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Liberal Civvy
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So, here’s what I have to say: Stand the frack up, shake off the miasma of the media and start digging. Learn about what is going on, what led to it, and what it means. I'd like to give this very worthy post the sort of lengthier and supportive reply it deserves, but at the moment time is a bit short. So let me just focus on this bit and add one simple reminder: People whose politics differ from you aren't your enemy. Yes, start digging. Learn what's going on. But don't stop when you hear just one perspective, especially not the one you're hoping to confirm. Listen to people on the other side of the political spectrum and learn why they hold their opinions. We won't go nearly as far as Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, etc., as we will going together as Americans. My two cents, and if time permits, I'll get to a more thoughtful response soon. LC
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2014 on Despair or Determination at BLACKFIVE
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I'm in complete agreement with you there -- I wasn't commenting on your remarks, but rather what C_Bob had said with respect to the view that the Tea Party is racist and how that viewpoint permeates the mindset of some liberals. And, similarly, how the view that liberals are out to destroy the country permeates the mindset of some conservatives. In terms of your commentary, I wholeheartedly feel that rhetoric which compares our people and parties to the mess over there is completely unnecessary and, worse, detrimental to the state of politics in the USA. Simply put, don't do it. With that being said, I think Zakaria was simply trying to illustrate that the politics over there are complicated by Shiites having to worry about other Shiites, not just Sunnis, in the same way that some Republicans need to worry about Tea Party candidates -who are also conservative- instead of just Democrats / liberals. He certainly wasn't intending to imply the Tea Party is a blood-thirsty mob of barbarians. Still bad form to do? Absolutely, because it just invites this sort of criticism. But it was merely a comparison of the situation, not the people, mindset or methods.
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There's plenty of evidence to support that there are racist, violent Tea Party members. Just as there is plenty of evidence to support that there are liberals who feel that if we simply hug a terrorist, they'll join us a drum circle, sing Kumbaya, and all the world's problems will fade away as rainbows and unicorns come down from above. The problem is that we're subjected to the most ridiculous stories about people in the groups that run counter to our own instincts, and consequently seek to belittle anything and everything to do with the larger group that falls under a singular name, rather than understand that in any large group you're bound to get a few crazies. A recent example from the Tea Party side is Tim Murray from Oklahoma, who, on his own website, claims his opponent is not really alive and is being portrayed by a look-a-like.. or possibly a man-made replacement. When you have someone this crazy, and they're identified as part of the Tea Party, it becomes easy to dismiss the party as a bunch of loons. Previous comments made by Tea Party types go to the 'racist' portrayal. Is this the Tea Party in a nutshell? Of course not - there are plenty of decent ideas that are the center of that movement, but the media -not because of inherent bias, but because sensationalism sells- will focus on the outlandish or unacceptable ones to the detriment of the more central ideas. The only solution I see is to try to understand what the other side really wants. Not what one side tells you that the other wants, but talk to reasonable people on both, understand the goals, and ignore the morons that exist in each camp. My two cents. LC (Murray's own website: http://www.timothyraymurray.com/ )
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Obama would be better off remaining silent, or making a statement of rebuke, and keeping any options open (sanctions), and then actively employing the clandestine service with SOF to "engage" these tyrants and bully's ....attaining REAL results. All in all, I actually think it's better to talk with them ... while actively employing SOF to engage the situation. It's the one option in the several you list that may make the Boko Haram assholes feel like they're in an advantageous position, and thus be more at ease, resulting in an easier mission for our guys. Is that what's actually happening? I don't know. But that's what I'd do. The appearance of predictability is a useful tool. As for the social media aspect, it's a necessary precursor to action in this political climate, sadly. LC
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Let's not don the tin foil just yet. I highly doubt anyone is going to use this to let people who actively participate in terrorist attacks come to our country. It is probably, as the article says, for edge cases where a little flexibility is a plus. Someone distributing anti-Khomeini fliers as a kid? I don't think that along should automatically prohibit him from becoming an American citizen. Extra scrutiny? Absolutely, no problem. OldSoldier mentions a terp, and while I believe that's in reference to a specific one mentioned here a while back, the simple fact is often times our intelligence officers develop assets that might have to provide limited support to terrorist factions in order to become trusted and do their very dangerous job. If they end up passing out fliers in support of ISIS, say, but in doing so give our intelligence community the entire network,... I'm OK with not immediately denying them the chance to apply for citizenship. Sure, if we start bringing over mullahs who are anti-American and shooters who fire at US troops I'll join you in saying the inmates are running the asylum. But if it's to allow some flexibility in an otherwise extremely rigid system I'm OK in principle and would just like there to be some accountability in the process.
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True, but unlike the Vietnam era stuff where it was anti-war protestors specifically targeting veterans, this seems to be a case of drunken assholes being drunken assholes. It doesn't appear that she was singled out because of her ROTC uniform, but rather because she was working there. Assholes, pure and simple. Not assholes of a particular anti-military or political bent. The comparisons with Vietnam era stuff are, in my opinion, not quite fair. My simple two cents. LC
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2014 on ROTC Cadet Spit On at the Phoenix Open at BLACKFIVE
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In case you missed it, check out the mic'd up video of Sherman - he does congratulate Crabtree on a hell of a game, extends a hand,... and gets shoved in his facemask.
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the guy displayed behavior that is classless. If you haven't seen the mic'd up video, you should check that out, too - basically, after the game, Sherman pats Crabtree on the ass (you know, as happens in many sports) and says, "Hell of a game.. hell of a game." Something which Crabtree responds to by shoving him in the facemask. Now, if you want to argue that Sherman wasn't saying that with sincerity and it was more of a taunt, then OK, sure, you can make that argument. If you take it at face value you see a guy who was fired up, played hard,.. and was now being very sportsman-like, only to have that offer rejected. And then comes the interview. Call me crazy, but I can understand Sherman's point of view. You want to taunt, harass and annoy during the game? That's part of it - party on. Start shoving people after the game for saying it was a good one? That'd have me pretty annoyed too and I'd call you out on it. Not all of us are Zen-like in our ability to tolerate heated idiocy. Maybe it's not about race, or economics, or any of that. But Sherman didn't strike me as being a 'thug'... just a guy who was fired up and annoyed at Crabtree. The kind of 'play hard' types that are fun to watch in sports.
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I am glad I served in the military that was not populated by this gaggle of careerist navel gazing vaginas who have evidently too much time on their hands to focus on something like the training matrix or getting to the range or the combatives pit. I'm sorry, but your use of the word 'vaginas' is insensitive and sexist and... I'm totally kidding. I'm also bewildered how senior command and political types can continually place form over function. Let the people who put their lives on the line get inked how they want.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2013 on Army SMA: New tattoo rules coming at BLACKFIVE
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Out of genuine curiosity, can you outline a strategy that would satisfy the moral issue in your mind? I ask because it seems any strategy that increases the chance of 'success' (something we'd better define well this time around!) also increases the numbers of American men and women we'll put at risk, some of whom will be lost. Any calculus involving the lives of others and moral issue is murky at best.
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2013 on Syria, A Simple Question at BLACKFIVE
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Just to add some newer information, Snowden had a Q&A on the Guardian's website - you can find it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/17/edward-snowden-nsa-files-whistleblower
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2013 on First verified lie from Ed Snowden at BLACKFIVE
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Nothing much. Sometimes it's just nice to see the US flag being displayed proudly in that part of the world, instead of being burned. Plus it's just an unexpected sight during the Iranian elections given the mayhem of what happened there last time around.
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2013 on Happy 238th U.S. Army at BLACKFIVE
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Speaking of Flag Day, I thought I'd share this picture from the first round of Iranian elections today: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BMuP9RjCYAETDx7.jpg
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2013 on Happy 238th U.S. Army at BLACKFIVE
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I mostly agree - it's clear the guy has embellished certain stories, or at the very least 'creatively worded' things, but nothing seems an out-and-out lie that it might call into question the nature of the things he's disclosed. Certain details? Sure. The general idea? I believe it. I would argue the discussion about the NSA needs to be taken a level higher - I certainly don't fault the NSA much for wanting to push the envelope of what they can spy on. They're a spy agency, and they should always aggressively push for spying as much as possible. And, likewise, Congress and the President should push back to ensure the proper limits are enforced. What are Americans willing to give up in the name of 'fighting terror'? And, for that matter, is this 'fighting terror'? It seems far more likely that the network analysis that the phone metadata enables is good for counterintelligence operations, and less good at self-made terrorists the lakes of which we deal more with lately. I don't trust Congress all that much, but I hope some people there are least have a sense of the successes of this program, since clearly it didn't help in any noticeable way with the last high-profile attack, the Boston bombings. Given the enormous potential for abuse, are we at least seeing benefits that make this worthwhile?
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2013 on First verified lie from Ed Snowden at BLACKFIVE
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A red hood? Even the writer who is taking in all of this BS and peddling it to the public is making fun of you dude. Why do I get the feeling Ed also had a ninja outfit and throwing stars? There are plenty of slightly strange things slightly in his stories, but this bit doesn't really surprise me. If he is indeed computer-savvy, it's likely he's got an encrypted, locked-down laptop, and the weakest link to accessing its contents is his password. Covering the keys as he types them in prevents visual recording & analysis of finger positions, which is relatively easy to do. It probably won't stop an advanced CE-style attack on his keystrokes, but that's considerably more complicated and difficult to pull off. Of course there's still the hammer-to-the-kneecaps until he yields his passwords approach, but at that point, it's a different ballgame entirely. Long story short? Protecting your passwords when you're possibly holding sensitive material on a secure system in foreign territory is just smart, even if you have to wear a red hoodie to do it.
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2013 on First verified lie from Ed Snowden at BLACKFIVE
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I agree with you in principle on all accounts, I was just pointing out what I think the uncertainty is with respect to the 4th Amendment. Especially since this data is collected by private companies, then sold to the government. (I say in principle simply because I disagree that the metadata is more important than actual data - it's easy to fake certain metadata, and chances are our sophisticated enemies already avoid or at the very least minimize this type of collection.)
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Much like LTSO, I'm a bit torn on where I stand on this at the moment. That said, the question seems to be is this an unreasonable search & seizure? From what I've seen, it isn't the content of your phone calls that Verizon turns over, it's the 'metadata' - who you've called, when, how frequently, etc. - which creates a large database that can be used for network analysis. Performing this analysis does require a FISA-approved warrant with probable cause, at least as far as I know, but the two questions here are a) whether the FISA court is indeed a 'rubber stamp' which automatically approves requests, and b) (the bigger one, in my opinion) how much potential is there for abuse? Eg, could this be used to crack down on political opposition? Or for economic benefit by obtaining confidential bid information on international business matters? So does having metadata, but not (immediately) 'data', constitute an unreasonable search and seizure? And what oversight is there to ensure these intelligence capabilities are not abused?
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No disagreement there - like I said, I wasn't drawing any equivalence there, just pointing out that the book can say one thing and the followers can do another. Separating out religion from culture is difficult, but in so far as it can be done, I think it illustrates the problem is a cultural one, not a religious one. For one example, look at the Pew study UJ links to - the second 'key finding' shows almost no support for polygamy in some regions, half support in others, and nearly full support in yet others. This despite there being verses of the Koran which explicitly allow it. And these differences typically fall along geographic lines, or sex / age lines. Basically, different cultural experiences, despite all adherents having the same 'religion'.
Toggle Commented May 25, 2013 on Britain's rabid dogs at BLACKFIVE
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In Catholic doctrine, when the Pope speaks on matters of faith or morals, he cannot be wrong. Yet many, many Catholics disagree with him on issues like birth control, gay marriage, etc. I'm not trying to draw any equivalence between Catholics and Muslims here, I'm just illustrating that just because something is 'absolute' in principle doesn't mean it's absolute in practice.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2013 on Britain's rabid dogs at BLACKFIVE
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Please don't get bent out of shape about me calling it a lie. It's clear now that they've been caught in it. Politicians lie, I get that - so don't focus on the verbiage, just answer the question please. I won't get bent out of shape about it, but I don't necessarily think it's accurate. As Rugger09 says below, the video was a claimed part of why there were protests in other places. I highly doubt more than a handful of people protesting had seen it, but nevertheless, they protest. This in itself isn't terribly surprising; these are the sorts who protest at the drop of a hat, remember. Some Imam could invent a story and they'd protest. In this case, there is a video, so again, I don't view a protest about it as terribly surprising or unbelievable. This doesn't mean the video is a valid thing (from Western viewpoints) to protest, or that it was responsible for the attack, which it clearly wasn't as that was carefully premeditated, it simply means that govermental types, speaking up about mass protests in several cities, weren't necessarily lying when they said that this video caused riots. So the question becomes one of who knew what and when. As we've recently seen in the Boston Marathon bombings, information coming out of volatile situations -in this case, in our own lands- is awfully highly volatile, changing minute to minute. We can all list major things that were wrong days into the investigation. And, again, this was with a huge police presence, in our own lands, with cameras and media everywhere. Surely if we can't get that story straight for a short few days, it's not unreasonable to think the Benghazi details might have shifted considerably in the initial hours and even days. This happened far away, without a lot of media access, witnesses, law enforcement, etc. Getting back to 'where and when', if some politician -D or R- gave a pronouncement in the early days about things that was later wrong, I'd be inclined to give them a begrudging pass. If they tried the same thing now -meaning, if Hillary gets on TV and says that attack was entirely based on the video- then I'll be shocked and admit they're a loon. The point being, nobody is making these sorts of declarations now - the early, wide-ranging theories have consolidated considerably and details aside, we know what happened. Not a lie -or, no more so than the media 'lying' when it fingered the wrong culprits in the Boston bombings- just a bit of misinformation they, and us, were subjected to. Ultimately, this boils down to what people knew and when. If Hillary or Obama knew with a good degree of certainty that the video was not related and yet claimed it was for the purpose of politics, then that's clearly bad. But that's a lot of conjecture, especially given how hard it is to get reliable information early on. It's not unreasonable to think we should have better intelligence, and more quickly, and perhaps that's a lesson we need to learn from this, but the problems with that aren't intrinsic to this particular administration - they have to do with the distance, human nature, our wide-ranging intelligence community, the hierarchical nature of government, and yes, probably some level of politics, too. Do you really think that having had a Republican President would have resulted in much faster intelligence, though? If so, how? Finally, to switch things around a bit, I would say this is a scandal if the above were true - that is, you could show key people lied with intention to deceive, and it was done for political purposes. (If it was done for intelligence purposes, I'm fine with that.) Now let's reverse that, under what scenarios would you declare this is not a scandal, but rather simply a tragedy from which the government might learn various lessons? Respectfully, LC (And, despite my name, I'm neither Democrat nor Republican either.)
Toggle Commented May 13, 2013 on Expendable at BLACKFIVE
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My thoughts go out to the family of Sean Collier, and may all our LEOs stay safe in the hours to come.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2013 on Bombing Suspects and Godspeed at BLACKFIVE
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While I can't speak for johnr, I also had believed that veterans had higher rates of suicide than the general population... and upon reading this and doing some cursory research, learned that's (mostly) not true. From memory, if you simply compare suicides from military members vs. the general population, without accounting for the differences you see in terms of age, sex, failed suicide rates, etc., yes, the military has a (slightly) higher rate. However, given the disproportionate numbers of men, the various age-related factors, more common access to lethal weapons, this is an incredibly poor statistical methodology and essentially an unfair conclusion.
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I want people like her heading up Operations. It's their job to push boundaries and blur lines and do whatever is necessary. Similarly, it's the job of the ever-growing ranks of national security legal eagles to push back if necessary. We shouldn't staff the legal team with people who won't push back and we certainly shouldn't staff the Ops team with people who won't push to begin with. This is even more stupid if she's clearly the best qualified. Good, experienced management at the DO is pretty important in the midst of an intelligence war. I have some faith that the panel will see this as what it is -political cover- and quickly make the appointment official, though.
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2013 on Misogyny or just gutlessness? at BLACKFIVE
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To quote General McAuliffe: "Nuts!" Truthfully, I'm hoping there's some miscommunication here and that the BSM is being awarded as an end-of-tour medal for an LTC -still bad, but not unheard of by any stretch- and not, as the article states, for his expert Powerpoint skills.
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I'm in complete agreement that having it above the Bronze Star is madness, but the rest of it I'm fine with. The military needs to be able to recognize extraordinary effort amongst the 'cyber' troops. Doing so helps 'legitimize' their role, which will increase dramatically over the next twenty years, and this in turn helps them recruit people and give examples of exemplary performance for people to look up to. And had they done this with existing medals, the outcry would understandably be far, far worse. This was inevitable, and the only bit they got wrong -and it's very wrong, mind you- was having it rank above the BSM. At the end of the day, if you're the guy on the ground in foreign lands, do you want the drone operator back home to feel like he's valued and has a legitimate role in the operation, or do you want him to think he's a useless nerd who could be replaced by a 12 year old with a joystick? I know which I'd pick, and I see this as a long-term effort to enable better recruiting and retention of competent, dedicated people, which in turn reduces risk for the people actually on the ground. In other words, it's Management 101: Recognize the efforts of people who make a difference.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2013 on And Son, This Medal Is For.... at BLACKFIVE
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