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Monthly Archives: November 2007

When the 9/11/01 event shook this nation, there was a lot of hindsight indicators that something was going to happen. Hindsight doesn’t really help unless you learn the lesson it gives you and apply it to future threats, and I don’t mean just the Middle East, either.

As a follow up to one of the links provided yesterday in the midweek minis the second on the list tells us:

BEIJING (AP) – China’s last-minute cancellation of a U.S. Navy visit to Hong Kong was not the result of a misunderstanding, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday, adding that ties had been “disturbed and harmed” by Congress’ honoring of the Dalai Lama and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

Spokesman Liu Jianchao denounced an earlier report from Washington that said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told President Bush the incident was a misunderstanding.

But Liu offered no concrete explanation as to why China barred the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and its escort vessels from entering Hong Kong harbor for a planned Thanksgiving visit.

“The report is not in line with the facts,” Liu said at a regular news briefing.

He refused to elaborate, but his negative characterization of U.S.- China relations appeared to indicate that Beijing had canceled the visit deliberately in order to register its displeasure over U.S. actions, as it has occasionally with previous Hong Kong port calls.

China’s refusal to allow U.S. warships to visit Hong Kong recently was carried out to protest U.S. sales of Patriot missile equipment to Taiwan, Bush administration officials said yesterday.
 

Meanwhile, the senior commander in the Pacific called China’s action “troubling” and inconsistent with Beijing’s claim to being a “peaceful” power.
 

“This is perplexing,” said Adm. Timothy J. Keating via video from Honolulu. “It’s not helpful. It is not, in our view, conduct that is indicative of a country who understands its obligations of a responsible nation.”

In a follow up article this morning there is this:

China: US Navy Spat No Misunderstanding

BEIJING (AP) – China’s last-minute cancellation of a U.S. Navy visit to Hong Kong was not the result of a misunderstanding, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday, adding that ties had been “disturbed and harmed” by Congress’ honoring of the Dalai Lama and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

Spokesman Liu Jianchao denounced an earlier report from Washington that said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told President Bush the incident was a misunderstanding.

But Liu offered no concrete explanation as to why China barred the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and its escort vessels from entering Hong Kong harbor for a planned Thanksgiving visit.

“The report is not in line with the facts,” Liu said at a regular news briefing.

He refused to elaborate, but his negative characterization of U.S.- China relations appeared to indicate that Beijing had canceled the visit deliberately in order to register its displeasure over U.S. actions, as it has occasionally with previous Hong Kong port calls.

Further, on the heels of that followup article on the incident comes this(emphasis mine):

World faces “cyber cold war” threat: report

LONDON (Reuters) – A “cyber cold war” waged over the world’s computers threatens to become one of the biggest threats to security in the next decade, according to a report published on Thursday.

About 120 countries are developing ways to use the Internet as a weapon to target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities, Internet security company McAfee said in an annual report.

Intelligence agencies already routinely test other states’ networks looking for weaknesses and their techniques are growing more sophisticated every year, it said.

Governments must urgently shore up their defenses against industrial espionage and attacks on infrastructure.

“Cybercrime is now a global issue,” said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs. “It has evolved significantly and is no longer just a threat to industry and individuals but increasingly to national security.”

The report said China is at the forefront of the cyber war. It said China has been blamed for attacks in the United States, India and Germany. China has repeatedly denied such claims.

The Chinese were first to use cyber-attacks for political and military goals,” James Mulvenon, director of the Center for Intelligence and Research in Washington, was quoted as saying in the report.

The report was compiled with input from academics and officials from Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and NATO.

Now I may be just a dumb hillbilly to most, but, when you take these articles and compare them to previous articles on the same subject

coupled with the massive recalls for products made in China and other recent news, how come there really aren’t that many people seriously considering that China’s actions are not conducive to a peaceful, free trade alliance?

The initial article with which I started this one talks about a “Cyber Cold War”. Regardless of how much China denies knowledge of any of it, does anybody other than the MSM really believe them? I don’t and there are reasons why that people just don’t talk about because it’s politically incorrect to do so. China is a communist country. The one thing people don’t talk about when talking about communism is the degree to which government controls the lives of everyone within the scope of their government. 

We need to start getting off our duffs and getting our hands dirty again in the bowels of cyberspace rather than import technology experts from other only slightly friendly nations just to save a few bucks. A “cyber cold war” could mean a real war in real life if the goal is to sniff out state secrets, military capabilities, and how to counter them best. While China has no real reason to go to war with us, neither do the radical Islamists in the Middle East, and considering China’s increasing ties with terrorist harboring nations, doesn’t anybody think it’s time to use a little foresight?

Unlike the ‘cold war’ between the Soviet Union and the U.S. both sides had equal power in the world. The U.S. is losing their power, not because of the war in Iraq, but because of policies enacted over the last couple of decades. Pres. Clinton sold nuclear and defense technology to China. He signed the free trade agreement with China, as well. Unfortunately, Bush II has continued the Clinton legacy in these areas contributing to China’s rising threat.

Some think all these maneuvers mean another cold war along the nature of the one between us and the Soviet Union. I disagree. Such a cold war wouldn’t work this time around. For one, the military has been gutted over the same couple of decades. Technology will not help offset the lack of boots on the ground in a confrontation with China. They are technological equals if not slightly ahead of us on that front and they have a lot more boots, too. 

For another, a ‘cold war’ means the opponents are on equal footing in terms of global power and we lost much of ours before 9/11/01. Recall all the countries saying we brought it upon ourselves? Those weren’t terrorist sponsoring nation saying such. Europe and Asia joined in as well. Anti-Americanism was alive and thriving long before 9/11/01, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

China also purportedly outranks us economically, as well. Their exports far outweigh their imports. According to almost all economics experts, our economy is booming and perhaps it is, for the investors taking their dollars out of the country. The blue collar workers and the middle class have a much more negative view precisely because we’re not enjoying those trickle down economics of previous Republican presidency. The dollars are flowing out to other countries with cheaper labor(outsourcing) or trickling down to cheaper labor here in the form of imported technologists from cheaper labor nations or illegal immigrants.

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m starting to sound a little like Ron Paul, but this is where I would part ways with him. He wants to go backwards, into isolationism, which isn’t possible. You can’t go back, no matter how hard you try. Nor do I want to institute a “Red Scare” which, in my opinion, is counter-productive.

The problem with all that is: ‘we rested upon our laurels’.  We stopped innovating and only improve upon existing innovations. In other words, we went to sleep while the rest of the world marched onward. It’s past time to wake up.

What we need from the past, however, is some good old-fashion ingenuity. Ingenuity takes you beyond the present into future applications. Bill Gates became more than rich from Microsoft Windows because it revolutionized computing and brought it to the average American and later, the world… that’s ingenuity, no matter how people hate him now because of it, let alone for his politics. The Wright brothers brought us flight. Henry Ford brought us automobiles. Alexander Bell, Edison, Ben Franklin… ingenuity… and the world benefits.

So, we sold ‘stuff’ to China and other countries not really friendly toward us who would celebrate our downfall just as surely as our avowed enemies would. The ingenuity for that ‘stuff ‘ originated here. However, ingenuity will aid us only if we begin to employ some foresight rather than allowing hindsight be our guide.  The future is too important to leave to the past. Perhaps, with a little ingenuity we can keep relations with China at the “cold war” level. At the moment, China may seem only the shadow of a threat to this nation but that can change quickly in this technological world. I’d rather not wait until they are a more corporeal threat before acting to counteract whatever they might throw at us.

More Info, H/T Drudge Report: Report: China targeting all ‘enemy space vehicles’ including GPS satellites

Suzanne Field’s article: Writing off the Wall  has me thinking.

“To read, or not to read, that is the question.” This was the question posed by the National Endowment for the Arts for a national study about reading habits. The endowment found such a sharp decline of reading that few Americans could recognize Shakespeare’s antecedent for the question. If he’s awake, somewhere Hamlet is spinning.

Not only are teens and adults reading less, absorbing with shorter attention spans, they’re posting diminishing test scores at almost every reading level. Only 9-year-olds are showing better scores, but those are likely to evaporate by the time they’re seniors in high school.
[…]

One of the saddest findings in this report is that nearly half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 read no books for pleasure.

While the electronic media is undoubtedly partly responsible, it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve watched my grandsons, ages 8 and 11, read even more — and eagerly hurry off to the public library for still more — after a session with certain electronic games that stimulate their interest in Greek and Roman heroes and American history, particularly the battles of the Civil War and World Wars I and II. Their charter school requires reading homework every night — for pleasure.

Several studies show that frequent Internet users read more books than those who don’t use the Net. The Internet can satisfy an eager child’s curiosity, enabling him to check a fact with a couple of clicks to a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Dogpile.com.

But for all its value, the electronic media is a mixed blessing for readers, especially for those of us who still like holding paper in our hands, to scribble notes in the margins and slip a colorful bookmark between the pages. Is there anything more intellectually satisfying than to open a new book and sniff the perfume of freshly printed pages? We’re becoming anachronisms in our own time, soon to be an extinct species as books of paper go the way of hand-illustrated manuscripts. […]

Like it or not, the habit of reading is about to be revolutionized. A reader-friendly electronic device called Amazon Kindle might well do for books what the Internet has done for music and videos. Kindle is independent of the computer and uses wireless connections akin to those used by cell phone carriers rather than Wi-Fi hot spots. The delivery service is free. “The vision is that you should be able to get any book — not just any book in print, but any book that’s ever been in print — on this device in less than a minute,” Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, tells Newsweek magazine. “The baby boomers have a love affair with paper. But the next-gen people, in their 20s and below, do everything on a screen.”

While the article itself is part despairing, part encouraging, that little device just might catch on. Perhaps it’s time to update my Christmas wish list. Imagine having 90,000 books to choose from right from that comfy chair that is a must for my reading time. Given the space restrictions of my home, I doubt 90,000 books would fit in it any other way. I can forgo the paper copy if it means I can have more books for my reading pleasure.  Forget about the “green” element and think about the sheer mass of volumns you’d have on hand at any given time.

The price is a bit steep until you think about how much living space it saves. I’ve seen a picture of the thing and like the title says: as long as I can curl up in a cozy chair…

First, use some common sense.

This article highlights the stupidity with which we Americans are credited. These people haven’t done anything wrong that hurts the American people. In fact, from the article, it tells of a couple who are valuable assets in their community. Okay, so they got married after they applied for visas. Who cares? Not me.

They aren’t using fake social security cards, falsifying their identities , or any other crime in order to receive gainful employment or to receive government entitlements. Yet, the proponents of illegal immigration will use this article to bash those of us against illegal immigration to further tar us as racists and bigots. Ugh!!!!!!!!

Wiretapping probe revived under Mukasey

Folks, I gotta tell you, I’m about sick of the Big Brother silliness. Big Brother has been around a long long time; longer than most of us still alive. The United States first met Big Brother in 1936 when social security was inacted and we were required to file for social security numbers. Now, think about that. Every newborn in this country is now required to have a social security number almost from birth. That social security number is used for EVERYTHING. Here are just a few of things it’s used for: applying for a job, getting a driver’s license, medical forms, mortgages and credit cards.

In addition to your SSN, there’s the internet and you’re not anonymous by any means. How many of you have gmail accounts? How many of you have used Google earth and search?

Now considering all this, why the heck would you buck at something that might give us at least notice before another 9/11? We’ve already lost our privacy and gave it up willingly. National security agencies aren’t interested in you. They’ve already got you.

Trust me, I’ve put this to the test. I have used the security buzz words in conversation and haven’t heard the first knock on my door yet. Nor have I seen unmarked cars on stakeout here… although they were staking out a next door neighbor for something totally unrelated to national security. Heck, I’ve even tried to stir up stuff on the net with the result of nada, zip monitoring of my activities.

So, whose privacy are you protecting? Yours or potential terrorists’? Reality bites sometimes.

Hat tip: Attack Machine

China sells trojan laden external hard drives.

Portable hard discs sold locally and produced by US disk-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology have been found to carry Trojan horse viruses that automatically upload to Beijing Web sites anything the computer user saves on the hard disc, the Investigation Bureau said.

Around 1,800 of the portable Maxtor hard discs, produced in Thailand, carried two Trojan horse viruses: autorun.inf and ghost.pif, the bureau under the Ministry of Justice said.

The tainted portable hard disc uploads any information saved on the computer automatically and without the owner’s knowledge to www.nice8.org and www.we168.org, the bureau said.

The affected hard discs are Maxtor Basics 500G discs.

The bureau said that hard discs with such a large capacity are usually used by government agencies to store databases and other information.

Sensitive information may have already been intercepted by Beijing through the two Web sites, the bureau said.

The bureau said that the method of attack was unusual, adding that it suspected Chinese authorities were involved. (emphasis mine)

An update article states blame is attributed to a Chinese subcontractor.

In addition:

Security mavens from Kaspersky say they have discovered a nasty virus that came pre-installed on Maxtor external hard drives sold in the Netherlands.

Taking into consideration:

Pentagon investigators could not definitively link the cyber attack to the Chinese military, the source said, but the technology was sophisticated enough that it indicated to Pentagon officials – as well as those in charge of computer security – that it came from within the Chinese government.

And:

1. U.S. safety officials have recalled about 4.2 million Chinese-made Aqua Dots bead toys that contain a chemical that has caused some children to vomit and become comatose after swallowing them.

2. Mattel Issues Third Recall of China-Made Toys

3. Other Recent Product Recalls

4. Full search list on Foxs News for recalls.

No matter how much China vows to step up inspections the recalls and dangerous products keep coming.

We’ve become dependent upon cheap goods from China and other countries that are really aren’t all that friendly toward us, though we call them allies. Tell me, when you pick up a product in a store, any store, and read Made in China, does fear strike your heart? Is there a little skip in the beat? Does adrenalin tingle your spine? It does mine.

Consider also: Iran’s New Alliance With China Could Cost U.S. Leverage (2004), Iran, Venezuela Cement Alliance Against US , War Games: Russia, China Grow Alliance (2005),
Iran in talks to join alliance against West (2006), THE GREAT PAN-ASIAN ENERGY ALLIANCE (2007),  and China’s Antisatellite Missile Test: Why? (2007).

Have you ever heard the expression “softening up for the kill”? Consider also:

 Academia’s Pervasive PC Rot

2. Minnesota Muslims Refuse to Sell Pork at Target Stores

3. http://mediaserver2.afa.net/twb2007/lowescatalog.pdf   What’s with the upside down tree?

4. President Ahmadinejad Delivers Remarks at Columbia University while Terror Supporters Shout Down David Horowitz and Gays Deserve Torture, Death Penalty, Iranian Minister Says while Why I Have A Little Crush on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad because hatred of Bush trumps a desire for self preservation.

5. Heard It With Our Own Ears (and We Still Don’t Believe It)

How about the saying: “Like shooting fish in a barrel”?

While it might take longer than all out war, it’s much easier to conquer a people who have been trained to go against their own instincts for survival, wouldn’t you say? I’d also postulate that it’s much easier to assure victory in the long run. While we are focused on terrorism in the Middle East there are other forces working behind the scenes playing both sides against the middle… with little to fear in the process.

Oh, I forgot one that really highlights the possibility of being fish in a barrel:

US control over Internet dominates discussion at UN conference in Brazil

[…] At issue is control over domain names like “com” and “org,” which computers need to find Web sites and route e-mail. By controlling the core systems, the U.S. indirectly influences much of what appears online.

The U.S. government, which funded much of the Internet’s early development, delegated domain-name policies to a Marina del Rey, Calif.-based nonprofit, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, over which the U.S. retains veto power.

Many countries complained U.S. influence wasn’t discussed enough during the first Internet Governance Forum last year in Athens, and preceded this year’s conference with panel devoted to “critical Internet resources.” […]

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