Haditha, and the dogs of war

If you take any group of people, arm them, scare them to the point of paranoia by throwing bombs, and firing guns at them, and you are going to get people killed. More often, innocent bystanders, than any of the perpetrators of the violence. It is going to happen. it will always happen. Only fools believe that it won’t happen, and only cowards cover it up. Mix that up with civilian control of the war and you will get massacres and coverups. There is no reason, and no reasonability in war, only raw uncontrolled emotions. The worst kind of emotions, hate, anger and fear. The same ones the GOP is fond of cultivating in the general population. And it unsustainable, and uncontainable, it will explode.

That’s just one of the Dogs Shakespeare refers to “Cry ‘HAVOC’ and let slip the dogs of war!”

It’s one of the reasons War should always be the LAST resort of Politician’s and not the first one. And should never be unleashed by someone who has never been in a war.

Xenophobic Far Right rewriting history

I have chosen to use the words ‘Far Right’ rather than the Republicans, as it has become very clear that the current Far Right government of the U.S. is not what the Republican party stands for.

I now come to the conclusion that the Far Right is in control of the government in Australia as well as the U.S.. And they share the same propaganda tools, fear of terror and are manipulating the same general xenophobic stories. I discovered this after to an Australian tourist yesterday. And he was complaining that foreigners were moving into Australia and into tight communities bringing in their own culture. With intention of changing Australian culture. Now this had the familiar ring of the the immigration issues in the U.S. (really everywhere)

The Far Right has used this fear of culture change to scare the public into surrendering their freedoms for the appearance of some security. The whole argument that foreigners are attempting to change the culture that they are moving into, wither it’s in the U.S., Australia, Ireland or England by establishing communities as some sort of ‘foothold’ for some imagined invasion is bogus, and just a propaganda tool of control.

Historically ‘enclaves’ have always existed when populations merge. Anyone moving into a culture will naturally seek out familiarity. It’s more or less like dipping your toe into a pool of water to see if it’s war enough. The Irish in America, or Italians formed communities in the U.S. a hundred years ago. There are still ares in New York call “Little Italy” for instances. It did not then, nor does it still indicate that the Italians were seeking to change the American Culture. They may have added a little flavor (who doesn’t love Pizza?) and the Irish brought Corned Beef. But the enclaves that my new Australian friend fears do not represent an invasion. And while it turns out that his origins are really English, and his intention was to immerse himself into the Australian culture. Others from more diverse cultures may have a bit more of a culture shock, and require more time, and culture “therapy” in order to adapt. Will they leave cultural artifacts in the Australian (or Irish, or U.S) culture, maybe, but their assimilation will happen, and if allowed, it may only bring with it the better parts of that culture. After all, the Australian culture does not represent the Aboriginal origins of that Island, neither does the culture of the United States of American represent the native Indian culture that was it’s origin.

And that’s really the weapon of fear, it all boils down to a fear of change. The real tool of the Far Right, and the conservatives that represent the Republicans. And the history as rewritten by the Far Right is that these Invasions of culture must be fought, and turned back like any invader. When in reality these cultural staging areas have existed for countless generations. And have never constituted an affront to their host countries.

Stop fearing change, it will happen with you, or without you. Really the only fear we should have is of fear itself. We can help the assimilation of these new friends in our society, through education and socialization, and not by Fear, and alienation.

A brief historical of the WWW

Just so no one forgets a few elements of the history of the WWW, often referred to as the World Wide Web.

1) In reality there was a beginning to WWW before HTTP servers appeared on the internet.

and only later did HTTP, or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol appear, along with HTML, or Hyper Text Markup language, a derived, or DTD from SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)

2) The original ‘Web’ browser was Mosaic as it place all of the WWW protocols under one browser. And linked these together to what we now call the World Wide Web, a real “Mosaic” of the Internet protocols.

I know this as I was developing Gopher and Anonymous FTP servers when HTTP was developed. And you can still find some of the protocols still listed in the URL of your favorite browser

http://
gopher://
ftp://
https://
shttp://
archie://

The Usurpation of Honor, the roots of Tyranny

A few days ago I stumbled on an article (an article I can’t find now) that detailed a subtle change in the oath of secrecy that is rendered at the CIA and NSA. The article went something like this. The original oath;

I swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and that I will obey the lawful orders of the President of the United States

had been changed to;

I swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and that I will obey the lawful orders of the President of the United States

Now this is very subtle, and makes the assumption that the President is issuing legal orders. But is it strikes at the heart of the oath. The uses of the word ‘lawful’ removes the honor that is required of the oath taker. That he or she is required to understand the meaning of lawful, with regards to the Constitution of the United States. It also strikes blow a for tyranny in that it is tantamount to an oath of loyalty to the President and not to the laws of the United States. An oath of fealty to President Bush.

In my search to find the original article I came upon this as further evidence that I was not misplaced in my fear that something was amiss in the subtle change

…the oath represented more than a simple, ceremonial formality; rather, it provided overarching guidance and a standard of moral conduct, as opposed to dictating specific, limited criteria.

And the limited criteria represented with this change was to relinquish the responsibility of the individual to interpret the legality of orders from the president and place into presidential control all liability for the interpretation.

It’s roughly the equivalent of a soldier saying “I was only following orders” at the Nuremberg trials.

And then I stumble upon this article Sworn fealty to the president as the answer to everything and realized that this subtle change was exactly what Bush requires from his staff, his ‘serfs’. Loyalty, not to the constitution, or the truth, or to the American people. But loyalty to GW Bush. The same loyalty that would be due any tyrant, by that tyrant.

It also goes far in explaining the purge at the CIA. All the previous staff having sworn using the old oath, the one requiring the oath taker to interpret legality, are being purged and replaced with personnel sworn to fealty to Bush.

That should scare everyone. We are not worried about a dictator in the U.S. we already have one.

The GOP is cracking up, Paradigm change in the wind

I can’t begin to tell you where all these links lead you. I can only tell you where they lead me. The first article Revisionist History Is yet another attempt to spin the history of the Iraq War in President Bush’s direction, but it created a question from the near right Neo-NeoCon about Why this war is so hated And I took time to comment there. But the arguments on both sides did not present a clear listen, from either side of the equation. And it only reminded me that any investigation into any event should be confined by ‘motives and passions’. and not by any ‘beliefs’ or philosophy one has.

It did illustrate the desperate measures the GOP it taking to spin history in a positive manner, and how badly it has worked. Many right wing blogs are now questioning ‘things’, unlike before, the unquestioned belief that the president was the source of all truth. The right has begun to question.

Yet another spinning article about Bush-hatred a threat to national security misses the point entirely. Bush is only a man, a man who should be constrained by the constitution, the laws of the United States. But who, in this article, is being elevated to the level of Godhood. My perspective, if Bush hatred is so great, then he should step aside in order to reunite America and prevent this disharmony. I don’t hold out any hope that the good of america will ever cross Bush’s mind.

NSA domestic Spying and data mining

There has been a lot of talk about the NSA domestic spying. The fact that AT&T Sprint, and others have been sending internet traffic, and phone calls to the NAS is not in Doubt. The issue is what they are doing with the data and phone calls.

Data mining is problematic, and probably always will be. The problem has to do with reducibility of content, and decisive targeting of probable results sets. In business, data mining focuses on business issues that can be, more or less, narrowed down. Discovering the percentage of persons with blue eyes who purchase your product might be interesting, but probably not useful unless you can link this data to an artifact that Blue eyed individuals purchase more of your product. Discussing terror takes on subtle difference wither you take it from the context of the “the grandchildren terrorizing their grandparents”, or the “we will be terrorizing the Capitol building” . Both word elements will trigger an automated scan, either vocal, or digital, but neither will be useful until connected with pertinent relevant data and reduced to comply with in the context of the target required.
What is the percentage of usage of the word terror in current conversations, and text? And how much reduction does it take to get to something useful? Does your filtration, remove valuable information.

You could simplify this issue by considering the general issues of the IT world. The distilling of facts into information.

I used to work in the Telecom world, and we had a cell phone fraud unit that, in order to catch fraud established a phone pattern recognition system. Not unlike the NSA’s own requirement. But unlike the NSA it’s target was focused on fraud. A requirement the telco applied to good customer service. But unlike the NSA privacy was not an issue. The design of the data mining system dissociated personal identification from phone numbers. The system only established a cell phone calling pattern for each phone number in the system. There was nothing to connect the user of the phone to the number at all. What was being detected was, change.

For everyone, there can be an associated pattern, a group of familiar phone numbers, a common event.
Calling your wife on your way home from work is a pattern. And can, over time, establish a rhythm, a pattern to the phone usage. And should that phone suddenly start calling Brazil, the call no longer fits the established pattern, and would trip a warning, which would be forwarded to a fraud investigator.

This is mealy an example, and evidence that the NSA did not need to acquire the amount and types of data that they requested in order to look for terrorist. They were spying, and listening in on Americans, and for that matter everyone else on the internet.

Time to dig out that old PGP encryption key.

Washington Post singles out Democrat on corruption

Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) seems to be singularly blessed and cursed. While I’m sure there are corrupt politicians in both parties, Jefferson has been singled out as a counterbalance to the dozens of Republicans currently indicted. And the right wing is having a field day showing everyone an example of a corrupt Democrat.

They should remember that people in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.

The real Nuclear energy

When people talk about nuclear energy, they are, by ignorance, lumping all nuclear energy into Fission Nuclear energy. There is another, Fusion, and unlike Fission, it has more potential, and far fewer risks.

Years ago in a Technology Forecasting class, I made a bold prediction that;

there will be commercial fusion power by the year 2000.

I was wrong, to the disappointment of the world. But I did qualify my prediction with the speculation that that first fusion plant would be a converted experimental reactor. And now my prediction may be forming, a bit latter than predicted. But when the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) does manage to get constructed it is expected to become commercially viable. Hence the Moment of truth for nuclear fusion scheme now that the Experts ‘cleared hurdle in fusion research’

Here’s hoping for a Nuclear Fission free past, and a new clean nuclear Fusion future.

wp-trackback spam, an attack on WordPress?

I have been fighting a distributed, wp-trackback comment spam ‘attack’. Along with this I have been ‘discovered’ by distinct automated wp-trackback comment spammers. And putting on my tin-foil hat, I thought about that for a minute.

What if this was not just a advertising spam campaign? None of the comment spam I looked at (and I looked at a great deal) was not appealing, nothing I read would encourage a reader of the spam to follow the links. So you could say that the content was ineffective. Just random noise, only made to look like spam.

The second thought was that it was focused on WordPress software, and the bloggers that used WordPress. From what I can gather WordPress has become the choice of bloggers running their own sites.

Yet a third Idea, came to mind in that trackback is one of the important interconnects between websites, and part of the defense of this spam attack, was to break this interconnect.

So, if this were an attack, what would be it’s purpose?

1) an attack by a rival blogger software system competing with WordPress?
2) an attack by someone to herd bloggers on to one of the big blogger sites?
3) an attempt to break the relationships in the blogger community? (political?)
4) a … Well you fill in the next one ….

in any case, I’m taking off the tin-foil hat as it’s making my head hurt.

The wp-trackback spam is a pain in the ass, and it really sucks having to deal with it.

Aer Lingus and representative government

I was listening to a discussion of the privatizing of Aer Lingus last night. I was struck with a comment made by some ‘expert’ on the matter of privatization. The comment went something like this.

Some ministers were blocking the privatization efforts because there are no votes in it.

 


and I was gob smacked. He had put is finger on why no one is happy with the government. The public is only now recovering from the Eircom fiasco when the government gave away the phone company to the banks, and other profiteers, screwing the citizens of Ireland who had invested in eircom, only to be ripped off by corrupt politicians, the same politicians that are engineering this rip-off of the Irish airline.
 
But this points to another more serious problem, representative. This ‘expert’ knew that the general public, the voters of Ireland, do not approve of this privatization effort. They know full well that no good will come of it. But the politicans have so little regard  for the voters that put them into office that they will completely ignore their constituents, and operate only in the best interests of the profiteers and banks. It’s no wonder that this government has extended the length of the freedom of information act so far into the future, they can all be safely in the Bahamas when the facts come out.
 
I will now predict that within 2 years of this privatization, there will be no Aer Lingus. And the Irish flying public and many of the airports in Ireland will no longer have any air services available.

Central Intelligence Agency

Having a concept of Central intelligence being formalized into an agency of the federal government begs the question. Is there an agency for central stupidity. Is there a counterpoint to all organizational systems, is there a balance? If we can contain intelligence into association, should we balance that with a gathering of stupid. Would it be called FEMA, or the White House, or maybe Congress? And who would you appoint to manage a Central Stupid agency? Don’t we have a CSA department, maybe that’s where all the money went to.