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In the recent China/Google affair, one could be forgiven for missing the forest for the trees: After all, hacking events occur regularly, and often originate out of China.  What they do not often involve, however, are massively coordinated, unprecedentedly sophisticated attacks against a wide spectrum of American internet companies targeting highly-valuable intellectual property and...oops...account information of Chinese human rights activists.  

One could therefore also be forgiven for missing the implications of these attacks: The Chinese government brazenly, and without provocation, attacked American property potentially worth billions of dollars - much of it on American soil - in ways that might adversely impact a critical sector of the US economy, not to mention potentially compromising the safety of some Chinese-American activists.  The question I put to us is this: How should we respond?

google

I.  Putting Things in Perspective

Before we begin to examine the question in detail, I would like to present a hypothetical case in point: Imagine that the monetary value of the stolen information was instead embodied in a physical infrastructure - let's arbitrarily assign an easy value and say it's a billion-dollar skyscraper in downtown San Jose (although the info is probably worth a lot more than a billion, in the long-run).  Maybe it's not the biggest or most beautiful skyscraper, but it looks good enough to attract tenants, and it's worth a billion dollars.

Now imagine that, for some reason, there's nobody in the building or anywhere near it, but there are plenty of people within visual range.  Nor were there any dangerous materials used in the construction of the building, because it's so advanced.  So then a fully-fueled 747 (remote-controlled, with no crew or passengers) is slammed into this skyscraper, causing it to collapse with the entire world looking on.  The total economic consequences of the attack are, let's say, exactly what the total consequences of the cyber-attacks will be.  

If every detail of the operation points to it being the work of the Chinese government, and no remotely sensible alternative explanation is found, what do you do?  What is the proper response to such a flagrant and totally unprovoked outrage?    

Even though no one is hurt or dies in this scenario (and we can stipulate there were no heart-attacks or other complications from fear), I am quite certain the American public would be slightly more insensed by it and serious in considering how to address it than the current situation.  In fact, I am obviously being flippantly understated: We would be at DEFCON 1, strategic nuclear missiles would be fully fueled and aimed at China, nuclear-armed stealth bombers would be in the air, boomer and aircraft carrier battle groups would be deployed to the East Pacific, and Air Force One would be in the air.    

Clearly that is not called for in this case (sorry, Mr. Rohrabacher), but it does put in perspective how we would treat a physical attack with the exact same level of effective damage as the one that actually occurred.  So let's consider a hypothetical situation closer in nature to what the PRC actually did: There's a bank in San Jose whose vault contains huge stacks of money equivalent to the value of the stolen information.  

Now, the People's Liberation Army (or Navy, or however they're organized) conducts an amphibious landing in the South Bay and proceeds in force to the bank, where they bust open the doors, waltz past the shocked employees, break open the vault, and walks out with the cash.  They are all wearing uniforms of the Chinese military, except that the insignia exactly identifying them as such are partially covered.  

They proceed back to their landing craft, and their ship returns to China with the whole world watching them every step of the way.  Just to truly match the level of brazenness, let's say they are then given a ticker-tape parade in Beijing while the Chinese government denies responsibility for the raid.  How would you respond to that?

Better yet, let's make this more personal: Translate that money into jobs that Americans will not have in the future because of the theft, and imagine you are one of the people who will be (or remain) unemployed as a result.  You lose your house and car, your marriage dissolves, and you end up doing manual labor for food and the rent for a 1-room apartment above, beneath, and surrounded by crack dens...all because a handful of unelected thugs literally halfway around the world decided they wanted to fuck your country in the ass after it had helped them rebuild from a totalitarian wasteland into a burgeoning economy.  How would you want your country to respond to that?

Make no mistake, people - this was an attack on the United States by China, and it was especially egregious in being launched at our "best and brightest" leading lights of the technology economy.  They tried - and apparently in many cases, succeeded - to steal what we have spent decades carefully cultivating through investment in our universities.  Our nation has done a lot for China at our own expense, and the repayment for the relationship we led in cultivating - a relationship without which their current advantages would not exist - is that the regime in Beijing is no longer content to wait for us to mindlessly hand them the fruits of our creativity: Rather, they reach into our pockets and grasp.

II.  What Now?

Perhaps the most critical question in determining this is a practical one: How do we deter China from engaging in this kind of aggression?  What consequences would be sufficient to prevent recurrences, and yet remain within the bounds of appropriate response?  

Clearly a response of some kind is demanded, and indeed the State Department has already said it intends to file a formal complaint.  Unfortunately, that is unlikely to be sufficient: The Chinese government, being an oligarchic police state, deals with international affairs on a strictly power-politic basis.  A diplomatic complaint, while it may cause them some extra paperwork, has no effective consequences, and therefore will not divert the course of Chinese government policy by one iota.  But as anything more than that directly from our government (beyond, perhaps, some WTO complaints) would look petty, that will have to be sufficient...publicly.

But my question goes beyond explicit government policy and the public sector: What should we do?  What should Americans do?  For the vast majority of us, there is nothing we really can do - you would be more likely to find a vegan restaurant in Alabama than an economically viable way of boycotting Chinese goods.  But there are some among us with certain...skills...that would, for them, make the question of how to respond far more than an academic exercise.  

And, of course, our military/intelligence apparatus can always respond clandestinely - although, since that might actually do something to protect the country, I suspect they might consider it a matter of principle not to.

III.  Response Scenarios

While I cannot claim to be an expert in international law, I think the attack on Silicon Valley fully entitles us to respond in a fashion suited to the provocation: Information warfare.  Not only is our national security apparatus entitled to retaliate against Chinese government information systems, but since their intrusions were likely on behalf of domestic business interests, I think it perfectly justifiable if the affected industries were more "proactive" in defending their property and the security of their customers.

  1.  One particularly appealing scenario is something I realize would be, under normal circumstances, preposterous, but I think is at least possible if the right pool of skills and talent were dedicated to the problem and given sufficient resources: Crash the Great Firewall, and do it in such a way that the internet access of Chinese end-users is preserved.  This would teach the Chinese government an important lesson: That the internet either has rules or it doesn't, and if they choose the latter, they forfeit their ability to control it.
  1.  Another scenario, which is not in fact exclusive to the first, would be a reinterpretation of the precipitating attack: They intruded on us to steal valuable information to use for their own benefit at our expense, so if embarrassing or sensitive information were obtained from Chinese government servers and publicized - possibly to Chinese internet users, if the first scenario is also applied - that could be one tailored response.
  1.  The third, also not exclusive to any of the others, would be to trap the Chinese government into mounting another intrusion - perhaps by seeding enticing information across various parts of the internet - but have already emplaced clandestine network resources within the Great Firewall to be able to exactly trace the attacks and report back.  This is not as futile as it may sound: A Westerner would assume that a government would use nth-degree third-party agents to launch such attacks, and that their operations would trace to some generic warehouse with total deniability, but I think it a serious possibility the Chinese government is ballsy (and stupid) enough to be doing this right out of a government building, on a government or military network.  But even if they weren't, valuable information could be gained.  

Any of these scenarios would be most effective if publicized, since the Chinese government is highly uncomfortable and disoriented having to deal with events in a public forum.  That Google chose to reveal their intrusions must have been somewhat surprising to them, and that is an important fact that can be used against them: Keeping as much information as possible about developments in this arena public would keep them off-balance, stumbling to deny both the consequences of a retaliatory strike and their own probably ham-handed response, thus embarrassing themselves further and destabilizing their operations.  There is no reason, furthermore, that such destabilization cannot be achieved on an ongoing, dynamic basis.

IV.  Summation

China has declared information war on the United States, and so far we've been content to be a target.  Personally, I don't like bullies, and I don't care what flag they wave in my face when they're trying to fuck with me or my country: Our economy has hemmorhaged jobs and money directly into the pockets of the bastards who rule that captive nation with an iron fist, and now they're not even content with that - they have moved to direct, outright robbery of our people, and it should not stand.  It should not be tolerated.  

Originally posted to Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 05:50 PM PST.

Poll

Best response to China's attacks on American IT?

22%17 votes
6%5 votes
5%4 votes
14%11 votes
9%7 votes
5%4 votes
1%1 votes
33%25 votes

| 74 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  industrial (3+ / 0-)

      industrial espionage is nothing new. Our military/gov/cia has done it for the better half of last century.  Countries steal other countries ideas, inventions, data all the time.

      This is nothing new at all.

      (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

      by dark daze on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 05:58:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  China's pissed we sold them wothless CDO's (10+ / 0-)

      Wall Street screwed China out of billions and billions of investment dollars. Maybe it was over a trillion dollars.

      The financial war with China has been going on for years...and we have been losing most of the battles.

      We need tougher port inspections of Chinese goods. We need tougher health and safety monitoring.

      Too bad if Chinese goods get held up for weeks or months in port. God only knows if those goods are safe if we don't inspect.

      look for my DK Greenroots diary series Wednesday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:03:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wall Street built China's cities. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, greengemini, Azazello

        Before US investment, they were faceless concrete wastelands.  America lost how many jobs as a result?  

        But I agree, we should just put the brakes on Chinese imports - they already screw over American exporters.

        Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

        by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:11:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Chinese built Chinese cities (0+ / 0-)

          Wall Street buys on the cheap from China and sells at a profit to the World.

          I'm really curious how Chinese screw American exporters in that scheme, given that you control the markets, the prices and get our labor and resources on the cheap.

          Apperently you don't know much about Capitalism excepect you don't like it when others follow your lead.

          Anytime you want to debate the issue of Western exploitation of Chinese labor or resources for the profit of American owned companies I'm game.

          If you think you have an arguement about Chinese getting a free ride, by all means make it, this I have to hear.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 04:16:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of those Chinese goods that need thougher (6+ / 0-)

        health and safety monitoring, are actually sold under American brands that like to cut corners or just like to take the cheapest offer and close their eyes to the consequences and not do additional safety and quality inspections themselves.

        Contaminated pet food from China? Sold in the US under big name brands like IAMS amongst others.

        Children's toys with lead paint? Thomas and Friends.

        etc etc.

        China is a bit of a cowboy economy with weak regulations and control, but that is expected in the phase the country is in. The real problem is American companies taking the extra profits/savings provide by lower labor costs there but socializing the risks by not addressing those problems. Which is short term thinking, as product recalls are frequent and prominently in the news these days, and can seriously hurt a brand's image.

        The FOX is a common carrier of rabies, a virus that leaves its victims foaming at the mouth and causes paranoia and hallucinations.

        by Calouste on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:23:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Would that apply to all imported goods? (0+ / 0-)

        Or just Chinese?

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 12:25:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here you go again (0+ / 0-)

      As usual, trying to stir up anti-Chinese sentiment.

      Do you ever miss an opportunity?

      Dude, the NSA operates a far more efficient internet spying operation from Langley, Va that make Chinese hackers seem absolutely incompetent by comparrison, and if you are so concerned about hackers, I suggest you plan on attacking the Russian Federation as well.

      In fact, my question for Sergi Brin is if he is so concerned about hackers and political dissidents, then will Goggle be shutting down Goggle.ru any day soon?

      BTW, the tone of this diary is pretty inflammatory (no, make that pointedly inflammatory) and verges on CS, the Chinese government has hardly declared war on the US, you have no credible evidence to substantiate your claims and what you are suggesting is not only rediculous but would violate US and International law.

      But never mind, as long as you can get your rocks off with another anti-Chinese tirdae, it's another happy day, right?

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 11:00:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fort Meade. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko, sceptical observer

        CIA is Langley, NSA is Fort Meade.  

        Elsewhere I mentioned that Russia is in the mix.

        China and Russia don't use their own government employees for this.  They merely "tolerate" organized cybercrime gangs who do the deeds, and then harvest the .gov and .mil stuff that comes back.  See my posts elsewhere for more.

        I don't have any biases against China, and in fact I have deep respect for their culture and achievements.  The Chinese government is however doing naughty things here and we need to talk with them about it and come to some kind of positive conclusion.  

    •  a few pieces of information for you: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      Speaking from the perspective of having some knowledge beyond the level of what's public:

      --

      There are parts of your option (3) that are pretty close to on-target.

      --

      Russia as well as China is in the mix.  

      --

      The list of targets of recent cyberattacks is long and includes government and military sites that would surprise you.  They pwned us bigtime.  

      I've got one of the target lists from a recent attack.  From looking at what's on the list, the reasonable conclusion is:  Private organized groups of criminal hackers in certain countries are being told that they will not be prosecuted if their fishing expeditions bring back useful information.  

      --

      Thus when they launch an attack, they have two goals in mind: stealing and spying.  The stealing part is for their immediate benefit and involves attacks on commercial targets to gain intellectual property, and also to gain information that is of monetary value for purposes such as identity theft.  The spying part is what gets them immunity for stealing, and involves attacking the .govs and .mils using the same or similar tools.    

      On the surface this can appear to be nothing more than a conventional cybercrime attack to steal financial information and intellectual property, and that provides part of the plausible deniability to the responsible government.  The fact that private gangs are performing the attacks, rather than state entities such as the Chinese intel & military, provides another and large part of the plausible deniability.

      --

      The US cannot act against another nation state in the absence of conclusive evidence of its involvement.  There is extensive work going on in attribution theory and methods, toward the end of being able to pin down the responsible parties for these and other attacks.  

      Obama's stated policy toward terrorism and other attacks by organized subnational groups is to treat it as crime rather than warfare.  This is a huge improvement over Bush.  We can always escalate as the circumstances warrant, but premature escalation is a losing proposition.  

      --

      The US Government is taking a far more proactive stance on these issues than it may appear, and almost all of that is going on quietly behind the scenes.  We will not hear of the major successes, aside from cases that involve US persons or extraditable foreign nationals who are brought to trial.  

      I had a couple more things to say about this but I've conveniently forgotten them for the moment, which is an indication that they belong to the category of stuff I can't discuss in public.  

      There will probably be more news about these issues by the end of this week.

      •  My Baidu search (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        Shows that in 2008, DHS ran stress-tests on major ISPs and pretty much concluded that Internet securety is poor and puts much at risk.

        It's a global problem of global concern including to China.

        My Baidu search also turned up this little item reported in English by the Daily Telegraph. Baidu hacked by "The Iranian Cyber Army"

        So there you go. Internet securety sucks and big, bad, invincible Goggle got hacked just like the rest of them.

        A telling point to me in the Goggle press release was thier stress that their "own systems" quote/unquote were not breached just certian Gmail accounts.

        WTF? Goggle is not Gmail?  Funny.

        Dudes, you got hacked. By Chinese.

        Now that must have pissed off Sergi. Russians hacked by Chinese. Tsk-Tsk.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 04:40:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ooh, you're good... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          A hat tip and a bow to you for that comment, well said in an old tradition.

          Yes, internet security is a major issue top to bottom, and IMHO the entire internet infrastructure needs to be scrapped and rebuilt.  

          That could be a point on which all nations cooperate for their own benefit as well as mutual benefit.   However the likelihood of it occurring is small, there is too much inertia built up behind the present system with all of its numerous flaws.

          The Iranian Cyber Army is clearly either a) a group of young hackers out to prove themselves, or b) much less likely, the Iranian government attempting to look like a gang of young hackers.  Posting a banner on a hacked site is typical of young hackers but one never knows what levels of deception may have occurred on that one.  

          It's also possible that the Iranian gov was doing it, and then thought they were detected by the Chinese gov, and posted the banner to make it appear that they were kiddies out joyriding.  The fact that it was posted in Farsi and in English, rather than Farsi and Mandarin, is intriguing.  

          The article got it wrong about technical stuff: a DOS attack is not a DNS attack.  

          But about Google, the stuff that's been reported in the press isn't as significant as what went on behind the scenes and who else was hacked at the same time.   I'll probably see that list some time in the next couple of weeks and it will prove very interesting, though I won't be able to name names here.

          Google (and others) have as much reason to admit that their systems were breached, as the US Air Force has to admit that UFOs can outmaneuver our fighter jets.   Which is to say, no one wants to admit it when someone gets them good.

          Yep, we got hacked by Chinese, and there's a good chance that China will beat us to the Moon as well.  I view this from the perspective of respect among peers for excellence in technical achievements.  Some day, your taikonauts and our astronauts, and perhaps Russian cosmonauts at the same time, may all stand together on the moon, looking across space at our common heritage.  Perhaps in our lifetime.

  •  Well you've spent a lot of time on this diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, dgone36, Lujane, Troubadour

    That's a good part. But I think your poll options should include a melding of all the options. We have counter-intelligence cybersecurity which we can use against China - if indeed the Chinese government is behind the attacks.

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 05:55:32 PM PST

  •  Declare verifiable cyber attacks an act of war (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    then link that to our nuclear weapon use policies. That should get their attention. I find it hard to believe we do not have an effective counter measure to cyber warfare. Maybe an EMP weapon which will burn up the electronics of an enemy.

    "No man deserves to be praised for his goodness unless he has strength of character to be wicked." La Rochefoucald

    by Void Indigo on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 05:55:51 PM PST

  •  And I say options 1, 3 and 4 are the most viable. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    IMHO

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 05:56:29 PM PST

  •  We can't do shit. (5+ / 0-)

         The Chinese own us, thanks to Wall St. and Free Trade.

  •  Can we save our hostility for actual enemies? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sceptical observer, JeffW, Troubadour

    China's just a nuisance, at worst.  France and Israel have done worse stuff in recent memory.

    Enrich your life with adverbs!

    by Rich in PA on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:05:05 PM PST

    •  You should see China's consulate in San Francisco (6+ / 0-)

      Bristling with antennae. Just like the Russian consulate. They're not there just to give visas - China is a huge concern from an espionage POV - in particular its use of the overseas Chinese community to accomplish industrial espionage.

      "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

      by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:11:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let's say that espionage is like terrorism (5+ / 0-)

        You have two models to fight it--you can make it a state-to-state issue and get yourself in ruinous wars, or you can treat the individual actors like everyday scofflaws and go after them with the same tools we've always had.  I'm pretty sure that the first model is bankrupt, and that the second is the way to go.  

        Enrich your life with adverbs!

        by Rich in PA on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:15:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No one fights a war over espionage (4+ / 0-)

          particularly since all states spy on one another - including friends spying on friends. There is no "war" model for combating espionage - you deploy counterespionage measures to fight it.

          My argument was with your characterization of China's behavior as non-threatening while saying Israel and France were worse threats. I take issue with that.

          "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

          by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:23:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  and that's what we're doing. (0+ / 0-)

          This is part of Obama's policy on terrorism, which is one case of the general category of attacks by organized subnational groups.  Treat this as a law enforcement matter first and foremost.  

          Imagine if Palin was president.  She'd be all hot to retaliate militarily by launching a cyberattack against China with insufficient evidence.  

      •  i wonder if there's any law against... (0+ / 0-)

        ...pointing something at those antennae and giving them a great big download of good ol' American porn.  Hmm.

        Are you in the Bay Area too...?

        •  Obviously you don't surf the net in China! (0+ / 0-)

          Goggle "Green Dam Youth Escort" and say hi to the bunnies for me.

          safety first

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 06:10:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  uh-oh... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko

            The only problem is, the Asian and USA definitions of porn vary to the degree that certain things that may be legal there, may not be here, because they look like depictions of people under the age of 18.  

            So I'll have to take your word for it.

            •  I think that works both ways (0+ / 0-)

              Cultural factors definately come into play. The Magna style cartoon is an anti-censorship comentary containing lots of Chinese internet icons, but the basic idea is the girl in front represents the netzens and the girl in back the government, protecting us by looking down our pants. Note the bunny at bottom with his ballon X-ed out. The sin-on page for Green Dam featurea a butterfly (gentle hand of the censor) landing on the nose of a bunny (Innocent Youth) and this has sparked some great parodies.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 08:38:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  holy cow!, i missed all of that! (0+ / 0-)

                Wow!  Do I ever feel dense today!

                You said something about porn and I saw two characters that were of indeterminate age, and I immediately went to the item about age depictions and missed the entire message!

                Yes, that's excellent.  I'm going to have to check out the page you linked to, though that's probably not going to happen right now because I've got a task coming up shortly.  

                Butterflies and bunnies are certainly an improvement over some of the political discourse in the US, with phrases such as "smash-mouth politics" and other references to assault.  I'll take G-rated over R any day of the week.  

                Be well my friend, ttys.

      •  Yeah, really lousy technology (0+ / 0-)

        Friggin embarassing, we are. American Embassys and Consulates keep all of those antennas and dishes well hidden.

        The American Consulate is Shanghai is particularly well situatued.  They have all of the standard consular offices in a highrise office above a Japanese Department Store downtown, and all the good stuff in the original Consular compound surrouned by a high wall and trees, with PLA Gards posted out front to keep the riff-raff away.

        Damn you guys are good.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 01:06:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, proving my point that all states (0+ / 0-)
          spy on one another. Embassies exist for two meain reasons: to allow representation and conduct state-to-state affairs and to spy.

          "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

          by Shane Hensinger on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 09:07:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  France and Israel are democracies. (3+ / 0-)

      Which means anything they/we do to each other is all in good fun.  

      Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

      by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:20:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  China is more than a nuisance. (0+ / 0-)

      The situation with China is a complex relationship that ranges from allies on certain issues to major competitors on others.  And China and Russia are also both in the position to replace us as world-leading powers if we fall, which is also part of the equation here.  

  •  Poor Google (3+ / 0-)

    Nice boys completely fooled by the big bad bogeyman.

    if you don't think that they have been cost benefitting this since they went in to China I have an "Apple are a cuddly corporation" advertisement to sell you.

    China hacked the dissidents accounts and the cost column overshot the benefit column. Business as usual.

    As for this:

    I don't like bullies, and I don't care what flag they wave in my face when they're trying to fuck with me or my country:

    bet that scared them.

    Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom
    -Herbert Spencer

    by stevej on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:05:42 PM PST

  •  4, followed by 1 & 3... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Troubadour

    ...if 4 fails. Most likely, Google pulls out of China.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:05:51 PM PST

    •  When will Goggle pullout of Russia? (0+ / 0-)

      If you run into Sergi Brin, please remind him to Do.No.Evil@Goggle.ru

      Thanks

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 01:19:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Goggle will have to wait (0+ / 0-)

      Hillary has more important business to do this week.

      Really. She's in Haiti. Goggle can wait.

      And they are still up in China, so appearently they are still kind of conflicted about what constitutes Evil where market dominating multinational corporations are concerned, verses the rule of law.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 01:23:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We Don't Have a Say In Our Own Health Care (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't get the memo that it was because they put we the people in charge of the military and foreign relations.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:10:16 PM PST

  •  I think the US's currently active counter (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, JeffW, Troubadour

    Chinese cyber-war unit should get in contact with Google and offer them support in their plan to overwhelm the Great Firewall of China with the Great Proxy of America...

    But you didn't hear anything about it from me... ;)

    Seriously. Google isn't someone China would necessarily want to mess around with. They have many ways they could... expose the Chinese people to the Internet at large: IE, bypass China's firewall. It would take quite a bit of work and resources but it could be done and it would have a large effect both politically and in opening the Chinese market.

    "All I have left is pain and hope-- Hope that the pain will fade away..."

    by Cofcos on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:10:28 PM PST

    •  And here's what I'd be curious to know. (0+ / 0-)

      Suppose Google - after having pulled out of China, of course - publicly announced they intended to pull down China's firewall, and solicited support.  The Chinese government could then...hehehe...file a complaint with the State Department.

      Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

      by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:27:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just turn the other packet. n/t (3+ / 0-)

    -- We are just regular people informed on issues

    by mike101 on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:13:03 PM PST

  •  Interesting Diary (4+ / 0-)

    For those just tuning in at home, here's a quick summary. It might also explain why I had trouble accessing several websites, including DKos for about half an hour on Sat evening.

    The diary is missing our own Infowar capabilities, which would be helpful in assessing what to do. I mean, do we have an Infowar policy? (We probably do, and it's highly classified). What would make you think that action isn't being taken already?

    Governments really don't like the Internet at all, for obvious reasons. In China's case, they are particularly hateful, probably with good reason. Google's response was interesting and well thought out.

    •  In all likelihood (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer, dgone36

      our Infowar capabilities are still in the process of being implemented, given the stupidity and laziness of the unlamented Bush regime.  Given the subtlety of the Obama administration, I would expect that whatever is being done involves long-term planning rather than ballsy moves.  

      That's good, but I don't think it's mutually exclusive to what I'm saying - there should be a public demonstration to show the government in Beijing that they can't treat the rest of the world like they treat their own terrorize populace.

      Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

      by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:34:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Would Say Infowar (3+ / 0-)

        Dates back to at least the Bush 41 Administration and possibly earlier.

        I wouldn't underestimate our capabilties; the CIA routinely had their assets in the MSM in the '80s and '90s put out op-eds lamenting their alleged weakness, decline and general ineffectiveness.

        Consider phone phreak extraordinare Kevin Mitnick...first thing the government did after releasing him from jail was to offer him a job. At least that's the official version. I'm certain he's not the only such talent in that position.

    •  Why do you think the Chinese government (0+ / 0-)

      ... hates the Internet?

      Both the US and Chinese governments understand the Internet is the opiate of the people.

      Am I wrong?

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 02:19:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Given that the government's response (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    has been crickets, all of the above scenarios are mere gaming for gaming's sake.

    Google is now investigating whether or not it was an inside job.

    And, if thisdidn't warrant a response, at least publicly, I can't imagine that an attack against commercial interests will either.

    note; That second link goes to e-week and has a 10 second delay unless you click the link.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:15:19 PM PST

    •  I wonder about that..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer, Troubadour

      ...I cruise USAJOBS.GOV sometimes and lately I have seen quite a few jobs for countering "cyberterror". Check it out. I think the government (what's left of it) is doing something.

      Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1929.

      by Bensdad on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:30:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think there's a lot going on. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bensdad, G2geek, Troubadour

        It's just not being talked about publicly. There's no real benefit for either side to publicize their efforts.

        "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

        by sceptical observer on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:38:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes they are. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sceptical observer

        Much work is going on behind the scenes, and there is extensive recruitment.  

        The stuff that's being done is largely classified, as it should be.  

        •  So then you don't agree with Option 2? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek

          Funny, dat!

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 02:22:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  what i think should be done: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko

            Sec. of State Clinton should sit down with the Chinese ambassador and have a frank discussion of this, aimed toward an agreement to bring the problem under control.   If a consensus isn't reached, then we go to the next stage in diplomacy, whatever that is.

            I don't believe in going into attack mode, or embarrassing the Chinese leadership, or any of that stuff.  We need to handle this in a traditional manner and seek solutions.  The relationship is too important on both sides of the fence, to be subject to grandstanding or premature moves of any kind.  And that's not financial pragmatism speaking, it's common cause for international harmony and the greater good, in a world that is faced with threats such as subnational extremist groups and the climate crisis.  

            And/or if China is truly engaged in spy vs. spy, then we can handle that via normal foreign intel methods that apply to any ally or friendly nation that's doing naughty things here.  We've prosecuted some Israeli agents for example, and doing so hasn't harmed our relationship with Israel.  In all likelihood, one or more of our friends & allies have prosecuted American agents over the past ten years as well.  It's a cliche that everyone spies on everyone else, and occasionally they get caught, but no one goes to war over it.  

            In any case, we're bolstering our cyberdefenses because the next cyberattack could be Al Qaeda, and none of this should be left to chance.  

    •  That was under Bush. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      The United States had no operational government.

      Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

      by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:37:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think at least part of the problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        is the size of the entities that get hacked, esp. in the case of the government.

        I read a while back about how many man-hours are required just to keep software updated on every computer in large companies and the number was staggering. Couple that with the use of flash drives or people taking work home and it's really hard to keep systems secure.

        None of that is going to change any time soon. I posted this the other night in the OND about DARPA warning that our lack of geeks is a national security threat.

        "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

        by sceptical observer on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:52:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  FBI is on it re. finding geeks. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sceptical observer

          FBI is engaged in efforts to recruit geek talent.  This is being done quietly on a nationwide scale.  If you don't want to wait and you've got talent and want to help, look up Infragard* and apply for membership; that will get you in touch with various people who can evaluate your skills and see where you fit into the picture.  

          The Chinese hacking is conducted via third party persons and countries to provide plausible deniability.  Therefore all that can be proven to the degree needed to act upon this, is that there are organized subnational groups engaged in cybercrime.

          The Obama administration's policy toward terrorism and other forms of organized attacks by subnational groups, is to treat it as crime first, not warfare.  That's a major improvement over the Bush administration.

          ---

          *Infragard is a volunteer organization of professionals working in vital infrastructure, who work with the FBI to develop infrastructure protection plans against various types of criminal activity up to and including terrorism and organized attacks.  A fairly typical example would be to perform a detailed security review of vulnerabilities in a regional power grid, and strengthen the electrical utility's physical protection of those points.

          •  I recommend they try Best Buy. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            They have several branchs in China, this would make it easier to recruit a Chinese fluant Geek Squad that understands the inner-workings of the Internet cabal in China.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 02:25:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  crickets to you maybe. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      Do you really expect NSA to hold a news conference about this?

      Come on now, get real.

      This situation is being dealt with.  

      •  note my comment to Bensdad above. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm sure it is too with every available resource 24/7 but it surprises me that we hear so much about intrusions and so little about counter-measures. Not the details but noting that they are effectively dealing with the problems.

        I don't think for a minute that there are any dummies working at NSA.

        "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

        by sceptical observer on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 10:42:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We appeal to the patriotism of the American.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crankyinNYC, Troubadour, Azazello

    ....people, make America self-sufficient, stiff China for what we owe them, repair our schools, roads and infrastructure and erect a great wall, both virtual and actual, because they are coming.

    Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1929.

    by Bensdad on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:27:55 PM PST

  •  It's about Baidu (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Eloise, Troubadour

    Link

    ake a look at this December 14 eMarketer release on worldwide search numbers. It not only shows Baidu walloping Google in China with double the market share, but it shows that this battle is quickly becoming more a global one. Forget China, Baidu is now the third largest search site in the world and it’s nipping at Yahoo’s heels to become number two. Yahoo had 8.9 billion searches in July of 2009; Baidu had 8 billion. That’s more than double the number four player, Microsoft, which had just 3.3 billion searches worldwide. For the record, Google is still light-years ahead of everyone with 76.7 billion searches. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t view Baidu as a global threat.

    Let's not hyperventilate, shall we?

    •  It's about China. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

      by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 06:45:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Baidu is listed on the NYSE (0+ / 0-)

      Buy.

      There are 3 simple reasons Google hit a user platau in China and cannot surpass Baidu:

      :: Baidu is optimized for Chinese content, and products targeted for Chinese consumers (aka, Chinese internet users); Goggle appeals mainly to English fluant Chinese (including me, I use both according to task)

      :: The Goggle portal is structured for search and tools, Chinese, in general, prefer information-intensive portals (see linked examples)

      :: Goggle came to China late in the game when QQ and Yahoo were already the dominant forces is internet instant messaging (QQ has about 800 million Chinese users and 1 billion total), Gmail is an utter faikure in China

      Click the links, a picture and search is worth a thousand words

      Goggle.com - a clean sheet of English paper

      Baidu.com - a clean sheet of Chinese paper

      QQ.com QQ messinger/SOSO search - the ubiquitous Chinese messenger/portal, "Busy/Happy" for Chinese, "Cluttered/Crazy" Westerners

      I'm QQ (QQ International) - the multiliqual QQ protl with an international style (join and make Chinese/other friends)

      Interesting, no?

      Imagine you had a choice between a Chinese or English optimized search engine (you do) which will you chose?

      Consumers generally chose what they like when they get a choice and more Chinese chose Baidu. Goggle can add to that by leaving China.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 02:58:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's Not Just Google...... (6+ / 0-)

    And it's not like this is the first time something like this has happened. It's believed the Chinese were also behind hacks attempting to map out weaknesses in our electric grid & infrastructure, and search for information on the F-35 (although, Defense officials claim the hackers weren't able to access classified information on the aircraft).

    Many of the intrusions were detected not by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.

    Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, "If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on."

    Officials said water, sewage and other infrastructure systems also were at risk.

    Last year, the Obama Administration created United States Cyber Command to consolidate DOD & NSA assets to defend government infrastructure. However, there have been delays in fulling implementing the command because of questions on how far the agency should go to deal with threats.

    NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis said in a recent interview that "90 percent" of the command's focus will be on defensive measures because "that's where we are way behind. If we led with attack, people would say, 'That's just nuts. That's completely irrational,' " he said. "You've got to be about the defense."

    Other intelligence experts, however, said that the term "defense" is malleable. They argue that the government is spending a significant amount of money on classified cyber programs to develop offensive capabilities. Beyond a cyber command, the Pentagon is grappling with a dizzying array of policy and doctrinal questions involving cyber warfare.

    Who should authorize a cyber attack on an adversary that might be capable of undermining the United States' financial system or energy infrastructure? What degree of certainty is needed about an alleged attacker before authorizing a response? When does an effort to defend a U.S. military network cross the line into an offensive action?

    Many of these questions will be answered down the road, after the command is launched, and perhaps some won't be answered for years, defense officials said.

    Still, such issues are important ones, said one official familiar with the Pentagon's plans, who was not authorized to speak for the record. "The rules can vary dramatically depending upon under what authority you're doing something," he said. "An offensive action is not a decision that can be taken very lightly. It is an extraordinary action because of the consequences that could result for either DOD or the intelligence community or critical U.S. industries."

  •  Don't you worry (3+ / 0-)

    The kids at Google will kick their butt.  ;-)

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 07:10:47 PM PST

    •  Oh, I know they will. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      They'll make a game out of it.  I just hope they brag about it publicly when they do.

      Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

      by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 07:16:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The won't have to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Troubadour

        The music systems in the officer's mess of the People's Revolutionary Army will be channeling the musical contents of their iPods.  The digital advertising in Shanghai will be streaming 14 World of Warcraft sessions in letterboxes.  And the president's computer will have a dialog box that says "Dear Mr. President, can we talk now, or should we chat with you on Facebook?"

        And that will be just the beginning moves.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 07:33:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If only. (0+ / 0-)

          If there's a Google forum somewhere that their people read, I'd love to encourage them to teach the Chinese government a lesson in the size of American balls.

          Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

          by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 07:43:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  please don't go there. (0+ / 0-)

            Some of your speculation in your diary was already too close to the mark in terms of stuff that's going on behind the scenes.

            Please talk to people in the intel community before going off on some rant to bare our ballz to China.  

          •  Would those be bigger than American asses? (0+ / 0-)

            Yes. You're right. Chinese have no testicles and one look at those American Whoppers and they will freeze like stone.

            Let me help your screed with some American History 101

            Meat vs Rice - S. Gompers

            History repeating?

            I don't think the US needs Chinese hackers to pollute the Internet, you are doing a pretty good job yourself

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 03:53:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  d00d, you forgot the pr0n! (0+ / 0-)

          American porn in every Chinese cybercafe and government office!

          Dammit, we need to start recruiting porn stars to make targeted videos.

        •  ... um .... (0+ / 0-)

          iPods are Made in China and Sold in China.

          WoW has more Chinese than American players.

          And the Chinese President speaks some (not so much but some) English while tha American President is depending on a Republican to translate.

          I belive the nember of Eglish speakers in China is almost equal to that in the US now, and the number of Chinese internet users is greater than the total US population.

          Why to you suppose we are so unsophisticated about information technology, politics, etc?

          Do you honestly think we need you to lead us by the hand?

          Suggest you Google US Patents assigned to IBM, Microsoft et al to see how many Chinese names appear.

          We have almost 1.4 billion people, at least a handful are marginally competent.

          BTW, if you want to influance China more, 学会说,读中文.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 03:09:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What about ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko

            ...snark about US geek fantasies do you not understand.

            You are taking this much too seriously.

            50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

            by TarheelDem on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 03:32:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The subtext is there (0+ / 0-)

              My point is simply that the Chinese government and Chinese people are not cluless about the issues here, and you can refer to the cartoon I posted elsewhere which is a funny parody on Green Dam made by Chinese bloggers.

              The Internet is the Wild West, and hackers are hackers whether or not they are private citzens, government employees, or somewhere in-between.

              And "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys"are in the eye of the beholder; if some pimple-faced teenager hack into an agency spying on Liberals, I doubt we'll see many diaries calling for espionage or retalliation, more likely the punk will be a hero. Baby-Fced Nelson with a keyboard, but it's some serious shit, no?

              Goolge: monopolistic multinational corporation or hero of the people?

              Depends; let's see how this case plays out and how they do when facing President Sarkozy when he hauls them into court for violating French Copyright Law with Goggle Books.

              Is Google a law unto themselves of do governments have a right to regulate the internet like other busnesses?

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 09:11:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  no, not that. (0+ / 0-)

        Bragging about it publicly is the surest way to get shut down.  

        Anything found by Google or the TLAs will be closely held because it may be needed at some point in the future.  

        Never give away your capabilities.  

  •  This diary is stupid. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko

    The Internet is just bits. It's not national in nature. China just made packets... it's the Google servers (and IE clients) that failed to do their job. They followed illegitimate instructions.

    Google (and Microsoft) have earned lots of valuable security knowledge from this escapade, essentially for free. Google is now playing a political strategy to turn the attention into money.

    Microsoft is directly and indirectly responsible for far, far more network intrusions in the USA than China will ever be. Rather than a new Pearl Harbor, you should be wondering about what's happening up in Bremerton. They fail time and time again, but everybody keeps giving them a pass.

    •  no it isn't... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      na-na nanana!

      So there!

      Where are the "better" Democrats?

      by lalo456987 on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 07:45:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your worldview is ridiculous. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      Those "packets" have real-world consequences, and those "bits" do belong to someone.  China broke into those systems and stole that information precisely because it's valuable.  The fact that buggy Microsoft software contributed to it is irrelevant - the fact that someone bought a shitty car and used it to keep valuables does not exonerate the thief who robs it.

      Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

      by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 08:10:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If that information was so important (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brian B, Conure

        Why exactly was it on a machine that was accessible via the internet? Sounds like that would be the first stupid mistake in a colossal list of stupid mistakes by "smart" people. Sounds like laziness too because it would seem this important information wasn't encrypted either. Make that both. Stupid and lazy. No file access controls on the directories or the files themselves? I mean come on. If anybody in the chain of this fiasco did even half of their job, used half of their smarts, it wouldn't have happened at all.

        For all you know, let alone what Google would admit, some chucklehead could have easily misconfigured a VLAN and the machines holding the information were accessible and wide-open. Or some web page referred to another page on a server that ordinarily was inaccessible to the internet but instead of granting access to the page there was open access all the way up to higher levels of the directory tree. In these scenarios no "hacking" is necessary. Hell, there is probably some naming convention for servers and various directories (and subs) wherein simply guessing at the name of another server or directory is easily possible.

        Companies are so lax with security it isn't surprising that important information ends up being compromised.

        I worked for a major bank (in the TARP 19) that in the infinite wisdom of their network folks put all of the ATMs onto the same networks as all of the other PCs in the branches - and the damn things were wide open to anyone in the bank on the network or anyone that could get through VPN or even the dreaded hacker. Was going to save millions was the post mordem excuse. If they told just about anyone before they did it there is no way it would have went forward. If the ATMs didn't start crapping out all across the country on day one no one might have discovered this lapse before bad things happened to good customers.

        And then there are the human compromises. The person responsible for the above fiasco, as often happens in large corporations, was promoted. That person got to pick their own successor. Brought in a "really smart" guy from the outside. Impressive resume. First day on the job, asks to leave at noon and take the next day off. Ends up being arrested later that night 600 miles away at a motel where he thought he was meeting a 14 year old girl for sex. Now imagine if it wasn't law enforcement that stumbled onto this clown first. He could have been blackmailed into giving access to literally everything in the bank.

        And then there are the senior executives with "brilliant ideas" that nobody has the guts, let alone the smarts, to call them on their stupidity. I know of a credit union where an executive thought up the "fantastic" idea of installing a web cam in the branch teller areas so that customers (actually anyone because it was going to be on the public side) could go to the web side to see if the branch was busy so they could avoid waiting in longer lines etc. They were all giddy beyond all hell for the idea until my brother asked: "So, you all think it is a good idea to allow people to watch the teller areas?" He continued, "Well you know who would really like to be able to watch the teller areas to see how busy it is? Bank robbers. Did you think of that? Did it ever even occur to you?" It never had occurred to them.

        Before I will even consider that it was a "highly organized sophisticated attack" I would have to see absolute proof that it wasn't a simple case of stupid and lazy because in all likelihood that is what it was.

  •  It's too late, China already owns us (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, dgone36, Troubadour

    China owns us, just like the bank owns your house.  We run a constant trade deficit, which means every year we buy from China more than we can afford.  So in exchange for their wares, we give them US Tresury Bonds.  We give them a piece of our country.

    We owe China more than we can possibly repay.  All they have to do is call in that debt and they break us.  The dollar will collapse when the world sees we can't pay our bills.

    The only thing holding China in check right now is that if they break us, they lose their export market.  But China is trying right now to build up a massive middle class in China bigger than the US population.  They won't need our market, and China exports to more than just us.  So if push comes to shove, if we try to boss them around more than they like, they might just decide to suffer through a short recession on their end to cripple us economically for decades.

    Everyone was warned about this 10 years ago but no one listened.  We gave China all our industry and allowed ourselves to go into massive debt to them.  And all we've received in return is massive unemployment and the promise that any intellectual property we send to China will be stollen.

    •  Defeatism doesn't serve much purpose. (0+ / 0-)

      China's economic power is an illusion powered by external business; the "middle class" they're supposedly building has no foundation apart from that external business; their population is a demographic time-bomb with unsustainable liabilities; and their political system is incapable of any level of accountability.  

      If you think changing things in this country is difficult, it is effectively impossible in China, despite superficial appearances.  

      The minute that the system encounters real stressors, their control will shatter and the situation will spiral out of control.  I just hope when it does they don't decide to become militarily belligerent to divert the anger of their population.

      Foreignness is in the ignorance of the beholder.

      by Troubadour on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 08:18:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  one could argue whether... (0+ / 0-)

        ...China is or is not a resilient society, but the bottom line is that we do not want to see China go through a collapse.  That would be bad news from both the economic and national security standpoints.  

        Our best bet is for China to develop a viable middle class and remain a stable country.  

    •  yes and no. (0+ / 0-)

      Your analysis is pretty well on target, but your conclusion that it's too late and nothing can be done, a) doesn't follow and b) is incorrect in any case.

      Pre-emptive surrender gets us nowhere.  

    •  No, the US owns China (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Norm in Chicago

      Who has who's money?

      China holds in excess of $800 billion of US Treasury notes. If the US economy sneezes, China catches cold. If the US defaults, China looses. If the US Dollar is devalued, China loses.

      Then who bails China out may I ask?

      Clue: Japan "owned" the US. They paid with a 15 year recession and still have a national debt 200x GDP. Oh yeah, Japan owned you.

      I think the Donald Trump Rule applies:

      Mr. Banker: "You owe Mr Trump. We may have to foreclose."

      Mr. Trump: "OK. F**k You, bankrupt me."

      Mr. Banker: "Are you free for lunch, Sir?"

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 04:06:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everything on the Internet is public (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko

    You have to assume that everything on the Internet is public and and can be hacked, if not today, then eventually.  If you want to keep things secret, don't use the Internet.

    You can help yourself somewhat by only using FLOSS -- Free (Libre) Open Source Software, because that way it's far less likely that the software has back doors that someone can use without your knowledge to spy on you.  As for storing things in "The Cloud", don't bet on any sort of real privacy.

    Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
    Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

    by Caelian on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 08:37:28 PM PST

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