Archive for November 30, 2010

The Real Significance of WikiLeaks

November 30, 2010 13 comments

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you might have heard or read about “WikiLeaks” and “Julian Assange”. Though many people have diverse opinions about that website and his motives, they are missing the real significance of WikiLeaks.

We never had anything comparable to WikiLeaks in recorded history. Imagine a decentralized, inexpensive, easy to setup/update/maintain system which can disseminate leaked digital information to anybody who has the curiosity to find out. While there have been whistleblower websites and blogs for years, they were largely individual efforts with a very ephemeral existence and limited readership.

What makes WikiLeaks different is scale, timing and supporting technology. Let me break that down.

The scale of effort behind WikiLeaks is far bigger than an individual or even a small group. The scope, organization and distribution of WikiLeaks is transnational and will survive the loss of all its founding members. The wiki format has done to reference information what wordpress has done to blogging, or google to searching for websites. Even the death of its founder will not stop the juggernaut, as concepts often outlive their creator. Many religious and secular movements were started by people who were either willing or accidental martyrs.

The timing of such efforts is also crucial, as it comes at a time where a significant percentage of younger people have lost all faith in the old ways. This is one of the more overlooked reason behind WikiLeaks having a far bigger impact today than in the pre-2008 world. Given the general direction of things, disenchantment with the status quo can only pick up steam.

The price and availability of supporting technology is another overlooked factor. Note that most of these leaks have been in information dense formats such as ASCII text and pictures. The know how, technology and hardware to encrypt, decrypt, store, disguise and distribute such information is inexpensive and intimately tied to our way of life. Anybody with a 200-400 dollar smartphone, tablet or laptop can access, read, store and distribute information at will.

Technologies to enable lateral spread of information such as facebook, twitter, e-mail, blogs, micro blogs, cheap VOIP etc remove many of the older constraints against such spread. Moreover, most younger people now get their info from web based sources as opposed to censorious intermediaries like the MSM.

Some techy morons, including a retard from MIT, predict that they can stop such leaks. However these clever morons don’t get one property of information (as opposed to content). If someone can read it, see it, transfer it, back it up or send it to someone-it can be copied and unlike entertainment related content, low quality copies are as valuable and useful as high fidelity copies.


Stuff That CONservatives Cannot Comprehend: 1

November 30, 2010 9 comments

I am making this old post sticky for a couple of days.

CONservatives seem to live in a bygone world, and operate under assumptions that might have been workable one hundred years ago. Let me illustrate that point with a few examples.

CONservatives believe: “We could have won the Vietnam war, if only we were more brutal (like the good old days)”.

However there was no chance that the US could have won the Vietnam war and survived for a significant length of time after that.


1] African tribes in the late 19th century used stone age weapons to fight against white colonial armies with rifles and machine guns. The average vietcong was far closer to the average american soldier, as far as weapons, tactics and training was concerned.

2] The US was fighting an enemy that could blend in the local population, and had no compunctions about using every single vulnerability of the US war machine against them. The US attitude and knowledge of their enemy was fragmentary at best, and they did not have an overwhelming technological edge.

3] Use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam would have all but ensured that many other countries would quickly obtain them, and use them against the US – if they ever felt threatened. This is something that CONservatives rarely talk about.

4] The Vietnamese were willing to fight to the bitter end, but the average US soldier wanted to leave ASAP. A country with little to offer except rain, mud, malaria, constant ambushes and hookers could not motivate men to fight.

5] Campaigns that require long logistic trails and expensive equipment will bankrupt the more developed side first. This is a lesson that CONservatives have not yet learned.

Did I also mention that the Vietcong had a lot of help from the Chinese and Russians?

6] Photos, magazines, films were not widespread in the ‘good’ old days. Pictures of people being executed in the street and naked burnt girls running hurt the cause of waging war. This is even more so now than in the 1960s, where multiple channels of information make average people doubt the words of their leaders even more.

Any attempt at the scenario referenced in 3] would have guaranteed that every single american would be seen in the same light as certain fascist regimes in the 1930s. People forget that use of atomic weapons on Japan (during ww2) was much easier because it had an absolutely horrible record of treating non-Japanese. People did not care about the fate of those (japanese) who had murdered and tortured millions of innocent people (chinese, korean, filipino).

But reality and reason have no representations in the CONservative mind or worldview.


PS: Reread point 3] to understand the true implications and guaranteed blowback from using nukes on non-nuke possesing entities.

A Note for Morons: Nov 30, 2010

November 30, 2010 8 comments

Many morons like to tell others that the world experienced most of its true growth prior to the “new deal” and socialism.

I have a suggestion-

Look at the fucking photos from that era. Read the fucking newspapers, pamphlets and memoirs from that era.

Most people in that “glorious” era had a standard, and quality, of life that would be unacceptable to a slave worker in a chinese prison in 2010. Yes, it was that bad!


The Death of Capitalism Version 4

November 30, 2010 3 comments

We are currently witnessing the slow death of capitalism version 4 (and its various sub- versions, regional variants, updates and packages). Before I say anything more about this version, let me briefly describe the first three versions.

Version 1: Coincided with the start of the industrial revolution (early 1800s). The idea was to steal, rape and plunder whatever you could get away with and still pretend to be civilized.

Version 2: Could be said to have started in the 1880s-early 1900s. In this version, workers gradually saw an increase in their benefit from the system with some restraint on the worst aspects of capitalism 1.0

Version 3: Existed from the 1930s-1980s. This version was a socialistic interpretation of capitalism and produced a massive improvement in the lifestyle of people. But it succumbed to sclerotic holdovers from version 2.0, greed and racism to create version 4

Version 4: Started with various neo-conservative revolutions in the 1980s. Based on made up numbers, legalism, ponzi schemes, colorful projections, graphs and the FIRE economy- it can be seen as an attempt to revive capitalism version 1 or 2. It “worked” as long as the demographic and technological inertia from capitalism version 3 was present. Now those factors are gone..

The unpleasant reality that faces most people stems from their belief in version 1, 2 and 4. While these versions appear reasonable, they are based on a zero sum world view that has become both obsolete and dangerous due to technological progress. The only worthwhile general direction for the future involves using a considerably reworked update of version 3 as the starting point. The other versions and updates derived from them have no future.

As I have said before, those who stand to benefit from any version of 1, 2 or 4 (or their updates) will try hard to block the inevitable. However no significant social change has ever occurred without most of the old system ending up dead. I have a feeling that we are going to get there, one way or the other.