Tarheeltalker

Internet Dosing

Not an article about the internet but a certifiable scary way that it may soon be used. When I read about this, I was quite disturbed. As I reflected a bit, I could not imagine why civil libertarians, the ACLU and all those who abhor government intrusion were not shouting from the rooftops in protest. This action, if it comes about even close to how it is described is far worse than the FBI or CIA  or NSA maybe peeking at your email or cell phone conversation.

So, what is it? Well, how would you like to get your medication via a computer chip implant with dosages regulated by a physician online? Sounds just wonderful and impossibly far-fetched, right? Not so far-fetched at all, I am afraid.

This from Cybercast News Service, linked to by Rush. Just last week the Senate Committee on Aging, chaired by Herb Kohl, D, Wi , previewed the government’s role in future health care. Nicknamed e-Health or e-Care, the effort marries internet technology with health-care technology.

This next is one such feature. It is known as the automatic drug dispenser. Among its (it is  an electronic chip attached to the skin) features are the monitoring and adjusting of drugs wirelessly with no need to visit one’s physician or pharmacist.  The doctor can vary the doses, wirelessly, based  on  the feedback received from the device. Sen Ron Wyden, D, OR displayed the innocent little device at the Senate hearing.

This very ominous quote from Rush, ” They want to set up a device connected to your skin where your doctor via the Internet can regulate the dosages of whatever medications they have you on. Can you say, death panels, anybody?”

I don’t particular care to be an alarmist but this concept frankly scares  the “dickens” out of me. Can you imagine the enormous potential for controlling behaviour or worse?

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April 27, 2010 Posted by | Health, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s Fighting Whose Wars?

Seems that a former senior CIA agent, Michael Scheuer, thinks we have some misplaced allegiances in the Middle East. Mr Scheuer was on  a C-Span call-in show  last Monday which degenerated into  an anti-Semitic gab fest.

Scheuer, with a number of callers agreed, thinks Israel is of no strategic importance to the United States. He also said that  American soldiers are dying in Iraq for the sake of Israel. He had this telling quote, ” Their association with us is a negative for the United States. Now that’s a fact. What you want about that fact is entirely different.” One more tidbit from Mr Scheuer. We should somehow “persuade”  Islamic terrorists who threaten us to” focus their anger” on Israel (as if they already do not)  and oppressive Middle Eastern regimes.

Wonder who he thinks is our most staunch ally in the Middle East, as well as the only thing country even close to having a freely elected government. Uh, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. None seem to ring a bell. As for the part about our troops dying for Israel, may we return briefly to Desert  Storm in 1991. If memory serves, we fought that war to liberate Kuwait and by extension keep Hussein away from Saudi Arabia. Israel suffered the indignity of repeated scud missile attacks without provocation. I also seem to remember our asking them to hold off on retaliation ( defend  themselves) which they did. Not sure of Mr Scheuer’s thoughts on that matter.

Add the above to this next Obama administration maneuver. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is heading over to do some tough talking to the Israelis( must have been reading from the playbook of the Palestinian from Plains) about restarting peace negotiations. He threatened a freeze in U S aid to Israel if  satisfactory progress is not made. No wonder that polls indicate  a large majority of Israelis are nervous about the state of relations with us.

Wonder if the letters Mitchell is bringing with him bring instructions about the division of Jerusalem as well as the two-state solution. Methinks Israel is right to be ill at ease. For greater discussion of  the issues and insight as to why we should have a strong relationship with Israel, visit   Joel Rosenberg’s blog .It  gives one  a good perspective on Israel in particular as well as the Middle East as a whole.

Shalom!

January 9, 2010 Posted by | International politics, Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Channeling His Inner Truman

The President continues to bob and weave as regards the Nigerian bomber. Doubtless, the more said, the better. He is now invoking words that hark  back to  the plain-spoken one, President Harry S Truman. Obama says that failures regarding the bomber should be laid on his desk, saying  ” the buck stops with me”  as concerns intelligence failures.

But, not so fast. Apparently top anti-terror official John Brennan thinks there is blame enough to share. He said  that he let the president down and told him that he would do better. This is the same guy who said there was no smoking gun as regarded intelligence failures  over  the bombing attempt. Mark Steyn has a great line regarding that statement. It is probably a poor choice of words said Steyn to say smoking gun regarding an attempted suicide bombing. Besides if the metaphorical gun were smoking that would have been bad news.

One last aside. Apparently Obama didn’t really mean that line about the stopping buck since he blamed U S spies for not “aggressively”  chasing down the Al-Qaeda  guys that planned and funded the attack. Is that a sound of resumes being sent out from Langley? Maybe so.

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NAMESTAN

The World's Toughest NeighborhoodThe above acronym is often used by Joel Rosenberg in his political/religious thrillers which have been quite successful and eerily prophetic. The  letters described a division of the CIA known as North Africa, the Middle East and the stan countries; Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. Fictional or not, the phrase almost epitomizes tough neighborhood in a geopolitical sense.

Look at a map of the area some time and then look at major news headlines from any source of your choosing. While not always the top story, the are seems to carry a weight far beyond its size. This weekend was a real case in point. There  were some major suicide bombings in what was considered a relatively secure part of Iraq. Baghdad was the site of two bombings whose death toll approaches 200 with many more injured. And it may have damaged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki even more.

Travel a relatively short distance to the west to Jerusalem and what do you discover? Israeli police with stun grenades. Palestinian protesters throwing rocks and who knows what else outside the holiest site in all of Israel, the Temple Mount in the center of Jerusalem. What sparked the clash? Probably no one  knows. David Cohen, Israel’s national police chief laid blame on Muslim extremists. Muslim leaders claimed there were plots  to damage the sites. Israel has controlled the site since 1967 but in a situation that only makes sense in the Middle East allows a Muslim clerical body, the Waqf, to handle day-to-day administration. Tourists and Israelis can only visit at certain times.

And  we have Iran, who virtually lives on the front page. Nukes or not, selling enriched uranium to Russia or not ? Will there be talks? What part will Russia play? That is another Big factor when one looks at Russia’s position geographically versus the Middle East.

One more  factor is of course Afghanistan. It was the site for deadly helicopter crashes  just a few days ago, killing a number of American troops. Will Obama send troops, how many and when? Whose advice is better, Sen Kerry or Gen. McChrystal? Remember that during the campaign,the Afghan war was the one we should be fighting.

It seems that the are is a dominant feature of every president’s foreign policy, from probably Truman through Obama and rightfully so. One thing that is quite easy for us to overlook, given our Western tendency to take a short term view, is that the problems  that are there far predate our involvement; by a long time. No, make that a very long time.

My woeful lack of knowledge and historical perspective point up once again my need for te historical study of  a region whose importance can hardly be overstated. Try these phrases from your long ago study of history: Mesopotamia, Tigris-Euphrates, pyramids; there are many more and there is much history from which to learn.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | History, International politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things I Did Not Learn in School

I have no doubt that it would take a lot of books to contain what I did not learn in school( public school as well as college) and it actually does , I guess. But being a big history buff, what I recently learned in a novel just astounded me. I will admit that my real fondness for history  kinda  hit in college, although it was beginning to develop sooner.

I had some really good professors in that process. I remember Dr Ross in Latin American history and Dr Tien Mien Wu (hope I spelled that right) in Asian history. Alas, the other names have been withdrawn from the memory bank. In those days, there was a lot of note taking as well as a lot of reading and essay writing; all of which seemed tailor-made for me. I don’t seem to remember a course in American history. Since my course selection was up to me, perhaps I thought that was one area I did not need to study. Duh! Was I and have I been wrong.

I have recently rediscovered an author named Vince Flynn whose works have been described as high concept political intrigue. Rush highly endorses him, but even if you are not a Rush fan, Flynn might still be worth a read.

I have just finished “Memorial Day”, written in 2004 and am anticipating his latest, “Pursuit of Honor” as soon as the  library calls. Most, but not all, of his books feature a CIA operative named Mitch Rapp, a quite results oriented guy. He is the kind of guy that Ioften hope we actually have in the service of our country.

My big time history lesson comes from the latter stages of Memorial Day and I quote.

                   “The fathers of America had designed their city to form  a crucifix.The Washington Monument marked the center, with the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial forming te longer center line while the Jefferson Memorial and the White House formed the shorter horizontal line.”

I have never visited the capital, so I had to resort to a map from  the lonelyplanet to check Flynn out. Sure  enough, it works. I think what really intrigued me about the above description is that I probably never heard it in school and I seriously doubt one would hear about it today.

thanks, Mr Flynn, keep writing about Mitch and we will keep reading!

(I minored in history at Appalachian State and given my grades in history versus my major, perhaps the roles should have been reversed. )

October 24, 2009 Posted by | education, History | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Not Just Get Rid of It

Just announced this week, Attorney General Eric ( pardon Marc Rich) Holder will be conducting an investigation of the CIA. This comes after the President had said he wanted to move forward and not dwell on these things. However, in language eerily similar to that used by Bill Clinton in the Janet Reno days, Obama said that the investigation is Holder’s alone, not his deal at all. But in 2007, then Senator Obama came out for these same types of investigations. A bit of hypocrisy, it doth seem.

Anyway, no telling what these investigations might reveal, I have no doubt that Holder’s Justice Department contains people who would dearly love to turn this into something akin to  a witch hunt. That, I think, will  not happen. Methinks that the investigation, just  as the leaks have done to this point will do enough to infuriate conservatives but but so little as to infuriate liberals.

So, I have a solution. Just abolish the CIA. We in a civilized society don’t  need these rogues out terrorizing people in the name of information. They are always making mistakes and never have the right info anyway. What we can very easily do is to contract out our intelligence gathering program. It happens all the the time in business and government, why not intelligence. This is sort of how I envision it. Contract the job out by regions of the world. Have Mossad handle the task in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. In Europe, we might even have a choice. There is MI5 and  the French DGSE or General Directorate for External Security. That leaves most of Africa as well as Latin America and South America. I don’t know, Brazil maybe or Mexico could help. And just think of all the money we  would save. Don’t know the CIA budget, they probably don’t either. But I am sure that the savings would help pay for part of the health care reform. Gotta run, must  fax this to the Vineyard for Obama’s approval.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | International politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Netanyahu and Obama

A very important first meeting is coming up nest week between the leaders of the United States and Israel. The stakes are high, aren’t they always in  the Middle East or the Epicenter as Joel Rosenberg puts it so well. How will they get along, what will one propose to the other, what about Iran, what about the two state solution( see Pope Benedict) and on it goes.

Mr Netanyahu is aptly described as  a rightist and unlike Obama is not in favor of a two state solution. He is doubtless more concerned about Iran and what they might do or whether they will get an atomic bomb or not  than is the United States.

Just ahead of his trip here, CIA Director Panetta went to Israel and basically said, don’t preemptively  attack Iran without U S knowledge( read as approval). In other words, don’t repeat the attacks of 1967.

Given the fact that Obama has already met  with some Arab leaders and will meet with President Hosni Mubarak of  Egypt and Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas within a week or so, you  could say he tilts more Arab than Israeli.  A more definitive answer could very likely come in Obama’s speech in Egypt next month to the Muslim world. I , as others, would expect more substance in that speech than in their  meeting tomorrow.

One comment on the Obama/ Netanyahu meeting that I really liked came from  Daniel Levy, an adviser to former Israeli PM Ehud Barak.

“Short of the two men coming out of the White House bearing physical scars on their faces, the meeting will be judged a success.”

Now, Joel Rosenberg( a one time Netanyahu adviser) is not so sanguine. He fears a”train wreck”  in U S -Israeli Relations due to the aforementioned issues of Iran and the two state solution. Netanyahu has himself met with Mubarak, Pope Benedict and  Jordan’s King Abdullah II. No doubt those meetings will be a factor as well in what happens here.

One closing item, Obama received 75% of the Jewish vote in the 2008 election. Don’t you wonder why?

Shalom!

( Psalm 122:6)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
President Barack Obama

May 17, 2009 Posted by | International politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Meet Rosa Brooks

Never heard of her? Neither had I until  a day or two ago. Rest assured that the Israeli government has heard of her and they are probably not her biggest fans. Ms Brooks has just been appointed as an adviser to Michelle Flournoy, undersecretary of  Defense for Policy(wonder what that means) , a position that heavily impacts U S policy in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Sounds a little like the NAMESTAN desk at the CIA, doesn’t it?

Rosa Brooks

Rosa Brooks

Now, when you learn a bit about Ms Brooks, you might wonder why the Defense Department at all. But of course, she is quite anti George Bush as many of her L A Times articles will attest. She thinks little of Al-Qaida(aren’t they glad) as a force, saying in  2007 that we turned them into an international threat. Seems like there were issues with these  guys as far back as 1998, but I digress. She was a law professor at Georgetown and  among other things , a special counsel at George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Now,, if you were not concerned about any of this, may I offer one more item. Her final column at the L A Times argues for more” direct government support for public media” and government licensing of the news. Think about that last phrase and compare it to the  first amendment to the Constitution.  Oh yes, she also says that Obama will not be likely to ” blindlessly and mindlessly” support Israel. Welcome to the Pentagon, Ms Brooks.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

TOTUS

The  above title refers to the newest link on my blogroll. For the as yet unenlightened, TOTUS stands for teleprompter of the united states as potus refers to President of the United States. It is doubtless one of the funniest political blogs I have seen and is just a treat to read. I heartily commend its creator and his skill at using humor to comment on the political process. You are encouraged to visit the site and enjoy. But, just a taste  of what you will discover.

The blog intros itself as” reflections from the hard drive of the machine that enables the voice of the Leader of the free world” . Modesty is in short supply  as you will see. Obama is referred to as Big Guy or Big O and his wife as Michelle or Lady M. Other various and sundry White House characters come and go.

On e of today’s posts referred to Obama’s visit to CIA headquarters where he and CIA Director Leon Panetta did a little motivating. TOTUS  referred to Panetta as a hobbitt, referencing his stature versus Obama. So, the humor is out there for certain.

Stay the course TOTUS but beware the Blackberry! Perhaps we can all be FOTs or friends of totus.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Thank You, Thank You Democrats

Just when you think things are going to settle down with that wackiest of political animals, known as the Democrat Party,they seem to top even themselves. Gov Blago, defying Democrats from Springfield to Washington and beyond, has picked a replacement for Obama and interestingly enough an african-american. Roland Burris is apparently as qualified if not more so than anyone else that could have been picked .  but the Dingy one, Majority Leader Reid,has said that Mr Burris will not be seated ( wanna bet on that one ) allegedly because he is tainted by being appointed by Gov. Let’s Sell A Senate Seat .

This is so cool to watch these folks go at each other and it’s hard to narrow down my delight with it all. In 1968, these Democrats tried to not seat one of their own, Adam Clayton Powell, and had their hand  slapped by the Supreme Court. So, here they go again.And, by the way, if Mr Burris is tainted by association would that not mean that Obama could be considered tainted by a few of his associations ?  Nahh . And is  this the same Sen Reid who has the gall to anoint Bush as our worst president ever?

And, lest we forget, the New York soap opera rolls or roils on with an appointed governor about to appoint a senator. Another one for the books and the new administration and new Congress have yet to officially begin.Can you say,CIA Director Leon Panetta ? Looks like a bumpy road ahead for Team Democrat.

January 5, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment