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
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
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
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.
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.
- Do nothing
- Stop the NSA from collecting the data.
- force the data mined by the NSA into the public domain.
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.
ABC -V- NEWS.
Listening to the ABC this (Friday 16) morning I could not help but
notice the diatribe against Murdoch, owner of NEWS Ltd.
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
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
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
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
- Why in Damascus?
- How hard to obtain Sarin gas for Al Qaida? Or for the
"revolution's" other supporters? Remember that a Japanese
terrorist obtained & used Sarin in Tokyo's underground about twenty
- How hard to get used rocket parts? Surely there are
used rocket parts lying around somewhere?
- What is the maximum gain & loss to Assad? To gain, a few
hundred women and children (and some of Assad's own soldiers) killed
against the danger of having the USA and Europe entering the conflict?
(as promised by Obama).
- What is the maximum gain & loss to the Muslim
Revolutionaries? A few hundred women and children sacrificed (who
would go straight to Paradise, guaranteed!) against the US bombing
Assad's military forces? Muslims daily demonstrate their
readiness to not just fight, but sacrifice themselves and others to the
cause of Islam.
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
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