The Problem of Trump is Not a Problem of Politics

This Huffpost article states things very well. I haven’t unfriended many of my trump loving friends and family (although there have been a few). Some who post about him actually try to talk substance, as difficult as that may be, and I try to understand those alternate perspectives.

However, this is not about politics. It’s not about policy. It’s about humanity, decency, morality. So, please understand that whenever I see someone I know supports him, I now see you through this lens whenever we interact. Just as I question the decency and humanity of our president-elect, I ask the same questions of all who would support him, regardless of your supposed justification.

For me, the new year marks the beginning of 4 years of great uncertainty in the history of our nation (and the world). So <raises glass> here’s hoping we can get through this next little while without that knucklehead breaking anything before we can right this ship of fools.

Link to article written by Jennifer Sullivan over at Huffington Post:

I Didn’t Unfriend You Over ‘Politics’

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The failure of Capitalism, Our Current Financial Crisis and How One Man Predicted It Years Ago

The Boston Globe recently did a piece on capitalism and why it’s inherently flawed. Before you call me Socialist and click away, please read on as I explain how one economist predicted our current financial crisis more than forty years ago as a result of his insights regarding the problems inherent in the American economy.

Hyman Minsky, a macroeconomist who died over a decade ago predicted our current financial crisis. When did he have this revalation? Roughly the 1960s. He believed that modern finance policies are the very mechanisms that “created the illusion of stability while simultaneously crating the conditions for an inevitable and dramatic collapse.

He argued that capitalism, as a whole, is inherently flawed. Minsky argued that the American economy was not the self-correcting machine that many of his contemporaries thought. “Far from trending toward some magical state of equilibrium, capitalism would inevitably do the opposite. It would lurch over a cliff.”

He explained the pattern that he recognized. Following the Great Depression, everybody, consumers and businesses alike, was being very conservative. Loans were not given out unless you were highly qualified and repayment of loans was the highest priority. However, as the years progressed and the Depression became more and more of a distant memory, people were steeped in prosperity and forgot the problems they faced. Borrowing became easier to do and it gave rise to the kind of speculative lending and trading practices that you saw just a couple of years ago. Despite his warnings throughout the 60’s, 70s, 80’s and even into the 90’s (just before his death), this house of cards continued to build until it hit an unsustainable peak.

The system collapsed under its own weight and this is where we find ourselves today. Although some of Minsky’s solutions for recovering from this death-spiral have been put into place by Bernanke and the Obama Administration, many of his solutions were considered too “socialist” for this current political climate.

This is a fascinating article and I highly encourage you to read it. It can be found here.

Posted via email from Kevin’s Ramblings

The failure of Capitalism, Our Current Financial Crisis and How One Man Predicted It Years Ago

The Boston Globe recently did a piece on capitalism and why it’s inherently flawed. Before you call me Socialist and click away, please read on as I explain how one economist predicted our current financial crisis more than forty years ago as a result of his insights regarding the problems inherent in the American economy.

Hyman Minsky, a macroeconomist who died over a decade ago predicted our current financial crisis. When did he have this revalation? Roughly the 1960s. He believed that modern finance policies are the very mechanisms that “created the illusion of stability while simultaneously crating the conditions for an inevitable and dramatic collapse.

He argued that capitalism, as a whole, is inherently flawed. Minsky argued that the American economy was not the self-correcting machine that many of his contemporaries thought. “Far from trending toward some magical state of equilibrium, capitalism would inevitably do the opposite. It would lurch over a cliff.”

He explained the pattern that he recognized. Following the Great Depression, everybody, consumers and businesses alike, was being very conservative. Loans were not given out unless you were highly qualified and repayment of loans was the highest priority. However, as the years progressed and the Depression became more and more of a distant memory, people were steeped in prosperity and forgot the problems they faced. Borrowing became easier to do and it gave rise to the kind of speculative lending and trading practices that you saw just a couple of years ago. Despite his warnings throughout the 60’s, 70s, 80’s and even into the 90’s (just before his death), this house of cards continued to build until it hit an unsustainable peak.

The system collapsed under its own weight and this is where we find ourselves today. Although some of Minsky’s solutions for recovering from this death-spiral have been put into place by Bernanke and the Obama Administration, many of his solutions were considered too “socialist” for this current political climate.

This is a fascinating article and I highly encourage you to read it. It can be found here.

Posted via email from Kevin’s Ramblings

What happens when you act like a child on the floor of the House of Representatives

Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) felt it necessary to scream “You Lie” (or something like that) to the President during his Joint Session Speech tonight. Does he have the right to do so? I don’t know. I guess so. But he also has to expect that he’s gonna get called out for acting like a douche bag. Check out this image and read the informational paragraph. I’m sure it’s been pulled by now, but a friend was able to grab a screenshot before it got pulled.

Doesn’t the President of the United States deserve some respect even if you disagree with his policies? Apparently, the GOP doesn’t think so. It’s ironic that the adults that President Obama addressed were his audience yesterday. Yes, the school kids. Shame on you, Congressman Wilson.

Posted via email from Kevin’s Ramblings

Why DDoS Is a Bad Idea For Iran

In the days since the elections in Iran, protests have been widespread.  The opposition has been united against the Government of Iran for its fraudulant handling of the elections.  One of the ways in which the government of Ahmedinejad is attempting to quash the resistance movement is by restricting their ability to pass information back and forth amongst themselves as well as out of the country to the rest of the world.  The government killed cell service and SMS networks until they realized they could track dissidents using this technology.  They’re blocking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube so that information can’t be easily shared.

Sources around the world are trying to turn the tables on the government of Iran by interfering with the technologies that allow them to hunt protestors.  One of the methods being used is referred to as a DDoS attack. DDoS is Distributed Denial of Service.  Scripts and other means are employed to drive so much bogus traffic (usually just millions of random page requests) into their networks, that they actually cause the networks to fail because of the saturation.

DDoS Attack Diagram

This technique works, but it tends to degrade the entire system, hurting the resistance as well.  The Iranian government has so effectively throttled all Internet communications, that it’s very difficult for the protestors to have enough bandwidth to transmit news to the outside world.  Those who engage in DDoS attacks are crippling what little bandwidth is left, thus hurting our cause. A friend posted a very well-written blog post about some of the specific reasons that DDoS dosn’t help our cause. Quite the contrary, it hurts us.  The article is called “DDoS attacks against targets inside Iran damage the opposition.”

Someone in Europe innocently created an auto-pagereboot script so that he could watch sports scores without having to refresh manually. Others learned of this and began using this for the same purpose.  This is a form of DDoS and, again, it hurts the opposition as much as the government and should NOT be used.

Anyone who really wants to help the Iranian opposition should consider setting up a Tor relay or bridge.  These are effective ways of allowing opposition folks get the message out without fear of being tracked.  If you’re interested and aren’t sure how to do it, follow the link below for the program and instructions on how to use it.

http://anonygreen.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/how-to-setup-a-tor-relay-or-tor-bridge/

If you set up a relay, you’re essentially making the entire Tor network more robust and difficult to track or break.  Once set up, there’s nothing more you need to do.  If you set up a bridge, you’re essentially creating an entrance point to the network for resistence people.  Once your bridge is set up, you’ll have to share the IP address and bridge address with the people who will use it.  If you’re not sure where to send this information, please contact me and I can get your information into the hands of those who need it.

Please, help us be a positive force in this movement and not inadvertently shoot ourselves in the foot.

Iran Election Protest offers to assist

Anyone interested in helping the people of Iran with their communications difficulties can check the following links:

http://reunifygally.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/help-iran/
http://www.boingboing.net/2009/06/16/cyberwar-guide-for-i.html

Specifically, if you have Tor and wish to share your bridge, or if you’re interested in setting up a bridge to help out, please check this link: http://iansbrain.com/2009/06/15/tor-and-the-iranian-election/

Jackson vs. Michigan smacked down by Montejo v. Louisiana

A friend drew my attention to the fact that the Obama administration is urging the supreme court to overturn Jackson vs. Michigan.  I’m clearly missing some perspective on this because I don’t see the problem, but here’s what I know.

The 6th Amendment to the Constitution asserts that a defendent has a right to counsel. He may choose to represent himself or provide his own counsel if he has the resources to do so.  He’s entitled to public defense if he does not.  The Govt. can only deny these rights if it’s determined that the defendant is “incapable adequately of making his own defense because of ignorance, feeble mindedness, illiteracy, or the like, it is the duty of the court, whether requested or not, to assign counsel for him.”  So, in otherwords, if you want an attorney, you get one.

Michigan vs. Jackson appears to reiterate the same basic assertion as the 6th amendment.  The only difference that I can see is that it spells out the fact that if a defendant has requested counsel, they have a right to such counsel and may not be questioned without counsel under any circumstances unless the defendant has initiated the conversation on his or her own.  Essentially, you have a right to counsel and they can’t deny that.

The Obama Administration was pushing to overturn Michigan vs. Jackson, citing that it was simply “no longer necessary to protect the rights of suspects in police custody,” and that “the ruling is not needed “given the purposes of the Sixth Amendment and the existence of other strong protections against coercion.””  Now, I don’t know what “other strong protections” the Govt. brief is referring to here, but so far, I don’t see this court ruling providing any substantial clarification over what the 6th amendment already provides.

It seems that the Obama Administration has gotten its way as the ruling has, in fact, been overturned.  There’s an editorial by Jonathan Turley, a professor of constitutional law, which seems to attempt to clarify why he believes that Jackson vs. Michigan was an important ruling that should not have been overturned.  His main argument is that Jackson is intertwined with cases related to the 5th Amendment, which address the Miranda rights of the accused.  However, these two amendments are intended to provide separate protections and one doesn’t completely cover for the other.

So, why did Obama do this and why is it a big deal? I guess I’m not well versed enough to answer those questions.  The underlying question is whether Jackson vs. Michigan provided some critical protection that is not available anywhere else.  From what I know, the 5th and 6th amendments, combined, offer all the protections that should be guaranteed under the law.  I don’t know what this ruling contributes to the amendments, so I can’t speak to whether or not it’s necessary.

If it’s an old, outmoded ruling, then there’s no harm in killing it off in this way and I don’t understand why everyone’s up in arms over it.  If, on the other hand, it provided a valuable fix to an otherwise incomplete or inaccurate 5th and 6th amendment, then why would Obama want to kill it. What does he gain from it? What is the flexibility he hopes to gain from the repeal of the case, and is it worth it to risk the rights of the accused.

I welcome your comments. It’s your chance to educate me if I’m missing some glaringly obvious point.