Freedom isn’t free can have more than one meaning.

The meaning people fixate on is that freedom is paid for with the blood and sweat of our fine servicemen and women, though the reality of that is slightly off. Those who have died in every engagement since WWII have not been fighting forces capable of extinguishing the light of freedom. Neither the Vietnamese nor the Koreans nor the Iraqis were an existential threat to freedom or the American people.

The people who fought there, the people who died there are deserving of our love and respect. End of statement. They are also deserving of the truth. They died for each other, died trying to get home in one fucking piece. Which is just as noble a cause.  Not for our freedom though, our freedom was never at stake in these fights. Just saying.

Freedom isn’t free can mean, for the more cynical among us, that Freedom, like all other things in this world, has become a commodity. There to be bought and sold to the man willing to pay the most for it, there to be bought like stocks and bonds.

Sure, freedom is important, but what makes it a commodity? It has been treated like a thing. A thing that can be moved aside like a can of beans on a shelf. The fact is that it has been swept aside by laws meant to protect the government (Patriot act, Fisa), and that people want it back, and that no person in uniform, no matter what they think, can fight and win and bring it back. If we pass laws that affect our freedom, that makes it a thing that can be whittled away, made smaller, easier to manage for those who have other agendas, other things they think are more important; the rich few, to whom borders mean nothing above We the People.

Are those laws meant to protect freedom? Yes and no. Yes in that they are designed to protect Americans from external threats, and No in that they have been implemented in such a manner as to create internal ones, particularly from the government towards the people…

I respect those who have fallen, sacrificed their lives for this country, regardless of all I just said. I salute the flag like they did. I salute the sacrifice like everyone does. What I want is a clearer and more precise picture of the world painted so that we can all see the real world for what it is. I do not want this day meant to honor the fallen, turn into jingoistic nonsense sloganeering by those who want slavish mindless respect given to a government that doesn’t deserve it, and one that long ago gave up on the concept “Of the People, For the People, By the People.” Those words are no longer true.

Freedom is free. Don’t let them lie to you. Death is a price we all pay, one way or another, no one gets out of this life alive.

Freedom is a choice. Not an easy one but no choice worth anything is easy. Freedom is work and responsibility and sweat and strain and a slog, a fight that is never over, fought by people who never rest and never forget to think of others before themselves.

Remember those who have fallen.

Think of the sacrifice.

Never forget what Freedom is.


the shining

Good Morning, Ma’am! Bullshit salesman! How would you like your bullshit today?

So, there you are, surrounded by bullshit. What do you do?

ūüôā SMILE.

First off, what’s the problem? I mean seriously, there’s bullshit everywhere. If you aren’t surrounded by it, you are living a dream life, which means it’s time to wake up and remember where you actually live. We don’t get what we want when we want it, we get what we get and then have to hope that it’ll help, and if it doesn’t, it’s time to employ some bullshit of our own and fake it until we¬†make it.

But let’s be more specific, and see if we can’t unclutter our lives and minds in the process. We have political bullshit, heaps of it. We are expected to believe an insane amount of crap during any given day. Yesterday for example I was told that the ninth circuit court is the most overturned court in the land (WRONG) that President Obama placed a man from Monsanto in charge of the FDA or the USDA or some shit (WRONG) thereby placing the entirely of the nation in a ¬†health crisis (WRONG) and that he put Mercury in light bulbs to make money for GE and to again endanger the health of every American citizen (WRONG)

Now the easiest way to unclutter my life here would be to simply get rid of the person/people making these statements, yes? (WRONG) We need people in our lives to tell us things that disagree with our basic world-view, or else we will grow languid and start to believe our own bullshit. We need these people so we can find out the truth, because if someone is saying stupid shit, I want to know so I can (new word alert) destupidify these people, or at least make sure we know what kind of bullshit is out there so we can apply the proper amount and type of bullshit repellent in the affected area.

So let’s go over the bullshit one piece at a time, shall we?

OK: Part 1: Who gives a fuck which court is the ¬†most overturned in the land? Sean Hannity. He thinks because Donald Trump’s Executive order that blocked¬†American citizens ¬†and non Americans with valid visas from coming back to do their jobs from seven nations is a wonderful piece of…whatever it is meant to be a piece of. Not everyone agrees, and by not everyone, I mean anyone who was at an airport when that shit first came down, and anyone who lives in a ¬†city affected by it.

Sooooo….This EO gets blocked by the ninth circuit. Enter Hannity and his bullshit about the ninth circuit.

Easily solved.

Seven of the eleven circuits get more than half of their decisions overturned. The largest percentage belongs to the sixth. But so what? It does not imply that just because a number of¬†cases that make it to the supreme court get overturned, that any specific case that gets through the sixth or ninth are somehow invalid. Shit don’t work that way.

Every case has its own merits and must stand or fall based on them. It matters not where they are from. Every circuit has cases rejected. Every circuit has cases that pass muster and never get touched by the Supreme court. The vast majority of cases are of this variety. Over 99%.

So much for that bullshit.


The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty. ~George Washington, From his Farewell address, 1796


Part: 2: I would have a serious problem if any President put someone from  Monsanto in charge of the USDA or the FDA, or anything where decisions have to be made about foodstuffs. Happily the Obama administration did not do this. The claim was still laid at my feet, so I did some investigating. I found a man had been placed in charge of the newly created deputy commissioner of foods that had in fact nine years previously worked for Monsanto.

In the time between he had been a research professor of health policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and been a member of a think tank, in the position of Director of Risk Management.

If you can draw a nine year long line between a company and an employee and claim the company still affects significantly that persons professional judgment to the point of endangering an entire nation’s health, you are a weirder, much sillier person than I. One that will believe anything that they come across. It’s one thing to have a mind open to believe many things, completely something else to have a mind like a rusted steel trap, rusted open and unable to keep out anything that happens to fall into it, like leaves, squirrel shit, and Monsanto and Obama were in cahoots to destroy America.

Part 3: I… I had fun with this one. CFL light bulbs were first created in 1976 in response to the 1973 oil crisis. Odd but true. Everyone was looking for ways to save energy, so someone at GE created a more efficient light bulb. The problem? Trace amounts of mercury were necessary to make the bulbs work, and they were hella expensive back then. Took years to bring costs down to where it became a salable commodity.

Yet somehow, someway, it has been laid at the feet of our previous president. How is it bad? You caught that mention of mercury, yes? Well, trace amounts in the minds of political partisans becomes “Willingly and knowingly allowing the EPA to put a poison in our homes”

How? Well, President Obama touted the use of cfl’s in a ¬†press conference with then energy secretary Steven Chu as a way to save money on energy costs. That was deemed enough in the eyes of a¬†political partisan to call the president a failure and a scandalous liar who had it in for Americans and America.

All partisanship is stupid and silly folks. The nation does not need people talking to each other like this. It proves nothing, makes no one wiser or better, and does little t enhance the dialog and discourse that we as a nation need to move forward and get out the soci-economic, psychological, intellectual and political morass this nation has been in since the early 1990’s, which is where much the silliness of the current age has it’s roots.

But you know…


It’s all Newt Gingrich’s fault. (NOT WRONG) That asshole.

There. My life has so much less clutter now. Happy that bullshit salesman went away.


I lost my shit, can I have yours?

A Quiet Moment


Wake up.

Get out of bed, stumble around.

The world swims for a moment. Take a step and with one foot still in the air, my second step of the day, I nearly lose my balance, catch myself and try not to step on gatito as I go through the daily ritual of figuring out how the hell to move around and not damage myself too extensively.


Look down at the¬†cat who is blissfully unaware of anything else but it’s need for food and attention.


He moves on and leaves the room, then turns and waits for me, sitting next to his sister, who was the cat who stood on my head and mewed at me until I made the decision to deal with it and get my fat lazy ass out of bed and feed them. The only decision she cared about at the time.


I think all cats are wild. They only act tame if there’s a saucer of milk in it for them. ~ Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See (1991)


I step out of the bedroom, scratch my ass, and notice the floor is again covered in small black dots. That’s what they look like to me without my glasses on. Those black dots are in fact little spots of cat fur. ¬†The world swims again, and this time I lurch to the left and bump into the wall.

Think Gotta vacuum again…Goddamn stupid inner ear

Shake my head, laugh, head to the kitchen, cats leading the way. Hit the power button on my desktop computer as I walk by. An urge hits me, so I said “Alexa, play Rachmaninoff.” I’m not a particular fan of Sergei’s work, and I don’t normally listen to classical music, not as much as I used to anyway. I like it, but it’s not for every day consumption. The words came out of my head like someone else said them. The thought¬†didn’t exist the moment before I uttered the words. I rationalized it by thinking it must be something to do with all the news about Russia recently.

Think Goddamn stupid Russians.

“Shuffling songs by Sergei Rachmaninoff.” The singsong voice from the small hockey puck sized device next to my wife’s chair came out quietly. I had turned the¬†volume down. A few notes from a piano, high pitched, struggle to make themselves heard. I let them struggle and go¬†to the kitchen.

I walk in and both cats are simultaneously mewing to me, the girl, Daisy, more vocal and closer. The duet is rare from them, so I look down to see no food at all in their dishes.

“Are you a hungry gatita?” She looks at me, her eyes widen slightly and she mews again in response. ¬†I pick her up as her brother, a large furry ball of black fur, as he jumps on the table and turns to make eye contact with me. “Hungry gatos, Eh?” She in my hand, belly up, purring furiously, he looking intently at me, leaning in towards me slightly, as if eye contact were enough to explain hunger. Which it is.

Put her down, stoop to open the wood stained cabinet. Head doesn’t swim. Good. Grab two cans at semi-random and walk over the the small dirty counter near the window. Think¬†Need to clean the counter, dammit¬†and tap the two cans together to signal to the cats that it’s time to eat. Look at the coffee pot, upside down, think not a thing about it. Open the pop top cans. She jumps on the counter and the moment I pull the cover off of one can she begins to eat. Open the other can and let the other cat, Fozzy, eat straight from it. Shouldn’t but I do. He doesn’t mind, hunger trumps everything in his world at this particular moment.

Everything is right in the world.


Mad As A Hatter


‘Have you guessed the riddle yet?’ the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
‘No, I give it up,’ Alice replied: ‘what’s the answer?’
‘I haven’t the slightest idea,’ said the Hatter.

Who do you think of when you think of Cyber Security? Do you think of anyone? How much do you know about Cyber Security? It’s an important question, one worth exploring as our future becomes our present

When I think of that particular term I think of a number of people. Steve Gibson of Gibson Research, for one. John McAfee, not trustworthy and clearly not sane, but knowledgeable. But there aren’t a lot of people the average guy or gal on the street can name as being big in the industry. Most coding and cyber security work is done in the shadows. Kinda has to be.

When I want to read up on the subject, which admittedly is not all that often, I have turned to a number of sources, the latest of which is the f-secure blog (click here to go there) So all of my knowledge of the subject is second hand and thanks to writers who write about the subject and only really from Steve Gibson from an actual technical angle.

With all that I can only sit here in stunned amazement at who our fearless (aka mindless) leader has picked to be his Cyber Security advisor.

Rudy Giuliani.

Holy shit. Does he even know what Dos Shell is? Would he be able to tell the difference between Sql and Java if stuff in either of those languages crossed his computer screen? How much work has he done with Ruby On Rails?

And he knows about security how? Because he was mayor of New York City on 9/11? Because he prosecuted John Gotti? Because he talks on Fox news a lot? Because that is the extent of his knowledge of security. Seeing terrorism first hand?  I was there too, Do I get a shot at this gig? Nailing a few bad guys in court thirty some odd years ago?

Being On Tv?

Well… That’s how Trump got where he is. Maybe that’s it…

And you thought 2016 was the year of the dumpster fire.


One cannot suppress a certain indignation when one sees men’s actions on the great world-stage and finds, beside the wisdom that appears here and there among individuals, everything in the large woven together from folly, childish vanity, even from childish malice and destructiveness. ~ Immanuel Kant, Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View ,1784


Let’s look at a few of President-Elect Oompah Loompah’s other picks

Ben Carson: head of HUD. ¬†Now I will admit that while Ben may have come off as a kooky son of a bitch during the Primaries, he is a not unintelligent man. The man was after all an actual brain surgeon who did some pioneering work in the field, though not all the surgeries he did were successful. But Housing and urban development? For a brain surgeon? Not exactly his field of expertise, and if he wasn’t perfect with his chosen vocation, one wonders how well he’ll do in a completely unrelated field that he has never worked in. I wish him success, but I just don’t see this working out. Even the most intelligent man on earth would make mistakes in a field entirely new to him, and while smart, Ben is not quite that smart.

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General: A man who is purported to have said that he thought the KKK was alright until he found out they smoked pot and liked to throw around the word Ni**** casually, which has lead to accusations of racism to follow him throughout his political career.  He is also a climate change denier and has fought legal immigration including the guest worker programs and visa programs for foreign workers. Xenophobe seems to be the proper term for our future A.G.

Rick Perry,¬†Energy Secretary: Yes a man who said he wanted to abolish the Department of Energy and two others, and the man who could not remember the name of this department when asked the names of the three departments he wanted to abolish in a debate in 2012 is now head of the Energy Department. I don’t know what to do with this, except to look at our collective future in gibbering fear.

Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator: Just a ¬†thought here. The man who is going to run the EPA is, not was, IS, suing the EPA along with other state AG’S (He’s currently the A.G. of Oklahoma) to stop the EPA’s Clean Power plan.

And their Methane emissions regulations.

Oh and there is Mitch McConnell’s wife heading up the department of Transportation. She’s got experience at the job at least. But still… No wonder Mitch went to talk to him as soon as The Orange one was named winner.

The world has gone mad. Mad as a hatter.

Have a good night, America.

Why So Skeptical?


Beginning of Spring, by Ivan Yendogurov, 1890. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

There is a great deal of skepticism about whether the Russians actually hacked anything to do with the election of our President-Elect Donald Trump, aside from the Clinton E-mails, which is insane, as that was the hacking, and the Russians did it. ¬†Much of that skepticism is based¬†not in reality but on commonly held biases that¬†blind us to reality. People¬†don’t want to believe, and seeing the seeds of doubt, decide to not believe… And there are alleged issues with¬†the Joint Analysis Report. More on that later.

Before I do anything else though, I want to say this. I refuse to blame the Russians for Donald Trump winning the White House. That is thanks to the American people. Propaganda and hacking aside, it takes a conscious mind to vote for a person. The Russians did not, to my knowledge, hack election machines or fudge vote numbers in the Mr. Trump’s favor.

They fed Americans propaganda they wanted to hear, and twisted hearts and minds. And people ate it up.

What I do say is that Russia has a large and effective propaganda and hacking machine that uses several groups of hackers to steal information, and use it to the advantage of the Russian federation, under whose umbrella they work.

You ask for proof that hacking happened, that they’re really there and not just some twisted liberal conspiracy? Have you read the actual email that gave the hackers access to John Podesta’s email?

I have.

Podesta (and possibly his IT guy) missed the obvious phishing scheme. Anyone worth his or her salt will throw up a red flag if they see a short link attached to a support message about any potential site issues, like a hacked password. I only say an IT guy may have been involved is that the link was clicked twice. Who opens an attachment twice? No one I know, and I know some pretty damned computer illiterate people.

And ladies and gentlemen, that is how hacking happens. First they get in, find a back door, or convince you to open the front door, then they rob you blind.


If we gather more and more data and establish more and more associations, however, we will not finally find that we know something. We will simply end up having more and more data and larger sets of correlations. ~ Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 1979


Now, onto the Joint analysis report. It has been widely panned as off the mark. Why?Well,¬†the report¬†included both ‘general and unrelated malware family names’ as well as a ‘broad and non-descriptive classification of capabilities’ in a list they titled “Alternate names” On page four of the thirteen page report.

The title “alternate names” itself ¬†is itself a bit of a giveaway as to what the government is trying to do here. It is simply a list of names to look out for when dealing with Russian hackers. The experts that are up in arms seem to have missed that rather general point. They weren’t breaking it down that precisely. If they had, they would have made the point of saying so.

The list has as a header List of Russian Military and Civilian Intelligence services.

Where in that name do you see anything about a specific breakdown into groupings of intelligence services, malware they used, or may have used in the past? I see none. The critique, while well intentioned, is misguided.

The rest of the report after that has nothing to do with Russian hackers. Nothing. The entirely of the remainder of the report is there to assist in what actions should be taken using the listed indicators including giving advice on how to better secure systems and threat mitigation strategies.

Oh and the first page of the report is a description of the report. Meaning the report itself, the pertinent information on hacking, is three pages long.

The report is not meant to be anything more than:1) a threat assessment of Russian hacking capabilities, 2)a short statement on known activities, 3) a list of names to look for, and 4) Basic steps to increase Cyber-Security.

The report has been called a technical exposé of Russian hacking.

It isn’t.

 This is an exposé of Russian hacking.

That government report is coming.

News here as it develops.