Friday, August 8, 2014

Obama Plays "Game of Thrones"

Obama has failed playing the "Game of Thrones" in the Middle East. Obama has illegally interfered in the sovereignty Libya, Egypt, and Syria. Furthermore, Obama has two bad uncooperative puppets. Maliki in Iraq and Karzai in Afghanistan. Finally, Kerry, the US Secretary of State, failed miserably at attempting to negotiate a cease fire between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. 

Obama's meddling in these countries has result in ongoing civil strife including a continued humanitarian disaster. Even the Washington Post finally acknowledged: "Libya crumbles as the United States looks the other way". More relevant to current events, the Post noted that "The Kurdish forces facing the Islamic State need help from the United States". Today, Obama finally announced limited aid and limited military assistance for the Kurds, Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic/religious groups being marked for genocide by the Islamic State. "As The Washington Post's Loveday Morris reports, as many as 40,000 remain stranded on "the craggy peaks of Mount Sinjar," dying of hunger and thirst and devoid of much support from a faltering Iraqi government."

While Obama is finally getting around to countering the ISIS advances, it is also Obama who facilitated the rise of ISIS by supplying (illegal) covert aid to so-called rebels in Syria. ISIS having been one such group. Had Obama supported the Assad regime, even if it is considered deplorable, the rise of ISIS may never have occurred as the Assad regime may have been able to neutralize ISIS. By destabilizing Syria and weakening the Assad regime Obama made a strategic blunder.

It would be ludicrous to place all blame on Obama for the chaos in Middle East since there are many players involved in this "Game of Thrones". Nevertheless, Obama meddling in "Nation Building" and "King Making" make him partially responsible for endless war and the ongoing humanitarian disaster.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

American Airlines Bad

It's been a while since my last vent against despicable corporate behavior. In this case the finger-of-disapproval is pointed at American Airlines. In this example, my daughter and a girl friend planned to take a cross country road trip which involved picking-up our car in Santa Fe, New Mexico. To get there, they had to fly to Albuquerque where another daughter would pick them up. Unfortunately, the girl friend's grandmother got sick at the last minute and my daughter's girl friend could not go.

No problem we thought. I could just use my daughter's girl friend's ticket. Well American Airlines claimed that the ticket was not transferable. That is unconscionable, tickets are for "renting" a seat on the airplane. Who is occupying that seat should not matter.

American Airlines also refused to give a refund on that ticket. I can sympathize, to a degree, with that position since the tickets were bought in advance at a discount. My sympathy with that, however, vaporizes with the fact that American Airlines would not provide reasonable customer service (allowing a ticket transfer) given the extenuating circumstance of the girl friend's grandmother getting sick. In a sense, American Airlines "rented" that seat twice.

Washington Post article: "The travel industry’s one-sided cancellation policies are due for cancellation".

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Obama Responsible for the Pending Demise of Iraq

Obama has fostered the events leading to the pending demise of Iraq. This is a very CasualObservation based on conjecture.

Obama for many many years has been publicly calling for the ouster of Assad. On one hand Obama asserts that he is not after regime change, but on the other he has been calling for support of the so-called rebels in Syria. Clearly Obama is after regime change.  Just today, the Washington Post published: "Obama seeks $500M to train, equip Syrian rebels".  Given the chaotic situation in Syria, how does Obama intend to restrict this proposed assistance to only "good" rebels?

It will be virtually impossible. The "good" and "bad" rebels for one switch sides. Even if they don't, what is to stop the "bad" rebels from acquiring equipment through theft or other means? Even NPR noted that some of the assistance to "good" rebels fell into the hands of "bad" rebels. "A shipment of Croatian weapons sent to moderate fighters, with U.S. knowledge, a year ago, ended up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked groups." But I am digressing from my topic that Obama's actions have led to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (also called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)) "invading" Iraq.

Really this is quite simple. Obama by destabilizing Syria and supplying covert assistance to Islamic radicals in Syria enabled ISIS to expand and form "safe areas" in Syria. From those "safe areas", ISIS was able to grow to the point that it could invade Iraq.

On June 22, 2014 I stumbled upon a CNN interview between Candy Crowley and Rand Paul. I was quite amazed that Rand Paul had already reached the same conclusion.
PAUL: ... But now we have a chaotic situation.  We have a vacuum.  And I think one of the reasons why ISIS has been emboldened is because we have been arming their allies.  We have been allied with ISIS in Syria.  They have had a safe haven because we have been arming the rebels to keep Assad away from them. ... 
Then today, on MSNBC, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) acknowledge that the growth of ISIS was an unintended consequence of the support that the ISIS received from various countries. Utube video here: "Rep. Schiff Discusses Situation in Iraq on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports". 

American Prosperity ran the following article: "Militant Islamic Group ISIS Trained at U.S. Base in Jordan". (The validity of the story by American Prosperity is unknown to me.)
Jordanian officials recently revealed that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS) were trained in 2012 by U.S. military instructors at a secret base in Jordan. 

Of course, this raises the obvious question: Why did the American military train dangerous Islamic militants?

Answer: Because they were being trained with the intent of overthrowing the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad.

Jordanian officials claimed these Syrian rebels were screened to ensure they had no ties to Al-Qaeda or any other overly radical Islamic group. They also said that this training had no intention of being used in Iraq. 

However, these good foreign policy intentions have backfired on the Obama Administration in a big way. Especially since the President declared an end to combat operations in Iraq nearly four years ago.
Obama, through an ineffective foreign policy and through support of the so-called rebels in Syria has abetted the rise of ISIS and contributed to the pending demise of IRAQ.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 Broke the Apache2 Link to Index.html

I have a webpage that can be accessed across the home network. Upgrading Ubuntu to version 14.04 unfortunately broke the connection to "index.html". The fix was actually quite easy, once found. And that was the problem finding it.

It turns out that a new directory was created during the upgrade process under: "/var/www/". That new directory is labelled: "html".  Moving "index.html" into the directory: "/var/www/html" solved the issue.

The solution was found in this post: "Why is my Apache not working after upgrading to Ubuntu 14.04?" This post also refers to: "Where to place my local website starting with the 2.4.7 version of apache2?"

More information can be found here: "HTTPD - Apache2 Web Server".

In searching for a solution to the broken link, I was able to solve two other minor irritants with Apache that did not seem to cause any problems other than occasionally spitting an error message.

One error message was: "AH00558: apache2: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using Set the 'ServerName' directive globally to suppress this message." The solution was contained in this post: "Problem with restarting Apache2 [duplicate]". The solution is to add the line: "ServerName localhost" to the "/etc/apache2/apache2.conf" file.

# Global configuration
ServerName localhost
The other error message: "AH00671: The Alias directive in /etc/apache2/conf-enabled/phpmyadmin.conf at line 3 will probably never match because it overlaps an earlier Alias."
This error originated from the file: "/etc/apache2/conf-enabled/httpd.conf".  Turns out that this file has been deprecated. For whatever reason, it was still on my computer. Commenting out the line below, by adding the "#" symbol at the beginning of the line resolved the error message.
# Include /etc/phpmyadmin/apache.conf
Should you note any errors in what I wrote or have other comments, please comment.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Net Neutrality - The Devil is in the Details

A few days ago the FCC voted to start the rule making process concerning net neutrality.  TechDirt reported: "NY Times And Washington Post Describe Yesterday's Net Neutrality Vote In Diametrically Opposite Ways". Of particular concern is the heading: "The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to move forward with a set of proposed rules aimed at guaranteeing an open Internet prohibiting high-speed Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against legal content flowing through their pipes." (emphasis added) in the New York Times. So who gets to define the words "legal content" and the subsequent consequences?

Will the content producers be the ones defining what is legal and illegal? If so, it makes a mockery of the judicial process. Technically, if someone believes an action is illegal, they take it to court and present facts to obtain a judgment. I seriously doubt that the content industry wants to be contained by the relatively slow and cumbersome judicial process. Instead, they would probably wish to take immediate action with absurdly minimal proof against anyone they whimsically designate as an offender.

What about the rights of the supposed offender? If the content producers can unilaterally designate someone as an offender, what are their rights to refute those charges?  Will there be penalties imposed on those making false claims of illegal activity? If not; that would allow the content producers to accuse and take punitive action against anyone without the fear of consequences. This would be a violation of due process. Basically, justice by intimidation.

Will the content producers be able to read your content? To assess whether content is "legal" or not, would appear to imply that the content producers would have an opportunity to conduct warrantless wiretapping on content. Reading a persons' content stream to assess whether they are being legal or illegal would be a violation of due process. Technically, to have a wiretap put into place one needs substantial verifiable suspicion that a crime is being committed.

Making the ISP providers the "police" to protect the content producers. This is actually quite repulsive. The basic responsibility of the ISPs is to deliver content. Not to interfere with the delivery of that content. The content producers should not be able to demand that the ISPs read content to protect them (the content producers) and/or to take any adverse action against the supposed offender. For example, if you believe that an illegal action is being taken in a nearby house, you can't simply walk up to a random third person and demand that they be the ones to break into that house to find and arrest any suspected burglar. That is supposed to the responsibility of the police and the judicial system.

Who would pay for the ISP "police".  The answer unfortunately is quite obvious, the consumer through increased subscription fees.  Forcing the ISPs to act as "police" places a resource burden on them.  Consequently, it should be the content producers that should pay the ISPs "police" since the ISPs would be working for the direct and sole benefit of the content producers.