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I am a hacker and you are afraid and that makes you more dangerous than I ever could be.

A Libertarian’s Lament: Why Ron Paul Is An Embarrassment To The Creed | The New Republic
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:15 am EST, Dec 22, 2011

Ron Paul's unexpected ascendency in the Republican Party is going to tip off this dialog in the popular press about "Libertarianism" that already has my eyes rolling.

I recommend this article not because I think it does a good job articulating the problem with Ron Paul, but because it gets off a couple of zingers that I do strongly empathize with, such as this:

It irks me that, as far as most Americans are concerned, Ron Paul is the alpha and omega of the libertarian creed. If you were an evil genius determined to promote the idea that libertarianism is a morally dubious ideology of privilege poorly disguised as a doctrine of liberation, you'd be hard pressed to improve on Ron Paul...

I am personally interested in individual liberty. That attracts me to the Libertarian party - who claim to be interested in the same thing and whose think tanks sometimes write good papers on the subject.

Unfortunately, its a bad relationship for me, because, after years of talking to libertarians, I don't think that most of them are really all that interested in individual liberty.

They're basically just interested in not being taxed.

Some think its immoral that they should be taxed because its just like theft. Others have read elaborate rationalizations that trying to build a healthy society is counterproductive and you should just stop worrying about other people and enjoy your money. Whatever the reason, all these people care about is low taxes.

Individual liberty is more complicated than having low taxes. Individual liberty has to do with things like having a right to freedom of speech and being secure against unreasonable searches and seizures and having the right to vote and a guarantee of equal protection under the law. Only a small minority of libertarians care about those things. Most are indifferent, some are actively hostile, and almost none understand the specific policy issues involved or take personal action in support of those issues.

Ergo, we have Ron Paul. Ron Paul is openly hostile to the 14th amendment's guarantee that state governments won't violate the individual rights of people. He is someone who applies the political philosophy of the oligarchy that controlled the 19th century South to modern political issues. He is a principled man, which is more than can be said for a lot of people in politics. Sometimes his principals even lead to desirable results. But ultimately, his principals come from the time before the internal combustion engine, and were discredited in that time, by people we should regard as comparably primitive.

If THEY could think around this but YOU can't - perhaps you're not thinking.

No reasonable understanding of "individual liberty" can be framed through the lens of the political rationalizations of the Slave Power. It was a caste system that had as its central features the violent oppression of people, a total lack of social mobility, and an absence of basic political freedoms and enfranchisement. It was an oligarchy of about 300,000 people who oppressed millions.

How could a movement associated with "individual liberty" become aligned with THAT?

The answer is because they don't actually care about "individual liberty." They just care about lower taxes.

Libertarians have done a terrible job countering the widespread suspicion that theirs is a uselessly abstract ideology of privilege for socially obtuse adolescent white guys.

Libertarians cannot simultaneously have "individual liberty" and Ron Paul. But they do have Ron Paul, and they are about to be associated with him in the national conciousness in a permanent way.

Therefore, it has come time to start pointing out that "libertarianism" has nothing to do with "individual liberty."

Individual liberty is more complicated than having low taxes.

A Libertarian’s Lament: Why Ron Paul Is An Embarrassment To The Creed | The New Republic

A History of Violence
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:57 am EDT, Oct 19, 2011

Gold star. Amazing long form article.

A History of Violence

Taking a principled stand on Wikileaks
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:41 am EST, Dec  9, 2010

I've changed by profile picture to support EFF's anti-censorship campaign, and I have donated $100 to their cause. This is a protest and I urge you to participate. We are protesting the use of political pressure by American politicians to shut down a website.

If you believe in due process of law and the right to freedom of expression you should join us in taking a stand. It is important that we take a stand right now.

It doesn't matter whether or not you support what Wikileaks is doing. If I were handed such a rich trove of private information I might have moral qualms about dumping the whole thing on the Internet. That is totally irrelevant.

In the United States of America we are a country of laws. If Wikileaks has violated a law than the appropriate way to respond to that is through the use of the legal system. In fact, like it or not, it is most likely the case that Wikileaks has not violated the law. Therefore, senior politicians in this country have taken it upon themselves to use their personal influence to shut the website down, and a number of corporations, large and small, have obliged them.

In a free country with a strong legal system and a tradition of upholding the right to freedom of speech, this sort of thing is not acceptable. Life, liberty, and property should only be taken away through due process of law and not simply because some powerful people desire it and present thin arguments in favor of it.

As The Internet Society recently stated in their newsletter:

[Wikileaks] must be subject to the same laws and policies of availability as all Internet sites. Free expression should not be restricted by governmental or private controls over computer hardware or software, telecommunications infrastructure, or other essential components of the Internet.

Unless and until appropriate laws are brought to bear to take the domain down legally, technical solutions should be sought to reestablish its proper presence...

Anger about these events runs deep. Right now, many of the companies who assisted in cutting off Wikileaks have been subjected to distributed denial of service attacks. While I share the anger of those who are launching these attacks, I cannot condon... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]

Taking a principled stand on Wikileaks

Editorial: Amendment 1 is too confusing for words ||
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:09 pm EDT, Oct 25, 2010

This is why Wiki Voter Guide is needed...

The plain truth is that, at this moment, the Banner-Herald's editorial board - after hearing from advocates and opponents of the proposed amendment, and reading various commentaries, pro and con, on it - can't comment definitively on the proposal.

What the board can suggest at this moment, however, is that the ballot language approved by the Georgia General Assembly is outright misleading, and the process by which the amendment came to the ballot is more than a little confusing.

In truth, Amendment 1 on the Georgia ballot is an attempt by employers to prevent former employees from being able to accept jobs with competing companies in the state. It is an assault on individual rights. The ballot language "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?" does not suggest that. People who are voting for this will have no idea what they are voting for.

Editorial: Amendment 1 is too confusing for words ||

At Ramadan Iftar dinner, Obama supports new mosque on private property near Ground Zero | Top of the Ticket | Los Angeles Times
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:20 pm EDT, Aug 15, 2010

This point of view seems tremendously reasonable, and if Obama has done little else for the Constitution at least he was willing to speak out here.

The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.

For a moderate example of the tortured logic on the other side take Charles Krauthammer.

America is a free country where you can build whatever you want -- but not anywhere. That's why we have zoning laws. No liquor store near a school, no strip malls where they offend local sensibilities, and, if your house doesn't meet community architectural codes, you cannot build at all.

None of these things is a content based constraint upon the freedom of speech imposed by a state or federal government. It doesn't take much knowledge of the Constitution to be able think your way though this issue, and Krauthammer obviously gets caught up in his biases.

Simply put, the federal, state, and city governments cannot, will not, and should not act to prevent this community center from being constructed simply because it serves muslims. If you don't get this you don't get the first amendment.

At Ramadan Iftar dinner, Obama supports new mosque on private property near Ground Zero | Top of the Ticket | Los Angeles Times

RE: Crack the Code in Cyber Command’s Logo | Danger Room |
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:41 pm EDT, Jul  8, 2010

Decius wrote:

The U.S. military’s new Cyber Command is headquartered at Ft. Meade, Maryland, one of the military’s most secretive and secure facilities. Its mission is largely opaque, even inside the armed forces. But the there’s another mystery surrounding the emerging unit. It’s embedded in the Cyber Command logo.

On the logo’s inner gold ring is a code: 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a

hmmm 32 hexadecimal digits. MD5? Perhaps of the name + a salt, or their mission statement?

Whatever it is, perhaps WW knows ;-)

RE: Crack the Code in Cyber Command’s Logo | Danger Room |

Alkaline Trio - Addiction
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:42 am EDT, Jun 18, 2010

New Alkaline Trio album out. Yes, it is excellent.

Wikileaks Was Launched With Documents Intercepted From Tor | Threat Level |
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:34 pm EDT, Jun  1, 2010

Wikileaks, the controversial whistleblowing site that exposes secrets of governments and corporations, bootstrapped itself with a cache of documents obtained through an internet eavesdropping operation by one of its activists, according to a new profile of the organization’s founder.

... ... HOLY SHIT!

Sniffing TOR exit nodes is one of those things that everyone kind of knows is probagbly happening, maybe, somewhere, but no one really talks about it.

I'm not sure what I find more interesting: The fact that the "first big leak" Wikileaks got was from someone (possibly illegally) sniffing an exit node, or that they caught Chinese hackers using TOR to move around stolen data.

The New Yorker article did not indicate whether WikiLeaks continues to intercept data from the Tor network. Assange did not immediately return a call for comment from Threat Level.

haha. Of course they didn't.

Wikileaks Was Launched With Documents Intercepted From Tor | Threat Level |

The office sure looks safe with Wheezy and Dozy on the door
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:28 am EDT, Mar 30, 2010

Of course, we know why he’s really there. He’s really there so that if the bridge is destroyed by terrorists, the authorities can appear on the television news and say they had taken all possible precautions. Plus, if you employ a security guard, then I should imagine that your insurance premiums are going to be significantly lower.

Office Security Guards == Security Theater.

The office sure looks safe with Wheezy and Dozy on the door

Cisco's wiretapping system open to exploit, says researcher
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:31 pm EST, Feb  4, 2010

The IBM researcher, Tom Cross, notified Cisco of the issues back in December, and recommends revisions to the standard that will ensure that it is more secure by default. That might be helpful, but it still wouldn't deal with the problems posed by unpatched systems—Cross himself apparently recognizes that network administrators can be hesitant to risk the disruption of service that may come with updating major pieces of equipment.

Tom is on Ars Technica Today. Go Tom!

Cisco's wiretapping system open to exploit, says researcher

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