No More Democracy

I probably should applaud the arrival of the fall season but given that the denialists in the District have doomed us to the untender ministrations of the polar vortex once again, I am not so pleased. Besides, the summer was quite mild, frighteningly so. On which subject I ran across an article [Link] that included a list of the observables of denialism:

1) Cast doubt on the science.

2) Question the scientists’ motives and integrity.

3) Magnify any disagreements among the scientists; cite gadflies as authorities.

4) Exaggerate the potential for harm from the science.

5) Appeal to the importance of personal freedom.

6) Object that acceptance of the science would repudiate some key philosophy.

And I could not help but be impressed with how accurately this described Alibam politicians, especially the Repulsians. For example, we have two politicians running for Attorney General. In terms of campaign they are 0.9 indistinguishable but the democrud is being attacked by the repulsian as a liberal and a pedophile. Well, maybe not the latter, but that’s the rationality of Alibam politics: never chop logic when irrationality and filth throwing is possible. 

This is the problem with democracy in Amerika today. We have two parties. They are the only people who are allowed to run for office. And we want neither candidate. Oh!, and the parties represent less than 0.5 of the electorate. For all practical purposes, democracy is dead in Amerika; all we have is an oligarchy of the parties. 

On a humorous azimuth, I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and I was quite taken with it. It seems, based on this, that I am not a bad example simply because I can find no one to emulate me. There is a kind of satisfaction in that.

Sadly, the same does not apply to politicians.

Stray in gym this morning. And the podcast episodes not at all bad. Although a SCIENCE segment on the nature of Chinese censorship of social media was most revealing. And encouraging. Paternalistic, but encouraging. Which fits with the better aspects of Chinese society. 

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

recently and it rather reminded me of why I am quite happy, as an ORF, not to have to talk to politicians very often. What they see as important – usually their re-election – and what I see as important are pretty well orthogonal. And they really don’t want to talk about my interests.

Also, the nature of our speech is different. Politicians talk a lot with very little content. My speech tends to be the opposite: little talk, lots of content.

Speaker for God

The Amish have a saying: “The greatest sin is to speak for God.” Or at least that is my memory after a goodly number of years. It occurred to me that this is what the Yankee governments uppest band of justicers (regrets, I am unsure of what the proper collective name is for justicers) has empowered religionist capitalist oligarchs to be.

One of my favorite authors, Lester Sprague deCamp has said (approximately) that “Freedom of Religion is the freedom to persecute those who do not believe as you do.”

Part of that is simple us versus them, in group/out group psychology that we can blame on biological and social evolution. But it doesn’t excuse it.

Bullying is evil, no matter what guise we wrap it in. Government does not have that privilege. Religion should not.

But that is the situation with Hobby Lobby and the other religionist oligarchist organizations. The religious beliefs of the owners is imposed on the employees.

If this is freedom of religion it is in deCamp’s sense, not that of the Founding Fathers.

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Patriotic Computing

Not a bad day so far although the weather beavers are foretelling a return to typical temperatures. The walk in the park was passable, temperatures were up a bit and so the experience wasn’t as brisk. And the podcast episode was fair although it did stir my righteous indignation a couple of times so I may have to excrete a blot on the matter of pens at some time.

For now however, I feel compelled to mumble about the Yankee government’s National eSpionage Agency’s labeling of Linux folk as “Extremists”. My colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, who admits freely to the perversion that is FaceScroll but mitigates by noting he also is ORF and hence has need of some relatively mechanistic (and obvious) means of social contact with old acquaintances. I have to agree that the other, now more popular, social networking “places” don’t quite make enough sense to use commonly.

I conjecture, probably inaccurately, that at least some of this is about length of expression. After all, we are mostly ORF and hence seniors and thereby garrulous. Further, we have lived long enough that we have used up a lot of our hurry, and wish we had used up our wait, so why limit ourself to High Noon Gary Cooper style of communication. My colleague and I have commented several times how inadequate FaceScroll is that it doesn’t offer a decent (or any) equation editor. How can one maintain social contact with old acquaintances and colleagues if one can’t math?

One of the articles [Link] I was sent contains a few snippets of code that indicate what key words the NSA is supposedly watching for to identify “extremists”. I quote:
“word(‘tails’ or ‘Amnesiac Incognito Live System’) and word(‘linux’ or ‘ USB ‘ or ‘ CD ‘ or ‘secure desktop’ or ‘ IRC ‘ or ‘truecrypt’ or ‘ tor ‘)”
I have to admit that I was greatly relieved once I saw this. If the Yankee government was paying special attention to Linux folk then I would be rather concerned since we are a relatively small number and easily overwhelmed by the might and force of the YG. But if they are targeting people who use words like “Linux” or “USB” or “CD” … then the fraction of population being targeted is considerably larger than the number of folks who work for the YG. In fact, the only person I know and am conscirously sure of who does not use the term “USB” is my year+ aged (post partum) grandchild. And maybe my nonagenarian parent. Although she does surprise me. So I would feel safe in estimating this captures at least (modulo) half of the population of the Yankee republic. Even of the old Confederacy.

I also received a puff piece [Link] from the Electronic Freedom Foundation along the lines that it is a citizen’s duty to be targeted by the YG and use TOR to assure our freedom and privacy. Once I got over the initial humor of considering whether a Fermion can actually be free unless alone I decided the point was valid. I am not at all sure this will be understood by bogs, especially bogs who are adherents of political parties. At least democruds and repulsians. But I am not sure they know the words anyway. That’s one of the joys one obtains when less than half the electorate adhere to a political party. They tend to get excluded from the mode. Now if the same will just occur for religionists.

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Fourth of You Lie

Today is “we have worked up our courage and now we’re going to tell the poor, the women, and the not-us what we have gotten them into” day. It’s the anniversary of the day the founders got their courage screwed up, probably by use of ethanol mixtures, and announced to the general populace, or at least the minuscule bit of the populace within ear shot and with slack time to attend, what trouble was descending on their heads.

Of course that independence didn’t apply to the poor, women, and people-property. None of these folks could vote. Not that voting was that common in those days. So that is one thing that we can celebrate as tradition: the ineffectiveness of elections.

It somehow seems appropriate that today is when one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, shared an article with me. [Link] The article claims that if one reads the periodical “Linux Journal” then one is identified by the Yankee government’s National Security Agency as an “extremist” and accorded extra surveillance attention. I also read the journal but do not subscribe. Somehow I doubt that distinction is significant in differentiating the amount of attention applied by the NSA.

Apparently, people who use Linux and/or support FOSS, and perhaps open access and actual democracy are considered by the Yankee government to be extremists, which is apparently an intermediary state between traitor and terrorist? I am unsure of whether to be proud or amused.

Obviously anyone who expects some privacy and takes effort to preserve it – as in using TOR – is immediately suspect, if not guilty.

Now tell me again what we have to celebrate today?

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Rejecting Good Sense Day

Today is the anniversary of “aw stercus! what have we done” day. Having signed the declaration of independence yesterday, the congress took today off to reflect on having told George#3 to cease and vacate the premises and whether they actually wanted to broadcast this to the public (and George!) or burn the document and slink off to being subjects (serfs/slaves) of tyranny. We might even call it “screw up your courage to the sticking point” day since the steeling oneself to do the tyrant an injury theme is apt.

Not that we have much to be thankful for today since their government has evolved to the point where it is more of a tyranny than George’s.

Nonetheless, I also reflected on the morning’s podcast, an episode of the English Ubuntu podcast, perhaps a fitting activity for contemplation on this day. Why does a country that gave us such oppression also do so much better at podcasts?

Anyway they interviewed some developer (coder) fellow who was bitchin’ about the Ubuntu SW store. I was amused to consider, after he listed a long set of complaints about how the SW store was NOT developer friendly how every developer I know of, who throws his SW out for general use to a wide public, has complained about how the system is not developer friendly. I have to admit to something of the sort myself. Most of my SW is nerd SW and it is very cruncherish. My favorite user interface is a text input file that you point the SW at and it read it, crunches numbers, and outputs a file of results.

And I only share SW with people who come to me and say that they have need of my methodology and may they have a copy? And if they come back and complain about the methodology in a constructive sense then I will discuss with them, but if they say either (a) it doesn’t work or (b) can I add something, I reply that they are free to make changes as they wish so long as I get cited properly.

Obviously, when someone puts a SW out on a storefront and you use it, you are not going to be able to modify it. You have to have source code for that and most of these chaps program in other languages than the few I know. (And they usually don’t know those.) So if the SW works I will use it and if it doesn’t work I will pitch it, unless I paid for it, and then I ask for reimbursement, and if it sorta works I will probably complain, but don’t expect me to answer why it doesn’t work questions if I don’t have source code.

Not that I really want to read your source code.

But when you give the SW away to folks who don’t pay or code, the man-in-the-street, Windows or Apple mindscrubbed, user, why would you expect anything constructive when the SW doesn’t work for them. Next you’ll be expecting your food to talk to you about how delicious it will be.

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