"When two raging fires meet together, they do consume the thing that feeds their fury. Though little fire grows great with little wind, yet extreme gusts do blow out fire." - William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

WHAT REALLY MATTERS IN LIFE - STEVE JOBS

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. Memories precipitated by love is the only true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on. The most expensive bed in the world is the sick bed. You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – Life. Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well. Cherish others.” - SJ

EVIL CANNOT BE TRULY DESTROYED.

"The threat of evil is ever present. We can contain it as long as we stay vigilant, but it can never truly be destroyed. - Lorraine Warren (Annabelle, the movie)


PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, BREAKING THE LAW.


Icheoku says regrettably his Vice President Osibanjo, a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, is fidgeting around, while the president is wrecking havoc to Nigeria's hard fought democracy. Icheoku says by flagrantly disobeying court's orders, the president is doing grave damage to the very foundation on which every democracy is based. Osibanjo, Icheoku says defend your honor as a servant of the law and tell your boss that he has no choice in the matter of releasing detainees who have been granted bail.

NNAMDI KANU, A PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE !!!

Icheoku says the more they hold him, the bigger, the better and the larger he becomes; and more resolved on his quest for an independent homeland of Biafra. A thinking government of Nigeria would let him go and just monitor his activities if they have the time. Icheoku calls on President Muhammadu Buhari and his advisers to let Nnamdi Kanu go, moreso now that two courts of competent jurisdictions have granted him bail, one unconditionally.



ONLY THE POOR WISH THEY HAD STUFF?

“I’m not that interested in material things. As long as I find a good bed that I can sleep in, that’s enough.” - Nicolas Berggruem, the homeless billionaire.

Monday, January 9, 2017

SIX QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RUSSIAN HACKING REPORT - BYRON YORK

Julia Ioffe, a writer for The Atlantic who watches Russia carefully, tweeted this about the intelligence community's unclassified report on Russian hacking released Friday: "It's hard to tell if the thinness of the #hacking report is because the proof is classified, or because the proof doesn't exist."* 
"Thin" is right. The report is brief — the heart of it is just five broadly-spaced pages. It is all conclusions and no evidence. In the introduction, the IC — the collective voice of the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA — explains that it cannot supply evidence to the public, because doing so "would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future." 

The problem is, without evidence, it's hard for the public to determine just what happened in the hacking affair. So here are six questions the IC might consider answering in the days ahead:
1) When did the Russian hacking campaign begin? The report says Vladimir Putin "ordered an influence campaign in 2016." It also says Russia's intelligence services gained access to the Democratic National Committee's computer system in July 2015 as part of an effort targeting both Democrats and Republicans, as well as individual campaigns, think tanks, and lobbyists. The IC also notes that some of Russia's "professional trolls…started to advocate for President-elect Trump as early as December 2015." This could be a simple writing problem, or it could be something more significant. Is the report saying Putin ordered the 2016 campaign in 2015? Is it saying Russian activities in 2015 were routine operations to mess with U.S. institutions and then became part of the Putin-ordered campaign in 2016? Is it saying something else? 

2) Was the Russian campaign intended more to help candidate Donald Trump or to undermine President Hillary Clinton? The report says Putin ordered the 2016 campaign "to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency." The report goes on to say that at some point Putin "developed a clear preference" for Trump. But it also says that, "Moscow's approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia's understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign then focused on undermining her expected presidency." That suggests some sort of shift in the Russian campaign. But when? What does it mean when the report says, "When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win…"? Because if the Russians were following U.S. coverage and commentary, it always appeared that Clinton was likely to win — from the primaries through the Democratic convention through the general election. In other words, during the entire campaign, the consensus of the American commentariat was that Clinton was likely to win. Did the Russians disagree, or did they have a degree of insight into the polls, or simple clairvoyance, that Nate Silver didn't? Or was the Russian campaign overwhelmingly devoted to "undermining [Clinton's] expected presidency"?
3) How much of the Russian campaign was garden-variety propaganda? The IC report says, "Russia's state-run propaganda machine — comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls — contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences." Indeed, the report devotes more space to analyzing RT, the Russian TV network, than it does to hacking. It's hard to know how much of the alleged Russian influence the IC attributes to hacking and how much to propaganda.
4) How and when did Russia transmit the hacked information to WikiLeaks? "We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets," the IC report says. "We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks." But when did that happen? Was it during the period when Putin supposedly thought the U.S. presidential race was anyone's game? Or during the time he thought Clinton was likely to win? And if it was the latter, did Russia transmit the information to WikiLeaks as part of an effort to undermine Clinton's "expected presidency"?
5) Just what did the Russians do to target Republicans? The IC report has one sentence devoted to Russian cyber efforts against the GOP: "Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign." There have been reports that the Russians attempted to hack the Republican National Committee, but that those efforts were unsuccessful. The word "collected" in the IC report suggests some effort against GOP-related targets might have been successful, but what happened is not clear. And the report does not elaborate on the IC assessment that there was a big disparity between efforts targeting Democrats and Republicans.
6) Why can't the IC release more? Intelligence officials have already leaked classified parts of the report. For example, the Washington Post recently reported that U.S. intelligence agencies "intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election in which Russian officials congratulated themselves on the outcome." The Post also reported the intercepted messages "revealed that top officials in Russia anticipated that Clinton would win." There will likely be many more leaks to come. Why not at least release the information that has already been leaked? 

To the degree that there are partisan differences in assessing the Russia hacking affair, it's important that Republicans with access to the classified IC report leak as much as Democrats. A confused public will be trying to get a picture of what the full report says. Better to get both views of what's in there.

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