Adieu, Starbucks. Tu vas Me Manquer.

I’ve lost track of how many times I have said this – at the end of the day, the reason Edward Snowden was able to get away with what he got was because of the security procedures in place at NSA. Whether those were the written procedures or not is irrelevant – the actual practices are what were in effect, the actual security procedures. Now it turns out that it was Snowden’s actual job to move documents for which he had no clearance and no need to know what was in them, in an unsecured format to a file sharing server inside the NSA. In other words, we handed the classified data to him, in an open format (he could read it, even though he was not cleared for it) thus giving him access, and asked him to disseminate the data appropriately. Do you realize the problems here? I have said it before and I say it again – the ONLY reason Snowden got away with this is because the NSA did not adhere to basic, long ago learned best practices, security procedures. And yet to date, not one person has been disciplined or fired.

By the by, what if Snowden hadn’t been a 4th Amendment motivated, in his own eyes Patriot, hacker? What if he had been a Soviet or Red Chinese mole? In fact, we don’t yet know that he isn’t, but for the moment, what if this had been say, 1983 instead of 2013 and his pay came from the Soviets? This guy on the left WAS that guy in 1983, and trust me, he caused damage that still reverberates to this day. Depending on who you believe and how much you may or may not know, the information he had access (but not clearance) to was passed on to the Soviets for a pittance. That information was used to compromise our national deterrent strategy, and possibly to kill 99 American sailors. It keeps me awake a night sometimes when I think about how unsafe I personally may have been because of what he was able to do. And why could he do it? Because Procedures were changed to practices. People failed to do things the right way, all the time. Only people you trust can hurt you, which is why in the security business, it’s not personal, but you trust no one. Ever.

Starbucks – who for the record I like their black coffee’s quite a lot – has decided that guns are not banned, but not welcome in their establishments. Okay, this is a good Constitutional exercise. Can Starbucks ban firearms from their stores? That is not the same question as Should they ban firearms from their stores? Those are two distinct questions, and they have different answers. That Starbucks has not – to date – been subjected to yet another liberal gun nut going off the deep end and shooting up the place is fortuntate, but it seems to me that given their high profile and ease of access, Starbucks might consider the data about having CCW and other armed persons around. For the moment, I personally have added Starbucks – whose coffee I quite like – to my “not unless I am forced to go there” list of places that I will avoid until they change their policy – and for the record, I have never carried a gun into a Starbucks. But I am not going into a place where I am told that I and everybody else cannot. Why? Because that means the only people with guns in there mean me harm.

So in the past few weeks we here in Modesto have had the scandal of the City Attorney and her ethical challenges, the waste of money on the Archway Commons project, the eminent domain case in which the City has wasted hundreds of thousand of dollars fighting for land that could have been had for $140,000, the secret courthouse deals that nobody seems to know anything about and now the resignation of the City Attorney. But “Trust Us,” says the City Council, “Just give us More money via Measure X and we’ll make Modesto right as rain.” I submit to you anyone who would vote for Measure X is one of three types of people: (a) a direct beneficiary of the money, (b) a consultant being paid to get the measure passed or (c) a moron.

What kind of special equipment do blind or deaf people need to enjoy a movie? Blind people can hear it and are used to not seeing things, while deaf people can see it and are used to not hearing things. Movies are already outrageously expensive, and thanks to new rules, they’re about to cost even more.

The “Stop Nancy Pelosi” PAC has been told by the FEC that they have to change their name. Have any great name suggestions for them? Keep in mind you won’t be allowed to use “Pelosi” in the title.


Posted on September 18, 2013, in Ethically Challenged City Attorneys, Modesto, News & Notes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I remember that guy.


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