because of its rejection of “austerity” (austerity: not frittering away a THIRD infusion of someone else’s money on an unsustainable socialist paradise), have the temerity to ask for decent terms for payback of loans.  For the Greeks, that is absolutely unconscionable.

Faux outrage aside, what is of interest is that, in order to prevent a collapse of the banking system in Greece, a “bail-in” is being considered, similar to what happened in Cyprus a couple of years ago.  Where is the money going to come from?  Why, it will be confiscated from private citizens’ bank accounts.  Whereas in Cyprus, the accounts which were pinched were those over €100,000 (at the time nearly $130,000), Greece seems to be shooting for a much lower number.

The plans, which call for a “haircut” of at least 30 per cent on deposits above €8,000, sketch out an increasingly likely scenario for at least one bank, the sources said.

Why accounts so small?  Here’s why:

With few deposits over €100,000 left in the banks after six months of capital flight, “it makes sense for the banks to consider imposing a haircut on small depositors as part of a recapitalization. . . It could even be flagged as a one-off tax,” said one analyst.

Hmmm.  A tax.  That word should be worrisome to Americans.  Seeing as not long ago we have had “taxes” foisted upon us that were not intended to be taxes at all.  As if the Ninth Amendment simply doesn’t exist.

How Greece’s problems approximate ours is a bit easier to grasp if you think of Greece having one giant EBT card, instead of tens of millions of smaller ones.  Greece wants nobody to tell them what they can spend the EBT cash on, despite the fact that the money on the card is someone else’s.  Oh, and when the money on the EBT card runs out, Greece feels perfectly justified in asking for more.  In fact, if the creditors want to have anything to say about how Greece spends their money, or the terms of the next installment on the EBT card, why, it is terrorism.

Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister, on Saturday accused the country’s creditors of trying to “terrorise” Greeks into accepting austerity.

“What they’re doing with Greece has a name: terrorism,” he told Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “Why have they forced us to close the banks? To frighten people.”

That smug sense of entitlement should ring familiar in the ears of middle-class Americans, who hear constantly about paying their “fair share” from the socialist-communist far Left that includes such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, the Occupy nincompoops, and various Hollywood half-wits.  More troubling, though, is that you can bet the Obama Administration (and every leftist candidate for 2016) is watching how Greece plans and executes the out-and-out confiscation of private wealth for the purpose of continuing government largess, while keeping the socialist sheeple placated long enough to get away with it.

The United States is walking a parallel path to Greece, and eventually, the music will stop.  Then, debt will have to be paid, or loans defaulted.  (This, despite record tax revenues for the second year in a row, incidentally.)  When the reckoning comes, we will be subject to the same unfettered, oppressive, and draconian actions that the Greek government will enact (or allow) against its citizens in the current crisis.

We might see sudden limitations or “taxes” or “fees” on large cash transfers or withdrawals, followed by restrictions on ATM or debit cards.  Then, couched in the familiar language of class warfare, the seizure of private wealth from large accounts, the “haircut” we saw in Cyprus and will see in Greece.  When it is clear that such action cannot be prevented by the anger and outrage of the demonized wealthy class, the threshold for expropriation to feed the Great Society Welfare Furnace will be lowered by increments until the redistribution of private wealth by government fiat is completed to the satisfaction of the ardent socialists who so despise capitalism, and insist that prosperity comes from robbing the selected Peter, to pay the collective Paul.  

For those who would say that such actions to expropriate private wealth cannot happen here, because there are laws to prevent those actions, I would offer that much we once viewed as illegal activity by the government in this country is now quite permissible, provided it furthers the far-left agenda.  With a Supreme Court that acts as if the Constitution is a mere list of suggestions, don’t expect such actions as described above to face serious challenge.

So watch Greece, just as we watched Cyprus.  You can be sure this Administration and its potential successors are taking copious notes, for when it is our turn in the barber’s chair for our “haircut”.

“Let Facts be Submitted to a Candid World”

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security… To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

When one thinks of our wide-open borders, and the IRS, EPA, and Justice Department being weaponized to persecute political opposition extralegally, Obamacare, the Drone Memo, the race-baiting agitation engendered, the massive numbers of apparatchik “czars” having been appointed, the militarization of law enforcement, the violation of our 4th Amendment rights by NSA and FBI, and (if one substitutes “Muslim extremist” for “Indian”) the influx into our cities and towns of violent men who are sworn enemies of our country and our people, the above text resonates quite loudly even when the Obama Administration replaces that of Mad King George.  Unfit ruler of a free people, indeed.  No coincidence that the demand for political correctness has destroyed that candid world.

Slowing down the encroachment of lawfare- It’s Israel’s fault.

No really.

Various norms have evolved over the course of man’s history in regards to the conduct of warfare. Chivalry, for example. With the vastly increased lethality of 20th century weapons, many nations sought to minimize the suffering of both combatants and noncombatants, and codified these through a series of agreements that have come to be known as the Geneva Convention. 

Mind you, the key precepts of the laws of land warfare were written with a view of warfare between nation states and their organized armies.

Today, however, we’ve seen that much of warfare consists of non-state organizations, outside the norms that existed when the bulk of the Geneva Conventions were drafted.  Reciprocity was the main means of encouraging compliance. You don’t use poison gas on us, we won’t use it on you. But international law has struggled to keep pace with the changes. One problem is that while nation states are constrained in their actions by the law, there is actually an incentive for non-state actors to willfully flaunt the norms of warfare.

Still and all, it is generally in a nation state’s own interests to abide by the acceptable laws of warfare. Neither you nor I would truly like to see our services wantonly killing non-combatants simply for the sake of killing or satisfying our bloodlust. On the other hand, we’ve seen rules of engagement that have become ever more complex, restrictive, and burdensome that legitimate targets of war have been spared either through delays in approval or fears of collateral damage.

Arguably no nation has gone so far out of its way to minimize civilian casualties in its military operations as Israel in its recent conflicts in the Gaza Strip.  Routinely, the IDF will phone the homes surrounding a target and plead for the occupants to flee to safety. They’ve developed a tactic called “roof knocking” where a small guided rocket will hit the roof of a target to emphasize that a larger warhead is shortly enroute, to again encourage innocents to flee. 

And now, Israel is being criticized for these humanitarian techniques.

As a result, he expressed his fear that the IDF “is setting an unreasonable precedent for other democratic countries of the world who may also be fighting in asymmetric wars against brutal non-state actors who abuse these laws.”

Sharing his assessment was Pnina Sharvit Baruch, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and former Dabla chief.

She said legal advisers from other militaries around the world confront her with “recurring claims” that the IDF “is going too far in its self-imposed restrictions intended to protect civilians, and that this may cause trouble down the line for other democratic nations fighting organized armed groups.”

Michael Schmitt, director of the Stockton Center for the Study for International Law at the US Naval War College, also agreed that the IDF is creating a dangerous state of affairs that may harm the West in its fight against terrorism.

As noted, some people will instantly conclude that any military operation by any nation that doesn’t adhere to this technique will quickly come to be labeled as a war crime. The problem is, Israel’s ability to use these techiques, particularly the phone calls, is due to its unique relationship with Gaza and its in depth intelligence of the organization and structure of its opponents political and military arms.  No other nation faces such a foe that it could in fact pursue these techniques.

A Scathing Indictment of the Wounded Warrior Project

Over on the porch.  Well worth the read.

I haven’t liked that organization for quite some time, mostly because of the way they portray wounded Veterans as being objects of pity.  Salamander puts it better than I have been able to.

an organization that uses the same visuals, tone and background music for those who fight our wars, that are are also used for starving African children … and at the same time squash local organizations using a huge legal budget.

Touché.

Here is some perspective, without minimizing the sacrifice.  The total US combat wounded in 13 years in Iraq and Afghanistan numbers around 52,000, with the vast majority being minor wounds with RTD (return to duty), such as mine were.  (Of the approximately 1,400 wounded suffered by 1st Marine Division in Anbar from February-September 2004, about 1,200 were RTD.  If those percentages hold for the larger number of 52,000, the total number with wounds serious enough to prevent a return to duty numbers around 7,500.)  We know that the number of traumatic amputations is fewer than 1,600.  This means, with just the last three years of donations, WWP has received enough money for almost $100,000 for each of the 7,500 seriously wounded Vets, or $457,000 for each traumatic amputee.  This is on top of the medical care and equipment provided by the VA for these Veterans.

With a CEO salary of almost half a million a year, the selling of donor lists, and this sort of reprehensible behavior:

According to a number of smaller groups, the Wounded Warrior Project…  has been spending a good deal of time and money suing other veteran-serving nonprofits on the basis that their names or logos constitute infringement on their brand.

I agree with Salamander, not a dime to WWP from me.  I will give to a smaller charity in a heartbeat.  One that does not make helping our wounded Veterans a “common business practice”, and one that does not intentionally harm others trying to give back to those who gave so much.

UPDATE:  XBradTC here. C0ncur all and endorse original message. There are many fine organizations to donate to, and it’s your money. But I would like to mention one that does have a sterling reputation, Fisher House.

The Progressive Paradox!

*Snort!*

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It would appear that the Progressives have painted themselves into an “-ist” corner.  President Obama’s criticism of Elizabeth Warren, according to NOW, is sexist.  While we have been told incessantly that any criticism of Obama, which would have to include Elizabeth Warren’s disagreement, is racist.

As Nelson (the Admiral, not the Simpsons character) once said, “When you see the foe committing a mistake, do not be in a rush to interrupt.”

But it is fun to watch them spray their corrosive bile all over each other.

H/T

The lovely DB

Military Leadership versus Politics

Just a random thought over my morning coffee. Once in a while, you’ll see something to the effect, particularly in conservative circles, that General X or Retired Military Y should run for president.

I’m not so sure.

Generals tend to be people who flourished in big government. If you’re a conservative, is that really where you want to look to find someone who believes in limited government? The military is a highly centralized organization. While many veterans tend to be quite focused on civil liberties, let us not forget that career military personnel have spent an entire career in an organization where their civil liberties were circumscribed, and in which they circumscribed the civil liberties of everyone who worked for them.

That’s not to say they don’t genuinely believe in the Constitution and honestly and genuinely seek to uphold and defend it. It just means their first inclination to view an issue might not automatically be from a perspective of individual liberty. They’ve spent a career focusing on achieving goals for an organization. You know who else tends to think of political goals in terms of group good? The political left.

Generals tend to make lousy politicians. At its heart, politics consists of a series of compromises, with leaders building consensus from often quite disparate groups. Military leaders simply don’t have to do that. In the end, the people they lead have to follow the leader’s agenda. They may do it enthusiastically, or they may do it grudgingly. But do it they will. Politicians, on the other  hand, can propose an agenda, they can work to build support for it, via both carrot and stick, and sell it in numerous ways. But in the end, that agenda has to have some basic level of support from the polity, or it is dead in the water.

The last time we elected a general officer to the Presidency was when Eisenhower won in a landslide in 1952, and coasted again in 1956. And he was a successful President. Why?

Let’s take a look back at Eisenhower’s role in World War II. Beginning in the Torch invasion of North Africa, through the Mediterranean campaign in Italy, to the invasion of Western Europe on D-Day, through the final defeat of Germany, Eisenhower served in a series of commands of Allied forces. Eisenhower quickly grasped that his role was not to defeat the Germans, but rather to hold together the Allied coalition. He was certainly no slouch at the tactical and strategic generalship required for the war, but his greatest strength was to be able to maintain some level of unity of effort between the forces of the British Empire (and later France and a host of other nations) and those of the US.  And while Eisenhower was nominally in command of those foreign forces, that command was more nominal than real. Eisenhower had to persuade his British subordinates to follow his  proposed courses of action (or quite often, adopt a proposed British course of action as his own).

That same skill at forging consensus and achieving compr0mise served Eisenhower quite well in office.

I cannot think of another general officer since then who has had a similar background that would serve as well in high elected office.