No Sides Just Eyes Wide Open


 It was neither the Best nor Worst of times; the People were confident, Leadership floundered

Despite legions of evidence and experience to the contrary, many in Washington believe higher taxes drive economic efficiency more so than good old-fashioned best in class American productivity. These seeing-eye economists presume two points; higher taxes will inspire investment and productivity, and higher taxes can actually be collected. In reality the genuinely rich remain the least likely to be affected by higher taxes.

Numerous studies, to include one published by the Hoover Institute, chronicle what happens when governments attempt to levy higher taxes on the rich. The article revealed that on one hand US tax rates were increased, but the rich still got their way. More than eighty percent of the income earned by those eligible to pay at the new higher tax rates vanished into thin air, as did the revenues the government had hoped to collect. Not surprisingly, vast amounts of money that might have been invested in the economy were instead invested in tax-exempt securities.

Corporations and individuals behave similarly with regard to taxes on their profits and incomes; no matter, the US Corporate tax rate remains the highest in the industrialized world. Today corporations and the rich have many legal options to shelter their earnings beyond the reach of carnivorous tax collectors, and individual tax exiles are younger than ever before.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a study which analyzed the public filings of the top 100 U.S. publicly trade companies, reported these firms have parked nearly 1.2 trillion dollars of profits in low tax jurisdictions abroad. Many G20 nations back a plan to overhaul international tax rules that today allow companies to shift their profits to lower-tax jurisdictions, regardless of where those profits were earned. The French having recently considered markedly raising taxes saw hundreds simply relocate into the welcoming arms of Belgium, even when required to pay an exit tax.

Washington remains committed to higher tax rates that don’t assure higher revenues, and a lack of clarity regarding fiscal policy, particularly spending. While both weigh heavily on business confidence and planning, spending controls are unlikely to prove potent absent meaningful economic expansion. Certain legislatively mandated spending increases have merely been delayed until a time when they might be less visible. No significant bankable spending reductions are in process other than dramatic reductions in overall military budgets – announced on the eve of Russia’s second armed invasion of an independent former Soviet state.

Fact Check projects U.S. total debt to double between 2009 and 2016, debt substantially driven by entitlement spending and interest payments on prior debt. Washington is addicted to printing and borrowing trillions to meet needs current productivity hasn’t. While the challenges are substantial, printing and borrowing in conjunction with phantom spending reductions can’t be described as leadership. Coupled with self-inflicted forfeitures of global influence and collaterally diminished national security, a radically altered vision of American greatness is emerging.

Leadership that embraced a cogent vision of historical American resilience and resolve would advance a plan that supports: reductions in debt, comprehensive entitlement reform, private sector managed initiatives to expand GDP, long term capital investment, increased fundamental R&D, incentives to promote study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and maintenance of a preeminent but restrained military.

In a season where the challenges are many, serious, and varied, the American people are increasingly uninformed about domestic and global politics and events. This predilection for not knowing, dependence on entitlements, and addiction to conjecture about government-controlled redistribution of wealth, greatly expands the power of oracle Washington. Americans no longer have a shared faith, nor is acknowledgement or embrace of faith welcome in the public space.

A leaderless, uninformed, dependent, addicted, and faithless America, can still find it’s way anew, but this will require an immediate and urgent change of course consistent with past coordinates of greatness.

Is Now Ever Another Time


 Principles and Practices ultimately reveal People and true Priorities

The United States (US) occupies an extraordinarily fortuitous swath of geography, large oceans port and starboard, and accommodating neighbors fore and aft with whom it shares productively entangled economic interest and relatively unforced cultural civility. The US has no military competitors of consequence anywhere in the western hemisphere. It’s nuclear arsenal and delivery systems provide global deterrence against all sober would-be aggressors. The US is one of only four countries in the world with sufficient agricultural capacity to exercise food power, a power it has never exercised.

These conditions substantially shape the worldview of many Americans, more so than positions espoused by government or journalist. This worldview is also influenced by the fairly recent and important achievement of net US energy independence. To many these conditions make the notion of an America that minds its own business seem both plausible and compelling. However, today security depends on more than territorial sovereignty, and controlled access to food, clothing, shelter, and energy.

A recent Economist magazine article concluded, “the US economy is slowly clawing its way back”. While many other noted publications agree, huge economic challenges nevertheless abound (national debt, stagnant GDP, unemployment, entitlement reform). It is critical that American’s understand the primacy of America’s military and global influence is determined first by the underlying strength of the American economy.

Americans struggle to understand the connection between security and global economic stability. This derives from the perception of self-sufficiency, a truly noble respect for the rights and wishes of others, intervention fatigue, and fear. However, leadership that perceives inflexible isolation to be inviolately in America’s national interest, actually assaults and insults Americans. Sober moral courageous leadership provides more abiding security than economics, geography, force, and transient self-sufficiency.

Circumstances and despots change, but principled responses to narcissistic vision and actions had better remain the same. An enduring facet of such challenges is the tumultuous debate they precipitate within free democratic societies, such as that beginning in 1939 between United Kingdom conservatives Chamberlin (conciliation) and Churchill (pre-emptive confrontation). Fear and fatigue are human conditions not political persuasions.

Contemporary posture, sentiment, and rhetoric suggests the following casting: the European Union as Chamberlin and Churchill, Congress as Joseph Kennedy and Cordell Hull, Russia as Germany, Gazprom as Poland, China as Japan in black face, fracking as the Manhattan Project, and Iranian nuclear misdirection as death camp plagiarism.

Many would argue, as a gifted playwright, novelist, and journalist once declared; now is another time. Perhaps. Are the details of now actually sufficiently different from then to justify reprising demonstrable impotent embrace of conciliation and accommodation over effectual renouncement? Not surprisingly, just as jazz musicians utilize chords changes and rhythm as templates to construct interpretive solos, the Left and the Right only know how to exploit volatility, no matter how dangerous, for self-promotion.

It would appear Americans and Western Europeans have the same opinion regarding next steps to tame the initiative of a by gone Empire that lost both its territorial girth and global influence, words but no sticks or stones. The last time around tactical-clemency eventually turned the gas on. This time around strategic-clemency is likely to first turn the gas off.

A Digital Tipping Point – Chose One and Lose the Other, or Inovate (Part 1 of 3)


The security requirements (cloaking) of next generation Virtualization are antithetical to the security requirements (covert visibility) of Surveillance

PRESERVING SURVEILLANCE AT THE EXPENSE OF NETWORK CENTRIC ADVANCES: The government has determined that various threats to national security require timely surveillance of certain digitally articulated data and information. It has granted to the National Security Agency (NSA) authority to capture, analyze, and retain specific digitally articulated metadata (“outside of the envelope”), and presumably under court monitored guidelines, the information (“inside the envelope”, e.g. email, voice mail, instant messages, and text) of certain individuals and entities. This is a challenging assignment for NSA, who many consider the most competent surveillance organization in the world.

The impact of certain threats that many (government, business, and public) face today, and the debilitating fears they can elicit, are not new in the human experience. However, the ability of so few, to bring unprecedented anguish and catastrophe (assault, espionage, interloping, piracy, and subversion) to bear on so many is new. The knowledge and efficiency with which the few operate today, derives substantially from the same proficient Digital Ecosystem that delivers so much benefit. Provided new substantially more capable security technology, it will deliver ultra-secure virtualization (on-demand access to digital resources, services, applications, strategic-bit-torrents, edge-of-network-cache, and single-use-intranets), leveling the global digital playing field.

Current Surveillance technology and operations are conflicted with Virtualization

SIMILAR CAPABILITY – DIFFERENT OBJECTIVES: National Security Agency (NSA) contract employee Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the federal governments Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management (“Prism” system), used to facilitate covert surveillance and collection of foreign intelligence information was an egregious breach of trust. In contrast, similar systems are being used by commercial service providers, unscrupulous competitors, foreign sovereigns and their multi-national companies, to covertly access the digitally articulated personal and proprietary information of global institutions, businesses, and consumers (“Mining” programs).

These revelations bring to light serious concerns regarding privacy as it relates to both national security practices, and protection of US citizens and businesses proprietary information. The notion that “going dark” (privacy) dangerously impairs national security repudiates advances in covert location, contact, confederate, and dossier technology.

The Digital Ecosystem can’t differentiate Nefarious from Principled Users or Usages

IRREFUTABLE TECHNICAL CONFLICT: User-controlled-cloaking, and covert-visibility are critical to virtualization and surveillance respectively. Both are strategically compatible in that they can provide personal, commercial, and national security benefits. However, the means by which each is presently enabled are irrefutably technically incompatible. Red and blue administrations, corporate, institutional, and thought leaders, along with millions who take privacy and security for granted, presume the only issues related to surveillance are who, what, when, and why.

The Elephant in the room is How to enable both Virtualization & Surveillance

IRREFUTABLE OPERATIONAL CONFLICT: Network centric application service “providers” such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook, often act as trusted-third-parties (TTP) of their customer’s personal and proprietary (private) information, as often do communications service providers such as ATT, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner. The current national-security-operating-model allows the courts to legally compel such TTP to covertly (without the customer’s knowledge) produce their customer’s private information. Nevertheless, many providers’ business models rely on even more customer private information than that sought by the government. Their exploitation of client information (revealed in the fine print and authorized by insufficiently sophisticated customer’s) is for all intents and purposes “clandestine”.

The Customer’s Info is Mine to mine – I may provide/sell the Customer’s Info to Others

IRREFUTABLE LOSS OF CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE: Questions arising from operational conflicts abound: When better informed about the nature and extent of sharing and mining of their private information for national security or commercial purposes respectively, will customers snap with outrage from their current state of hopeful reliance, and what other choices will they have? Will the compromise of their customer’s private information, even in accordance with lawful national security initiatives, provide sufficient “cover” against customer backlash? What unintended consequences will the accumulation of increasingly large caches of proprietary business and personal information (enabled by third-party-controlled security) foment in the years to come? When these providers bring to market next generation virtualization capabilities, will they have sufficient customer credibility to again be called upon as trusted-third-parties?

Only Customer-Managed Security can interdict Covert/Clandestine access of Client Data

CONSENT DOESN’T CONNOTE RESOLUTION: Consent has no impact on resolving technical and operational conflicts, nor does it reflect likely customer privacy preferences. Nevertheless, the government believes national security interests out weigh the needs of institutions, businesses, and the public for privacy, which is fundamental to virtualization.

Confident of the beneficial impact of covert surveillance on national security objectives, legislators have provided NSA the funding, and the courts have confirmed its actionable authority under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), supported particularly in cryptography by the Invention Secrecy Act (ISA) of 1951. Nevertheless, the lawful consent of the Courts, and the silent consent of the People who retain limited expectations of privacy and limited awareness of likely collateral consequences, do not materially impact the conflict induced by surveillance technology and its operating model.

VIRTUALIZATION WILL FORCE CHOICE OR INNOVATION: The well-documented failures and limitations of current security technology (e.g. hybrid cryptography, forensics, and analytics) compel a fundamental new security technology breakthrough. It must be capable of securing the entire digital ecosystem (terrestrial and wireless network connected users, platforms, devices, apps, data, and content), while enabling ultra secure free-agent virtualization (the ability to choose from among many efficient and cost competitive remote providers from task-to-task and session-to-session, and on-demand single-use-intranets compatible with existing Internet infrastructure). The technology must also enable expeditious administration and collaborative oversight of surveillance.

Institutions, Business, and Consumers may not always agree to subordinate the powerful benefits & value of Virtualization in favor of the current Surveillance model