19 April 2008

R,YMB

While I was reading this article about how the current Democratic Party Presidential contenders are using Karl Rove as a pretext for political attacks (by framing it as “it’s not us, we’re just discussing what Rove will do”), it occurred to me that if Rove really wanted to make heads explode, he should let a picture of himself wearing a “Magnificent Bastard” T-shirt leak out. Or maybe you could sell T-shirts with his picture and the logo “He may be a bastard, but he’s our magnificent bastard”. Just another money making tip from your local writer!

A single thread

I was thinking about the basic MAL position on WWIV, which as far as I can tell is “if anyone is going to get violent, just do whatever they say”. I thought it a bit odd, but then I realized that it’s of the same piece as MAL domestic policy, as evidenced by the career of William Ayers. Unless, of course, the violence is threatened in the name of one of the bitter rubes. And it does seem to be the person, not the idea. Segregation? Don’t the the rubes do that, but it’s fine for any liberal university. Suppress free expression? Same thing. But I suppose that kind of tribal animosity should be expected as the end point of decades of identity (i.e., tribal) politics.

16 April 2008

Not just a happy coincidence

Orrin Judd accounts for the incompetence of our cultural enemies by divine providence. I think it’s much more of a structural issue. Essentially, if our enemies were competent, they wouldn’t be our enemies or we wouldn’t be theirs. It’s the same logic as the New Model Empire — the sort of liberal democracy present in the USA is been known model for operating a technological society. Such societies are very unlikely to be enemies, so any enemy will perforce have to select inferior organizational structures. This will happen either deliberately (as with Black Liberation Theology) or incidentally because of a “cargo cult” mentality which apes the forms of Western structure but has no understanding of them (Al Qaeda). The only successful way to be non-Western is to accept the limitations of an alternate form (e.g., the Amish) but by accepting the secular dominance of Western society, such niche societies make themselves not enemies of Western civilization.

The result is that, until something fundamentally better comes along, our enemies will by their choice of being enemies be more incompetent than we are. We can still lose by rendering ourselves too incompetent, but that can’t be imposed from without. And, if someday a better societal structure is found, I expect we’ll change to adopt it, rather than fight it.

07 April 2008

Travelocity

I am heading out to California this week for the RSA conference and to visit some potential customers. I may write a lot, or not at all. But I guess that’s not much different than normal.

03 April 2008

Unleash the pain while it still hurts

Via Hot Air is the claim that Hugo Chavez is behaving himself better with respect to Colombia because of data captured during a raid on FARC.

If true, I think that’s a dumb move. In the long term, Colombia would be better off to release as much accurate and discrediting information as possible, because thugs like Chavez don’t reconsider, they only bide their time. Meanwhile, the impact of any captured information will fade. What would be smart, though, would be for Colombian President Uribe to pretend to have damaging information because it’s a sucker bet that Chavez has been more involved with FARC than any currently public annoucements indicate.

Anti-pain sneakers

I find articles like this somewhat bizarre. It starts off with

How do you stop a foe whose tolerance for pain exceeds your willingness to inflict it?

Answer: You don’t. If you start with that as a premise, all that remains is determining the details of surrender. The article goes on to discuss various approaches, all of which (surprise!) turn out to be doomed to failure. It’s a national expression of how pacifism begets violence — if you’re not willing to fight back, there’s never a shortage of people who’ll take advantage of that.

UPDATE: Here is the reductio ad absurdum of gist of this post — Israel wasn’t inflicting enough pain on the Palestinians in Gaza to suit Hamas, so they arranged for an attack to generate it. It’s not even that Israel isn’t willing to inflict more pain than the Palestinians can endure, it’s that Israel is not generally willing to inflict as much pain as the Palestinian leadership wants.

02 April 2008

A hex upon you

I got some junk email today trying to trick me out of financial data by claiming to be from the IRS with a tax refund for me. What makes this funny is that the URL to click to get my “refund” is

http://0xCA.0x27.0x30.0xDD/blah-IRS-looking-name-blah

The URL works, which actually surprised me. I realized that it was just an IP address encoded in hexadecimal (that’s what the “0x” means to most computers and code geeks) but I didn’t think that most browsers would bother to parse it. I suppose it’s an effort to get around sending the target to a bogus website without being obvious about it, which would mean that that junker thinks most people will recognize “normal” looking IP addresses (such as 172.16.177.34) and decided that hexadecimal would fool more people.

Alone in the middle

So Big Business is donating to the Democratic Party candidates instead of Senator McCain. Gosh, all that illegal immigration pandering has really paid off, hasn’t it?

And one is left wondering how both Big Business and the “Corporations Are Evil” crowd can be supporting the same candidates.