Saturday, October 29, 2011


SHANGHIED. Okay. Pay attention! Go immediately to and buy this book. I kid you not...this is the best book I think I've ever read...and my office is full of books. More I've written a book myself.

SHANGHIED is not a novel. The guy who wrote it, lived it. He was indeed shanghied..on to a huge cargo ship. He was 15 years old.

Trust'll never look at a cargo ship the same way again.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

War Casualties...

From Secrecy News...


Between January and June 2011, the United Nations documented 1,462 civilian deaths in Afghanistan, which was a 15% increase over the same six months the year before. Anti-government forces, e.g. the Taliban, were responsible for 77% of the casualties and pro-government forces were responsible for 12%. (The remainder were indeterminate.) These and other casualty figures were compiled from published sources by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in "Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians," September 30, 2011.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Geospatial Intel Agency...


The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) hired 600 to 700 new employees each year between 2005 and 2008, newly released budget documents indicate. Still, "the coming wave of retirement... presents significant risks that the program will lose valuable institutional knowledge and critical skills and capability."

These observations were presented in NGA's annual budget justification materials for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011 (pdf). Unclassified excerpts of the budget documents were released by NGA last week in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from the Federation of American Scientists.

NGA is an intelligence agency that provides all manner of imagery, mapping and other "geospatial intelligence" (GEOINT) products for national security as well as other applications. It is funded through the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and also through the Military Intelligence Program (MIP).

NGA products "support mission planning, mapping, environmental monitoring, urban planning, treaty monitoring, safe navigation, management of natural resources, homeland defense planning, emergency preparedness, and responses to natural and manmade disasters worldwide," the budget documents say.

Only a fraction -- perhaps 10% or so -- of the classified NGA budget documents survived the declassification process and were released under FOIA. Some of the coherent themes that emerge from the declassified documents include the transition to a new Agency headquarters at Fort Belvoir, which was completed last year, and the continuing integration of commercial satellite imagery into the NGA product line. The Agency's classified programs and activities (and spending levels) were not disclosed.

But many unfamiliar fine details of Agency operation and management were described. The National GEOINT Committee was established as an Intelligence Community body chaired by NGA to promote cross-discipline collaboration on GEOINT issues. Beginning in FY 2010, a program or process called "LEAR JET" was introduced as "a CI [counterintelligence] network monitoring tool to combat the cyber insider threat." And so on.

These budget justification materials are the first such documents to be released by NGA. The move invites the question: Why did the Agency release them? (This in turn is a subset of a broader question: Why and how does secrecy policy ever change?)

In this case, several factors leading up to release can be identified. First, there was a "demand" for the documents; they would not have been spontaneously released. Second, the Agency might have attempted to withhold them anyway, but a ruling by Judge Reggie B. Walton in a 2006 lawsuit against the National Reconnaissance Office found that such documents are subject to the FOIA.

But even that might not have been enough without an indispensable measure of good faith on the part of the Agency. "NGA wants to make it easy for the public to understand who we are," said NGA Director Letitia Long earlier this month.


Saturday, October 08, 2011

Having His Say....




Insurance agents don't come around much any more. Octogenarians with high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation diabetes, neuropathy, and pessimism don't figure to be a good risk.

Dying doesn't particularly bother me. My legacy does, and that isn't looking too good right now. I came into the world a few months after the start of the greatest depression in America history.

And now in my "golden years" things are happening that worry me. When I see a virtually unanimous effort to throw out a president, as happened in the Clinton presidency, I cringe knowing that's part of the legacy I will leave behind.

And I cringe that my country actually re-elected a president after there was compelling evidence he had cooked intelligence to start a war against a nation which represented no danger to ours.

The folks whose agenda is the same as the guy who started this mess in the first place have now drawn their line in the sand. With little mention of what their plan is, they harp on just one thing: Make Obama a one-term president.

I've always been an active participant in elections, and I'll be more so this time. I write, talk to people, exchange ideas on the Internet, and give dirty looks to folks who say "God bless you" when I sneeze.

The political party which motivates me to fuss so much isn't going it alone. They have backing from the folks who have the bucks and the know-how to buy anything they want. These folks count their small change in the billions have been buying up politicians as if there is a fire sale on them.

Nothing could be more disastrous to our country than to see even more of them in positions of power. For something to worry you before you've finished your first cup of morning coffee, contemplate what the results will be if the next couple appointments to the Supreme Court are dogmatic theists like Scalia and Thomas.

They will be fine if you don't mind a theocracy. And it will be even dandy if you don't mind paying the taxes which aren't paid by the minority who control the majority of the wealth.

And that's going to happen if we put more of those folks who only have to remember that obstruction will guarantee we won't have to look at an uppity Negro in the White House.

Yes I have heard that so often it sickens me. Even worse is when it's always accompanied by a claim of patriotism.

It isn't easy to take a stand as intransigent as the one I oppose because It's long been American chic to vote for the man, not the party. Dating back to my first election in 1952 I have routinely split my ticket and voted for candidates from both major parties.

No more! I insist that anything less than the reelection of our current president will be a disaster. The coattails of any of Republican will drag in more folks determined to not only crush liberals, but crush things they, themselves, refuse to believe because believing might take action and action might hurt next quarters profits for their employers.

Check the politics of the next person you hear claim climate change is a hoax. Check the politics of the next person who cries that taxes are un-American, especially taxes on the folks who own the oil well, coal mines, automobile factories which turn our air brown.

And above all check the politics of those who kept their promise and got government off the back of our financial institutions. You know, those guys who turned loose predatory lenders, invented a spanking new word "robo-signing," and turned six million people out of their homes.

Now, protesters are marching again, only this time it's called "occupying." Wall Street has been filled with protesters for more than a week. Other cities have followed. San Diego's media have been agog at how our laid back city came to life.

Suits me. I intend to take part in one next Monday. has organized a protest on the corner of University Avenue and College Avenue starting at noon.

Moveon is by any means of measure a left wing group. It started in 1998 to protest the brouhaha which brought about the impeachment of President Clinton and has held the line against right wing shenanigans ever since.

The local mover and shaker for Moveon is lady named Carolyn Zollender who seems to have been put on earth to keep people like me involved. Carolyn has done her homework, and resistance is futile when she gets going. I recently visited with her in her son's beauty salon. I disagreed with her on a point or so and next thing I knew I was backed into a corner. She knew her stuff and made sure I was aware of it as well.

When the current brouhaha over the current obstruction subsides we'll still have the party of obstruction pursuing it's goal of preventing the re-election of President Obama. I hope to be involved all the way.

My legacy demands it.


Thursday, October 06, 2011


San Diego had some! It started raining yesterday afternoon and rained a good portion of the night too. I was horrified. :)) But that disappeared before dawn and so on my way down to Acapulco for breakfast, blue skies and sunshine...tho I admit there were still some clouds floating around. So I'm content.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Whoa! Been Awhile Since I've Been Here...

I'm just going happily along, reading all about our politics. Love it that people are in the streets and protesting Wall Street's shenanigans. If I could I'd just wring the necks of those Wall Street greedy bastards.

And 2012 is getting closer and closer and still nobody to vote for for Prez. Fine state of affairs. I'm talkin' both Repubs and Dem here. If it were possible, I swear I'd vote for Warren. Time we had a female president...and she has excellent sense. The males running certainly don't seem to have any sense.

Been trying to find a writer to write a book on a guy...a former Ranger, who has done both Iraq and Afghanistan and who, I think, has one awful case of PTSD. Like the Vietnam vet who I wrote a book with based on his experiences, this Ranger says, "Sleep is my enemy." The Ranger, having read that book, wants me to write his. Problem is, I've never met him in person. I can't imagine doing a book concerning someone I've never met, using his real experiences. For this kind of book, I'm definitely a hands on writer. Ah me...