I was about to release a nostalgic story about my father’s final baseball game on a golden October Sunday afternoon in 1941 before Pearl Harbor when Ukraine claimed center stage. I couldn’t ignore the comments from Washington and the Kremlin, the kind of posturing that could lead to war if mistakes were made on the ground.
I sympathize with and support the desires expressed in the February Euromaiden riots in Kiev’s Independence Square by ordinary Ukrainians for a rules-based democracy and an end to the corrupt, abusive, and autocratic governments they’ve suffered from since World War II. I also support… Continue reading
In my previous posts I noted the current theft by hackers of our confidential financial information in the files of companies such as Target and Neiman Marcus, cyber warfare conducted by the U. S. and other countries, a brief reference to the clandestine operations the U. S. has conducted since the beginning of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and our government’s use of our primeval emotion of fear to justify its world-wide surveillance of our personal internet and telephonic media. The President’s recent speech and press release on our government’s surveillance programs illustrate the continued use of fear… Continue reading
In my last post about the cyber warfare waged by hackers of businesses such as Target to steal our credit card information and our own National Security Agency’s surveillance programs to collect our telephone calls, email messages, and internet activity, I discussed briefly how governments use our emotion fear to accomplish their objectives. Shortly thereafter I discovered Professor Peter Ludlow’s article “Fifty Shades of Fear” in the New York Times. Professor Ludlow, Northwestern University, elaborates on how governments, including our own, use the human emotion fear to justify their intrusions into the constitutional and human rights and control of their… Continue reading
In a recent post I mentioned the hacking of Target’s credit card purchase records exposing confidential information about 40 million customers. Now Target has warned us that about twice as many customers were exposed over a longer period of time and other companies, including Neiman Marcus, have acknowledged similar attacks on their confidential customer information.
Then on January 14, 2014, a New York Times article disclosed that the “N. S. A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers,” a tactic we have charged the Chinese military with employing against American companies and governmental agencies. While the National Security Agency (NSA) claims we… Continue reading
“40 Million Cards, Swiped” was the headline in the New York Times announcing the theft from Target of 40 million customers’ credit card purchase records. The article continued with the reminder these hackers were relatively small timers compared with the theft in 2007 of 90 million card records from T. J. Maxx and 130 million in 2009 from the card processor Heartland Payment Systems. Like many other U. S. Target store customers from November 27 through December 15, I’m checking each morning the online account of the credit card we use to see if an uninvited guest has appropriated some… Continue reading
The Tucson area has a large community of writers. One of these is Linda Strader who in the 1970s was a firefighter for the U. S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, one of the first woman to serve in this intrepid, male-only fraternity. Summers of Fire is a memoir of her experiences during the seven years she fought fires from Arizona to Alaska, until an injury forced her to resign. Visit her Summers of Fire blog to learn more about Linda and read the first chapter of her book.
Linda has for many years written regularly for… Continue reading
My first encounter with the National Security Agency (“NSA”) was on August 26, 1956, during my Army discharge process in Brooklyn. That summer the communist satellites in Eastern Europe were acting up against Soviet control. In June a workers’ revolt in Posnan, Poland, erupted and was brutally squashed. Scuttlebutt had it that all Army discharges would be delayed. Strengthening our forces in Western Europe was in process in case the Soviets attacked to distract the satellites. By August, though, the climate in Eastern Europe had improved enough that the Army could get along without me and I became a Korean… Continue reading
Several days ago I questioned our reliance on military action on foreign policy issues instead of seeking diplomatic solutions in the context of President Obama’s threat to “punish” Assad militarily for using chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war. The negative public opinion in our country and congressional opposition forced the President to explore – successfully it appears – a diplomatic alternative to bombing Syria.
Starting with our headstrong, blundering into war in Iraq, we seem to ignore the diplomatic implications and resulting adverse consequences of relying on military solutions for complex situations. Throughout our lives we have opportunities that… Continue reading
In earlier blogs I advocated that President Obama submit for congressional vote his announced plan to “punish” Assad with military action and suggested that diplomatic efforts be initiated to achieve a ceasefire in the civil war. After some fumbling with the issue, the President asked Congress to postpone a vote that appeared likely to be negative on his plans and instead sent the Secretary of State to negotiate with the Russians and others a diplomatic solution to the problem. As a result of his efforts, Russia initiated a plan that with our support and that of the United Nations, China… Continue reading