Impotency of our Democracy

The U.S. democracy is severely broken. 

We are supposed to be “one out of many,” but instead we are many out of one.

There is a tearing at our nation’s fabric. 


Resistance.  Obstruction.  Polarization.  Gridlock.  Shutdown.  Identity Politics.  Hating on each other.  Can’t get anything done. 


Legislatively we’re at an impasse.


It’s not just the border wall…


– No full year (let alone multi-year) budgets for all Federal agencies.


– No Healthcare Fix


– No Immigration Reform


– No Education (STEM) Improvement


– No USA Infrastructure Bill 


– We are losing our edge to a resurgent Russia and a China taking world stage militarily and economically. 


Executive Branch has its hands tied. 


Special Counsels.  Congressional Inquiries.  Judicial injunctions.  Media Lynchings.


Alone.  Thwarted.  Unable to lead or act. 


Presidential hand tied by mommy Pelosi and Daddy Schumer.


State of the Union cancelled. 


Presidency is compromised in the eyes of every national competitor and demagogue in the world. 


Without a strong leadership reestablished and permitted to act, we are running a very strong risk of losing our superpower status and becoming just another has-been nation.


Don’t think it can’t happen.  


The three branches of the government should be working together and helping each other to strengthen our nation’s survival, prosperity, and success.


If we don’t stop the madness, then we will implode and it won’t be a pretty or a happy day for anyone–Democrats or Republicans. 


Last chance for E. Pluribus Unum.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

America The Polarized

So on one hand, in American politics today you have this–Make America Great Again.

And those who support Trump and change.

On the other side, you have those that oppose and resist.

And those that blame and wash their hands from the dirty politics.

And many that think that the worst in politics already happened.

But our problems are large and eating this nation up alive–from Iran and North Korea to Jobs, Healthcare, Immigration, and more.

 

Our social safety net is fraying under a frightening and mounting national debt, and our national security needs are growing amid an endless array of real doomsday threats from WMD, EMPs, and Cyber Attacks.

 

What will it be America–blame, ridicule, resist, endless fighting or work to help and not hate. 😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Left and Right Unite

Eagle.jpeg

So I saw on Facebook, an image of an old, wise, Native American Indian.


And over the image, it reads:

“The left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird.”


That is pretty darn smart–and one of the best things I heard all week!


To many extremist people out there, they seem to have been forgetting this lately.


Also, the agitators don’t seem to let up–does it matter if it’s conspiracy theories or fake news–if it gets the bird in the net for clip-clip.


In an effort to “resist”–or perhaps utterly destroy the opposition–we have put politics above the National interest. 


Yes, politics matter–issues matter–people matter. 


But can the bird fly with only one wing?


Sure, we need to speak up when we see something wrong or that we don’t agree with.

But we also need to discuss, negotiate, and compromise–for Pete’s sake, work together to make the bird stronger and fly further and faster–rather than kill the bird itself. 


Our competitors and enemies have arrows pointed at and are shooting them at our American Eagle.


Will we give them the advantage as we self-destruct with loathing for one another? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is Our Democracy Failing Us?

Fight.jpeg

The latest was Kathy Griffin grotesquely holding up a decapitated and bloodied head of the President of the United States, Donald Trump.


Before that was Stephen Colbert uncool, profanity-laced barrage against the President.


Even Madonna lost her sh*t and threatened to blow up the White House at the mass women’s march earlier this year. 


But all this is still only the tip of the iceberg, as liberals “resist” him and extremists even riot and commit acts of violence; the investigators look to impeach him; the mass media lynches him daily; witches try to cast a mass spell on him; and even late night comedians make him into the butt of every joke and asses wisecrack. 


No respect anymore.


No genuine dialogue.


No negotiation.


No compromise.


No problem-solving.


No putting the nation first. 


The glove are off as tempers and politics are boiling over in Washington, D.C. and all across the nation.


As liberals and conservatives battle it out for the direction of our country.


Some may say that this is what democracy is supposed to do…


But at this extreme, this is how nations self-destruct, not govern!


Who is laughing?


Certainly those that would threaten our way of life:  Russia. China. North Korea. Iran. ISIS and Al-Qaeda. 


Only sane Americans are crying out for leadership to stop killing each other and instead coalesce–irrespective of right and left–and to move this nation forward stronger in the world–militarily, economically, and socially.


As we continue to beat each other senseless with new revelations of debauchery and corruption every 5 minutes on TV, our politicians are black and blue, their agendas are dead on arrival, their proposals are torn to shreds, their votes are filibustered, the parties are deadlocked, the government nearly shutdown again, and progress is nowhere to be found.


As some states talk of succession, some nutty people out there are advocating for violence to our elected leaders, and others are even calling for civil war, should it come to it. 


As many have commented, civility is gone from political discourse, and instead angry and violent discord rules!


This is not a healthy democracy, but a political system being torn apart by extremists and haters.


How do we get the destructive abnormal new normal back to a fruitful normal is normal again?


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Nation Conquered By Politics

La La La.jpeg

So Obamacare is failing with rates spiraling up out of control and choices narrowing for people that need good affordable healthcare. 


And the Ryancare replacement plan failed to garner enough votes and has been questioned by the alt-right as not going further enough to change things for the better. 


Blame the parliamentarian, blame each other, blame the Russians. 


Between the two sides of the aisle, there aren’t enough centrists, and the parties won’t work together on a solution to this or anything else apparently–hence the utter catastrophic deadlock and lack of progress in Washington going on for years now!


The democrats passed Obamacare along party lines without a single Republican.


And now Ryancare similarly had not a single Democrat. 


Resistance.  Resistance.  Resistance!


This is how polarized and ineffective our system of governing has become, when the two sides love their position and power more than they love the people of this great nation!


The Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians didn’t have to fire a single shot…they just continued to shame our ineffectiveness with bogus deals and aggressive posturing, fed us boatloads  of misinformation (“fake news”) to agitate our already divided country, and then they left us to split asunder under of our democracy’s own weight. 


As the Republicans point fingers and the Democrats gloat–there is a great refrain of La La La Koosh Koosh going on–and the Superpower U.S. is looking not only asleep, but also fat, stupid and sprawled out pathetic with no where to go but up from here. 😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

U.S. National Demise From Political and Media Extremism

When media becomes propaganda, this country is in serious trouble.


We are so busy telling each other what “the truth” is that nothing is getting done. 


While Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and radical Islamist terrorists increase in strength and bravado, we are fighting one another here at home.


As more people in the U.S. gravitate to the extremes–alt-left and alt-right–lines in sand are drawn between us, while the red lines defending our common interests are eviscerated. 


Self-destructing from within, while we outwardly spend $600 billion on defense–34% of that of the entire world!


No strategy or weapons can defend us, when fake news and alternate facts and hatred of one another is at our present-day core. 


Tearing us apart, the endless hateful calls of:


– “Not my President”


– “Resistance and persistence


– “Love Trumps Hate”


– “Deplorables, Nazis, Communists!”


The political extremists and their media henchmen are leading the charge to America’s downfall and possible doomsday. 


Unless we, the American people, can moderate and unify and love each other again.


We must before our enemies take advantage of our inner divisiveness and weakness.


If we don’t come to our common senses, then we may very well pay a most heavy price in our persons, property, and freedom that we all so cherish and value. 😉

18 Million–Change The SSNs

SSN

So, maybe one of the most detrimental hysts of information from the Federal government in history. 


Now involving over 18 million current and former federal employees, including military and intelligence personnel. 


No getting around it, but we are major screwed here–this is a treasure trove of personal and privacy information ready to use for identity theft, blackmail, assassination/decapitation attacks at home and work addresses, kidnapping of family members, and literally attacking our national security apparatus from the very inside out–it’s people. 


Imagine, if at the time of its choosing, an adversary attacks our nation, but preempts this with sophisticated and coordinated attacks on our critical government personnel–generals, spy masters, political kingpins, and other key decision makers–thereby distracting them from their duties of safeguarding our nation. 


This is our new Achilles Heel and overall a security disaster bar none!


Well, we can’t go back and put the genie back in the bottle–although wouldn’t it be nice if such critical information (if not encrypted–already unforgivable) would have a self-destruct mechanism on it that we could at least zap it dead.


But for the people whose personal identities are at risk–whose social security numbers (SSNs) and dates of birth (DOBs) have been compromised what can we do? 


While we can’t very well change people DOBs, why not at least issue them new SSNs to help thwart the adversaries peddling in this information in the black markets. 


If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can issue some 18 million new SSNs and mandate government and financial institutions to make the necessary updates to the records. 


This is not rocket science, and certainly we owe this much to our people to help protect them.


Will our government be there for it’s own employees and patriots? 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Donkey Hotey)

What’s Your Information Lifecycle

A critical decision for every person and organization is how long to keep information out there in the physical and cyber realms.

Delete something too soon–and you may be looking in vain for that critical document, report, file, picture, or video and may even violate record retention requirements.

Fail to get rid of something–and you may be embarrassed, compromised, ripped off, or even put in legal jeopardy.
It all depends what the information is, when it is from, and who gets their hands and eyes on it!

Many stars have been compromised by paparazzi or leaked photos that ended up on the front page of newspapers or magazines and even government officials have ended up in the skewer for getting caught red handed like ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner sexting on Twitter.

Everything from statuses to photos put on social media have gotten people in trouble whether when applying to schools and jobs, with their partners, and even with law enforcement.

Information online is archived and searchable and it is not uncommon for parents to warn kids to be careful what they put online, because it can come back to haunt them later.

Now smartphones applications like Snapchat are helping people communicate and then promptly delete things they send.

With Snapshot, you can snap a photo, draw on it, even add text and send to friends, family, others. The innovation here is that before you hit send, you choose how long you want the message to be available to the recipient before vanishing–up to 10 seconds.

Snapchat has sent over 1 billion messages since July and claims over 50 million are sent daily–although forget trying to verify that by counting up the messages because they have self-destructed and are gone!

Of course, there are workarounds such as taking a screenshot of the message before it vanishes or taking a photo of the message–so nothing is full proof.

Last year, according to The Atlantic, the European Commission proposed a “Right-To Be Forgotten” as part of their data protection and privacy laws. This would require social media sites to remove by request embarrassing information and photos and would contrast with the U.S. freedom of speech rights that protects “publishing embarrassing but truthful information.”

Now, companies like Reputation.com even provide services for privacy and reputation management where they monitor information about you online, remove personal information from sites that sell it, and help you with search engine optimization to “set the record straight” with personal, irrelevant, exaggerated or false information by instead publishing positive truthful material.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (7 Feb. 2013), “Ephemeral data is the future,” but I would say comprehensive reputation management is the future–whether through the strategic management of permanent information or removing of temporary data–we are in a sense who the record says we are. 😉

This Tape Will Self Destruct In Five Seconds

This Tape Will Self-Destruct In Five Seconds

Ever since the 1960’s airing of Mission Impossible, where each episode started with the instructions for a dangerous mission on a tape recording, which ended with “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds,” have we all recognized the need for self-destructing devices to safeguard information.

This message has been honed over the last three decades with compromising security incidents:

1979: Iranian demonstrators stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and according to UMBC “the incinerator broke” as personnel tried to destroy sensitive documents and they had to revert to shredding.

2001: A Chinese J-8 fighter aircraft collided with a EP-3 U.S. Intel aircraft which according to CNN was “likely equipped with highly sensitive equipment” and landed on the Chinese island of Hainan providing China the opportunity to board, disassemble, and study the equipment before it was returned three months later.

2011: Iran captured an RQ-170 Sentinel Drone and USA Todayreported on Iran’s claims that “all files and boards of the drone were copied and used to improve Iran’s unmanned aircraft.” Also in 2011 in the assault on Osama Bin Laden, a secret stealth helicopter that took a hard-landing had to be destroyed before special forces pulled out–however according to the New York Times, “a surviving tail section reveal modifications to muffle noise and reduce the chances of detection by radar” was left behind providing others the opportunity to learn about our sensitive technologies.

Additionally, as ever more advanced technology continues to enter the battlefield the threat of its capture and exploitation becomes increasingly concerning.
In this context, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the start up of a new program on 28 January 2013 called Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR).

VAPR is intent on developing technologies for “transient electronics…capable of dissolving into the environment around them.”

The goal is that “once triggered to dissolve, the electronics would be useless to any enemy that comes across them.”

According to Armed Forces International, along with the destruction of the electronics would be “taking classified data with it.” Thereby preventing the enemy from using captured information to develop countermeasures or reverse engineer their finds.

Transient electronics are intended to be rugged on the battlefield but able to be destroyed on command, perhaps by biomedical implants that release “a few droplets of [a self-destruct] liquid” or other means.

Whether self-destructing in five seconds or slightly more, the need to preserve our sensitive battlefield technologies and the intelligence they contain has never been more vital. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Mike Licht)