Arrogance and Encryption

I wrote a bit ago about liberty and encryption. Here’s an example of the arrogance of the government’s attitude toward an American citizen encrypting his communications against government snooping.

Regarding Google and Apple plans to market encryption capabilities for their smart phones, FBI Director James Comey had this to say:

What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law[.]

This comes in the context of Brent Kendall’s paraphrase of Comey’s concern in Kendall’s WSJ article, also summarized in the link just above

A Geopolitical Misunderstanding

…if The Wall Street Journal‘s interpretation is accurate, and a lack of political courage [emphasis added].

A solution to the Ukraine crisis is still far off, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned on Saturday, as his Russian counterpart accused the West of seeking to create chaos in the Kremlin’s geographic sphere.

And

Steinmeier said that a few weeks ago “we were on the brink of direct confrontation” between Russian and Ukrainian armed forces but that diplomacy had “prevented the worst.” However, he said, “I am under no illusion. A political solution is still a long way off.”

Liberty, Security, and Encryption

Moves by Apple Inc and Google Inc to put some smartphone data out of the reach of police and the courts are raising alarms inside US law-enforcement agencies, current and former officials say.

Of course the government is upset. Heaven forfend anything should interfere with its convenience in fishing for wrong-doing in our private correspondence. Privacy, though, is a necessary component of individual liberty and responsibility.

DoJ Doing a Racial Bias Study of Police Departments?

That’s rich.

[T]he Justice Department has enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five American cities and recommend strategies to address the problem national[.]

Notice that: not researchers, not social science researchers, not social science of conflict researchers, not social science of culture researchers, not urban social science researchers, not…. Criminal justice researchers specifically. AG Eric Holder already has made up his mind on this one.

This study will be overseen by a DoJ led by a man who insists that

Obama Gave a Pretty Speech

As he often does. But what did President Barack Obama really say? I’ll elide his bald claims regarding his having “consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country.” Threats like ISIS; like the terrorists who destroyed our Benghazi consulate and butchered our Ambassador there, along with three of his security detail; like al Qaeda in the Maghreb and al Qaeda in Yemen; like the Taliban in Afghanistan, from which—and whom—we’re retreating; …. Yes, yes, we’ve killed a few key players in some of those gangs, but we’ve not damaged the gangs themselves in any material way. But enough of that.

With Whom Among the Kurds Should We Work?

How about with all of them?

President Barack Obama appears, finally, to be agreeable to arming the Pershmerga of the Kurds’ Iraqi Kurdistan in northern Iraq and to be working a little more closely with them in where the US takes its potshots against ISIS forces—the Mosul Dam effort comes to mind in this context.

But that can’t be all of it, if ISIS is to be destroyed. That will require attacking ISIS in Syria as well as more serious efforts against ISIS in Iraq. That more serious effort in Iraq also will require working along the Kurds’ Iraq border with Turkey in addition to working with the Peshmerga to the west of Iraqi Kurdistan.

A Thought on Support for Iraq

To a significant degree, the failure of the Russian-trained and equipped Iraqi army when the US invaded that country is on Russia. To a significant degree, the failure of the US-trained and equipped Iraqi army when ISIS invaded Iraq is on us.

But given the fact that both of those failures occurred under two independent and dissimilar training, doctrine, and equipage régimes, the abject performance of the Iraqi “army” is on Iraq and that army. This is an army that has demonstrated empirically that it has no stomach for defending itself and its members’ families, much less defending its country. This is an army that has demonstrated empirically that it has no stomach for fighting.

Meandering Expansion

And it would have done LBJ proud. Now the US is taking potshots at ISIS terrorists threatening the Haditha Dam in Iraq’s al Anbar province. This dam on the Euphrates River backs up a large reservoir and holds a major hydropower plant.

The US’ first move was to take potshots at the terrorists who had trapped Yazidis, for humanitarian reasons.

That was followed, ad hoc, by US potshots at the terrorists who were holding the Mosul Dam on the Tigris River, with that dam’s even larger reservoir and hydropower plant. Those potshots were in support of the Kurds’ Peshmerga who were pushing the terrorists off the dam, and these potshots also were for “humanitarian reasons.”

Words Have Consequences

KT McFarland pointed out some of their consequence in a Friday interview on Fox NewsHappening Now program against the backdrop of the Russian-supported “rebellion” in Ukraine and the just being agreed “cease fire” between those “rebels” and Ukrainian forces.

It seems that President Barack Obama, while spending a day in Estonia, had assured the Estonians that NATO would, of course, rush to their defense in the event of “an attack” on Estonia. The next day, Obama repeated that assurance, sort of. This time, he said NATO would rush to Estonia’s defense in the event of “an armed attack” on Estonia.

Resign, or Resigned?

The parents of a SEAL lost in Afghanistan, on seeing the butchery of ISIS and President Barack Obama’s decision not to respond, have written an open letter to him, via World Tribune. Here is their letter.

Billy and Karen Vaughn

After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.