Friday, January 22, 2021

Music IV

 I think I have realized I could do nothing but music posts for the next several months and my biggest problem would be making sure I didn't post the same song twice.

My era starts with the folk music of the 1960s and runs into the 80s.

I don't think you need to listen to the whole song this time, just the guitar intro is enough to bring it back. 

The thought for the day

You can define "privilege" as not suffering from consequences.  We have watched our "Elites" imposing restrictions on us for decades - shutting down whole towns to "save the Spotted Owl", driving oil prices higher by banning drilling (and the high paying jobs that go with that industry), and most especially opening the borders to drive down incomes - it's not just hourly workers suffering from this now, it's also computer programmers put out of work by H-1B visa holders.

We've listened for decades about how "free trade" grows the economy and that everyone will be better off in the long run if we just keep up these policies - all the while watching whole towns, counties, and states wither as jobs flee and the population sinks into poverty.

In 2016 the people who were sinking into poverty actually stirred themselves and voted Donald Trump into office.  It was finally consequences for the "Elite" class.

And we saw how they reacted - with disbelief, rage, contempt, and ultimately destroying the norms that had sustained this Republic by stealing an election.

Privilege in action, right there.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Tech that rats you out

ASM826 is doing a great job on how the authorities use your cell phone location data to track you.  E.M. Smith wrote about burner phones (among other things; go read if you already haven't).  Here are some other personal technologies that collect all sorts of data on you.

Cell Phone apps, particularly Facebook and Google apps.  These companies are notorious about accessing all sorts of data that they really have no business grabbing (like location data).  Apple just changed the rules about what apps have to disclose about this to you.  Interestingly, Google hasn't updated their apps to do this, even after a month.  

Alexa, Google Home, and other voice-activated devices.  Don't ever let any of these into your house.  I mean, stop and think about it: they have to send all your voice recordings to the cloud for analysis.  How else will they know that you said "Alexa, am I a lazy bum?"  You have no control over what they do with that data and there is evidence that they save this.

OnStar and other online car services.  Combine all the security nightmares of Alexa with all the security nightmares of your cell phone, and then add in the ability of the service to shut down your car.  What could possibly go wrong, amirite?

Ring doorbells (and competitors).  Miguel just posted about this so that I don't have to.  The local Po Po have access to all the video, for all time.

Internal cameras.  I mean, you're kidding me, right?  In the link above Miguel talks about a decent approach to cameras when you're away, but while you're there?

"Smart" TVs.  I've posted a bunch here about the sewer that is "Smart" TV security.  Don't turn this on.

I'll gather my thoughts and put together a Best Practice for personal privacy.

Another Use For Cell Phone Proximity Data

 Let's say you are wealthy enough to purchase a property in a state that doesn't have state income tax. Then you establish residency in that state. Laws vary, but there has to be some rules about you living at that residence for enough of the year for you to claim that state as your primary home.

One set of rules is that, while you don't have to be there the majority of the year, you can't be somewhere else over half the year and still say that you live in the claimed, low tax, state.

If you come under investigation, your cell phone can be used to rat you out. If you are claiming Texas as your state of residence and your phone location data shows that you were in California for seven or eight months out of the year, you will find yourself in a difficult spot with both federal and state tax authorities.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

FBI Agents Track Cell Phones That Pinged Near The Capitol

CBS News article on how the FBI collected all the telephone numbers that happened to ping the cell towers close to the Capitol during the events of last week. One lady interviewed was out walking and was caught up in a police cordon near the Capitol. She was held there for several hours.

The FBI is contacting every person associated with those phones. 

I post this because it reflects on recent posts about anonymity, privacy, and modern communication. You have no privacy. You have no anonymity. Every action, even something as innocent as going for a walk,  leaves a data trail that can and sometimes will bring you under scrutiny. Your own phone, security cameras, cell phone videos and cameras all leave bread crumbs.

Note her comment about looking out on a sea of people that extends to the Washington Monument. How many people were in Washington for the protest? Were they, in modern day terms, "mostly peaceful"? Is there footage of the crowds? Of course there is. It's not being shown.

Anonymity, Privacy, Security

Maybe you don't have to pick two out of three.  E.M. Smith has a long and detailed post with a bunch of tips, and will be adding to this moving forward:

The Open Software Community has fought hard to maintain some degree of Privacy, Security (even against Government Agents and TLAs), and Anonymity. I’m still fighting that battle for myself, though at a low level as I’m mostly “out of the business” now. It is VERY hard to fight BOTH the Government TLAs and their laws (while complying with them), while also keeping the Black Hats out. Yet that is what we must do to have Anonymity, privacy, and security.

This is the first of many postings to come on this theme. I’m going to move, step by step, through a re-implementation of all of it (with the possible exception of the Mail Box and Pre-Paid card steps) with the intent of giving enough detail that a Noob can be relatively secure in things like buying a VPN, ordering a pizza, and maybe even leaving a conservative comment on a blog… without fear of a horrible reprisal.

 You should mosey on over and bookmark him.

After ten years, we're all TJIC

I don't think that any single post did more to attract attention to this blog than I Am TJIC, posted this day ten years ago.  TJIC had his guns seized by the People's Republic of Arlington (Mass) for posting about the Gabby Giffords shooting.  There was no better illustration of how vague gun control laws are applied in Blue states.  Now the Congress is promising more of the same* and even Florida has a bunch bad bills under consideration.  Ten years ago it looked like gun rights were ascendent, now it looks like we all may end up like TJIC.  My comment about Heller and MacDonald looks pretty naive right now, as the Republic slips into Banana Republic territory. 

* To answer Sarah Hoyt's question, molon labe is pronounced "moh LOHN la VEH".

(originally posted 19 January 2011)


I've linked several times to posts over at the blog Dispatches from TJICistan.  TJIC is an outspoken (some might say extremely so) advocate of smaller government.  He's also a firearms owner in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.  While he owns guns, it appears that he's no longer allowed to possess any:
ARLINGTON (CBS) – A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.
It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license
Let's ignore for the moment how many people were investigated for making similar comments about George W. Bush.  Let's look at the "logic" being exercised by the Arlington Po-Po, shall we?

They claim that Corcoran is so dangerous that, while he has done nothing more than put up a blog post, he must be restrained from possessing firearms.  However, it appears that it's not worth it for the police to follow him, or stake out his place, or arrest him.


Look, guys, if you think that his speech rises to the level of an actual threat of specific harm to specific persons, he should be in jail.  If you're not sure, then do the leg work to establish whether it is or not.

So, what do we know about the Arlington Police Department?  We know that they're lazy - nobody assigned to watch over this "dangerous" suspect.  We know that they're biased - Arlington is a hotbed of George W. Bush hatred, and the last decade would offer a wealth of examples of similar or worse speech, none of which was investigated.

And we know that they're idiots.  It's not like there isn't a ton of case law on how the First Amendment applies to threats of political violence.  Arlington will lose this, if it ever gets to trial.  Post Heller and McDonald, they'll lose even worse.  Idiots.

But this is, as JayG points out, an attack not only on the First Amendment, but on the Second as well.  An attack of this sort - groundless in logic, and arguably mendacious in nature - is an attack on all.  And so I have to stand with TJIC.

I am TJIC.  So are you.  If you blog, you are hereby authorized to use this image (created by your humble host, using The Gimp, not that it took any skill).  Please link back to this post.

It would be one thing if the law were applied equally to all.  It's not, and it will be applied disproportionately to us, because we hold views considered by some in power to be Double Plus Ungood.  Lefties in particular, this is your moment.  You say that you stand for good governance.  Prove it.

It was not a famous Massachusetts citizen who said We must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately.  Benjamin Franklin was more circumspect than the men from Massachusetts, such as Sam Adams, who said this:
Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!
Eliminationist rhetoric right there.  Clearly, the Arlington Police would have seized his firearms.  What a sad, degraded state for a once proud Commonwealth.  It seems that I got out just in the nick of time.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Music III

 A lot of the songs I can post in this series I first heard on a car radio. I lived in an urban area, drove a delivery van for a job in high school, commuted to school on a beltway, and then rode around alot in the evenings.

Not this one. I can't tell you the date, but I know exactly where I was the first time I heard it. I was sitting in the flight line shop on the corner of VMFA-451's hanger. The afternoon launches had just gone out. Flight line had a cheap little stereo with an 8-track player and a stack of tapes. One of them was Springsteen's Born To Run. The last song on the album is Jungleland. 

When Clarence Clemons came in with that horn I was blown away. Background noise, tinny speakers, 8-track fidelity, nothing got in the way of the majesty of his ability. Here it is. The horn comes in at 4:25.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Dad Jokes XIV - XVI

Yeah, I've been busy - my excuse it that it involve targets at 300 yards.  But I've missed a bunch of Dad Jokes.  Lucky you, they're all here for you now.

Dad Joke XIV:

Dad! Leave me alone!

Okay, how much do you want? [This one hits a little close to home] 

 Dad Joke XV:

I'm like the fabric version of King Midas.  Everything I tough becomes felt.

Dad Joke XVI:

Snowmen always get hurt when they play sports.  The never warm up before play.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Southwest Florida February Blogshoot - update

The private range is not available on February 20, but it is available on Saturday, February 27.  I have a verbal commitment to reserve it - there was a mix up last time but the range will be available this time around.  It will give us not only a 25 yard pistol range but a 200 yard rifle range as well.

Please leave a comment to confirm that you are planning to come on the 27th.

Also, if you are an NRA certified RSO can you please email me with your RSO cert which the gun club wants.

The Venue:

When: Saturday, February 27 at 10:00 AM (until 4:00 PM)

Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251

Facilities:  Some of our readers are bringing their betters halves (as am I) and the fairer sex will be relieved to know that there are proper, civilized facilities in the club house.  


The Barbarian hopes — and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too.He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being. Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marveling that civilization, should have offended him with priests and soldiers.... In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this, that he cannot make: that he can befog and destroy but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true.

We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles.

- Hilaire Belloc

It's such a relief that we have the fiercely conservative Republican Party manning the battlements.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Dad Joke XIII


Music II

Elton John's Tiny Dancer done as a new remix with a surprisingly complex video story without any dialogue.

Dad Joke XII

The furniture store keeps calling me but I only wanted one nightstand. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Chain of Command

I posted before about how my Son-In-Law the Chief has been deployed on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt.  Those of you who have been in the military or its orbit know what this means to his wife and kids.  Military families are in a basic sense the core of our armed forces, and knowing that their families are doing okay is as important to our military as it was to Centurion Macrinus in the Roman Legions.

But it's hard for those left at home.  It's juggling school and work and (yes) a lot of military stuff - military families look out for their own.  My step-daughter is in nursing school with all of this and was turned down for base day care for her young kids.

But then the Chain Of Command kicked in.  My S-I-L the Chief went to the U.S.S. TR's Command Master Chief and explained the problem.  The Base Command Master Chief got a phone call from the TR, and then the Base Day Care organization got a call from the Base Command Master Chief.  Suddenly, the problem was addressed.  The military looks after their own and the Chain Of Command worked brilliantly.  

This time.

Aesop talks about how the Chain Of Command has broken down.  Go, read.  That Chain of Command is broken, from the top.  It's not always this way.  I posted this video years ago, a graduation speech from the Air Force Academy; a lesson on the Chain of Command taking care of what needs taken care of. It's particularly important around 40:15.  

(You should really watch the whole thing which is entirely excellent, but at least watch it to 41:30)

That's a chain of command that's worth a damn.  But that was then, and this is now.  My Son-In-Law saw what needed to be done, and his chain of command supported him.  It's a damn good thing that he didn't need to route this request through this Congress of Clowns in the Pentagon E-Ring.  What a pathetic bunch of losers.  No doubt they will all end up with cushy positions on the Board of Directors of some Defense Contractor.

Like I said, go read Aesop.  He says it differently, but he says it well.

Dad Joke XI

What's blue and smells like red paint?

Blue paint.


 I have been posting videos and pictures of old times, why not some music from my youth as well? I am not going to consider the politics of the singers. This is music that resonates of my youth and the life I've been privileged to have.

To start out, this is the finest rendition of Stairway to Heaven I have ever heard.


Nothing like 2 levels of management above you leave the company to give new meaning to the word "busy".  I'm hopping like the one legged waitress at the iHop ... 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Maybe It's The Hat

 Because it doesn't work out for the Grand Poobah, either.

H/T to Sardaukar in the comments

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Sorry, Not It

This is not the face of American patriotism.

This is not a leader.

This guy would not get through the vetting process to join my gun club.

Dad Joke X

My wife does a great job ironing.  I'm completely impressed


Monday, January 11, 2021

Dad Joke IX

Dad, your jokes are hilarious.  I think I have your sense of humor. 

Well, you need to give it back.  Fill up the tank first.

Donald Trump's legacy

Adam Piggott says something that I have been thinking for a while:

Trump was here to draw aside the curtain and calmly show us that everything that we thought was true and good was only a pile of lies. From government, to the media, to world organisations, to modern thinking and philosophies, to everyday people that you meet on the street, all has been revealed for what it is. The purpose of this time is not to return you to a comfortable life. It is to wake you up and force you to make a decision of whether you will continue to be woken up or if you will willingly crawl in bed with those of the grave. You know it’s not steak but it just tastes so damn good.

In regards to this burden Trump has been spectacularly successful. For a few of us, there is no putting the lid back on this box. The force of Trump has forced people to pick a side. Among your own family, friends and colleagues, you now know where they stand. You even know where complete strangers stand; driving alone in your car wearing a mask anyone?

The reference to the steak, of course, is from the iconic film The Matrix.  I have been thinking for a while that Donald Trump has "Red Pilled" millions of Americans.  The Red Pill reference, of course, if from the film The Matrix:

Back in 2014 I wrote about the "Red Pill/Blue Pill" comparison as it applies to government :

The Dark Enlightenment is a topic that is getting more and more attention, even from mainstream publications.  I've touched on it here ("Barack Obama is a communist" is perhaps the best opening line to a post I've ever written), but an old post from Isegoria (you do read him every day, don't you?) gives the best introduction to the topic, phrased in explicitly "Blue Pill"/"Red Pill" terminology:

The nature of the state
    • The state is established by citizens to serve their needs. Its actions are generally righteous.
    • The state is just another giant corporation. Its actions generally advance its own interests. Sometimes these interests coincide with ours, sometimes they don’t.
The power structure of the West
    • Power in the West is held by the people, who have to guard it closely against corrupt politicians and corporations.
    • Power in the West is held by the civil service, that is, the permanent employees of the state. In any struggle between the civil service and politicians or corporations, the civil service wins.
The extent of the state
    • The state consists of elected officials and their appointees.
    • The state consists of all those whose interests are aligned with the state. This includes NGOs, universities, and the press, all of whose employees are effectively civil servants, and side with the civil service in almost all conflicts.

The last one in particular is a concise description of what is called the "Cathedral" - social institutions not directly subject to the Throne but which work in explicit or implicit ways to support it.

You should click through the link to Isegoria's post which discusses ten specific comparisons.  Isegoria picked these up from Mencious Moldbug, who is typically wordy:

Have you ever considered the possibility that democracy is bunk?

I grew up believing in democracy. I’ll bet you did too. I spent 20 years of my life in democratic schools. I’ll bet you did too.

Suppose you were a Catholic in 16th-century Spain. Imagine how hard it would be for you to stop believing in Catholicism.

You are a Catholic. Your parents were Catholics. You were educated by Catholics. You are governed by Catholics. All your friends are Catholics. All the books you’ve ever read were written by Catholics.

Sure, you’re aware that not everyone in the world is a Catholic.You’re also aware that this is the cause of all the violence, death and destruction in the world.

Look at what Protestants do when they get into power. They nail genitals to the city gates. They behead their own wives. Crazy stuff!And let’s not even start on the Turks…

Now suppose you’re you. But you have a time machine that lets you talk to this 16th-century Spanish Catholic version of you.

How do you convince this guy or gal that the answer to all the world’s problems is not “more Catholicism”? How do you say, um, dude, this Trinity thing—the virgin birth—transsubstantiation… ya know…

So you see how hard it is to explain that democracy is bunk.

And along came Donald Trump and showed millions of Americans what is going on behind the curtain.  That toothpaste isn't going back in the tube.  I expect that's why they hate him so much.

The Purge

 If you can silence a sitting President, who else can you silence? I expect to see the blog hosting platforms eliminate the voices they don't like. Like ours. It will happen in a purge. There will be no recourse. We will just disappear from the internet and our voices will be heard no more.

"No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots". -- Barbara Ehrenreich

“I'm sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we're Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration.”

-- Hillary Clinton

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Dad Joke VIII

What do you call an iguana in a snowstorm?  A blizzard

And watch out!  They may be falling.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Dad Joke VII

Some people think my Dad Jokes are childish, which is crazy.  They are obviously full groan jokes.

Juvat, you wanted me to schedule a daily groan for you ...

Cale Moon - She's Got My Heart

If you like real country music - as opposed to the current country "Bro Pop" nonsense - then Cale Moon may be just the guy for you.  I ran across him by accident: he was giving a street concert as I was walking Wolfgang.  He's good.

He also likes Wolfgang (I assume his "Hello, beautiful" was aimed at Wolfgang, not me).   

It's hard to find much information about his music (not sure if he writes his own music, and I can't find lyrics).  But like I said if you like country music like George Straight serves it up, you'll like Moon.

The Queen Of The World suggested this song, and because she's got my heart it's today's musical selection.  Enjoy.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Another Vignette of Old America

This comes from 1930, when logging was crosscut saws, logging camps, horses and sleds, and logs sent down river when the ice let out.

 The mill is steam power and a lot of manual labor in conditions that would give an OSHA rep the vapors.

 The ship they send the laths to New York on is a three masted schooner, although even then things were passing into history. It is mentioned that the ship leaving is the last load the schooner will carry and the ship has no value because no one will buy it.

It's Old America described by someone who was there.  Originally a silent film, the narration was written by the mill manager to read aloud to the audience as the movie played. Here it read by a Maine native, so the accent fits well with the words.

Dad Joke VI

I used to be addicted to the Hokey-Pokey but I turned myself around.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Slouching towards the abyss

The Political Class combines cluelessness and rapaciousness in a way that would have 18th Century French aristocrats scribbling notes:

For decades now, across the board, nearly every policy that’s been pushed by the establishment here in the US and in most other industrial nations has benefited the middle classes at the expense of the working classes. That’s why we’ve gone from the situation in 1960, when one working class income could support a family comfortably, to the situation in 2020, when one working class income won’t keep a family off the street.  Those changes weren’t accidental, nor were they inevitable; they were the results of readily identifiable policies pushed by a bipartisan consensus, and defended by government, corporate, and media flacks with a disingenuousness that borders on the pathological.

The difficulty we’re in now, of course, is that a very large number of people are aware of this, and they’re far from happy about it. Here in the United States, a vast number of citizens—quite probably a majority—believe that they live under a senile kleptocracy propped up by rigged elections and breathtakingly dishonest media, in which their votes do not count and their needs will not be addressed by those in power. What’s more, they have more than a little evidence to support these beliefs, and strange to say, another round of patronizing putdowns by the mouthpieces of the well-to-do is unlikely to change their minds. The resulting crisis of legitimacy has become a political fact of immense importance.

A few years back, my fellow blogger and more than occasional debating partner Dmitry Orlov wrote a series of essays (later collected into his book Reinventing Collapse) pointing out that the United States is vulnerable to the same sort of sudden political implosion that overtook the Warsaw Pact nations of eastern Europe in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991. His point has lost none of its sharpness since then. When political theorists of an earlier generation noted that governments exist by the consent of the governed, they were stating a simple fact, not proposing an ideal; a government, any government, survives solely because most of the people it rules play along, obeying its laws and edicts no matter how absurd those happen to be.  If they withdraw that consent, the existing order of things comes tumbling down.

As we saw some thirty years ago, the most effective way to get people to withdraw their consent from the government that claims to rule them is to show them, over and over again, that their needs and concerns are of no interest to a self-aggrandizing elite, and that they have nothing to hope for from the continuation of the present system and nothing to lose if it falls. A very substantial share of Americans, and a significant number of people in other Western industrial countries, have already had that experience and come to those conclusions—and the enthusiasm displayed by the comfortable classes for shoving off the costs of change on the impoverished majority while seizing the benefits for themselves has played a huge role in that state of affairs.

As a result, it’s entirely possible that at some point in the near future, when next the United States faces a serious crisis, most Americans will shrug and let it fall, as most Soviet citizens did when the Soviet Union hit its final crisis in 1991. Keep in mind that the vast majority of active duty US police and military personnel—the final bulwark of any regime in crisis—voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, and might not be in any hurry to come to the rescue of a system that treats them with the same casual contempt it turns on everyone outside the circles of privilege. It’s entirely possible, in other words, that ten years from now people will talk about the former United States the way they talk about the former Soviet Union.

A number of folks have pointed out that most cops and military will follow orders, because of the paycheck.  History shows that unpopular orders are followed without enthusiasm, and often without rigor.  We'll see.  But there's very little doubt that there's a Bad Moon rising, and political leadership to slow this is in very short supply.

Dad Joke V

What did the windmill say when it met the celebrity?

"OMG, I'm such a big fan!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Dura lex, sed lex.

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood."
- Enoch Powell MP, quoting Virgil in "The Rivers of Blood" speech

Enoch Powell was one of the first politicians to be de-platformed.  As with most of these sorts of innovations, this happened in the Old World in the 1960s.  I posted about this seven years ago, although Google can no longer find this; DuckDuckGo can, though (and that tells you everything you need to know about search engines):
45 years ago last month, British MP Enoch Powell gave a stunning speech.  In it, he looked on the immigration of foreign peoples into the Kingdom and the way that this was changing the UK's culture.  It was widely criticized by all Right Thinking People® but at the same time was wildly popular with working class Britons.  Indeed, a thousand dockworkers marched on Parliament in protest when Powell was sacked from his positions of leadership.

Dockworkers marching in support of a Tory politician.

The most famous line in his speech is where he quoted Virgil:
As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'.
He was roundly damned for his "inflammatory" and "racist" remarks.  And so the British Political Class went back to sleep - indeed, the last Labour government intentionally accelerated immigration to make the UK "less British".
Today we saw the occupation of the Capitol building by people "annoyed" by what they (and many others) see as the theft of a Presidential election.  The protesters chased off first the Capitol Hill police and then the Congress itself.  It looks like one women lost her life, shot by a cop.  We'll have to see - early news is notoriously unreliable.

But looking at this, I thought of Virgil.  He of course, did not make up the Aeneid out of whole cloth; Virgil wrote propaganda for the first Roman Emperor, Augustus.  The Aeneid was propaganda, but what propaganda.  It made Caesar Augustus' family history into legend.  Because it was propaganda, it was exaggeration, but it was useful exaggeration to Augustus who while not related to the Great Leaders of the previous century was able to deftly exploit those leaders' exploits to his own advantage.

The most important leader at the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic was Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus,  He was the guy who noticed that while the Roman Republic had swept all foreign enemies before it, the working class had suffered despite the great riches of empire.  Tiberius Gracchus decided to run for public office despite his great family wealth, and to put forth his formidable political skills to benefit the Roman Working Joe.  He failed, because the Roman political establishment buried their traditional political differences in the face of Gracchus' challenge, and in fact had him killed.    

In short, the Roman Deep State closed ranks to block needed reform.  It was the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic as long cherished political norms (Mos Maiorum) were cast aside.  And so two generations of the Roman political elite were exterminated in a civil war so profound that what was left of the exhausted Republican Elite welcomed the first Imperator with open arms because he ended the civil wars.

Throughout this whole period in Roman History, the Law was supreme.  Of course, the Law bent to the prevailing political winds.  As the Roman said, "The Law is harsh, but it is the Law".  Dura Lex, sed Lex.

Donald Trump is the Tiberius Gracchus of our day.  He is the guy who noticed that while the American Republic had swept all foreign enemies before it, the working class had suffered despite the great riches of empire.  Donald Trump decided to run for public office despite his great family wealth, and to put forth his formidable political skills to benefit the American Working Joe.  He failed, because the American political establishment buried their traditional political differences in the face of Trump's challenge, and in fact had him [well, we'll have to see if they let him live free, or jail him, or kill him].

But Tiberius Gracchus had many supporters, who didn't let the Roman political elite rest easy.  Likewise with Donald Trump, as we saw today:

Some of Gracchus' supporters were killed, as we saw today.  Looking forward, I am filled with foreboding.  Like the Roman, I seem to see the river Potomac foaming with much blood.  We're already started, it seems.  The only questions really remaining is who is to play the part of Augustus Caesar, and how many of the elite families (and, it must be said, other families) must die before a grateful Republic reaches for their savior Emperor?

But the Founding Fathers knew about the failings of the Roman Republic.  They strived to avoid them in their Republic.  As a student of history I must say that they avoided the Roman pitfalls for 200 years.  Not bad at all.

Never mind that the Romans avoided these for almost 500 years.  God Save this Honorable Republic.

The European Union's winners and losers

Why did the Deutsche Bank give up their beloved Deutsche Mark and join the Eurozone?  It was good business for Germany:

A 2019 German think tank report, entitled ‘20 Years of the Euro; Winners and Losers’, costed the single currency’s impact on individual states. From 1999 to 2017, only Germany and the Netherlands were serious winners with the former gaining a huge € 1.9 trillion, or around €23,000 per inhabitant. 
In all other states analysed the Euro has provoked a drop in prosperity, with France losing a massive €3.6 trillion and Italy €4.3 trillion. French losses amount to €56,000 per capita and for Italians €74,000.

 Those are big numbers.  You could do the same analysis here looking at Rust Belt vs. Coastal enclaves and I suspect you would see the same sort of thing.  The proof point for that is how working class incomes rose under the Trump administration for the first time in decades.  No doubt the Biden administration will get to work on that.

I really struggle to understand how The Powers That Be in both Brussels and Washington don't see the revolutionary implications in this.  Didn't they read Marx?

Hat tip: Samizdata.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Comsec Example

Ghislaine Maxwell may not be someone that we have a lot of sympathy for. If she is guilty of what she is accused of, her sentence will be long. That is not the point of this post. 

The Daily Mail published a article today that outlines how the FBI located Ms. Maxwell. They got a search warrant that allowed them to use cell phone metadata in their effort to locate her. That data used GPS and cell tower use data. With that the FBI was able to narrow their search to a one square mile in New Hampshire.

Another warrant allowed them to use a "stingray", a device that mimics a cell tower causing phones to provide information about location and registered user automatically. They used that within the narrowed search area and located her phone's exact position.

It took less than 24 hours from the issuing of the warrant to find and arrest Ms. Maxwell.

Dad Joke IV

"Hey Dad, are you coming to the baby shower?"

"I'd prefer a full sized shower, thanks." 


There have been a number of questions and comments about yesterday's post regarding COMSEC for the new year.  These seem to me to be related to OPSEC - Operational Security which as I mentioned is very hard to pull off flawlessly.  But it's terribly important and so I'd like to talk at least briefly about them.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail mentioned that TOR is difficult to use, which is God's Own Truth.  This makes it easy to screw up, which can expose bread crumbs that can lead the Federales back to you.  Use of a VPN and a privacy enhanced browser (like Brave which I recommend) are Very Good Things Indeed, but a VPN will also shine the light of suspicion on you.  Also, you have to ask yourself just how much you trust your VPN provider not to, say, comply with warrants and National Security Letters and such.  In short, a healthy paranoia is worthwhile and VPN won't replace what I was talking about yesterday.

Chuck Pergiel mentioned that Ross Ulbricht (the Dread Pirate Roberts who ran The Silk Road) was caught because a one-time user account only needed for the initial setup of something leaked out and let the Feds trace back to him.  Ross was said to be particularly good about OPSEC and this still happened.  Basically, he had to be perfect every single time he was online and the Feds only needed a single screw up.  I'll post tomorrow about an OS-on-a-stick and how to use it securely, but the important thing is that you can't use anything from your public OS on the private one, and vice-versa.

Jonathan H mentioned Eschelon which was a blast from the past.  He also mentioned using fax with handwritten messages.  I'm not so sure here, for a couple reasons.  Firstly, optical character recognition is advancing every year and this seems like an area where machine learning may end up able to read even doctor's handwriting, and secondly the public fax services may save copies of your transmissions.  There are lots of questions here.

Stefan points us to Pixelknot for Android.  Android is a problem, for a couple of reasons.  Google is the funder of Android and while it is Open Source, there are millions and millions of lines of code.  Google's revenue model is based on collecting data on users and I just don't trust the OS not to do that to me.  Also, if you run this on a mobile phone there will be geolocation data added to user data that is collected.  No bueno.

Paranoia runs deep - at least it should.

Covid Origins

 I have thought from the beginning that the proximity of the Wuhan BSL-4 lab to the original outbreak made it the likely source. But here's a detailed article on coronavirus research, viral sources, and lab accidents from New York Magazine. One of the more interesting things is the suppression of discussion on the possibility that COVID19 is an enhanced virus that escaped or was deliberately released from the lab.

 And a quote.

“Well, of course the answers to those questions are in China,” Baric replied. “Exactly how they work in that facility is something that would be very difficult for a Westerner to know,” he said. “The main problems that the Institute of Virology has is that the outbreak occurred in close proximity to that Institute. That Institute has in essence the best collection of virologists in the world that have gone out and sought out, and isolated, and sampled bat species throughout Southeast Asia. So they have a very large collection of viruses in their laboratory. And so it’s — you know — proximity is a problem. It’s a problem.”