Thursday, December 29, 2016

Obama's Sanctions Against Russia: My Reaction

White House sanctions Russia over election hacks
By ERIC GELLER and CORY BENNETT 12/29/16 02:13 PM EST Updated 12/29/16 05:31 PM EST

My reaction: 

What a total waste of energy. All the hype and for what? Too little too late, Barack. Your caution served no one's interests and now, on the eve of your departure, you're expelling Russian operatives and sanctioning some Russian intelligence czars in Russia. Wow. How unimpressive. Russia will respond by expelling Americans and that will be that. Yes, perhaps there will be unrevealed covert cyber sanctions. One can only hope. But who the heck knows and we won't. Call me tired of this 11th hour grandstanding in this and other areas. I voted twice for you, President Obama, and you've been, overall, a good president. But, Obama supporters seem unwilling and/or unable to criticize you and that is unfortunate.

My own view on the cyber warfare issue is that our Government has been far too tardy in ramping up this country's defenses against all cyber intrusions. Because we're primarily a capitalist country dominated by private enterprises, perhaps some in Government have felt defending against cyber attacks is the job of the private sector. They are wrong, in my humble opinion. We should have built better defenses. Still today it appears anyone who truly wants to hack can do it, except perhaps at the highest levels, and then it isn't clear they can't do it there either. So, far more should have been done years ago and needs to be done right now. As to this episode, I think Obama should have spoken sooner about Russia's interference in the 2016 elections and not felt either that he'd look too partisan or that it would cause Russia to interfere with actual voting. Finally, I'd like to believe that our Government has been engaged in major covert cyber espionage vis-a-vis Russia and others but, even if true, I believe that should be ramped up considerably. Admittedly, we don't know what has been done and we won't know about what will be done.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Electoral College Has Spoken

Trump as President

The killing of Russia's Ambassador to Turkey by a gunman at a museum exhibit underscores just how volatile and dangerous the world is today even apart from Donald Trump. We shall see to what extent he contributes to the instability. So far he hasn't given us any grounds to feel that he is willing or able to calm these roiling waters. On the contrary. But, he will have an opportunity to improve. Let us hope he avails himself of it.☐

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trump and Russia

Let me be clear. I'm not a Trump supporter. Au contraire. But I am slightly bemused by all the condemnation of Trump for advocating possibly cooperating more with Putin and Russia. Wasn't it Obama who, in 2009, inaugurated the now infamous re-set with Russia? And didn't Obama ridicule Mitt Romney when Mitt identified Russia as America's biggest geopolitical threat in a 2012 presidential debate? And wasn't it George W. Bush who, in 2001, talked about having looked Putin in the eye and having seen him to be trustworthy. 

Chill, people. There will be time to take Trump to task if he actually tries to weaken NATO or otherwise sacrifice America's interests to his own personal or familial interests. I'm not advocating supporting Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State or embracing Donald Trump as someone qualified to be President, which he is not. I'm just suggesting we keep a little perspective on things. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Obama's Tightrope

Obama seems clearly to be walking a tightrope between, on the one hand, providing a smooth transition for President Elect Trump and not undermining the legitimacy of the election despite Obama's awareness of Russian hacking in support of Trump, and, on the other hand, expressing his views about the impact of birther racism spearheaded by Trump, the threat of fake news to our electoral process, and how Republican obstructionism thwarted many of his Presidential objectives. It's a difficult task, to say the least, and no doubt will leave no one completely happy, particularly Democrats.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cookies, Computer Style

By now we're all familiar with cookies, computer style. Heck, these days we're blasted with display windows warning us of them and requesting that we acknowledge their existence.

But, Facebook in particular, perhaps because so many of us use it to connect with and keep track of friends and loved ones, seemingly continues to expand its "horizons". These days I'm not only greeted by a "memory" in the form of a photo posted years before but I'm welcomed with a weather report and bombarded with ads specifically targeting me based on my school affiliations, web searches and the like.

It really is getting to be too much but I don't see any respite going forward, other than turning it all off, which may be easier said than done.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Knotting My Sweatpants

It's that time of year in Southern California when it actually starts to get chilly. Time to wear some sweatpants around the house. 

But this year I finally decided to face up to the fact that I may be the only schnook who does not know how to knot the sweatpants' single loop drawstring. I mean for years I've struggled unsuccessfully with the challenge. So tonight I decided to face my demons, or at least this one, use modern technology — Google and YouTube — and try to learn how to do it. 

Well, it turns out I'm not the only schnook in town when it comes to this one. All kinds of videos and diagrams. It makes knotting a tie seem easy. But I think I'm on the road to a solution. Just a little more practice and who knows — maybe I'll be able to venture outside to retrieve the morning newspaper without worrying whether my sweatpants will fall down.