Obamacare Part 2: Divination and Oracles

Obamacare was announced today (June 28th, 2012) at about 9:15am.

Incidentally those guys let you chart for free, which makes this really fun to play with. I linked to the chart, which includes basic interpretation of the chart. I don’t pretend to know anything about this topic, so I just read the chart and pretended the announcement was the “birthday” of the bill. It doesn’t always make sense but I’m sure other people on the blogroll will figure it out.

Single Rune Draw: Laguz

Talk about meaning, I normally hate the single rune draw but this time was neat. Laguz is two things: Water and leeks. Water of course represents life energy (healthcare) and the leek is medicinal. In typical runic fashion the first throw is typically the topic.

Single Cart Draw (WR Deck): Seven of Cups

“Wishful thinking, inability to make up ones mind, illusions, deception, cloudy thinking. May signify the danger of making a rash decision without thinking things through”. I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

Element: Water

Planet: Venus

Chakras: Second, Third

Color: Blue

Hexagram: 29

I think it’s particularly important to pay attention to the things which are obvious or overlap. Blue is also the color of Jupiter, certainly this is a literal goldmine for health insurance companies. Venus represents women (dur) and the water jives with the rune draw above. The hexagram would indicate a negative influence, so I am inclined to believe everyone’s health is going to suffer here.

Single Card Draw (Thoth Deck): Death (You’re doing it right when you say “I can’t make this stuff up”).

Sign: Scorpio

Planet: Mars (Pluto exalted)

Hebrew Letter: Nun (fish)

Tree of Life Path: 24 = 6, beauty to victory

Color: Green

Hexagram: 59 (I had to look this up)

I used the LMD book on the Thoth deck for the attributions. In typical “look for signposts” fashion that I like, I want some transition between the elements. The rune is water, the first card is Water, the next card is Fish. This typically seems to me like we’re on the right track for Making of the Key sort of work.

The scorpion typically represents suicide and putrefaction, while the eagle represents the sublime element and the potential for rebirth.

The quick reference says: “transformation, change, voluntary or involuntary. In either case the logical development of existing conditions, perhaps sudden or unexpected. Apparent death or destruction, but this is an illusion”.

Celtic Cross (WR Deck):

I know this isn’t the traditional use of this spread. Therefor I’m eschewing traditional interpretation and just looking at what’s present.

Stupid amounts of cups is present, which means emotions run high.

Pantacles are present next, which means security and resources are important.

Threes and Tens are present which means this is something new, this also means this is in it’s concluding stages.

Two kings, which means leadership. The two kings are upright, which would indicate standing together. This probably indicates the Government and the Court.

Finally the two elements split almost evenly in these cards are earth and water. (Green and Blue).

I Screw With Tarot Spread (Thoth Deck):

A spread I made up. Its decently good at describing the heart of the matter similar to the celtic cross.

The heart of the matter: The defeat of the emperor.

The unprepared emperor charged into the matter motivated by secret design. He becomes the empress and has a change of heart to be governed by love and unification. The existing government is destroyed, success is lost because the emperor is far too concerned with luxury than love.

My interpretation is this is going to be the end of the incumbent. He thinks he’s motivated by love, he thinks he has success, but what he’s done is traded comfort for his own future due to his own rash action. The signs are completely screwed up in this one but it tends to be dominated slightly more by fire than water and earth. The people are going to feel loved but if we look at how he enjoys his life and victory they will realize they are less equal and loved than they want. This brings destruction.

If he does somehow win the election, he’s going to be totally different.

Note that I’m kicking myself here for not taking at least a picture of the spreads. Also I favor the thoth deck.

Rune Spread:

I used my standard method. It’s worth noting that mannaz and ehwaz were off the cloth, but together, overlapping and upright. This generally means womens advancement isn’t going to be stellar under this program.

The spread came out with the typical clumps it usually does to indicate a topic and outliers. The rune closest to me (the individual) was Laguz again. This means for the individual things are uncertain about health and such.

Soliow is off to the left, it indicates a past, waning success in this issue. The bill passed.

I have three groups which make up the heart of the issue:

Group 1: Kenaz, Jeru, Berkano – If you’re a pregnant woman, great! This bill is for you! While women in general won’t get much advancement, women who are pregnant are going to do better here and play a key role in this legislation.

Group 2: Eihwaz (not ehwaz), wunjo, thurisaz – This is the “dude rune”. If you’re a guy and you’re providing support for your family, this rune set is for you. The other half of the foundation here is the burden of your insurance obligation is lifted.

Group 3: Isa, Urez, Ansuz – This is the top of the triangle, or what this all comes out to be. Isa in a group is about the only time I read a group negatively. Of course, it’s present in group 3. In fact if I didn’t think I had three groups with two outlying factors I would put isa at the heart of the matter but I don’t think it’s the overarching theme here from experience. Basically all insight, communication, learning and love go out the window here. Labor is lost, endless work is lost. While it’s a victory for the individuals, overall progress is damaged, frozen or reversed.

Conclusion: There’s a theme here. One of the things I look for in divination is a theme to link the last phase to the current one. The idea is that if we’re doing it right, it paints an interconnected picture. I get suspect when I can’t link things together. I think this particular question had a strong theme.

Obamacare is either the death of Obama’s political career or it’s the end of Obama as we know it. I definitely see it working well for individuals and families but being terrible for the current political establishment. If Obama does seek re-election and he is re-elected, he’s going to be completely different. If Romney is elected (I personally think he will) I think he will make it a point to be completely different. I feel individuals will actually do well under it – something I actually argued against on my mundane blog post. That’s the other reason why divination is interesting: you might not always be right. Finally I think the benefits extend to families too both literally and figuratively. As for the nation, the top card in my spread was The Tower. Specifically it’s ending success and luxury.

Post your own interpretation or better yet get those stones and get crackin!

Obamacare

Pay attention to the time this was written. If you wander in here next month and want to debate me with yesterdays news, you will be mocked mercilessly.

I’d like to start by pointing out that most people’s argument that “kids with cancer” are going to get healthcare is simply wrong. Kids with cancer collect social security from a system they never paid into and are covered under Medicare/Medicade. Really the decision doesn’t affect the poor nor the elderly. If you happen to have a condition and you’ve been denied insurance for whatever reason you’re covered under the old system.

That being said this is a total loss for both parties – the bill that passed simply doesn’t look like the original one that was submitted, then it was never intended to be funded by taxes. The argument against socialism was always that the government isn’t funded it. Well, now they are. Not only are you required to buy insurance (something I avoided doing in college and saved quite a bit by doing so) but now insurance companies have carte blanche to charge you (via the government) whatever they want. They don’t even have to put effort into it because before, if you reneged on your copayment, you went to court with the insurance company. Now, if you renege on your healthcare tax you get to deal with the IRS.

I’m going to guess the CEOs are toasting themselves right now. Just think about that last sentence there for a minute – you used to be able to negotiate because they could put a lien on your property, but chances are you weren’t going to sell anyway because of the housing crunch. They would threaten to take your house or car, but those things don’t have value in this economy. What our stupid activist judges managed to pull off was a major coup for the health insurance industry – it’s effectively their bailout. They don’t have to chase down deadbeats now – the IRS does it for them.

Other misc arguments I’ve seen (thank you daily kos, but I won’t link to your blog):

“Insurance companies could deny you for anything!” – This is false. Obamacare in 2010 (about the only part of the bill I agree with) made rescission illegal (even after the 1997 act), but this effectively only prevented women with breast cancer from being subject to a drop in their health insurance, and only really changed the two year period mandated. The other group of individuals who claimed to be “victims” were people who became HIV positive in the same two year period. Out of the groups likely to contract HIV, the overwhelming majority are gay black males, followed by drug users. While being black or being gay might not prevent you from getting insurance, substance abuse will. Now, while medicare and medicade (which also pays for medical visits for the people on welfare) didn’t test for drugs, with healthcare an individual mandate, insurance companies can, and will. For some people that means they can’t enjoy their substances responsibly without Uncle Sam knowing and for some people that means they won’t be getting insurance anyway – but they’ll still pay for it.

“Make wall street pay for it!” – This one is grossly ignorant and really makes me want to stab people. The idea goes something like “If we put X tax on stock trade, it would make Y billion dollars”. These people don’t understand how the stock market works. What actually happens when we’re talking about the SIG Trading Platform is High Frequency Low Latency trading. The system sees a stock drop $1, it buys 1000 shares and when the stock blips back up $1 because everyone else sees it, it immediately sells the stock. It does this about 100 times a second. Any tax like this would destroy the stock market overnight.

“Small businesses get tax credits!” – All businesses already received tax credits. Businesses with less than 25 full time employees get the small business tax credit (50% reimbursement). Since this now comes out of your tax dollars, and everyone pays taxes, not only is there incentive to hire twice as many people for half the time but this also means people who do take a full time job will still have to pay 100% of the tax liability. People who only work 20 hours still pay 100% of the tax liability. Businesses who skip on your hours now to ruin your weekend now have that much more incentive to hire seasonal workers and rotate the workforce. Remember – business don’t pay taxes like people. They don’t get married, they don’t get child credits, they don’t need healthcare.

“This is a tax hike on the middle class!” – No it’s a tax hike across the middle and upper class. Because the original law was not tax funded, there’s no way to implement this as anything but a tax. Sorry folks, if they follow through with it, it comes out of your pocket. I know debt != taxes in America which is why people take us less and less seriously nowadays but the only possible way to have this be constitutional per the ruling is to impose it as a tax. The lowest income bracket – the people already on medicare and medicade and social security – still aren’t going to pay it. Now, interestingly enough, the supreme court ruling does actually pave the way for a really interesting legal maneuver: If the health insurance is paid for through the taxes, then the health insurance may actually end up under social security, which is where it should have been in the first place.

Gays, Women, and the GOP – Rant Roundup

More and more I’ve been seeing posts about “The GOPs War on Women”. Which is sort of funny because gays have less rights than women at the moment and if you’re a gay woman, god help you. Generally it goes something like “Limbaugh said something, look at it!” and it’s a video of Rush or someone saying something inflammatory. I usually just post back the Bill Maher video.

But, something more recently dawned on me. People don’t get it. People, if they bother to respond at all to the Maher video, usually defend it with “oh but it’s humor”. On the face of it, Rush too hosts a program which is just humor, or just commentary. The issue goes a little bit deeper than this, it’s not that the GOP or the Republicans or the Democrats have a war on women, it’s that you wouldn’t say these things in the workplace. (I actually had someone yell at me for posting the Maher video to their page in response because they did watch it at work, with the volume up, completely ignoring the warning in the first 5 seconds). This isn’t particularly about a “war on women”, from any particular side, this is about the permissiveness and moral decrepitude of the average voter. I wouldn’t make a racist joke at work anymore than I would make a joke about a woman at work. If you wouldn’t make the joke at work, why is it then OK to make these jokes about women from either political party? Call misogyny as misogyny and realize these are two sides of the same coin. This means both parties engage in this sort of things.

On the issue of gay rights it actually is even more subtle. The Republicans are the traditional boogeymen of gay rights, but has a Democrat President actually made gay marriage legal? So much anger and noise is invested in making a boogeyman for people to direct their rage towards that no-one has noticed the Democrats have done absolutely nothing for the gay rights issue. The best we’ve come up with is moving it to a states rights issue. This is a band-aide at best because we’ve otherwise codified the idea of marriage at the federal level (tax code). Really the only politician who has carried the Gay Marriage idea to the logical conclusion as it stands today is Ron Paul. If we got rid of the tax code, it really would be a states rights issue. This is the point of the entire rant though – neither party has worked to actually affirm or deny gay rights at the federal level.

On the idea of religious freedom for those of us who roll our own theology, this is another great place to point out the Democrats doing nothing for us. The Democrats have taken the separation of church and state to the point where any showing of religion is treated poorly. By the same token, the Republicans have embraced religion, but it’s usually ascribed as “Christianity”. Funny thing is though, three decades ago it was Catholicism. Now it’s “Mainsteam Christianity”. Now they’re talking about running a Mormon, and the only people who seem to have noticed he’s a Mormon are the Democrats. In terms of progressive religion, the Republicans are more open about discussing theology than the Democrats. You would think the party who was offended by the G word (God) would have already helped out with the other G word (gays) but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, it hasn’t happened. Instead they’re happy to accuse other people of being religiously motivated, but then they can’t execute when they’re supposedly “free” from such hangups.

The biggest problem here – a government which doesn’t want to acknowledge the divine – is that laws become inherently secular. What secular states have we seen in the past? The south before the civil war. World War 2 Germany. Can we cite any examples of states which allow for religion without being religious? Sweden comes to mind. It’s possible to find a middle ground here, but it’s also possible to be too far right or left. To be too far right subscribes to religious dogma and things would probably look like the Middle East, and to be too liberal results in comments from politicians comparing women to animals. Of course they’re animals – if you work from a worldview that there’s nothing particularly special about humans then we’re just particularly bald apes. The middle ground is to acknowledge that people are religious without espousing a religion. We can’t do that if we vote for the party that doesn’t talk about religion at all. (Actually this is the paintbrush of the Democrat Smear Machine. Don’t talk about religion so that anyone who even listens to Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars” can be questioned).

On that theme of acknowledging things for what they are, we must also seek to understand things completely. A frightening number of people simply didn’t read the recent Georgia abortion law proposal about transvaginal ultrasounds. Instead, they reacted to a soundbite or the hilariously bad Huffington Post op ed on an op ed. “This person said women are animals!” isn’t thinking about the path this person took to get there, it’s simply an animal reaction to a comment without realizing that the apex of subscribing to evolution and denying the divine is that people are ultimately just very clever animals. This is where we know where people are married with kids, or pregnant. The unmarried, reactionist people operating on an animal level say “I wouldn’t want that in me!” But this is really the point. This medical tool didn’t spring gestalt from the pages of the proposed bill, whirring and throbbing veins intact. This medical tool (a transvaginal ultrasound device) has a legitimate purpose in pregnancy and it’s used by doctors all the time for pregnancy situations which might require surgery. What is abortion if not surgery? Do you really want the doctor grabbing around in there blind?

This previous paragraph is mostly for naught. If anyone had actually read the proposal, they would have seen the text included an opt out for this particular part of the procedure provided there was not a medical necessity to use the device for the protection of the mother during the course of the procedure. You can read HB 954 here. Also included was the objection that anesthesia drove the cost of the abortion up out of reach of “low income unprivileged women”. Lets think about that for a moment – why anesthesia? Because doctors who perform fetal surgery during and after the 2nd trimester know the fetus feels pain and that it will abort if it’s not anesthetized. So think about that, we’re performing abortions on fetuses, who we know from the medical establishment feel pain. Just because you can’t hear or see the pain doesn’t make it any more right than it wouldn’t be murder if I taped your mouth shut and dumped gasoline all over you. Why didn’t anyone bring this up? Because to acknowledge that the fetus feels pain and should be anesthetized because it’s the decent thing to do also acknowledges that the fetus is a person who has rights and we should be decent to our fellow people. But you can’t say that. We would rather call it a child in surgery and a fetus in an abortion setting so we can save a few dollars.

How do we fix this?

The average American voter won’t read the bills. Why anyone would participate in the political process without actually reading the results of the process is beyond me. How do we assess the performance of the governance of the state without reading the laws and proposals? To fix this situation, people need to actually start reading house bills and proposals rather than reading Fox News and Huffington Post. It’s fine to use them as a jumping off point, but half the things posted to Huffpo, for instance, wouldn’t pass muster on Wikipedia. If your source is an “anonymous doctor” and the blog “deletes stupid comments”, not only are you not getting a balanced discussion, but you’re not getting an article anyone would take seriously. Why would you base your political opinions on that?

Read the house bills. Read the proposals. Finally, remember that politicians should be judged both on what they are doing but also on what they’re not doing.

The Internet is a Cellphone

The last post I wrote was a lament that the internet-as-a-cellphone wasn’t being fully explored from a technological standpoint.

Today we have the opposite problem: The internet-as-a-cellphone is being legislated as a cultural standpoint. Specifically, Domain Seizure has become the tool of choice to shut down “infringing content”. What is this content? Movies, games, pirated apps, etc.

How did we get here?

The old mode of piracy required a fair bit of infrastructure. A person would typically mail some money though the snailmail and they would typically get a stack of CDs or floppies in return with cracked apps and games on them. Things plunked along this way for a good while as the popularity of usenet declined due to AOL and eventually things went viral to the point where IRC was the mode of distribution. The IRC bots evolved to the point where if the bot didn’t have the software you were interested in, groups had agreed to cross referencing to other bots. The decline of USENET and the rise of IRC corresponded roughly from RadioShack and Circuit City not selling software or parts anymore to advertising software being pre-loaded on the pirated applications.

The movies thing I don’t think anyone saw coming. VHS piracy was as simple as going to blockbuster and renting whatever you wanted for $1 and then going home and wiring up the VCRs. As media moved into the digital realm, it meandered back to mail order DVDs (or the guy on the street corner selling questionable copies in strange languages), CD-Video (popular in asia, never here), MPEG copies on IRC, and the unfortunately named DivX video codec. DIVX players attempted to stem the tide with their dial-up DVD service but I would guess most of them ended up cracked.

Let me digress for a second and point out we forget who or what came before. The chinese looking to circumvent the firewall could learn oodles from the old US piracy market. How many books fit on a DVD? Actual text, I’m talking about, not ebooks. How many cameras come with an SD card now? Who checks all these things versus how much electronic stuff moves in and out of china? The great firewall doesn’t currently censor email as I recall, what about a wget service or a newsnet service with UUENCODED files? This is how the US used to do it and people wrote special mail handlers to reassemble these files, it would work in china. Its how it used to work. I had a DXR2. I bought it after my alpha died with which I used to rip DVDs. Nostalgia.

Somewhere along the way someone figured out the space requirements even for compressed, pirated materials (movies, games) was somewhere around 4GB.  Things plodded along at the 4GB limit for a bit and the movie industry responded by packing “HD Content” into 9GB DVDs with double layers, and finally the whole weird push to blu-ray and HD-DVD came around and blu-ray won because Sony’s pockets are deep enough to pay for a loss leader like that.

Suddenly, things came full circle. TV stalled. Gimmicks for TVs haven’t impressed consumers much because who cares about 3D content if it’s not on demand. Movies suffer the same problem. The issue is the world simply got busier. No-one has a two hour chunk of time to go to the theatre anymore. We don’t even have time to take books off the shelf. Why should we? We read books on our laptops, then the laptop became a tablet, than the table became an ebook reader, then the ebook reader stopped existing and became software on a cellphone. We scaled up the cellphone screen to a tablet again, but these new tablets had enough bandwidth and CPU to do something interesting – they could surf the web, and they could watch video. How big is the new HD AVATAR? 1.2GB. How big is the new HD INCEPTION? 1.4GB. This for full, 1080p content. Samsung said as much with it’s cellphones with the screen, but more importantly the line-out to your actual TV.

This is the other side of the convergence that the new internet is a cellphone.

Now we look at Megaupload and GMAIL and such and 8GB is the norm. 8GB used to be just under what it took to store a DVD. Now 8GB is just enough to store 7 full movies. What’s important is that it’s the norm. It’s an artefact from a time when things were bigger and they could be bigger because we weren’t trying to consume content down small pipes. The movie companies know this but how could they legislate how much storage a particular user has? YouTube doesn’t even care. GMAIL? Why should they make it smaller? MegaUpload? 200MB, but how hard is it to keep a list of 5 URLs to unpack a RAR of a movie? Therein lies the problem. This is basically a bandwidth problem versus a content control problem. Since they (the MPAA/RIAA) can’t control the bandwidth they’ll try to control the content. What’s the best way to do that? Take away their cellphone. One man’s ZIP is another man’s video-codec, what’s the difference between cat and zcat? Compression, but they work the same way. The MPAA/RIAA already subscribes to this new model where the internet is a cellphone, and so everyone crying FREE SPEECH over the whole seizure of URLs doesn’t get it.Taking away a sites URL is like taking away their cellphone. It doesn’t impinge on their free speech, it just takes away the radio tower. Get another cellphone, learn the IPs. Your OS has a hosts file for a reason. It’s no biggie.

Just for reference: I do believe the megaupload files were seized improperly. I think everyone who was using it as a legitimate document repository should sue. I just don’t think the URL seizure is illegal nor amoral and reveals a profound misunderstanding of how the internet works.

The Intersection of Software and Politics

This entire rant spawned off this post.

I don’t think of myself as an evangelist for open source software but having been balls deep in android the last few days has given me insight into a lot of the problems facing android as an open source project. Recently one of the XDA guys was pinched for piracy in his ROM and it really came to a head.

The background we have to consider is that the ROMs themselves are thoroughly grey market. The phones can run on Linux, but the drivers for the hardware are typically closed source and non-free. Finding the license to them is impossible, as is finding the source to the drivers. We’re put in a situation where it’s not particularly clear what is and is not GPL at this point – the android OS has a monolithic kernel except for the cellular portion which might as well be a preemptive kernel which overrides the running kernel when the phone rings. The problem is the GPL was largely designed to keep the kernel and the drivers free and open, and as an extension of The nVidia Problem (shim loaders) the kernel is no longer free and open on the android. This is a really old argument and has been beaten to death. The android kernel has shim loaders and we have to live with it. The big rub then is how do we legally develop for the android? We are protected by the DMCA and allowed to reverse engineer (clean room) the drivers because no other legal route is provided, but the solution of the day has been to grab the drivers and firmware from other releases of android and pull them into the future. In essence, shimming the shim loaders. Performance, as you can guess, is hit or miss. In the SGH-T959’s case, it’s a real mess when it comes to the GPS. Where it goes from annoying to dangerous is the problem that AOSP ROMs don’t have valid, working call routing. To get the call routing to work, you have to use the samsung proprietary drivers. This is obviously a contention between de facto piracy and public safety as call routing is what makes E911 work.

More recently this whole issue of presentation came to a head with neobuddy’s ROM. Aside of his worst sin of loving anime, he “rebranded” some commercial software in an effort to add spit and polish to the ROM. MIUI has done the same with their ROM but everyone sort of gave it a pass being Chinese. MIUI also occupies a grey market area where they charge (on the chinese side) for enhanced features. It hasn’t made it weirdly enough to the US version of the site but I’m waiting for it to happen. MIUI therefor has been the stalking horse of ROM developers where they pick bits and pieces of it. Better to steal from the Chinese than steal from a company like Samsung. Neobuddy took it one step further and rebranded several apps where (ironically enough) the author installed his ROM and took offense. jrummy not only admonished neobuddy for piracy but posted that the official version from the market had bugfixes people were complaining about.

Now, this is a particularly sticky wicket. On one hand, it’s morally wrong to put your  name on someone elses software. On another hand, jrummy’s application is a ROM flasher which needs those drivers discussed earlier to work if not in some very indirect way. Finally there is no google market in india. Neobuddy lives in Mumbai, he couldn’t have gotten the software legally. (Krishna – correct me if I’m wrong). This is the intersection of aspiration and incompetence. All fine and understandable, except that when XDA asked Neobuddy to show them the sources, he added “kernel rolled by nelson” to his thread instead of linking to a git of the linux kernel. Sigh.

Fast forward a week while XDA discusses what the heck it means to post your sources and finally they just throw their hands up and lock the thread. I don’t blame them. This immediately balkanizes the community. Neo starts a thread on facebook (which as a software git is useless) and the XDA guys get thrown under the bus. 12 hours after getting his thread locked, someone posts a mirror of the ROM and had removed the software he put his name on and posted a link to the git of the kernel sources. Neo eventually makes this particular ROM the official working ROM and removes the other links, which firmly cements us in meta-piracy land.

The commentary on facebook has been really contentious and it’s hard to understand why people would put effort into a pursuit like this. Fortunately it’s easy enough to roll a kernel that the cyanogen assholes don’t have a monopoly on it, but it seems people have a weird opinion that ROMs live above the ecology of software. In reality the OS is subservient to the application, which is one of the reasons why I haven’t jumped onto ice cream sandwich yet. It doesn’t even run facebook, but people seem to want the latest and greatest from google while disregarding the fact that everything has to be done through the browser until the apps catch up. Commentary on facebook was largely “THE XDA GUYS ARE MEANIES YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT”. Nevermind that if this ROM actually went legal (how?), someone else might exercise their moral imperative to change Neo’s name and rebrand the ROM for themselves just as he did with the software. To that end, most of the people posting on the facebook group had no idea that rebranding the software was in fact illegal as was burying the kernel source on some back woods git no-one would have noticed and certainly wasn’t linked to.

To his credit, neo removed the offending rebranded software and has separate download links. The kernel source they’re using is now posted to a git. XDA put the thread back up and most of the people on facebook haven’t figured out how the rest of the internet works so XDA remains safe. It looks like we’re going to get some Nexus S backport of ICS, which is nice. jrunner has not nuked Mumbai.

WikiLeaks

I’ve been following the live wikilinks thing with some detached amusement. Assange, if the allegations aren’t fabricated, committed at least one count of rape by US standards (having sex with someone unable to give consent due to intoxication). By Swisse standards, he’s up to six counts of rape, two of the first degree which is a mandatory four year sentence for each. He’s going to jail for four years at least, eight if he’s nailed on both the first degrees. Don’t ask me for the specifics of the justice system over there, I have no experience and I only know what I’ve read.

All the usual suspects came out, b-tards attacked paypal and various credit card processing gateways. Goons made MS-paint pictures. K5ers blew enough hot air to fly the Hindenburg back in time to Nazi Germany. The cries were all about the same which was “if you give into the US government we’ll do bad things over the internet”. This is why we don’t give kids guns and ask them to make moral judgements. Mastercard and Visa both had a point – Assange misrepresented where those donations were going. Paypal said he provided a false address. Both of those reasons are entirely valid and raise the important point that when you made a donation to wikileaks, you were actually simply sending Assange a buck or two. There’s no “wikileaks, LLC”.

The one I got the most lulz from was the people outraged that ICANN would can his domain. Protip – don’t use taxpayer developed resources and not expect THE INTERNET POLICE to come by. The roads too are public works funded by tax dollars, and the roads have police dedicated to policing them for things which are “wrong”. It doesn’t really matter that speeding is wrong and that it’s a victimless crime, the point is that someone in some government agency said speeding was wrong and so it’s wrong. I’m not here to particularly debate the morality of victimless crimes, but the point is that he kicked the governments puppy with spin and the government acted appropriately. Wikileaks offends me not because it brings transparency, but because it claimed to bring transparancy while adding Assanges own spin and politics.

What’s not appropriate has been the wikileaks side of this. Somehow it’s morally justified to release government documents about things which aren’t resolved yet (as though war in the middle east ever would be, but whatever) which includes commentary between soldiers and their families under the banner that it’s topical to the war, but when it comes to Assange himself and the coming trial he smokescreens the media and wikileaks themselves. Wikileaks should be asking themselves some really hard questions about personal rights when yours and my conversations might be republished just because they’re on a government desktop somewhere but when it comes to the topic of Assange raping two women and possibly more, he works to prevent a “media circus”. Is this not all that wikileaks is?

Boycott Sovereign Bank Part Two

Interestingly enough despite tracking search terms on the blog, Boycott Sovereign Bank remains one of the most linked to articles on this site.

It’s not hard to see why, people hate Sovereign Bank and most of the comments are filled with people fed up with the abuse. Weirdly enough no-one mentioned that cashing checks out of temporal order is something which other banks did. Not only that but the bank I jumped to, Wachovia, was purchased by Wells Fargo. Wachovia, for the record, never did this to us. If anything they were incredibly lenient on their policies for overdrafts, etc and often would refund you the money if you complained. (I only complained once, about ATM fees, not overdrafts, but the point stands that they were flexible). Turns out the bank which bought out Wachovia, Wells Fargo, not only did this but was sued for it as a class action. The class action won and Wells has to pay $203m to it’s customers. That’s good news to me, anyway, since I’m in Wells if I want to be or not. However, all of you with Sovereign accounts, you’re probably SOL and they’ll continue to do this. It’s likely going to court since now the lawyers know that there’s money to be made, but as far as pulling it off when you’re suing a foreign company, I’m not so sure it’ll work out. American banks have to play by American rules. You play with banks owned by Mexicans (Sovereign) and all they have to do is meet banking regulations, they don’t have to play nice.