Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Say Ah Deep Throat

So now we know who it was or is. I just read MSNBC report about Mark Felt being Deep Throat. The best kept secret in DC and no one ever leaked it. I await Jack Shafer’s take on the biggest anonomice of them all.

Long before there was official faked National Guard memos, or leaks about WMD’s and bad-assed mobile labs in Iraq, or for that matter leaks that the WMD’s and labs were unsubstantiated; long before there were stories of people who thought because someone is not an American then they did not have to act as an American, there was Deep Throat.

Does this mean that the leaker(s) of Valery Plame name are now at the top of the list? My knowledge of DC is such that I can’t be sure about that list and who should now get top billing. I shall try and contact Wonkette During this time of A bloggers and the great unwashed, I’ll work on my list and hope to pub later.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Lessons from the Previous Century, 1


Two countries’ potential to wage war was underestimated and proved dire consequences for those who did it.

One was the Russians running the collective known as the USSR. Of the participants in WWII, Russia was more prepared for war than Ethiopia, and that’s about it. Armies thought they could roll over them. By the end of the war, they had created the best battle tank of the war, and an army only victory and peace could stop. Russia may have been a backward nation, but Russians are not a backward people.

The other is the Americans. Armies thought the Americans’ good life had made them soft and incapable fighting a war. Those raised in strict discipline and harsh environment believe their conditioning better prepares them for the rigors of war than those raised in freer societies. By the end of the war, the Americans had the largest mechanized army in the world and was about to send it into the final battle when another American war fighting innovation ended it.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Do the Right Thing

Recently I posted material that said you should do the right thing. I thought I would develop a list of what was and is the right thing to do and the possible consequence for doing so.

The right thing to do:
Be kind to people on the way up.

Results from doing the right thing:
You’ll have friends, way stations, and support on the way back down

The right thing to do:
During WWII, initiate the invasion of Europe as soon as possible

Results from doing the right thing:
Most if not all of Eastern Europe would have been in Western hands and might have avoided Communist domination.

The right thing to do:
Do not allow slavery in the newly forming United States.

Results from doing the right thing:
Avoided the U.S. most deadly war less than 100 years later.

The right thing to do:

Do not teach hate of other people or cultures.

Results from doing the right thing:
Avoid hatred being redirected toward your own people and culture

The right thing to do:
Do not listen to religious leaders when it comes to judging the merits of a man’s civil offence.

Results from doing the right thing:
Avoided crucifying Jesus Christ.

The right thing to do:
Drug abuse is bad and nations should not force the Chinese to allow it to continue in their country.

Results from doing the right thing:
Avoid world wide drug abuse especially in the countries that forced the Chinese to allow the business to continue.

The right thing to do:
Do not allow Hitler and the agents of hate to assume power

Results from doing the right thing:
Avoid World War II and 10 million people killed in the Holocaust.

The right thing to do:
Do not transport Lenin back to Russia to undermine the Czar rule.

Results from doing the right thing:
Russia could have continued developing its democracy that was ended with Communist take over and the eventual take over of half of the country and capitol that transported Lenin back to Russia.

The right thing to do:
Give the vanquished an honorable peace when they have capitulated but are not completely defeated at the end of WWI.

Results from doing the right thing:
Avoid World War II

The right thing to do:
If terrorism is bad do not support it even if the terrorism is directed at our enemy.

Result from doing the right thing:
No more Osama bin Laden.

The right thing to do:
Do not support oppressive tyrants and dictators even if they are friendly toward the U.S.

Results from doing the right thing:
No more hatred of the U.S. for supporting them after they are over thrown.

The right thing to do:
Support democracy, freedom, and self determination in other countries even if it is not in the best business interest for the U.S.

Results from doing the right thing:
People of other nations will see Americans practice what they preach.

The right thing to do:
Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you.

Results from doing the right thing:
You will be blessed by God and know heaven on earth.

If you like this kind of post, I've updated Red Word / Blue Word with "Intelligent Design".

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Not So Greatest Generation

A lot of buzz about Pat Buchanan’s column as to whether WWII was worth it.

I first noticed it over at the Vodkapundit where Stephen Green call Buchanan a “Nazi apologist”. Glenn Reynolds at in his MSNBC blog blow off Buchanan’s column as “counterfactual history” which is always fun to read, but on the whole the world is better off because of the results of WWII including the not electing Buchanan president. Stephen really went after Pat. I recommend his post.

Click here to see the latest links to Buchanan’s column. There were 20 links when I posted.

While I rarely agree with Pat, he does make me think. I also appreciate his ability to turn a phrase but that doesn’t apply here. Pat’s charge that since Britain and France went to war to free Poland and since it was not free after WWII then they did not win. And since we were on the side of Britain and France we did not win either. Pat’s argument that with generally Communism’s but especially Stalin’s control of Eastern Europe, the war should be considered a loss. FDR and Churchill sold out Eastern Europe at Yalta.

First, we did not go to war to free Poland. Germany declared war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor. One might argue that if we had remained truly neutral we could have avoided participation in WWII, but I think the fight against Germany was inevitable. We could have avoided it only so long. If we had not gone to war would the Nazi have been removed from power? Wasn’t a confrontation with the Nazis way of thinking inevitable?

If we had maintained a truly neutral stance as did Switzerland and Sweden, would we have been able to stay out of the war as they did? This question is similar to the argument Pat made in regards to Western Europe and whether they would have been invaded by Germany had Britain and France not declared war against it. War would have been delayed or postponed but not avoided. It would have been a much uglier war since the German military would have had time to build up as they wanted before Hitler got them into war with Western Europe. Remember we did not build our military as much as we should have because we did not want to send a signal that we were readying for war, thus we might have been too technologically behind to catch up to a Germany with the atomic bomb, jets, and missiles. Given a little more time Germany could have had war making machine that could not have been defeated. If we had waited much longer before getting into the war and getting ready to fight a war, we might have been like France’s army, larger than the Germany army but unable to respond to the new war tactics, and thus we would have been overrun by Germans.

Pat seems to think there was a third option for Poland and Eastern Europe. Occupation by Germany or Russia or freedom brought on by intervention by the U.S. and Britain. Did FDR and Churchill sell out Eastern Europe which was currently being occupied by the Russians, or did they negotiate the best deal they could given the constraints they were facing? War weariness is not to be taken as lightly as Pat appears to be doing. How much could either of them pushed their country into more war with another enemy who was just previously an ally?

And as I’ve argued before, the best way to defeat Communism was with peace not war. While containment certainly was necessary to prevent it from spreading, it was peace that defeated communism. Communist leaders could deny their fellow countrymen much as long as they had the fear of war to justify their deprivations. With peace, there was no justification and Communism’s planned economies inability to supply its people as efficiently as free markets became obvious to one and all. Not Reagan, not the Pope but capitalist economies in the relative peace of the Cold War defeated Communism. Communism’s collapse was inevitable as long as we maintained the peace.

If we had gone into Poland and Easter Europe, we might be still fighting today. (Oh, yea, we are fighting today, but it’s not against Communism. It’s against terror. I wonder, would the same strategy work against terror that worked against Communism? Peace? Contain it but go soft on terror?)

Another interesting sidebar is that if there is any blame for the resulting Communist takeover and control of Eastern Europe it has to go to Churchill. He delayed the D-Day invasion of Europe to allow Germany and Russia to annihilate each other. Just as I argued earlier about Islam’s mistake in teaching hate is that it will come back to haute them, this is another example of not doing what is right will adversely affect you in the long run.
Had Britain and the U.S. invaded Germany earlier and moved further across Europe, more of Eastern Europe would have been in friendly hands and it could realize the freedom it is seeing now a lot sooner. The Cold War was forming prior to Yalta and had Churchill not delayed, he and FDR would have been in a much stronger position during the negotiations.

Who knows we might have lived well under Nazi occupation as did many in Europe -- that is if you are not Jewish, a gypsy, homosexual, mentally handicapped, physically handicapped, Negro, any dark skinned people, or in any way different. And after those types of people are all killed, we raise the bar to include Catholics, anyone of a religion that is not acceptable, liberals, short people, left handed people, ugly people, and people who talk or think too much. And of course bloggers.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

What Happens Now?

Read Mr. Friedman’s May 4, 2005, column Reaping What It Sowed on a subject I had written about some time ago. I used a similar biblical reference for a title.

Although against this war from the very beginning, we are stuck now. We can’t just quit and walk away. We would be in a worst position than if we had never invaded. We don’t need any pictures of people climbing into helicopters on the roof of some last stand.

After a series of selective intelligence that lead up to the invasion, a successful invasion and takeover, a disastrous post war administration, and very successful election, who gets the credit and who gets the blame? I believe the army gets credit for the second and forth item and the Necons and Bushies gets the blame for the first and third, but I don’t know who will get the credit or blame for what going to happen next. Based on Bush’s past performance, he will take credit for anything good and pass the buck for anything bad. But what happens next?

The previous election and hopefully the upcoming election will be the event that justifies the whole invasion mess. The election seems to have reverberated through out the Middle East. Tied in with the election and reformation of the Palestinians and the exodus of Syrians from Lebanon, there seems to be a refreshing democracy spring in the Middle East. Even after the Americans leave Iraq and it falls into civil war with the breaking up of the country, the rise of the mullahs and a theocracy or a take over by a strong man using the army we are currently building, the seed of the idea of democracy has been planted.

The turn out for the Iraqi elections proves that even though a people who have been tightly suppressed with little or no freedom understand the basics of what a democracy is. The basic human understanding also applies to the teaching of hate and killing. As Mr. Friedman said, the praise and teaching of hate and suicide bombing is coming home to roost. Many in the Middle East knew this was an unwise policy but they allowed it to happen and now they are paying the price. Just as in the U.S., when this country formed there were many -- even in the South -- who knew slavery was wrong but they did not exclude it from this county, and the price for this neglect was paid dearly 100 years later and is still being paid today, so too the Middle East may pay dearly for their support and institutionalization of the teaching of hate.

Part of our problem in dealing with Islamic terrorist is the almost total lack of intelligence. We cannot get good agents because to spy for the U.S. is seen as an act against faith, religious order, and ultimately against Allah. We need to separate the terrorist from its religious justification and base. During the Cold War, we got good Russian spies because people recognized that Communism as it was being practiced in Russia was a failure and was in drastic need of change. They were in their own minds acting as patriots to a greater cause. If we could get Muslims to see that spying on terrorist as an act of faith, we might have a chance to get meaningful intelligence on the likes of Bin Laden and Zarqawi. If we can get Muslims to see that their worse enemies are amongst them, we may have a chance of ending this current phase of terrorism and Islam can move into the modern era.

Even if the future governments in Iraq or any Middle Eastern country are not friendly with the U.S., we all are better off if some form of democracy is in place. Any movement toward a democracy is a good move, and hopefully, it is unavoidable and cannot be stopped. Only war or the threat of war impedes progression toward a democratic world.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Time Traveler Convention

The Time Traveler Convention at MIT scheduled for May 7, 2005, should be going on this evening. An interesting concept but I belong to the school that believes time travel as it is portrayed in movies and science fiction is not possible, and while anyone from the future could be aware of the convention, they may not attend in a matter that those in the current time could readily conceive.

Nothing physical can travel across time because it violates one of the most basic principles in physics: conservation of energy and mass. So no bodies traveling back in time. If anything having mass travels in time then the same atoms that make up the mass would exist in two different places at the same time. I don’t think that is possible.

There are ways around this restraint such as having a devise that could cause an effect in the past that would collect available matter into an identical copy of the source. And if consciousness is a chemical state and it is completely duplicated, a person would come to at the destination time with the last thought of the original copy. Of course, that would allow the creation of a copy of your own self in current time which has been the subject of some sci-fi stories I’m sure but can’t recall any specific ones right at this set point in time.

Another solution would be for a device to reach back in time grab an equal mass and exchange it for whatever is to be sent back in time, thus matter would be conserved. The opposite would occur when the object was to be returned to its initial time period.

Another problem in traveling in time is to think of it as another dimension just like the ones in which we can travel. If the12th inch of a ruler were to break off and travel back to see what the first inch looks like, first, it would no longer be the 12th inch, it would be just an inch, second, it would no longer be the end of the ruler, the 11th inch would be, and third, it could not blend into the ruler with out moving the other inches out of the way, which goes back to my previous restraint. So, to be the end of the ruler and the 12th inch, it must stay where it is, and to travel in time would be to change what was the time stream or to no long be a part of it.

As to the paradox of time travel of somehow going back and affecting your ancestors in such away that you could not exist, I don’t think it is a paradox but an impossibility. There are some things that just can’t be done. You cannot leave a room and come into it at the same time; you cannot sit down and stand up at the same time; two different objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time, and you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Of course, the last sentence has lots of time related constraints in it, and that’s what this post is about so that’s sort of like using a word to define itself. But there are physical constraints in the three dimensional world and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to assume that the same is true in the time dimension.

However assuming these constraints are true, anything that was not physical would not be constrained. An idea, concept or awareness could travel through time. Maybe the idea for the time traveler convention was not those that set it up; they just think it was their idea. Maybe anything that can be electronically digitized could be sent to another time, and some one from the future could attend the convention by e-mail or through a chat line.

Disclaimer (of sorts): Back in 1977, I wrote a short story involving time travel like my last suggestion. The idea of a short story was sent back through time from a time much further into the future than May 7, 2005, to be published back at that time. The name of the short story was “Futuring by Jet Age” and the only two characters were Scout29c and The Bearer. It dealt with the end of the Cold War as though it was the end of the nuclear war we all had previously feared was certain to occur. I may publish it on the internet some day.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Blogs, the Sixth Consecution

Blogs are the best thing to happen to journalism since the First Amendment. I’ve been spreading that all over the Blogoshpere in comments on other posts discussing the impact of blogging on the MSM. I figured I should come home and explain what I meant by it.

The first consecution came from the ability to communicate on a higher level than any animal had ever done before. Our sharing of complex thoughts and ideas lead directly to our success as hunter/gathers through planning and coordination. Language provided a means of conserving experiences and discoveries through education of the next generation. The accumulation of knowledge greatly contributed to our settling down in one place and ultimately to civilization.

The second consecution came from the development of communication through symbols such as writing. Before, information had to be handed down verbally from one generation to the next through stories and songs. Legends and myths developed but personal observations and credit for individual initiatives were lost through the limitation of people’s memories. Writing allowed the composer thoughts to come down directly from him (or her). Information could be catalogued, history was recorded, and education was enhanced such that anyone anytime later could receive the information and put it to use much more efficiently or productively than the direct descendent.

The third consecution came from the development of single letter type face and printing. With this, information became available to the general population as never before. The public slowly gained access and the ability to read became a public need. Mass media came into being. Information spread into every nook and cranny of the civilized, and then uncivilized world.

The four consecution resulted from the formalize recognition of the right of freedom of expression best typified by the rights specifically stipulated in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Because of the role information played in the American Revolution, freedom of the press was protected in the new nation. Those who control the power of the governments have vested interest in controlling the flow of information, and the First Amendment has been a check to prevent that absolute control. With protection, reporting information became a trade, a school of thought and study.

The school of journalism is to the school of English and History what the newspaper is to literature and history books. Writing is like playing a musical instrument or performing a physical feat, it must be practiced to be mastered.

The fifth consecution came from the development of instant communication first with the telegraph, and then the telephone, followed rapidly by radio, television, and then the internet. Anywhere can be everywhere. We are visual animals and visual is the embodiment of communication today. Reality is a contest between ignorance, spin and exposé.

And then along came the blog. It was said you only had freedom of the press if you owned one. With blogs, that is no longer a constraint. It’s not just the freedom of expression but the new medium in which it now operates. The MSM is now being held accountable like it never was before. Not letters to the editor, not emails, not the threat of or actual legal action, not competition from other MSM, not new forms of MSM, not books or movies about them, no government action, no condemnation, no petitions, no demonstrations or strikes, nothing has had the impact that the blog is having on MSM. The only other influence having this impact was the communist scare in the fifties and the fear of being labeled soft on communism or a “fellow traveler”.

I have long been disenchanted with the state of today’s MSM, but I do not believe and still can not see this massive liberal bias I hear and read so much about. While I think there is much that is wrong with the MSM, it is nothing so noble as patrician politics. It is something more based and common than that.

The blog is causing a resurgence of professionalism is journalism. Feedback is instantaneous and massive. Hacks, the excessive use of unattributed sources, and sloppiness are being questioned and found wanting. Even the old hands are feeling like the new kids wondering if they will measure up, if they can cut it, if their work will be accepted and not questioned or ridiculed.

Are blogs just a passing fancy like disco or bell bottom pants and MSM will one day return to its supremacy in what is and what is not news? Only time will tell. But blogs may very well be an indicator of the sixth consecution.

Blogbot for Congress

I was at a site called Article Bot that promised that if I downloaded this software, I could maintain my site with a bot. It would go out and find the kind of stories I would select if I had the time and post them on my blog as if I had done it.

I would get credit for maintaining an ever updating site and would eventually get lots of visitor or my site would a least show up in surveys of blogoshpere activity. I supposed it would work like the news gathering newsbot at google (googlebot?).

But the people who visit my site find I’m more of an opinion writer or commentator than a clearing house for other neat stuff on the internet, and I was about to move on when a thought suddenly occurred to me.

What if I had a blogbot and it was elected to Congress and acted as my representative with my government. It could gather bills under consideration. It could submit bills I would load into it before going to bed or work. It would nest and jockey with other bots deciding on legislation by which bots had a consensus or which bot had the most efficient program – pretty much as congressmen do now. And I wouldn’t have to worry about what some cute little intern was getting out of my bot. It wouldn’t be tempted by material wealth, status, or other special interest. Of course, I would have to worry about infections, but protection is available for a cost – still somewhat like now.

And who knows, maybe if my bot does well in Congress, it could one day become the President. I know I would be proud.