In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


Open Thread || December 31, 2013

176 thoughts on “Open Thread || December 31, 2013”

  1. The personal e-mail account of a State Department whis­tle­­blower was hacked, and four years worth of messages — some detailing alleged wrongdoing at the agency — were deleted, The Post has learned.

    The computer attack targeted the Gmail account of Diplomatic Security Service criminal investigator Richard Higbie, his lawyer, Cary Schulman, confirmed.


    The alleged coverups include keeping quiet separate IG investigations that found that members of then-Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s security detail had engaged hookers and that the Belgian ambassador had solicited underage prostitutes.

    These were among a string of investigations by the service, responsible for protecting dignitaries and investigating crimes within the department, that were allegedly derailed by senior officials, including one instance of interference by Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.


    1. Always make copies…screen shots, save to other devices, even paper!
      I have made so many “insightful” :-) comments the past few days but alas, I have been in commenting purgatory. Today I am no longer confined.
      Happy New Year!

      1. Happy New Year to you, too, Aileen!

        One thing I found interesting was the burglary of Schulman’s office. Police have arrested a “petty thief” who supposedly cut open a hole in the wall and stole three computers yet left behind other valuable stuff. That doesn’t sound quite right.

          1. Read an article earlier about the robots in Airports for identification of people flying.
            I am fed up with all the cameras all over the place.
            I found out several weeks ago, certain stores can tape customers conversation as well.
            All the dictators of years past would have just loved this technology we are shoving onto the American People!!
            Telling us it is for our security. Hah! We have a terrible attack last year. What good did the spying on us do.
            NONE! A man went to smoke a cigaretter in his backyard and spotted the criminal with his own eyes!
            Can you imagine what our children and grandchildren will have to deal with? Instead of spying on us. How about putting cameras 10 feet apart on the border?

    2. When I read that earlier, it really disturbed me. Stories like this don’t seem to be ringing any alarm bells in the general public. And, Lee, I like your comment about the border. All these cameras and all this spying on innocent citizens, why not deploy this effort to a place where we know the law is being broken several times a day.

      As for the infants of today, they will grow up never knowing what it is like to be free, to have an innocent childhood, where you can play in the yard (yes, playing cowboys and indians, shooting pretend guns), where you can fly the flag if you want to, have a nativity, speak out without being audited, and walk down the street without your every move being recorded, filmed, and analyzed.

      1. I was discussing this very topic with someone today.
        We “elders” must stand for the values and beliefs that we know are proven to instill self discipline, and self reliance…and freedom.
        If we do not stand, who will? Scary, isn’t it?

  2. The State Department is not commenting on reports that Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed framework for a final peace deal between Israel and a Palestinian state that would have American troops pulling security in the Jordan Valley.

    Kerry supposedly would have U.S. troops in the Jordan Valley to prevent anti-Israel elements coming out of Jordan reaching Israel through the new state, according to reports in the London-based daily A-Sharq al-Awsat and Debkafile, an Israeli intelligence and security news service.


    Samantha Power reportedly is ecstatic.

    1. This is from an interview in 2002 in which Power said what she would recommend do if she were an adviser to the president.

      Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?


      Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing—or investing, I think, more than sacrificing—billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence.


        1. There are programs that screen capture everything before they disappear down the rabbit hole.
          It takes a “snapshot” of a webpage that will always be online even if the original page disappears. Check out

    2. I can’t find it, but I read something the other day about FCMABBHO’s proposal that the Israelis remove their troops along the border with Jordan and to insert US troops in order to prevent arms flowing through the region to Syria.

  3. Happy New Year to all!

    And to Keith, congrats on your well-deserved win for “Best White House Coverage” in the 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards.

    1. Thank you for posting about Keith. Congrats, Keith! WHD is an awesome blog – great reporting and a great community.

      Best wishes to all for a fabulous New Year!

  4. Pregnant nurse fired for refusing flu vaccine. I saw her interview on Fox. and it is listed on Drudge. She did her reseach on the vaccine and felt it was harmful to her baby.
    Can you imagine your telling you what to do with your baby?
    Would you feel safe being treated at that hospital?

      1. It certainly is a concern, @gracepmc. The Olympic’s games are inspiring and bring a hope that all nations and people could compete peacefully in all fields no matter their differences.

        As awful as it sounds, I’m rooting that Putin puts the boot down on the terrorists who threaten to make the world meeting a violent event.

          1. This could be a big deal. Suspect this has been in the works for some time. And Putin has other domestic problems as well as being stretched on the international scene.

            Andrew Kuchins, Director of Russian and EastAsia Program at CSIS was on Fox earlier today. I hope they use him more often. Give a listen if you get the chance — not all hype.

          2. I believe it was around that time. I suspect that Putin is not surprised and did not have to read about it in the morning paper and so far, has not attributed it to a video — so there is that.

            This could get ferociously ugly. Innocents will die. It is sad.

          3. Yes, innocent people will die. What once was a (somewhat) noble cause–to kick the Soviets and their heirs out of the Caucasus–has been co-opted by the Wahhabists.

            I’m reminded of a Christmas I spent with my grandmother in a Memphis suburb in the 90s. The anchor pronounced Chechnya as “Chech-NIGH-ah”.

            I’m struck dumb by people who think this is just Putin’s problem. Don’t they remember the Boston bombings?

      2. The security of the actual venues probably will be fine, but the Muslims are showing that elsewhere is a different story. Remember the bombing of Moscow’s metro, and two planes in 2004? Not longer after the planes were blown to bits, Beslan happened.

        1. There are very few direct flights to Sochi. Apparently there is an Istanbul Sochi direct flight. Everyone else has to stop somewhere.

          This will be very tough for Putin to combat.

          1. I would be nervous about taking ANY plane to ANY airport in Russia. And, I’d be keeping my kid home from school until the Olympics are over.

    1. The Olympics, the issue of gay athletes and now terrorism could be an opportunity for Putin and Obama. But Putin blew it with the anti gay bias and now am just waiting for Obama. He is so thin skinned and Putin has embarrassed him time and time again. Add in Obama’s reluctance to even recognize Islamic terrorism let alone defend against it and I am not hopeful.

        1. If that’s true, I am glad that we offered to help with security. Glad but surprised. Common enemy.

          Let’s hope that Putin is not stupid about this. As I said earlier, it could be an opportunity for good. Despite the fact that both world leaders, in my opinion, are not men of honor, it would be good if they did the right thing.

        2. lol. Sure he is; there’s nothing he’d like better than having American armed troops on the ground in Russia…
          MrPutin wouldn’t even want our spooks there either.

          Let’s face it; Russia is about to clamp down hard on each and every dissident, or suspected renegade. No way is he going to allow HIS Olympics be hijacked by anyone.

          1. There have been attempts at shared information regarding terrorists. You may recall the Russian/American info exchange on the Tsarnaev Boston Bomber Brothers. Which the US chose to dismiss apparently.

            That said, here is an interesting article (again from Europe) about the incident. What I thought was interesting that the Monday bomber apparently was a “home grown” terrorist. He was a Russian. Not from the Caucasus who converted to Islam.

            Also note Dagestan and remember that Mama Tsarnaev et al are from there or at least have contacts there.

            Just sayin ‘ re. cooperation. Americans will be in Sochi in high numbers.

          2. Sorry, Grace, I should read ALL comments before I start typing. But in spite of knowing Putin’s background, I have to say I am with him on stomping out the terrorists. They are more on his doorstep than ours. And we should be pressuring no country to endorse the decadent life style the left has pushed onto the US.

          3. I am all for stomping out Islamic terrorists wherever they are and for supporting that action by others. That said, I have no confidence in Obama or his foreign policy or national security people. So perhaps, it is moot.

            Personal sexual preference should not be an issue in the Olympic games. IMO. There’s enough politics attached to them as it is.

        3. Sorry to say this, but with Obama and Benghazi, I don’t think his offer of help means that much. I’m very sorry to have to say that about my country, and I feel insecure with this President. Then, remember the Boston Marathon! Putin gave information to us which was not acted upon.

          1. With Putin, you at least know where you stand. I doubt the terrorists will be given any leniency. Obama’s DOJ, on the other hand, would be all about protecting the civil rights of the terrorists, dead and injured civilians be damned.

      1. Oblamer will probably send them a re-run of the famous “Anti-Islamic Video” just to stir up strife & help them. Then we’ll hear those famous words…”I didn’t know!!”

  5. I’ve inherited one of my mother’s superstitions, cleaning the house for the New Year, so I’ll just say right now that I wish a good year to all the bloggers on WHD and of course to the proprietor. May we all prevail in turning the country back on its head in 2014!

    I was thinking this morning, wouldn’t it be funny if this revival and misrepresentation of the Benghazi story was due to Bubba thinking he would help his wife out? Nah, more like it her. But the controversy has legs, and that’s the last thing Hillary or Obama would have wanted.

    Happy New Year! Hic.

    1. Right back atcha’, @Julie. It’s time to take down the Christmas tree, back in the closet for another year, God Willing.

      As for the new year, it might prove to be an exciting year for all of us as the elections near, and maybe, just maybe we can right our ship of state before we end up like the Concordia -stuck on the rocks.
      My plan is to focus on the good stuff.

  6. All of the people that comment on this site are intelligent, informed, witty, and I enjoy reading them.
    I was curious as to where you all hail from.
    It appears we are a pretty fair sample of the demographics of this Nation.
    Chime in if you wish.
    No need for cities or towns.
    I will start.

    1. Born and raised here, college here, master’s in Alabama. Four years abroad (Japan, Libya, Canada), Nine in suburban Chicago, twelve in New England, three in upstate New York….retired here in the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
      I too enjoy the comments on this blog so much each day from the intelligent and thinking individuals who come here.

        1. 1970-1979, Park Forest, three years; South Holland, three years; Long Grove (Lake County) three years.
          My sons attended Kildeer School in the little antique village of Long Grove…you may have known the little place.

      1. I envy you.
        I love seafood, and you have access to some of the best.
        When I was serving in the Air Force, we had the duty of maintaining equipment throughout the Northeast.
        I remember the meals along the coast, lobster, crab, fresh fish.
        Man,…that was good.

    2. Slavic Immigrant family settled in PA. First gen. American.

      Army brat. International career.

      Came to FL to be with my father. Passed.

      Blessed with many “homes” and quality friends and faith.

      A good thing, since I am rootless, curious and restless and wherever I go I go with me.

      Happy New Year to all of you. And thanks to you all and Keith for providing

    3. I’m in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada, where I can look out my window and see the ocean every day.

      To Swedish Lady – congrats on Sweden’s win over Russia today. And I’m thrilled – Canada beat the USA!

    4. Texan by choice. Living the good life in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Have a wonderful New Year everybody! 2014 is going to be a doozy.

    5. There is no wonder why the comments that appear on this site are so wise.
      So grounded in common sense.
      My goodness, just look at the experiences we all have had.
      True wisdom comes from the endurance of life’s trials.
      I didn’t think that my request would attract so many responses.

      Keith,…well done !
      This is a great site.

      Happy New Year to all.
      God Bless.

      1. I agree with AF Vet. I only wish everyone a Happy New Year.
        On this site I feel I am back in High School, in a class that we studied and discussed current events.
        Except now what I am reviewing, reading, learning from others, it is for the knowlege of my children’s future.

      1. ;o). You say tomato…I say lycopersicon esculentum.

        Washington born and raised…Oregon at heart…spent some time in the P.I. In the 3rd grade when I asked my mom what my nationality was, she told me I was a Blue Bellied Yankee.

    6. Thank you, AFVet, for starting this thread. There is strength in numbers. I always feel fortified when I come here. The best of the New Year to Keith, his family, and the WHD family here!!

    7. I’m an AZ native, born in a copper mine hospital, raised in a small town where the AF base trained fighter pilots and now live in the burbs of Phoenix. My parents and older siblings came from Ohio and KY back in the ’40’s, and lived on an Indian Reservation several years where my dad taught school.

      I also enjoy the comments on this blog and appreciate how everyone has helped me keep my sanity this past year or so.

      1. A little late (aka, hungover) for this thread:
        -Born & raised New Jersey (Garden State Parkway exit 117 :-)
        -High school in Minnesota
        -US Navy, homeport Va Beach (with 2 Mediterrean cruises)
        -curently in Delaware…(but I want to live-work in the cesspool of Washington DC :-)

  7. Keith, congratulations on your oh so well-deserved Fabulous 50 award! Couldn’t get through these miserable years without you and your brilliant readers! On another front, MOTUS won the award for the best blog on the First Lady (?!?). Between the two of you, the first grifters must be ready to shut down the internet. How sweet it is!

    Wishing you and all the WHD readers a very Happy New Year. That said, what the (bleep) is Sonia Sotomayor doing in Times Square tonight with the Clintons??? It wasn’t enough that she showed up as a presenter at the Kennedy Center Honors last week? WTH ! Looks like SCOTUS is now officially a branch of the Obama/Clinton White House. Is it possible we might see a Sotomayor/Roberts presidential ticket in the not so distant future. Black robe celebrities…who woulda thunk it.

      1. Hispandering for Hillary – spot on, Grace. During the Kennedy Center Honors, I thought she was going to break into a West Side Story medley. She ought to turn in her black robe for a Broadway chorus line job. She obviously loves the spotlight.

    1. Democrat Metaphor of the Year Award goes to….
      Sonia Sotomayer who will drop the ball in Times Square this year. Is she filling in for Justice Roberts?!
      Second and third runner-ups: Obama and Hillary, who always drop the ball.

    1. Yes Otis,…the game is afoot.
      The game that the liberals play when they have the media in their control.
      The game that they play when they see defeat on the horizon.
      2014 is going to be interesting.
      The liberals are desperate to gain the total control of this Country that they so desire to achieve in the next election.

      We cannot allow that to happen.

      1. I am sure there are a lot of people who read but are not commenting yet.
        As far as AFVet asking where everyone was from, I did enjoy and appreciate that.

        1. Though I never comment I read you daily…a place of peace in an otherwise tumultuous world. Originally from Michigan, I now live 6 months in Colorado & 6 months in Indonesia. Perspective is a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  8. Doozie of the Day:
    I was in my car listening to Mark Steyn, who was filling in for Rush today. He was talking about spyware and an article in Der Spiegel, which can be found on CNN online. I’ve cut and pasted the essence, except for the part when Steyn talked about FedEx and UPS shipping the computers. Both companies deny “participation” but circuitously danced around answering if they have known about the program. I can’t believe the snooping in relegated just to computers being shipped – what about the computers that are bought directly from Best Buy or wherever?

    According to Der Spiegel, a German magazine that published some of the documents, the unit’s interception techniques are worthy of James Bond: intercepting a computer being shipped to a target and installing spyware before it is delivered; supplying an altered monitor cable that transmits everything on a computer’s screen to the NSA; or planting a USB plug with a secret radio transmitter.

    The unit, called Tailored Access Operations, also uses hacking in addition to spy craft. The most basic method involves phishing, sending an e-mail that lures a target into clicking on it and unknowingly downloading NSA spyware. More sophisticated techniques include identifying exploitable computer vulnerabilities by eavesdropping on a target’s error messages; tracking a target’s cookies to shadow their Internet use; and even surreptitiously diverting a target’s web surfing to phony replica web pages of commonly used sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

  9. Did any of you see this report about NSA intercepting deliveries and planting spyware on computers and electronics? They supposedly are also hacking into Microsoft crash reports.

    The feds haven’t denied this, and UPS and FedEx haven’t offered any explanations either. So now you know, if your delivery is delayed, perhaps you should do a thorough inspection of your electronics.

    1. AZ, I posted this story 4 hours ago, but it’s been stuck in moderation. I was listening to Mark Steyn today, he was filling in for Rush. I betcha the computers have the spyware right off the assembly line. Wouldn’t matter if they were shipped or not. No point in inspecting the computer – from what I’ve read the bug is undetectable and the only reason we have an inkling of the story is due to Snowden. It was first published in Der Spiegel.

      1. Sadie, I didn’t notice that you had posted the same thing earlier. I’m so sorry! The NSA has gone too far and needs to be stopped!

        I remember an earlier article, where it said the NSA could remotely turn on/off the camera in computers to spy on people. Fortunately my computer doesn’t have a camera. Otherwise, I’d plaster a band-aid over the top of it.

      2. If these were ordinary civilians doing stuff like this, they’d be locked up for the rest of their lives.

        But since these are government officials, they can break whatever laws they darn please, and no one will do a thing.

        We SERIOUSLY need the GOP in full control come 2017, so that this “above the law” mindset in the government class can be eliminated root and branch. Throw a few of these snoops in Leavenworth for a couple of decades, and maybe The People might trust the government within a generation.

  10. Sadie and AZ Granny: How about a class-action suit against UPS and FedEx? Sure, the attorneys will get most of the cash, but the benefits to consumers and Americans will be more than sufficient compensation.

    1. I think that’s an excellent idea, Mandy. It’s time something was done to stop the NSA. I wonder though, would you have to have been spied upon or have found spyware planted by the NSA in order to have a more substantial claim?

  11. Knothead the Not Nabob

    ABC’s Dick Clark New Year’s Celebration is pathetic.
    Happy New year to all and a reminder to Vote and Voice your choice in 2014.

      1. Folks, imagine what life will be like for us and our descendants if we allow our border to penetrated by groups who want to kill us.

        1. Our border already has already been penetrated by terrorist groups. Each year thousands of OTM’s (other than Mexicans) enter the US, many from terrorist countries and are suspected to have terrorist ties. A county sheriff spoke at a tea party meeting about two years ago and told us they found terrorist evidence discarded in the trash left by illegals in the desert. Also, he told us there was a special facility in AZ where 200-300 terrorists were jailed.

          This 2006 Homeland Security committee report gives statistics regarding terrorists, beginning about page 27. If it was this bad back when Bush actually detained and deported illegals, I can’t begin to imagine how many terrorists have flooded our country since Obama laid out the welcome mat.

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