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‘everything that’s old is new again’

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Karma Is A BITCH!

OR, it’s not just the Crusades that ticked ’em off!

HISTORY, via Sean Linnane

Historical Perspective: The Conflicts In The Middle East

If karma is real, we are certainly experiencing it on an international scale in the Middle East . . . S.L.

The Middle East is a mess, but despite our recent involvement in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, the United States is not solely responsible for the current state of affairs. The challenges inherited by the Trump Administration are complex; any solutions are elusive at best. A review is necessary.

Apart from the oil-rich Gulf nations, three countries in the Middle East stand out politically and culturally. Syria is a traditional society with a long cultural history. Damascus – one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world – has long been one of the Arab world’s centers for cultural and artistic innovation, especially in the field of classical Arab music.

Iraq was the center of the Arab caliphate during the “Golden Age of Islam”; the 9th and 10th centuries. Baghdad was the largest city in the world at the beginning of the 10th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, both Syria and Iraq were part of the Ottoman Empire.

Egypt is the most populous and most cosmopolitan Arab nation. Egypt’s interaction with the West goes back as far as ancient Greece, when Alexander the Great made one of his generals – Ptolemy – pharaoh, in 305 BCE. Cleopatra (51-30 BCE) was Ptolemy ‘s direct descendent. Like Syria and Iraq, Egypt was also a part of the Ottoman Empire. During World War I, Egypt became a British protectorate.

From 1958 to 1961 an entity existed, the United Arab Republic, a union between Egypt and Syria. Tripartite Unity Talks occurred between Egypt, Iraq and Syria in 1963, but these failed after ba’athist-nasserist clashes in Syria. Egypt continued to use the name UAR from 1961 to 1972. In 1972 Iraq proposed a restored union with Egypt and Syria, but this also failed to coalesce. These three nations, however, became Soviet client states and focused their energies against Israel, the American proxy.

To understand the vectors of the current conflict, we can look to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1919 as a historic point. At that time, Britain moved into Palestine, Trans-Jordan, and Iraq while France took the lands of Lebanon and Syria (the Levant).

Read the rest of it HERE

These days I’m writing for American Military News – AMN reports on global affairs, terrorism, American national security and military, politics and other happenings. Anything you’d like to see my perspective on, please contact me via the email link, and thank you for your support!

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Strombringer aka Sean Linnane is the pseudonym of a retired Special Forces career NCO (1st SFG, 3d SFG, 10th SFG). He served with honor on five continents; He continues to serve in other capacities.

He is also a student of history and politics.

The CIA Hack – From Borepatch

My friend Borepatch is an Internet security professional.  And a fine blogger and good friend.

Here’s what he has to say about the latest Wikileaks CIA revelations:

(Here’s a hint – the media is less-than-accurate!)

CIA Hack details – beware of what you read in the media

The media has a poor track record of getting security stories right, and the CIA Wikileaks document dump is no exception.  For example, they don’t hack your TV over the network:

The CIA didn’t remotely hack a TV. The docs are clear that they can update the software running on the TV using a USB drive. There’s no evidence of them doing so remotely over the Internet. If you aren’t afraid of the CIA breaking in an installing a listening device, then you should’t be afraid of the CIA installing listening software.

So as long as you’re not worried about a CIA operative breaking into your house, this specific exploit isn’t going to be aimed at you.  Does this mean you should hook your smart TV up to the ‘net?  Ohhellsno.  Just no.

And this is pretty interesting:

There’s no false flags. In several places, the CIA talks about making sure that what they do isn’t so unique, so it can’t be attributed to them. However, Wikileaks’s press release hints that the “UMBRAGE” program is deliberately stealing techniques from Russia to use as a false-flag operation. This is nonsense. For example, the DNC hack attribution was live command-and-control servers simultaneously used against different Russian targets — not a few snippets of code. [More here]

Like I said, it’s hard to get stories like this right and mostly the Press doesn’t.  There are more examples at the link.

I’ve no expertise in this area, but I trust Borepatch.

You gotta trust someone, right?

Hooray For Socialism!

(joke, or sarcasm, depending on your mood)

(from my friend Joel @ TUAK)

And the sign over the bread line read, “Honk if you love Socialism…”

…but there were no cars, because there was no fuel.

Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights[*] said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

Yup. The honchos in the Venezuelan government were embarrassed by bread lines. So, in a brilliant example of historical illiteracy – dovetailing nice with their economic illiteracy – they arrested a bunch of bakers.

Yeah. We need more government controls here.

Also I’m reminded I need to buy more flour when I’m in the big town next week…
100_1645


*Dig this: The National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights is apparently responsible for arresting people who get caught exercising what, in a sane society, would be their socioeconomic rights. Must be socialism.

AH!  Government at it’s best!  I would have said ‘at HER best’, but that would be insulting all femininity.

Christensen’s Law

(courtesy of Dave the Genius Mechanic)

I loathe Chase Bank.  Actually, I loathe ALL BANKS!  Remember Christensen’s Law – Banks are NOT in business to serve you.  They are in business to make money. (See also the insurance company corollary).

I am SO HAPPY I am not a Chase Bank customer.  Examples:

  1.  Getting in-and-out of vehicles is a painful proposition for me.  But their drive thrus are not at a good angle for me to access.  So, I must go inside to the foyer ATM.  (Why am I going there, if I am not a customer?  My roommate is, and it’s just simpler for me to visit my Credit Union, obtain cash, and go to her bank to make a deposit into her account.  She doesn’t want a check.)  Half the time when I do this, the indoor ATM is out-of-service.  They suggest the drive thru – which is difficult for me to access.  I went up to the inside counter and was told as I was not a customer, I could not make a deposit – WITH CASH!  X-(
  2. Another time the indoor ATM was out-of-service.  I asked if they could take my deposit (a postal money order) inside.  I was told they could – If I were on the account!  Otherwise NO – try the drive-thru ATM!  X-(
  3. I went the other day to make the foyer ATM deposit.  It worked swimmingly!  It even took all the cash w/o rejecting any bills! (usually it rejects three or four)  THEN, no receipt was issued, and the machine read OUT-OF-SERVICE!  I went inside, and the one clerk said he would be just a minute – he was working the drive thru ATM transactions!  Maybe five minutes later he got to me.  I explained my predicament.  The ATM had taken my money, issued no receipt, did not return the money, then went out-of-service!  He referred me to a more senior teller, a woman.  She listened to my tale of woe, and said she would get back to me.  Then she left!  At length, she returned, and told me the funds were in her account, and not to worry.  But, she could not issue me a receipt, as I was not a customer! (Even though the ATM regularly does!)  She offered me her business card, if my roomie had any questions!  I responded something more needed to be done!  OR I WAS CALLING THE POLICE TO REPORT A ROBBERY!  Eventually, we agreed she could write on her business card the amount of the funds had been deposited – and sign it!

Poor customer service, rudeness, failure to accommodate a disabled person, I could to on…

They suggested my roomie add me to her account.  That might solve some of the issues, but in no way do I wish to be affiliated with this particular banking institution!

NOW, as to my Credit Union!  I almost closed my account there, after over twenty years, because they proudly announced a few years back they would gladly accept illegal aliens as customers!  (Yeah, nothing like furthering criminal activity and money laundering for a profit!)  GRRR!

They’re NOT Sore Losers?

(from Free North Carolina, in part)

Trump isn’t up against “sore losers.” He’s facing an army of saboteurs bent on destroying the elected government.

Via Billy

As I predicted in my best-selling book about President Trump’s plan to save America, the Democrats and their media accomplices have declared all-out war on the Trump White House. Under the guise of “resistance” – as though the Trump was the head of an occupying army rather than an elected president – they have set out to destroy his administration. They are not “sore losers,” as many had surmised when their hysterical attacks on Trump as an American Hitler began, they are an army of saboteurs bent on destroying the government the voters preferred. Their general, Barack Obama, is an unrepentant radical who abused the office of the presidency when he was in power, and as ex-president is now leading a war to overthrow his successor.

More @ Front Page
Is this hyperbole, or fact?
What do you guys think?
AND – what do we, as citizens of a Constitutional Republic, DO about it?
(I’m convinced their vanguard is roughly 3% of the Democratic Party.  Old hippies who believed in the Weathermen, race-baiters, other radicals searching for a cause (rebels w/o a clue!), unemployed – because employed folks have to work!)
PS – I am not a Trump supporter.  I think the last election was Hobson’s Choice – an unrepentant criminal Marxist versus a Huey Long copycat with lots of money, playing to the Silent Majority.  Trump has some good ideas, but seems less educated regarding how the Constitution works!

AGENDAS 

I read numerous blogs, websites, news postings, editorials and personal emails daily. (When my health permits it.)

Doing so helps me keep up on what’s going on in the world. Mostly.

(An American was killed in the Isis attack in London.  Bastards!)

I rarely watch television news. There is way to much spin, and omission for my taste. At least the Internet provides some variety.

But, there’s one commonality.

THEY ALL HAVE AGENDAS.

At least now, with the advent of fake news, it’s more obvious.

Please Keep A Good Thought…

…or pray, if that’s what you do.

Judy, my roommate, dear friend, and exgf, goes in for shoulder surgery this morning @ 0800.  She is having a badly torn rotator cuff repaired.  It seems 30+ years of doing hair has taken it’s toll!

Thanks to everyone’s generosity, she has a number of things to make her recovery a little less painful.  The lift chair, which is normally my domain in the living room, needed it’s controller replaced.  Having use of one arm means she now needs it, at least temporarily.  The surgeon wants her to sleep in it.  And an ice jacket, which is placed over the shoulder with circulating ice water, will hopefully lessen her pain.

We would not have been able to afford either of these things without your kind help.

Thank you again!

Well, off to the hospital!

PS – Judy was very moved by your comments and emails, and thanks you!

PPS – She made it through the surgery quite well (we have pictures!).  A prognosis is for a complete recovery!

We Are FOOLS For The Internet

Remember when we were told that our Internet searches might be watched over surveilled ‘reviewed’ by the Intelligence ‘Community’ (“Jesus, you guys are kind to yourselves!” ‘Joe Turner (Condor)’, in Three Days of the Condor)

Now, my friend Borepatch brings us this:

Amazon Echo, Google Alexa, and the NSA

Amazon Echo and Google’s Alexa are Internet Of Things devices that listen for your voice commands and then do not particularly interesting things for you.  The minor convenience and gee whiz factor are way outweighed by how you are painting a big bulls eye on your house:

As a rule, IoT devices lack security and these are no different. Unlike other IoT devices, these personal assistants compromise your security in even more ways they you may think. In general, most users don’t read the Terms of Service (ToS) associated with IoT devices or software being installed. Users have a basic understanding that Amazon and Google will maintain your profile information, such as what music you listen to, when you turn off your lights, or even the coffee you order, in an effort to provide a better over-all experience. Over time these devices learn your preferences; the more intuitive and responsive the device, the more we tend to use it.

What is more alarming is what you don’t think about when using these voice activated devices including those from Apple and Microsoft. There has been a lot of discussion around the security and privacy of these devices over the past few months. One of the biggest concerns is the question of whether the devices are always listening. Both Amazon and Google say the devices listen for hot words that activate them, such has Hello Google or Echo/Alexa, but because these devices are controlled by and interact with by Amazon and Google, the hot words and or the device itself can be easily manipulated to allow for an always on “listening mode” by the vendor at any time by the way of a crafty term of service

How’s the security of these devices?  You can’t know.  What will the Terms Of Service provide to protect your privacy?  You can’t know:

Amazon:In order to keep the Amazon Software up-to-date, we may offer automatic or manual updates at any time and without notice to you.

Google:When a Service requires or includes downloadable software, this software may update automatically on your device once a new version or feature is available…

So the services can update the software without your knowledge, whenever they want, for any reason they want.  The terms of service state that they may sell or share your data to other organizations.  And this is creepy but entirely to be expected:

In addition to the vendor maintaining access to the device, it isn’t unfathomable that cyber-criminals could gain access as well. These are, after all, IoT devices and are just as vulnerable to being pwnd (geek speak meaning owned/or controlled) as any other IoT device. Both devices have indicators when they are in listening mode, however this can be easily disabled by a hacker. A hacker could be listening to your every word and you would not be aware.

And so would NSA listen in?  The Snowden revelations suggest that they might already be listening in.  How much data do they have?  Who knows?

It will be a cold day in Hell when one of these things shows up at Castle Borepatch.

It’s probably good we at Guffaw de alquiler cannot afford such things.  My roomie is not particularly tech savvy (less than I) , but loves toys!  Between the two of us, we have a PC, a laptop, two tablets, two smartphones, and she has a smart watch!
If indeed, United States intelligence (or Israeli?  They reportedly have a listening post not far from Fort Huachuca) is actually paying attention to what we email, and to whom, and records our cellular calls, and computer searches, adding a voice-actuated room-wide link to the Internet just seems like overkill.
Inviting what is essentially an open wiretap into one’s home, with which to do Internet searches, order products and services, pay bills, etc. seems a little self-defeating.  If privacy is your goal.
If we ever get out of this financial hole we are digging (with her working little, and surgery pending – putting her off for six to twelve weeks), I can see her wanting one, though.
Sigh.

 

Yep. It’s March 18th And 19th, Again


Twenty two years. Since we were in an accident on a Saturday.

And she left us on a Sunday.

Forever to be age 12.

There have been many memories. And many tears.

And many sad days and nights.

I miss you and love you with all my heart. And would trade places with you in an instant, were that possible.

You out there know what I’m going to say next.

Please, tell those whom you love that you do love them. And hug them if at all possible.

Because you never know.

I LOVE YOU MOLLY! ❤️

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 

Most of you know this is a bad time of year for me.

I’ve not happily celebrated this holiday for years.  I remember prepping my daughter on Friday for school, making certain she had something green on.

Then, the weekend occurred. (1995)

But, I saw a cartoon on FB recently, that made me chuckle. Guess that means I am healing (?)

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, on a Friday, just as it was 22 years ago.  Most Fridays (in recent memory) I wear a red shirt, as I am a member of the Red Shirt Society.  (NO, not the Italian militia, Southern white supremacist group, or an expendable Star Trek guy!)

It would be awesome if everyone wore RED Shirts every Friday in honor of our military who are deployed. WE as American citizen’s need to keep our Veterans and Military close to our heart and in our prayers.

R – Remember
E – Everyone
D – Deployed

But today, in deference to my celebrating the holiday for the first time in 22 years, I am wearing the GREEN!  (Orangemen, of course, are acceptable, too – this IS The United States!)  🙂

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY, EVERYONE! – O’Guffaw

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…