Professor-rat's Blurty
 
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Professor-rat's Blurty:

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    Friday, October 3rd, 2014
    6:07 pm
    A recurring nightmare
    Robin Hanson gets all the credit for Jim's idea

    A recurring theme in our conversation is the excellent solution (invariably proposed by Dr Hanson) that falls on deaf ears. A semi-exception are prediction markets, probably the idea he’s best-known for – the idea of solving debates through betting markets, getting people (quite literally) to put their money where their mouth is. Say there’s a “questionable claim, about global warming or something”. People don’t know who to believe, so you create a betting market. Partisans on both sides bet money, their bet reflecting how strongly they believe what they’re saying. Neutrals get a sense of the consensus – then, when the answer is discovered, those who were wrong lose their money. Over time, a “selection effect” takes hold, weeding out the loudmouths, leaving those who are consistently right.

    It’s a good idea – and also works for companies, letting them see how likely a project is to succeed or fail. The snag, however, is that companies don’t want an accurate source of information, because it’s “politically awkward”. If a project fails, “what you usually want to say is ‘The reason it failed could not have been anticipated’”. People need the safety of lies; too much truth isn’t welcome, like the food being forced down a bird’s throat. It’s a case of humans being humans again, our minds not being wired for honesty. “Our minds lead us to think that whatever we were born with seems natural,” sighs Robin. People have no evidence for what they believe to be right, “they just like the comfort of believing what they were told, and being part of a community that believes the same thing. And, to most people, that matters more than trying to carefully figure out what’s right”.

    FROM

    http://cyprus-mail.com/2014/10/01/of-machines-and-men/
    Sunday, September 28th, 2014
    11:11 pm
    Securenet considered harmful
    ID encryption and Police states.Geoff Ross needs killing.
    Matthew X Tue, 10 Dec 2002 11:02:32 -0800

    Asia Pacific Office
    18 F One International Finance Center
    1 Harbour View Street
    Central, Hong Kong
    Tel:
    + 852 2166 8309 Fax: + 852 2166 8488 e-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
    Canuck outfit diversinet,(NORTEL lest we forget.) want to get into bed with SecureNet who are already linked with the 'smart' new ID cards for Mr Hu's greater Hong Kong.
    Families are being split up and some sent back to the Mainland's Lao Gai's.
    Companies Like IBM,Ford and guys like Prescott Bush and Robert Menzies are forever tainted by association with totalitarian and murderous regimes.
    Can firms like the above,SUN,RSA,CISCO and others be far behind?
    To my mind they are already there along with their lick spittle apologists like Declan.
    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/10/1039379827281.html
    Online security provider SecureNet Ltd has joined forces with Canadian security infrastructure company Diversinet to deliver wired and wireless security solutions to the Australian, New Zealand and Chinese markets.
    This follows SecureNet's licensing of Diversinet's Passport security product suite in October.
    Under these agreements Diversinet receives a total of $US1 million ($A1.78 million) from SecureNet.
    The extended agreement between the two companies includes the combining of research and development expertise to integrate Diversinet's wireless solutions into SecureNet's range of TrustedNet products.
    SecureNet managing director Geoffrey Ross said the deal strengthened the company's range of security solutions.
    Mr Ross predicted that the burgeoning worldwide demand for secure internet-based systems would offer the greatest opportunity yet for the application of smart card technology. He said multi-application smart cards as recently developed by SecureNet for the Hong Kong market - which carry digital authentication and signature certificates as well as traditional credit, debit and calling card functions � will introduce smart card technology into everyday use, worldwide
    The Asia Pacific Smart Card Forum was established in 1995 to promote the development of a technologically advanced and viable smart card industry in Australia, and to position Australia as a leading supplier of smart card technology and applications. Membership includes major vendors, government agencies, financial institutions and consulting firms.
    The inaugural Smart Card Industry Award was presented at a ceremony at Cards Australia in Melbourne on 5 July.
    The Award sponsor, LM Gemplus, is the newly-formed smart card joint venture between Leigh Mardon Australia and Gemplus France.
    SecureNet's Revenues Balloon
    February 25, 2000
    SecureNet (SNX) has continued on its high growth path, reported a 99% increase in Sales revenue from $3.15 million to $6.27 million for the six months to 31 December, 1999. Gross profit rose 126% to $3.58 million and the company reported an operating loss before equity accounting of $0.23 million ($0.08 million pcp). After equity accounting, the net loss increased to $0.698 million � this takes into account SNX�s share of all start up and business establishment costs on the Cable & Wireless HKT joint venture.
    The company said the significant revenue growth was driven by success with e-commerce projects. SNX currently has an outstanding order book exceeding $11 million.
    Australia's SecureNet Puts Trust In Beijing
    By David Frith, Computer Daily News
    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA,
    31 Jan 2001, 2:32 AM CST
    Australian-based Internet security services provider SecureNet [ASX:SNX] has opened a "trust centre" in Beijing.
    Modelled on other SecureNet centers in Hong Kong and Australia, it is a joint venture with HKT SecureNet and Top Hawk, the company says.
    Securenet says it plans to inject A$5 million (US$2.72 million) into the Beijing venture.
    The center will offer a range of Internet-based banking products that require authentication, single sign on, payments processing, secure transactions, smart cards and other related services, SecureNet says.
    Managing Director Geoffrey Ross said the company envisages a string of trust centers that can be replicated globally, interconnected via a global IP (Internet protocol) backbone and providing services for customers across Asia.
    http://www.infowar.com/p_and_s/01/p_n_s_013101a_j.shtml
    Snet was called in to plug the e-mail.'leak' from navy sailors that was blowing stories like the 'children overboard,' affair.
    FEARS of further terrorist attacks have proved a bonanza for the IT industry, as increasing numbers of companies and organisations focus on security.

    According to researcher Gartner, the Asia Pacific IT security market will be worth $US1.2 billion by 2005. Researcher IDC estimates the Australian market alone will be worth $1.75 billion by 2006.
    Starved of revenue in the poor economic climate, technology companies are clamouring to sell their wares in what's been described as the fastest growing sector in years.
    http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,5482378%5e15348%5e%5enbv%5e15306-15317,00.html
    The company recently announced a multi-million-dollar pilot program for the Australian Defence Force for a secure message authentication system to protect operational communications.
    "We are seeing demand increase in these types of e-security solutions as organisations begin to go online seriously," Mr Ross said.
    Remember Richard Li?
    The Ronald mcDonald kid?
    Pacific Century CyberWorks Buys $32m Stake In SecureNet
    ... Geoffrey Ross, managing director of SecureNet, and CEO of the joint venture said
    CWHKT SecureNet would accelerate its expansion into the Pan Asian region ...
    Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. (TSA) - News Detail
    ... is Part of PCCW-Led Consortium Awarded Hong Kong ID Contract. ... use in the recently
    announced Hong Kong smart identity ... will provide 1.2 million smart cards to the ...
    www.tsainc.com/news/newsdetail.asp?news_id=324 - 23k - Cached - Similar pages
    ID CARDS
    ... but a charge is levied to replace lost or stolen cards. The loss of theft of your
    ID card must be ... Hong Kong residents should carry their ID cards with them at ...
    www.hongkongcalling.com/id_cards.htm - 5k - Cached - Similar pages FROM

    https://www.mail-archive.com/cypherpunks@minder.net/msg30780.html
    Thursday, September 25th, 2014
    4:47 pm
    A dangerous fanatic
    Putin’s continuing effort to reconcile very discordant aspects of Russia’s history into one unified, supposedly patriotic ‘symphony’ marches on. On some days he rummages through the imperial past, on others, well, the Moscow Times reports:

    President Vladimir Putin signed a decree restoring the title “Dzerzhinsky Division” to an elite police unit that was previously named after the founder of the Bolshevik secret police, the Interior Ministry’s internal troops press service said Monday.

    Felix Dzerzhinsky founded the Cheka, a security apparatus notorious for orchestrating mass summary executions during the Russian Civil War and the Red Terror. Established in 1924, the unit bore his name from 1926 until 1994, when its name was changed to the Independent Operational Purpose Division, the press service said. The Dzerzhinsky Division ensured security at the Potsdam Conference of 1945 and the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. It was also dispatched to the restive regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, North Ossetia and Chechnya upon the demise of the Soviet Union.

    ‘Iron Felix’, a Pole of (vaguely) noble descent, was one of the worst of the monsters given his chance by the October Putscht. He was ascetic, highly intelligent, and a true believer (interestingly, in his youth he had contemplated becoming a Jesuit priest) with the soul of an inquisitor. And, of course, he was the architect of “organized terror…the terrorization, arrests and extermination of enemies of the revolution on the basis of their class affiliation or of their pre-revolutionary roles,” a “ devout knight of the proletariat” (to borrow Stalin’s admiring description) who recruited “solid, hard men without pity” to do his butcher’s work. And so they did.

    Now, imagine for a moment the reaction if Angela Merkel chose to name an elite German police division after, say, Himmler or Heydrich…
    Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
    2:43 pm
    Giving Crimson Jihad a run for their money
    An audio statement released by the Islamic State on Monday ruthlessly mocked President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for their claim that the terror group is not Islamic, asking when the two became such experts in Islamic law.

    The recording by Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, released online in Arabic, comes to eleven pages of bluster, threats and exhortations to violence once translated into English. It urges attacks on Western civilians – especially those from countries involved in a growing military coalition against the Islamic State — and promises the Western intervention in Iraq will be “the last crusader campaign” in the region. “Thereafter, we will raid them by Allah’s permission and they will not raid us,” it promises.

    The Islamic State spokesman singled out American leadership for savage criticism, repeatedly calling President Obama ”the mule of the Jews.”

    “Have you not realized, O mule of the Jews, that the battle cannot be decided from the air at all?” he asks. “Or do you think that you are smarter than Bush, you obeyed fool, when he brought the armies of the cross and placed them under the fire of the mujahideen on the ground? No, you are more foolish than him.”

    Nor is Kerry spared from the Islamic State’s tongue-lashing, with al-Adnani twice referring to the secretary of state as an “uncircumcized old geezer.”

    The spokesman also mocked Obama and Kerry’s claims about the group’s relationship to the Islamic faith.

    “To the extent that Kerry, that uncircumsized old geezer, suddenly became an Islamic jurist, issuing a verdict to the people that the Islamic State was distorting Islam, that what it was doing was against Islamic teachings, and that the Islamic State was an enemy of Islam,” al-Adnani sneered, ”and to the extent that Obama, the mule of the Jews, suddenly became a sheikh, mufti, and an Islamic preacher, warning the people and preaching in defense of Islam, claiming that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam.”
    Monday, September 22nd, 2014
    1:24 pm
    Roberta the Bruce
    Roberta Armand Tanzarian • 2 days ago
    I'm talking in terms of the state vs private justice...

    Could bounty services like Ver's (whether they work with traditional law enforcement or something private)be more efficient than the state in terms of cost, casualties, and deterrence?

    If Crowdsourced/Individual bounties were used to catch criminals, you have competition, you have a network of people with diverse skills doing the investigating who want the reward or shared reward as well as those who want the criminal to be caught posting bounty, these people are risking thier time and money for the reward at no cost to anyone but themselves...evidence is kept securely and then presented to the enforcers who don't pay for the time and resources used on investigating and building the case, all they do is weigh the evidence and deliver a verdict. Even this process could be made more efficient...after that some other private (or state) service can deliver the consequences to felon. These state or private services would be subject to a reputation system. The same could be done with a defendant who might want to crowdsource or fund a defence.

    If people were to adopt this type of justice system how could it be more vulnerable to corruption or the miscarriage of justice than the state? Costs would be paid through crowdfunding bounties rather than through taxes. People would be free to participate in what type of 'justice' was most important to them. Do you think that this system could be more easily exploited than a state imposed justice system?
    Could you see murder for hire or vigilantism becoming significantly more popular because of this? How many of us really want someone dead? My guess is not too many ...my guess is if there were any increase in this type of action it would be insignificant.

    Democide is the murder of any person or people by their government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder. Democide passed war as the leading cause of non-natural death in the 20th century (262 Million), not sure what the total figure for war is here's a reference http://www.scaruffi.com/politi.... The reason I bring this into it is because it illustrates that murder of innocents to these proportions (262 Million)...

    Any innocent lives lost due to funding violence against possible innocents through vigilantism and murder for hire through these types of bounties or through other private means pales in comparison with what the state already does with your tax dollars without your permission or knowledge. Could the cost in dollars or casualties possibly compare or exceed those that happen at the hands of the state?

    IMO, this p2p justice system would not be perfect but it would be vastly superior to what we have. FROM

    http://cointelegraph.com/news/112559/op-ed-roger-vers-bitcoin-bounty-hunter-is-misguided-and-dangerous?utm_content=bufferdbe0c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    Saturday, September 20th, 2014
    3:26 pm
    PAM knew
    over the last few weeks, the world didn’t know what to expect. Would Scotland leave the United Kingdom, or stay?

    I hate to sound obnoxious, but I was pretty confident that Scotland wouldn’t leave. Why? I put a lot more weight on what the prediction markets were saying than on the results from polls, due in large part to a great paper by the economists David Rothschild and Justin Wolfers. And while the polls on Scottish independence were volatile, really only in the last month showed a close race, and even disagreed with each other once or twice towards the end, betting markets consistently predicted the probability of independence to be relatively low.

    Indeed, if pollsters adjusted their strategies based on prediction markets, they would likely do a better job. Here’s Dr. Wolfers in today’s New York Times:

    Instead of focusing on whom people say they plan to vote for, ask them instead to focus on who they think will win. Typically, asking people who they think will win yields better forecasts, possibly because it leads them to also reflect on the opinions of those around them, and perhaps also because it may yield more honest answers.

    It’s an idea with particular relevance to the case of the Scottish referendum. As Stephen Fisher, an associate professor of political sociology at the University of Oxford, has noted, there is a historical tendency for polling to overstate the likelihood of success of referendums, possibly because we’re more willing to tell pollsters we will vote for change than to actually do so. Such biases are less likely to distort polls that ask people who they think will win. Indeed, in giving their expectations, some respondents may even reflect on whether or not they believe recent polling.

    And in this election, too, voters’ expectations yielded a much clearer signal. A recent IPSOS/More poll showed that voters’ intentions were so evenly balanced as to be within the margin of error, even as the share of the population who expected the No vote to win held a robust 11-point lead over those expecting a successful Yes vote. Lesson: The electorate knew who would win, even as most pollsters failed to ask them.

    The lessons here, of course, apply to American politics as well. Something to keep in mind as we gear up for 2016.

    Dr. Wolfers continues:

    But my real beef with the polls concerns how badly they’ve failed at making useful long-run forecasts. Predicting what will happen tomorrow is never that hard, while predicting what will happen in several months or years is not only difficult but also much more useful.
    Friday, September 19th, 2014
    4:59 pm
    Stalin as new statesman
    Dispute with George Orwell
    Martin's editorship resulted in what D. J. Taylor called a "titantic feud" with NS contributor George Orwell.[8] Returning to the UK after fighting in the Spanish Civil War, Orwell contacted Martin and offered to give him an account of the conflict; Martin accepted the offer.[8] But Martin rejected Orwell's first article, "Eyewitness in Spain", on the grounds it could undermine the Spanish Republicans.[8] As compensation, Martin then offered Orwell a chance to review Franz Borkenau's book The Spanish Cockpit. However, Martin and the literary editor Raymond Mortimer turned down Orwell's review on the grounds "it is very uncompromisingly said and implies that our Spanish correspondents are all wrong", and that it was more a restatement of Orwell's opinions than a review.[8][9] Mortimer later wrote to Orwell to apologise for the rejection of his articles on Spain, stating "There is no premium here on Stalinist orthodoxy".[8] Orwell never forgave Martin for this rejection; although he continued to write for the New Statesman, he often made "wounding remarks" in his journalism about the magazine being "under direct communist influence" and its readers being "worshippers of Stalin".[8] Orwell also included Martin's name in a list of "fellow travellers" he passed on to the Information Research Department, a branch of UK intelligence.[10] FROM

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsley_Martin
    Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
    3:42 pm
    Kagemusha
    Fred and Kim Kagan were key intellectual architects of the surge that saved the Iraq war and defeated the forerunner of the Islamic State the first time around–and were ringing the alarm bells long ago about the descent of Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal, when few were inclined to listen.

    Now, they have published a proposed strategy for defeating the Islamic State. I recommend reading the whole thing. You will be struck by its modest tone. What they propose is much more robust than President Obama’s strategy, yet, even then, the risks are high and the prospects of success uncertain. A few key points.

    People speak loosely of how we must rely on the pesh merga and the Iraq army on the ground in Iraq. The Kagans argue this is entirely wrong-headed. The key potential ally, and the only one that will be accepted in the Sunni communities where this battle will be fought, are the Sunni tribes:

    Al-Qaeda and like-minded groups such as ISIS can only flourish in distressed Sunni communities. They attack every other religion and sect, but their bases must be in Sunni lands because their ideology is an extreme, exclusionary interpretation of Sunni Islam. Doing anything to al-Qaeda — defeating, disrupting, degrading, destroying, anything else — requires working with the overwhelming majority of the Sunni communities within which it lives and operates. Those communities have shown their distaste for the ideology and the groups that espouse it, rising up against them in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, and almost everywhere else they have appeared, except Pakistan.



    But al-Qaeda brings more than ideology to the table. Its affiliates are extremely lethal and use brutality to maintain their positions among populations who reject their ideas. The Islamic State has been assassinating Sunni tribal leaders who allied with the U.S. and the Iraqi government during the Awakening in 2007 and pre-emptively killing those it fears might ally with us again. It has also been cleansing the areas of Syria it controls of potential Sunni opponents in an attempt to nip any reprise of the Awakening in the bud. Sunni populations cannot expel al-Qaeda groups simply because they reject their ideas. They need outside help to defeat these well-organized, well-armed, skilled, and determined zealots. They have already shown that they can and will fight against
    al-Qaeda groups with that help, and that they either cannot or will not fight effectively without it.



    The core challenge facing the U.S. in Iraq and Syria, therefore, is the problem of enabling the Sunni Arab community stretching from Baghdad to Damascus and Turkey to Jordan to defeat al-Qaeda affiliates and splinter groups and persuading that community to rejoin reformed states in Iraq and Syria whose security forces can thereafter provide the help it needs to keep al-Qaeda from returning.



    Meeting this challenge requires centering operations within the Sunni Arab community rather than strengthening Shi’a and Kurdish forces that are alien and threatening to that community. A strategy of basing in Kurdistan and Shi’a Iraq and providing air support to Kurdish troops and ISF forces intermingled with Shi’a militias and Iranian advisers may achieve some initial successes, but will ultimately fail. The prospect of Kurdish domination over Ninewa Province, including Mosul, and of the permanent Kurdish seizure of Kirkuk, could well spark an ethnic Arab-Kurdish war. ISIS has been working actively to stoke those ethnic tensions inorder to provoke precisely such a conflict, which would allow it to embed itself more deeply among an embattled Arab populace. Merely strengthening Iraqi Security Forces that are rightly seen as Shi’a dominated and militia-infiltrated may also achieve short-term gains, but at the cost of setting conditions for an even larger Sunni Arab mobilization against perceived Shi’a domination that would create new opportunities for ISIS or a successor group to establish itself.



    The Sunni Arabs in Iraq and Syria are the only local partners who can be decisive in the fight against ISIS and JN. Our strategy must focus on making direct contact with them, coordinating our efforts with them, building their strength against ISIS, and finding out the terms on which they would be willing to reintegrate into reformed states in Iraq and Syria. They are the pivot of the entire effort and must be at the heart of every phase of our strategy.



    The Kagans are clear-eyed about the opposition in Syria:

    The moderate elements of the opposition have been especially degraded because they are fighting against both the regime and ISIS. They have also received far less international support than either of their opponents. JN [the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria] has penetrated the opposition thoroughly and interwoven itself with opposition forces across the theater. JN has close operational ties with other Salafist-jihadist groups such as Ahrar al-Sham (HASI), although many other opposition groups also cooperate with Jabhat al-Nusra in battle without necessarily being aligned with JN. This includes an array of groups ranging from members of the Islamic Front to groups falling under the umbrella of the moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA).



    Jabhat al-Nusra’s fighting prowess keeps it central to opposition efforts in the southern Deraa and Quneitra fronts as well as the Hama and Idlib fronts. It is also influential in the fight for Damascus. Jabhat al-Nusra is quietly cultivating influence within rebel governance and shaping the opposition where it can, although it appears that most opposition groups are cooperating with JN opportunistically rather than ideologically.


    Their strategy requires the commitment of substantial ground forces:

    It is impossible to identify precisely the forces that will be required for all of Phase I, let alone for subsequent phases, before operations have commenced. The activities recommended in this paper will likely require the deployment of not more than 25,000 ground forces supported by numerous air and naval assets. The bulk of those forces will likely be comprised of various kinds of units supporting a much more limited number of Special Forces and other assets deployed in small groups with tribes, opposition forces, and Iraqi Security Forces. This plan does not envisage U.S. combat units conducting unilateral operations (apart from targeted attacks against individual enemy leaders and small groups) or leading clearing operations. It requires some combat units in the support and quick reaction force (QRF) roles described above.


    And there will be substantial risks:

    . . . the dispersed footprint of U.S. troops required by this plan and the immaturity of the theater support infrastructure exposes US soldiers to a high risk of capture and kidnapping. Individual U.S. teams are likely to find themselves threatened by overwhelming enemy force at times. Casualties, hostages, and beheading videos are extremely likely. These risks must be mitigated through the deployment of robust helicopter support and quick response forces. Such forces will greatly increase the total “boots-on-the-ground” requirement, which many will find distasteful. It is essential to keep in mind, however, that withholding those forces and capabilities in order to keep the U.S. troop presence inside Iraq and Syria below some arbitrary number enormously increases the risk to the small number of Americans who would be actually operating with indigenous forces.
    Monday, September 15th, 2014
    11:15 am
    Everyone a mint
    cypherpunks
    Subject: Re: Tim May;Anarcho-phony,cheap fraud and despicable ,
    From: mattd
    Date: 2001-12-25 4:07:17

    >>| Anarchism is a variant of socialism > > an7ar7chism (nr-kzm) > n. >
    The theory or doctrine that all forms of government are oppressive > and
    undesirable and should be abolished.

    Which is self-referential (it basically says that even anarchism will
    oppress). <<

    Indeed.Especially where delegates are not rotated and revocable.See jamesd
    for the dangers anarchism in practise.
    The Friedman/May "anarcho-capitalist" crock of shit would opress like
    HELL.BE AWARE! Dont let him get away with all thet CALCer crap here.Its
    ahirstoric,amoral,unrealistic insanity.

    >>so7cial7ism (ssh-lzm) > n. > Any of various theories or systems of
    social organization in which > the means of producing and distributing
    goods is owned collectively > or by a centralized government that often
    plans and controls the > economy. > > Pick one, stick to it.
    Which raises an interesting question. How do you get everyone to behave the
    same way with the same levels of consideration under anarchism without some
    sort of universal standard (a central organization)? Who gets to decide it?
    What happens if somebody decides they don't want to play nice? How do you
    pay for it? <<

    APster.Central organization,summits,world federations are all scalable and
    not to be feared as long as all democratically elected delegates are
    revocable and rotated.Its not rocket science.Everyone a remailer,(they will
    be essential,as will crypto)Everyone a mint,presumably when all the drug
    war prisoners are released there will be room for fraudsters.
    Everyone an APster,.Justice by consensus complements then overtakes common
    law.Everyone a jury.
    Warlords in the SW Quadrant? Put together a 'sandline' army and knock them
    out.Commo's opressing bears?
    Lets all vote on nuking commie HQ.Operation soft drill International,only
    there will be no more 'nations'.
    Can you dig it? CAN YOU DIG IT? Anarchy is not just a job; Its an Adventure.

    FROM

    http://marc.info/?l=cypherpunks&m=100925827103058&w=2
    Thursday, September 11th, 2014
    3:57 pm
    Deer Park
    Mr. President, ISIS Is 100 Percent Islamic
    By Daniel Pipes
    September 10, 2014
    In a televised address on how to address the Islamic State this evening, President Barack Obama declared the organization variously known as ISIS or ISIL to be “not Islamic.”

    In making this preposterous claim, Obama joins his two immediate predecessors in pronouncing on what is not Islamic. Bill Clinton called the Taliban treatment of women and children “a terrible perversion of Islam.” George W. Bush deemed that 9/11 and other acts of violence against innocents “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.”

    None of the three has any basis for such assertions. To state the obvious: As non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not. As Bernard Lewis, a leading American authority of Islam, notes: “It is surely presumptuous for those who are not Muslims to say what is orthodox and what is heretical in Islam.”

    Indeed, Obama compounds his predecessors’ errors and goes further: Clinton and Bush merely described certain actions (treatment of women and children, acts of violence against innocents) as un-Islamic, but Obama has dared to declare an entire organization (and quasi-state) to be “not Islamic.”

    The only good thing about this idiocy? At least it’s better than the formulation by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (known as CAIR) which has the nerve to call the Islamic State “anti-Islamic.”

    In the end, though, neither U.S. presidents nor Islamist apologists fool people. Anyone with eyes and ears realizes that the Islamic State, like the Taliban and al-Qaeda before it, is 100 percent Islamic. And most Westerners, as indicated by detailed polling in Europe, do have eyes and ears. Over time, they are increasingly relying on common sense to conclude that the group is indeed profoundly Islamic.
    Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
    1:28 am
    The divvy-up
    Five people in a situation where three have been caught stealing 20K from two. To fix this its decided the three guilty parties contribute 6,666 each to make a pool of 19, 998. That is then divided between the two victims.
    9,999 each!
    This may be too neat for some who could decide to pay some 'Danegeld" - a kickback of 2 or three K here or there. Crime's not supposed to pay but of course it does.
    Thursday, September 4th, 2014
    9:37 pm
    Collateral Rape
    Julian Assange’s war on women Published: September 4, 2014
    In his fight against sex-crime allegations, Julian Assange showed no concern for the well-being of women around the world.

    Let’s call his four-year misinformation campaign “Collateral Rape.”

    His human-rights lawyer — before he hired George Clooney’s fiancée — argued that it isn’t illegal to trick a woman into unprotected sex. If a woman objects to sex without a condom, if the man uses force to pin her down, it can’t be considered a crime if she gives up and gives in, according to the lawyer, who now handles human-rights issues for the United Nations.

    Assange has much support in developing countries, and his supporters laughed at the idea that a man could be required to use a condom. But women’s right to say no to sex without a condom is crucial to the AIDS epidemic, population control and women’s health.

    Assange founded WikiLeaks, a website for whistleblowers. In April 2010, it released “Collateral Murder,” a documentary on U.S. Army gunmen killing two Reuters journalists, whom they mistook for Iraqi combatants.

    That August in Sweden, two volunteers for WikiLeaks went to police. One said she agreed to sex with Assange, but only if he used a condom. She said he had difficulty having sex with a condom on. The next morning, she said, she awoke to find him having sex with her without a condom. The other woman said she wanted to have sex with him initially, but he was rude and rough. She struggled as he lay on top of her, pinning her arms and forcing her legs open. He finally asked what was wrong, and she said she wanted to use a condom. He let her retrieve one, but she believes he broke it intentionally.

    In July, a Swedish court upheld his international arrest warrant, saying there was probable cause of rape and molestation. The Australian has avoided extradition by holing up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He recently suggested he would leave “soon,” but apparently not for Sweden.

    His misinformation campaign began early. When the accusations first became public, Assange lied, saying he didn’t know who the women were. Next, he suggested the Pentagon had set him up. A supporter published an article blaming the CIA. His British attorney at the time called the case a honey trap (but later said he was misquoted). He argued Assange’s only crime was “sex by surprise,” which was illegal in Sweden. Actually, no such law exists. A British court ruled that the accusations against Assange would constitute rape and molestation in both Britain and Sweden.

    The most important misdirect has been the suggestion that Sweden had no interest in prosecuting him until he released government secrets. His Swedish lawyer claimed no one tried to interview Assange before he left for London at the end of September 2010. In court, however, he said he realized later that the prosecutor had contacted him in an attempt to interview Assange, but the lawyer wasn’t able to notify Assange. A British judge called this “a deliberate attempt to mislead the court,” and the Swedish Bar Association issued a warning to the lawyer.

    There was discussion about Assange returning in October 2010. Meanwhile, he was feuding with associates, who wanted more time to go through documents on the Iraq war, in hopes of protecting people. Assange went ahead and released the documents that month. After he failed to return to Sweden, an arrest warrant was issued in November, and Assange then released the U.S. diplomatic cables. His celebrity was cemented.

    His lawyers have never presented evidence of conspiracy. In a British court, the human-rights lawyer said he wasn’t accusing the women of any wrongdoing, and he didn’t challenge the idea that the women found the sex “disturbing.” By then, however, Assange supporters had harassed the women, publishing their private information, and driving them into hiding.

    Governments aren’t the only source of human-rights abuses. Supporters of WikiLeaks need to acknowledge that women’s rights are human rights, too.

    Suzie Siegel was a reporter and editor at The Tampa Tribune from 1988-1999. FROM

    http://tbo.com/list/news-opinion-commentary/julian-assanges-war-on-women-20140904/
    12:39 pm
    Nxt then maidsafe then Ethereum
    State of the horse-race

    "...Just when people were getting used to the idea that bitcoin might not be a boom-and-bust fad destined for failure, entirely new applications of the technology have joined digital currency on stage.

    Crypto 2.0 – also know as cryptography 2.0, decentralized applications, or, popularly, as bitcoin 2.0 – is the application of block chain or distributed ledger technology to things other than digital currency. The block chain offers the ability to facilitate decentralized ownership and store, transfer and process information in a decentralized, programmable way. Many consider that innovation to be the true value of this technology.

    In May, New York-based investment firm Ledra Capital took to Twitter to crowdsource a list of what kinds of information the block chain could be used for. Currency transactions, of course, topped the list. But, it was followed by things like stocks, bonds, mortgages, land titles, gun permits, contracts, votes, bets, trademarks, data storage, domain names, proof of authorship and much, much more.

    As Robby Dermody, co-founder of Counterparty, told CoinDesk:

    “Bitcoin can be used to pay for things like a cup of coffee, but that’s not bitcoin’s ‘killer app’. To the average customer it’s just as easy to pay with their credit card. A killer app would need to offer massive advantages in another area.”

    A community of developers and entrepreneurs recognize this notion and have been busy building out many crypto 2.0 concepts. Dominik Zynis, the former head of business development at Mastercoin, commented on the significance of this movement to CoinDesk, saying:

    “We ought to be paying very close attention to crypto 2.0 because bitcoin has redefined how we launch web services.”

    Zynis believes crypto 2.0 companies are laying the foundation for a new generation of “secure and scalable Internet applications” that will be more resilient to hacking, fraud, scalability and privacy problems.

    Bitcoin’s role as a digital currency is still a work in progress, both at the code and implementation level, as well as on the consumer and institutional adoption side. Still, the wider impact of distributed ledger technology is beginning to rapidly take shape. Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, illustrated the movement’s broader vision to CoinDesk, adding:

    “I think now might be the time when we have just enough cryptographic, crypto-economic building blocks to finally make a proper shot at advancing a radically different vision for Internet architecture and society.”

    Rise of the decentralized exchange

    A year ago it might have been hard to believe that in just 12 month’s time, a publicly traded company would be openly exploring the possibility of launching a cryptosecurity on a decentralized asset exchange.

    Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne has been outspoken in his support of digital currency, and he recently told CoinDesk that Overstock intends to figure out how to launch a cryptosecurity so other companies can use their system to raise funds. Overstock published a wiki on 29th July that currently details 12 organizations that have either launched decentralized exchanges or are building them.

    Among them, Counterparty, NXT and BitShares have exchanges that are operational right now. Counterparty has been live since January and NXT’s Asset Exchange since May, while BitShare’s platform is only a few weeks old. Each exchange’s implementation differs in various ways, but they all share common features, namely the ability to create and trade user-defined assets without the need for a centralized third party.

    Company shares are an obvious application of these platforms. On NXT’s Asset Exchange, for instance, where more than 220 user-defined assets have already been created, digital currency exchange service Coinomat has issued a cryptoasset that offers shareholders a 1.5% dividend of the company’s weekly profits. This is really an example of a smart contract that is automatically confirmed and processed over a block chain.

    Other current examples of block chain implementations include the Digital Tangible Trust, which offers a tradable gold-backed cryptoasset. Non-traditional assets are also emerging, like those being created by MyPowers, whose digital tokens allow people to buy and trade brand equity in artists and organizations. Other projects are moving beyond assets, like Pavilion, which is planning to utilize block chain technology to sign and publicly publish contracts.

    Future goals for cryptoassets include smart property linked to physical assets; imagine a rental car whose key was tradable as a token on a decentralized exchange and downloadable to a fob that would unlock the vehicle. There are also plans to launch what are called decentralized autonomous companies (DACs) – namely by projects like BitShares – which operate autonomously on top of a block chain and earn profit for shareholders.

    Decentralized applications will hide the block chain

    Beyond assets, there have been efforts to utilize the block chain as a way to store data. Namecoin, an attempt to create a decentralized domain name registry outside the control of ICANN, was arguably the second implementation of block chain technology after digital cash transactions. More recently, efforts like MaidSafe and Storj have completed fundraising rounds.

    MaidSafe is attempting to use the bitcoin block chain to create a fully decentralized internet by sharing processing and memory power across a distributed network. Its April crypto-crowdsale notably raised $7m in five hours, although, due to the poor liquidity of the Mastercoin it received, it soon revised that number to $5.5m.

    Storj completed its crypto-crowdsale on 20th August, raising 910 BTC. The Storj platform offers online storage similar to Dropbox or Google Drive, but does so over a distributed network. Utilizing the bitcoin block chain, Storj allows users to buy available disk space on the network, and in addition, allows users with free storage space to sell it to those in need.

    Shawn Wilkinson, founder of Storj and a bitcoin developer, noted the value of expanded applications of the block chain, saying:

    “Essentially you can take the technology from bitcoin, which is a $5bn–$6bn industry, and apply it to an existing area like cloud storage, which is a $150bn dollar industry.”

    With applications like Storj, Wilkinson pointed out, you move past things like regulation, public perception, price volatility and the complexity of the underlying technology. Decentralized applications provide a user interface whose back-end could be a traditional network but happens to be a distributed one.

    Sidechains, treechains and a question of blockchains

    One important point of contention within the crytpo 2.0 space is what block chain this next generation of implementations should be built on top of. In one camp are the organizations like Ethereum and BitShares that are building their own, entirely new block chains on top of which their platforms will operate.

    In June, bitcoin core developer Gavin Andresen addressed the Ethereum project in a blog post and suggested that Ethereum’s intentions to create a new proof of work system and currency seemed extraneous at first blush.

    He wrote:

    “Bitcoin already provides a global currency and distributed ledger – there is no need to reinvent those wheels. Combining real-world information with bitcoin is where things start to get really interesting.”

    Alternatively, BitShares uses a mechanism called delegated proof-of-stake (DPOS), where stakeholders delegate their voting power to 101 delegates that take turns updating BitShares block chain. Distributed proof-of- helps prevent known risks of proof-of-work, including risk of a 51% attack.

    Other crypto 2.0 initiative are seeking to adapt the bitcoin block chain to scale more effectively, be less decentralized and allow for permissionless development. One such effort is through bitcoin core developer Peter Todd’s treechain concept, which Todd is developing while working at crypto 2.0 start-up Viacoin. Side chains are another potential implementation that will allow new features to be added to the existing bitcoin block chain through new block chains that interact with it..."

    FROM

    http://www.coindesk.com/crypto-2-0-roundup-bitcoins-revolution-moves-beyond-currency/
    10:49 am
    PKI terrorists
    Bitcoin can be thought of as an open messaging system secured by public key cryptography. In contrast to other systems protected by username and password logins, Bitcoin is secured through digital message signatures created with a unique private key. This single point of access places a very high value on the secure generation, use, and storage of private keys.

    http://bitzuma.com/posts/six-things-bitcoin-users-should-know-about-private-keys/
    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
    7:42 pm
    We're all going on a summer holiday
    Fun fun fun - " A sports jacket may be worn to dinner but not trousers "

    Having a Butchers Hook - " I SLAUGHTER MYSELF DAILY "

    #ComfortingRemindersOfHome " Ears pierced while you wait. Pay for TWO and get another one pierced FREE! "

    #YoudBeSurprised DO NOT USE THE DIVING BOARD WHEN THE SWIMMING POOL IS EMPTY

    " Ladies leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time "

    Time for the Drycleaners - " Drop your trousers here for best results "

    " Swimming is forbidden in the absence of a savior " #NICE

    " Cools and Heats. If you want one or the other please control yourself "

    In case of fire do your best to alarm the hotel Porter

    " Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life "

    We highly recommend the Hotel tart

    NO SMOOTHEN THE LION

    #SochiMemories A new swimming-pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their work-force.

    Our nylons cost more - but they are the best in the long run

    Retweeted by professor rat
    Milton Mueller @miltonmueller · 28m
    Damn. Another "internet" governance forum that can't deliver internet access to most of the people here #IGF2014

    Ladies are requested not to have children at the bar

    Spend your honeymoon with us and we'll guarantee its the best you ever had

    Steak and Chops are grilled before customers.

    #Timely There will be a Moscow exhibition of arts by 15,000 Soviet republic painters & sculptors. These were executed over the past 2 years.

    #TinkerTailor " Ladies May Have a Fit Upstairs "

    Our gifts will not last long at these prices...

    How sweet - " For your convenience we recommend courteous efficient self-service "

    Time for the chemistry president - " We dispense with accuracy "

    Do not startle wandering horses - stop by roadside till they pass away

    ...Beef rashers beaten up in the country peoples fashion #TheRussiansAREcoming

    Salad's a Firms own make. Limpid red-beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger. Roasted duck let loose...

    Home wanted for friendly Labrador - will eat anything. Loves children

    Simply hang your order before retiring on the doorknob

    Please leave your values at the front desk.

    The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

    Why not rent out a movie for a dull evening?

    " If this is your first visit to the USSR you are welcome to it "

    #RostovOntheDon " Haircuts half-price today - limit one per customer "

    Allthough the Palmer Bikie Party removed a Mining Tax the Outlaw Prospectors remain politically non-aligned #OPMC

    Watching An ebola-infected nurse being cared for inside a sealed tent...oh wait, no, that's president Obama. Sorry.

    " Don't go into another shop to be cheated - come in here! " #RussiaMustHaveInvaded

    Spotted in the Bottle-Shop - * Our wines leave you nothing to hope for *

    Sign in my Grocers reads " Do not handle fruit - ask for Hillary "
    Monday, September 1st, 2014
    7:25 pm
    Fuck worker. Fuck Working-Class
    Fuck work - fuck workerism - fuck Marxism - fuck off!

    We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

    --Buckminster Fuller
    Sunday, August 31st, 2014
    6:38 pm
    Swedish anarcho-feminist visits
    Kajsa Ekis Ekman
    Kajsa Ekis Ekman was born in Stockholm in 1980. She is an author and a critic and a member of the editorial collective of an anarchist magazine.

    Kajsa has a Master’s Degree in Literature from Södertörn University. Her first book Being and Being Bought was published in Sweden in 2010. However, it was published for the first time in both English and French in 2013. Her second book, Debt as a Weapon: The euro crisis seen from Athens, was also published in September 2013.

    Kajsa campaigns against surrogacy and prostitution. She has founded the network, Feminists Against Surrogacy and the climate action group, Klimax.

    Kajsa is in Australia to give the talk ‘Surrogacy is Child Trafficking’ at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.
    12:00 pm
    The past is not dead
    Its not even past

    Hal Finney, Cryptographer And Bitcoin Pioneer, 58
    By NATHANIEL POPPER
    AUGUST 30, 2014
    Hal Finney, a cryptographer and one of the earliest users and developers of the virtual currency Bitcoin, died on Thursday in Phoenix. He was 58.

    Mr. Finney had been paralyzed by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S., and was taken off life support at Paradise Valley Hospital, his wife, Fran Finney, said. She said his body was immediately prepared for cryonic preservation by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., according to his wishes.

    A graduate of the California Institute of Technology, Mr. Finney was a longtime futurist who put his programming skills to work in the service of his ideals, particularly his desire to see the privacy of individuals protected.

    In 1991, he began doing volunteer work for a new software project known as Pretty Good Privacy, or P.G.P., and immediately became one of the central players in developing the program. P.G.P. aimed to make it possible for people everywhere to encrypt electronic communication in a way that could not be read by anyone other than the intended recipient. The program used relatively new innovations in encryption that are still thought to be invulnerable to code breakers.


    Hal Finney was futurist and an advocate for the privacy of individuals.
    Mr. Finney wrote in 1992 that cryptographic technology appealed to him because he worried about the ability of corporations and governments to snoop on citizens.

    “The work we are doing here, broadly speaking, is dedicated to this goal of making Big Brother obsolete,” he wrote to an online group of fellow privacy activists.

    The original author of P.G.P., Philip R. Zimmermann, quickly became the target of federal prosecutors, who believed that the software broke United States laws against exporting military-grade encryption software.

    While the investigation went on and became a major cause for civil libertarians, Mr. Finney played a more quiet role in P.G.P. to avoid becoming a target himself. Mr. Zimmermann said in an interview that this decision meant Mr. Finney did not get proper credit for some of the important innovations he had made in the development of P.G.P.

    When the investigation concluded in 1996 without any charges being filed, P.G.P. became a company, and Mr. Zimmermann set out to hire Mr. Finney as his first employee.

    Mr. Zimmermann, in an interview before Mr. Finney died, said Mr. Finney was unusual in the field because he had none of the asocial tendencies and physical awkwardness that are commonly associated with people in the programming world. Rather, he said, Mr. Finney was a gregarious man who loved skiing and long-distance running.

    “Sometimes people pay some price for being extremely smart — they are deficient in some emotional quality,” Mr. Zimmermann said. “Hal was not like that.”

    While working on P.G.P., Mr. Finney was a regular participant in a number of futurist mailing lists, the most famous of which gave birth to the Cypherpunk movement, dedicated to privacy-enhancing cryptography.

    Following these lists, Mr. Finney became fascinated by the concept of digital currencies that could not be tracked by governments and banks.

    He was involved in many experiments aimed at creating an anonymous form of digital money, including his own invention, in 2004, of reusable proofs of work. Though that system never took off, he quickly saw the promise of the Bitcoin project when it was announced on an obscure email list in 2008 by a creator with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

    Bitcoin used some of the same cryptographic tools harnessed by P.G.P. and held out the promise that participants could choose to be anonymous when spending money online.

    When the project drew criticism from other cryptographers, Mr. Finney was among the first people to defend it. He downloaded the Bitcoin software the day it was released. The day after that, he took part in the first transaction on the network when Satoshi Nakamoto sent him 10 Bitcoins.

    His early work on Bitcoin and his programming background led to frequent speculation in the Bitcoin community that Mr. Finney was Satoshi Nakamoto, a claim he always denied.

    Soon after getting started with Bitcoin, Mr. Finney learned in 2009 that he had A.L.S., and he withdrew, for a time, from active participation in the project.

    Harold Thomas Finney II was born on May 4, 1956, in Coalinga, Calif., to Virginia and Harold Thomas Finney. His father was a petroleum engineer.

    After graduating from Caltech in 1979 with a degree in engineering, he worked for a company that developed video games like Astroblast and Space Attack.

    As a young man, Mr. Finney developed an interest in preserving life through cryonic freezing until better, life-enhancing technologies were invented, said a college roommate, Yin Shih. In 1992, Mr. Finney visited the Alcor facility with his wife to determine whether he wanted to sign up his family to be preserved in Alcor’s “containment vessels.”

    “In my personal opinion, anyone born today has a better than 50-50 chance of living effectively forever,” he wrote at the time.

    Mr. Finney remained an employee of the P.G.P. Corporation until his retirement in 2011, working from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif.

    In the last few years, Mr. Finney was able to move only his facial muscles, but he communicated and wrote Bitcoin-related software using a computer that tracked his eye movement.

    “I’m pretty lucky overall,” Mr. Finney wrote on a Bitcoin website in 2013. “Even with the A.L.S., my life is very satisfying.”

    As the price of Bitcoins rose, his family, to pay for his medical care, was able to sell some of the coins he secured in the early days.

    Besides his son, Jason, and his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Erin Finney; two sisters, Kathleen Finney and Patricia Wolf; and a brother, Michael. His wife, a physical therapist whom he met at Caltech, spent most of her days caring for him in his final years.

    After Mr. Finney’s death, the freezing of his remains was announced by another futurist, Max More. “Hal,” he wrote in a statement online. “I know I speak for many when I say that I look forward to speaking to you again sometime in the future and to throwing a party in honor of your revival.”
    1:53 am
    Dial G for Gangsta
    THE NOT-MUNDIAL INITIATIVE: GOVERNANCE AND UNGOVERNANCE IN ISTANBUL
    The 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul has been upstaged by the announcement of the Netmundial Initiative (NMI) in Geneva. The NMI is an attempt by ICANN’s CEO, Fadi Chehade, to enlist the resources and interpersonal networks of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in finding “solutions” to Internet governance problems. Framed as an “initiative for action” that would implement the principles of the April Netmundial meeting in Brazil, the unveiling of NMI has generated a flurry of critical commentary.

    Below, we will suggest that those who have devoted so much attention to fretting over its methods or composition are overestimating its significance for the actual governance of internetworking. At the same time, they are not paying enough attention to the more serious pathologies in the broader “ecosystem,” of which NMI is a symptom.

    It is not difficult to understand why the NMI is controversial. There are four distinct causes. First, it appropriated the name of the Brazilian Netmundial meeting and its respected outcome document, even though there is no formal relationship and very little continuity between the WEF crowd (other than Fadi himself) and the actors and institutional methods of the Brazilian Netmundial meeting. For that reason, I like to refer to NMI as the “Not-Mundial.” Just to be clear.

    Second, it was formed through a top-down process. Fadi and his allies in WEF hand-picked people from governments, business and civil society to be insiders in the process, instead of forming an open institution. While top-down initiatives are sometimes unavoidable to bootstrap a process, Fadi has relied far too heavily on such methods. The man simply does not understand (or does not like?) open, bottom up processes, perhaps because they cannot be controlled. Last year he created no less than 5 “Strategy Panels” in which groups of luminaries selected by him and reporting only to him were supposed to address some of the long-term issues affecting the future of ICANN and Internet governance. Millions of dollars were spent, but none of them produced anything that had any traction in the broader community. It was the 5th Strategy Panel, on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms led by Toomas Ilves of Estonia and Google’s Vint Cerf, that forged the link to the World Economic Forum. WEF, along with ICANN and the Annenberg Foundation, co-convened that panel. So Fadi has been targeting the use of WEF as a platform of an Internet governance initiative for some time. Surprisingly to him, however, and predictably to the rest of us, the Ilves/Cerf report, produced by a cozy group of insiders, was totally eclipsed by the more open and inclusive Netmundial process, which was not afraid to deal with contending views.

    This method of trying to “lead” has a number of known pathologies when used in public global governance contexts. It inevitably results in the selection of people based on their socio-economic proximity to the people doing the selections. Inevitably, it makes others resentful of the fact that they weren’t selected. Communities can be divided and conquered based on their selection or inclusion. And obviously, the selections reflect and reinforce the political biases of those making the choices. True to form, the Not-Mundial is run by a very predictable and usual-suspecty cast of characters, although the absence of Google and other major edge-Internet firms is a surprise. The few privileged civil society organizations included in early Not-Mundial preparations were pleased to be insiders at first, but have since backpedaled, issuing statements criticizing the initiative’s lack of inclusiveness lest they be seen as co-opted – which of course never, ever happens. See also the comments of APC.

    Third, the Not-Mundial’s link to the elite WEF, which is built around an annual meeting for a few “world leaders” in Davos, Switzerland, raises the spectre of domination of the “ecosystem” by business and political elites. This too is a legitimate concern, although there is a bit of a Catch-22 here. You can’t have a “multistakeholder” governance system without involving and representing business actors, especially those who operate networks and Internet services. On the other hand there is always a noisy lefty faction among states and civil society who think that any business is per se illegitimate, and any sign of their presence is an indication that the whole system is corrupt.[1] If the purpose of Not-Mundial was to strengthen corporate engagement in good faith governance negotiations with other stakeholder groups it would be good, but the Not-Mundial we have threatens to elevate and isolate the “leaders” from the rest of us.

    The fourth and most important worries about Not-Mundial relate to its effects on the UN Internet Governance Forum. In an astute blog post, Jeremy Malcolm of EFF claimed that “NETmundial Initiative carries forward [Fadi’s] vision, to establish an equivalent institutional framework for broader Internet public policy issues as already exists in ICANN for narrower issues of naming and numbering.” But why, exactly, do we need this thing when the IGF already exists? Wasn’t the IGF supposed to be the forum for broader internet policy issues, the aggregator of multistakeholder dialogue, the place where stakeholder groups come together, learn about each other’s concerns and hatch solutions? Malcolm doesn’t mince words about this: he believes that the IGF is a bust and perhaps the Not-Mundial should replace it:

    The Internet Governance Forum has proved itself, time and again, to be both unwilling and unable to shoulder the responsibilities expected of it by the Internet community, and required of it by its mandate in the Tunis Agenda.

    Unlike Malcolm, the Not-Mundials are insisting that their initiative actually builds upon the IGF. According to Chehade’s 18th August blog post:

    The Initiative’s work will not serve as a substitute for the IGF, but rather complement its efforts by formulating solutions, engaging in capacity development and broadening participation in Internet cooperation. ICANN’s commitment and contributions to the IGF shall remain a priority.

    But how is it complementary? His explanation warrants close scrutiny:

    The Initiative seeks to complement the activities of the IGF by helping to engage a more interdisciplinary and cross-sector array of ministries, industries, academic disciplines and others in discussion on specific policy challenges that would benefit from additional leader-level conversations. These discussions are not intended to replace but rather to supplement the highly inclusive, grass-roots discussions taking place in IGF venues.

    In other words, “additional leader-level conversations” are needed to supplement those “highly inclusive, grass-roots discussions.” This sounds suspiciously as if the “leaders” who go to WEF are creating an escape route from the IGF coalition that allows them to go off and work by themselves, free of the riff-raff, when they want. If that’s not the intent, then why not bring more of the corporate “leaders” and ministers into the IGF?

    What this all signifies, really, is that something called “Internet governance” has gained enough recognition to generate what Sam LaFranco called a “land rush” of actors trying to position themselves as “leaders” or visible players in it. This means that vested interests already in the game need to stay on top of developments. A growing number of these people make their living this way. A lot of the clamor surrounding the Not-Mundial is not about real governance or policy, but arguments over who gets face time on the global stage. It’s not about governance or contending policies. It’s about who capitalizes on the perceived demand for governance. It’s about who gets the media coverage.

    The irony is that none of these initiatives are actually establishing any new forms of governance authority over the internet. In fact, their clamor and jostling is based on a concept of “Internet governance” that is both disconnected from real political authority and an anachronistic throwback to older forms of communications regulation via national legislation and policy making. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Internet governance is the way to extend broadband to the masses; secure human rights; and eliminate inequality among nations, genders and classes. Or at least, it will generate thousands of words about how important it is to do these things. In the meantime, states like Turkey (and China, and Russia, and the UK) continue to censor and filter the internet, the U.S. continues to build its cyber-weapons arsenal, and individual network managers and platform providers continue to implement thousands of distinct policies based on a complex variety of market, political, legal and cultural factors.

    If you watched the debriefing given by the Not-Mundial’s founding partners, you saw a somewhat tedious invocation of the standard rhetoric about the wonders of the internet and the virtues of multistakeholderism coming from a predictable cast of characters. Experienced observers should suspect that this grouping will have about as much impact on Internet governance as the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission has had on broadband development. A lot of big names, a lot of important people. No major change. People who have no real ideas, and no real need to change things, tend to not accomplish much. The sums of money at their disposal are pretty large if you’re in the publicity business, but pathetically small if you’re in the business of constructing and operating networks.

    The bigger problem is, we are not even having a dialogue about whether we need new forms of governance authority at all. Nor are we having a conversation about how to make sure that efforts to “govern” the internet don‘t damage the freedom and openness that made it succeed in the first place. The Internet governance bandwagon has started rolling so fast that everyone is assuming that these commissions and panels and initiatives and Forums actually do governance; that we know what governance means at that level; that Internet users will benefit from cosmopolite politicians promising to deliver massive benefits at no cost in the name of governance.

    That’s one reason why the emergence of an “Ungovernance Forum” by Turkish activists disgruntled with the IGF, and with their own government’s repression of Internet-based expression, was so refreshing to see. Here we see a defection from the IGF coalition from the opposite end of the political spectrum. Instead of high-level leaders defecting into WEF, we see the grass roots victims of bad local governance taking a critical stance toward the whole concept of Internet governance and questioning the relevance of these bloated and self-referential global dialogues to their own situation.

    Most of the real solutions to Internet problems are happening in ways that mirror the Internet’s architecture. They are networked, distributed, ad hoc. The most valuable initiatives are not taken by political or business “leaders” selected and blessed by other leaders, but by actors with a real stake in the outcome, real skin in the game, acting on their own initiative. The concept of Ungovernance has legs. FROM

    http://www.internetgovernance.org/2014/08/29/the-not-mundial-initiative-governance-and-ungovernance-in-istanbul/#comment-33831
    Saturday, August 30th, 2014
    7:32 pm
    Before Noam there was Eric
    • Reply•Share ›

    Avatar
    TakuanSoho • 3 days ago
    Eric Hobswbawm, where have I heard that name.... Oh yeah, he was the person who wrote a justification of the Soviet invasion of Finland while simultaneously blaming the country that sheltered him from both the Nazis and the Soviets, and then lied about it for decades.

    He was also that "true Stalinist ideologue" who also accepted a title from a queen; as true an intellectual hypocrite as there could be.

    So, a proven liar who was intellectually dishonest. And we should believe his historical writings why? I know that he was an engaging writer, but history should be about having trust in the writer to be as objective as possible, after all we all do not have the time to track down all the source documentation and ensure that it is placed within context. So if this trust is blown, and blown in a significant way, why should we respect his writings? Hell, if mere plagiarism is enough to condemn one (as it should mind you), then what should outright lies and intellectual dishonesty warrant?

    As for the British kowtowing to an ardent Stalinist, happens all the time. A case in point is the widespread condemnation of Isaiah Berlin for stating an honest (and correct) opinion upon being asked that A.N. Wilson was not qualified to teach history because he would not honestly state known facts.
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