“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, January 01, 2017

US Military is turning up the heat on Chinese computer hackers but where is Obama?

Political retribution? Trump press sec questions Russia sanctions, brings up unanswered ‘China hack’

The incoming White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said it makes him wonder if President Obama’s anti-Russian measures were “political retribution,” given that a massive hack of federal data in 2015 linked to China saw “not one thing happen” in response.

Spicer brought into question the magnitude of the new sanctions approved by Barack Obama, which included the expulsion of 35 diplomats and the closing of two diplomatic facilities while speaking to ABC’s This Week program hosted by Jonathan Karl and aired on Sunday.

READ MORE: 'I always knew he was smart' – Trump responds to Putin's reaction to sanctions
“I think one of the questions that we have is, ‘Why the magnitude of this?’ I mean you look at 35 people being expelled, two sites being closed down, the question is, ‘Is that response in proportion to the actions taken?’ Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t – but you have to think about that,” Spicer said, adding later, “If you look at our history, you haven’t seen a response like that in modern history for any action.”

Donald Trump’s team member then went on to contrast Obama’s decision with the apparent lack of action on what has been branded the biggest security breach in US government history, when millions of federal employees had their unique fingerprint records stolen. While US officials have accused China of being behind the hack that made headlines in June 2015, the furthest Obama went was to warn Beijing of economic sanctions as President Xi Jinping was visiting the US.

“Hold on let's look at this, in 2015, China took over a million records, sensitive data of people like me who had worked in the government at any time, classified or personal information, where we lived, things we had written down on our applications, our security clearances and… a White House statement wasn’t even issued. No action publicly was taken. Nothing, nothing was taken when millions of people had their private information, including information on security clearances [compromised],” Spicer said.

China has denied it has anything to do with the hacks. After meeting Xi in Washington, DC in September 2015, Obama claimed US and China had agreed not hack each other’s intellectual property.

READ MORE: China repeatedly hacked US, stole data on nukes, FBI & war plans – security report

Spicer, however, argues that following the hack the only thing the White House did was to “send everyone who had worked in the government a letter saying that you get free monitoring of your credit.”

“Not one thing happened. So, there is a question about whether there's a political retribution here versus a diplomatic response,” he added, alluding to the fact that it was the Democratic National Committee’s servers that the White House says “state-sponsored” Russian hackers intruded, and that the information leaked was ultimately damaging to the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Spicer was cautious when assessing if the incoming president, Donald Trump, should reverse the sanctions, echoing Trump’s promise to get a separate intelligence briefing on the hacking allegations.
“The President-elect needs to sit down with the heads of the intelligence communities next week and get a full briefing on what they knew, why they knew it, whether or not the Obama administration's response was in proportion to the actions taken,” Spicer said.

When pressured by Karl with a question about whether the new FBI/DHS report made Trump “accept the fact that Russia was behind the DNC hack,” Spicer responded that the report did not actually talk about the Russian government being responsible for the hack.

“While the media played it up as this report about the hacking, what it actually is, if you look through it, and its available online, is a series of recommendations that should be taken, like changing passwords, changing administrative rights. What it shows is that by all measures the Democratic National Committee had a very lax IT support,” Spicer pointed out.

READ MORE: Report on ‘Russian hacking’ offers disclaimers, barely mentions Russia

Despite being menacingly titled “GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity,” the December 29 report did not provide any evidence the hacking groups described there had any connection to Moscow. The details of the hack itself remained vague, with the target being described as only “a US political party” and no indication given to which batch of leaked emails it referred – DNC’s or Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta’s. The 13-page report does provide nine pages of security improvement recommendations, as well as a disclaimer saying the DHS “does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”
Read more
© Stelios Varias

Elsewhere in US mainstream media, where the story of the “Russian hacking” has been aggressively pushed, the Washington Post had to walk back on its story alleging that “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility” which posed a risk “to US electrical grid security.”

The article cited unnamed officials, but the company in question, Burlington Electric, then publicly clarified that there was only “suspicious internet traffic” detected on a laptop not even connected to the grid.

The Post added an editorial note saying, “An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the US electric grid. Authorities say there is no indication of that so far.” The headline, however, was still claiming that, “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility,” as of late Sunday, accompanied by a picture of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) building in central Moscow.


  1. During a tour of the Baltic states, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for tougher sanctions against Russia Sunday over hacking allegations.

    “We will be working for much tougher sanctions against Russia,” McCain said. “They attacked the United States of America. The hacking was an attack and it should be treated as such.”

    “We strongly urge our colleagues to enact more meaningful and stronger sanctions against Russia because of their attack,” he added.

    Graham said he hopes to “make 2017 a year of offense.”

    He said in front of reporters, “We believe that [Vladimir] Putin has hacked into our elections in America, that he’s trying to undermine democracy all over the world, and it’s time for new sanctions to hit him hard.

  2. The article cited unnamed officials, but the company in question, Burlington Electric, then publicly clarified that there was only “suspicious internet traffic” detected on a laptop not even connected to the grid.

    It was Quirk's laptop, he was monkeying around, trying to lower his electric bill.

    He has some maple trees there, and a shed with an electric light and a foot warmer.

    It would be a sad day to go to war with the Rooskies over this.

  3. "Q"Nit of the Day: Canada

    Canada: Muslim charged with human trafficking, assaulting two women


    The Qur’an teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified.

    “Man charged with human trafficking, assaulting two women in Edmonton,” CBC, December 31, 2016:

    An Edmonton man is facing human trafficking and other charges after two women were allegedly sold for sex and sexually assaulted.

    Investigators believe the same man may have trafficked other women in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and that he may have used social media sites to approach women.

    Omar Abdi Ahmed, 24 — also known as Jojo — is facing a total of 18 charges, Edmonton police said in a news release Friday. Ahmed is from Winnipeg but has family in Edmonton, police said.

    He is in custody.

    The police investigation began on Dec. 7, when patrol officers were called to a reported sexual assault in the area of 154th Street and 111th Avenue.

    Police determined that an 18-year-old woman had been assaulted and trafficked over several days.

    Ahmed is facing six charges in relation to the incident, including human trafficking, procuring, receiving a financial or material benefit from sexual services, advertising sexual services, sexual assault and unlawful confinement.

    On Dec. 28, police responded to another report of an assault in the area of 38th Avenue and Gateway Boulevard.There officers found a 20-year-old woman who had been threatened, choked and trafficked for sex.

    Ahmed has been charged with 12 offences in connection with the second incident.

    They include human trafficking, receiving a financial or material benefit from sexual services, procuring, advertising sexual services, withholding traffic documents, forcible confinement, uttering threats, choking with intent to overcome, assault, mischief and two counts of breach of recognizance.

    Police have released a photo of the accused as they believe there may additional victims who have yet to come forward….

    1. Ahmed goes by the pseudonym "Ash" on this blog.

  4. Kerry Top Secret Meeting with Palestinians Much Worse than Originally Reported

    Very, very bad. Bloody details reveled.

    Thank the Lord all these people, Kerry, Obama, Hillary....all going into permanent retirement.

    1. Not until there's a stake through their hearts.

      Hillary Steak.

      Ugh, not fit for dogfood.

  5. MSM:

  6. Back from my latest journey:

    1. ...I loved my P-80

      $110,000 !

    2. If only it had carried an unguided Nuclear Missile like the F-89!

      A live Genie was detonated only once, in Operation Plumbbob on 19 July 1957. It was fired by AF Captain Eric William Hutchison (pilot) and AF Captain Alfred C. Barbee (radar operator) flying an F-89J over Yucca Flats. Sources vary as to the height of the blast, but it was between 18,500 and 20,000 ft above mean sea level.[3] A group of five USAF officers volunteered to stand hatless in their light summer uniforms underneath the blast to prove that the weapon was safe for use over populated areas. They were photographed by Department of Defense photographer George Yoshitake who stood there with them.[4] Gamma and neutron doses received by observers on the ground were negligible. Doses received by aircrew were highest for the fliers assigned to penetrate the airburst cloud ten minutes after explosion.[5][6]

    3. Giant Mutant Turkey Vultures were the result.

      Ant example:

    4. It starts to get interesting at 101:35.

    5. Gotta feel sorry for the alien, bleedin out and all like that.

  7. (I mount my P-80 at one minute 30 seconds.)

  8. Why do they all talk so damn fast ?

    1. And why is the music always so dramatic and spooky ?

      And why so much screaming ?

      Them alien fellers got's the big heads.

    2. High Tech, no time to waste.

    3. That's the first time I made out in my Cessna.

    4. More than once, I made out in my MG:

    5. Quirk gets his due @ 23:38

    6. 32:36 - Quirk and Bob entertain Doug.

    7. Quirk got 'im with the hand grenade !

  9. In addition to the jihadis the Bear and the Yank can put the Chinaman is his place -

    January 2, 2017
    Obama is sabotaging Russian-American rapprochement
    By James Lewis

    Barack Obama is not a standard American president. For one thing, he has made it very clear that he considers the US Constitution, the greatest blessing of this land, to be an easily trashed piece of paper. Abe Lincoln would have disagreed, but then what did Lincoln know? Today's Marxo-Jihadists, who rule our campuses with a reign of PC terror, agree with Obama, and that's all that counts. Dump the Constitution and follow shari'a law, especially you feminists...

    So what is Obama doing by imitating his (false) idea of Senator Joe McCarthy. My, my, Dear Leader is suddenly down on Vladimir Putin. What a surprise.

    For "evidence" Mr. Obama trots out phony reports attributed to the CIA and FBI, which are totally under his thumb. Mr. Putin isn't taking the bait, because he has a lifetime spent learning about provokatsya as a tool of Soviet pressure politics.

    And Putin has rejected Communism in favor of the Russian Orthodox Church, with the approval of more than half of the Russian public, which has traumatic memories of deadly Stalin persecutions, priest killing and church-burnings of the Orthodox faithful. Mr. Putin makes very sure to put his photos with the Patriarch of Moscow on the web, to assure his people that Stalin's persecutions will not happen on his watch. And he promises instant castration to any jihadis who might make trouble (especially the Chechens).

    Trump and his foreign policy team are completely familiar with modern, post-Soviet Russia. It's not a Jeffersonian democracy, but neither are we any more. Russia is a modern mix of Tsarism and realpolitik, something much better than under Stalin, and more economically wise than under Gorbachev. Putin is a pragmatist.

    Now look at the world from his point of view. Europe is falling before a jihadist onslaught, and hasn't learned even to protect its borders from them, as Japan does. Japan simply does not allow Muslim immigrants into the country. A very traditional solution to protect the homeland.

    The US is a nation of immigrants, as we all know, but the Left says nothing about our constant protection of the borders before Obamanoia and Clintonitis took hold. Today's liberal leftists (LLs) are completely ignorant of American history, and the average LL actually believes we took in every Typhoid Mary from Europe and South America. What do you think Ellis Island was for? It was a quarantine station as well as port of entry where the Irish, the Germans, the Jews, the Dutch and all the other nationals were questioned by immigration officers, who thereupon often gave them completely Americanized names. So Boris Dzyugashvili became Bernard Miller and liked it. Since they often came from miserable countries they took to their new names and new identities. (Sort of the opposite of Barry Soetoro becoming Obama).

    1. Donald Trump happens to be very well-informed, having gone to military school and the Whaton Schoolo of Finance, and spending all his life negotiating with hotel and construction people from foreign places like Scotland, where he has his big golf course. You can't do that for forty years without learning. So he did.

      Trump's cabinet is possibly the best since Dwight David Eisenhower, who took his appointments seriously.

      So The Donald and Putin have been talking about a US-Russian common front against Jihad. Obama is a jihadophile, and now we can see why he dropped the PR hammer on Putin, who supposedly hacked and leaked Podesta’s stash to Wikileaks. The big O is planting a narrative that he will repeat over and over again during the Trump tenure, to keep his faithful followers in their favorite cult delusion worshipping him. Dumping on Trump and Putin guarantees a Saudi money supply, and support from deeply disinformed campus Marxists, as well as black Americans who haven't gotten the joke yet.

      Obama loves power, and the only thing better than a lot of power is more power. That is his reason for being, and the end of his term has seen him getting more and more irritable and depressed. That's how he is.

      Now he has found the solution. The Obama of the future is going to be President-for-Life, maybe by running Michelle (Bill Clinton did it that way), or some other stooge, or maybe he will finagle a way to become President of the World by getting nominated to be Sec Gen of the UN.

      Which is why he is publicly shafting Israel today, knowing that this moment will be celebrated by all the Muslim throwbacks in the world. They will remember it in eight years and give him plenty of political money and clout. The average American voter today is amazingly uninformed, unlike any other generation of Americans. Don't think Obama doesn't know that.

      Meanwhile Big O is doing his best to mess up any rapprochement between Trump and Putin. If the US and Russia were to unite, jihad would be beaten back, perhaps as far back as World War I, when the Ottoman Caliphate crashed.


  10. Quirk wrote:
    "In the absence of mitigating rules and provision, a sales tax is more regressive than an income tax. Is that what we want given that most would argue that the current growing wealth disparity is a problem?

    Proponents of sales taxes argue they are simpler and can be used to simplify a tax code everyone agrees is unfair. However, when you start adding in provisions to remove the regressivity of the sales tax, aren't you quickly walking down the same road you have right now which would be paradise for lobbyists, lawyers, and tax preparers?"

    No I don't think a national sales tax would be paradise for them folk. In Canada the Federal Government sends checks to those on the lowest rungs of income. They also raised the basic income exemption level for everyone to mitigate the regressive nature of the tax. This is pretty basic and simple not requiring extra tax prep ect. The idea behind the tax was that it was on everything. In the final push to get it as government policy they did cave and created items that were exempt (like basic food stuff) This did complicate things and gave an opening for those folk you mention however I believe they are still much more focused on Estate tax issues, corporate exemptions and subsidies and the other issues revolving around the byzantine tax structures that exist across all levels of government with the National sales tax a rather simple and elegant element in that larger tax structure. From my view here in Canada the US tax system appears much more elephantine and byzantine then Canada's - heck what's this real estate tax treatment Trump has so successfully employed?

    In short a National sales tax is a relatively simple and elegant revenue tool that would give the feds a means to streamline and cut other taxes. You could even choose to keep the national rate low enough that it's implementation would be revenue neutral (assuming you cut other taxes)

    Alas, I think this discussion is moot. It appears that Trump will have trouble gaining any congressional support unless he toes the GOP party line as the partisan nature of US politics and Trumps style make it unlikely that he could build bi-partisan coalitions to support his agenda.

    1. .

      I am always on alert when people start talking about 'elegant' solution to anything.



  11. I've been forming the impression that Trump will come into office and he will eventually unveil an ambitions plan (most likely with respect to taxes and trade protections) much like Hillary did as first lady with Bill when she tried to re-vamp health care - a plan that 'solved it all' but died an inglorious death when the requisite congressional political negotiations crumbled in the face of that 'brilliant plan'.