node created 2019/09/29
My life's work is not what I've made, it's who I am when I sit in front of a blank file. If I lost everything, I would have lost nothing.
Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.
(or even "better", make undesired thoughts unthinkable)
The ruling ideology sees to it that subversive discoveries are trivialized and sterilized, after which they can be safely spectacularized.
If my experience serves any purpose, it is to illustrate what most already know: our courts must not be allowed to consider matters of great importance in secret, lest we find ourselves summarily deprived of meaningful due process. If we allow our government to continue operating in secret, it is only a matter of time before you or a loved one find yourself in a position like I was – standing in a secret courtroom, alone, and without any of the unalienable rights that are supposed to protect us from an abuse of the state’s authority.
Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book does not shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we'd be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.
Letter to Oskar Pollak, January 27th 1904
Personally, I'd never want to be a member of any group where you either have to wear a hat or you can't wear a hat.
The Screen and the Job have displaced almost everything else is our lives. Loneliness is just a primary symptom.

The Screen, whether it’s TV, computer, or phone, has supplanted almost all social interactions. This manifests itself in things like SitComs on TV (just a bunch of friends or family hanging out) or Social Media on phones. It’s very easy to fill the social needs of right now with a Screen. But under even a minuscule amount of self reflection these are revealed as hollow substitutes for real human interaction.

The Job has completely taken over as a driving force in evaluating choices. The average person has to consider all options in the light of both the current employer and the specter of tomorrow’s. Moving across the country for a high paying job? Great! Moving to be closer to friends? That’s a career killer.

No wonder we are lonely. We make choices in the short term that optimize happiness, often at the expense of our relationships. Ghosting is not just for dates now. Then turn around and make choices in the long term that optimize employability at the expense of all else.
Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.
So long as you are alive you have a place in all this and you play a role in it. Everyone here -- on the sidewalks, pedaling by on bicycles, looking at us, or not looking at us -- has a part he's playing in this story. Everyone is doing something that relates to us. They may kick sick guys in the belly as much as they like, or kill them, or force guys with the shits to remain closed up inside a church and then shoot them because they shit, or yell Alles Scheiße, alles Scheiße! for the millionth time, between them and us a relationship nevertheless exists that nothing can destroy. They know what they're doing, they know what's being done to us. They know it as well as if they were us. And they are. You are us. One looks at each of these creatures who doesn't know and one would like to get inside their consciousness that only wants to see a piece of striped cloth, a bearded face, a line of men with a martial SS figure at their head. They're going to ignore us; whenever we go through a town, it's a sleep of human beings that passes through a sleep of sleeping persons. That's how it appears. But we know; each group knows about the other, knows everything about it.
"The Human Race"
The following extract shows how a messaging client's text entry could be arbitrarily restricted to a fixed number of characters, thus forcing any conversation through this medium to be terse and discouraging intelligent discourse.
<label>What are you doing? <input name=status maxlength=140></label>
[In early 2007] there was a new rash of articles and headlines on the front page about the “Chinese military build-up.” The Pentagon claimed that China had increased its offensive military capacity — with 400 missiles, which could be nuclear armed. Then we had a debate about whether that proves China is trying to conquer the world or the numbers are wrong, or something. Just a little footnote. How many offensive nuclear armed missiles does the United States have? Well, it turns out to be 10,000. China may now have maybe 400, if you believe the hawks. That proves that they are trying to conquer the world.

It turns out, if you read the international press closely, that the reason China is building up its military capacity is not only because of U.S. aggressiveness all over the place, but the fact that the United States has improved its targeting capacities so it can now destroy missile sites in a much more sophisticated fashion wherever they are, even if they are mobile. So who is trying to conquer the world? Well, obviously the Chinese because since we own it, they are trying to conquer it. It’s all too easy to continue with this indefinitely. Just pick your topic. It’s a good exercise to try. This simple principle, “we own the world,” is sufficient to explain a lot of the discussion about foreign affairs.
The neoliberal era of the last generation is dedicated, in principle, to destroying the only means we have to defend ourselves from destruction. It's not called that, what it's called is shifting decision-making from public institutions, which at least in principle are under public influence, to private institutions which are immune from public control, in principle. That's called "shifting to the market", it's under the rhetoric of freedom, but it just means servitude. It means servitude to unaccountable private institutions.
.. it's why I don't go on Fox news. I don't go on CNN either, because the most you're ever gonna get is 4 to 6 minutes. And so you have to use the language of easily identifiable clichés in order for the audience to resonate. And if what you're thinking doesn't fit within those clichés, then you become unintelligible. And that of course has now been carried out through the wider culture.
As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.
Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it.
"On Violence"
No matter which slogan they write on their banners, once they feel they are no longer under the strictest and most vigilant control of those they purport to represent - they will behave the same. Once the relationship between citizens and the government changes from owner/hired manager to subject/ruler, there's no other way it can go.
Even if it were possible to design a provably correct, impossible to tamper with, anonymous electronic voting system (which seems unlikely to me) it still should NOT be used. Why?

Everyone understands paper in ballot boxes, and how they can be cheated, what to look for. Everyone can assess an argument as to whether this happened based on the evidence presented.

Basically nobody would understand what to even look for in cheating the electronic system. It would be totally my expert says your expert is wrong and so it is/isn't fraud. Having even the possibility of that argument for electoral fraud is completely insane.

It doesn't just have to be fair, it has to be seen to be fair. Really it does. We need to have reason to have faith in our democratic processes most especially when the people you want to win, don't and the result surprises you.

The sooner we get to "Any electronic voting must be used to mark a standard paper ballot which becomes the entire source of truth." The better. Everything else in electronic voting is dangerous, sinister and flat out evil. Oppose it. Loudly. At every opportunity. Especially if you're known as someone who understands computers on some level.
You can have a lot of political 'change' in the United States, but will it really change that much? Will it change the amount of money in someone’s bank account? Will it change contracts? Will it void contracts that already exist? And contracts on contracts? And contracts on contracts on contracts? Not really.

So I say that free speech in many Western places is free not as a result of liberal circumstances but rather as a result of such intense fiscalization that it doesn’t matter what you say. The dominant elite doesn’t have to be scared of what people think, because a change in political view is not going to change whether they own their company or not; it is not going to change whether they own a piece of land or not. But China is still a political society, although it is rapidly heading toward a fiscalized society. And other societies, like Egypt, are still heavily politicized. Their rulers really do need to be concerned about what people think, so they expend proportionate efforts on controlling freedom of speech.
I’ve yet to see any problem, however complicated, which when you looked at it the right way didn’t become still more complicated.
"Call Me Joe"
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
Everywhere I look, I see compounding dysfunction. I see the gears within the dysfunction. I see the people turning the thumbscrews of the people fixing the gears so that the machine becomes the thumbscrew crushing the world.
These huge TOS agreements are akin to governmental authoritarian control. Everyone has broken something in them, we are all a criminal. Knowing this, we all live in fear knowing that it's not a matter of 'if' but 'when' the government/corporate overlord can cancel everything we've been working on or living for because of an obscure clause that no one has ever read, which was created for this very purpose.
If it isn’t illegal, it isn’t strong enough. If the government doesn’t denounce it, it isn’t good enough.
She had blue skin, and so did he. He kept it hid and so did she. They searched for blue their whole life through, then passed right by - and never knew.
Oh, wait, I forgot, we are still in the mode of "stop the specific mode of each particular attack".

Blow up building with fertilizer bomb-> must track all sales of fertilizer
Shoe bomber -> must scan all shoes
Underwear bomber -> must scan through underwear
Bomb with black powder -> must start scanning everywhere for black powder
Bribe TSA agents to let drugs through -> oops, no way to check this, just forget about it.

Unfortunately, using this method of "prevention" will take hundreds of years, thousands and thousands of different bombs, and the elimination of most every civil liberty you have to "win the war on terrorism".
Dig within. Within is the wellspring of good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig.
Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored. Instead, we show that the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content. Censorship is oriented toward attempting to forestall collective activities that are occurring now or may occur in the future --- and, as such, seem to clearly expose government intent.
There are many people who are not entirely themselves because as children they were not given time to think about themselves. And because they don’t know everything about themselves they can’t know everything about everything. But no one likes to admit that she doesn’t know everything about everything. And so these people try to make up for not knowing everything about everything by doing things.

[..]

People who for some reason find it impossible to think about themselves, and so really be themselves, try to make up for not thinking with doing. They try to pretend that doing is thinking.
A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.
"Julius Caesar"