Target, NSA, the House of Reps, and Life in a Land with no Irony

Snapchat-1New Orleans   Let’s get this straight, ok? 

            So, it’s clear that the NSA has trolled through all of our telephone calls and likely has stored most of our emails on metadata back-up servers somewhere 50 to 100 feet below ground in Kansas or Nebraska or North Dakota or somewhere. 

            Now Target has come forward and said the hackers didn’t get just a couple of million credit card and pin numbers so that they could power up the cards for purchases, but that the number is more like 70 million or one for almost every five people living in the USA.

            And, this Snapchat thing that somehow claims it’s cool if you post wild photos of yourself and your friends because your folks and future employers don’t bust you, because the messages disappear within minutes of posting, despite all kinds of warnings about its lax security then sees 4 million of its users info hacked through the egg dripping on their face.

            The moral seems to be that we should go back to cash in our pockets, masks on our faces, and maybe some discretion in our personal lives, while using hand signals to communicate sensitive information to our work colleagues, family, and friends.  And, of course never shop at Target, but since I didn’t in the first place, no reason to start now.

            At least those are the lessons I was drawing and you probably were as well, but it turns out that just proves we are not elected Congressman who are part of the majority party of Republican electeds in the House of Representatives.   They looked at the Target problem, the NSA mess, and all of this and decided after almost nonexistent debate that they would best serve the citizens of the country by passing a measure to require the Obama Administration to quickly report any breach in the www.healthcare.gov site where people enroll for Obamacare.

            Huh? 

And, this action was also taken in the wake of sworn testimony that rightwing hackers have tried to break into and shutdown www.healthcare.gov more than a dozen times in “denial of service” attacks where you try to overwhelm the site with mass email blasts.  So, in effect these distinguished Congressmen in the wake of all of this mayhem and attendant assaults on privacy, want to make sure that the Administration quickly reports to them and the rest of the country, if their associates on the rightwing fringe are successful to hacking the insurance site.

            There’s a level at which all of this is almost beyond hilarious, but perhaps more troubling than the lack of good governance and realistic public policy considerations, is the horror that in our modern lack of self-reflection, we may have all woken up to find that we now live in a world that has lost any sense of irony or embarrassment at the ridiculousness of our situation

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Gold Hidden in Dodd-Frank

Dodd-Frank-ReformNew Orleans Wow!  A seasonal surprise!!  It turns out that there were a couple of pieces of gold hidden in the hills and valleys of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act that I had overlooked and that have international impact.   Retailers are required to report annually on the origin of minerals used in products from war-torn central Africa, thereby looking to strike a blow against “conflict” resources!

According to the Wall Street Journal our buddies Wal-Mart and Target had waged a huge war of their own to try and convince the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exempt them.  As we all remember Wal-Mart was somehow successful in its battle first for and then against healthcare reform to win an exemption from the provisions of that new act based on its slim pickings health plan currently in place.

The retailers association head whined that the SEC just didn’t understand the “supply chain,” which only means that they want the rule to be caveat emptor – the buyer beware rather than having to take any responsibility for how much blood might be on their hands and later wiped off not by them as the purchaser but by the consumer way down the line.  For a change the SEC held strong.

In another good play the SEC is requiring big oil to disclose how much they pay foreign governments for resource rights, hoping to bring some transparency to the global casino of bribery and corruption in the name of natural resources for developed countries at the rack and ruin of developing nations.  This is also very, very good news.

What’s up these days that we find out what’s going on diplomatic work seems mainly about business and we learn about it from Wikileaks and we can’t curb Wall Street or the banks, but their reform produces international victories?  We must be living in an era of the head fake and the sleight of hand, but for a change score one for us, rather than another for them!

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