Posts Tagged ‘Wikileaks’

Letter From Claverack 03 07 2017 A day late but not necessarily a dollar short…

March 8, 2017

Written yesterday, having fallen into the arms of Morpheus before I could post or email…

This has been a very hygge kind of day.  There is a document I need to deliver to the Miller Center and I have been cozied up in the cottage all day working on it.  Outside, it has been drear, chill and damp.  Inside, it’s been warm and comfortable.

Waking, I started a fire in the Franklin Stove to help take the chill off the cottage.

Yesterday, I had started working on a document I owe the Miller Center on the Presidency and today I worked to complete the first draft so I could hone it tomorrow and send it off to them.

Since 7:00 this morning, I have been working.  First, I curled up in bed and handled the voluminous number of emails I receive. Then I made coffee in my Clever Coffee Dripper, a new investment on my search for a great cup of morning coffee. [Not bad…]

Since 9 this morning, I have been huddled over my laptop, working, sorting through a variety of documents, making sense of thoughts I’ve had.  It’s been good, exhausting but good.

It’s lovely to stretch my mind and this has been one of the greatest stretches of my recent time, putting together media recommendations for the Miller Center for the Presidency at this exact moment in time.

Wow! Juicy good.

Every morning I wake up and wonder what has happened while I’m asleep.  While it makes some of my friends crazy angry, I can’t do that.  It’s more like: Wow! At least to me.

There is a new Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare and in reading articles right now, it seems DOA.  Conservative Republicans hate it; Democrats despise it and to some it doesn’t make much sense.  The games have begun and we’re off to the races.

Yikes.  It’s a mess.

As is the claim by President Trump that former President Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump Tower.  The President has offered no back-up to his claim and has, per Sean Spicer, no regrets about his tweets.

Oh, dear.

Some of my friends wake up apoplectic about all of this.  I don’t.  History is playing out and I am very curious about history will play out.  It is incredible what is happening.

While the Trump allegations are playing out, Wikileaks has dumped a huge amount of information which lets us know that the CIA has been monitoring us through our Smart TVs, our phones and our cars.

We can’t blame this on Trump.  This has been going on before him.  Call me shocked.  What’s been going on?  Glad I don’t have a Smart TV but I do have a Smart Phone.  Wonder what they know about me?

This feels very “1984,” a book by George Orwell that became very popular after the Trump election.  All of this, though, started before that.

I, Joe Average Citizen, and I am a Joe Average Citizen, seem to have discovered my government is routinely spying on me and I am perturbed by that.

Really perturbed…

What world am I living in?  Has the CIA become the Stasi?  I am immensely confused by the world I am living in as it is not the world I expected.

Call me naïve. Call me stupid.  The CIA is watching our Smart TV’s?  My Smart Phone?

Wowza, that scary sci-fi future is here.

And so I am at home, doing my best to assimilate all this and also doing my best to be very hygge.  And it has been a hygge kind of day.

Great jazz.  Working on a project for which I have passion, fire in the Franklin Stove, watching the gray day slip by.  That has been hygge.  We need it, I suspect, in a world that seems to have gone mad around me.

Electing Hillary Clinton would have carried us safely down the stream for a while.  Donald Trump is forcing us to confront our democracy.

Oh, dear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From New York 08 02 2016 Going up the river…

August 3, 2016

The Hudson River flows south as I move north, the west bank is a wall of green and great, grey billowy clouds hover over the river with the sun now cutting between them to bathe me in light.  I am returning from a day in the city, a meeting with a client followed by a long lunch with my friend Nick.  An afternoon appointment cancelled and so I changed to an earlier train.

I haven’t written much lately.  Frankly, there has been so much to say about so many things I haven’t known where to begin or where to end.  There was the Democratic Convention last week.  I watched the finish of it the night I returned to the cottage after my Minnesota sojourn.

Hillary, who needed to be at her best, was at her best.  The Democrats were shadowed then and are today, by the hacking of the DNC’s emails, which were released by Wikileaks to the press.  Julian Assange, who is the head of Wikileaks, even while sequestered behind the walls of the Bolivian Embassy in London, timed it to do the most damage he could to Hillary, whom he reputedly despises.

Today, Amy Dacey, CEO of the DNC and two other officials resigned after the leaks demonstrated their bias to Clinton over Sanders.

Donna Brazile has replaced the much reviled Debbie Wassermann Schultz, former Chairperson.  Brazile is well liked and had been suggested by the Sanders camp as a possible replacement for Wassermann Schultz.

And we are all waiting to find out if the Russians were the ones who hacked the DNC as digital evidence seems to suggest which, of course, has led people to ask if Putin is working to influence our elections?

According to one poll, 50% of Americans think he is.  Would he try?  I am convinced there is very little he wouldn’t try.

Trump out trumps himself everyday as far as I can tell.  I am seated next to a friend of mine on the train who has confessed he has had panic attacks at the thought of a Trump Presidency.  He is not much given to panic attacks that I recall.

And Trump seems to find a new way to disturb me every day but nothing he does seem to sway his die hard supporters.

Jacques Hamel, the 86 year old French priest, who had his throat slit while saying Mass, was buried today.  He was killed by two teenage jihadists.  In honor to him, thousands of Muslims attended Mass on Sunday and appeared today at his funeral.

The Rio Olympics open this Friday and I am largely unenthusiastic.  The sports I am most interested in are aquatic and the reports of the condition of the water makes me cringe for the athletes who must compete.  I am not sure the pool water is safe and the open waters seem to be filled with human refuse and garbage.

I thought I was alone until my friend, Nick, echoed my thoughts.

The Syrian government and the Rebel forces are accusing each other of gas attacks.  It seems someone used gas in Syria.  We have forgotten the lessons of other wars or perhaps whomever did it felt justified because Saddam Hussein used it effectively against some of his citizens before he lost his place.

A friend of mine asked me a couple of weeks ago how we could still call Turkey a democracy?  Magical thinking…

As we move north up the Hudson, the heavy clouds have dispersed and the sun rules the river, silver light glinting off of silver water, reflecting against banks of green rising from river’s edge.

I tried to find something funny to end today’s post.  I googled “funny thing that happened today” and “laughable thing that happened today.”  It doesn’t seem anything “funny” or “laughable” happened today, according to Google’s current algorithms. 

But I did find this:  on August 2nd, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the beginning of all that has not yet ended.

Letter From New York via Minnesota, one more time 07 27 2016

July 27, 2016

I am seated in the Red Carpet Club at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Lindberg Terminal.  Lindberg, if you recall, was born in Michigan but spent his childhood in Little Falls, Minnesota.  His father was a Minnesota Congressman and the state has adopted him as if he were a native son. 

While not a member of the Red Carpet Club, I am a member of Amtrak’s Acela Club which gives me privileges at the Red Carpet Club. 

Outside the wall of windows, the day is grey and threatening rain.  My brother dropped me at the airport on his way to meetings in St. Paul and I have about an hour and a half before I board my flight back to New York.

It’s comfortable and quiet, just as this visit has been. 

In the course of my time here, I have done the usual things of seeing my family and friends. 

I went to the nursing home where my oldest friend, Sarah, has an aunt in the memory care unit.  I went twice, bringing her flowers both times.  She is 96, I think, though she identifies as being 102 or 103.  Her sister, Eileen, and Eileen’s husband, John, have been gone a number of years and as I left Aunt MeMe, she asked me to say hello to them when I got back to New York.  “If ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise,” from a poem by Thomas Grey seems apt here.  I did not remind MeMe that they are gone.  Let her live in the warmth of their presence inside her.

Yesterday, I went to the grave of my parents, unsure if I could find them.  The great tree that marked my father’s grave and which my mother and I used as a marker when we visited is now long gone but I did find their graves, surprising and pleasing myself.

Standing there, I wished all of us could have done better; me as a child to their parents and they as parents to the child I was.  We didn’t have an easy time of it. 

When I was young, one of the greatest childhood treats I could have was the popcorn at the Pavilion at Lake Harriet, its beaches my summertime playground. So I went there, looking to see if the popcorn was as good as it had been, though my nieces warned me it was not the popcorn of old.  There was no chance to make a decision; the popcorn machines were not working my last day in town.

Three was time with my brother, Joe, and his wife Deb, my other sister-in-law, Sally, who was Joe’s first wife, their two daughters, my nieces Kristin and Resa, a wine with Resa’s son, Emile.  Kristin runs Clancy’s Meats in Linden Hills and is, I think, the most famous butcher in the Twin Cities. We had a couple of dinners, loud with laughter and a couple of breakfasts with Sally, full of warm chatter.

It was family time, for the most part.  A good thing as family is centering as our wild world whirls around us. 

As I wait in the comfort of the Red Carpet Club, CNN is on the background.  Trump is speaking and the sound is so soft I cannot hear what he is saying. The banners in the lower third says he is all for getting along with Russia and that it’s “far fetched” that Russia is trying to help him.

Russians are believed to have hacked the DNC servers and then turned a treasure trove of nasty emails within the DNC over to Wikileaks who did what they do, leaked them to the press.  The exposure demonstrated the contempt of some for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.  The most notable head to roll is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who had been head of the DNC.  Didn’t even get to open the convention she had planned.

The Democratic Convention got off to a rocky start but a burningly intense Bernie Sanders did much to pull the party together as did a rousing speech from Senator Cory Booker [best moment so far, to me] and a brilliant address by former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright and several 9/11 survivors.

As my brother dropped me at the airport today, we discussed how much but how little time was left between now and the elections.  I sighed and said:  we’ll see more mud slung in this time than we have seen in our lives.

Letter From New York June 20, 2015 Of Pride Parades and Barbecues…

June 20, 2015

Yesterday, I started but didn’t finish my Letter. I was still writing when it came time to go to dinner and when I returned home from dinner my friend Lionel was here, sharing our traditional “cleansing vodka” before retiring. We got that name from a friend of mine’s grandmother, who would never go to bed until she’d had her “cleansing vodka.”

It is Pride weekend in Hudson, a tradition started just a few years ago here. The day began grey and overcast but at this moment, the sun has broken through with shadows and light playing across the deck, outside the dining room, where I am writing.

Today there will be, of course, a parade down Warren Street, which I will watch in my usual spot outside the Red Dot. In the evening my friend Matthew Morse will be hosting a barbecue at his house. The day is shaping up to be a pleasant Saturday.

Wikileaks had a very busy day yesterday.

They posted on their website 200,000 more Sony documents from the now infamous Sony hacking incident. And they began yesterday to release something like a half million documents from the Saudi government. Plus, yesterday, Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, celebrated his third anniversary holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Busy, busy, busy…

Not so busy as he was, Prince Harry, the playboy Prince, has left his career in the Armed Forces and is returning to civilian life. He will spend the summer working on conservation projects in southern Africa, where his foundation is based.

Dylann Storm Roof, the young man who allegedly shot to death nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, at a historic Black church, was arraigned to stand trial for nine murders. In court, via video link, families of the dead told him how they felt. At least one family told him that they forgave him.

A long time NRA Board Member, Charles Cotton, posted comments on a website, blaming the Pastor of the Church for the slaughter because he was for gun control. Pastor Pinckney was one of the victims. The comments have since been taken down and Mr. Cotton has been unavailable to reporters.

In Colorado, the prosecutors in the case against James Holmes, on trial for the death of 12 people in the Aurora Theater massacre, have rested their case. It is now the defense team’s turn.

In Oklahoma, Chancey Allen Luna, was sentenced to life in prison for the death of an Australian baseball player attending school in Oklahoma. Christopher Lane was shot in the back while out jogging. At one point, Chancey told police he did it because he was bored.

It is not news that Republicans want to repeal Obamacare. Who knows? They might get their way but if they do, there will be a cost. If they use an accounting method preferred by the GOP, it will cost about $130 billion. Using the Congressional Budget Office’s normal methodology, the cost is almost triple that. Hmmmm.

There has been a possible sighting of the two escaped murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, down near the Pennsylvania border. If true, it means they have covered a lot of territory since their escape, 15 days ago. They are on the “Most Wanted” list and there is a $50,000 reward for information leading to their arrest.

On June 19th, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, slaves were informed they had been freed by the Emancipation Act more that two years before. It has become known as Juneteenth, a holiday to celebrate liberation and empowerment for African-Americans. The statement made by Obama yesterday acknowledged the day and referenced the sorrow and mourning that marks the death of the Charleston Nine. We live in a world in which racism and bigotry are still very much alive.

In Australia, a straight married couple has pledged to divorce if same sex marriage comes to Down Under. A wag started a Facebook page asking people to pledge to party if they do divorce. 175,000 have joined the page and pledged to party hardy if the couple divorce, both straight and gay are represented.

Ah, the sun has slipped back behind the clouds and the land has turned a shade of grey again. Soon, I will go off to the Parade and then my barbecue. Hope your day is as pleasant as mine promises to be.

Letter From New York August 4, 2010

August 4, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

As I write this, I am sitting outside, on the deck, overlooking Claverack Creek, sunlight glinting off water so clear the bottom of the creek is visible; cicadas thrum in the woods that surround the cottage, NPR plays on the radio, amusing and informing me.

There was no letter last week as on Sunday, when I sat down to write, I found myself locked out of my computer – turns out I needed a keyboard replacement, and so I found myself without my trusty laptop for a week while it was worked on. I discovered myself feeling very edgy, as if I were constantly searching for something I had lost. I write this in my time away from the office and in my time away from the office I did not have my trusty MacBook and found it difficult to work. So, late on Thursday, I was overjoyed when the laptop was returned to me in working condition. Now I have to plow through all the emails that have accumulated to see if there are any I might have missed as I was improvising in finding ways to answer them.

This unfortunate incident happened while I was weekending at the home of my friends, Joyce and Jeffrey, who summer on Martha’s Vineyard and had generously invited me to spend some time with them there. It was while I was languidly sitting on their veranda, soaking in the beauty of the water lapping on the boats at anchor in Edgartown harbor while listening to the coughing splutter of the launches puttering from boat to boat that this misfortune befell me and, at first, I felt it was a sign from the universe that I shut off work and continue my literary indulgence of reading Sherlock Holmes short stories, digestible bites of innocent intellectual satisfaction.

Returning to work, it was another story, certainly more painful and certainly revelatory in the degree of dependence I have upon my main digital device – deprivation from which was quite like, I suspect, being denied a necessary medication upon which one has become dependant for functioning. In other words, unpleasant.

While I was somewhat disconnected from the digital universe, the universe itself continued on…

Chelsea Clinton got married to her long time beau, Mark Mezvinsky, on Saturday in the lovely Hudson Valley hamlet of Rhinebeck, an event I noticed mostly because my Friday train home crawled out from Rhinecliff Station [Amtrak stop for Rhinebeck]. The train tracks apparently run directly along the edges of the estate where they were married and there was concern some luckless paparazzi would lose his or her footing while crawling on the embankments over the tracks and end up on them rather than above them.

Vastly more important than the Clinton wedding was the leak of tens of thousands of secret Afghan documents by Wikileaks.org, a website devoted to, well, leaks… From what I’ve cleaned, it is a site run by volunteers, 1200 around the world, and led by a man named Julian Assange, a former hacker out of Australia. They didn’t uncover the information; they simply published it. The actual whistleblower is suspected to be a 22-year old soldier who allegedly smuggled classified information out of his office disguised as Lady Gaga albums. He then provided them to Wikileaks and then Wikileaks made an alliance with the New York Times, the U.K.’s Guardian and Germany’s Der Spiegel and the rest is history…

Secretary Gates has questioned the morality of what they have done – names were named and it is possible, perhaps even highly likely, there will be reprisals. The leaked documents raise the question of whether or not the Pakistanis are working with us or against us. Apparently the documents can be read either way. The Administration points out, perhaps futilely, that the documents are all at least two years old, all 80,000 of them. What they do, it seems, is provide a history of the Afghan War, a long and bitter fight from which we are far from finished.

They are also a testament to the changes being wrought by the technology we utilize; thousands of documents can find their place in the sun with a single keystroke, igniting controversy and providing more information than we would have been able to obtain in another age, all because someone seemed to be using Lady Gaga for cover…