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Tuesday 04 March 2014
Ukranian Website
amiel, Tuesday 04 March 2014 - 08:23:56 // comment: 0

Spending a couple of hours roaming through Ukrainian website. Not like this site, their site is filled with interesting bits of insight into life on the other side of the planet.

Well into my journey, and quite impressed with what I was finding I clicked on the picture of a pretty woman on the right side of the page.

A kind of a Facebook looking page came up, and of course the text there was in Russian. A numbered list with the picture. I cut and pasted the list into Google Translate.

The first text on the page was a warning, well here I'll cut and past it here ...,"WARNING . MAXIMUM repost. "

The list included references to a rally Tomorrow (today is Tuesday, it's Wednesday there right now). A rally in support of, well one thing or the other.

Clearly there is no real support for a Soviet invasion except amongst a few hair-brained extremists who drank the cool-aid. Reminds me of the Republicans in America and the recent abuse of Government power that occurred in Arizona a week ago... there never was an issue in Arizona (or anywhere else) related to Religious rights and bla, bla, bla. The extremists sought to sell us on the belief that for that particular complex problem; extreme measures were required to address it...make sense? ... you see, there were never any complaints to start with.

No one had a problem.

I'm going to end this here. As things look, I don't think that it is inaccurate or wrong to describe the people of the Ukraine as homogeneous. The suggestion that a conflict exists between one or another group, in significant form or numbers is the lie that Putin must sell. Not only to people outside of the Ukraine but to the Ukrainians.

My bet is that they are way too savvy to take the they were in Arizonia.

We shall see.

Monday 03 March 2014
Ukraine signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
amiel, Monday 03 March 2014 - 10:38:01 // comment: 0

In May 1992, Ukraine signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in which the country agreed to give up all nuclear weapons to Russia for disposal and to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state. Ukraine ratified the treaty in 1994, and by 1996 the country became free of nuclear weapons. [Wikipedia]

In March 2014 Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that it is his right to invade Ukraine and has directed the deployment of Russian troops to areas of the Crimea.

As a result some portion of an available 140,000 Russian Naval troops stationed in the area have taken up positions in Ukraine in areas on the Crimean Peninsula.

No shots have been fired on either side. The Ukrainian military has thus far refused the instructions of the Russian military to them to abandon their posts in Ukraine.

These aggressive actions of the current Russian President began with his personal motivation to claim the right to invade the Ukraine, this by all appearances being premised on his rationalizations. On the face of it he argues (with no-one at the moment) on the issue that describes that Ukraine is a sovereign nation with which Russia has signed treaties Vladimir Putin asserts that this fact has no relevance.

Complementing this is the fact of what has motivated Mr. Putin. I speak of the departure of the Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich; forced out by citizens of Ukraine who took to the streets in protest and opposition to former President Viktor Yanukovichs' leanings to Russian interests... and his insistance on entering into agreements with Russia that were contrary to the interests of the People of Ukraine.

I could write a whole section of the relevance of the recent removal of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the responses of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Military.

Suffice it to say that this boils down to a struggle between the Classes. Evidenced by the facts.

What strike me here is the fact that President Vladimir Putin is said to have recently regained solid support of the 'Old' Communist Party in his own country. Where are they in this? That, is. Does the will of the people in the Ukraine have any sense of meaning to the Communist party in Russia? Or do they have their relevance only to the extent that they are willing to exist in the shadows behind Vladimir Putin? By the way, several months ago Vladimir Putin ordered the shutdown of Russia's only non State Sponsored Newspaper, it's replacement to be a new State Sponsored Newspaper... so, good luck getting to the facts out of Russia ...

And what do either the Communist Party or Vladimir Putin stand for? Certainly it is not their word. That is the first thing that vanished into thin air with this.

Perhaps it is the Glory of Mother Russia that is most important to Vladimir Putin. Such that he believes that history will describe that while he violated the trust of everyone and everything around, that the sanctity and security of Mother Russia (for which he has sole responsibility) remained untouched and undiminished.

.. what bullshit.

The truth and the background of Viktor Yanukovich, the alienation of his own people and his eventual rejection and his flight from the Ukraine, spring directly from his demonstrated willingness to sell out his own people for profit. And those same people (the citizens of the Ukraine) having the means to uncover the truth about their President.

Both President Vladimir Putin and the former Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich, with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have all demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice the lives of any number of people in order to simply remain in power.

Common people, the proletariat in some parts of the world, the 99% here in this Country, consider them to be Tyrants and almost universially prefer that they be dealt with accordingly. History shows that they don't go away on their own.

In each individuals case mentioned above, they have resorted to using the force of a trained Military against civilian populations. They have each demonstrated no respect of agreements, or treaty, and each provides the justification for their actions as being somehow related to God and Country. While using the media to vilify their opponents. The people.

The reality is that the world is quite prepared to put the likes of Vladimir Putin back in his box. This is the case because it has to be prepared. The world can deal with Bashar al-Assad too. In these cases we really have no choice. If we are to maintain some reasonable level of stability in the lives of most of us in the world, then we must be prepared to deal with the Tyrants who will continue to spring up from nowhere from time to time.

Monday 29 August 2011
Blair Mountain West Virginia
amiel, Monday 29 August 2011 - 03:54:45 // comment: 0

In the History of the National Registry of Historic Places only one place has ever been 'Removed' from the List of Historic Places... that place is the Historic Blair Mountain West Virginia. I could almost just provide the links here and simply allow the reader to fill in the blanks themselves on how and why this happened.

Blair Mountain was the location of a violent conflict between American Workers and hired 'security' people working on the behalf of the Mining companies in West Virginia.

Cheap and highly available labor was a requisite ingredient for making profits (nearly any company would fit the same description). Threatened by the prospect of unionized employees, Coal Companies literally fought workers, to keep workers under their complete control, and maintain the status quo. The concept of a 'Union' (of workers) that would in practice, allow each worker to have more power over his future; a potential threat to their endless pool of dirt cheap labor, resulted in a fight.

The Battle of Blair Mountain is the single largest battle in US History involving American citizens on American soil other than the Civil War itself.

The Mining Companies fought with every means at their disposal to stop the Unionization of Coal Mines in West Virginia, and America.

This is a fact of the American experience. A part of American History that apparently some influential concern would prefer that you never know anything about...

I am also noticing that there is no identifiable (can't find any) evidence of media coverage of any type that reported the actions of the National Register of Historic Places (the nation park service).

This is worth reading I'm sure. I am also sure that many Americans are not aware that such things ever took place. And with this action of the National Park Service, it becomes less likely that they ever will.

I don't know if it is bad practice to list these two events together but another historically related event that occurred on the other side of the country in Ludlow, Colorado kind of makes it clearer what the Company influence meant to Blue Collar America. This link provides some details preserved in verse.

Monday 15 August 2011
Looking at American Civics and supposing why politics have gotten so bad (formally mis-titled Tavist and Cornel).
amiel, Monday 15 August 2011 - 01:40:57 // comment: 0

Only 29 States in the United States require students to take and pass a course in "American Civics", previously required in all American Schools, the requirement was eliminated in [ year].

In 2010 a series of questions were poised to Eight graders relating to the functioning of American Government.

When asked to identify the functions of the branches of American Government. 7% responded with answers that identified all three branches of Government and their functions, 10% responded with answers that were considered 'acceptable', and 43% provided answers that correctly identified one or more but not all three branches of the American government thus precluding an understanding of the relationship between all three branches. 26% failed to provide even a partially correct answer and 12% made no attempt to answer the question at all.

In this test of middle school students, 81% of those questioned could not describe our system of 'checks and balances' and or the relationship between the three branches of the US Government. This 81% of students tested in 2010 is unchanged from the results for same class levels over the previous 12 years (read).

Someone observing and documenting the competence of American Citizens in American Civics provided a simple comparison made in it's study, that only 50% of Americans can actually name the three Branches of the American Government, while a whopping 75% can competently provide the names of the Three Stooges when asked (read).

Incidentally, there are three branches (Judicial, Legislative, Executive), with three basic functions (interpret existing laws, creating laws, executive powers - including the veto).

It occurred to me that huge chunks of the Arab world have been giving America a lesson in Democracy as they struggle with up to and including their own lives to achieve, 'Democracy'. While Americans are in the process of trading and bartering away their own Democracy. Largely because they don't even really know what Democracy is. They can't describe it, thus they cannot effectively communicate (or be communicated to) in matters that are related to how it works - such as concepts that might require identifying the separate roles and the responsibilities of our Governments component parts.

Such that politicians can say and do anything (or do nothing at all) as half of the American Citizenry doesn't know what these elected guys should be doing in the first place.

Such that when John McCain trots out to the Capitol rotunda balcony to present his periodic, "Look at this startling list of wasted taxpayer money, legislation" presentation, only half of Americans know that he is full of it, since addressing and preventing such waste is what he is there to do in the first place (that we have no power to stop it we can only stop him to prevent it). While the other half of America energetically cheers him on thinking he's really great for being thoughtful enough to tell us about it and blame it on the White House and file that under 'Big Government'.

For half of Americans 'Government' is thought of as being just one great big ill defined all encompassing blob. Not the three distinct branches with the three clearly defined sets of roles and responsibilities that it was once generally well understood to be. ... in all of the planning, think of that. Remember that. This is the strength of one party who pander to constituencies that participate as long as their ideological and philosophical itch gets scratched - people that are not intentionally ignoring what is good for America, these are people that have no clue what America is and what a Democracy is to start with.

Thus this 150 Million Americans will require that any solution presented to them also include a detailed description of the roles and responsibilities of each of the parts of the Government in such solutions - even to the point of what some will think of as being 'unnecessarily detailed',....anything less leaves room for taking advantage of the ignorance of that half of America who are so vulnerable to the mis-information and emotionally charged rhetoric that is used to exploit them.

This is the what the new world order is made of. Formally it was called Ignorance. It is what a healthy economy based on an abundance of cheap labor is made of. We become competitive with our new contemporaries around the globe. With the wealthy in control of the politicians and most of the nations wealth like our new contemporaries around the globe. Dismantle consumer protections, labor protections, social safety nets, and stop wasting our money on needless education. We don't need those, if our goal is to compete on a Global Scale and become truly competitive with our new contemporaries around the globe.

This is the reality and as such we have like a 50/50 chance as I see it as we head into the future. Competitiveness, education, knowledge are what America is lacking at the moment. It is via these that we address our Economic challenges, and with these same tools that we effectively address the challenge of a broken political system that through the exploitation of the lack of these has brought us to this unspeakable juncture as a Nation.

O.K., just for giggles... most of these college students got the answers correct. ... I think that the Joe Biden question was a give away.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Wednesday 10 August 2011
Cornel West
amiel, Wednesday 10 August 2011 - 01:45:29 // comment: 0

"... We got forms of market fundamentalism running amok around the world in which the market is being cast as, 'Idol' that can solve problems, rather than a human construct that has virtues and vices like any other thing created by human beings..." Extracted from a lecture, Dr. Cornel West.

I started at the Smiley & West website several hours ago and ended up at YouTube. where I decided to keep this little line of text as a reminder of what I had found..

Thursday 28 July 2011
IT Management Slideshow: 10 Ways Mozilla's Firefox Fails CIOs
amiel, Thursday 28 July 2011 - 16:08:12 // comment: 0

CIO Insight just published an expose on Firefox declaring it substandard (read). Today must be dumb rationalization day, probably tied to the Deficit Circus in Washington, the article goes on at length on nothing of substance, intermittently declaring Firefox popular amongst consumers but unpopular with something called a CIO. Hmmm.

Apparently without thinking they choose to compare Firefox with the browser that single handed gave life to the term virus, worm, and a gazillion half-baked products to protect and recover from such. It is not hard to understand why Mozilla has an attitude that anyone relying on the opinion of Microsoft vendors would be uncomfortable with.

The sad part of the stuff published by CIO Insight is that a great many managers in the IT world depend on the opinions that they write and generally assume that they know what they are talking about. Here, they don't.

Foxfire is secure, foxfire is customizable, and yes customizable even with extensions. The upgrade schedules are irrelevant (more on that towards the end, let me have some fun first).

I once observed a highly paid IT person show off his Debian Mint install (he called me over to his area), the first thing he showed me was the software update tools and how it kept track of "software patches" (updates). What he didn't know was that he had the words, "Windows User", rubber stamped on his forehead at that moment (although I was probably the only person in the room that could see it at the time).

You see, had he been really well versed in corporate software update concerns with his software, he would have shown me how he'd set up the APT repository for the Company from which users fetch their updates. Instead of using the software repository on the internet. That way he could explicitly control which machines got what updates. Of course I understood that he didn’t really understand how Open Source Software is managed, which doomed the companies plans for Open Source use to potential debilitating problems from the very start.

The folks at Mozilla don't have a cavalier attitude as CIO Insight declares. What they have is knowledge, a focus and a direction that is in no way parallel with the world of Microsoft (and they are successful with that). So what's the gripe? CIO's don't like it? Remind CIO's that even Steve Jobs had to eventually grow up from the childish things. Tell them that they can click here and roll their own solution like the real big boys. Or that here's the keys to Firefox, drive it yourself (maybe even use some of that endless .dot programming budget). The problem here is not Mozilla or it's software, the problem (persistent problem) is with the consumer oriented mindset of American IT management as is clearly indicated in the CIO Insight Magazine article.

Tuesday 26 July 2011
U.S. Representative John Boehner
amiel, Tuesday 26 July 2011 - 08:26:57 // comment: 0

John Boehner has the air and swagger of a man seizing on this unique historic moment to propel himself on to greater things. A sort of of an Alexander Haig, "I am in charge", response, blended with a Norway bomber styled ideological commitment.

Americans will be forced to take to the streets, not in support of one or another Republican stance promoted by Conservative broadcasters, but under banners of 'indignant' Americans fighing for their very survival. To which John Boehner will grin his familiar grin, shrug his holders and walk away.

"... meanwhile, unveiled their own plan that included $1.2tn in cuts, caps on future spending, and offered a $1tn debt ceiling increase - not enough to last through the 2012 election". Which is all that this is about for Washington Politicians like John Boehner and the crew of naive junior republican House members using their votes for the string pulling that will enhance their opportunities for further theatrics.

The Moodys deadline is not about the dollars in American spending, or the dollar amount of it's debt ceiling, the deadline is about making the commitment to pay current and future debts. The John Boehner plan does not eliminate 1.2 Trillion of spending, only 917 Billion. The credit agencies have expressed that they require confidence. John Boehner has provided us with a circus instead which is serving to undermine the entire effort. Someone should kindly relay to John that this is an area for serious business, the audience is not a part of the Washington Circus where he is accustomed to performing, before he single handedly sinks us all.

I am working on and accompanying diagram to show where 1.7 trillion dollars was added to the actual deficit as a result of a tax give away (tax cut) early in the Bush Administration when unemployment was at 4.3 percent. It was an incredibly irresponsible thing to do. But it has taken ten years for Americans to feel the results of it and his other irresponsible decisions. The investments of larger businesses helped to fuel growth of the 'global' economy while precious little was invested in America.

The debate over eliminating tax loopholes (raising revenue levels) is largely a matter of the Bush Tax giveaways having become an unfair burden to poor and the middle class ten years down the road. Simply put, Americans need their money back. And this time we need to have our money invested in America for the benefit of Americans.

Monday 11 July 2011
National Debt
amiel, Monday 11 July 2011 - 20:03:46 // comment: 0

According to a story (read) published on September 29, 2008 the National Debt stood at 5.727 trillion Dollars. The National unemployment rate was at 4.3 percent. US productivity, was at it's highest levels in US History.

And, the holder of the office of the Presidency had just changed.

During those subsequent eight years, unemployment grew (slowly at first) to over 8 percent. Productivity shrank rapidly and steadily, producing a scissors pattern on charts. And the National Debt Ceiling was raised on seven separate occasions.

The National Debt Ceiling was last set at 11.315 trillion dollars (from 10.615 trillion dollars sixty days earlier) attached to some emergency bail out legislation. The country was facing economic collapse AND a crisis of leadership so pronounced such that conversations in the media had turned to discussions of having someone takeover before the January Inauguration Ceremony (a reminder).

From a 5.727 Trillion Dollar Debt to a 9.849 Trillion Dollar Debt immediately following a half decade of the broadest economic expansion in US history. And nobody noticed.

At the end we were left with a smoldering ruins where prosperous America once stood with job losses at levels not seen since 1929. Housing markets gutted of previous value, property investments no longer a viable means. While jobs continue flowing overseas, hugely subsidized with taxpayer money.

Nearly the Great Depression all over again with 300,000 to 600,000 jobs being lost per month, and with no end to it in sight.

While productivity had years ago taken a distinctive downturn, Government spending continued, including a brand new 1.7 Trillion Dollar tax cut which was financed entirely on more Debt. (This is the prize that one party is today threatening Blackmail against America in order to keep; these tax breaks were not needed when enacted and eventually served no real purpose to the economy as a whole. In simple terms it (the tax break) requires that dollars be used to subsidize the continued wealth of those who cannot be identified as currently constructively participating in economic growth... based on the Reagen(esque) theory that perhaps they may at some point in the future make the necessary contributions to the economy....public assistance without the tacky card.)

This all sounds like something the leader of some Rouge State might have pulled off in some under-developed country somewhere. Today American politicians are poised to continue to build their fortunes and futures in this fashion. Dependent entirely on voter gullibility and rhetoric, posturing and theatrics. But the relevant facts of this economic collapse are overwhelming.

Kindly read this well written piece dated September 29, 2008. (read)

Masterfully done!

Monday 27 June 2011
S 772
amiel, Monday 27 June 2011 - 19:11:26 // comment: 0

I was just reading at the OpenCongress website, referring to sections of S 772 that made mention of the functional roles and the fairly massive funding of private organizations under that legislation that would have made participation in the IT security area very lucrative.

While all the while legislating the creation of a 'standards' entity that would have previously not existed. That is, the funding exists for private consulting concerns to have input and a role in establishing the direction of Government Security efforts, but the yardstick to be used to determine the capabilities of such participants didn't (doesn't) exist. It was to be created via the Legislation. Hmm.

Enter subsequent proposals ie. HR 174 and others, wherein similar references to non-government organizations having a functional role in establishing the direction of domestic IT security efforts, thought much reduced in importance, are still mentioned.

Functionally, one must establish a record of competence and expertise in the area of security in order to command the role and title of 'expert' (I am assuming this, it is not spelled out this way in the text).

If such record of performance is not available, then under the language contained in S 772, HR 174 or any other Legislation, how are taxpayers guaranteed to get their moneys worth?

In other words, "an inch deep and a mile wide" may be sufficiently impressive on a conversational level. But it has been repeatedly proven to be insufficient on an other than abstracted level. Such as recently coming to light, overlooked by the media, in the case of an organization poised to feed at the public trough as specified in the text of previous and current Legislation, who failed to make the grade on the real world playing field and in very concrete terms.

An impressive organization, a kind of self proclaimed guardian of the American People, with geographic connections to... who knows what.

Now burdened with a legacy of having failed to protect their own organizations computers from outsiders. Are they now precluded from functioning in the role of experts? Feeding at the trough. And is anybody keeping tabs on this kind of thing?

I came across the name of this company through a news item at the BBC website (bottom of page). Perusing a few of the publicly published lists, my thoughts of the list described as being from InfaGuard was that many of the users had endeavored to select passwords that would not be simple to crack. And others used passwords that the simplest of methods would easily crack. Of course none of that had mattered as apparently ALL of their user name password lists were accessed via some other means of ingress.

I don't want a dime of my money spent on an organization like that. Not a dime.

I am posting this and mentioning this for two reasons. One. Security at a national level is a serious matter. Two. The majority of security professionals that one may encounter in the workplace don't have sufficient knowledge to fill the job to start with (sanz the network people of course :->). Three (three?). This will go completely unnoticed if I don't mention it.

I like the HR 174 language. However we clearly need to be aware of whom we have watching the coop in the first place.

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