The Encryption Divide

Silicon Valley and Washington have spent the past year arguing over whether technology companies should enable users to encrypt their digital lives in such a way that not even the Federal Bureau of Investigation could unscramble the information.

And

In private conversations, administration officials have said they don’t want Congress to pass a new law or to dictate to how tech companies should write code, said people briefed on the conversations.

That much is appropriate.

There’s no divide here, except in the minds of an overreaching government. The Constitution is quite clear. Get a warrant. That’s often inconvenient to Government. That’s part of the point.

Anything for a Fee

The American Law Institute periodically issues “restatements” that attempt to codify the common law—but also shift the law in the direction the institute wants it to go.

Reason enough to distrust this gang.

That’s nothing, though, compared with this:

The institute’s restatement defines the tort of battery as any contact with another person that “offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity” or—the new addition—contact that is highly offensive to another person’s “unusually sensitive sense of personal dignity, and the actor knows that the contact will be highly offensive to the other.”

The Fox Investigating the Hen House Leak

The Department of Transportation is investigating the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following a FOX Business Network report, which uncovered misconduct and cheating in the air traffic controller program. The DOT released a statement on their investigation.

That FBN report exposed broad-based, institutionally directed cheating on FAA Controller selection exams and systemic bias in handling the exams’ results.

Now the fox—or the weasel, your call—is going to determine whether there was any misbehavior.

Stand by for another whitewash.

No Heart

According to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the US has successfully trained about 7,000 Iraqi soldiers and about 2,000 counterterrorism service personnel out of a goal of 24,000 in total. Carter said this about that rather large shortfall:

We simply haven’t received enough recruits[.]

Hmm….

Yet President Barack Obama thinks it’ll be cool to send 450 more US soldiers to Iraq to train the Iraqis.

Again I say, Hmm….

Some Thoughts on US-Israeli Relations and Iran

An Israeli has some. Michael Oren, lately Israeli Ambassador to the US and current Member of Knesset had this, in part, from his op-ed in Monday’s Walls Street Journal.

The abandonment of the “no daylight” and “no surprises” principles climaxed over the Iranian nuclear program. Throughout my years in Washington, I participated in intimate and frank discussions with US officials on the Iranian program. But parallel to the talks came administration statements and leaks—for example, each time Israeli warplanes reportedly struck Hezbollah-bound arms convoys in Syria—intended to deter Israel from striking Iran pre-emptively.

YGTBSM

The federal government cannot verify nearly $3 billion in subsidies distributed through Obamacare, putting significant taxpayer funding “at risk,” according to a new audit report.

HHS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) said

[The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] CMS’s internal controls did not effectively ensure the accuracy of nearly $2.8 billion in aggregate financial assistance payments made to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act during the first four months that these payments were made.

Three findings from the audit [emphasis added]:

  • did not have systems in place to ensure that financial assistance payments were made on be half of confirmed enrollees and in the correct amounts,

Federal Security and Privacy

A government data warehouse stores personal information forever on millions of people who seek coverage under President Obama’s health care law, including those who open an account on HealthCare.gov [ObamaMart] but don’t sign up for coverage.

The Feds are proud of that, too:

The health care system, known as MIDAS, is described on a federal website as the “perpetual central repository” for information that the Affordable Care Act authorizes federal agencies to collect.

“Data in MIDAS is maintained indefinitely at this time,” says another document, a government privacy assessment dated Jan 15.

Never mind that

Couple Thoughts about Academic Censorship

The American Association of University Professors has decided to censure the University of Illinois because the school decided to withdraw it offer of employment to a “professor” who went off on an anti-Israel tirade on Twitter.

First thought: U of I Chancellor Phyllis Wise is taking the AAUP’s censorship seriously. Why? The man objected, loudly and vociferously, to Israel’s defending itself against the Palestinian Authority’s terror war that it launched from Gaza.

Second thought: the censure was done by voice vote. It was carefully anonymous. How can any action by a body like this be taken seriously by a body like a university when the voters are so timid or so ashamed of their votes that they avoid being on the record with their vote?

Projecting

The Democrats are at it again.

Projection is an unconscious defense mechanism by which a person attributes to someone else unacknowledged ideas, thoughts, feelings, and impulses that they cannot accept as their own. Or, as the Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health puts it,

It’s often called the “blaming” mechanism because in using it the person seeks to place the blame for personal inadequacies upon someone else.

It’s also a broader, more innocent thing: the attribution of one’s own attitudes, feelings, or suppositions to others. Which is to say, in the latter case in particular, the assumption that everyone else is just like the one making the attribution.

A New World “Order?”

This still is President Barack Obama’s problem, and it seems to be Hillary Clinton’s as well.

The causes of war as discerned ever since Thucydides’ time are three: wars of ideology, of fear, and of gain.

Thucydides traced the war that ruined ancient Greece to Sparta’s fear that Athens’ growing power was crossing the line where it would be impossible to contain. Israel faces that threat from Iran, as today’s international structures for the maintenance of international security have failed to halt Iran’s drive, propelled by religious ideology, to possess nuclear weapons. Israel, bereft of its traditional sense of American support, is making ready to act against Iran’s menace to its existence. President Obama’s priority must [be to] repair relations with Israel by…convincing its leaders that the US understands Israel’s uniquely dangerous position.