A Lesson in Loyalty

A Banner Day for Truth

Our would-be cultural overlords are having a field day.

One: "Politico Admits Fabricating A Hit Piece On Ben Carson."
There were at least five major problems with the story:

* The headline was completely false
* The subhed was also completely false
* The opening paragraph was false false false
* The substance of the piece was missing key exonerating information
* The article demonstrated confusion about service academy admissions and benefits
Two: "Student admits creating racist post that sparked Berkeley walkout."
A racist message posted to a computer at Berkeley High School set off a 2,000-student walkout and protest Thursday. A student at the school admitted to posting the message, which referred to the Ku Klux Klan, used derogatory language related to African Americans and threatened a “public lynching” on Dec. 9, officials said.
Three: "In reversal, Obama says he lived with uncle."
President Obama acknowledged Thursday that he lived with his Kenyan uncle for a brief period in the 1980s while preparing to attend Harvard Law School, contradicting a statement more than two years ago that the White House had no record of the two ever meeting.

Their relationship came into question Tuesday at the deportation hearing of the president’s uncle, Onyango Obama, in Boston immigration court. His uncle had lived in the United States illegally since the 1970s and revealed for the first time in testimony that his famous nephew had stayed at his Cambridge apartment for about three weeks. At the time, Onyango Obama was here illegally and fighting deportation.

And more

Another birthday video someone sent me on Facebook--this is the only reasonable purpose of Facebook, by the way:

Happy Birthday to Me

These things have been on the market for at least two years.  How is it possible that I have never heard of them before?

This may be the "COOLEST" Birthday Candle I've ever seen! I found them here on Amazon too: http://amzn.to/1LM0Mbr
Posted by ISave "A 2 Z" on Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Partners for Peace"

So apparently the Pentagon's new concept for the Taliban is still pretty new...
Two days before a devastating U.S. strike on a hospital in Afghanistan, a top aide to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff asked Doctors Without Borders if Taliban militants were “holed up” there or at the charity’s other facilities.

Carter Malkasian, a special advisor to Gen. Joseph Dunford, the highest ranking U.S. military officer, sent the query in an email that also inquired about the safety of the group’s personnel, according to Capt. Greg Hicks, a spokesman for Dunford.

Doctors Without Borders replied that the hospital staffers were “working at full capacity” and that the facility was “full of patients, including wounded Taliban combatants,” the medical aid group said in a report Thursday.

"Our officers make a living trying to stop violence, but surprise is not out of the question."

I mean, he did clarify that the harm they intend to cause is "economic," but that's quite a statement to come out of the Fraternal Order of Police.


According to an email I just got, as I seem to be on absolutely everyone's mailing lists these days:
Sen. Warren just announced a plan to fix that and expand Social Security. She's proposing the Seniors And Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act, which would give 70 million Americans an emergency benefit increase of about $580 -- that's 3.9% for 2016, the same raise that the big CEOs got last year.
What on earth makes anyone think that we can afford to give 70 million people "the same raise" that "big CEOs" get?

Hillary for Prison 2016

The NDA she signed is now public. As of course it does, it specified her responsibility to include avoiding "negligent handling" and her personal responsibility to know whether or not the information she was handling was classified.
The language of her NDA suggests it was Clinton’s responsibility to ascertain whether information shared through her private email server was, in fact, classified.

“I understand that it is my responsibility to consult with appropriate management authorities in the Department … in order to ensure that I know whether information or material within my knowledge or control that I have reason to believe might be SCI,” the agreement says.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the NDA.

According to government security experts, the type of information that receives a TS/SCI designation is sensitive enough that most senior government officials would immediately recognize it as such.

“TS/SCI is very serious and specific information that jumps out at you and screams ‘classified,’” Larry Mrozinski, a former U.S. counterterrorism official, told the New York Post in August. “It’s hard to imagine that in her position she would fail to recognize the obvious.”

Additional emails on Clinton’s server contained information that was “born classified,” according to J. William Leonard, who directed the U.S. Information Security Oversight Office from 2002 to 2008.

Uh, Guys....

The US Department of Defence has said that it’s no longer conducting counter-terrorism operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan because it views the group as an important partner in its efforts for restoring peace in the war-ravaged country....

“We actually view the Taliban as being an important partner in a peaceful Afghan-led reconciliation process. We are not actively targeting the Taliban,” [Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis] added.
You know, we did reconciliation in Iraq, too. We didn't reconcile al Qaeda in Iraq with the government. We reconciled former members or allies of al Qaeda in Iraq or the Ba'ath party to the government, as a means of cementing the victory over al Qaeda in Iraq and the Ba'athists. There's a subtle but important difference.

A "Bit" Blunt?

Ran Baratz, who was tapped by Netanyahu as Israel's next "media czar," once criticized Obama for the president's response to the prime minister's planned speech before Congress against the Iran nuclear deal.

"Allow me to be a bit blunt, which is a break from my usual moderation," Baratz wrote. "This is what modern anti-Semitism in a liberal Western country looks like. And, of course, it comes with a great deal of tolerance and understanding for Islamic anti-Semitism. The tolerance and understanding is so great that [Obama] is willing to give it a nuclear bomb."


In his column for the Hebrew online outlet MIDA, Baratz wrote: "To Kerry's credit, it should be noted that there is no Miss America around who could say what he said any better. This is the time to wish the secretary of state good luck, and to count down the days with the hope that someone over there at the State Department will wake up and begin to see the world through the eyes of a person whose mental age exceeds 12."
I guess at least we know where he stands.

BLM Affiliates Put Out A Policy Agenda

So, on the one hand I have been critical of the Black Lives Matters movement's essential strategy, to whit, that of breaking the law in order to gain attention for its agenda. I think that strategy is doomed to failure as a means of improving the problem set that it treats, as it obliges the police to take enforcement action against ever more people -- and the more aggressive the lawbreaking, the more aggressive the enforcement action is going to become in turn. You can't get to the place where the police learn to work with you if you're forcing them to either fail to do their duty or else to use force against you.

On the other hand, I'm sympathetic to a large part of their claims. Police militarization of equipment and training is a problem. It puts lives at risk needlessly by adopting a posture in which lethal force is an option early. The loss of the "peace officer" mentality that looks for solutions that regain and strengthen the common peace, in favor of a "law enforcement" mentality that merely acts to enforce the law, has damaged the police as much as it has damaged anyone. The use of the police as revenue collection agents, coupled with the multiplication of (increasingly trivial) offenses for which one can be fined, is harmful to the common peace and lawful order. It undermines public trust in the institution of the police, and that ends up also harming the police as well as the nation as a whole. Likewise, as the Waco situation shows (in a context in which race is a non-factor, as essentially everyone is white), genuinely independent review of police actions can be a helpful control against the impulse not to come clean when you make a serious mistake.

So, while I think they need a completely different strategy -- one of obeying the law scrupulously while pushing their agenda -- I'm open to hearing their policy ideas. An affiliated group has just released an agenda detailing several.

About half of them sound good to me, and the other half I think aren't so good. Broken windows policing is one I'm divided on. On the one hand, I'm not convinced it doesn't work, as demonstrated especially in once-dangerous urban areas in New York. I wonder if we couldn't use more of it in places like the south side of Chicago. On the other hand, it may be that there is a point of diminishing returns past which the policy should be allowed to slide -- a little -- in the interest of greater peace and trust between the police and the community at large.

I'm curious to hear thoughtful responses to it all.

Bill of... "Rights"?

According to the Declaration of Independence, God endowed human beings with certain inalienable rights -- that is, rights that you cannot get rid of even of you should choose to do so. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as also property which was only omitted from the draft after substantial argument about what it meant for slavery. (What did "liberty" mean for slavery?)

According to a bunch of illegal immigrants called United We Stay, they have rights as well to free health care, free school, and free citizenship even though they broke the law in entering the country and remaining here. They also say they have a right to have us stop enforcing our laws by deporting them.

I'm a little fuzzy on the philosophical authority for the claim. I get the claim from God, or from natural rights, or from positive law justified by democratic participation in a polity via citizenship. This is a "human rights" claim, but surely not one anyone can take seriously -- otherwise, we should all have the right to move anywhere we want and be provided for by whoever happens to be there. Not only is that not workable, such a principle would rapidly destroy anywhere nice enough to justify moving to it.

It's what Kant would call a conflict of the will: just because enough of us live by the maxim, the good that maxim seeks to obtain is destroyed. One of his examples, as I recall, is theft: theft as a maxim destroys itself in just this way, as what the maxim to steal hopes to gain is property, but if enough people steal your property becomes worthless as you can't hang onto it long enough to use it. Such a maxim can't be justified simply because of this basic flaw in its internal logic.

Ought Implies Can

What do you mean, one ought not to be a corrupt official?
“It’s impossible, absolutely impossible,” argued defense lawyer Steven Molo, “for a member of the Assembly to . . . do the job that a person in the Assembly does and not have some sort of conflict of interest.

“That may make you uncomfortable,” he added, “but that is the system New York has chosen, and it is not a crime.”
The Post is not impressed with the defense. Well, actually, they are -- they're impressed with the gall it takes to forward it as a defense.

A Eulogy for a Hated Man

Ahmad Chalabi died this week of a heart attack. He is one of the most agreed-upon villains in DC circles. Democrats hate him for having fooled Clinton. Republicans hate him for having suckered W. In spite of his reputation as a con-man extraordinaire, however, Chalabi is a very plausible hero to millions of Shi'ite Iraqis: his tireless campaign to convince Washington of Saddam's WMD program is what brought the US to Iraq, and removed Saddam from their throats.

One of those writes in his memory.
Chalabi’s most revealing, and most cited, soliloquy from February 2004 goes: “We are heroes in error. As far as we’re concerned we’ve been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We’re ready to fall on our swords if he wants.” He improvised the “heroes in error” bit on the fly. The rest of the scripting was mine. He probably shouldn’t have read out a 27 year-old’s snarky comeback to drive the plot....

I broke with him in September 2004. I have never discussed the reasons for that break, neither in person nor in print. Chalabi’s very human and personal foibles put stress on our saint-disciple relationship. When I caught him lying to me, because he didn’t want to see himself through my newly-opened eyes (another very human thing), the break became inevitable. He often cited a line from the Quran, in the words of immortal saint al-Khidhir (Elijah, I guess) to Moses, which paraphrased into English goes something like, “Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t have the stomach for me?"
The rest of the eulogy is worth reading, if only better to understand what has passed before our eyes.

Commenting on Your Co-Workers' Appearance

You may have been misinformed that making a big deal about your co-workers' appearance is inappropriate. It turns out, it's absolutely key to your success at work.

At least, if your boss is Hillary Clinton. And you're unfailingly flattering.

Solutions for non-believers

The cool thing about markets is that they can solve problems even for people who are deeply suspicious of markets' supposedly cold indifference to altruism.

13 Hours, Trailer 2

Gun Control Test Vote: VA Senate

Strike one.

You think they'll figure this out before it's too late?

Related news: gun sales back at record highs, six months running.

A Winner in Relativity v. Quanta?

An article describes the ongoing debate among physicists.

Shotgun Boogie

So, Ted Cruz went hunting, as candidates do in election years, and...

Staunch gun rights advocate Ted Cruz is here seen holding a shotgun while being interviewed by CNN. Can you see what he’s doing wrong? That’s right, he’s violating the first two rules of gun safety.

When you learn to shoot, apply for a hunting or carry license and any time you’re at a gun range, there’s four basic rules of gun safety that — and this is impressed on you very strongly — must be observed at all times:

1) Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
2) Never point a firearm at something you’re not willing to destroy.
3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
4) Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Properly observed, these rules are almost entirely capable of preventing accidental shootings.
Those four rules are good, but the first one is properly "Treat all guns as if they are loaded, until you have personally checked it right now to be sure it is unloaded." After all, you couldn't disassemble a firearm to clean it if you could never treat it as if it were unloaded. Cruz personally knows his firearm is unloaded because the breech is open and empty, as we can all plainly see in real time.

Likewise, the muzzle rule applies to firearms except when you have personally checked them right now to ensure they are unloaded. Otherwise, how could you transport one to wherever you were going to hunt? You couldn't drive your car with the thing stored in the trunk without the muzzle becoming pointed at things it shouldn't were it loaded.

Fortunately, in addition to the four rules of gun safety, there is another method that is "almost entirely capable of preventing accidental shootings," which is to ensure the firearm is not loaded. Without ammunition in it, a firearm is quite inert.

The most amusing thing about this to me is that the same story ran in 2008 about then-Governor Palin, who was photographed holding a shotgun with the breech open (in this case, not over her shoulder but under her arm). "Is that even the right way to hold a rifle?" demanded critics. "Can't you shoot your foot off like that?"

Turns out that you really can't. But hey, let's have a song.

The Length is Part of the Point

A poem on English pronunciation.

America in 2016, As Viewed from Classical Athens

Plato, in Laws III, talks about the two sorts of ruin that afflicted Persia and Athens. It strikes a familiar chord on both terms. How familiar does this sound, when thinking of the corruption of the Clintons or the endless regulation of the Obama faction?
We remarked that the Persians grew worse and worse. And we affirm the reason of this to have been, that they too much diminished the freedom of the people, and introduced too much of despotism, and so destroyed friendship and community of feeling. And when there is an end of these, no longer do the governors govern on behalf of their subjects or of the people, but on behalf of themselves; and if they think that they can gain ever so small an advantage for themselves, they devastate cities, and send fire and desolation among friendly races. And as they hate ruthlessly and horribly, so are they hated; and when they want the people to fight for them, they find no community of feeling or willingness to risk their lives on their behalf[.]
As this faction pursues further restriction on our ancient liberties, now on guns as earlier on freedom of speech, religious liberty, freedom of association, and politically-incorrect expression, they find there is no trust left among the people. Why can we not discuss 'common sense gun regulations'?  Because no one can trust that such regulations are not a back door to confiscation.  We are unable to reason together because of decades of bad faith.

Who will enforce these new laws in any case?  Will the people they want to fight for them comply?  Will the police, whom they have hated upon ruthlessly and horribly for more than a year?  Will the military, which is drawn in plurality from the part of the country they hate most ruthlessly and horribly of all?

As for the right, or what passes for it among common Americans today, the situation is a wave of support for... a reality-TV judge.
[A]s time went on, the poets themselves introduced the reign of vulgar and lawless innovation.... And by composing such licentious works, and adding to them words as licentious, they have inspired the multitude with lawlessness and boldness, and made them fancy that they can judge for themselves about melody and song. And in this way the theatres from being mute have become vocal, as though they had understanding of good and bad in music and poetry; and instead of an aristocracy, an evil sort of theatrocracy has grown up. For if the democracy which judged had only consisted of educated persons, no fatal harm would have been done; but in music there first arose the universal conceit of omniscience and general lawlessness;-freedom came following afterwards, and men, fancying that they knew what they did not know, had no longer any fear, and the absence of fear begets shamelessness.
Donald Trump is a theatrocrat if ever there was one. His judgments are judgments of the sort Plato fixes his gaze upon here, and he has like the theatrocrat of old swayed the audience into believing that they can judge as well. Watching these shows, and rendering judgments as if they knew what they were talking about, is now the pastime of millions. I have seen only enough of these shows to know that everyone in the audience is boldly stating their opinion about which chef did best in the competition -- though they have never studied cooking, and never tasted the food.

They love Trump because he is bold in just this way:  loudly, fearlessly, and in ignorance. This is the last power they sometimes feel they have, to judge as he does. They want to believe in it.

There is a real danger that he will win. There is a very powerful wind at his back. There is a despair eating the heart of middle aged Americans without college. When we see a demographic collapse brought on by suicide, alcohol and drugs, unheard of except among Russian men after the fall of the Soviet Union, we know we are talking about something much more powerful than a passing fancy. It is the pain of a people who have come to believe that their lives are worse than wasted, who are ashamed to live without work or on government aid, who are in pain from finding themselves useless and without a place or a point. They are not only hurt, but righteously angry.

This has been brought on by the pressures against this class of our fellow Americans brought by those who support massive immigration and globalization, either because they hoped to fundamentally change the nature of America, or because they sought campaign donations from corporations that benefit from cheaper labor. It is the fault of those who have ensured that all new jobs since the start of the recession have gone to immigrants. They have called down this whirlwind.

I do not distrust my fellow Americans, especially not the poor and downtrodden members of this class, who have suffered so much at the hands of those who dare to think themselves their betters.  I feel a great loyalty to them, and am angry at how they have been betrayed by the government -- of both parties -- which owed them fellowship and loyalty.  It is only that it is hard to think clearly in pain and anger, as I know too well myself.

From social media


You May Find This Triggering

Project Veritas strikes again.

"Get Over It"

Hillary Clinton gives some advice to Africa.

It's not that different from the advice the President gave when he spoke in Kenya.

If you are an American, you should ask yourself: why are they giving you different advice?

Asking for her hand. A lesson.

So normally, I don't bother complaining about music or other elements of popular culture.  Partly because it does no good, but mostly because the general solution is simple, change the station.  But There is a song out there that annoys me.  Less because it is bad (though that is also true) but mostly for the message it passes along to young men.  You are welcome to give it a listen here, though I don't recommend it save to satisfy curiosity, but I will include the relevant lyrics below.

Kant and Warning Labels

If I were crafting a warning label for Kant's works,* it would not read as this one does:
This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.
First of all, any parents who are reading Kant's critiques with their children deserve our robust congratulations and are in no need of further guidance.

Secondly, the thing you really need to be warned about with Kant is that he doesn't use words like anyone else you know. You're going to encounter a lot of words that you think you recognize from a lifetime of reading, yet when Kant uses them all together they are not going to make any sense. This is because he made up his own language. Even in German, the problem is serious according to friends fluent in that tongue; in translation, it is severe. Assume that any word over two or three syllables is a technical term that means something specific for Kant that it never means for anyone else, and that you need to find out just what that meaning is to understand what he's trying to tell you.

Those are my first and second thoughts. Open Culture comes up with its own:
First, we must point out Wilder Publications’ strange certainty that a hypothetical Kant of today would express his ideas in tolerant and liberal language. The supposition has the effect of patronizing the dead philosopher and of absolving him of any responsibility for his blind spots and prejudices, assuming that he meant well but was simply a blinkered and unfortunate “product” of his time.

But who’s to say that Kant didn’t damn well mean his comments that offend our sensibilities today, and wouldn’t still mean them now were he somehow resurrected and forced to update his major works?


Secondly, who is this edition for?
Homeschoolers, apparently. The assumption that parents will be reading this with their children suggests to me that homeschooling may be a much better form of education than anything else going.

* (I want credit for avoiding in the headline all the horrible puns suggested by this story: "I Kant Believe This Publisher's Gall" and the like.)


Einstein was right again.
Time and space, according to Einstein's theories of relativity, are woven together, forming a four-dimensional fabric called "space-time." The mass of Earth dimples this fabric, much like a heavy person sitting in the middle of a trampoline. Gravity, says Einstein, is simply the motion of objects following the curvaceous lines of the dimple. If Earth were stationary, that would be the end of the story. But Earth is not stationary. Our planet spins, and the spin should twist the dimple, slightly, pulling it around into a 4-dimensional swirl. This is what GP-B went to space in 2004 to check.

This Autumn, If It Were a Celtic Punk Song

Although without the clappy happy ending.

Or maybe

Still, my woes are my own danged fault. (Philosophy joke: What does the repentant solipsist say? It's all my fault!)

So, to happy endings ...

When Google Translate Hates Your Language

Galicia celebrates a local delicacy.

President Obama: You Know, We Could Use More Criminals In Government

I mean, I would have thought there to be no shortage.
Well, you know how on job applications, there's sometimes a little box that asks whether or not you've been convicted of a crime? With the wave of a pen, Obama just ordered that box to be removed from applications for jobs within the federal government, saying, "We can't dismiss people out of hand simply because of a mistake they made in the past."
You really can't make this stuff up.

"Simply because of a mistake" is fair enough, as applied to certain offenses. One might have said, "We shall no longer discriminate against certain kinds of offenses for certain kinds of positions." You could do a double-blind sort of thing with Federal hiring -- they employ enough people to do it -- whereby the first would filter to ensure that the crimes were of the right type to be ignored, and forward the listings stripped of criminal history to the actual hiring committee.

But, no. Instead, we won't consider criminal history... in hiring for government jobs, which come with government power... and somehow this makes sense? Somehow this is a good idea we should all get behind?

A Political Philosophy Wrapped in a Rant

This piece is really about the DMV not shining in comparison with the free market -- a point against which none of us are likely to argue -- but it is framed in an interesting account of the state.
[B]anditry frequently degenerates into a protection racket, a relatively modest tax on criminal enterprises and non-criminal enterprises alike. Protection rackets have their own challenges: For one thing, you actually do have to provide some protection, mainly from other predators like you. Over the years, economic success and administrative demands eventually transform bands of roving bandits into bands of stationary bandits. One popular theory of the state — one that is pretty well-supported by the historical evidence in the European context — is that this is where governments come from: protection rackets that survive for a long enough period of time that they take on a patina of legitimacy. At some point, Romulus-and-Remus stories are invented to explain that the local Mafiosi have not only historical roots but divine sanction.
Cf. Aristotle's account:
The family is the association established by nature for the supply of men's everyday wants, and the members of it are called by Charondas 'companions of the cupboard,' and by Epimenides the Cretan, 'companions of the manger.' But when several families are united, and the association aims at something more than the supply of daily needs, the first society to be formed is the village. And the most natural form of the village appears to be that of a colony from the family, composed of the children and grandchildren, who are said to be suckled 'with the same milk.'...

When several villages are united in a single complete community, large enough to be nearly or quite self-sufficing, the state comes into existence, originating in the bare needs of life, and continuing in existence for the sake of a good life. And therefore, if the earlier forms of society are natural, so is the state, for it is the end of them, and the nature of a thing is its end. For what each thing is when fully developed, we call its nature, whether we are speaking of a man, a horse, or a family. Besides, the final cause and end of a thing is the best, and to be self-sufficing is the end and the best.
I would say that there is a sense in which both are true for America, for example: the frontier was settled by families who came together in marriages and formed ever-stronger communities (Aristotle), with very limited support from a distant government that claimed authority and the right to tax (Williamson). The American Revolution is the elimination of the 'stationary bandits' by the Aristotelian states that had formed on the frontier. So we began in the right way, surely.

And yet here we are.

We need a better account, one that does not look for the evil as bred in the bone, but one that recognizes the evil as a corruption of what was once healthy. It won't lie in the traditional analyses of what went wrong with America -- not in slavery or racism, I mean, for America has proceeded against those evils as resolutely through its history as any diverse nation is likely to do. It is, rather, a turning away from the favoring of the small Aristotelian cells of natural government in favor of a stronger, alien state. It is, likewise, about the turning away from the natural producer of the smaller Aristotelian governments -- the family, and those brotherhoods of table and church that Aristotle describes later in the Politics:
It is clear then that a state is not a mere society, having a common place, established for the prevention of mutual crime and for the sake of exchange. These are conditions without which a state cannot exist; but all of them together do not constitute a state, which is a community of families and aggregations of families in well-being, for the sake of a perfect and self-sufficing life. Such a community can only be established among those who live in the same place and intermarry. Hence arise in cities family connections, brotherhoods, common sacrifices, amusements which draw men together. But these are created by friendship, for the will to live together is friendship. The end of the state is the good life, and these are the means towards it. And the state is the union of families and villages in a perfect and self-sufficing life, by which we mean a happy and honorable life.
I suppose we might say that it is a turning away from the natural toward the artificial, but that wouldn't do for Aristotle: he thought it was the purpose of art to bring to fulfillment and perfection that which nature had, for whatever reason, left incomplete or imperfect.

Perhaps it is a good place to begin an inquiry, in any case. There are levels of government and forms of governance that, if it were all to disappear tomorrow, we families would move to come together and re-establish. These levels and forms are healthy. What more?

The Port of Amsterdam -- SAIL 2015


I got a note in the mail today from the Federal Government's Office of Personnel Management, letting me know that my security clearance information was among those stolen in the massive data breach we've read about. They've taken a page from Target -- the store, that favorite of Michelle Obama's -- by offering me three years of free identity theft protection by way of compensation.

Which is all well and good, but -- like the President's own pre-announced withdrawal timeline for his Afghanistan surge -- that only tells the Chinese how long they have to wait before going gangbusters with the stolen data. My personal interests aside, out of a simple concern with national security they ought to flag my data (and all our data that was stolen) forever, not for three years. Whoever stole this stuff knows everything there is to know about where I've lived and worked, has on file personal references from people who have been interviewed in support to the investigation, and so forth. You could obtain any kind of paperwork from the government, or for that matter from private banks, based on what's in that file.

Fair enough if the three years is a stopgap while they put something else in place to ensure that the stolen data can't be used by the hackers, although it's not clear what that "something" might be. Perhaps a marker that anyone affected must be handled on a different basis than past information, should they need new clearances (or loans).

Still, three years is not that long a time. The scale of this breach, targeting as it did those with security clearances, ought to merit a much more permanent and serious response. That's true even if the government only cares about its own security, and not at all about those of us who are personally compromised.