At the start of World War II, Britain set up a large and highly secret codebreaking operation. Every document related to the project was “above top secret:” they were all marked “Top Secret Ultra” and handled by separate security teams from merely “Top Secret” military information. This strategy seems to have kept the activity secret, at least from the general public. Military adversaries seem to penetrate such measures more quickly.
The intelligence community’s arrogance about secrecy grew from the Cold War. Very few intelligence agency secrets leaked to the general public back then, regardless of whether they had leaked to adversaries or not. This has had a profound political impact.
No one discusses or questions the intelligence community’s value proposition.
Given the recent dumps of classified information into Wikileaks, newspapers, and everywhere else, I think it’s time to kill the “above top secret” idea. History shows it hasn’t really worked that well anyway. There are much easier and cheaper ways to restrict access and control sharing. We also need to share more information with the public so we can judge the true value of our intelligence community.
Continue reading Time to end “Above Top Secret” ? →
Why Trump Isn’t Hitler
Many progressive voices fear that President Trump is moving America towards totalitarianism and/or fascism. Trump has brilliantly sold “America First” as a form of patriotism, while others say it’s really anti-American. Serious discussions may draw parallels between Trump and the history of Nazi Germany, even though it’s a conversation-stopper to call him the new Hitler. The hint is always there.
I don’t think Trump is a new Hitler for a fundamental reason: He doesn’t have an organized cadre of thugs to suppress dissenters. The early Nazi Party participated “hugely” in every counter-demonstration and politically-motivated street brawl it could find. That requires a giant organization Trump lacks.
Continue reading Where is the “Trump national Alliance?” →
My friend Tim provided me with some additional Thanksgiving items:
Because you and your family fully appreciates “My turkey, ’tis of thee,” I thought you and they might also enjoy two additional celebratory Thanksgiving pieces. The first is in some editions of “The Four Leaved Clover and Other Poems” but not in others, and because it’s not in the edition you mentioned in your Smatters post, I don’t know if you’ve seen it. I attach it below. The second is new, produced by my brother Chuck, and I must warn you, is something of an earworm. (And its basis will be unfamiliar to many in the current generation.)
Have a great Thanksgiving, and pass my love along to everyone there.
Incidentally, I can’t read “The second” link above either. I’m guessing it’s a turkey-themed version of “Mr. Sandman.”
Continue reading More Thanksgiving Rhyme →
The first Clinton-Trump debate was last night. I think both candidates did about as well as I expected. Here are two arguments the candidates could have made but didn’t:
- Clinton: when Trump said “we should have taken the oil” while in Iraq, Clinton should have called him on it. Such “taking” would require war and long-term occupation with lots of our own troops.
- Trump: when Clinton called for an “intelligence surge” in the context of ISIS-inspired domestic terrorism, Trump should have called her on it. Her surge requires expanded spying on American citizens and weakens national cybersecurity.
I could not have done a tenth as well in the debates as either of them, but these are arguments I wanted to see.
Continue reading Candidate Roads not Taken →
Here’s the bottom line: If the Scout participates in any type of religious organization, whether it speaks of God or not, there’s no problem.
If the Scout perceives some power, essence, being, or motive force in the universe that could deserve to be called ‘God,’ there should be no problem.
On the other hand, if the Scout or Scout’s family’s personal beliefs forbid referring to any entity as ‘God’ then the Scout could have trouble participating in BSA’s Scouting programs.
Here’s how it works.
Continue reading A Scout’s Required Belief in God →
Thank you to Rick for inviting me to post this on the Smatters blog! I’m very happy to be guest blogging. The purpose of this series is to give my American friends a better understanding of the political system in Canada. Again, as with part one, this is all from memory, so please forgive me my lapses (and Canadians, please do correct me if I’m wrong).
Part the Second: Parliament and Parties
Canada’s federal legislative branch is the Parliament. It’s comprised of two houses – the House of Commons and the Senate. Unlike the US Senate, the Canadian Senate is appointed. Similar to the US Senate, it is rife with scandal (Google “Mike Duffy,” for example) and obstructionists (Google “Canadian bill C-279,” for example).
Continue reading A PRIMER ON CANADIAN POLITICS (FOR AMERICANS) – PART 2 →
[repost from guest author havematwilltravel]
No, actually, I *don’t* think what happened in Orlando will lead to any sort of gun control. In December 2012, 20 children – babies, practically – were murdered in their school rooms, and no meaningful changes to gun laws were made afterwards. If America doesn’t care about the lives of children, do you think it will care about the lives of LGBTQ2IA people?
Continue reading The Orlando massacre →