Secretaries keep Secrets

I am astonished that no one in the information security field has taken time to analyze the issues of e-mail security for public officials who, like Hillary Clinton, are squeezed between obsolete rules and modern reality.

The problem goes back at least to Madeline Albright.  Condoleezza Rice and General Colin Powell also dealt with this technical problem.  Hillary Clinton did not choose to use a private email server because she wanted one, but because it was the most secure system she could trust with America’s secrets.  The diplomats of the world are faced with challenges from spies from every nation in the world, and even domestic enemies, like rival political parties.


The problem is that when government channels are used, there are literally thousands of points of contact from which the system can be hacked and cracked.  Wholesale theft of diplomatic and military files is an ongoing problem, both from insiders and external players.  Securing diplomatic instructions means trusting a chain of servers and undersea phone links.  America’s enemies are constantly trying to gain access to the communications between the Secretary of State and the rest of the diplomatic corps.

So, using the government servers practically means a copy of all top-level diplomatic correspondence will be on the desk at dozens of foreign intelligence organizations just by putting those mails into the government system.  For this reason, the Secretaries of State have been using non-government accounts to manage off the grid communications.  We know for a fact that General Powell used an AOL account.


Adding complexity to this whole issue are the ethics laws that forbid political communications from government accounts.  By forcing diplomats to use a personal account for personal, political correspondence, the line between official communications and partisan communications will become blurred.  This is obviously what happened here.  By using her own server, Secretary Clinton achieved additional level of security that would not have been possible using the well-infiltrated state department servers.

There is no evidence that suggests her personal servers were ever compromised.  Given the high value of gaining such access, we can be sure that any agency that did infiltrate her personal server would have long ago taken credit and take shots at embarrassing the American Secretary of State.  The files released by Manning and Snowden are freely available on the internet, yet not one email stolen from the Clinton private server was every divulged (except for copies retrieved from external mail systems.)


The obvious conclusion is that the technical staff managing Clinton’s servers were actively monitoring the system and would have noticed any attempts.  The relative obscurity of the Clinton server also gave them a boost to keeping America’s secrets under wraps.
Whoever they were, the did a great job.  Wiping the drives and destroying obsolete backups is the best practices of email security and Hillary’s IT team achieved that success by properly configuring the system, monitoring the usage and managing patches and security certificates.

None of this has any bearing on what may have been said following the Benghazi attack, which is the original concern of Mrs. Clinton’s detractors.  But to conflate her sterling security practices with somehow being disingenuous or deceitful misses the best practices for managing secrets and keeping Americans safe.


Thank you  / images courtesy Shepard Faiery/Obey Giant


“Double Think” Strikes Again!

“Patriots pay their taxes.  Scofflaws and slackers complain about taxes.”
The people who put their party loyalty before their patriotism refuse to judge facts honestly.  The have been brain washed that 2 plus 2 is 5, and they now believe the lies.
All the proof in the world is meaningless as long as they remain mesmerized by the layers of deception crammed down their throat by the 24/7 spin media.
Constant reinforcement of ignorant misinformation is engendered by decades of screaming nuts on TV and radio, all telling them that diversity was bad, that immigrants were why jobs are leaving, and that crime was up.
It has been an echo chamber of self-congratulations and prejudice.  No wonder that the half of the population that is under 100 on the IQ test are easily led to vote for people who then oversee the decimation of the people’s wealth.
The people really running the country are the ones shipping jobs to China by way of Ireland and putting the profits in the Cayman Islands.  They are screwing everyone.  They want interracial tension, ethnic tension, religious tension and all the hatred and violence that goes with those.  A distracted flock is easier to corral and shear.
The real war is between the ultra rich and the rest of the people.  Private ownership of immense wealth is too easily misused or squandered.  I am not saying people cannot be wealthy, just that once they hit a billion that the rest is donated to the good of the nation.
The Great Seal of the United States

Our choices, our future

What if we just accept that neither Donald nor Hillary is the Devil. 


We may disagree with their party positions or their health or their temperaments, but deep down I believe they both love America and they both want what is best for every citizen on America.

However, we worry that the most complex job in the world should not be an on-the-job learning experience. We also have to consider that all of the decades of government experience has taught some bad habits.

America is perched on the doorway of history this coming decade.  Things that divide America weaken America.  America needs to be strong if we are to lead the world.  Leadership, on the world stage, is about moral authority AND military might.  We need both.

I encourage all you partisan muckrakers (yes, YOU) to begin to reduce the destructive rhetoric that has been building since 1992.  Neither party is perfect, and both parties are composed of humans, who are weak and silly.  Getting the BEST government means selecting the best people, not bickering about secrecy of taxes or emails, or who grabbed whom by the hoo-hah. 

Its about protecting our children, and strengthening America for the future. Let’s act like adults. Stop pouring the gasoline of fear politics onto the fires of prejudice and ignorance.


Opinions vs Reporting

It used to be a core American value that journalists reported on facts. Editorial analysis was not to be slanted to the benefit of any one party or candidate. There was a code of honor, that even if a reporter was in favor of a political issue, they would honestly refrain from letting that sway their reporting.

Despite the screams of so many right-wingers, the “mainstream media” is still playing by the rules. However, MSNBC and Fusion are definitely pro-liberal and One America News and ABC are pro conservative. Fox news is so far to the right they had to redefine the whole system, to the point that Republican partisans run the network and it has been a mouthpiece of the right wing for over twenty years.

So who can you believe? With the demise of newspapers, they can no longer afford to cover everything, and analysis is sorely lacking. Besides, most well-respected newspapers have been bought up by corporate interests who follow the money. That’s why family newspapers have died as newsrooms across America go dark.

I have found CBS and foreign providers, such as the BBC, or DW, to provide insight lacking in American outlets. Good analysis is important, and boring background info needs to be understood if you do not want the wool pulled over your eyes.

The “new media” is less a media and more a mob or prejudiced opinions. When people choose the news they want to hear, they are selecting news sources that have an interest in keeping the consumer ignorant. It becomes an echo chamber of self-congratulations and insults against those with opposing views.

A wise person follows the news, and know years later when lies are told about the actions of the past. You have to observe what people DO, not what they say.

Be wise, America. Keep your eyes and mind open.

Rethinking the Second Amendment

In the Eighteenth Century,  the First Founders decided that regulation of firearms is the responsibility of the states. The Second Amendment cedes to the States all power to regulate gun ownership and manage the State militias.

In the Nineteenth Century, the Supreme Court agreed with them.  In 1875, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment does not bar state regulation of firearms.

In United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 553 (1875), the Court stated that the Second Amendment “has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government”.

Later, in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 265 (1886), the Court reiterated that the Second Amendment “is a limitation only upon the power of Congress and the National government, and not upon that of the States.”

Stop Sign with bullet holes

Stop this madness!

Thus, by law, states can permit, regulate or deny gun ownership as they see fit.

Black Votes Matter

The problem is blacks, latinos and youth are so busy struggling to pay their bills its hard for them to follow politics.  If minorities do not vote, they will not win and the next Republican president will have no resistance.

If you don’t vote, you don’t count.

If blacks don’t vote, they will have more militarism in the police departments, less money for health care and education.

If latinos don’t vote, they will have their families torn apart by the expulsion plans of the Republican Congress.

If youth doesn’t vote, they will be burdened with debt and poor working opportunities for the rest of their lives.

Register to vote.  Then VOTE at EVERY election.  This is the secret to running America.

If you don’t vote, you don’t count.

Wisdom of our Elders

 Four Wagons West

by Roberta Frye Watt
Binsford & Mort, Portland Oregon, 1934

The text was produced by one “Dr.” Smith, an early settler in Washington State, who took notes as Seattle spoke in the Suquamish dialect of central Puget sound Salish (Lushootseed), and created this text in English from those notes.
Smith insisted that his version “contained none of the grace and elegance of the original.”

The last two sentences (“Dead, did I say? – There is no death, only a change of worlds.”) of the text here given have been considered for many years to have been part of the original, but are now known to have been added by an early 20th century historian and ethnographic writer, A.C. Ballard.

There are many versions and excerpts from this text, including a wholly fraudulent version [known as the Ted Perry text] mentioning buffalo and the interconnectedness of all life which was written by a Hollywood screenwriter in the late 70’s and which has gained wide currency.
The bogus version has been quoted by individuals as prominent and diverse as former U.S. President Bush and Joseph Campbell.

At the time this speech was made it was commonly believed by whites and as well by many Indians that Native Americans would inevitably become extinct.


Authentic text of Chief Seattle’s Treaty Oration – 1854
[Originally published in the Seattle Sunday Star, Oct. 29 1887]

Chief Seattle

The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth. Chief Seattle

Sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change.
Today is fair. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds.
My words are like the stars that never change.
Whatever Seattle says,  the great chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons.

The white chief says that Big Chief at Washington sends us greetings of friendship and goodwill.
This is kind of him for we know he has little need of our friendship in return.
His people are many. They are like the grass that covers vast prairies.
My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain.
The great, and I presume — good, White Chief sends us word
that he wishes to buy our land but is willing to allow us enough to live comfortably.
This indeed appears just, even generous,  for the Red Man no longer has rights that he need respect,  and the offer may be wise, also, as we are no longer in need of an extensive country.

There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor,  but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory.
I will not dwell on, nor mourn over, our untimely decay, nor reproach my paleface brothers with hastening it,  as we too may have been somewhat to blame.

Youth is impulsive.
When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint,  it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel and relentless,  and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them.

Thus it has ever been.
Thus it was when the white man began to push our forefathers ever westward.
But let us hope that the hostilities between us may never return.
We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
Revenge by young men is considered gain, even at the cost of their own lives,
but old men who stay at home in times of war, and mothers who have sons to lose, know better.

Our good father in Washington–for I presume he is now our father as well as yours,  since King George has moved his boundaries further north–our great and good father, I say,
sends us word that if we do as he desires he will protect us.
His brave warriors will be to us a bristling wall of strength, and his wonderful ships of war will fill our harbors,  so that our ancient enemies far to the northward — the Haidas and Tsimshians,  will cease to frighten our women, children, and old men.
He in reality he will be our father and we his children.  But can that ever be?
Your God is not our God!
Your God loves your people and hates mine!
He folds his strong protecting arms lovingly about the paleface  and leads him by the hand as a father leads an infant son.
But, He has forsaken His Red children, if they really are His.
Our God, the Great Spirit, seems also to have forsaken us.
Your God makes your people wax stronger every day.
Soon they will fill all the land.

Our people are ebbing away like a rapidly receding tide that will never return.
The white man’s God cannot love our people or He would protect them.
They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help.
How then can we be brothers?
How can your God become our God and renew our prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness?
If we have a common Heavenly Father He must be partial, for He came to His paleface children.

We never saw Him.
He gave you laws but had no word for His red children
whose teeming multitudes once filled this vast continent as stars fill the firmament.
No; we are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies.
There is little in common between us.

To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground.
You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret.
Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget.

The Red Man could never comprehend or remember it.
Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors —
the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit;
and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.

Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity
as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars.
They are soon forgotten and never return.

Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being.
They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains,
sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays,  and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living,  and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.

Day and night cannot dwell together.
The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the White Man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun.
However, your proposition seems fair  and I think that my people will accept it and will retire to the reservation you offer them.  Then we will dwell apart in peace, for the words of the Great White Chief  seem to be the words of nature speaking to my people out of dense darkness.

It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days.   They will not be many.
The Indian’s night promises to be dark.  Not a single star of hope hovers above his horizon.
Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance.
Grim fate seems to be on the Red Man’s trail,  and wherever he will hear the approaching footsteps of his fell destroyer and prepare stolidly to meet his doom,  as does the wounded doe that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter.

A few more moon,  a few more winters,  and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land  or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit,  will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours.

But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people?
Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea.
It is the order of nature, and regret is useless.
Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come,  for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend,  cannot be exempt from the common destiny.
We may be brothers after all.  We will see.

We will ponder your proposition and when we decide we will let you know.
But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege  without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children.

Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people.
Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove,
has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished.

Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore,  thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people,
and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours,  because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors,  and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.
Our departed braves, fond mothers, glad, happy hearted maidens, and even the little children
who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season,  will love these somber solitudes and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits.

And when the last Red Man shall have perished,  and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men,  these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe,  and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway,  or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone.
In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude.
At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted,
they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land.
The White Man will never be alone.

Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless.

— added by commentator years later —

Dead, did I say? – There is no death, only a change of worlds.

Polar Vortex is a result of Global Warming and Climate Change

When I was a child I had a top. When properly launched, a top is very stable until its orbits begin to deteriorate then they start to bob and weave and then they finally tumble off axis. The climate is very fluid, but it is in a spinning system and when warm air pushed into the polar region, the cold polar air mass was pushed into the lower latitudes.

As the climate warms, it becomes more fluid. That extra heat causes chaotic mixing of air streams and disrupts the jet stream. The jet stream pushes and pulls the polar system.

Like the child’s top, when the system begins to destabilize, the center of the polar region begins to tumble to lower latitudes. This all makes sense when you understand that convection and Coriolis forces are normally balanced.

Warmer air and water means faster air flows in the jet stream. Faster jet stream means more disruption of normal weather patterns.

T-Rump shows the world his posterior, reveals the true “Ugly American”

T-rump shows the world his backside — again.  He keeps on proving himself to be a thin-skinned mean-spirited narcissist of the first order.
=== Exactly the kind of person who should never be given power. ===
If his party wants my vote next year, they will have to come up with someone who has the wisdom and temperament to run the world’s most powerful country. A lot of us will vote against him, regardless of the opponent, just because of the cruel assaults he has made on scores of victims, from Senator McCain to, most recently,  a disabled reporter.
How can anyone support what amounts to a school-yard bully? It’s not like he has every legislated, or ever governed, or held public office. He has zero diplomatic skill and is likely to start World War Three if given the chance.
Hey T-rump: if you want popular support, you have to have humility and kindness, not slogans and bluster. T-rump has no plan for the economy, no plan for the world situation, no plan for global warming, no plan for social security or health care.
All he has are slogans and attitude.
Attacking citizens who question his competence, honor and honesty is the hallmark of a dictator.  Let’s not elect a dictator.

National Secrets Should Not Be On National News

Western civilization is under attack on many fronts.  Yet news outlets, including TV, radio, internet and newspapers vie against each other to reveal the latest intelligence systems and methods.  They do this in a quest for ratings and the resulting income that comes from having the largest audience.  In truth, they are selling us out to the terrorists.

What?  How?  What do you mean?

Every attack and incident is immediately analyzed and dissected by an array of politicians, officials, criminologists, intelligence experts and pundits with no seeming relationship to the story.  Many of them are actually telling our opponents how to fight us.

Radicals love our News

Our western values impart in us a sense that transparency in government is very important.  But that public spirit of not keeping secrets from citizens makes us think we should be told about the ways in which our foes are being obstructed.  However, such transparency is welcomed by enemies like ISIS because it tells them what to be prepared for.

In a perfect world, reporting security measures to the citizenry seems desirable.  But we live in a world of very unequal mentalities.  We in the educated world assume that everyone appreciates civilization and will always work to make life better for all people.   However, this assumption does not apply to cultures that reject western ideals.

Steps Towards A Safer World

We should rather be told that powerful groups are doing positive things, and not be told the details of how those actions are conducted.  Our enemies want us to tell them how we are countering their efforts.  It is a mistake of the first order to come out and tell them the details and limitations of our capabilities.

News providers, in particular, should reject editorial stories that compromise our national intelligence efforts.  If we are good at detecting rats, let’s not tell the rats how we are doing it.

Can We Keep Secrets anymore?

I like public officials who can keep national secrets.  All the news outlets should be reminded that their reports are a weapon in the terrorists’ arsenal.

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