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The issue that everybody seems to be missing about the Snowden case is "why is the secrecy about the collection of personal information about US citizens so important"?

Let's do a bit of lateral thinking.  Google is making tankerloads of $ from raw data.  That is because the information on who searches for what can be mined by analytic statisticians, and people trying to sell one ton red trucks with a wide wheelbase can find and connect with the few hundred people who want such a truck.  And so on.

Snowden has revealed that the NSA is doing similar (but surreptitious) datamining on the citizen (voters) of the USA.  NSA will have a database of voiceprints, and each voiceprint can be connected to a person and location, and each person can have chosen sensitive words "abortion" the "N" word, "Taxes", "prices", "bomb", "gun" and so on associated with him/her.

From real time data mining a terrorist attack might be anticipated.  Or a candidate could be instructed on how to construct an unbeatable political platform.  Or a candidate could know who to email for contributions and what arguments would be most likely to persuade them.

And now the secret is out.  People know the NSA are collecting telephone conversations, emails and other electronic data communications.  Soon the penny will drop, and questions will be asked.  All because of Manning and especially Snowden.

The NSA says the purpose of it's data collection and mining is to stop terrorists.  Well yes I suppose it could be.  Granted.  It could also be used to run the perfect police state.  Blackmail politicians with threats to expose their sexting is a possibility that springs to mind.  Or finding payments from lobbyists.  Or writing begging emails to
"datamined" voters asking for contributions.

I think we the people should get to choose whether the NSA can continue.  I can see three options.
  1. Do nothing
  2. Stop the NSA from collecting the data.
  3. force the data mined by the NSA into the public domain.
If the NSA has this information, then it should be in the public domain.  Otherwise we can never know whether that information is not being used for political purposes.  The NSA still has an edge.  They own (or should own) the best analytic mathematicians in the world.  Ergo, the NSA has the best analytic algorithms.  So they can still do their magic, and unless the bad guys are better than I give credit for, they are none the wiser.

And look at the bright side.  Infernal Revenue might catch a few tax cheats, and ATF might find a few illegal guns.


This post is going to take a while to develop.  My wife was an economist, and so I have an inkling of economic theory. 

Both sides diverge on where increased productivity profits go.

Big labour (BL) believes that without regulation, workers would end up obtaining a subsistence wage for onerous hours.  So any profits by way of productivity rises must immediately be assigned to workers.  This assignment can be by feather-bedding or by reduction of the workforce accompanied by increased pay and conditions.

Big business (BB) believes that productivity gains will result in fewer workers producing goods for a lower price which will (because of competition) be passed on to the consuming public.

The problem with both of these models is that the profits end up in the hands of either BB or BL.  We need to develop a system whereby the ultimate repository for profits shall be the public purse.  And the present system is asymmetrical.


Listening to the ABC this (Friday 16) morning I could not help but notice the diatribe against Murdoch, owner of NEWS Ltd.  Antagonistic guest speaker was followed by negative news story followed another antagonistic guest commenter followed by editorial comment to the effect that "The whole of the News organisation is following twittering Murdoch's lead".  In a 30 minute segment there was no word that could have been interpreted as either positive or neutral to Rupert.  They did not cite any facts or arguments.  Just hate.  And this is my tax dollar at work??

Please could somebody establish an oversight body that stopped this blatant political advertising with my tax dollar?


Australian troops together with Afghan troops have tracked down and killed Mohammed Roozi.  This Afghan had joined the Afghan army with the intent to kill Australian soldiers.  He badly wounded three Australian soldiers and two Afghan soldiers in November 2011 and has been on the run since.   During that time he claimed on Taliban Video to have been responsible for the death of twelve Australian soldiers.  The total number of Australians KIA since 2002 in Afghanistan is reported to be 40, so that boast might be somewhat exaggerated.

My Great Grandfather fought for many years in the Khyber Pass.  As the descendant of a soldier who fought in that arena I commend our soldiers for this victory.  The fighters from that part of the world are among the best in the world, and to track down such men in their homeland is an ultimate challenge and those who succeed deserve the highest accolade.


On TV Robert Fiske of the Independent was quite emphatic.  His impartial advice was that informed opinion in the embassies of the middle east was that the Egyptian Army was quite without any moral standing, and was murdering Egyptian (specifically the Muslim Brotherhood) people.

On Wikipedia Mr Fiske's credentials were impressive.  But then, I have found Wikipedia to be an over rosy source on personal biographies.  On Wikipedia "The Independent" was listed as left leaning, and recently purchased for one pound by Alexander Lebedev, a very wealthy Russian.  I leave it to my reader to draw any conclusions as to the reliability of Mr. Fiske's "impartial" reporting.

On another note I would point out that since Hellenic times representative Democracies have been known as notoriously corrupt.  Those who have lived under the system cannot help but notice that control of the government can sometimes be seized by as small a percentage as 26% of the voters.  (cf. Joh Peterson in Queensland is an example).   It is estimated that the Muslim Brotherhood is supported by about 30% of Egyptians.

So when the Muslim Brotherhood became government and proceeded to write a constitution and declare Sharia Law, although it was "democratically" elected as government, that does not mean that a majority of Egyptians supported the Muslim Brotherhood's constitution or legislation.  And that is why the Brotherhood is unwilling to accept new elections as proposed by the Military.  Egyptians now understand what rule by the Brotherhood will mean, and are unlikely to again give the brotherhood a lease on power.

The list of Christian churches and homes being burned lends weight to the Military's assertion that the brotherhood are terrorists.  And the Brotherhood have undoubtedly promoted violence by attacking the military with guns.  Just breaking news has it that about 35 prisoners being transported have been killed.  Apparently they took a hostage and attempted to bargain for freedom.  The correct response to that situation is to refuse to negotiate.

These reasons
provide an ironclad justification for the Egyptian Military's original and continuing intervention.


This is a clear case of Cause and Effect.  Obama drew a red line, the terrorists moved heaven and hell to make it appear that Assad had crossed it.

They want US help.

The evidence?
    Given that detection of Sarin was entirely predictable.  Answer the following questions.
Get real.  There is no evidence that Assad was the culprit, and all the benefits (cf the "Red Line" warning) are to the revolutionaries.

We can understand why the USA wants to attack Assad.  Turkey does not like him, and US must be nice to Turkey if it wants to keep Incurlik.  And Assad is Iran's close ally, and a supporter of Iran's client, Hezbollah.  Thus the US earns brownie points from Saudi Arabia.

Israel is probably neutral about Assad.  They have had peace with Syria for decades.  And Israel is probably not unhappy to see the Syrian revolutionary army killing Hezbollah terrorists.

But cynical strategic opportunism should not prevail against justice.  And I do like to think that the American people value justice above strategic considerations.  It is regrettable that Obama does not appear to be of that mindset.  I am sure that the people of the Middle East will not be under any illusion as to Obama's motives if he bombs Assad.  I hope that they understand that the American people are misled by their leaders.

If my country (Australia) participates in attacking Assad, I apologise.  Let this be a lesson in the problems with representative democracy, where a minority can capture the reins of power.  I would prefer to live under a Swiss or Californian style participatory democracy.