China Hacked USA Companies? Oh, SO WHAT????

Over the past couple of days it has been revealed that a group of computer-savvy Chinese military officers hacked into the computer systems of various US companies such as U.S. Steel Corp., Westinghouse, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies, the United Steel Workers Union and SolarWorld.

The USA is completely OUTRAGED!!!!  How DARE the Chinese hack commercial secrets in USA??  In fact, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced federal indictments against the  five Chinese nationals living in the USA, charging them with cybertheft!

The fact is that these Chinese hackers probably are, in fact, guilty of hacking commercial American secrets for use by Chinese companies.  So the issue is not really innocence or guilt.  The real issue actually is far more outrageous than that.

Does anyone remember the National Security Agency (NSA), a.k.a., “No Such Agency”?  Does anyone remember the hacking and spying on Americans that that NSA is now known to have conducted (and is still doing), as revealed by Edward Snowden not too long ago?

So think about this for a minute:  If the USA is spying on its own citizens, what do you think they’re doing to other countries and companies?

And here’s another question to ponder before beginning the REAL discussion on the merits of any indictment against Chinese nationals who spied on American companies for their trade secrets:

What do you think EVERY large American corporation does to learn their competitors’ secrets?  Doesn’t anyone really think that when Apple sued Samsung over copyright infringement in 2009, that Samsung “accidentally” figured out how to duplicate the Iphone all on its lonely own?

The fact that US Attorney General Eric Holder publicly announced the indictments this week of the Chinese nationals who allegedly rang the cybertheft ring is, to a large extent, more a function of the politics in play during an election year than for any other reason.  In all probability, if the election had already occurred, the US government would have quietly contacted the Chinese government to tell them to tell their operatives to knock it off, and the Chinese would have extracted their nationals involved.

The reason for this is that the trade and debt relationship between China and the USA is extremely complex, and no one really wants to upset that Apple cart (pardon the pun).  Furthermore, as the Chinese ambassador to the USA stated, the USA is no one to be shaking its finger at ANY country for cybertheft, which more accurately is defined as spying  on others….be they Chinese or Russian or from anywhere else.  People who live in glass houses…..

The GOP and their big Corporate America funding sources are, of course, demanding action be taken, demanding that people be held accountable, demanding harsh action against the perpetrators.  And yet, there isn’t a single large corporation in America, and perhaps even on the entire planet, that wouldn’t attempt to steal trade secrets from competitors in the business world if they could.  It’s called free market capitalism (every company for itself) and it’s a pretty hypocritical position that these defenders of all things free market have adopted.  But it goes hand in hand with far right’s favorite manta, “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”.

Yet, as bad as it is that to be expressing this purported outrage, perhaps the worst part of this is that the Chinese used some of the most primitive and rudimentary ploys, such as email spam, to get employees at the various hacked companies to allow the Chinese hacker access into their systems.  According to the indictments, the Chinese got the American employees to open questionable email attachments and to click on innocent-looking websites, and even used the misspelled name of a company CEO to trick the employees into installing all kinds of malware on their own work computers, which, incredibly, were not well protected against some of these most simple of cyber-tricks.

So perhaps the outrage against the Chinese perpetrators is misplaced and misguided.  Perhaps the outrage should be directed at the companies that did not adequately protect their trade secrets with the proper anti-hacking software and the proper training of their employees in the need to be careful what they open on line.

And yet, the most outrage probably should be directed against the elected politicians who allowed the USA to lose the high moral ground years ago by torturing prisoners in secret “black” prisons, and getting caught hacking and spying on other countries and their commercial enterprises.   And even then, these self-same politicians scream with false and undeserved indignity when someone else does what both corporate and governmental USA has done for years….

No WONDER the ultra-right hates Edward Snowden for blowing the whistle on the NSA (and through their funding association with the right, Corporate America’s own spying tactics)!!

In the meantime, though…. “Oh, so WHAT??” seems a more appropriate response.




Conservatives’ Manta: Love the Death Penalty & Hate Science

The US Constitution Bill of Rights’ 8th amendment states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

With this amendment, the US “founding fathers” in Congress who drafted and passed the Bill of Rights in 1789 were attempting to prevent any American from suffering the atrocities that prisoners historically suffered before that, i.e., cruel and brutal treatment at the hands and whims of their captors.  For time immemorial, prisoners, whether found guilty of a crime or not, were beaten, tortured, starved and murdered in the most cruel, brutal and painful ways possible.

These founding fathers did not believe that the fledgling United States of America should follow that path at all.  Instead, they advocated that every prisoner held in this country, regardless of whatever crimes they were charged with, should be treated humanely, and if punishment was warranted after a conviction (and certainly not before), it MUST be administered in a humane way, not one filled with the animal need for painful revenge.

Despite the 8th Amendment, however…when people have their emotions in play, very often justice is very often not their objective as much as is revenge, retaliation and retribution.  “An Eye for An Eye” as the biblical references quote, is considered by many, particularly those on the Christian religious right, as the word of the deity, and thus more righteous than any law passed by humans.

Of course, this flies in the face of what Jesus said in thesermon on the mount

“You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Mt 5:38–39, NRSV)

The political Christian religious right in the USA is almost universally republican, and they claim to be believing and practicing Christians, but they seem to have no memory of who Christ was or the teachings of the man.  Nor do they realize the hypocrisy and contradiction of teaching our children that murder is “sometimes” okay…like when the state does it.

So last week, Oklahoma, one of a number of states that executes prisoners convicted of capital crime, was scheduled to hold a double execution, the first in Oklahoma in many years.  Lethal injection of a cocktail of untried and unproven chemicals was to be injected into Clayton Lockett, a convicted murderer.  Admittedly, Lockett is a sociopathic monster, but the state’s act of murder against him did not reverse a single action on his part.  Instead, it made the USA, one of the VERY few remaining western countries to still practice state-sanctioned murder, look barbaric to the rest of the civilized world.

Lockett’s murder by the state of Oklahoma, while resulting in his death, was not supposed to last 42 torturous minutes or cause death by heart attack, but it did.  In all probability, the IV needle was inserted into the flesh of his groin, instead of his femoral vein.  If you want to know the complete timeline of this atrocity, click HERE.

Of course, the GOP LOVES the death penalty, partly because of their religious base and partly because of their misguided view that it saves taxpayer money to execute (and thus stop feeding and clothing and boarding ) a prisoner over supporting his or her human needs throughout a lifetime.  But the facts are that the average life-sentence prisoner will cost approximately US$1 million over a lifetime, while the average taxpayer cost for all the appeals of a prisoner sentenced to death is US$12 million!!!

So much for the conservative “Save the taxpayers money” idea….

And in fact, the folks on the right, who fancy themselves as the protectors of the American taxpayer dollar, cause MUCH MORE spending down the road to fix what they didn’t adequately fund in the first place.  In the ultimate act of smoke and mirrors, they are now questioning and denying the facts presented and endorsed by no less than 300 topic experts in the National Climate Assessment, which says, in so many words, that climate change is real and provable, and the evidence that human activity is largely responsible for it is increasing.

This report also provides data on the climate changes ALREADY here, like longer, hotter summers and more extreme weather each year, flooding of railroad tracks in the northeastern states, more severe droughts in the Midwest and more wildfires in the west.

The republican response?  “This “report” is just another attempt by the Obama administration to saddle the oil and coal industry with more intrusive federal regulations”..that will cost their best campaign contributors, a.k.a., the oil and coal industries, more money for compliance.

But down the road, the damage done by this climate catastrophe will have to mitigated with even MORE taxpayer money AFTER the damage has been done.

Embracing the bible as the ultimate instruction guide and denying science…Today’s GOP at work, folks.