Brent Longborough May 17, 2018 6:31 AM

Unfortunately, “This seems like a spectacularly bad idea.” seems to be almost an hourly thing in the current White House.

Joe May 17, 2018 6:39 AM

It’s almost like they want to allow access by Russian hackers. That and allowing Russian state photographers into the Oval Office where they could plant just about anything.

nwildner May 17, 2018 6:47 AM

Maybe if they “don’t have” this position, it’s one pearson less to be a target if Russia is really increasing it’s threats 😉

:%s/don\'t\ have/hide/g

ion May 17, 2018 6:50 AM

Colectivists are a fascinating crowd. They are against the state power, see NSA data collection. Yet they do what they can to expand the power of the state, see Net Neutrality, or this Cybersecurity person.

It is interesting to notice that the actions are relevant and not the statements. The statements, say against NSA data collections, are just populism to gather support and also establish an orthodoxy individuals would have a hard time contesting later on.

Bauke Jan Douma May 17, 2018 6:57 AM

Why don’t you offer to do it for free, as a gift to the US Democracy!?
A lot of influence. As a benefit: the world trusts you.

Ricardo Cabeza May 17, 2018 7:10 AM

Russia attacks and continues to attack the US.

President Trump not only ignores the attacks but obstructs the investigation and ensures the Russian attacks continue with less US resistance.

Yesterday Rudy Giuliani admits there was collusion.

Setting aside Trump’s Treason, can’t the Republican party feign distress at an on going attack by a hostile foreign government?

Why isn’t the Presidents failure to protect the US from such an attack an impeachable offense?

jbmartin6 May 17, 2018 7:41 AM

I’d be interested to see if the holders of this position achieved anything at all since it was started. Just because some government position exists to “czar” something doesn’t mean it is magically effective. As I understand it, they are taking the functions, whatever those were, and handing them over to an existing security agency. The author of the linked criticism just assumes this would not be effective because of the need for coordination and collaboration across agencies. But no reason is given why a white house political appointee would be any more useful in this than someone from the NSA.

Travis D Warlick Jr May 17, 2018 8:20 AM

I know we need this position, and I know that the intelligence community doesn’t need to be in charge of cybersecurity. That said, was Joyce, or the previous advisors, doing anything (or able to do anything) to help move us in a better direction? As much as I want to see good cybersecurity direction for my country, I don’t forsee anything useful being done without a total overhaul of how we think about and manage cybersecurity (i.e. congressional action would be required). That’s why I file this under “I wish I had a reason to care.”

paranoia destroys ya May 17, 2018 8:31 AM

“Earlier this month, the Pentagon stopped selling phones made by the Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei on military bases because they might be used to spy on their users.” followed by the Tweet “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast”

Garyh May 17, 2018 8:32 AM

Wonder how many excerpts from the satire will be taken out of context to justify action?

David Rudling May 17, 2018 8:54 AM

My gut reaction was in line with the LAWFARE article which caused me to chuckle, so well written was it.
But then I considered that what was being cut was a post in the White House. As the POLITICO artcle pointed out “The National Security Council’s cyber team has two senior directors” who are presumably more distanced from the White House.
Without wishing to make this Political (with a capital P), it could be argued that makers of important non-partisan national policy like this could benefit from being distanced from the hurly-burly politics of the White House.
Of course anything which sends a signal of downgrading of importance is a bad idea but the actual damage may not so great if the remaining staff are listened to by the other agencies as having something worth contributing to the coordination.
Or I could be completely wrong and it may be a disastrous move. Only time will tell, alas.

Beltway Bandit May 17, 2018 9:00 AM

The position was mostly symbolic, as have been many of the U.S. Federal government’s “Cyber Leadership” positions. The positions are given vague charges and are typically filled with well-credentialed, well-meaning individuals who end up quitting due to frustration. While it might sound counter-intuitive, they need more soft-skilled people in those positions who can better handle human relationships but also have trusted technical advisors. Those of us working at the bottom of the bit bucket often need people with strong interpersonal coordination skills to periodically lift away our technical blinders and look at the human elements involved.

Patriot May 17, 2018 9:06 AM

John Bolton dodged the draft during the Vietnam War, went on to help cause an optional war in Iraq that resulted in the destruction of the country and the deaths of at least–by the most conservative estimate–160,000 human beings, and who very recently offended the North Koreans and that threatens to scupper the historic peace agreement that promises to end the Korean War and bring peace and prosperity to millions on the Korean Peninsula.

That guy. Now we read that he had a hand in getting rid of the cybersecurity coordinator position. As anyone knows who has worked for the U.S. government, those agencies just love each other–they would never undermine each other in turf battles, especially after 9-11, never, never, never–so we do not need a coordinator. Cybersecurity can coordinate itself, according to Mr. John Bolton, an expert. Pish posh! This joker is Mr. Screw-up, and there he is in the White House again.

How much damage is this guy going to do to America before he is sent packing?

Whatever we need to do to prevent another OPM disaster needs to be done–and done now. A cyber coordinator would have been a really good idea because different agencies do not in fact like to help each other. That, unfortunately, is the ground truth. And expertise from one could help others a lot.

wumpus May 17, 2018 9:28 AM

“Wonder how many excerpts from the satire will be taken out of context to justify action?”

I think a better question is what type of improvement could a Trump nominee do to improve US cybersecurity. It sounds like one less “pigeon manager” to deal with on top of the chain.

  • Apparently the Surgeon General is low profile and capable of practicing medicine. Not sure if that is atypical or the high profile managers spew enough disasters to cloud the picture. I’d still rather rely on GS-types to handle computers let alone security than any of Trump’s crew.

vas pup May 17, 2018 10:22 AM

Looks like that what kind of people any government, company, organization (security in particular)need to be prosper and be successful (not just ‘Yes, Sir’ folks):

Why your mind should be like a rubber band.

“He says human thinking can be set out on a spectrum. “Logical analytical thinking is really good when you are trying to solve a problem you’ve seen before. You can use known methods and techniques to approach whatever issue you are dealing with. Elastic thinking is what you need when the circumstances change and you are dealing with something new. It’s not about following rules.”

“He describes Uber and Google as strong examples where elastic thinking underpins their creation and adaptability. And what do Leonardo da Vinci and the inventors of Pokemon Go have in common? They are also credited as elastic thinkers. It’s all about connecting the unconnected, trying new things and not being afraid of failure.”

“You’ll see the new companies – often tech start-ups – that have couches for people to lay around and stare up at the ceiling,” adds Mlodinow. “The workers don’t have managers who are going to come and berate them for that as they know that [!!!]incubation time [!!!] is very useful for coming up with and processing ideas.”

For those wishing to tap into elastic thinking, Mlodinow suggests carving out time for daydreaming, talking to strangers who are not in your usual social circles, absorbing art out of your comfort zone, and listening to ideas or concepts that you actively disagree with before considering the arguments of the supporters of those ideas and what motivated them.

“If you are 100% on the elastic side, and you have no executive function of your brain ordering your thoughts, you will end up non-functional. The ideas will come so fast and so disconnected you can never get anything done.”

0Laf May 17, 2018 10:42 AM

Nothing new and lots of businesses are doing it. Cull the security pro then say to the board or external bodies that you have a security ‘team’. When in reality that team is the same beleaguered IT or governance team with yet more stuff dumped on them and the loss of the specialist skills.

Sofa May 17, 2018 11:13 AM

Bruce, the new book, Click Here to Kill Everybody, is both timely and relevant!

  • Sofa

Clive Robinson May 17, 2018 11:16 AM

@ Brent Longborough,

… seems to be almost an hourly thing in the current White House.

I was a little slow on the uptake compared to one or two others here who are also non US resident.

Put simply it appears Donald Trumps “Primary Mission” is to undo as rapidly as possible anything that Barack Obama achived. That is Donald is on a “revenge mission” to “wipe out Barak Obama’s legacy”.

As that is also a fairly prominent goal of quite a few Republicans and nearly all neo-cons, it’s fairly safe to say Donald Trumps position in the White House is more secure “than a ten dollar watch at a pickpockets convention”.

That is not only is the “Dough gnarled” doing what they want, he’s also giving them full deniability now and in the future, which is pure political opportunism if ever there was any…

As I pointed out some time ago President Trump is not a Republican, he’s a Trumpian pure and simple and he appears to be just following his “birther” argument and bitter hatred of Barack Obama. Which realy is not what you want in a position of power which others are prepared to make unassailable…

Anyway you have the mid-terms coming up in the US and based on current headless chicken behaviour seen in the MSM in not just the US I could be accused of trying to pervert the minds of US readers on this blog. So I will stop at pointing out what should be obvious to most on reflection, thus can in no way be regarded as “faux news” etc.

Clive Robinson May 17, 2018 11:36 AM

@ David Rudling,

… it could be argued that makers of important non-partisan national policy like this could benefit from being distanced from the hurly-burly politics of the White House.

More importantly they need to be distant to the undesirable influance of the sociopaths at,

1, MIC profiteers.
2, IC agencies.
3, DoJ / FBI and other Federal agencies.
4, Law Enforcment Entities/Organisations.

That are all hell bent on “rights stripping” not just everyone they can outside of the US but also by far the majority of US citizens as well.

In effect a cyber czar will need to wrest control back from “The lunatics that have taken over the asylum”.

perverted May 17, 2018 11:37 AM

@Clive Robinson

Please never stop “perverting” the minds of us US readers, we need all the help we can get 🙂

albert May 17, 2018 11:49 AM

“…Put simply it appears Donald Trumps “Primary Mission” is to undo as rapidly as possible anything that Barack Obama achived. That is Donald is on a “revenge mission” to “wipe out Barak Obama’s legacy”….” – Clive

I’m disappointed. Not that Clive is right, but that it is the reality of Our Presidents personality. The same was said of Dubya when he invaded Iraq.

Can it really be that simple? Perhaps the many intelligent people on the blog are over-thinking these issues. Logic, reason and objective analysis might need to be avoided when discussing The Donald, and perhaps even politics in general.

Let’s hear from ‘our’ psychologists!

. .. . .. — ….

perverted May 17, 2018 12:07 PM

@Clive Robinson

hell bent on “rights stripping” not just everyone they can outside of the US but also by far the majority of US citizens as well

I’ve always been of the opinion that a “human right” should be a right possessed by all humans… everywhere… not just citizens. Otherwise it would be called a “citizen right” instead. A human right is a right that a person has by nature of being a human. It is not granted by any authority, it is inherent in nature. It can be abused, ignored, trampled upon, etc, but it cannot actually be taken away except by murder/genocide/annihilation. A citizen right on the other hand, is something granted by authority, and can be stripped away just as citizenship can be stripped away.

Therefore, when I see people in authority in my country refusing to recognize human rights to non-citizens, and fellow citizens not caring that much because it apparently doesn’t affect them…. I am appalled. Such behavior will always come back to bite even us citizens. Someone who does not recognize a human right as a right to all humans regardless of citizenship, can always just as easily turn upon citizens too, setting up multiple classes of citizenship with different rights levels. Make no mistake, this is essentially slavery all over again, in another guise. We are all either the free or the slave, there is no middle ground.

Denton Scratch May 17, 2018 12:08 PM

Seems to me that the appointment or otherwise of a state official with $JOBTITLE is orthogonal to whether the USA has adequate network defences.

Roger Nebel May 17, 2018 12:29 PM

The former head of OPM after the break in to the DOI mainframe said “…it’s no ones’ fault…”, the next day she resigned when someone figured out it that if no one was to blame then she was. When someone is held accountable we get change, regardless if there’s a coordinator at the WH or not.

echo May 17, 2018 1:12 PM

I can’t add anything useful which hasn’t already been said. I will note though that television and the movies are crap. Maybe if they were better politicians would have to work harder for our attention?

PeaceHead May 17, 2018 1:17 PM

Sarcasm does not translate. And neither does a punk rock oval office.

Ostriches with heads in sand may need extra time to extract their craniums.

That Casa Blanca Loco Peligro Administration is really a bad idea.

Nevermind impeachment, what about simply just sending in some green berets or whatnot to just flush them out and just fall back to 2012 Election Defaults and bring back Barack and Joe… ?

7+ Billion lives subservient to Neocon Madmen ?
That’s a very bad idea.

More reasons to create vigilante (repair) cybersecurity viruses ?
Or is automation suddenly a bad idea ? (YES, not suddenly!).

Why is all this insanity being allowed to happen ?
If there really are several levels of security above the pres, why can’t they be implemented ASAP, to keep US policies and communications from inflaming world and domestic tensions ?

There is just so much hypocrisy. And at all the wrong times.
Anyways, thanks for the article.

Clive Robinson May 17, 2018 1:19 PM

@ vas pup,

    He says human thinking can be set out on a spectrum. “Logical analytical thinking is really good when you are trying to solve a problem you’ve seen before.

However Leonard Mlodinow misses two very important points in what is given in the article.

The most important aspect, which realy suggests either he or the reporter are not as rounded in their perspectives as they would like us to think.

That is either they have not studied history or they have for some reason chosen to ignore it.

History brings up the likes of Leonardo da Vinci mentioned in the artical but only for the second reason. Leonardo like other polymaths who were called “Renaissance man” appeared to be near geniuses to many and still do. But in practice were well versed in many fields of endevor, and had high observational and interprative skills, thus could easily transfer skills from one field to another with apparent ease. Thus even music had an effect on architecture and science.

The second reason history also shows us is both polymaths and geniuses don’t work at being creative for more than an hour and a half once or twice a day. The rest of the time they do other things such as reading, walking or maybe admin type work, which in effect lets the brain “freewheel” in the background.

Knowing this helps reveal one of the biggest cons perpertrated on the majority of most people. In effect arround sixty percent of jobs are meaningless “make work”. The biggest offender by percentages of failures is marketing, where people are pushed into long worthless hours achiving at best little and most times nothing.

Bob May 17, 2018 1:58 PM

Maybe they’ll just have Baron do it. I hear that he is so good with these computers it’s unbelievable.

Anon Y. Mouse May 17, 2018 4:58 PM

As I pointed out some time ago President Trump is not a Republican, he’s a Trumpian pure and simple and he appears to be just following his “birther” argument and bitter hatred of Barack Obama. Which realy is not what you want in a position of power which others are prepared to make unassailable…

Trump is not an aberration. There is no such thing as “Trumpism.”
Donald Trump is the Republican Party and the Republican Party is Trump.
All Trump has done is unmask the Republican Party and display its true
face. He is just the obvious result of the path the Party has been on
for at least twenty-five years. The Republican Party has descended into
madness and embraced insanity.

MB May 17, 2018 6:44 PM

In the final stages of a bureaucracy, the only way to get a bureaucrat fired is to abolish his position. Then probably the current administration will create a similar position with a slightly different name and hire someone who is not part of the Resistance.

Hopefully, this loophole will soon be closed by Congress, by giving tenure to all presidential counsellors and requiring formal hearings whenever one of them is hired, fired, transferred, etc..

Patriot May 17, 2018 8:02 PM

@ Roger Nebel

“When someone is held accountable we get change, regardless if there’s a coordinator at the WH or not.”

Well, I want to agree with you. Accountability does matter, and there is no doubt about that. But that is why we need the coordinator, someone who can keep this issue in the front of everyone’s minds–and more importantly, someone who can be roasted when cybersecurity makes an epic fail. The OPM disaster is one of the worst mistakes in U.S. intell history, right up there with Vault 7 and Mr. Snowden waltzing out with 7 terabytes of goodies.

So, why does almost no one really care? It is because power just wants offense. They want information; they don’t want to talk to you. This is Mr. Obama in a nutshell, the one who energized the plan to confront, conceal, and deceive. They act like they want to talk to you, but what they want is the data on you– the more surreptitiously gathered, the better. And such tools are difficult to put down once you have them. That is why they could not help but use them against Trump’s campaign. This is one route to the U.S. no longer being recognizable.

Defense is not so important. In fact, it can be a hindrance. Defense for other government agencies and entities is not important either. It does not satisfy the requirement of WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). This, unfortunately, is that is really going on. In short, people are wrapped up in self interest, and the strategic goals of the U.S. are in the back seat.

And the other problem is a taboo topic: the woman put in charge of OPM was chosen because of being Hispanic. She was completely unqualified, but no matter, it’s another victory for women’s rights. It did not satisfy Obama’s WIIFM requirements to put in a qualified person. In addition, the Chief Information Officer was chosen just because of her gender–another unqualified person. Long story short, the U.S. is in deep trouble. The Chinese are laughing their guts out. Lastly, note the amused contempt with which President Xi Jinping treated Obama during the latter’s visit to Hangzhou. Belly laughs in Beijing.

American people, in general, do not really care about cybersecurity until it really effects them. If it does not hurt them–it can hurt others, that is fine–it is not a problem. This is what America has come to.

No Wukkas* May 17, 2018 10:22 PM

Accountability can be outsourced. As part of FVEY, Australia’s new Home Affairs department will surely be of assistance with extra-territorial responsibility. (“Alliance” stuff is of course indirectly “Home Affairs”).

No worries, we’ve got your back, mate. Have a coldie. Our former government telco Telstra has “Secure Internet”. Check it out… ([2018-05-09] [https]

tommy May 17, 2018 10:26 PM

It’s almost like they want to allow access by Russian hackers. That and allowing Russian state photographers into the Oval Office where they could plant just about anything.

Or maybe it’s just that the current intel/law enforcement crowd have turned out to be a far greater menace to this WH and the Constitution generally than any Russian agents. Criticizing, say, the gaping holes in the FISA system, the insidiousness of our domestic intel agencies and the dishonesty of its leaders, the collusion between public and private intel and foreign and domestic intel, and the abuses of federal law enforcement used to be all the rage around here, but now that Obama isn’t around, you hardly hear a peep about that sort of stuff these days. That, even as we witness the convergence of so many of these problems in the Russia investigation. Instead, it’s all “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” all the time. It’s quite amusing and it’s going to get even better as everyone tries to double down as the IG reports start to drop, I suspect.

Anura May 17, 2018 11:14 PM

@Clive Robinson

I’ve decided I’m going to run in 2020; I will run on restoring Obama’s legacy and ending capitalism.

echo May 18, 2018 1:53 AM


Could you please not blame the woman for what is most likely a man’s hiring decision? Recruitment processes themselves can be problematic too and you never know who has been meddling along the way.

The real stories are out there unfiltered by politicians and corporates press releases and lawyers statements.

Clive Robinson May 18, 2018 4:21 AM

@ Alyer Babtu, vas pup,

a link to an article touching on those that really Know

I know quite a few of the London “cabbies” and their little green “TARDIS like”[1] refuges / shelters quite well, due to a misspent youth and a need for a sarnie and cupper at very odd times of the very early morning when to quote a song “Good people are all in bed” B-)

Whilst they are only for cabbies –and the occasional invitee when it’quiet– on the inside, most have a “back window” where anyone can buy some of the best “left arm twitchers”[2] in the working mans cafe world.

[1] TARDIS from the longest running TV entertainment show “Dr Who”. From the outside of the “cabbie shelters” they realy do look a lot smaller on the outside than they are on the inside.

[2] A name given by members of the Cardiac Rehab team at a very well known London Hospital, to “The Breakfast Special” after the dietician on the team calculated the cholestral value… The name is due to a twitching pain in the left arm being one of the first signs your old ticker has hit skid row due to lack of blood supply usually caused by cholestrol plaque in the blood vessels. This was back when the medical proffession still believed dietary cholestral controled your blood cholesterol (it doesn’t it’s your liver that gets the hat tip on that). But a “good name” always out lives the advancment of science and technology 😉

RealFakeNews May 18, 2018 4:54 AM

Another layer of useless management is removed, and people complain?

Ask yourself: was the role actually effective?

Why all the defense of Obama? He did some real shady things as President.

Keith Glass May 18, 2018 5:56 AM

We’re asking the wrong question. Has the White House Security “Czar” actually done anything to improve, or reduce, cybersecurity issues ? Who and what are they coordinating ? Cyber Command and DHS CERT ? The Federal PKI system ? What authority do they have to implement changes

Before asking the effect of whether the position should be retained or not, perhaps a discussion of what this “csar” actually does, and what the position has accomplished in the past. . . .

Clive Robinson May 18, 2018 6:49 AM

@ Keith Glass, RealFakeNews,

We’re asking the wrong question. Has the White House Security “Czar” actually done anything to improve, or reduce, cybersecurity issues ?

In turn you are both asking the wrong question…

It’s a question not of what the czar as individuals can do, but more a question of what they will be alowed to do by not just those above them but more importantly those below them.

If those above the czar, give the czar effective powers to punish those below the czar with say multiple life sentances for even minor breaches of the rules, and can keep the czar alive and uninfluenced, then the czar might just have a chance of making changes.

However such power should never be invested in an individual, or even group… Thus the cyber czar is always going to fail against the other Gov agencies.

That is why the post is guarented to be a failure, thus those with even a modicum more of self preservation above idealism will head in the opposit direction faster than “escape velocity”.

It supprises me just how few people realise that the post is a “poisoned chalice”…

If your options are only “loose or just scrape a no-win draw” the sensible options are, firstly as voiced by the WOPR computer in the 1983 film War Games is “The only winning move is not to play”… Or secondlyvif that choice is not available as in the Startrek no-win Kobayashi Maru test is cheat by change the rules…

echo May 18, 2018 7:50 AM

@Keith Glass

White House “Czar” protesting “Alarm! Alarm! The Russians are coming!!”??!? I’m not surprised they got rid of the post.

Dan H May 18, 2018 8:38 AM

I still see it is permissible for some such as Anura, Clive, echo, to post political commentary.

Anselm May 18, 2018 9:32 AM

Judging from the other high-level appointments Trump has made (Dept. of Education, EPA, FCC, NASA, …), if he’d kept the cyber-security czar position the next incumbent would probably have been a Russian hacker.

Clive Robinson May 18, 2018 11:12 AM

@ Dan H,

I still see it is permissible for some such as Anura, Clive, echo, to post political commentary.

There is a big difference between “political”, “party political” and “making unsubstantiated accusations against individual politicians”.

As I’ve indicated I have clearly deliniated standards when it comes to evidence, this has made me unpopular with other comnenters who scream “treason” and the like without checking what evidence is required and what the leagal process is.

Whilst accusing an individual of “treason” without strong evidence is reprehensible, saying that in your view an action or series of actions that have been publically reported, if true are indicators of “treasonous” behaviour, is a whole different matter. You will need to check with a local legal expert, but you will find that the first is at best legaly questionable because you are accusing a person of a legislated criminal act, thus it is not considered “free speech” –ie you are shouting fire without evidence of one– whilst the latter is a personal observation of behaviour which is not a legislated criminal act, that is further expressed as such for the purpose of discussion that is based on reported information, which is free speech.

Thus whilst people might disagree I can say that based on Donald Trumps behaviour his priority appears to be to destroy Baracks legacy, I am drawing a correlation on actions not accusing of a crime. You are likewise alowed to bring forward your view on actions you have seen and agree or disagree. As long as it is kept civil and does not degenerate and verifiable actions are brought forward then discussed especially as they relate to security then it should fall within the rules the moderator or owner judges by.

Thus as I’ve said I am not alone in the perception that Donald Trump has an agender to undo Baraka Obama’s legacy. You might or might not agree with that. But this political post that has been disolved by Donald Trump was originated by Barak Obama. Thus I see a point that reinforces other observations on Donald Trumps behaviour. You however might take the view that the post has been disolved because it has not achieved anything meaningfull. That may well be true but does it square with other Donald Trump behaviours. You could also take the view that the only people prepared to accept such a post are not of the right caliber for some reason, thus you would have to again give indicative evidence of that as well as squaring it with other Donald Trump behaviours.

Now because the post is in effect cybersecurity czar post disolved I think most would agree that it is very much relevant to security. Again you may chose to disagree and give your reasons and expect to have to defend them within that perspective.

Likewise if you disagree with things I’ve said, provided you can give evidence not emotion to back up your opinion, the points can be discussed and limits of view points assessed.

The point is information that is verifable as from another source and made public is fair game to be discussed if pertinent. Evidence likewise, even if it is only opinion given as testimony. Emotion and unsuported accusations that are often another form of “emotion” as such is likely to be non constructive, thus lack relavance and cause the discussion to degenerate.

If people consistantly cause a discussion to degenerate they are likely to be met with blunt or hostile comment just as they would in other social settings.

Now I know you have made past comment with which others agree with, some I have agreed with as well, so I expect you will do in the future as well. You have also on occasion given the source or evidence of what you are presenting, I may not agree with it for various reasons, but I’m not attacking you or the source unless there is something obviously factually incorrect, or does not align with other information accepted as factual.

I try not to let emotion but logic and experiance guide my view point and will often give my reasoning sometimes in depth where I think it may be required (for which others have pointed out I can make very lengthy posts).

For very many reasons people got quite upset over the 2016 election and the emotional response was high as was the lack of knowledge about what had been done “in the name of the citizens” in the past.

For instance in todays news, we hear that the US has by interference derailed peace talks in the Korean Penisular… What gives Donald Trump the right to say that the current North Korean leader has to go? The answer is the same right as do Russia and China have to say he should remain if he wishes to do so. That is very little or no right. The objective of peace talks supprise supprise is to get a peacefull and constructive outcome, not derail talks and perpetuate hostile activities potentially harming considerably more people.

The problem is the US Gov –as seen by many in other countries– has unjustly set it’s self up as a faux moral guardian whilst actually war mongering for profit on a neo-con adgender for a few who will not suffer the consequences of such activities. Also in the news it appears that conflict in Afghanistan has required the deployment of yet more troops from the US and UK, and presumably other nations (the news was brief and not at all clear). Such engagments have not just been criticized by increasing numbers, but also the more rapidly rising number of saterical pieces about US military and NATO behaviour. In fact in some more rightwing news sources people have raised the question of NATO’s future after Brexit.

However I doubt based on past behaviour that this will make much of an apperance in the US MSM, I guess we will know by Monday morning Washington time. It’s why I say people should look at the media from several countries, but treat all of them as being somewhat biased, and try and figure out what the reality is for themselves.

tommy May 18, 2018 12:54 PM

Much of Trump’s decision, like so many others, may rest on simple businessman’s utility: Trump didn’t become a million times richer than the average spiteful commentator on the web caricaturing him as a cretan by creating positions that sounded important in the abstract but whose role and responsibilities were vague and dubious in concrete terms, nor by throwing money at every poorly defined problem one could conceivably imagine with little direction. Trump may operate a little different than, say, Obama pumping money into companies like Solyndra. Clive likes to attribute everything to some kind of pathological anti-Obama malice, but I suspect Trump has no problem maintaining anything Obama created that he genuinely finds useful. My impression is that Obama was a lazy manager who liked everything summarized to the point where he could simply check a box from a small list of options and otherwise had little interest in the willy-nilly of running his administration. He seemed to delegate most everything subordinates and advisors and provided little actual oversight in his administration. He was fundamentally a political pitchman, not a manager.

Presumably, cybersecurity was a problem prior to Obama so what is a cybersecurity czar truly delivering? Did anyone even expect much of the position when it was initially created? Has the proliferation of czars since Reagan and, the explosion of them under Obama, been productive or beneficial? Right or wrong, these are the kind of questions I imagine a real estate mogul in the Oval Office might be asking himself. And, like I said, this is a president whose experience advises him to keep establishment intel and law enforcement personnel, no small beneficiaries of Obama’s spending spree, at arms length.

Anura May 18, 2018 1:10 PM


Trump is completely incompetent. The great thing about being born into wealth is that you get to hire people to make every decision for you and then take credit for all of their success. What you are doing is attributing his success to his qualities, and then assuming those qualities make him successful without further evidence. The problem is that he only knows how to exploit positions of power, without personally contributing anything of value. He really has absolutely no clue what he is doing, and is driven by the Fox and Friends story of the day and his own pettiness. He has no plan, and is not thinking about anything but himself.

Roger Nebel May 18, 2018 2:52 PM

Tell me one thing ever that the WH czar on cyber security ever did to improve security? Ever. (hint: nada, zippo, zilch, ad nasuem)

echo May 18, 2018 5:21 PM

Anything with the words “Cyber” or “Czar” attached to them usually end as an embarassment or are quietly swept under the carpet. “Cyber Czar” is right up there with “Taser Face”.

I discovered an article from a few years ago about a UK Cyber Czar and the cyber security industry being worth £6 Billion to the UK and employs 40,000 people. An article from last year discusses government policy and exports being worth £1.5 billion. Things are now so complicated its not possible for one person to design an aircraft or write an OS from scratch over a weekend. I expect this is why jobs like Cyber Czar tend to be puffery or disappear because the issues require a policy and an ecosystem. Cyber Czar is like a television audience fluffer much like “equality officer” and increasingly “quality assurance officers”, or perhaps was just feathers on a peacock?

Politicians and bureaucrat do need their castles to prop them up and recent studies indicate the political psychology is extremely risk averse. Anxiety psychology involving cognitive processes is interesting too. I wonder if this helps explain things behind the decision to appoint and cancel.

Clive Robinson May 18, 2018 5:41 PM

@ Roger Nebel,

Tell me one thing ever that the WH czar on cyber security ever did to improve security?

Before that question becomes meaningfull, you have to answer the question of “What are they alowed to do?” closely followed by “What authority do they actually have to make any of their policies happen?”

If the answers are “None and None” which is what it appears to be, then your question is compleatly irrelevant. Because we know that the answer will be your,

nada, zippo, zilch, ad nasuem

Without anybody ever being apointed, we know for definite that will be the outcome as intended by the creation of the post…

If we go back to the turn of the century, there were a large number of senior posts in the US Gov that were effectively “job titles, office and salary” but no expectation that the person would actually do anything let alone have any domain expertise or even managment skills, they were “political favours”

As we know for some reason a failed lawyer and even worse horse trainer knobler for the Republicans got given the top FEMA job and hardly put in any work if any…

Then things literally “blew up from the gulf” with Katrina and the whole world got to find out just how competent that horse trainer knobler wasn’t, as did the victims of his and his predecessors failings, cronyism, nepotism and worse…

As a little checking will show not much has realy changed in the intervening years as the pretense of experience, competence or probity once again is nolonger needed. In fact lack of morals and ethics and an tolerance if not enjoyment of tourture appears to be a requirment for the CIA job, if the comnents in this very right wing newspaper are to be considered,

Clive Robinson May 18, 2018 8:13 PM

@ echo,

Things are now so complicated its not possible for one person to design an aircraft or write an OS from scratch over a weekend.

I’ve been a practicing engineer in these areas –and a few others– for well over a third of a century now. And I can not recall enyone doing any of those activities from scratch over a weekend.

I’ve ported *nix in three days from one CPU faimily to an entirely differrnt CPU family, but much of the I/O was in reality sufficiently common that only a few hundred lines of assembler code had to be translated and fine tuned.

As for designing planes, when I was a lot younger, I designed a few gliders for RC control in a couple of days but then spent a few weeks actually building all the detailed parts and drawings. When a tenager I actually designed and built canoes and small sailing craft in wood and fiberglass. Also my own satellite dishes and other antennas which only needed ten or twenty minutes to design but half a day or so to make basic jigs. As part of my electronic engineering training I also learnt the fundementals of “tool making” which I still practice today. In quite a few cases it’s been way quicker to repurpose an existing tool as a “clive special” than order in the correct tool even on overnight delivery. Sadly my eyesight and manual dexterity are not what they once were, but I can still duplicate a five lever mortice lock key by eye and needle files and bench vice alone.

The point is these skills take time to learn and can be very much faster, but there are limits on what you can do without “force multiplication”.

But the one thing you can say is the number of parts / lines of code go up by a positive power for each increase in length etc.

But at the end of the day most designs are not originals, just original in small parts. That is the designs stand on the shoulders of their predecesors for nine tenths of their design and are tempered by the learned knowledge of the designer. If you think about it for example a car is more or less identical to many other cars except for a few cosmetic changes.

Somebody I know has four PhDs and their hubby two. Unlike her husband her PhDs were in almost unrelated subjects. But as she freely admits the first was hard very hard the second difficult the third whilst not easy, she had got the form in her stride thus cranked the handle, and the fourth was almost subconsciously done whilst on an industrial assignment. As her hubby jokes she writes up her diary / lab book as though it was just another thesis… She is however a great beliver in the three hour rule of working, whilst workin 12hour days from time to time. That is you have a creative one to three hours in a day. The rest of the day is spent on non creative activities such as admin or active relaxation. Like me she is also “a menace on a push bike” because of trying to make use by creative thinking whilst traveling to work etc (worse than using a mobile phone). How either of us have survived the all to frequent inadvertaint contact with vehicals and tarmac is a secret neither of us is party to. Sadly I have had to give up cycling especially competative cycling, whilst she appears to be keen to be cycling competitively for the rest of her life, and anoyingly she is still better with both bow and rifle than I am (I blaim my eye sight and muscle/nerve degeneration). Though as she freely admits I can see around the corners of a cork screw way better when it comes to thinking hinky than she can, so not all is lost 😉 But we do trade recipes as she is a bit of an alchemist when it comes to chutneys, pickles and has the artistic touch when it comes to cakes, whilst I go for conserves, fruit cheeses, charcuterie, pies, bread[1] and center piece joints etc.

[1] I would advise anyone who can lift a finger into making bread. It’s good excercise and the doughs you make are living things that respond to how you treat them. Kneeding and knocking back can be therapeutic if not cathartic as you could say imagine the dough is your annoying bosses head etc 0:) but more seriously there is very little in the way of food stuffs you cannot add to bread. I’ve been known to tunnle bone lamb shanks, cook them on low for three hours then wrap them in dough with suitable herbs in it and bake them, delicious either hot or cold.

Alyer Babtu May 18, 2018 9:30 PM

@Clive Robinson

there is very little in the way of food stuffs you cannot add to bread

Now you’ve made me hungry. Time for a nice broccoli (cooked al dente, of course ) sandwich ! Touch of grated Parmesan as desired.

echo May 19, 2018 9:30 AM


You know what mean! Now I have forgotten wahat I was going to say today after carefully plotting things last night.

CallMeLateForSupper May 19, 2018 10:37 AM

@Clive @all

I second Clive’s advice to take up bread making. In the mid-1970’s the wife of a friend gave me her recipe, presided over a hands-on demo, and turned me loose. I was at uni then and, because I was not employed, perfecting the art of feeding myself on $8/week. Thus I came to making bread for the savings; I stayed for the wonderfullness of the make process (the “kneading and knocking back” that Clive mentioned), exquisite baking aromas, and – the ultimate prize – the loaves.

A totally unexpected and very welcome result of this came when a neighbor stopped by to introduce herself “to whoever makes those heavenly smells every.single.sunday”. Long story short: she ate my bread; I taught her … ahem … what I knew; we dated for three years, until I graduated and moved.

Homemade bread will put you right off American “sponge bread”.

RockLobster May 19, 2018 12:01 PM

@Anura I don’t think it’s fair to say Trump didn’t have a plan. He did, for one he was going to build a wall and then he was going to…ummmm well…
Anyway he was going to build a wall. A wall that would make America great, again.

Wesley Parish May 20, 2018 3:23 AM

Firstly, I’ve always thought that in the circles of US politics, where 180 + 180 is not always 360,


Secondly, an office of coordinator of multiple intelligence agencies all charged with cyberspace security is a good idea. An even better idea of course would be to trim the intelligence agency sprawl by about 360 degrees, and only employ those who retain a bare minimum of intelligence and competence after being employed for about five years. (It being beyond belief that anyone could retain any intelligence after being employed in US intelligence for any length of time longer than that.)

DanH May 20, 2018 12:02 PM

Bruce says no politics yet some like echo, Clive, Anura continue to write purely political comments which are allowed.

Which is it, Bruce? No political posts or some pets are allowed to continue political commentary? Read the last post by RockLobster if you’re confused.

Clive Robinson May 20, 2018 5:13 PM

@ Dan H,

Read the last post by RockLobster if you’re confused.

That looks like satire to me as was Anura’s comment before your original complaint. Tell me do you actually know what satire is?

As for other observations about current US President Donald Trump he has –I assume– chosen to make a series of tweets that are shall we say “fair game” for comment.

Unsuprisingly many people have made comment about them, and whilst many of those comments could be considered comment on Mr Trumps abilities, they are not “party political”.

Which considering some of your previous posts were very much “Party Political” not satire makes me wonder if you know what “Party Political” means?

I guess by the rest of your current comment that you have “a pet peeve” that has little or nothing to do with the people you named, and I suspect others have come to a similar conclusion.

Marc Espie May 21, 2018 1:23 AM

Considering all the stupid stuff they’re doing (shutting down nasa earth observation programs being a worse idea. Regardless of climate change issues), it’s par for the course.

Oh wait, Trump is away golfing for the week, and couldn’t be reached for comments.

echo May 21, 2018 12:35 PM

I have nothing orginal to add to this topic apart from the odd gag. I can’t be bothered to comment on the oxygen thief mentalist in the White House. Policy and technical discussion can and should continue regardless, and people have fun and enjoyment from these things.

ella May 22, 2018 7:50 AM

Umm, if you are inviting an attack to justify going to war then maybe it is a good idea. The neocons war mongers are now in control of Trump.

Leave a comment


Allowed HTML <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre> Markdown Extra syntax via

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.