Monday, November 25, 2013


Cruz on the new filibuster rules: Now that the filibuster option finally has been scaled back (yay!), Ted Cruz offers a surprising opinion:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said in a recent interview that the filibuster rule change made in the Senate on Thursday will hurt the chamber's ability to pass legislation.

"It will poison the atmosphere of the Senate," Cruz said...
The atmosphere could get worse? Really? Is that possible?

And the new rules are going impede legislation?

"It's yet another abuse of power by the Democrats," says Cruz, who defines the term "abuse of power" so broadly as to include the concept of simple majority rule. Perhaps Democracy itself is an abuse.

Now let's return to the real world. The graph to your right nicely explains the true meaning of the words "abuse of power"...

Funniest response to that Iran deal (the one that every sensible person likes): John Bolton, witty as always, offers the following...
Abject Surrender by the United States
What does Israel do now?
I dunno, John. Perhaps they can try living in peace with their neighbors? Perhaps they can give up their dreams of beguiling the US into overthrowing large states that threaten Israel's interests? And while we're at it: May I please be allowed, as an American, to give a damn about my interests, not those of Israel?

Mind you, I have little hope that this agreement will hold for long. Congress will probably deep-six the arrangement by offering up a piece of legislation that breaks the accord. Then they'll stick that legilsation into the DoD budget bill, which can't be vetoed. (Can't recall where I read that prediction -- some other writer aired it first -- but the idea makes sense. Let's see what happens.)

Nevertheless, Israel does seem to be well and truly ticked off by this deal. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns had to operate behind Israel's back when he secretly reached out to Iran months ago. Before that, Valerie Jarrett may have been meeting with the Iranians covertly for a year, although the report has been disputed. This BuzzFeed piece makes clear that Israel was not invited to the party...
“We did not know from the beginning, but we knew, we had intelligence that these meetings were happening,” said the Israeli minister, who spoke to BuzzFeed by phone from his Jerusalem office. He said that a “friend in the Gulf” shared intelligence with Israel that the meetings were taking place, and urged Israel to find out more. “I would like to say we knew the content of the talks, but we didn’t. What we knew was that the U.S. was choosing not to tell us about them and that was very worrying.”

That “friend,” one foreign ministry official said, was Saudi Arabia...
Has anyone written a book about Israel's weird relationship with the Saudis? Someone ought to.

As I've said before: This is really all about water, not nukes. I believe that Israel covets Lebanon because that's where the fresh water comes from. (Desalinization plants are not enough.) Thus, both Iran and Syria need to be out of the Lebanese picture.

The NSA, the NSA, the effing NSA: Believe it or not, I'm sick of writing about the NSA, just as you are sick of reading about the NSA. But how can we turn away when we learn things like this? (The story was broken by a Dutch newspaper.)
The American intelligence service - NSA - infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software designed to steal sensitive information. Documents provided by former NSA-employee Edward Snowden and seen by this newspaper, prove this.

A management presentation dating from 2012 explains how the NSA collects information worldwide. In addition, the presentation shows that the intelligence service uses ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ (CNE) in more than 50,000 locations. CNE is the secret infiltration of computer systems achieved by installing malware, malicious software.
This malware fastens not onto individual computers but onto network servers, so there's no escaping the NSA's minions or doing combat with them.
The NSA computer attacks are performed by a special department called TAO (Tailored Access Operations). Public sources show that this department employs more than a thousand hackers. As recently as August 2013, the Washington Post published articles about these NSA-TAO cyber operations. In these articles The Washington Post reported that the NSA installed an estimated 20,000 ‘implants’ as early as 2008. These articles were based on a secret budget report of the American intelligence services. By mid-2012 this number had more than doubled to 50,000...
Infected computers contain bugs which can be turned off or on remotely by the NSA. Undetected and undetectable, the malware sits on those systems for years and years.

The NSA mentions CNE in this "We're hiring hackers!" notice.
Our Computer Network Operations mission involves three major functions:

Computer Network Attack (CNA): Includes actions taken via computer networks to disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy the information within computers and computer networks and/or the computers/networks themselves.

Computer Network Defense (CND): Includes actions taken via computer networks to protect, monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to network attacks, intrusions, disruptions, or other unauthorized actions that would compromise or cripple defense information systems and networks.

Computer Network Exploitation (CNE): Includes enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks.
The NSA unit which handles all of this is called TAO: Tailored Access Operations. Since China is a main target, I find this nomenclature ironic. The Chinese must now avoid the way of the TAO...
What scares me is that with all those people Woking for the agency who's to say there is no one who might use the information in a corrupt way. Like people who do banking online or any other activities of sort that will be open for them to see and may be give it to a crook to steal. All those identity theft makes u wonder.
Damned good point, anon. Look at what Ed Snowden did on his own.
And, will any future leakers from TAO be praised as champions of transparency or as traitors?
America isn't a democracy, it's a republic.
Re; Israel and Saudi Arabia:

Joseph Trento's "Prelude to Terror" looks at George Bush Sr.'s CIA turning away from Israel and building up Saudi Arabia. Oil and Intel on the rest of the Arab world seemed to be the motive.
Fast fwd.- Saudi Arabia is the second most powerful cat in the sandbox now. Israeli agents shadow the 911 (Saudi) hijackers all the way through the training and attack. Now we have the Obama administration, and the Israelis and Saudis team up to present a front against Obama's Iran negotiations. Perhaps they were working more closely than we thought. Recall that Saudi intelligence was said to have supplied some of the disputed gas weapons in Syria.
--I still believe there is a parallel between Obama's foreign policy and that of JFK:
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