First a note to Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. There's a point that your surrogates ought to be making - (with SuperPac deniability for you, of course!) Remind folks that New Hampshire is a Blue State. About as blue as they come. And hence, if the hybrid-type republicans of the Granite State prefer Mitt Romney... what does that say about him? Redmeat for red South Carolina.
Oh, but now on to things I actually know something about...
== The Return of WikiLeaks ==
sophisticated surveillance technology
that has been used by both oppressive rulers and Western democracies --
devices that enable governments or law enforcement agencies to track
and monitor individuals via their cell phones, e-mail, and Internet
is clearly the sort of transparency that - while it may short-term
inconvenience some western governments - could help the secular trend
toward an open world that (in turn) fosters and strengthens
enlightenment nations and people. In other words, embrace this! The answer to most modern problems may boil down, time and again, to a more aware citizenry.
shouldn't earlier phases of the WikiLeaks affair have taught the US
government a valuable lesson? Answer me this riddle. What was the
biggest overall effect of Julian Assange's leak of 250,000 State Dept
cables? Who benefited most?
It was U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, getting exactly what she needed, when she needed it! Scores
of those leaked memos revealed US diplomats candidly despising Ben Ali
and Mubarak and other Arab dictators they were forced to deal with.
These revelations - secret, and hence credibly sincere - showed US
envoys and apparatchiks expressing profound sympathy for oppressed
people and holding their noses, forced by unpalatable circumstance to
dicker with tyrants. Revealed precisely when the Arab Spring was
brewing, those cables could not have been better timed to show youth in
Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and so on that "at worst America isn't our enemy... and maybe they're more with us than we thought."
bizarre assertion? Well, did anybody notice the near- total lack of
anti-American themes during the Arab Spring? It may not have been
Assange's intent... but that felicitous outcome was the exact thing that
he wrought, and maybe our leaders should ponder the lucky break.
More important. They should contemplate the value of this overall, secular trend toward a generally more open world. Light can only - occasionally - inconvenience us. For villainous regimes, it is lethal.
=== And while we’re on transparency... ===
Missouri judge ruled the FBI does not need a warrant to secretly attach
a GPS unit to a suspect's car and track his public movements for two
My reaction? Let me surprise you. Mr Transparency is
yawning. This simply replicates what would happen if the FBI tracked the
fellow with a classic "tail." He was publicly visible the whole time.
If a tail was okay, then why not save us money? Yes, yes, this may
lead to "them" knowing where we are all the time? So? That's coming.
Protest it? Protest the sunset. Both are inevitable.
What matters to me is looking back.
And I mean looking back hard. Watch the watchmen. Supervise them
intensely, then let them do their jobs. Let’s pick our fights and make
them count. Sousveillance!
=== And why transparency won’t be enough ===
of the House and Senate regularly buy and sell stocks even while
considering major bills that will affect those companies. Yet there have
been no insider trading cases
brought against Congress members. Nor is it likely, for Congress makes
its own rules – and those rules are silent on insider trading. “They
have legislated themselves as untouchable as a political class,” writes
Peter Schweizer, who has documented the money made by Congress members,
in his book, Throw Them All Out. (This despite the promise, in Newt Gingrich's 1994 Contract With America to make Congress fully accountable.)
parties are guilty of dubious trades that anticipated the effect of
changing government policy--buying or unloading stock just before
changes took place. Alas, Schweizer's prescription - to "throw them all
out" - won't happen because of another self-serving strategy by the
Look, I favor some politicians
over others, naturally. The party that’s less disciplined, more diverse
and willing to negotiate strikes me as better than one that is the most
tightly disciplined and dogmatic political force - and the most
fiercely anti-science - in American history, controlled by a media
empire owned by unfriendly foreigners.
Nevertheless... at another
level, we the people have to recognize that we are being preyed upon by
the entire political caste. Money has to be taken out of politics.
Transparency must be augmented, exponentiated.
And we must start
with Gerrymandering! An ugly, scheming job security program that has
radicalized most members of Congress into raving partisan lunatics. Take
a look at this outrageous example, as redistricting in Texas comes before the Supreme Court.
-- a blue state whose largely democratic voting population nevertheless
voted to end democrat-leaning gerrymandering. (If only all states had
such vibrantly patriotic citizens.) See my article on Gerrymandering.
(Alas, not a single red state has joined the rebellion.)
Well, maybe it’s gathering momentum! A nationwide insurrection
against this abuse by the political caste! In 28 other states, lawsuits
have been filed against this foul practice. A racket imposed by
politicians against their natural enemy. Voters.
Now... if only the Court were on our side...
=== Some Political Miscellany ===
* OWS Fights Back Against Police Surveillance by Launching "Occucopter" Citizen Drone. In
response to constant police surveillance, violence, and arrests, Occupy
Wall Street protesters and legal observers have been turning their
cameras back on the police. I am no lefty or radical. Sometimes the cops
are right. But this right to look back must be absolute and inviolable.
Mr. Transparent Society is radical about this!
* Techies are now figuring out how to attach sensors and cameras directly to insects and powering the devices off the creatures' own movements. Similar to the "mosquito cams" that I spoke of in The Transparent Society
(1997), these will tilt the balance of power toward whoever has the
best ability to see... including ability to detect mosquito-cams! Our
only hope in such a world is NOT to ban the things - that cannot
conceivably work. But to make sure we all have them. And hence that we
can catch the peeping toms.
* Three GOP candidates stand above
the others, when it comes to intellect, having interesting things to
say, and departing (in spots) from pure, Know-Nothing trog-populism.
Let's dismiss John Huntsman. He actually wants calm, moderate, pragmatic
negotiation - in other words, his chances of getting the Republican
nomination stand between nil and hopeless.
The other two? I've praised Gingrich as 1/3 fascinating/smart... if 2/3 crazy. Now see Ron Paul at his libertarian best!
If only his crazy-ratios weren't the same as Newt's. Well-well, these
are the three I’d at least buy a beer and expect, during the
conversation, to hear some interesting (if at least half jibbering
* Obama on Mars! White House Denies CIA teleported Obama to Mars!
* This Girl Snuck Into a Russian Military Rocket Factory!
* Is the US Private Sector dying? Because the “accountants are in charge”?
== And finally - the most important quotation you can cite this year ==
is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion
of Science and Literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest
basis of publick happiness."
- President George Washington, State of the Union address, 1/8/1790
and technology were responsible for half of US economic growth since
1945. Those who are demonizing science... and disparaging every other
knowledge profession... are at-best fools and at-worst the genuine
enemies of hope for the republic. Or for human civilization. Don't take
it from me. Take it from George Washington.