Speaches don’t make history like they used to

It’s probably a safe bet you’re not going to hear anything new tomorrow.  It’s not like Obama’s going to announce a paratrooper assault on Mosul has occurred, or that he’s nuked Damascus.  Although both acts might be productive. 

Whatever he says, its mostly noise.  The audience is not the world to outline a plan, but the voter to influence an election.  Which makes it essentially worthless toward the overall outcome of the crisis at hand.  Or maybe I’m just being too damn cynical, and he’s actually making a go of it.  Shit man, I sure hope so.

Hey remember when presidents used to start wars with glowing speeches that made history.  You read about them decades or hundreds of years later.  Will anybody remember what Obama says tomorrow in say, one year?  Probably not.  But don’t blame him too much.  Nobody on the other side of the political equation is saying anything relevant either.

The opposition (a term not applicable to the Republicans) is currently entertaining lunatic ideas from the likes of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.  Two guys who apparently don’t realize that the galaxy’s moved on from reasonable militant isolationist views since, oh, 1939.

I don’t envy Obama, he’s in an impossible situation.  No matter what he says, just about everybody’s going to hate him.  But nobody has a better answer than he does.  Because, I fear, there is no answer.  It’s lose, lose.

So given that, my guests and I are going to answer this tomorrow before the speech.  Because we help people with problems.  It’s what we do.  Which is bad.  Because we have a lot of problems.

Either way, here’s hoping for all our sakes that the Prez makes this one count.  We and history need a win.

desk

Temporary holder of the second hardest job on the planet after Bear Baiter (to be returned to Ukraine upon conclusion of tomorrow’s speech)

Don’t make promises you can’t keep

It’s generally a good idea for the world’s leaders to do what they say.  I mean, since they’re in politics, they’re all liars to a certain extent.  But if you make it a point to promise death to your enemies, it’s probably best to make sure you’re serious.  Especially before you go shouting revenge in front of, oh, say the family of a man who got murdered.

Don’t get me wrong, I like what Biden’s saying.  I’m all about it.  I wish our leaders talked like this every day.  The problem is that I think he’s made a promise he can’t keep.  Following ISIS to the “gates of hell” requires a level of effort the public is not prepared to currently accept.

For example:

- Dude on Street:  I hate ISIS, let’s kill them all.

- Reality:  Doing that might require 50 thousand American troops back in Iraq, at least for a while.  Are you in?

- Dude on Street:  Whoa there, let’s not get carried away.

- Reality:  Do you want to win or not?

- Dude on Street:  Well, yeah, let’s kick ass, but like, whoa, that sounds kinda extreme.

Everybody’s favorite polished weakling in David Cameron has made similarly belligerent claims.  And yet at this point I don’t think the British military (yes, there apparently still is one) has fired a shot.

There’s a case to be made for caving in the skulls of every ISIS member.  There’s also a case for doing nothing.  There’s no case for saying you’re going to kill them all, and then effectively doing next to nothing.

They’re just spouting generalities, idle threats, or incomprehensible garbage.  No wonder nobody in the West is interested in a real war in the cause of good.  Their leaders can’t even articulate a decent plan to battle evil.

Yet, Joe just made a promise.  Sadly, if I had to bet, I figure he can’t/won’t back it up.  This doesn’t say much for the West’s credibility, again.  This is beyond a trend now, or just a recent theme.  It’s becoming a way of life.  Inaction, empty words, and irrelevance.  Don’t think ISIS hasn’t noticed.  It’s why they feel they can saw a man’s head off, and get away with it._77372315_77355933

Oh Joe, if you actually could back this up you’d be one of history’s greatest orators instead of a joke

Wake up, friends! Nothing’s secure! You need a plan.

I keep telling folks but they don’t listen. They think the internet is a delightful playground. Well, sorry, but if it’s online:

It’s going to get stolen

The internet was not designed for security. It was designed for openness. This is its structure at the base level. It’s hard coded. Like you’re hard coded to love puppies.

Don’t listen to people (Apple, Microsoft, anti-virus frauds) who swear they’re so smart you can’t get robbed. Such arrogance is foolish. It’s like somebody telling you they’re so smart they can reengineer the sun’s rays to cool instead of sear your flesh. It makes no sense. Sorry, but nobody can secure your data completely.

You need to think not in terms of what will happen if your data is stolen. You need to think in terms of what you’ll do when it is. I recommend this formula:

 

Item: What’s online

Threat: What can happen to that data

Recourse: What you or somebody else will do when your data is stolen

 

For instance:

 

Item: Your online financial account

Threat: Somebody takes your cash

Recourse: If you’re FDIC insured, you’ll be okay, if not, you’re potentially fucked

 

Item: Your cloud sexual pictures

Threat: Some creepy dude steals them and posts them online

Recourse: You could sue, but essentially you’ll have to deal with it

 

Item: Your credit card

Threat: Somebody takes your number and buys fancy jewels or hats

Recourse: Via your credit card company you get a new card, number, and the offender is flagged as fraud in the credit database

 

Item: Your precious bitcoins

Threat: Your bitcoins just became somebody else’s bitcoins by virtue of their actions

Recourse: You’re fucked

 

Item: Your degenerate, pointless blog

Threat: A bunch of grizzled lunatic alien exiles hijack your blog

Recourse: You meekly accept this outcome as reality

 

Item: Your shopping site account

Threat: Somebody steals your password

Recourse: You change your password

 

See how each of these has a different level of awfulness depending on the importance of the data at hand. There are also different mitigation options available to you on each area. Each piece of data you own online is unique. You need to think about each portion of your online life. How much risk are you willing to take?

If the risk of loss is too high for you to deal with? It needs to come offline.

Because I assure you, nobody can defend it. If somebody targets you, if somebody wants your data, they’re going to get it.

Plan accordingly.

internets

If they’d designed the internet to be secure, it would look absolutely nothing like it does today