Keeping it Small and Simple

2008.03.31

It did not begin against Serbia

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 14:19

I’m sorry Nebojsa Malic but America’s imperial aggression did not start in March 1999. I of course fully agree with you that it was a war of aggression.

But the U.S. began their imperial ambitions much earlier. As the battle dust of WWII was settling in fact. The war in Korea was probably the first, followed by Vietnam. You also have to take into account the aggression against various countries in Latin America.

One could argue that the start happened during WWII itself. For instance, Japan was given a first vivid demonstration of “shock-and-awe”. Twice, to be exact. But of course, the Japanese were the “bad guys” in the war, so you are not supposed to say things like that. You are supposed to agree with any atrocities that the Japanese were subjected to because “they were the enemy”, much in the same way as American propaganda made Serbia “the enemy” in preparation for the assault.

And I wonder why you act surprised that America supports terrorist organizations. They always have. They are the largest supporters of terrorism on the planet. If what they did against the Vietnamese is not terrorism then nothing is. The only time Americans oppose terrorism is when it is directed against them. Or against its client state.

In fact, if George W. Bush was serious about his War on Terror, he would begin by blowing himself to bits. And his entire administration. And the previous Clinton administration. He would bomb Washington. He would bomb the Pentagon. He would bomb the offices of all the war profiteers. He would reserve a few bombs for the next administration, since the Big Three are all status quo politicians (that is the only reason why they are still in the race).

If Bush was serious about justice, he would put himself on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. That is what he would do if these things really concerned him. He would drag his friends there with him. Like Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld. He would see to it that they were charged with all the lives that they wasted. He would make sure they received the same punishment as his daddy’s friend, Saddam Hussien.

If Bush was serious about democracy he would let independent nations decide for themselves instead of forcing it upon them. He doesn’t care about democracy, just as his predecessors didn’t care. They care about control.

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On Tibet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 13:12

First of all, let me say this: I find all conflict unfortunate. This includes, but is not limited to, the incidents that have happened in Tibet recently. I wish there was a better way to resolve conflicts than by force.

That being said, it should be an internal Chinese affair. Tibet is a part of China, period. I don’t have a problem with people protesting against the violence, as long as it is part of a greater protest against violence in general, not something directed simply at the Chinese. But stop calling for a “free Tibet”. Or if you do, support freedom struggles everywhere. Free the American Indians. Give them their land back. Free Iraq. Free Northern Ireland. Free Palestine.

The protesters in Tibet took the opportunity in light of the upcoming Olympic Games. The reaction was predictable, and most likely what the protesters wanted. They succeeded in getting China to be seen as a major global villain, alongside Islam. Of course, those countries that invaded Iraq are not villains. When you rule the world you define what is good and bad. And what you do is good. When others commit the same acts as you do, they are bad. Inconsistent, yes, but consistency is unimportant when you dominate the world.

The failed policies of trying to bring change by force hasn’t worked before, so why should it work in the case of China? They were going to bring democracy to Iraq, and look what happened. Iran even developed democracy by itself in the 1950s, only to have it destroyed. Who destroyed it? Take a guess. The exporters of democracy. The very same people who are now going bring democracy to Iran.

The western concept of freedom is really freedom to be exploited by us. People are concerned that China is destroying the traditional way of life in Tibet. First of all, look into what traditional Tibetan society actually looked like before defending it. But more importantly, if Tibet were to be given independence, it wouldn’t take much time before giant corporations turned it into a thriving tourist destiny, complete with the type of modern hotels that the western tourist has come to expect, proto-Buddhist or not. So much for that traditional way of life.

Then again, maybe the anger against China isn’t really about Tibet. The protests against Tibet happen in mostly in countries who don’t even regard the majority of their own populations, so why should they be so concerned about the population of Tibet? I think it has to do with the fact that China is beginning to assert its position in the world. It is challenging hegemony.

The more I think about it, the more a believe that this is what the issue really is. These darn Chinese are competing with us. They are taking our jobs. They are flooding our markets with cheap goods. They are not being obedient. They are not being the useless communists that we all love to hate, but they listened to us and adopted the market principles that we told them were superior. How bad of them!

Instead of boycotting China boycott the corporations that are sponsoring the Olympics. Their crimes are far worse than those of the Chinese government. Or boycott your own country for oppressing the majority of its own people. Protest against the artificial barriers that prevent people from moving around freely.

1984? No, but 2008

Filed under: Literature — Tags: , , , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 02:42

Okay, so George Orwell was off by a number of years. He simply overestimated the speed at which we would bring ruin upon ourselves. It didn’t happen in 1984, but in 2008 it almost looks as if we are slumbering off into an Orwellian nightmare. Sleep tight.

Recursive conspiracy theory

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 02:20

I start off with this assertion:

Conspiracy theory x is a hoax to derail us from investigating the real truth about the incident y.

You could put in 9/11 truth for x and 9/11 if you like. But I will keep it general. I wouldn’t want to exclude the UFO crowd, the Elvis is alive crowd, or anybody else for that matter. As long as you have a conspiracy theory, I can make it recurs.

Now, let’s call my conspiracy theory CT1. I go on to make claim CT2:

Conspiracy theory CT1 is just a hoax to derail us from investigating the real truth about y.

I continue adding conspiracy theories, CT3, CT4, CT5, and so on, each one claiming that the previous one is just a hoax. I get the generalized form CTn:

Conspiracy theory CT(n-1) is just a hoax to derail us from investigating the real truth about y.

I’ve got a recursive conspiracy theory! Apply it to your favorite conspiracy and you can spend the rest of your life not only questioning the original fact y but yourself as well. There is no exit to the loop, so your children, grand-children, great grand-children, and so on, can continue with this pursuit. See? I’ve given meaning to your life and to the lives of many generations to come.

Oh, and never mind the fact that there is no evidence supporting any one of these theories. This are conspiracy theories, after all. Science is itself just a hoax to prevent us from investigating the real truth. Oops, That last sentence was a hoax. As was the previous one………

2008.03.30

I need to quit smoking

Filed under: Health — Tags: , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 23:14

Dear reader:

I need your help. I need to do two things: cut down on coffee and quit smoking. I think I can manage the first one, but I keep failing on the second.

I’ve been smoking for nearly twenty years now. During that time I’ve managed to quit a few times, but always fallen back after a while. There have been periods where I’ve smoked just a few per day. Now I’m at roughly a pack a day. I began smoking for one reason and one reason only: to piss my parents off. Not party smoking, no peer pressure, just to piss them off.

I find that the biggest problem for me is the situations that I “connect” with smoking. Like taking a cup of coffee. The two just combine so well. As do cigarettes and beer. Or while waiting for somebody. Or when I’m programming and get stuck. At all these times I “instinctively” reach for a cigarette.

The one time I managed to lay off the smokes for any extended period I did so after seeing some rather gory pictures of a smoker’s lungs. That worked wonderfully well for a while. But eventually the fear wore off and I was back to my old habit. I also tried meditating, which did have some positive effects. Right now my life is so full of distractions that I don’t know where or when I would be able to meditate.

So, I’m open for all kinds of tips, because nothing I’ve tried up to now seems to do the trick. Did you kick the habit? How? Did you stop all at once or cut down gradually. How did you cope when you felt like climbing the walls like Spiderman? How did you manage not to turn every single friend into an enemy?

By the way, please, please, please, do not take the opportunity to try to cram religion down my throat. That will make me smoke more, not less.

Holocaust denial

Filed under: History — Tags: , , , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 20:57

It is frightening that in 2008 there are still many people who deny that the Holocaust against Jews, Roma and other peoples ever took place. If we haven’t learned anything from the horrors of the past, how will we be able to prevent these things from happening again?

There are some that want to debate how many people were actually killed. Does it matter? Let’s say that evidence would emerge that “only” 4 million people were killed. Or, just for sake of argument, let’s imagine that the number is “merely” 40,000. Would that make the crimes any less? Surely not. At some stage the numbers cease to matter. Whether the number of people killed is 40,000, 4 million, 6 million or 100 million doesn’t make a difference.

In the same way, it is silly to argue whether Hitler or Stalin was the “most evil” by comparing the number of people each killed, or rather, had killed. If the Nazis killed six million and the Stalin regime twenty million, does that make Stalin 14 million units more evil than Hitler? That is absurd. Both men were directly or indirectly that cause of a great number of deaths.

The fact that an entire infrastructure was built up to exterminate people on an industrial scale alone speaks volumes of the lack of regard for human life. And that was exactly what the Nazi regime built up.

Anywhere, anytime human beings get killed on a large scale by other human beings it is a crime against humanity. It happened in Europe under the Nazis, it happened in Vietnam, it happened in Rwanda, in Bosnia, in East Timor, it is happening today in Iraq, it is happening to the Palestinians on land they are denied from calling their own. It has happened too many times in too many places throughout history.

Don’t just stay at home

If your tired of the endless hot air from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain? Then look at the alternatives. They do exist, although mainstream media does their best to keep them out of the spotlight.

Don’t just stay at home on election day. Vote, it’s your right. There are candidates who propose real change, not just hope. There are candidates that do listen to the will of the people. For example, Ralph Nader. Another candidate you could look into is Mike Gravel. Note that both these candidates state exactly how they stand on important issues.

I personally have a lot of respect for Ralph Nader.

2008.03.29

Documentary about Vietnam War photographers

Filed under: Documentaries — Tags: , , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 01:58

You can watch it here.

It is a documentary from History Channel that shows the war from the point of view of the photographers that were there. I really liked it. It also made me sad. The Americans brought death and destruction upon Vietnam then just like they are bringing death and destruction upon Iraq now. And if Bush and his fellow criminals have their way, they will soon bring death and destruction upon Iran. And Syria. Is there ever going to be and end to this madness?

When the Nazi regime in Germany committed horrible crimes against humanity, Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels and others didn’t seem to ever stop and think about what they were doing. This seemed so convinced of their own superiority. The same goes for the Bush administration of today. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others have never showed any sign of regret about the human cost of this damn war in Iraq. People are dying daily, and those who live do so in misery. Yet the Bush administration is upbeat and talking about success. What is the difference between the Nazis of the 1930s and the Bush administration of today? Is there a difference?

If you watch the documentary, notice the quality of the pictures taken by the Vietnamese photographers, although they didn’t have access to good cameras and other equipment.

2008.03.28

Alfresco, business and community

Filed under: Open Source — Tags: , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 20:25

Thank you Russ for responding to my concerns regarding your previous post. Your reply fills in a lot of gaps and shows that our positions may not be quite as polar as my first response implies.

A few quick comments follow.

Is it good or bad for society when companies get this large? IMO, it depends — transparency matters at scale.

I understand that certain types of companies need to be large because of the massive investment required to even begin operations. And I agree the transparency is important. Whether or not businesses overall are transparent today is something that only time will tell. Enron, to take but one example, certainly was not.

First. I don’t work for Alfresco. I’m a community member. My opinions are my own.

Okay, cleared. Not that it would really have mattered much. I wouldn’t stop using Alfresco because of personal opinions. I would be afraid to use Alfresco if I felt that it belittled the community supporting it. More on that below.

I absolutely believe that open source has the potential to create both economic and vast social benefit.

Exactly what I hope and believe as well. I just happen to panic anytime I fear that community is being sidelined.

I like many have trepidation with large amounts of centralized power but this is because “absolute power corrupts absolutely. “ We can’t count of the benevolence of individuals or organizations because it is almost always temporal. In our industry IBM, Microsoft, Google have all struggled or continue to struggle to maintain the balance of scale and public perception. Be transparent, focus on the customer.

Well put. On an individual level I will claim that we can safely assume that within each and every one of us the ability to be both selfish and selfless, greedy and sharing, mean and kind. Often several urges exist within us simultaneously. That is why it is so flawed to divide people into good or bad, virtuous or immoral, etc.

We are also all moral agents. As human beings we can understand the consequences of our actions (if we reflect upon them). If I right about what I said in the previous paragraph, then there will be a constant struggle among different urges. In moral terms, we could say that there is an internal fight to do the “right” thing instead of the “wrong” thing. Sometimes one urge wins, at other times another in each individual, leading us all to have some degree of unpredictability.

With corporations things are very much different. Corporations, at least if we mean the modern business corporation, exists primarily to seek profit. It may have other functions as well, but the struggle for higher profits always take the upper hand.

Further, corporations are not moral agents. One could argue that the individuals behind the corporation are moral agents. But with a board of directors, CEO, stock holders, employees, etc., who decides? The shareholders ultimately want profits, which means that a business is forced to seek the path of profit, no matter what. IBM, Microsoft, Monsanto, Enron, Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Bechtel are just a few examples of businesses that have blood on their hands in the search for profits. Blackwater is an example of a company that is extremely disturbing because of the types of activities it involves itself in order to get more for its shareholders.

The System that is Open Source would not survive on community alone. “It’s not about community” is meant to say that open source is not a hierarchy of components but a network and that community alone does not make open source what it is.

It would be very easy for me to nitpick here and rip this apart, but I don’t think that will achieve anything, because I am sure that I understand what you mean, not what you wrote. Open source in some form could survive even without much business support. But that is not a form that neither you nor I would like to see. We want to see open source thrive and that will require a wide array of interests, including commercial ones.

I like Lorenzo believe that the community should be strong via its rights (example: right to fork, right to vote on direction) and diverse.

Obviously this is the core issue for me. It is what gives the open source community its anarchic nature.

When it comes to software development, I favor the model that is used by the Linux kernel hackers, among others. Each developer is essentially working on his or her own project, each of which happens to be a “fork” of Linux. Linus Torvalds studies each of these different forks and pulls in changes that he feels will benefit Linux itself. Very few people actually use Linux however. Most people use one or more of the “forks”.

This is a highly decentralized model. It ensures the liberty of each developer to work on exactly what they want to work on (obviously within the framework of the kernel). It could be validly argued that this can lead to inefficiencies as developers may be stepping on each others’ toes on some parts of the kernel, while parts are not worked on at all. But I would argue that liberty is more important than efficiency. We are human beings, not ants.

Also, assuming that the Linux kernel generates enough interest and thereby enough developers, in theory each part of the kernel should get worked on.

If my developers want to work on MySQL or other open source software (that is contextual to my business) on their own time – more power to them.

Thanks for a good response to something that became a bit of an unnecessary rant from my side. Part of my comments were not really fair, now that I look at them again. I do have a question about the that is contextual to my business. I hope that does not imply that you would be unhappy if they worked on, say, Battle for Wesnoth on their own time. After all, their own time is their own time.

I believe Alfresco should look for community partnership in core development, but I also believe that it will be rare that they find it. Development is expensive business and both sides must find ways to leverage each other in a fashion, which is symbiotic.

I think you are hitting on something here. The are relatively new relationships, at least on a larger scale. Sure companies like Red Hat have been around for quite some time now, but I think it will take a while before community and business in general learn to coordinate activities, to accept and take advantage of each others’ existence.

I remember a few years ago there was a lot of talk about “bounties” where developers solve specific problems for a company, present their solution and get paid. I kind of liked the idea, since I am a notoriously bad employee. It has since got quiet. I am not sure why. Does the model itself not work? Is it not being done right? Did Google Summer of Code kill it?

Open Source and in general the ideas put forward in Clue Train bring balance to the system by empowering the members of the market with a voice and a recognized lion share of the power. It rightly positions the companies in a position of service rather than in a position of supreme power with the potential for the kind of abuse that is associated there.

I have to admit, I didn’t read Clue Train yet. I will do so. Limiting corporate power, as well as any other form of power that cannot demonstrate itself to be legitimate, is very important to me.

Should people be compensated for their work? Yes, without a doubt in my mind. Should we have a social conscious? Yes Absolutely. I think that open source is capable of accomplishing both.

Difficult not agree with that. Note, however, my comments earlier, about the inability of organizations to be moral agents.

I believe in strong leaders who see social interests as commercial interests hence the Peter Drucker quote.

That one will take a bit of pondering. As you would expect, I ultimately do not believe in leaders at all, strong or weak. Or at least, only a few leaders in very specific circumstances who are forced to be accountable for every action they take.

I think that it would be a very good thing if we could get businesses to be socially aware at the same time as the seek profit. We probably differ on priorities. I would say that social responsibility should always take priority. You are probably of a different mind. At least I guess that you would want to get rid of the word “always”. Today, the general idea in most of the business community is the opposite: commercial interests should always take priority, for reasons I have already mentioned. I am very much opposed to that as I see it to be destructive on several different levels: environmentally, socially etc.

At the foundation, we differ in political beliefs. Not necessarily all. I believe that government and the legal system should be totally or largely eradicated, as I think they do far more harm than good. I believe we humans form societies naturally and that within a society there need to be rules. But I think communitarian forms of deciding an maintaining its own rules are better than laws that are dictated by elites (who also have the power to bypass those very laws).

I also believe that capitalism must be smashed. You will disagree here, no doubt, but I cannot find any way to justify a system that is founded on the principle of “individual greed leads to the common good”. History has shown that individual greed leads mostly to individual wealth. A system that does not put up any limits will by necessity migrate into more and more areas in search for more profits. Hence the assault on labor unions, the attempts to destroy any form of social welfare, the rise of large-scale corporate capitalism, global capitalism, war capitalism and disaster capitalism. New areas where profits can be found, while the individual is trampled upon.

In short, the capitalist system will destroy us all if we don’t dismantle it. I have given relatively little thought to how economic life would be organized. I would not want a situation where everything gets collectively owned (especially not if that collective owner is the state). It must be something that guarantees the freedom from working under anybody, individual, organization or the state.

This was hastily put together. Some of your comments deserve more thought. I am also not certain about exactly how open source can aid and promote social change by itself. I have a bunch of loose ideas, but there is nothing even resembling coherence among those ideas. I will touch upon this more at a later date.

The meaning of H-O-M-E-L-A-N-D

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 02:26

Picked it up from here:

The two party corporate political system is having a HOMELAND presidential campaign—Hillary, Obama, McCain, Election, Lacking, Actual, National, Debate.

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