Interesting Items 6/04 -
Howdy all, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy -
In this issue:
2. Flame On!
1. Dragon. SpaceX’s Dragon capsule successfully splashed down in the Pacific southwest of San Diego last week. The descent was captured and televised and broadcast worldwide. This flight marks the return of the United States to the ability resupply and support Space Station following the retirement of Space Shuttle. The holiday in the ability of the US to fly to the station was only 11 months long and the solution came out of the commercial world rather than the NASA contractor world. Contrast this with the NASA-Industrial Complex attempt to replicate a similar capability via the multi-billion Orion / Ares boondoggle. The critics of a commercial-centric NASA were clearly wrong and demonstrate their inability to do anything other than what they have been doing for decades - more expensively, less creatively, less safe and less responsive than the commercial world - hardly the things that mark a successful aerospace program. On the other hand, these are all things that mark failing government enterprises at all levels in this nation. Congratulations to SpaceX. Congratulations to everyone involved. The new day in space is now. And all we had to do was to get the feds out of the way. What a concept. Imagine what will happen over the next weeks, months and years should the feds continue to stay out of the way.
2. Flame On! The Obama WH and reelection campaign seems unable to keep national secrets when his reelection is at risk. Last week, leaks from the WH suggested that the Stuxnet and Duku virus that infected and reportedly destroyed over 1200 Iranian uranium centrifuges was a joint US - Israeli project. Nice. Not only do we get Obama grandstanding, but he also manages to drag the Israelis into the discussion by removing their plausible deniability. While I do not mind at all the notion that we are conducting cyberwarfare against Iran, which declared war on the US with its takeover of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and has been conducting offensive actions against US military in Iraq for a decade, I mind very much releasing this information in order to get a political bump. Last week also had reports of a follow-on work working computers in Iran. This one is called Flame / Flamer and its job is to harvest intelligence from infected computers and transmit the information back to its owners, not unlike the standard keylogger / password harvesting virus. Only this one apparently harvested drawing and PDFs from the target computers. There were some reports of target hard drives being wiped. The worm is supposedly very large, being some 40 times larger than Stuxnet / Duku. Someone has been very busy putting the Iranians in the cross hairs. Couldn’t happen to a nicer set of people. Note that the worm has been relatively moribund for a few years, having completed its task in the past. Note also that the anti-Virus companies only go after mass virus / malware running loose in the wild and are not equipped to target specialized, small distribution tools like Flame / Flamer.
3. Drones. Now for the black helicopter part of the weekly. Reports last week had the EPA using drones in the Midwest to conduct surveillance of cattle ranchers for violations of the Clean Water Act. This is an outrage, as surveillance ought to require probable cause, a court order and sworn law enforcement. The EPA has none of this. And the EPA is not the only federal agency using drones here in the CONUS against civilians. I ran across a report last week that the feds are looking at transferring tens of thousands of drones to local police departments nationwide for police use. This is a very bad idea that continues the militarization of local law enforcement. Military equipment in civilian hands will be used for military purposes - which are nothing like the law enforcement mission to serve and protect. The last drone story comes out of the Obama WH. I have been following a writer at a web site called the Ulsterman Report for over a year. He claims to have a couple contacts with deep inside information out of the Obama WH and financial world. It is information that tends to wash up on the verges of fringe, but with this group of nasties, fringe becomes mainstream, so I take what is written with a very large caliber grain of salt. The reason it piques my interest is the proliferation of federal drone use within US borders against civilians in recent years, something that cannot end well for any of us. And an administration that is already acting like it is unbound by rule of law or the Constitution will tend to continue down that path if it is returned to office for another term. Last week, there were a couple postings discussing Obama’s personal interest with the CIA drone program, the Al Qaida kill list, and review of the videos after the kills. Obama apparently likes the ability to reach out and destroy people a lot. Then he enjoys watching the videos afterwards. There is growing concern among the military that the drone program will be moved from DoD to WH control in an Obama second term, where it will be used with impunity anywhere in the world - including inside the borders of this nation. As I said, it is marginally fringe stuff, but does serve as an outlying data point that ought to be considered. You can find Ulsterman here. Read and make your own decisions: http://theulstermanreport.com/
4. Bloomberg. Nanny State health fascist NY City Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced last week a ban on 16-ounce soft drinks in NYC. The rationale, as always is his endless concern for The Children and their problem with obesity. Like Bloomberg’s anti-liberty jihad against salt, fatty foods, tobacco, alcohol, guns, and an endless number of other things he personally doesn’t like, this is only the latest step. And like all tyrants that claim to execute their tyranny against his subjects, it will never end, for it is always for their own good. On this one, there has finally been blowback and ridicule. Don’t know yet if it will derail things this time around.
5. Zimmerman. Florida prosecutors sandbagged indicted self defense shooter George Zimmerman and persuaded the court to revoke his bail and rearrest him over the weekend. They were shocked, simply shocked that Zimmerman had a second passport in his possession and that he had additional income that the court was unaware of at time of initial bail. The passport was an oversight by the defense attorney and could have been requested and turned over to the State without a problem. The additional money rationale was a cheap shot. Most of us are aware of a defense fund put together to help the Zimmermans meet their obligations to pay legal fees during this trial and the expected federal trial should the verdict not be to Eric Holder’s liking. The prosecution was also aware of the web site and the defense fund when they requested initial bail at which time Zimmerman claimed to be indigent, which he was at the time. Since then, donations have reportedly neared a quarter million dollars. The state was shocked, simply shocked at the unreported amount, yet they knew about it all along. They claimed that Zimmerman had lied to the court about his income. Yet this is not income. It is charity, something that is never reported. In sort, the prosecution lied to the Court. The actions of the Florida prosecutor’s office are intended to threaten Zimmerman with financial disaster unless he cops a plea to whatever the prosecutors decide he must plea to. This is pressure at its most obvious and blunt. Pray for George Zimmerman and his family. They are the victims here.
6. Lawsuits. One of the least reported stories this election season has been the 43 Catholic plaintiffs that have filed 12 lawsuits against the Obama administration’s edict that faith based institutions and organizations provide birth control / abortion / contraception coverage to all employees. The lawsuits go directly at Sibelius’ edict in ObamaCare that such coverage must be provided for all at no cost and without regard to religious considerations. The media is routinely ignoring the story so as to protect Obama from Catholic blowback. Too bad for them.
7. Equity. The Obama reelection campaign tried to make Bain Capitol an issue in the upcoming election by firing their best smart round at Governor Romney last week. Like the same round fired by Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich in SC and FLA during the primaries, this one did not hit the desired target. Instead, it ricocheted off and bounced right back at Obama himself. It opened the discussion of Bain Capitol’s investment in distressed businesses, which they were successful in restructuring and saving nearly 80% of the time Romney was with the firm and contrasted it with Obama’s investments in green energy with public money, which have been nearly 100% unsuccessful. It opened the notion of private vs public equity. It opened the discussion of who pays for what and why. Most importantly, it triggered a revolt by democrats nationwide who spoke in support of Bain and equity investments - things that well connected democrats profit mightily from. Faced with both the democrat revolt and the lack of traction on Bain, the Obama campaign moved on from Bain to Romney’s record of job creation while MA governor - something that was pretty poor at the time given the strong democrat majority in the MA Assembly, but spectacular when compared with Obama’s 3.5 years in office and two years with the Reid / Pelosi control of congress from 2009 - 2010. Be careful what you wish for as you might get it.
More later -