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January 13, 2011

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I tried saying, "Please stop" to my dog, but it didn't work. He's still barking.

wonkie, you could try "stop it."

ral, in my unprofessional opinion, this is is some of the best psychiatric advice possible.

The only problem is that most people (including me) do have to learn a few more steps.

And be capable.

But otherwise, yes, that's pretty much what it boils down to.

Aside from the last ten words, which won't help most anyone, even those whom it would be theoretically relevant to.

But otherwise.

Brevity!

Thanks.

I will now steal that link from you, and use it all the hell over the place, since I hadn't seen that one before.

And now all of today's ObWi Mail, every piece, has been read, filed, and taken care of.

Thank you for the link! I enjoyed it.

AS for the effectiveness of that approach on real people: I'm not a person with formal training, but I am a survivor of twenty years of marriage to a man who had several psychiatric labels and spent an inordinate amount of time in therapy. My own private opinion is that a therapy approach that lacks "Stop it!" as one of the therapy tools is a scam to extract money from patients. Perhaps not an intentional scam, but a waste of everyone's time and treasure nethertheless.


I have very few regrets about how I have lived my life, but one is that I could have gotten out of that marriage sooner if someone had told me to stop being such an enabler. I'm pretty good at taking advice.


BTW I use "Stop it!" on myself pretty often but I combine it with a change of subject. A replacement activity.

But I find that "Stop it!" does not work on my dog. Perhaps I'm an enabler for him now!

All the overnight ObWi mail has been read, dealt with, and filed.

All two pieces.

This is not hard.

What's a little bit harder is getting myself to the ER with this little sleep, and this much overnight pain.

I don't mean this in any way to sound sorry for myself, guilt-trip anyone, chide anyone, or in any negative way.

I simply mean to note that all that dealing with the mail takes is a couple of minutes a day, and the ability to find those couple of minutes.

And the willingness to make sure that there isn't something crucial to someone's life, buried in with the 98% of ignorable stuff, that will pile up, if you let it pile up.

That's all.

I'm fine. The cats are great. I don't need to go to the ER because I'm in need of emergency attention. I'm only interested because at this point my Saturday and Sunday are completely booked, I'm out of Lamotrigine, and have been for a couple of weeks, and it would be a good idea for me to get some as soon as possible, at this point.

And I'll probably make arrangements for someone local to help me with that, today. If not, I think I'll be able to do it over the weekend, anyway, or at worse, Monday or Tuesday. Nothing dramatic should happen if I don't.

We all have our problems, and life goes on. All our problems expand to fill the only 24 hours in a day we each get.

But now I am exhausted and pained enough that I'm going to stop commenting, until I feel better, else I may stop making any sense at all.

Although a shower and ten minutes nap may make it all fine. Life changes very rapidly.

For me, at least.

Everyone have a great morning/afternoon/evening/night/day, wherever you are!

See ya later!

I've actually tried this kind of advice with my wife. She can't get to sleep, sometimes, because her mind won't stop working on things.

So I tell her to cut it out. It doesn't work. Isn't that you doing the thinking? Stop it! Then I talk to her about clearing your mind; just letting go. Techniques that have worked for me for decades. But I can't compare myself with her, because I find it much, much, much, much, MUCH easier to let things go undone (as Gary is finding out, to his dismay) rather than lose sleep worrying about them.

So maybe I should stop that.

Anyway, it's not always a matter of stopping it; there's always the question of what not to stop. That's where I struggle. And then I get tired of struggling, and stop.

I'm going to stop writing about this, now.

What sometimes works for me, when my mind insists on running flat out late at night, is to focus it down on a single topic. Just take the time to work that one thru to the end. And that leaves the mind winding down as the focus topic ends. Not foolproof (and, I suppose, less likely to work for the ADHD afflicted), but generally successful.

I can't watch youtube videos at work, so I'm only guessing based on the comments what this is about. But my sister told me that, when she can't fall asleep because she has too many thoughts running through her mind, she pictures herself in an empty movie theater with a blank screen, just sitting and waiting for something to be shown, until she falls asleep.

Me, I just drink three beers and it's lights out.

My best trick so far has been to tell myself, "Your job right now is to sleep. All that other stuff? That's not your job right now. Sleep is your job." Kind of a jiu jitsu move on my overdeveloped sense of responsibility.

An accidental click in Google Reader led me to: Cthulhu: the neck-tie edition

Enjoy. Or, howl to the dead, uncaring stars. As you choose.

ObWi email all read, filed, dealt with.

I'll no longer mention this in public, until I do again. Let's assume it will continue to be so.

Enjoy the loop! I always do!

But I can't compare myself with her, because I find it much, much, much, much, MUCH easier to let things go undone (as Gary is finding out, to his dismay
Sorry, wrong.

I like being able to do things I can do, and help others. Makes me happy, not dismayed.

Also, I've now slept for several hours, done everything fine, weekend all scheduled, made arrangements with different people for careful backups to backups to backups for each important item. Including the 10:46 AM stuff, and ER visit, multiple public meetings, my prescriptions, my grocery shopping, and all the other stuff no one here needs or wants to know about.

I am a god of efficiency, but without grandiosity, but you'll have to judge by the results for yourself. I could be wrong.

Anyway, it's not always a matter of stopping it; there's always the question of what not to stop. That's where I struggle. And then I get tired of struggling, and stop.

I'm going to stop writing about this, now.

Everyone can play the loop game. The way you win is to know when to quit.

It's not quite like the moral of this movie, but it's a neighbor down the block.

S'alright?

Okay.

Hogan:

[...] My best trick so far has been to tell myself, "Your job right now is to sleep. All that other stuff? That's not your job right now. Sleep is your job." Kind of a jiu jitsu move on my overdeveloped sense of responsibility.
That's pretty much what it's all about.

That, and setting up the conditions to allow one's self to be able to do that, which requires making sure one has the best possible biochemistry, which can be helped by optimal food choices, making sure one has no chemical allergies or other unknown or un-dealt-with environmental allergies, good medical advice (which needs to be triple-checked; your medical professionals are no less infallible than any of us are), optimal surroundings and intake of every sort, self-awareness, cognitive meta-control, a sense of security, as much control over one's surroundings and life, internal, external, emotional, physical, financial, and otherwise, as possible, without over-doing it or over-worrying about it, and so on.

In the end it's all one word: balance.

But before that: knowing how to find one's balance.

But before that: you have to have had the history and conditions to have been able to know how, and then we can loop analyze back to first causes and the Big Bang.

It starts with the Big Bang, ends with the heat death of the universe, except for all the multiverses, except that next year we may have new and better theories, because one thing we know is that there will be more objective knowledge in the world next year, available to many via the internet.

And the world, person by person, is slowly getting smarter as we all integrate with each other in the Great Brain And Stupidity that is humanity, life on this planet, our solar system, our galaxy, and, eventually, back to the hydrogen, the quarks, up, and down, and let's loop again.

But let's stop.

Have we all got it?

No, we'll keep mirroring until we're closer. But not too close. Boundaries.

Later! :-)

Everyone:

This is a "dead link." It's the URL most folks know how to cut and paste. It's not clickble: http://werbach.com/barebones/barebones.html

This is the active link version:

Barebones Guide To HTML and Tags.

How To Link:

http://werbach.com/barebones/barebones.html#links

Link tags.

TEXT

< >

<A HREF="URL">TEXT</a>

< A HREF="URL" > TEXT < /A >

OR:

left angle bracket A HREF ="URL"right angle bracket
left angle bracket TEXT /A right angle bracket

[A HREF="URL"]TEXT[/A]

Substitute pointy bracket for rectangular bracket

Special characters = Special Characters, including pointy brackets.

< <
> >

You know know, or have access to, almost all the HTML I do. Today. And ever have. I know about eight tags, and that's it. That, and I use whatever logic I can.

Everyone: until such time as the template can be updated, which requires use of the SuperUser password, which I do not have, I'm again trying this kludge. I'll tweak it until I can get it until better form.

Until such time as I have access to the SuperUser password, if ever, I can't add software to allow for people to click, and add tags, as most blogs have allowed since 2005.

It's now 2011. I've been trying to get this done since 2005.

Meanwhile, this, and I'll try to help again as I can, with cut and paste and tweaking of this text. I encourage everyone to cut and paste whatever works here, learn it, repaste it whenever anyone pastes in a dead link and you think it would be helpful, but, obviously, not to the point of making anyone feel harassed.

That's a judgment call. Be forgiving of others, please, if you think they've overdone it.

This is only encouragement. Please don't interpret as anything other than my attempting to help provide information in an attempt to help. I'm not implying anything else in any way to anyone.

Thanks, everyone.

This text will be tweaked again, and made shorter. Yes, shorter; I know.

Lance Mannion needs help.

Please consider helping him.

Thank you.

On Sarah's Jewish problem, sort of: three things (at least!) are needed for a lone wacko or small group to resort to political violence: a grievance, a sense of great urgency, and pride.

People who blow things up or shot other people see themselves as hero figures and/or martyrs, motivated by a higher calling.


And of course a willingness to spend the rest of one's life in jail or die but the desire for martyrdom is realted to that pride.

Sarah's religous background supplies all of those things.


The voice in Glen Beck's head supplies all of those things too. The guy who was arrested for planning to kill Patty Murray was motivated by Glen Beck.

The basic Republican message is 1. grievance ( usually a flat out lie like the job-killing effect of health care reform), 2. apocalyptic language, 3. appeals to nationalism or a sense of being more inherently a real American than other people, ie pride.

I know I'm beating a dead horse here, making the same point over and over. (BTW thanks for the kind words, Gary. Ivalue compliments from you). But I'm stuck, I guess.

WE have a political party tht from the top down as amatter of policy does it's messaging in such a way as to inspire political violence. It isn't just Palin. Or Beck. OR Limbaugh. It's policy of the leadership of the Repubican party. Unintended consequences are still the responsiblity of the instigator.

A shout out of thanks to McCain, BTW, for saying tht Obam ais a patriot and that his intentions are good and that he wantsthe best for AMerica. It shouldn't bve necessary to thank a Repubican for saying something like that, however. And I doubt if he'd be saying it if he was oplannning to run for another term.

But I'm stuck, I guess.
The whole point of being mentally ill is being stuck. It's just on a continuum with normal people slightly stuck. But it's all the same thing.

So: stop it!

;-)

But "stuck" when involving large numbers of people involves changing one mind at a time.

Thus the way we hand-sell books is the way we hand-sell blogs is the way we hand-sell politics is the way we hand-sell changing people's minds.

One thought at a time, or as many or few as someone can handle.

Letting them think. Letting it percolate in the back of their mind.

Eventually, sometimes people's minds, change, slowly.

Sometimes it's punctuated evolution. Sometimes it's devolution. Sometimes it's revolution.

But it always takes time -- and patience.

Which isn't my own strong suit. I'm sure no one has noticed.

Thanks for the comments and wise thoughts, wonkie; I'm glad you're here with us.

On Sarah Palin's Jewish problem:

I don't think any of that reflects any sort of anti-Semitism on her part. More just ignorance and thoughtlessness and the idea that if she is "pro-Israel" (IMO, advocating for expansion of the settlements is anything but pro-Israel, but never mind) she is inoculated against having to think about Jewish matters at all.

Commenter Gary Farber (do I need a pseudonym now, to distinguish?; no, that would be worse) endorses this post by PZ Myers:

I'm getting a lot of sad stories about bloggers struggling financially, and I just thought I'd mention a few of them.

There's the perennially struggling Gary Farber, of course. He's a blogger emeritus, having been around for several years longer than I have. Check out his left sidebar for options to help him out.

Gary has mentioned that the fierce and acerbic Roy Edroso of Alicublog is having a rough go of it, too.

Now I learn that Lance Mannion is deep in a hole and scrabbling to escape. He's writing a book on raising a child with Asperger's — somebody ought to snap it up, he's a wonderful writer.

The annoying thing about these writers is that they're all good, thoughtful, interesting people…and they ought to be writing for the big magazines or newspapers. But, unfortunately, when the NY Times goes looking for columnists, writing skills and cogent commentary aren't among the qualifications, or plodders and hacks like Ross Douthat or Jonah Goldberg would be unemployed, rather than living well on wingnut welfare.

I'll also mention a fourth example of low-budget blogging: me. Seed hasn't managed to send me a paycheck for the last several months. I, at least, have a solid stable day job and a family that has grown up and moved out on me, so I'm not panicking. I'm definitely not asking for money for me…if you're feeling like dropping a few dollars on someone for online content, look to Gary or Roy or Lance. Or if you can't afford anything right now (I'm definitely sympathetic about that), at least go start reading their stuff regularly.

Thanks, PZ.

I've changed my mind, and will mention covering the mail here for a while, for reasons. Ignore it.

ObWi overnight mail now all dealt with, including one crucial personal email to Hilzoy about Andrew Olmsted from Andy's former CO.

This is the sort of essential email that CANNOT GO UNMISSED. And has. There have been various other letters for and about Andy from his personal comrades, and family.

All unread for years. This is unacceptable. It stops. It has stopped. Now.

Anyone who doesn't like it can volunteer to help out.

Deal.

There was an interesting report on NPR on the 14th that stated:

What emerges from the study is that rather than being politically motivated, many of the assassins and would-be assassins simply felt invisible. In the year before their attacks, most struggled with acute reversals and disappointment in their lives, which, the paper argues, was the true motive. They didn't want to see themselves as nonentities.

"They experienced failure after failure after failure, and decided that rather than being a 'nobody,' they wanted to be a 'somebody,' "

The question would be does violent rhetoric make the crimes they are about to commit more acceptable to them, or help them pick their targets? I suspect that it does but if the NPR article is correct then it is not the prime motivation.

he idea that if she is "pro-Israel" (IMO, advocating for expansion of the settlements is anything but pro-Israel, but never mind) she is inoculated against having to think about Jewish matters at all.

From a practical point of view, that's (unfortunately) probably correct. She's got the Commentary crowd on her side, and the rest of us weren't going to vote for her anyway.

The inbox is again clear.

I'm off to the ER soon, and coverage and response will be intermittent.

'I don't think any of that reflects any sort of anti-Semitism on her part. More just ignorance and thoughtlessness and the idea that if she is "pro-Israel" (IMO, advocating for expansion of the settlements is anything but pro-Israel, but never mind) she is inoculated against having to think about Jewish matters at all.'

Bernard:

I'm in learning mode here. I've never thought about anything I would label 'Jewish matters', except perhaps thinking that Israel is a Jewish nation, which does not generate positive thoughts in my head. But your comment seems to suggest that to qualify as respectably intellectual one must have substantial and in-depth views on "Jewish matters'. Is this some sort of requisite for serious American political figures?

GOB,

But your comment seems to suggest that to qualify as respectably intellectual one must have substantial and in-depth views on "Jewish matters'. Is this some sort of requisite for serious American political figures?

No. It's not.

But when one has the kinds of associations that Gary's link describes, one might think about their implications. I suppose "Jewish matters" might have been a poor choice of words on my part. All I'm saying is that she seems not to be aware or concerned about the attitudes of those she associates with. At the same time I have no doubt that if called on it she would rely on her "pro-Israel" credentials as a defense.

'All I'm saying is that she seems not to be aware or concerned about the attitudes of those she associates with. At the same time I have no doubt that if called on it she would rely on her "pro-Israel" credentials as a defense.'

Bernard:

Thanks for the sincere reply. Getting such is a rare treat here.

Even President Obama was slow to give up Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It must be difficult for those with high political ambitions to make moves that might alienate substantial elements of their political base.

GOB,

I think the difference is that Obama was aware of the problem. That may or may not have been due to the publicity the Wright affair received.

Regardless, I don't think Palin is aware of the problem, possibly because this stuff has been below the radar. Her reference to "blood libel" might stir it up a bit. And I'd add, with respect to her responsiblity for being informed about Jewish matters, that before using phrases that have particular resonance for Jews, she might want to think about their meaning.

If a politician (of whatever faith), complaining about being unfairly criticized, spoke of "being nailed to the cross" I think some Christians might reasonably take offense.

Christ you know it ain't easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me.

-- J. W. O. Lennon

If anyone could please tell Jacob Davies?: "Gary Farber says: 'I'm sorry.'"

If everyone could tell Jacob? Don't know if would be better or worse.

All I can do is try. I'm very trying.

"If a politician (of whatever faith), complaining about being unfairly criticized, spoke of "being nailed to the cross" I think some Christians might reasonably take offense."

I agree with the rest of your point but this is day to day slang in the Christian community.

Personal on GF, from Facebook, slight tweaks. Open thread = okay, please? Thanks for understanding.

Bestest day of decade yet! Highland Hosp/Alameda Cnty ER 'scrips!

Potlatch! Potlatch 20
March 4 - 6, 2011

San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area

(Join it, if you like! Visit my other friends! You may like! Check it out! Or not!)

Me = blood pressure at Highland Hospital = 212/125.

Indigent financial aid process begun!

'Scrips still must turn into drugs, but only 1 = key = must be done by Friday 21st, 5 p.m., or restart all. Good!

Possible local driver drop-off help? Or will cab okay on my own! (I hope.)

All good! Old friends recontacted!

Negatives = learning =Happy happy joy joy!

Bad blog stuff = very unhappy. But can only do what I can do. Same for all of us. I understand.

More: My friend, KDP = near-perfect person.

Got to Alta Bates Hospital ER last night; got triage, prescriptions, referrals, etc.

Referred to Highland Hospital to turn those 'scriptions into new prescriptions, plus more referrals.

Visited Highland/Alameda County Hospital Center ER and same same, new prescriptions, better. All I really need for moment is Lamictal/Lamotrigine.

Must get further in financial aid process to get this and next step. To do that, must get back to Highland/Alameda between tomorrow and Friday, more likely Tuesday and Friday, due to holiday on Monday, limited hours.

If anyone can offer to drop me off: helpful, but not necessary. Someone to help walk me through = helpful, but hopefully not necessary. Am responsible for self. Always.

My non-blog, non-online day was fantastic! Yes, pain level 4-6. Joy level much more. Time trade-offs all worth it and more! Best possible scheduling done and most happy!

Except for online day = very unhappy.

Jacob: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

I apologize. I apologize. I apologize.

But: much much much much much important progress on several crucial offline fronts!

How was *your* day?

Non-0bWi: Mary Kay K: I'm sorry! Meet Gary of 2011? Up to you.

Tomorrow is another day? Yes, it is! Notice? I will. Others? Up to them!

Love to all my friends: old, current, new, renewed, and those to come.

How can I help *you*?

I have an idea: start blogging on news and substance!

As soon as I reasonably can. I promise that.

Meanwhile: LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL
April 16, 1963
.

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

[...]

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea.

[...]

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes [....] In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action.

[...]

You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.

[...]

Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

[...]

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

Read as much of the rest as you can, and wish to. I commend it to all. Always.

Peace.

Marty:

[...] I agree with the rest of your point but this is day to day slang in the Christian community.
It turns out Jews and Christians have some different beliefs, as well as common.

Just as many Jews do with other Jews, and Christians do with other Christians.

GOB: good to see you! We've been not around at the same time in a long time! *waves*

I'm glad to see you here! Really!

[...] I'm in learning mode here. I've never thought about anything I would label 'Jewish matters', except perhaps thinking that Israel is a Jewish nation, which does not generate positive thoughts in my head.
Expand? As you like, or not. Short or long as you like. I'm interested. Not a trick question!
[...] But your comment seems to suggest that to qualify as respectably intellectual one must have substantial and in-depth views on "Jewish matters'. Is this some sort of requisite for serious American political figures?
Query, again, not trick question, but I'm sincerely curious as to your view here: are substantial and in-depth views on "Christian matters" any kind of requisite for serious American political discussion, figures, professionals, amateurs, any of us, all of us?

I don't have an immediate opinion. Will have to think about my own answer to question. But I can figure out, after thinking, what I think. What do you think?

What does everyone think?

This strikes me, if no one else, as an interesting question. Now suddenly curious.

As usual.

Discuss?

I agree with the rest of your point but this is day to day slang in the Christian community.

???

Not amongst the Christians I know, it isn't. By which I mean, "My entire family except for dad's side, and ranging from casual Christmas-and-Easter-church-attenders to 'On Fire for God' evangelical firebrands."

Sorry Phil. In my whole life I have heard thousands of times in conversation at work, in sports, etc. this phrase used interchangeably with many other "I got in trouble unfairly" and usually severely, descriptionss. If it offends no one has ever reacted that way.

Thanks for the insight.

Regardless, I don't think Palin is aware of the problem, possibly because this stuff has been below the radar.

Palin simply lacks awareness of most things, particularly herself. That's her problem. There is some common ground between her and me on policy issues (smaller gov't, lower taxes, less regulation, pretty much typical conservative stuff), but that doesn't make her a spokesperson by whom I care to be represented.

This is certainly not dispositive, but it may be of interest. Here is a google ngram for 'nailed to a cross', 'nailed to the cross', and 'blood libel' (which I threw in just to see how it compared. You can click on the period to see the range of books in google books that has this phrase and the context. Interestingly, it has been more common in British English than in American English.

Bad example, maybe, or maybe not.

But the point is that "blood libel" does have, as I said, a particular resonance to Jews. That doesn't mean the phrase is taboo. It does mean that someone using it, especially in a public speech, ought to be aware of that, and tread lightly.

I will say that there is a difference between the private converation Marty describes and a speech by a political figure. I'll bet you most politicians use words and phrases in private that they would consider inappropriate to include in a speech. In this particular instance, I'd guess a Jewish politician in particular would avoid using "nailed to the cross" or similar phrases like the plague.

OTOH, William Jennings Bryan famously used the crucifixion metaphor in his "Cross of Gold" speech. But even there the metaphorical victim was mankind, not Bryan himself. That might matter.

I'll bet you most politicians use words and phrases in private that they would consider inappropriate to include in a speech.

And yet, across the spectrum, they pounce when an opponent slips and says something impolitic. Makes me want to grab my silenced, 30 round mag semi auto street sweeper pistola and make a statement!

Amateurs! Real guys use 100 shot magazines. Iirc production of those went into overdrive (and still left a shortage) when the law left open a gap for a certain period of time. I think it was when Clinton was still in the WH.
Btw, the fire rate for a good semiautomatic is not much slower than your standard fully automatic handheld (one of the reasons that Britain did stay with the former for decades). And few can go rock-n-roll without most shots going skyward anyway. I'd not be surprised, if a semiautomatic pistol with an oversized magazine was more effective for 'actions' like Tucson than a submachine gun with no interruptor option.

Another blogger in need.

Diane of cab drollery.

[...] I've even canceled my health insurance, praying that I wouldn't have any untoward accident or condition arise that would cost me more than $1,400 a month (my premium). So far I've been lucky in that respect, and I qualify for Medicare on August 1.

The short term, however, is disastrous. Last night I received my 3-day notice from the landlord. I will be out of cash and homeless very shortly if I don't come up with enough cash to show my landlord that I'm not a total flake. I need to raise $2,000 by Monday/Tuesday.

Please help if you can by clicking on the "Donate" button. If you don't like using PayPal, please email me at [...] and I'll give you other options. If you can't help right now with a donation to the care and feeding of a harmless old woman and her two cats, but you know someone who can, please alert them to my dilemma.

I don't know her. Yet.

(And what is it to "know" someone?)

But consider, please. I sent $5.

What goes around comes around.

As far as making a statement goes, I have stated here last weekend that I'd not go for bullets but for something more graphic*. To use the tired cliche: death (esp. a quick one) is far too good for some people**. Would it not be better to get Rush off pain medication for life and have him slowly starve to death because everyone would flee him like the plague?

*This is NOT and endorsement of violence against people one finds despicable. I just state that I can easily imagine a situation where I would snap and do something regrettable (with the conclsuion that I should avoid those).

**'to the death!', 'No! to the pain!'

And yet, across the spectrum, they pounce when an opponent slips and says something impolitic.

I'm not sure this is a problem. Part of being an adult or a professional is understanding that you have to phrase things to match your audience. When politicians fail to do that, I think pouncing on it can be legitimate because that indicates that they haven't yet mastered a really basic professional skill.

This is a big diverse country. If you can't communicate in public without making a whole bunch of Americans cringe, how can you be trusted to communicate with the leaders of other countries? Communicating with people, especially people very different from you, is hard and takes hard work. If you haven't figured that out, maybe you're not ready for high office.

I mean, I grew up in a Christian household attending Catholic schools. But I lived in an area that had a few Jews. And I just cringed when I heard the 'blood libel' line. When a line like that ends up in a speech, that means the candidate (1) doesn't have a lot of experience hanging out with Jews (which isn't fatal) and either (2) doesn't have any staffers who have any such experience or (3) isn't willing to listen to staffers who do have that experience. Either way, that's a bad sign.

There is some common ground between her and me on policy issues (smaller gov't, lower taxes, less regulation, pretty much typical conservative stuff)

McKinney, this may sound flippant, but it's a sincere question: do you honestly think that Sarah Palin is for "smaller government"? What basis do you have for believing that her espousal of "smaller government" is anything more than rhetorical? For that matter, looking at the records of Reagan and Bush I and II, do you see any factual basis for the conventional wisdom that dictates that the Republican Party stands for "smaller government"?

Lower taxes? Granted (especially for higher-income earners like yourself).

Less regulation? Sort of, I guess, depending on what it is being regulated. Palin's positions on, say, reproductive choice, or spousal benefits for same-sex partners, make clear that she believes that certain aspects of people's lives need to be regulated quite vigorously. But I realize that's not the kind of regulation you were referring to.

But smaller government? Really?

I just think it's pretty darn pretencious for someone to claim that level of martyrdom. I don't like it when people claim they are being nailed metaphorically to the cross either. Get a perspective!

In this exact situation I think Palin's decsion to refer tothe blodd libel, and the decision by several other rightwing bloggers and pundits to do so, is a bullying technique directed not at Jews but at everyone. She was trying to delegitmize all criticism of her by delegitimizing the critics. She went the next step to legitimizing violence agasint her critic when she went on to say that if the poor little consrevatives keep being criticized, violence will result.

However the weird sick attitude of the End Timers toward Jews ...well that concerns me a lot. I don't want peiple wh think they are acting our God's plan to end life on this planet anywhere near the halls of power.

In other words, I don't see her as an anti-Semite so much as a person with a personality disorder that is exacerbated by religous fanaticism and results in her being harmful in her public behavior to everyone.

I'm not sure this is a problem. Part of being an adult or a professional is understanding that you have to phrase things to match your audience.

I agree that people in public life ought to be situationally aware. What I don't care for is someone of the Left going apoplectic when someone on the Right misspeaks, and vice versa. We've seen this fake outrage too many times to count and it's damned tiresome.

McKinney, this may sound flippant, but it's a sincere question: do you honestly think that Sarah Palin is for "smaller government"?

UK, you may be right. I think anyone who runs as a Republican is supposed to say "I believe in small gov't." Saying it and meaning it are two different things. Saying it and understanding what you are saying, is probably the issue Palin has. I mean, seriously, she was governor of a state that sends every citizen a check. Isn't that a progressive's dream? How is that 'small gov't'?

To elaborate on UK's comment, it seems silly to me to be for "less regulation" as a broad statement. Regulation is a part of government. We may well have excessive or unwise regulation in some areas. But we may also have inadequate regulation in others.

It's valuable for conservatives to point out defects and raise questions in some areas, so long as there are concrete issues to be raised. But generalized "anti-regulation" positions seem to me to be more statements of simplistic ideology than thought-out criticisms.

So I'd say to McK and others that to the extent you have knowledge of specific regulatory schemes that are dysfunctional, or overly burdensome for their objective, I'm glad to hear about it. But the "reguation bad" approach is unconvincing.

"...journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible."

It's the "incite the very hatred and violence" part of her phrase that really amazes me. Journalist are inciting violence from who by criticizing the Divine Sarah? The whole jist of her speech was that she and others who used similar rhetoric had nothing to do with inciting violent acts and then she turns are annd says tht violence will in fact be incited in response to criticism of the rhetoric!

Shorter Sarah Palin: I had nothing to do with the violence and I am a martyr of the magintude of the thousands of Jews that died for a bigoted lie and if you criticize me violence will be incited!


To elaborate on UK's comment, it seems silly to me to be for "less regulation" as a broad statement.

BY--I was illustrating the commonality I suspected there might be between me and Palin, not announcing a policy prescription. I assumed UK and I are on the same page and he was asking what my basis was for believing Palin is generally for less regulation. As am I, generally. But I'm not looking for an extended discussion on good regs vs bad regs.

Saying it and understanding what you are saying, is probably the issue Palin has.

I think this is true of what Palin says about pretty much everything...

Turbulence:

[...] Part of being an adult or a professional is understanding that you have to phrase things to match your audience. When politicians fail to do that, I think pouncing on it can be legitimate because that indicates that they haven't yet mastered a really basic professional skill.
In the era of YouTube, phonecams, etc., I assume you're differentiating between levels of intentionality?

Where would you draw the line?

[...] If you can't communicate in public without making a whole bunch of Americans cringe, how can you be trusted to communicate with the leaders of other countries?
Which politician is it that can communicate in public without making a "whole bunch of Americans cringe," would you suggest?

I might like to vote for that person, or that politician might make me cringe.

I'd first like to read someone who can write for blogs without making "a bunch" of readers cringe. Could you suggest some such bloggers, perhaps?

When a line like that ends up in a speech, that means the candidate (1) doesn't have a lot of experience hanging out with Jews (which isn't fatal) and either (2) doesn't have any staffers who have any such experience or (3) isn't willing to listen to staffers who do have that experience. Either way, that's a bad sign.
All three ways, it's a bad sign.

McKinneyTexas:

Palin simply lacks awareness of most things, particularly herself. That's her problem.
Are any of us aware of "most things"?

I know I'm not. I'm only aware of that which I'm able to see, hear, understand, and that which is either involuntarily put in front of me, or I look for. I have fewer than 24 hours in a day to do this.

Beyond that, we all only vary slightly. For a certain range of "slightly" or "greatly," which are meaningless terms without specific metrics.

None of us are totally self-aware, either. See previous paragraph.

And then, again, we're back to the need to discuss specifics.

Which liberal japonicus did at January 17, 2011 at 09:04 AM.

Well done, LJ. You might have a bright future in blogging, or linguistics, or something. :-)

I trust no one has forgotten Stuxnet.

But, yes, I'll point out this, and this.

Some other good quotes.

This is a major story, and if you want a patented case of one you've read here that will be showing up any day now in the New York Times, this is it.

I will bet anyone a shiny nickel on this.

Posted by: Gary Farber | September 23, 2010 at 12:35 PM

I'm starting to learn how to gamble for money, after all these years!

I trust no one has forgotten Stuxnet.

There's one thing that's puzzling me about Stuxnet. Why didn't its creators use any of the standard techniques for obfuscating it? If they had, Stuxnet could have continued operating and doing damage to Iranian centrifuges for much longer.

I mean, Stuxnet has been analyzed by all the big anti-virus companies and a decent number of malware experts, who have all been rushing to post their results to the internet because it is a fun problem and they like one-upmanship. Iran has benefited from a huge amount of free expertise. If Stuxnet had been better obfuscated, none of that expertise would have been available. Why would you want to effectively empower your adversary by ensuring that they got lots of free expert advice?

Why would you want to effectively empower your adversary by ensuring that they got lots of free expert advice?

At a guess: diversion. A single axis attack makes no sense.

Are any of us aware of "most things"?

We are, or should be, aware of most things about which we claim expertise/competence. Quibbler. :-)

McTex: I don't understand what you're saying. Can you explain in more detail?

By not obfuscating the code, Stuxnet's creators ensured that it would be effective for a much shorter period of time. So they gave something up. What benefits did they get in exchange?

I assumed UK and I are on the same page and he was asking what my basis was for believing Palin is generally for less regulation. As am I, generally. But I'm not looking for an extended discussion on good regs vs bad regs.

Neither is she. (rimshot)

"Why would you want to effectively empower your adversary by ensuring that they got lots of free expert advice?"

Or did they?

The mission is beyond your comprhension.

You only know what are allowed to know, "goolge fu" (what ever the hell junenile fantasy that is supposed to fullfill) not withstanding.

You only know what are allowed to know

I know how to write a grammatical sentence. I also know how to proofread. I guess you're not allowed to know how to do those things?

So, avedis, do you have anything substantiative to bring to this discussion or will your contributions consist only of nonsense koans and condescension?

I'll put $10 on the latter depending on what odds you're offering.

McKinneyTexas:

Quibbler. :-)
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance." -- H. W. Fowler.

avedis:

[...] The mission is beyond your comprhension.
You may, perhaps, wish to come back to this assertion later, and ponder its wisdom again. Or not. I'm glad you're feeling good.

Turbulence:

[...] Why didn't its creators use any of the standard techniques for obfuscating it?
Good question. I can only guess.

Guesses include: human fallibility, pride, ego, possible degree of intended intimidation/psyop-aspect, the fact that due to its nature, colloboration is compartmentalized had to be limited, increasing lowest-common-denominator factor, I could keep going, but it's all guesses.

I also agree with McKinneyTexas' 06:57 PM, and since:

[...] So they gave something up. What benefits did they get in exchange?
Um, the point of a covert operation is that some of it does stay covert?

Then let's go back to compartmentalization, and the word "ongoing."

Covered under "known unknowns."

avedis: I'd like to be sociable, and offer you a virtual tasty beverage of your choice: do you prefer beer, or harder alcohol? White or dark? Mixed or straight?

Chaser? Ice?

I live to serve.

Uncle kvetch:

[...] McKinney, this may sound flippant, but it's a sincere question: do you honestly think that Sarah Palin is for "smaller government"? What basis do you have for believing that her espousal of "smaller government" is anything more than rhetorical?
I have a suggestion!

Let's go back to that whole "lacks awareness" suggestion?

Comity! (Tonight?)

To take another swat at this:

Why would you want to effectively empower your adversary by ensuring that they got lots of free expert advice?
Stuxnet was only ever going to be effective for a limited amount of time. This is an absolute known.

A psyop aspect as returns diminish adds value, rather than substracts. Brief enough?

Also, Turb, I think the comments at your own link give some good answers.

Also, a general question, back at you: how familiar are you with the writings of Bruce Sterling?

I can't elaborate briefly.

[...] So, avedis, do you have anything substantiative to bring to this discussion or will your contributions consist only of nonsense koans and condescension?
I know that condescension is rarely helpful, but I've often found it difficult to to make use of that knowledge.

It's possible no one has noticed this about me.

Most things in life that are problematic for ourselves are easiest to spot in others, be annoyed at, and offer advice on; my question is: how could I best state that observation without being condescending?

I'd be grateful for any advice on this, because this is a huge problem area for me. It really is. You probably haven't no-- uh, oh.

Um, the point of a covert operation is that some of it does stay covert?

I don't understand. If they had obfuscated the code properly, the operation would have remained covert.

Stuxnet was only ever going to be effective for a limited amount of time. This is an absolute known.

Yes, of course, but the length of time it was going to be effective for was not fixed. They chose a shorter effective time.

A psyop aspect as returns diminish adds value, rather than substracts. Brief enough?

If its a psy-op then what's the goal? To convince people that Israel doesn't like Iranian enrichment? Everyone already knew that. To brag about their capabilities? They just gave away key information that allows Iran to secure their systems against further attack.

I know that condescension is rarely helpful, but I've often found it difficult to to make use of that knowledge.

To clarify, I don't mind condescension much when it is justified. If I say something ignorant, I'm fine with a condescending correction. But you have to be correct or at the very least more knowledgeable.

I have a new question: which of these do people like best?

I think it might have been hubris. Someone memorably noted that some Israeli operations were often like 'putting the fire in your hair out with a hammer'.

Alternatively, it could be overthinking, saying that if we know that they know what we can do, we can then take advantage of it. They might not have thought thru exactly what that advantage would be, similar to the situation described in Spycatcher, where the Brits were able to bug the French discussions about UK entry into the EU. Peter Wright noted that while the various people were high fiving each other (or whatever Brits do in those situations), the fact was that it was meaningless, because knowing that the French were deadset against UK entry in the EU gave them nothing in terms of leverage.

A third possibility might be that it is a big FU, and for that to work, you have to make sure that it is known for sure that it was a conscious act and not some strange happenstance.

Finally, it could have just been a screwup. The work on this seemed to be so compartmentalized that no one was able to step back and say 'well, don't forget to hide the code'.

Frex, the detail of the 984 machines targeted could be seen as either or both thinking that they know exactly how many machines there were (kinda hubristic) which then makes it easier to find or confirm the parts of the code that are at issue.

Today's ObWi mail has all been read, filed, and dealt with, by the way; once this morning, once this afternoon, and just now again.

Turb:

I don't understand. If they had obfuscated the code properly, the operation would have remained covert.
I have several responses, in no particular order:

  • I don't see how it would have remained covert: the centrifugues would have been, must have been, tautologically have to have been, smashing themselves to bits at a far higher rate than expected. Therefore this problem would have been looked into to find an explanation. I have no education in software, or as an engineer, but I know how to proceed to solve a problem, and one starts by observing, noticing, and investigating.

    Investigating would have meant that an immediate hypothesis for even the most unparanoid idiot in Iran would have been, gee, could this be CIA/Mossad/other sabotage, or are we just doing something wrong?

    Further investigation would have narrowed the latter possibility down to a lesser and lesser probability, since it couldn't be true, wasn't true, and isn't true.

    Therefore simple logic would go back to "could this be sabotage"? From there, more testing. Thus to discovery. Thus to lack of covertness, given some time.

    So: how, then, could it have stayed "covert"?

  • I have a bunch of other responses, but that's actually more than sufficient.

    Moving on:

    Yes, of course, but the length of time it was going to be effective for was not fixed. They chose a shorter effective time.
    You know this how? You do have tons of relevant technical knowledge that I could not, but could you please educate me as to how you know what was the optimal effective time, versus the unnecessarily shorter time? I'm assuming this involves stuff you know that I do not, so could you help me out here, please?

    If its a psy-op then what's the goal?
    I'm going to give you my speculation, but please understand that I'm not offering it as an endorsement of the logic involved, or agreement with it, or any suggestion that it would have been a good idea, or anything like that, okay? I'm merely going to offer a possible explanation that might conceivably have been some of the thinking involved -- maybe -- and thus I'm offering an answer to your question that is not a justification for the actions the Israelis, or CIA, or combination thereof, hypothetically, may have engaged in, if some sub-agency of personnel acting in some related way to some subunit or group within or without these actors were, indeed, possibly, responsible.

    And that answer might be: to attempt to intimidate the Iranian government, to communicate the idea that "we can damage your sh*t without bombing you from the air, so knock it off, or we'll do something worse, along these lines, but here's a Big Hint As To What Sort Of Stuff We Can Do."

    Goals like that are typical of one type of psychological warfare. The idea is to affect the "enemies's" "psychology."

    Thus, a "psychological operation," or "psyop."

    I could go into this at as great a length as we have time for, but I'll quit here on that sub-question, since I'm long past brief.

    Moving on:

    [...] They just gave away key information that allows Iran to secure their systems against further attack.
    The attacker couldn't replicate that attack, because it was then known. This was inevitable. What key information was given when? This goes back to your previous assertions, which I'm not following, so I'll now ask if you can help me understand what it is that, in turn, I'm not understanding about your understanding and questions, etc.

    We obviously have different knowledge sets here, so something that appears obvious to you -- that "If they had obfuscated the code properly, the operation would have remained covert" isn't a point I understand at all -- and similarly that "They chose a shorter effective time," which is a point that I'm asking: how do you know this? What are you basing this on? Am I missing where you explained this part?

    To conclude, you ask:

    To brag about their capabilities?
    So, in short: yes, of course. That's what a psyop is, or one kind is, the kind I'm suggesting may be the case here, or, at least, a small part of it, the one that you are apparently so puzzled about. In turn, I'm not at all understanding what it is about all this that puzzles you, since in turn, this all seems completely obvious to me, but here's where we're not understanding each other.

    Lastly:

    [...] If I say something ignorant, I'm fine with a condescending correction. But you have to be correct or at the very least more knowledgeable.
    Or what? What are the consequences if the respondent is not "correct" (is that objectively measurable, or are you saying that if you don't agree with someone, then... again, what?)?

    "...you have to be correct or at the very least more knowledgeable" in order for what to happen or not happen? This is an incomplete sentence, and there's no way I'm going to try to guess at what the rest of it is that you are/were thinking.

    So, over you to, but I really shouldn't come back to this tonight, and tomorrow I'm off to do something I find... extremely difficult, if I can manage it at all, so either I'll be out doing that, or otherwise failing, so please forgive me if I don't return to this in timely fashion, if at all.

    Also, all of what LJ said at 11:57 PM. Which of any of his answers strike you as unreasonable, non-obvious, or that you've considered, and excluded, and if so, why?

    I'm keeping in mind that you "I know how to write a grammatical sentence. I also know how to proofread" and don't engage in condescension.

    That is, I'm keeping in mind that you assert these things. Myself, I will say things like this, as a general assertion, and such assertions will often be true of me, but being very imperfect, they'll turn out to be wrong in any number of given cases, when, say, I'm tired, exhausted, nauseated, pained, distracted, worried, or subject to an endless list of my failings, which crop up all the time.

    So I wouldn't hold you to those assertions, myself. But I'm guessing you do wish to attempt to be consistent, just as I try to be, but can't always be, because I'm very flawed, and variable from moment to moment, depending on my degree of the above, etc.

    Thanks. Sorry this wasn't too brief, but I have a real problem explaining something in a way I consider reasonably adequate, yet briefly, obviously. Whichever way I go, someone is apt to either not understand because I've been too brief, or be unhappy because my answer was longer than they wished to read. There's no satisfying everyone. So I hope you'll forgive me this, failing, as well, but regardless, I look forward to continuing the conversation as best I can, if time, etc., allows.

  • I also have to point out, emphatically, that the idea that some agency of Mossad/CIA -- and here's where, again, it's not very useful to generalize as if these names referred to some homogenous group, because that's not how it works at all -- if it were some subset, it would be compartmentalized, done by as few people as possible, with as much information as possible split and not shared, as much as posible -- but setting that entire issue aside -- which we really can't -- there's absolutely no way whatever you, or I, are in a position to know any number of other possibilities may be true: are you familiar with the concept of a "cut-out" in covert operations? A "false flag"?

    In other words, it's hall of mirrors: just because some people think they're working for someone doesn't mean that they're not being tricked by some other group entirely, who in turn may be being tricked by some other group, and so on, as far back as, well, the more cut-outs/false flags you have, the safer you are from being discovered.

    Same thing as multiple proxies in internet operations, as I understand it.

    That is how covert operations work, and I can cite about a bazillion books, monographs, essays, and pretty much everything written on the history of covert operations to go into this.

    Which is again why I'm kinda wtf about your assumptions here that you seem to believe you "know" stuff about what's going on. How do you "know" these things?

    The nature of "covert" is that you're not supposed to know.

    But you seem to be assuming that you do know.

    Which is a paradox. I don't get it. So: huh?

    These sorts of issues are what I'm sure avedis, in his, ah, own way at at 07:30 PM, despite his own assertions that he "knows" what other people "know," which was also completely paradoxical, completely unprofessional, self-contradictory, absurd, and also his choices of words, his typos, and other stylistic mannerisms suggest that he was, perhaps, not at his best when he wrote that.

    But there I'm just using my own logic and understanding of how certain writing comes out the way it does, which is where one, or more, of my own pieces of "expertise" comes in, "what ever the hell junenile fantasy," I may be engaging in at the age of 52, compared to someone who is allegedly a professional, whom I'm seriously inclined to suspect would not get a good evaluation were his 07:30 PM submitted officially to any of his past superiors.

    But, to be sure, since intel operations are, again, compartmentalized, engaged in by fallible human beings, who often have their own problems -- working in intel can cause all sorts of unique stresses and psychological issues, and, again, this is something that is extremely well documented -- people can last for decades in intelligence, getting way with everything from being completely incompetent, to, hey, totally fooling everyone, because it turns out that they're working for someone else.

    Thus the whole point of "counter-intelligence," succesfully being a mole, and so on. Thus intel work frequently causing mental illness, paranoia, diving down rabbit holes (oh, JJJA as an example, alcoholism, and endless related problems.

    It's a troublesome business to be in. It necessarily causes all sorts of psychological issues.

    But, then, so does the rest of life, unless people are very secure, and very lucky, and so on.

    Sometimes.

    Gary, you are actually a humerous guy; really, I mean that. That's a good thing. And all that sh!t you said in your last - false flags,etc,etc - is right on. Yes, that is what I was drunkenly alluding to (score another point for Gary).

    I don't claim to know what this stuxnet is all about and never will and neither will you. It is fun to guess, but the truth may be stranger than our wildest imaginings.

    It could be something that is nothing more than what it appears to be at face value; which is a means to set back Iran's nuclear program a little bit. A bid for time (for what though?). It could be something stupid akin to the bizarre plot to make Castro's beard fall out, thereby, somehow, immasculating him and bringing about his downfall, or - where my money would be placed in a bet - a cover for something else. In this scenario, some other means (even down to the level of humint?) was used/tested to do the damage and the 'virus' is the cover.

    The NYT says it was a virus developed by a joint Israeli/US operation that set back the Iranian nuclear program 5 years. Soley because the NYT says so, I doubt this is the case. The NYT prints what it is told - or led - to print. NYT = big propaganda tool.

    Maybe it really was a virus that did more than we realize. Maybe it was a virus that failed to do all it was supposed to. I think that the virus is a decoy.

    It was not a warning because the Iranians are now alert to the possibility of contaminated components and will take measures to prevent future penetrations of that type. Classic intelligence operations (SOP) would have the Iranians believing it was a virus when it was not so as to distract counter measures to future attacks towards defenses unproductive against the real threat.

    The CIA loves them some Ivy league boys. Those boys are extremely smart though socially retarded and amoral idealists. Sometimes that's enough to get the mission accomplished. Many times it is not because they underestimate or completely misconstrue the mindset of the streetwise, having never gone to that college themselves.

    The end game is war with Iran. That I do know with reasonable certainty. So maybe we are back to stuxnet being, at bottom, mostly what it appears to be at face value; a one off attack that set back Iran's nuclear program long enough to buy time for a war with Iran without possibility of a nuclear retalaition against our 51st state (regardless of whether or not the virus was the agent of destruction).

    Then again, some faction against a war with Iran, may have also been buying time to make peace an option. My fantasy at least.

    The CIA loves them some Ivy league boys. Those boys are extremely smart though socially retarded and amoral idealists.

    I used to play in a band with two people who worked -- still do! -- at the CIA, one in traffic analysis, the other heading up a counterterrorism task force. Aside from "extremely smart," this describes neither of them.

    Were they gay, too, Phil? If they are telling you that they work for the CIA, then they are 1. liars 2. low level; almost clerks. 3. beaurocrats.

    But, hey, If you have some counter anecdote, then I must have no clue. Right?

    Do some fact checking. The CIA tends - note my use of the word 'tends' - to recruit from the Ivy League.

    What's a "beaurocrat"?

    A gay Confederate spy?

    The Beaurocrats: decent band name

    avedis, the constant "gay" towel-snapping you bring to the OBWI locker room is making me wonder about your family's showering habits out there on the Ponderosa.

    Were they gay, too, Phil?

    As a matter of fact, no. Both married, and one has three kids including a boy/girl set of twins. Can I ask what the purpose of this question was?

    If they are telling you that they work for the CIA, then they are 1. liars 2. low level; almost clerks. 3. beaurocrats.

    Well, you believe whatever helps you sleep at night, avedis. Also, the red squiggly line under a word indicates that you spelled it wrong. You can right-click and correct that.

    But, hey, If you have some counter anecdote, then I must have no clue. Right?

    The clear truth that you, in general, have no clue is independent of what anecdotes I may or may not have.

    ObWi overnight mail dealt with, save a draft email which needs to go out, but no rush. After all, there are many more from the same person, and similar, still to be read.

    I still have over 3700 back-emails to sort, and prioritize, when I find time. Most of which shouldn't take long, but right now I have to figure out how I'm going to the hospital today, on my own, if I am, or if I'm doing it tomorrow, or by a deadline of this Friday, or if I'll be returning to "go" again next week. Somehow. Again.

    Back when I can be. Every day I let this prescription go unfilled is probably not a great idea, though I can't really judge, and the other scrips are okay for another week or so, but are running down and out, too.

    But I'll be fine, it's my responsibility.

    Avedis, I could quibble a bit with trivial bits of your 03:04 AM, but that's all it would be; yes, I in essence agree with you.

    And unlike non-professional editors, I know exactly how typo-ridden, and full of grammatical errors, solecicisms, tics, and other faults, the actual manuscripts of many of the best writers in the world are, as well as the full range below, and that even the greatest writers and editors in the world don't reel out perfect prose much of the time. They only do it, at best, by spending lots of time revising and revising.

    We don't have time to do that on blogs.

    Moreover, many of the best writers, even with all their time, can often use help. Thus the whole concept of "copyeditors," "proofreaders," "line editors" "production managers," "managing editors" and here is a whole essay on how professional publishing works, that I'm not writing.

    But my point is that, bluntly, anyone who judges someone else's wisdom, writing ability, or thinking, because there are inevitably some typos, solecicisms, words out, etc., simply isn't a professional editor with years of experience, and is going beyond their professional or amateur capacity, and making incorrect judgements and assumptions.

    I can, again, give a bazillion cites on this, but then we're back to non-brevity, so folks can and will either believe me, or not, or do your own research, or go spend some years working your way up the publishing food chain to know what you're talking about, or instead, people can be foolish and accuse others of doing what they they themselves are doing.

    Generally speaking, none of us, I think, wishes to be a hypocrite, but all of us are human, we're not writing formal essays here that we spend hours making sure come out beautifully, even if we're capable of that in the first place, and in short, playing I Win Because You Made Some Typos, or I Win Because I Can Pick On Your Awkward Writing, doesn't really win anything except a badge of attempted arrogance and Now Who Looks Stupid?

    But, again, we all know different things, and we're all prone to some assumptions.

    Assumptions are bad, but some are necessary, but it's really important to know that they're assumptions. And then, again, we start looping again, and have to stop somewhere.

    This goes back again to LET'S TRY ASSUMPTIONS OF GOOD FAITH AND KNOCKING OFF THE INSULTS OF OTHERS, PLEASE. Finding someone else annoying is perfectly understandable. I find almost everyone annoying at times, and that's for my own reasons.

    I express it badly, I do all of these mistakes myself, but I at least try to make allowances. The more allowances we make for each other, the better we can ultimately understand each other.

    So, please: let's try to assume good faith, and, as best we can, quit making conversation harder with each other by saying things we know will be annoying and insulting, just because of our own aggravation, problems, and because venting makes us feel good.

    As usual, this is advice I'm far better able to give others than to make use of myself, which is the same problem we all have; it's a key part of human psychology, subjectivity, the fact that we have to be the center of our own universe unless we're a God, and we're biologically and neurologically wired to be this way evolutionarily. So it's hard to fight.

    But this is what our forebrains and frontal cortexes are useful for, so let's try using those, and keeping them boss, as much as we can, ah?

    Thanks, all.

    Or, in other words, see, as always, the Posting Rules, which still need a rewrite into one coherent post, and which have still been waiting for six years, and will clearly go on waiting ad infinitum, "another few weeks."

    But I digress.

    Except, really: not.

    So: how, then, could it have stayed "covert"?

    I think there's a difference between a world where Iran believes that Israel is sabotaging their program but can't prove anything and world where, well everyone, believes that.

    Also, I think the idea that Iranian tech folk could do fault analysis to effectively conclude that the problem had to be sabotage is not necessarily true. Stuxnet provides false readings to operators and given such subterfuge, proper fault analysis can take a very long time indeed. We're talking about a very complex system made up of imported parts run by people with little experience...the temptation to blame failures on 'operator error' will be high.

    Beyond that, the Iranian government is not a monolithic actor. Imagine that you're part of the regime who is not terribly thrilled with the nuclear program and wants to can it. There are delays and cost-overruns. Does it help or hurt your political position in that debate if the tech guys say "something's wrong, but we're not quite sure what, so we're going to assume it is Zionist sabotage" versus "something's wrong, we know exactly what it is because every anti-virus company and security researcher in a dozen countries has confirmed it"?

    You know this how? Could you please educate me as to how you know what was the optimal effective time, versus the unnecessarily shorter time?

    If the goal is to delay enrichment, then more delay is better. Having every anti-virus company in the world tell you that Stuxnet is a targeted effort to delay your enrichment plant allows you to detect and neutralize it earlier than you otherwise would have.

    If the Stuxnet creators had used cloaking techniques, anti-virus companies would have looked at Stuxnet, been unable to figure out what sort of system it was targeting and probably ignored it. Which means that Iran might have figured out that eventually, but probably much later. What actually happened was that AV companies noticed pretty quickly that Stuxnet was targeted to industrial control systems, which is really odd for a virus and they started devoting lots of attention to it because without understanding it, they couldn't be sure that it wasn't targeted at, say, US power generation. Lots of attention lead to a faster analysis and lots of publicity. But huge publicity was not foreordained: there are new viruses every day. AV companies and researchers have a constant stream of new shiny things to obsess about. If Stuxnet had been cloaked properly, there's a good chance it would have gone unnoticed by the experts.

    And that answer might be: to attempt to intimidate the Iranian government, to communicate the idea that "we can damage your sh*t without bombing you from the air, so knock it off, or we'll do something worse, along these lines, but here's a Big Hint As To What Sort Of Stuff We Can Do."

    Except it is all empty bluster. Iran can ensure that they'll never have to worry about this threat again by keeping their machines off network. Maybe I'm nuts, but I think top notch sabotage would be impossible to detect and would look like a string of random failures.

    The attacker couldn't replicate that attack, because it was then known. This was inevitable. What key information was given when?

    That their problems were specifically caused by a targeted computer virus, one which could be guarded against by properly isolating the computers connected to the centrifuge equipment. This was revealed by AV researchers who never would have bothered with detailed analysis of Stuxnet if it had been properly cloaked.

    Phil, avedis, you're both spending more time explaining to the other that the other doesn't know that they're talking about, you're spending more time making assumptions that you know better than the other guy, then you're spending time listening, or providing substance, or doing your own research.

    Most of this is not helping anyone other than yourselves feel good about how much smarter you are than each other.

    Please consider that thought, if you'd be so kind. Kind. Remember being kind? Try to be kind.

    We're all only trying our best, and we can't and aren't all our best all the time. Not you, Phil, nor you, avedis, nor me, nor anyone.

    Thanks.

    Most of all just please try to stop making declarations that start with "you."

    Those are called "second person."

    Try, please, I ask and suggest, and I ask and suggest this ONLY AS A FELLOW COMMENTER, WITH NO ROLE AS A FRONT-PAGE BLOGGER HERE, to try your best, everyone, to stick to first person, to "I" statements, rather than declarations about what someone else does or doesn't know, is or isn't like, does or doesn't feel, does or doesn't assume, etc.

    NO ONE ELSE CAN KNOW THESE THINGS. They're all guesses and estimates, and some are right and some are wrong, but they're not helpful forms of communication outside of our own head. And we're supposed to be talking with each other, not just to ourselves, and not just to people who already agree with that.

    The latter is a feel-good exercise, but doesn't educate anyone about anything. It's simply a positive feedback loop, and that ultimately makes everyone involved stupider, and further from "the truth," rather than negative feedback loops, which lead to comparing knowledge, correcting error, learning, and makes people smarter, better informed, more correct, and closer to "the truth."

    Sorry for being meta, but, hey, all I have time for at the moment, and I really don't have all that much time right now.

    Now I apologize for the tone of all this, and suggest that everyone keep in mind, again, that I need to apply my own advice to myself.

    Meanwhile, y'all play nicely, please. I appreciate it. Let's not make any of this harder on any of the rest of us than we have to, okay? Thanks.

    avedis:

    Do some fact checking. The CIA tends - note my use of the word 'tends' - to recruit from the Ivy League.
    Despite "tends," you're about twenty years out of date on this, and particularly since 2001. We're not in the Fifties, Sixties, or even Seventies, or even Eighties, or even Nineties, any more.

    And, I'm, of course, not even going into what you know perfectly well, which is that CIA is merely the best known name among over, depending on definitions, anywhere from 19+ agencies, not to mention the, well, there's plenty I know about the various re-organizations, but, of course, necessarily what knowledge is available to me, to you, to all of us, is limited.

    But, slightly digressively: we now have the ineffective ODNI, or OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE slapped onto of everything else, mostly just consisting of another set of bureaucracies (I have trouble remembering the spelling of that one, too -- tip: the google search box is a good spell-checker; when in doubt, drop a word in, and you can use it to get a correct spelling) that also use the Peter Principle, and still the office has no real authority over the others, and no budget authority, which makes it largely just another layer of waste and inefficiency. Probably. But sometimes not. Like all human endeavors, this will change every day a bit, as people come and go, etc.

    Then we have "the IC", including CIA, DIA, the, oh, heck:

    Central Intelligence Agency - www.cia.gov

    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an independent agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) is nominated by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Director manages the operations, personnel, and budget of the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is separated into four basic components: the National Clandestine Service, the Directorate of Intelligence, the Directorate of Science & Technology, and the Directorate of Support. They carry out "the intelligence cycle," the process of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence information to top US government officials. In addition, the D/CIA has several staffs that deal with public affairs, human resources, mission innovation, protocol, congressional affairs, legal issues, information management, and internal oversight.
    Defense Intelligence Agency - www.dia.mil

    The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is a Department of Defense combat support agency and an important member of the United States Intelligence Community. With over 12,000 military and civilian employees worldwide, DIA is a major producer and manager of foreign military intelligence and provides military intelligence to warfighters, defense policymakers and force planners, in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, in support of US military planning and operations and weapon systems acquisition. The Director of DIA is a three-star military officer who serves as principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense and to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on matters of military intelligence. The Director also chairs the Military Intelligence Board, which coordinates activities of the defense intelligence community. DIA is headquartered at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, with major operational activities at the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC), Washington, DC, the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC), Frederick, MD, and the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC), Huntsville, AL.
    Department of Energy (Office of Intelligence & Counterintelligence) - www.doe.gov.

    The Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence provides the Secretary, his staff and other policymakers within the Department timely, technical intelligence analyses on all aspects of foreign nuclear weapons, nuclear materials and energy issues worldwide.
    Department of Homeland Security (Office of Intelligence & Analysis) - www.dhs.gov

    The Office of Intelligence and Analysis is responsible for using information and intelligence from multiple sources to identify and assess current and future threats to the United States. DHS Intelligence focuses on five principal areas: improving the quality and quantity of its analysis; integrating the intelligence elements of the Department; sharing threat information and assessments with state and local governments and the private sector; ensuring DHS is an effective member of the national Intelligence Community; and strengthening relations with Congress.

    epartment of State (Bureau of Intelligence & Research) - www.state.gov

    The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) provides the Secretary of State with timely, objective analysis of global developments as well as real-time insights from all-source intelligence. It serves as the focal point within the Department of State for all policy issues and activities involving the Intelligence Community. The INR Assistant Secretary reports directly to the Secretary of State and serves as the Secretary's principal adviser on all intelligence matters. INR's expert, independent foreign affairs analysts draw on all-source intelligence, diplomatic reporting, INR's public opinion polling, and interaction with US and foreign scholars. Their strong regional and functional backgrounds allow them to respond rapidly to changing policy priorities and to provide early warning and in-depth analysis of events and trends that affect US foreign policy and national security interests.
    Department of Treasury (Office of Intelligence & Analysis) - www.treasury.gov

    The Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) was established by the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2004. The Act specifies that OIA shall be responsible for the receipt, analysis, collation, and dissemination of foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence information related to the operation and responsibilities of the Department of the Treasury. The Act established the Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis as the head of OIA and placed the office within the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).
    Drug Enforcement Administration (Office of National Security Intelligence) - www.dea.gov

    The Office of National Security Intelligence (NN) is responsible for providing drug-related information responsive to IC requirements. DEA/NN establishes and manages centralized tasking of requests for and analysis of national security information obtained during the course of DEA's drug enforcement. The Office also centrally manages requests from the IC for information either reposited in DEA pursuant to the authority the Administration derives from Title 21 USC or obtained for the IC through existing assets operating pursuant to DEA's law enforcement missions. The DEA has the largest US law enforcement presence abroad with 86 offices in 63 countries and it has over 33 years of operational experience in the foreign arena.
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (National Security Branch) - www.fbi.gov

    The National Security Branch (NSB) was established on September 12, 2005 in response to a presidential directive to establish a "National Security Service" that combines the missions, capabilities, and resources of the counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and intelligence elements of the FBI under the leadership of a senior FBI official. The NSB strengthens the integration of the FBI's intelligence and investigative missions. Information collected through FBI investigations is analyzed, not just to build a case for prosecution, but for its predictive value. Intelligence, in turn, drives investigative strategies. In July 2006, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate was created within the NSB to integrate WMD components previously spread throughout the FBI.
    National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency - www.nga.mil

    The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) provides timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security objectives. Information collected and processed by NGA is tailored for customer-specific solutions. By giving customers ready access to geospatial intelligence, NGA provides support to civilian and military leaders and contributes to the state of readiness of US military forces. NGA also contributes to humanitarian efforts such as tracking floods and fires, and in peacekeeping. NGA is a Department of Defense Combat Support Agency. Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, NGA operates major facilities in the St. Louis, MO and Washington, DC areas. The Agency also fields support teams worldwide.
    National Reconnaissance Office - www.nro.gov

    The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) designs, builds and operates the nation's reconnaissance satellites. NRO products, provided to an expanding list of customers like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), can warn of potential trouble spots around the world, help plan military operations, and monitor the environment. As part of the 16-member Intelligence Community, the NRO plays a primary role in achieving information superiority for the US Government and Armed Forces. A DoD agency, the NRO is staffed by DoD and CIA personnel. It is funded through the National Reconnaissance Program, part of the National Foreign Intelligence National Security Agency/Central Security Service - www.nsa.gov

    The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) is the nation's cryptologic organization that coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect US information systems and to produce foreign signals intelligence information. A high-technology organization, NSA is at the forefront of communications and information technology. NSA is also one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research within the US government and is said to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States and perhaps the world. Founded in 1952, NSA is part of the Department of Defense and a member of the US Intelligence Community. The Agency supports military customers, national policymakers, and the counterterrorism and counterintelligence communities, as well as key international allies. Most NSA/CSS employees, both civilian and military, are headquartered at Fort Meade, MD, centrally located between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Its workforce represents an unusual combination of specialties: analysts, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, linguists, computer scientists, researchers, as well as customer relations specialists, security officers, data flow experts, managers, administrative officers and clerical assistants.
    United States Air Force - www.af.mil

    Air Force Intelligence plays a critical role in the defense of our nation, providing aerial reconnaissance and surveillance in every conflict and contingency operation since its establishment as a separate service in 1947. Air Force aerial reconnaissance and surveillance began with open cockpits and observers drawing crude maps as they flew, and rapidly advanced to photographic reconnaissance being taken from converted fighter and bomber aircraft. The establishment of the Air Force also coincided with the development of specialized aircraft for intelligence gathering. The Air Force continues to operate the 'U-2,' and has added unmanned aerial vehicles like the 'Global Hawk' and 'Predator' as intelligence platforms. Additionally, the Air Force is key to the development and use of intelligence gathered from space platforms. Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) played key roles during the Cold War in dispelling the bomber gap, the missile gap, and verifying both the presence and withdrawal of nuclear-capable missiles from Cuba in 1962. The end of the Cold War only increased the demand for intelligence, and Air Force intelligence continues to play the dominant role in the conduct and analysis of aerial reconnaissance and surveillance operations. Air Force ISR resources are imbedded in each Unified Command's air component, down to the wing and squadron levels. Air Force ISR professionals work at every level of command and across the entire national intelligence community, continuously preparing for and conducting operations from full-scale conflict to peacekeeping, counterdrug, counterterrorism, and humanitarian and disaster relief. In 2006, the Air Force designated the first Headquarters USAF Intelligence Director (HQ USAF/A2) as a three-star general officer position and full Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence.
    United States Army www.army.mil

    The US Army Intelligence department (G2) is responsible for policy formulation, planning, programming, budgeting, management, staff supervision, evaluation, and oversight for intelligence activities for the Department of the Army. The G2 is responsible for the overall coordination of the five major military intelligence (MI) disciplines within the Army: Imagery Intelligence, Signals Intelligence, Human Intelligence, Measurement and Signature Intelligence, and Counterintelligence and Security Countermeasures.
    United States Coast Guard - www.uscg.mil

    The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is one of the nation's five armed services. With maritime security as its North Star, core roles are protecting the public, the environment, and guarding US economic and security interests. It performs those missions in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including America's ports, coastal waters, offshore regions, inland waterways, and international waters. To assist in accomplishing the many diverse missions of the Coast Guard, senior leadership, and operational commanders rely on the Coast Guard Intelligence and Criminal Investigations Program. The Coast Guard became a member of the Intelligence Community on 28 December 2001.
    United States Marine Corps - www.marines.mil

    Within the Marine Corps, intelligence is an inherent component of the command decision-making process. Under Marine Corps doctrine, intelligence is considered the foundation on which the operational effort is built and the premise on which all training, doctrine, and equipment are developed. The Marine Corps Intelligence mission is to provide commanders at every level with seamless, tailored, timely, and mission-essential intelligence and to ensure this intelligence is integrated into the operational planning process. Because Marine forces are employed primarily at the tactical level, Marine Corps intelligence activities are oriented toward tactical support. The service allocates resources and manpower to develop and maintain specific expertise in the areas of human and technical reconnaissance and surveillance, general military/naval intelligence duties, human-source intelligence, counterintelligence, imagery intelligence, signals intelligence, and tactical exploitation of national capabilities. The Marine Corps' Director of Intelligence is the Commandant's principal intelligence staff officer and the functional manager for intelligence, counterintelligence, and cryptologic matters.
    United States Navy - www.navy.mil

    Established on March 23, 1882, Naval Intelligence is the oldest continuous serving US intelligence service. It is a global intelligence enterprise of over 20,000 uniformed and civilian personnel. The Naval Intelligence primary production organization, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), located at the National Maritime Intelligence Center (NMIC) in Suitland, MD, is the lead Department of Defense production center for maritime intelligence. ONI supports a variety of missions including US military acquisition and development, counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, counter-narcotics, customs enforcement and, through partnerships and information sharing agreements with the US Coast Guard and US Northern Command, Homeland Security and Homeland Defense. While ONI is the largest Naval Intelligence organization with the largest concentration of Naval Intelligence civilians, most of Naval Intelligence is comprises active duty military personnel, serving throughout the world.

    That's barely a starter, and then we could start getting into the subdivisions of each agency, their subdepartments, etc., except that gets rearranged all the time to, not to mention the ad hoc task forces, not to mention the various "centers" for sharing intel, not to mention the still huge stove-piping, the out of date unintegrated computer systems, the constant changing of policies and personel, and we haven't even gotten to domestic agencies, let alone the differences between what's legal, what's official policy, what's unofficial policy, what's actually done, how it differs, evolves, changes, investigations happens, CYA, and the fact that everyone involved is theoretically trained in how to fool everyone else, the ineffectiveness of fluttering people with a polygraph, and on and on round and through the Hall of Mirrors.

    For extra fun, we can talk NSA.

    But for starters, I'd recommend everyone read everything here -- I have -- and then we can talk with more of a mutual basis of knowledge.

    Then I'll recommend several hundred books. Or career paths.

    But, of course, we can't all do that.

    We can, though, try granting each other some good faith assumptions, and doing the best we can.

    So let's try that, huh?

    And, really, I do know a f*ckload about what I'm talking about here. I'm not just giving cites. I've, as I've said, read thousands of books, edited a number, and spoken with lots of intel professionals. I'm just a guy in a chair, not in his pajamas, but nobody working in the biz is GOING TO BE PUBLICALLY COMMENTING on any of this sh*t, so people like me, or a retired guy like Avedis who was some kind of... well, he can characterize his own career and experience as he wishes, and generalize on his own -- are all you're going to get: that, and your own reading and research.

    I have enough friends who currently have various clearances, and I know enough to know exactly how little they'll ever say, which is pretty much nothing, because they can't. Ditto my friends whom I know held certain high level positions at State, DOD, OSD, etc., but have been retired for years, and, of course, still won't comment on contemporary issues, save when they decide it's ok. Which is mostly not.

    And now I'm on far too long, so cheers until later.

    Avoiding to get into discusions of how NIEs get written, the way that's changed over the years, the ins and outs of each DCI (position no longer exists), and a bazillion other ways we could go, but I'll observe that while each agency has its own strengths and weaknesses -- duh -- that State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) is often more reliable, overall, than any of the others.

    But that, too, is necessarily a wild generalization, and not applicable in endless specific issues, etc.

    Intel isn't brain surgery: it's more complicated.

    Turb's arguments about stuxnex make sense to me, but I'm very very far from being an expert in any of the relevant fields. I also think LJ's hubris explanation sounds right, given all that smiling by Israeli officials that the NYT is reporting. That would be true no matter what convoluted things are going on behind the scenes--the smiling just seems calculated to rub it in and while that could be part of some psychological operation going on, it also suggests hubris even if that's the case.

    That, in turn, might fit in with avedis's suggestion that war with Iran is the whole idea. Get the relevant Iranian officials mad and maybe they will do something in response, something that might provide a justification for some bombing. But who knows?

    Phil:

    Also, the red squiggly line under a word indicates that you spelled it wrong. You can right-click and correct that.
    And wind up writing as well as Matt Y. Spellcheckers alone cause homophone errors, and they harm writing because people rely on them, because they think they're reliable, and they're not; they simply produce different kinds of errors.

    Human brains are necessary for true spell-checking, and, in fact, multiple brains -- that's why we have a profession called "proofreading," and publishing has, theoretically, multiple layers of that -- but plenty of errors result, because, hey, people are human, and also: capitalism; spellcheckers, let to themselves, just give you properly spelled wrong words.

    But they help some people, so, yeah, some people should use them. We all kludge whatever works best, and then should keep trying to improve our techniques, software, knowledge of motion study, lifehacking, and so on.

    But, again: assumptions have those first three letters.

    And I make plenty of typos. So does every professional editor and writer in the world.

    Until we have time to slow down, spot them, fix them, or have other people help out, or both, or all, or more.

    And still errors result.

    See also spelling flame. See also dictionary flame.

    See also psychology of flaming.

    Cheers!

    People could at least improve the quality of their flaming, please.

    Thanks! :-)

    Turbulence:

    Beyond that, the Iranian government is not a monolithic actor.
    I couldn't agree more. The same is true for any group of more than one person, including every other government, their agencies, subdivisions, groups of people on blogs, etc.

    I more or less agree with the rest of your 10:43 AM; thank you for explaining further.

    But:

    Maybe I'm nuts, but I think top notch sabotage would be impossible to detect and would look like a string of random failures.
    You're not nuts, but we all only know what we know at a given moment, and have to weigh confidence in that. Perfection doesn't exist, including in sabotage, and there are never ever ever any secrets that last, unless they're only known to one person.

    Nothing is "impossible to detect" that has any effect. This is again tautologically necessary.

    Lastly, if something were or is "impossible to detect," then we jolly well couldn't be discussing it, now could we?

    And life is full of bluster and bullpuckey, and psyops by definition are.

    I heartily recommend everyone who wants to discuss this further read all of this.

    I know most won't, won't have time, and that's fine. It's just a suggestion.

    Donald:

    That, in turn, might fit in with avedis's suggestion that war with Iran is the whole idea. Get the relevant Iranian officials mad and maybe they will do something in response, something that might provide a justification for some bombing. But who knows?
    I have some ideas, and what I know is that different people have different motivations. Including people who work in offices right next to each other, who theoreticlaly work with each other, for each other, over each other, and under each other.

    Let alone in different subunits, task forces, let alone agencies.

    By definition, a covert operation is not an overt war. They have many bad sides, but also good sides, and in fact, they're sometimes a lot better than, say, a direct air bombing campaign.

    I'd rather see sabotage than JDAMs.

    And time passed without the latter is good.

    All the left folks who feel good about the fact that they knew how badly war with Iraq would go, in the longer term than the first couple of months, should feel good about that, and free to suggest to those who thought otherwise that such false predictions should cause some room for doubt.

    On the flip side, all those lefties who have so many times announced that the U.S. will be bombing Iran next month, or in three months, or in a year, or because this carrier task force has moved here, or they read that, or because Dick Cheney will make it happen, or G. W. Bush would make it happen, or The Right would make it happen, or Corporate Power would make it happen, might notice that they, too, have gotten this consistently wrong, as well.

    This is not directed at you, Donald: you're an immensely smart and educated person, and I'd love to see you start guest posting here at ObWi, and I'd love to see you, too, as an occasional, at your "leisure," purely at your own times of choice, be another of a dozen or two part-time front-pagers here -- by the way -- but I am speaking to the air about the fact that everyone's knowledge sets will lead to certain assumptions and gaps, and that we all err.

    That's all.

    I gotta go. If anyone in the Bay Area would like to help me go deal with an ER and financial services today, I'd welcome the help.

    Also, I returned someone's 11 months worth of subscription money to Amygdala yesterday, so if anyone happens to have $55 to spare, I won't turn it down. Ditto, well, have a great day everyone, and as few personal problems as possible, and my apologies for all my personal failings.

    "On the flip side, all those lefties who have so many times announced that the U.S. will be bombing Iran next month..."

    "This is not directed at you, Donald"

    That's good, because I've been agnostic about it all along, in part for reasons you mentioned--in my own words, even politicians and bureaucrats in a national security state have differences of opinion and conflicting views and you need some sort of critical mass among that crowd to get a decent war started. It hasn't happened yet and might never happen, in large part, I would guess, because we're too bogged down in various places to get further bogged down attacking a country much larger than Iraq.

    One other thing--in defense of Seymour Hersh and others who have seemed to indicate that we're about to start bombing Iran, I don't really think their mistake is anywhere near as serious as the mistake made by people who thought going into Iraq was a good idea. Incidentally, if anything, I was closer to the latter mistake than the former. I didn't think going into Iraq was a good idea and had read various predictions (often mistaken in details) about what a catastrophe it would be, while also reading predictions that it would be conducted in some surgical manner, killing relatively few civilians (it apparently killed over 6000 in the first couple months, going by IBC numbers) and then whatever came next would be better than living under Saddam and sanctions. I wasn't completely convinced the last point was wrong. It was.

    People who keep predicting war with Iran are doing so in part to stir up opposition to it, to make it less likely, and to my mind that's an entirely laudable goal. I've never quite understood the anger that is sometimes shown towards their (so far) false predictions. People who argued for the Iraq War did so against an historical background of other supposedly noble US endeavors in the Mideast and elsewhere which led to horrific outcomes.

    On this--

    "They have many bad sides, but also good sides, and in fact, they're sometimes a lot better than, say, a direct air bombing campaign.

    I'd rather see sabotage than JDAMs."

    Iranian officials might spend some time now figuring out how to respond to open Israeli gloating over their successful sabotage. I'm trying to imagine how Israel or the US would act if Iran managed to sabotage some important US or American military or industrial project and then gloated about it. Such behavior often makes people react badly. In the case of Iran I'm no expert, but I imagine that Iranians might, you know, be enraged by it. I don't think that policy decisions in the US, Israel, or Iran are driven entirely by rational calculation and even when they are, the calculations are sometimes wrong.

    Gary's 11:19am comment unspambucketed by YT. Hopefully that was the right thing to do with it.

    "People who argued for the Iraq War did so against an historical background of other supposedly noble US endeavors in the Mideast and elsewhere which led to horrific outcomes."

    I argued against the Iraq adventure for that reason, but more importantly because it was painfully obvious to me that we were being lied into the war by our own elected government and that if they got away with it then our system of government would be in the autumn of its life. I'm sure there is an internet record of my soap box rhetoric from the pre-invasion days.

    I would have been much more ok with Bush and his idiot neocon crew just coming out and saying that we were going to war because we need to grab some oil and we need to satisfy Israel's paranoia. And that maybe there would be a reverse domino effect in our favor in the region. Then we could have at least have had a democratic discussion regarding a war of choice.

    Plans for war with Iran have been developed, revised and gamed, reworked and put on standby for many years. The US is prepared to attack today.

    I think we would have jumped off by now had we not become mired in Iraq and Afghanistan and had Russia not begun to regain some it's former military strength. Still, there are those waiting for the right opportunity to present.

    P.S. Maybe the CIA has indeed changed its culture in recent years. My bad.

    DJ,

    As an aside, civilians always suffer the brunt of a war. "colateral damage" is the rule; not the exception. An educated electorate knows this - or at least they should.

    [This was spam; now -- not so much.]

    Gary says: it's a beautiful day.

    If anyone wants some news of Gary Farber, and now it won't clutter up this thread, or so much of ObWi. Click me! Click me noooow!

    Or when you feel like it, which is probably never.

    And that spam is leaving now!

    Die, spammer, die!

    (Or at least your link will; still going by whim on that, for now.)

    You can help individuals, large numbers of people, or animals.


    You can help in small ways. Help keep the hamsters happy in the heating season for Lambert.

    Libby Spencer of The Impolitic.

    Joe Bageant has cancer.

    Arthur Silber very bad health means that he's almost entirely housebound.

    You can help these people.  Or go large.  Or help stop Gas Chamber Euthanasia!  And help the Animal Rescue Site.

    And I suggest reading: To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor.

    Post all this here?

    When I'm less tired.

    I've updated my January 05, 2011
    MAJ. Andrew Olmsted
    post with an addendum. Also a few corrections.

    I believe I understand some of what's going on with Typepad's HTML and rich text editors, and I'm trying to learn the further HTML necessary to deal with what the RTF inserts, as I go.

    Tables, divs, CSS, etc. Am learning.

    Slowly.

    Some:
    ADDENDUM, January 20th, 2011:
    Andrew J. Olmsted:

    Major Andrew J. Olmsted, age 37, died in Iraq on January 3, 2008 while serving with the US Army. He was born on February 1, 1970 in Bangor, Maine. Major Olmsted is survived by his wife, Amanda Wilson of Colorado Springs, his parents, Wesley and Nancy Littlefield Olmsted of Grafton, Wisconsin, a brother, Eric and wife, Corinne Olmsted of Watertown, Massachusetts, a sister, Catherine Olmsted of Grafton, Wisconsin, mother-in-law, Kathleen Wilson of Kingston, New Hampshire, brother-in-law, Ian D. (Gina) Wilson of Hudson, New Hampshire, niece, Elisha Wilson of Hudson, New Hampshire, grandmother-in-law, Ruth A. Wilson, North Andover, Massachusetts. Andy received BA Degree in History and Government from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was an avid Red Sox fan; he enjoyed reading, watching movies and playing war games. He loved going to Disney World. Andy was also an Eagle Scout. Andy loved writing and was writing a blog for the Rocky Mountain News from Iraq. Major Olmsted earned his commission through Reserved Officer Training Corps on 11 December 1992. He earned great respect from those he served with, beginning with his first assignment at the 66th Armor Battalion at Fort Hood, TX, where he served as A Company Platoon Leader, Assistant S3, and D Company Executive Officer. He then proceeded to Camp Casey, Korea, where he served as the S3 Air Officer for 72d Armor Battalion. In 1997 he returned from overseas to Fort Carson, Colorado, where for the next ten years he served in various positions and units, to include: 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division as the S3 Plans; HHC, 68th Armored Battalion, Commander; E Company, 362 Armored Battalion, Commander; 2d Brigade, 91st Division, Brigade S1; and 361st Engineer Battalion as the Battalion Executive Officer. His bravery, compassion and 'lead from the front' demeanor was displayed as the Team Leader, 1-5-1 Military Transition Team, 2/3 Armored Calvary Regiment, 2d Infantry Division, attached to 1st Infantry Division at Forward Operating Base Caldwell in Iraq. Major Olmsted faithfully served our nation for over 15 years. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star Device, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" Device, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. Funeral services will be at 2:30 PM on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at Soldiers Memorial Chapel at Ft. Carson Army Base, Ft Carson, Colorado. The Olmsted family requests that memorials contributions be made to Captain Thomas Casey Children's Fund, PO Box 1306, Chester, CA 96020 or The Home Front Cares, PO Box 38516, Colorado Springs, CO 80937-8516.

    Published in The Gazette on January 13, 2008

    Wikipedia:


    Andrew J. Olmsted (1 February 1970 – 3 January 2008)[1] was a major in the U.S. Army. He was educated at St. John's High School in Shrewsbury, MA, and Clark University.[2]

    Major Olmsted was assigned to a battalion military transition team working with 5th Iraqi Army Division. He was killed in action by sniper fire while serving in the Iraq War. Also killed in the attack was Captain Thomas J. Casey. They were the first casualties suffered by the US Army in Iraq in 2008. Major Olmsted's funeral took place on January 15, 2008, at Fort Carson, Colorado.[3].

    His eleven-man team (Nightmare) likely suffered the most casualties of any transition team. Albert A. Haroutounian, an interpreter that worked with the team, was killed by a roadside bomb on March 10, 2008 in Diyala. Captain Ulises Burgos and Specialist Matthew Morris (who was loaned to the short-handed team by the 2-3 Armored Cavalry Regiment) were killed by a roadside bomb on 6 April 2008. Surviving members of team Nightmare are, MSG Joe McDuffie, MSG Fredrico Flores, MSG Elish R. “Jay” Jackson, SFC William Beaver, SSG Brandon Shaw, CPT Todd Bradford, CPT John Kurt Thompson, CPT Patrick Confer. Most of the senior enlisted soldiers listed above have retired or will very soon. MSG Jackson has since returned to Iraq with the 101st Airborne, MSG Flores is actually 1sgt Flores at a training post. CPT Thompson is in a unit near Washington D.C. Details on the rest of the team members are hard to come by. SFC Beaver was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on 3 January 2008. After being wounded in the face he continued to support his comrades with suppressive .50 caliber machine gun fire and coordinating with higher headquarters for medevac and QRF support. CPT Thomas Casey was recommended for the Silver Star by his teammates and the award is pending approval.

    His team operated from Kirkush Military Training Base (KMTB) near FOB Caldwell. His team operated throughout the Diyala province in support of the Iraqi Army 5th Division. Units they supported were far flung. His team had to roam from KMTB west to Baqubah and FOB Warhorse east to Mandali and along the Iranian border to the far north of Diyala. They clocked thousands of kilometers along some of the most dangerous routes in Iraq.

    He was known for writing the blog From the Front Lines[4] for the Rocky Mountain News, and guest-posting at Obsidian Wings blog as G'Kar.[2] He was killed in As Sadiyah, Iraq at the age of 37.[2]. His last blog entry was published posthumously, and was entered in the congressional record.

    Never forget.

    659 pieces of Old Unread Mail now all looked at, checked, marked, filed, dealt with.

    3128 left.

    The above took me 20 minutes.

    This is not hard work. Yahoo mail allows you to deal with mail en masse. Just look at the major sources of press releases, do "Search" on them, click "Sender," them "Mark as Read" 200 at a time, move them to the dealt-with folder, repeat for the next 200, done.

    I'll do the rest similarly. I could do 90% in another hour, but I prefer to split it over a few days.

    THIS IS ALL THE WORK IT TAKES.

    Doing the last 3-5% which require actually reading, and then answering some: that will be the bit that takes an unknown amount of time.

    But a couple of hour's work to deal with 90% of the mail never even looked at, because no one bothered to ask for the password since early 2008?

    This, ah, could have been handled sooner. If anyone cared.

    All the current mail also, of course, taken care of. This has taken me less 5 minutes a day, and most of that is waiting for bandwidth and Yahoo and my computer. And it's mostly taken 2-3 minutes a day.

    Just had to say that. Sorry!

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    Whatnot


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