- The Lt. Gov. of Texas asked the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System to weigh in on campus carry of firearms. Pretty good response (pdf) for a bureaucrat. He nails the central issue: trust. (H/T LarryA)
- The legalization of pot and “drugged” drivers who aren’t.
- The rich and the poor. Which in this case also seems to extend to the powerful and the powerless. They both cheat but from very different motives.
- Bovard on Obama’s rosy belief that the U.S. can squander its way to prosperity.
- The Freedom Feens say that effective libertarians (blush) study Claire Wolfe. (That one got me so flustered I just spelled my own name wrong.)
- The Atlantic prints the politically incorrect (but useful) fact: ISIS is genuinely, indisputably Islamic.
- How one domino the size of a Tic Tac could topple a whole building. I’d like to think this makes a great metaphor for freedom, but even if it doesn’t, it’s a great fun physics fact.
Archive for the ‘War’ Category
Again, this is the opinion of a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. The following is not by me.
—–begin anon message, part II—–
I am not Charlie Hebdo, because I know that free speech is a lie. The Constitution is a dead letter, and I am a coward.
Charlie Hebdo published offensive speech that was found by a court of law to be worthy of protection. The speakers were killed.
Anwar al-Awlaki published offensive speech, and was killed. He was denied a day in court, and simply murdered.
I don’t want to be killed. I want to work for peace, but I’m not going to stick my head up and invite extremely well-armed people to shoot at me, no matter what costume they wear.
I did not write the following. It was sent to me by a friend who has concluded that free speech is now such a myth that anonymity is the only protection. These are my friend’s opinions. Because they’re long, I’ll split this into two parts and run them on successive days.
—–begin anon text—–
… for the long, idle post-celebration hours ahead.
In The Atlantic James Fallows writes about “The Tragedy of the American Military”. How we can reflexively say, “Thank you for your service” and claim that all soldiers are heroes — precisely because most of us are so removed from the realities of their lives, their missions, and the management of military matters.
The German ‘zine Spiegel Online goes inside the NSA for an educated guess about what types of encryption the NSA has broken, which it’s working on, and which are so far safe from its prying eyes.
Both articles are longish but very worth a read.
Before I shut down for the day to return to hermitting, here are some links I’ve been collecting for you.
- Never mind that this prepper is living in New York City (whotta place to be in a crunch!). Never mind that he’s going public with exactly what ought to be most private. He’s right about a lot. For the rest of us if not for himself.
- Long but an interesting look at insanities of the past: Allen Ginsberg (in 1966) writing about “The Great Marijuana Hoax.”
- “Nine Things Remarkably Successful People Never Do” by Jeff Haden and “Nine Things Successful People Won’t Do” by Dr. Travis Bradberry. (Whether any of this is true depends on how you define success, but there are some good thoughts.)
And to get you in the Christmas spirit:
Via Borepatch: “The Carol of the Bells” writ rather large.
This 2014 commercial for the British store Sainsbury’s apparently infuriated a lot of people. I think it’s lovely. The only infuriating thing is that the guys in this famous WWI story went back to killing each other the very next day.
Wouldn’t you just know it? Wouldn’t you just? As soon as domestic drones even start looking like they could be a nuisance, somebody comes up with this: Drone Shield.
Yes, indeedy, you to can keep the paparazzi and other airborne vermin away. Fancy that! But look who all is in the list of potential clients — a veritable roster of the crony capitalist police state. Pity.
People laughed earlier this summer when big-time columnist Maureen Dowd tried her first cannabis, did it unwisely, and wrote about feeling like she was dying. They thought she was making a ridiculous big deal out of a pot experience.
I didn’t laugh. I had an experience like hers. Edible pot. Not for some of us, no, no, not ever. Turns out even the Emperor of Pot, Willie Nelson won’t touch edibles for that very reason.
In more mundane news, I had to pull a tick off the base of my cat’s ear tonight. We don’t usually get ticks and though I’ve yanked a few off dogs, I’ve never tackled a kitty.
I figured that “tackle” might be the operative word. But Kitsu is such a mild-mannered little thing that after a few token twists to keep her head out of my hands, she sat still for the procedure. She was very offended, and demanded out immediately afterward, but the only one harmed by the experience was the tick.
I was kind of surprised.
Yesterday Mike Vanderboegh re-printed a classic that I’d missed first time around even though it riffs on a classic of my own — asking that ever-pertinent question, “When is it time?”
Mike uses the sorry example of the Weimar German Reichsbanner to show how even the prepared can tragically fail to act when the day comes. The Reichsbanner were a military group sworn to protect the Weimar Republic against an anticipated Nazi coup. But when Hitler rose to power they did … nothing.
They were waiting for a signal from a leader. And for various reasons, they waited. And waited.
This got me thinking about the differences in packs vs herds vs lone individuals.
- The more powerful people are, the more time they perceive they have. Interesting. And an insight into why some of us always feel as if we’re scrambling just to keep up!
- And here’s the schedule those successful people follow.
- This came up at Joel’s place the other day. I think it was MJR who linked it. In any case, it’s cool in more ways than one — poor man’s air conditioning.
- Hm. Jeffrey Snider also goes on (as I recently did) about how seventeenth century England made such a difference to Americans. Then he goes on. And on. About modern-day political thievery. Long but interesting.*
- Jury frees man who shot at cops who were too stupid and lazy to bother checking an address.
- And things continue to look up! Woman wins big settlement after cop steals her money and arrests her on false charges. (H/T Say Uncle)
- Everybody knows about Sherman committing war crimes as he pillaged and burned his way to the sea. But I never knew Sheridan did the same thing farther north — on orders from Grant and with the blessing and thanks of Lincoln.
* He screws up saying that Locke fled England under James I. It was James II. But that’s just being technical. Locke was a pretty amazing person and one to whom we also owe much.
… courtesy of the U.S. military and the war in Afghanistan.
The stated goal of the Afghan effort is no less than the collection of biometric data for every living person in Afghanistan. At a conference with Afghan officials in 2010, the commander of the U.S. Army’s Task Force Biometrics Col. Craig Osborne told the attendees that the collection of biometric data is not simply about “identifying terrorists and criminals,” but that “it can be used to enable progress in society and has countless applications for the provision of services to the citizens of Afghanistan.” According to Osborne, biometrics provide the Afghan government with “identity dominance” enabling them to know who their citizens are and link actions with actors.
Yep. It’s always tried out first on prisoners, “enemies,” the mentally defective, children, and others who aren’t in a position to resist effectively. Then it comes to our neighborhoods.
But no problem! Hey, it’s to help “provision of services”! I’m sure they’ll drop the creepy “identity dominance” discription when it comes time to apply all this to us. It’ll go away. Just like “Total Information Awareness” did.
(Article is from April. I just found it this morning — and I don’t think much will have changed (at least not changed for the better) since it was published.)
I don’t usually “do” holidays, except Thanksgiving. But here are a pair of truly touching stories, one for today, and one (though it was just published), for the Mothers Day just passed.
An old man with Alzheimers, two caring cops, and a happy ending. (H/T ML for the smile.)
I try not to be paranoid. I really do. I laugh at Alex Jones-style alarms and snort haughtily when I see that a story originates with InfoWars.
I believe myself to be above all that. I really do. I consider much alarmist “news” to be on par with reports that lizard-brained aliens are secretly running the country. (Human-brained aliens are quite sufficiently awful, thank you.)
Alas (but no surprise), the rumor that’s been buzzing around the ‘Net ever since Edward Snowden’s NSA documents began their slow leak has turned out to be true. The NSA has cracked the encryption on which the Internet thrives.
All those assurances from our banks, insurance companies, doctors, credit card companies, etc. that our data is safe and secure? Blooey.
Maybe “cracking” isn’t quite the right term. Apparently, they haven’t really gotten any great master key. Not even to one form of encryption (and there are many forms). This isn’t Bletchley Park and the Enigma machine. Nothing so grand. Simply tawdry.
If the news stories are correct, the NSA’s methods consist of brute-force attacks (which, correct me if I’m wrong, techies) are used only in individual cases where they’ve really got motive to snoop and — no surprise — backdoors willingly provided by tech companies.
There are so many non-surprises here.
Collaborating companies named in the documents include Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Hotmail. No doubt only the tip of the iceberg.
I hope every one of those companies, and any others, pay and pay and pay and pay for their betrayal, not only the betrayal of their users, but as Bruce Schneier says, their part in what amounts to an all-out attack on the Internet. They have sold the Internet for the modern equivalent of 30 pieces of silver. May their end be as miserable and gruesome as that of the man who inspired them.
But as you weep, notice. It’s another non-surprise. But notice what the NSA calls us all — calls every user of online banking, every poor fool who trusted his medical records to some online provider, everyone who believed the word of Internet corporations. They call us “adversaries.”
A few weeks back when I said the federal government (particularly its UberGovernment) had declared war on us, I could have been exaggerating. Just being dramatic.
But no more. The UberGovernment has declared each and every one of us to be its adversaries. Just because we want confidential information kept confidential. Just because we want privacy. Just because we don’t want Big Brother — or any other criminal — peering over our shoulders, into our bank accounts, or into the space between our doctor and us.
I hope to hell we’re worthy ones.