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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?

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.

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.

 

This Tastes Funny 

I’ve been drinking diet soda (of various varieties) for 37 years. (or so).  Mostly because sugared soda is SO full of sugar. In 2002 I was diagnosed as diabetic, so I had yet another reason.

(And yes, I am aware many of the chemicals, especially the artificial sweeteners, are BAD for me. Please don’t lecture me.) 

I developed a taste for Diet Coke™, which evolved into a taste for Coke Zero™. Equally bad, I’m sure, but surprisingly with less caffeine!

I take five prescription medications regularly, and a couple OTC. For diabetic neuropathy, blood pressure, cholesterol and GERD. And chronic pain.

Considering the chemistry set some folks I know take, I consider myself most fortunate.

My roommate has been taking CO Q10, and suggested that I take it as well. Allegedly good for we ‘older’ folk. Due to one of her chronic conditions, she also takes guaifenesin (Mucinex™), daily.

Due to allergies brought on by the cooler, wetter weather, I, too, have been taking it.

It helps.

I began taking these additional meds about three months ago. About two months ago, something changed.

My beloved Coke Zero™ didn’t taste right!

At first I blamed the manufacturer, then maybe I had a ‘bug’. A good friend suggested my body had had enough of the constant ingestion of chemicals! 😦

Multiple Internet searches regarding formula changes and pill interactions were for naught.

What was I to do? 

I began drinking more filtered water, coffee, juice, and even bought a ‘healthier’ fruit juice based soda, with a different chemical sweetener. And seltzer water – when I could find it (I like seltzer water).

But, I still missed my Coke Zero™. 😕

The weather changed, and dried. And my allergies abated. And my roomie stopped giving me the guaifenesin.

About a week later, someone gave me a Diet Coke™. I thought ‘what the hell’ I can nurse it.

It tasted fine!

I’m spending less money on beverages, but I now know I can have a Coke™ product, if I choose!

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY!

Can’t Touch That! – NSFW

(from Jeffery in Alabama)

Another Reason To Loathe Democrats

“State Representative Jessica Farrar, a Houston Democrat, filed House Bill 4260 Friday, which would fine men $100 for masturbating.” 

The story and the screwed up mindset behind this thinking HERE.
Uh, how is the government to find out?  (I don’t want to be appointed the ‘wanking czar’!)
Seriously, aren’t they already in our lives ENOUGH!
“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” – Mark Twain
Amend this to add, uh, entertainment…

Beware The Ides Of March? 

(March 15 for the Julius Caesar/Shakespeare impaired!)

I subscribe to a smattering of emails from allegedly like-minded individuals.

Sometimes I am in agreement with their themes.

Other times, not so much.

One guy, who operates a small libertarianesque, survivalist business has been promoting a book ‘not yet in bookstores’, purporting to describe the next financial collapse, and confiscation of bank accounts(!) by the government!! 

(Other nations wherein this has begun, or is beginning! – ZeroHedge)

Allegedly, this is to begin MARCH 15!  (The Ides of March, for all you Julius Caesar fans.)

Coincidence? Astrology? A soothsayer’s truth?

I’ve no idea. I cannot afford the book, and probably wouldn’t buy it, anyway.

Most of my income is direct deposit disability.  I suspect if BIGGOV wanted to take it, they would so do.

With impunity!

WHY?  Because they can!

(So, you thought you’d withdraw your cash and hide it in your mattress?  Not so fast there, Bucko!)

♫ In The Summer, When It Sizzles…♫

(Yes, I know, it’s not even SPRING, yet!)

A couple of weeks ago, it was cold and rainy, as it should be in February.  Highs in the 50’s and 60s.

BUT, we do have occasions of warmer weather spurts, followed by cooling off periods, usually culminating in the first 100° temperature around the beginning of May (sometimes a day or two earlier.  April?)

I remember a month of so ago, my roommate asking me to turn up the heat a click, as she was ‘freezing’.  (The can be difficult to gauge accurately, as our thermostat resembles a Quija board, and she has her own internal thermostatic issues.  And my room, most Westerly in the house, gets the most Sun and heat – making it 5-10 degrees warmer in warmer months (and colder in colder months)!

It appears we are beginning an up-tic:  88° Sunday (today), then 90°,92°,93°,92°,93°,95°,94° ! (per Yahoo Weather)

(My apologies, Rev. Paul, Brigid and Gloria!)

The brain trust on the street (aka the Chicken Littles) have begun proclaiming with it being this hot so early, that we are in for a scorching Summer, as is one may extrapolate the weather that far out! (attention Chicken Littles – most weather readers have enough trouble getting tomorrow’s temp correct!  And you can predict 100 years in advance?  Yeah.  Global WarmingRI-IGHT!)

Like it’s going to be 150° in the shade in July.  Silly geese.

Everyone knows it most likely won’t exceed 122°, 123°…

YIKES!

(Hopefully, this won’t happen until July, if ever!)

PHOENIX (CBS5) –

Do you remember the hottest day in Phoenix history?

It was on June 26, 1990, a day not easily forgotten as the mercury hit an all-time high temperature of 122 degrees.

Okay, June then!

 

Fuel To The Already Dead Fire

(from Wirecutter)

Obama’s brother produces THE birth certificate

An Obama has joined the birther movement.
Malik Obama, Barack Obama’s half-brother, tweeted image of what appears to be Barack’s birth certificate.
Except it’s not from Hawaii, but rather Kenya.
MORE

From the Day Late Dollar Short, or the What Took You So Long Department!

Seriously – How many birth certificates ARE THERE?  And how did he get a Connecticut Social Security number?  And why are his school records sealed?

And, why would one’s half brother do such a thing?  Now?

Inquiring minds want to know!

(Just because sometimes, I like adding fuel to the fire! – Guffaw)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…