2003 brings a little hope .
Dec 31st, 2002 by Ken Hagler

2003 brings a lit­tle hope. It has just gone mid­night here in the UK and so I will begin by extend­ing my very best wish­es… []

bq. How­ev­er, there is some good news to be had. The BBC TV tele­text news ser­vice (no link, sor­ry) is report­ing the result of a nation­wide sur­vey of par­ents the result of which is that a rel­a­tive­ly whop­ping thir­ty one per­cent are con­sid­er­ing home-schooling. The rea­son giv­en was the grow­ing dis­il­lu­sion­ment with the cur­rent edu­ca­tion sys­tem.

That’s good news for the British peo­ple. I wish that many Amer­i­cans would con­sid­er home-schooling!

Huge increase in US airport security .
Dec 31st, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Huge increase in US air­port secu­ri­ty. Sweep­ing new secu­ri­ty mea­sures are com­ing into effect in the Unit­ed States to pre­vent a repeat of 11 Sep­tem­ber. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edi­tion]

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, the sweep­ing new “secu­ri­ty” mea­sures have noth­ing what­so­ev­er to do with pre­vent­ing hijack­ings.

Lessig : “Where is the political party that demands respect for principles that I thought were fundamental.” [ Scripting News ] It
Dec 31st, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Lessig: “Where is the polit­i­cal par­ty that demands respect for prin­ci­ples that I thought were fun­da­men­tal.” [Script­ing News]

It’s right here.

How the Law Was Lost [ Constitution Society ] A lengthy and depressing look at how the rule of law has broken down in the US.
Dec 30th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

How the Law Was Lost [Con­sti­tu­tion Soci­ety]

A lengthy and depress­ing look at how the rule of law has bro­ken down in the US.

Japan Today Japan News — Personal data on residents of entire town stolen .
Dec 28th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Japan Today Japan News - Personal data on residents of entire town stolen. FUKUSHIMA -- Digital tapes recording personal information of all 9,600 residents in the town of Iwashiro, Fukushima Prefecture, have been stolen, police said Saturday. The theft occurred at around 6:20 p.m. Thursday after a company employee received the tapes at a local government building and briefly left a suitcase containing them in a locked car while en route to deposit them, the police said, adding the window of the car, owned by a computer company in Koriyama in the prefecture, was broken. Town officials said the stolen tapes were backups for the controversial national resident registry network and contained six types of information used in the registry -- a resident's name, address, date of birth, sex, resident registry code and the record of changes of the information. [Privacy Digest]

bq. Many critics of the system have voiced concern over the possibility of data leaks. The latest incident may again stir debate over the issue, analysts said.

"Stir debate?" It seems to me this theft ends the debate, by proving the critics were right in the most definitive way imaginable.

By The Associated Press via New York Times — free registration required Personal Information Taken From Military .
Dec 27th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

By The Asso­ci­at­ed Press via New York Timesfree reg­is­tra­tion required Per­son­al Infor­ma­tion Tak­en From Mil­i­tary. Thieves who broke into a gov­ern­ment contractor’s office snatched com­put­er hard dri­ves con­tain­ing Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers, address­es and oth­er records of about 500,000 mem­bers of the mil­i­tary and their fam­i­lies. The com­pa­ny, Phoenix-based Tri­West Health­care Alliance, pro­vides man­aged health care to the mil­i­tary in 16 states, includ­ing Min­neso­ta. It serves about 1.1 mil­lion active-duty per­son­nel, their depen­dents and retirees. [Pri­va­cy Digest]

One of the many roy­al procla­ma­tions exec­u­tive orders signed by Clin­ton in the last days of his admin­is­tra­tion (and sub­se­quent­ly approved by Bush) end­ed health­care pri­va­cy by requir­ing records to be turned over to the gov­ern­ment on demand. With that in mind, it’s infor­ma­tive to see how the gov­ern­ment takes care of its own employ­ees’ health­care records.

Cloning claim prompts call for ban .
Dec 27th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Cloning claim prompts call for ban. The claim by a com­pa­ny to have pro­duced the world’s first cloned baby sparks calls for cloning to be out­lawed in the US. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edi­tion]

It’s not clear yet if the claims are true, but if so this is very good news. For­tu­nate­ly it’s impos­si­ble for Lud­dites in any one coun­try to out­law sci­ence. The real dan­ger to progress is from Tranzis with their UN and inter­na­tion­al treaties.

Knitting Afghanistan .
Dec 27th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Knit­ting Afghanistan. The Unit­ed States is–rightfully–required to defend our wag­ing of for­eign wars before world opin­ion on grounds oth­er than that we mere­ly felt like wreak­ing hav­oc. A human­i­tar­i­an urge to make life bet­ter for the cit­i­zens of the nations we assault has been used as a cloak to cov­er U.S. mil­i­tary escapades in every war since WWII. This sort of inter­na­tion­al wel­fare state argu­ment has nev­er been entire­ly con­vinc­ing to minimal-staters to begin with–if a domes­tic wel­fare state is an ille­git­i­mate func­tion of a gov­ern­ment whose pur­pose is to defend its cit­i­zens’ lives, lib­er­ty, and prop­er­ty, then why is a world­wide one, with aer­i­al bomb­ing no less, any bet­ter?

But even at face val­ue, ensur­ing that every­thing will be bet­ter once the U.S. Army has kicked some ass demands a lev­el of under­stand­ing of the nuances and dynam­ics of for­eign nations and cul­tures, and a poten­tial­ly almost eter­nal com­mit­ment (U.S. troops tend to stay put once sent some­where), that requires a lot of heavy thinking–as well as a fair amount of exis­ten­tial despair over the occa­sion­al immutabil­i­ty of human per­fidy and mis­ery. Those sali­vat­ing at the thought of bombs over Bagh­dad need to remem­ber that clean­ing up after a fun par­ty like that is long and ardu­ous. The results might not be any­thing we’d have a rea­son to be proud of, either. [Rea­son Mag­a­zine]

Another great day for the opposition .
Dec 23rd, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Anoth­er great day for the oppo­si­tion. It was anoth­er great day for the oppo­si­tion as we had a huge  can­dle­light march. It was also a day in which the Nation­al Guard used tear gas to dis­perse a peace­ful demon­stra­tion on the Lake Mara­cai­bo bridge. Once the peo­ple were gassed off the bridge, you should have seen the grotesque images of Nation­al Guards in motor­cy­cles throw­ing tear gas can­nis­ters at ladies and old­er gen­tle­men, as if they were cat­tle. There was also a grenade thrown at the head­quar­ters of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce. Sep­a­rate­ly the crew of some of the tankers were jailed, denied lawyers, food and water.
While the first item may sound pos­i­tive, why do I think the oth­er two are good? Sim­ple, the more the Chavez Gov­ern­ment shows its true mil­taris­tic facist face, the more the world will real­ize what a demo­c­ra­t­ic cha­rade Chavez is per­form­ing in Venezuela. For three days, the Government’s nego­ti­at­ing team did not show up at the table being medi­at­ed by the Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al of the OAS. Why do you think that is? Also sim­ple, they don’t want to nego­ti­ate. For a month and a half the Gov­ern­ment has said the only option is  that a recall ref­er­en­dum may be held in August. That is not a nego­tia­ton stance, it is what the Con­sti­tu­tion says. The coun­try can’t wait that long, there is no Gov­ern­ment, there is a rebel­lion and there is no jus­tice. As sim­ple as that!

The whole fam­i­ly includ­ing patri­ot­ic chi­huahua attend can­dle­light march [Miguel Octavio: Venezuela]

Here’s a report direct from Venezuela on the lat­est events. Notice the dif­fer­ence between this and the AP report.

Marx after communism .
Dec 23rd, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Marx after com­mu­nism. Anti-globalism has been apt­ly described as a sec­u­lar reli­gion. So is Marx­ism: a creed com­plete with prophet, sacred texts and the promise of a heav­en shroud­ed in mys­tery. Marx was not a sci­en­tist, as he claimed. He found­ed a faith. The eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal sys­tems he inspired are dead or dying. But his reli­gion is a broad church, and lives on. [The Econ­o­mist]

I’ve heard many dif­fer­ent peo­ple (none of them in acad­e­mia) describe Marx­ism as a “death cult.” It seems the author has the same idea.

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