Leslie Nielsen is alive and well and vacationing in the White House. Don’t believe the reports that the actor who played stumbling, bumbling, characters died a few days ago. It’s not true. Plus the busted lip and higher melanin levels, the stumbling boob that Nielsen portrayed lives on in Barack Obama. Call Barack Shirley.
Yesterday’s WikiLeaks publicity bonanza brings so many memories from the 2008 primary/general election campaigns. Big Media back then was so impressed at Obama’s generational vigor. Why, back then there was astonishment expressed because the Obama campaign utilized the same fonts on the signage and literature.
Recall the amazement when Big Media discovered that Obama knew how to operate a Blackberry? Big Media JournoListers ran to the Thesaurus for additional words with which to praise Obama and his modern age genius. Social media? Big Media could not swoon often enough about Obama’s genius use of social media and blogs as campaign auxiliaries. But it was all a crock.
For all the vaunted expertise of Barack Obama and his campaign in their use of social media and Big Boy Blogs as propaganda tools, the fact of the matter is that social media and the blogs were only echo chambers for the larger echo chamber which was Big Media. For all the praise about the vaunted use of technology by the Obama campaign the bottom line is that it was all publicity tricks by the Obama campaign – which understood Big Media wanted to farm new fields in praise of Barack Obama. So, the Obama campaign pushed the line that they were so savvy in the ways of new technology. But now we know Obama and those that surround him have no idea, or don’t care, about the ways of new technology.
When Bill Clinton moved into the White House his staff discovered a lack of electrical outlets and equipment such as fax machines then needed ubiquitously in any modern office. It took a while but the White House was rewired and made ready for the explosion to come as the Internet Age came into being.
Bill Clinton rewired the White House to provide electricity for the new gizmos and contraptions and machines which not only helped bring about the Internet Age but spawned even more new gizmos, contraptions and whatchamacallits as the dot com boom boomed. Bill Clinton understood that the White House and the U.S. government had to be brought into 1992 and towards that end he requested many new computers and the infrastructure changes required to run efficiently.
By contrast Barack Obama moved into the White House, but instead of getting it up to speed from the start Obama proved what a fake his entire campaign had been. Further possession of his Blackberry became a matter of controversy and a minor victory when he was allowed to keep it but essentially not use it. Yesterday, the Obama incompetence and boobery came to the fore yet again, via WikiLeaks.
As we wrote yesterday, the latest WikiLeaks were not really secrets and in many instances should not have been categorized as secrets. Hillary Clinton in a presidential appearance appropriately lambasted the America haters at WikiLeaks but slyly noted the relative unimportance of what had thus far been
‘”She said Monday that she had talked to several foreign leaders over the course of the last several days, and has stressed to them that “official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington.”
“Our policy is a matter of public record, as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world,” Clinton said in remarks at the State Department.
While some foreign government officials publicly criticized the U.S. for the leaks, Clinton said one of her foreign counterparts told her: “ ‘Don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.’
“So I think that this is well-understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give-and-take,” Clinton said. “And I would hope that we will be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together on behalf of our common goals.”’
But however adroitly Hillary handled the WikiLeaks mess it cannot be denied that something is very very wrong. Today, Hillary Clinton took action:
“The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it has severed its database of cables from one classified U.S. government network in the wake of a release of diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks but it declined to say which network.”
We’ll get back to Shirley Obama, but first a bit more on Hillary Clinton and WikiLeaks. DrudgeReport which cannot live without occasionally trashing Hillary Clinton. Matt Drudge was one of those who protected Barack Obama throughout the primary and general election campaigns and today he featured other Hillary Haters and idiots tried to drum up a Hillary angle to the WikiLeaks story – instead of staying focused on Barack Obama’s boobery and incompetence or worse. Drudge ended the day with yet another headline featuring Julian Assange’s call in Time magazine for Hillary Clinton to resign. Clearly Assange and Drudge have a lot in common.
JournoLister Marc Ambinder, now at National Journal which presumably will not tolerate Ambinder’s Obama love as much as his earlier employer, wrote a sufficiently accurate account of why the Hillary Haters are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to WikiLeaks. What is worth exploring is Hillary’s statement today in Central Asia:
“But two prominent women who came to hear her speak at a university laughed off the issue, saying that disclosures about high-living leaders were old hat in their country, and that these would hurt neither the standing of the United States nor its relationship with Kazakhstan.
“It’s very entertaining reading,” said one of them, Aigul Solovyeva, a member of Parliament who credits Mrs. Clinton with inspiring her to enter politics. The other female politician, Battalova Zauresh, went further, saying, “It’s a confirmation of American leadership in global political issues.”
Mrs. Clinton, however, did not dismiss the leaked material so lightly. Asked by a student about the WikiLeaks case, she repeated her condemnation of the release of the cables, saying it would threaten the lives of human rights activists, religious leaders, and antigovernment figures.
“This was a very irresponsible, thoughtless act that put at risk the lives of innocent people all over the world, without much regard for those who are most vulnerable, including journalists,” she said.[snip]
Still, Mrs. Clinton tried not to allow the leak to muddy her message of openness in this restrictive country. [snip]
In the Internet age, Mrs. Clinton said, it was difficult to balance freedom and responsibility. Some governments, she said, were overreacting by throwing bloggers in jail. At the same time, spreading information online can be harmful, she said, citing the recent case of a young man in New Jersey who committed suicide after a fellow student posted video of him in a gay sexual encounter.
“We’ve got to support and protect freedom of expression, whether it’s from an individual or from a journalist,” she said. “But there also have to be some rules or some sense of responsibility that has to be inculcated.”
Which brings us back to Shirley Obama. Wasn’t he “the One” who understood all this technology? Wasn’t he the generational know-it-all who would integrate the modern needs of technology to let information flow yet at the same time keep “No Drama Obama” secrets? Does not seem like that anymore does it?
It’s not as if the WikiLeak from yesterday was the first one. There were two earlier mega-leaks from WikiLeaks featuring U.S. Government documents. Where was Shirley Obama? As Sarah Palin noted “It’s of course important that we do all we can to prevent similar massive document leaks in the future. But why did the White House not publish these orders after the first leak back in July? What explains this strange lack of urgency on their part?”
Where has Barack Shirley Obama been for the past two years? Doesn’t he know about memory sticks, or smart phones with cameras, or all the other wonders and dangers of the hard-to-keep-a-secret networked technology world?
Where has Barack Shirley Obama been for the past two years? Didn’t he know that the mess called the “Homeland Security Department” with its directives to centralize information also made that centralized information easy to access for those with both legal and illegal, appropriate and inappropriate, intent? Perhaps it is time to get rid of the Homeland Security Department monstrosity with its 1930s name and its wide open databases. These databases are too often useless when you actually need them but are more than useful for those who have months to rummage through them before leaking them to WikiLeaks (not to mention foreign enemies).
Has anybody thought about that last sentence? Has anyone thought that maybe a lot of the information from these massive databases has been distributed to foreign governments or nomadic enemies or terrorist organizations and not to WikiLeaks and we don’t know it yet?
Has know-it-all Barack Shirley Obama dealth with the problem that in the modern age secrets stored in computers don’t necessarily remain secrets for long? Wasn’t Shirley supposed to be the expert on these issues? What has Shirley done? Nothing.
“Admire Assange or revile him, he is the prophet of a coming age of involuntary transparency. Having exposed military misconduct on a grand scale, he is now gunning for corporate America. Does Assange have unpublished, damaging documents on pharmaceutical companies? Yes, he says. Finance? Yes, many more than the single bank scandal we’ve been discussing. Energy? Plenty, on everything from BP to an Albanian oil firm that he says attempted to sabotage its competitors’ wells. Like informational IEDs, these damaging revelations can be detonated at will.”
Corporations just now getting ready to block harvesting of documents found on networked computers are already too late.
“WikiLeaks “is high profile, legally insulated and transnational,” says former Commerce Department official James Lewis, who follows cybersecurity for the Center for Strategic & International Studies. “That adds up to a reputational risk that companies didn’t have to think about a year ago.”
Already U.S. laws wrapped into financial reform this year expand whistleblower incentives to offer six- and seven-digit rewards to staffers in any industry who report malfeasance. WikiLeaks adds another, new form of corporate data breach: It offers the conscience-stricken and vindictive alike a chance to publish documents largely unfiltered, without censors or personal repercussions, thanks to privacy and encryption technologies that make anonymity easier than ever before. WikiLeaks’ technical and ideological example has inspired copycats from Africa to China and rallied transparency advocates to push for a new, legal promised land in the unlikely haven of Iceland. It’s also fueling a race in the cybersecurity industry and in Washington to find technology that can plug information leaks once for all.[snip]
In early October the site shut down its document-submission system; Assange says it was receiving more information than it could find resources to publish, thousands of additions a day at some points. The total is more gigabytes of data than he can count. “Our pipeline of leaks has been increasing exponentially as our profile rises,” he says, drawing a curve upward in the air with one hand.
If even a fraction of his claims are borne out, he’s already sitting on a crypt of data any three-letter spy agency would kill for.”
The private sector will turn its attention to the implications of WikiLeaks mega leaks soon enough. Heads will roll at technology departments and new rules will swiftly be implemented. But the problem is not going away.
The bottom line is that technology helps but also hurts. The idea that massive organizations can keep secrets on network computers open to thousands, if not millions, of users and keep those secrets is now proven false. The question now is what to do about this brave new world we have been in for at least a decade.
Don’t expect answers or action from Barack Obama. Perhaps Leslie Nielsen knows what to do. But he ain’t talking.