Pentagon “investigation” of bombed hospital starts with assault vehicle smashing through gate

Obviously a suspicious site

US and Afghan troops drove a military vehicle through a locked gate at a Doctors Without Borders hospital, 12 days after the facility was hit in a deadly airstrike…

US and Afghan forces went to the hospital in Kunduz on 15 October as part of ongoing investigations into the 3 October strike that killed at least 24 people, some of whom burned to death in their beds.

A Pentagon spokesman, Captain Jeff Davis, said the troops were going to inspect damage and to determine if the structure could be rebuilt…

They had broken through that gate in the interests of safety and in the belief that MSF personnel were not on site,” Davis said.

“Unbeknownst to our team there, there were MSF personnel and they were understandably not happy that we had broken that.”

Davis said…that coalition forces would fix the gate this week.

You have to wonder if incompetent American coppers like those in Ferguson, Missouri, learn their craft from their peers in the US military — or vice versa.

An MSF spokeswoman confirmed the event to AFP last week, saying it occurred “despite an agreement made between MSF and the joint investigation team that MSF would be given notice before each step of the procedure”.

“Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear for the MSF team,” she said.

Anyone think Congressional Republicans will call for an investigation into a death-filled incident like this one? We only killed mostly volunteer medical staff and Afghans.

Insurance against cyber insecurity

You’ve heard it before: The cybersecurity world has a problem, or the world has a cybersecurity problem. From the Target and Sony hacks to the Office of Personnel Management breach that compromised data on up to 25 million Americans earlier this year, attacks on both public and private networks have been on the rise in the last several years. Congress, the private sector, and the security research community are trying to find a solution, but, with all due respect, some people are just flat-out missing the proverbial rub.

Much of the debate around cybersecurity, particularly in Congress, would lead you to believe that we face technical challenges that are nearly insurmountable, and that our best bet is to institute some form of better information sharing between the government and the private sector to come up with better guidelines for software vulnerability disclosure…

A report from Verizon earlier this year illuminates the alarming fact that 99.9 percent of cyber incidents involve known, and often patchable, software vulnerabilities. If we know what the problem is, what are the cyber-baddies really exploiting?

Despite the narrative, the crux of our current cyber problem is largely not technical at all, but instead comes down to organizational behavior. Bad security practices and poor investment in OPM’s IT security are largely culpable for that hack, and Sony was compromised via basic social engineering. The humans were the weaknesses in the system that the bad guys sought to exploit…

There are several ways that a free market behavior can influence a human behavior to offset these human vulnerabilities: through legislation…regulation and, in concert with or in lieu of the others, insurance premiums. Legislation and regulation are cumbersome and, once written, slow to change, which is not ideal in an environment as dynamic as cyberspace…Lawsuits are on the rise, but are also a slow lever for change. The final option is a thriving insurance marketplace.

In practice, insurance companies act as regulatory bodies, mandating security standards and behaviors that, if left uncorrected, can void coverage. The problem at this point in time is not coming up with standards and practices, which already exist, but ensuring that they are followed. At the moment, they are not. Widespread insurance coverage could change that, but the market is immature and we’re just not there yet.

Why not?…

If you accept Morgus’ premise – then, read on. As much as I hold a boatload of contempt for the insurance industry, we’re limited by the nature of contemporary capitalism and voters who dare not look beyond what they’re told.

Morgus moves on to suggested legislation about insurance and there’s the real question. Because I don’t see anything vaguely positive being accomplished by Congress in the next decade. The next census has to be performed. Gerrymandering so artfully [and criminally] put in place by bigots and conservatives must be removed. Preferably systematically a la Canada. Hopefully, this process moves us on to more than the two old parties which tie voters into a Mobius loop of footdragging.

Ten years minimum.

Support for marijuana legalization hits all-time high — again

About 58 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, according to a new Gallup poll…

marijuana legalization by age

Support for legalization has been steadily climbing for decades, driven largely by more support among younger Americans. According to Gallup, 71 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 now back pot legalization.

These polls are particularly pertinent since it’s a presidential election year. None of the presidential candidates have endorsed legalization, although Bernie Sanders suggested in the first Democratic debate that he would likely support legalization if it came to a vote in his state’s ballot. That puts Sanders not just to the left of Hillary Clinton on pot, but also closer to the Democratic base — Gallup and Pew have found that around six in 10 Democrats back legalization — and, increasingly, to all Americans.

But more than the political party breakdown, it’s the age breakdown that matters to legalization advocates. Since younger Americans increasingly tend to back legalizing marijuana, many advocates feel it’s only a matter of time until the country legalizes pot as young people grow up and vote. For advocates, then, it’s more about how and when to legalize, rather than if.

Proving once again most contemporary American politicians have the courage of a box of Kleenex asked to rush into a house fire to rescue a child. Leadership from behind is not an asset – it’s a criticism.