Blogs

Who's my next big Hollywood hope? George Lucas. No joke.

As George Lucas said in Time Magazine:

"All democracies turn into dictatorships—but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea ... What kinds of things push people and institutions into this direction?

...That's the issue that I've been exploring: How did the Republic turn into the Empire? That's paralleled with: How did Anakin turn into Darth Vader? How does a good person go bad, and how does a democracy become a dictatorship? It isn't that the Empire conquered the Republic, it's that the Empire is the Republic."

"Lucas' comments clarify the connection between the Anakin trilogy and the Luke trilogy: that the Empire was created out of the corruption of the Republic, and that somebody had to fight it."

"One day Princess Leia and her friends woke up and said, 'This isn't the Republic anymore, it's the Empire. We are the bad guys. Well, we don't agree with this. This democracy is a sham, it's all wrong.'"

The none-too-subtle staged terrorist attack against Senator Padme Amidala's ship to usher in an era of "security" and ultimately the take-over by the Dark Side did not go unnoticed. I didn't miss the similarities to the problem-reaction-solution system that has been utilized by world leaders as far back as the history books go. The parents who paid $8 admission charge each for their kids to see Episode 2 seemed to have missed the point. But the children got it.

Is It Time To Get a Divorce from America?

Anyone who's tried to counsel a friend who's in an abusive relationship will recognize the pattern. The abusee stubbornly holds on to the hope that the abuser can be reformed. She may welcome the sympathy of friends who try to comfort her, but if they firmly suggest that she get out of house and hire a lawyer to begin divorce proceedings, she rebukes them angrily.

That's what I encounter over and over again as an American expat who urges people who are righly afraid of their government to make some preparations to leave the country. They're more than ready to tell you about the fear they feel because their privacy has been breached, their vote left uncounted, their children sent to war, and their liberty and even lives threatened because of their religion, ethnicity, gender orientation or political beliefs. But watch out if you ever suggest that it would be prudent for someone in their position to consider "getting out of the house" before this obviously dangerous abuser makes good on his threats.

Their emotional reaction is especially telling because moving out of the country was no big deal until a few years ago. For years, people have been retiring to Mexico and Central America to enjoy the warm winters and lower cost of living. Why is it OK to leave the United States to seek a better climate or a cheaper condo but anathema to depart for a place where your phones aren't tapped or detention camps aren't being readied for troublemakers like you?

Missing the Forest for the Trees - Notes About the New Site

Well, I'm happy to say that it has been 24 hours and the new site is still up and running. I am afraid that some people might be missing the point of the new site, or perhaps be reminiscing about the old site and how used to it they had gotten. I hope that this post will provide a bit more insight into our reasons for switching over to the new system, and I hope that it will also show that what you see now is just a step in the evolvement of 911blogger.com.

First off, it should be noted that this site is definitely in transition right now, in a sense this new site is in its infancy. Whereas the old site had basically stayed the exact same for the last 6+ months, this new site will be going through a period in which we knock out any bugs, improve on the usability, and add a bunch of new features which otherwise would have been impossible given the previous site's architecture. It is imperative that our users understand that we are working hard to make this new site many times better than the old site, but it will take some time and some constructive help from our users, so please be patient with us!

We have gotten a good bit of feedback posted in the comments and via email. I have been compiling lists of the suggestions and bugs and I will begin working on these starting tomorrow night. Just to give an idea of the things I have on my plate I have made public my following todo lists, please check them over and if you see something you think should be added then post some details in the comments:

(more after the jump..)

False Flag RED ALERT - San Diego, CA - Aug 21-26

(From FalseFlagNews.com)

(FFN Editors note: Here we again see a private company, ESS, setting up and managing the crisis drill. They are joined by other firms like Google, Microsoft and the infamous "charity" Save the Children. We must remember that while the military and government often take the bulk of the blame for terror drills, private firms like are usually providing logistical support or more...)

RED ALERT: "Strong Angel III" pandemic/cyberterror/continuity drills in San Diego, CA Aug 21-26

http://sev.prnewswire.com/computer-electronics/20060814/LAM10914082006-1.html

ESS to Participate in Strong Angel III Integrated Disaster Response Demonstration
ESS to Test the Company's New On-Demand Crisis Management Software During the Event

ESS to Participate in Strong Angel III Integrated Disaster Response Demonstration

TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- ESS today announced its participation in Strong Angel III, a collaborative demonstration of civil and military cooperation and communication capabilities put together by a partnership of private companies, government agencies, humanitarian and relief agencies and universities. Hosted by San Diego State University and taking place in San Diego August 21-26, Strong Angel III will field test effective means of delivering life-saving humanitarian relief and rapidly deployable communications systems in the wake of major disasters.

The core site for Strong Angel III will be the operations center at the San Diego Fire Department Fire Rescue Training Facility site, located at the former Naval Training Center near downtown San Diego. San Diego State University's Visualization Center will be a secondary location.

The Strong Angel III demonstration simulates the impact on information sharing in a real-world disaster. The demonstration will assume the context of a worldwide pandemic caused by a highly contagious virus, which is further complicated by a wave of cyber-attacks inflicted by terrorists that cripple critical local infrastructure and systems. Strong Angel III team members will conduct field trials and demonstrations of solutions that address 49 specific humanitarian relief challenges -- both technical and social -- that have not yet been adequately overcome in real disaster relief efforts.

"In the wake of major incidents like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Southeast Asia, it is more important than ever to have an integrated response when disaster strikes," said Eric Rasmussen, MD, director of Strong Angel III and professor at San Diego State University. "The level of public-and private-sector engagement in Strong Angel III is at a remarkable level, underscoring the significance of the task at hand and the commitment of everyone involved to work together to maximize preparedness and coordination efforts."

Some of the demonstrations will include developing solutions for redundant power, adaptive communications, austere network communications, mobile workers, cross-organizational collaboration, mesh networking, satellite services, ephemeral workgroups, geospatial information systems, rapid assessment techniques, shared situational awareness, cyber-security, alerting tools, community informatics, machine-based translation for multi-lingual communication, and social network development.

Strong Angel III sponsors include Google, Cisco Systems, CommsFirst, Microsoft, Save the Children, Sprint Nextel, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

ESS will participate as part of a team from the National Institute for Urban Search and Rescue (NIUSR) and will also test its new Crisis Management application during the exercise. John Gargett, Product Manager for Crisis Management at ESS and a member of the NIUSR Executive Board, will serve as Team NIUSR Command. Other ESS staff members on Team NIUSR include Chuck Mancini, National Solutions Manager -- Crisis Management for ESS, as IT Unit Specialist; Tony Bellomo, ESS Senior Technical Consultant, as IT Director; John Ketcham, Crisis Management Practice Manager at ESS, as Situation Unit Leader; and Curtis Moreland, Director of Information Technology at ESS, as Server Manager.

"ESS is committed to the Crisis Management community and to helping with the successful execution of this valuable event," said Robert Johnson, CEO of ESS. "Being able to test our new product during an exercise of this magnitude is a great opportunity."

Louis Clark McCoy, President of NIUSR, said, "We are excited about the participation of ESS in this important activity. Using the ESS application to manage certain aspects of Strong Angel III will provide us with a number of benefits, both during the event and for post-event metrics that will help us measure the success of the exercise."

The new application, on-demand emergency response product by ESS, will be used for a variety of activities during Strong Angel, including monitoring unit logs, incident logs, resource deployments, personnel deployments and Incident Command System (ICS) position checklists. The software is designed to help organizations respond to any kind of incident -- big or small, short- or long-term -- by making it easy to perform a range of essential tasks.

"We are looking forward to this exercise," said Gargett. "You can never do too much to prepare for real-world disasters and our interest in this is two-fold, in terms of helping to mitigate the impact of a disaster through practice as well as enhanced technology."

About Strong Angel III

Strong Angel III is the third in a series of demonstrations that have taken place since 2000. The first two Strong Angel demonstrations were held in 2000 and 2004 in Hawaii associated with the joint Naval exercises called RIMPAC. Strong Angel III will issue a lessons-learned document on its website as soon as possible after conclusion of the demonstration. For more information on Strong Angel III and a listing of participating public- and private-sector organizations, please visit http://www.strongangel3.net/.

About ESS

ESS is a leading provider of Operational Risk Management software and services for Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) and Crisis Management. The company has provided Essential Suite(TM) and Compliance Suite(TM) solutions to more than 17,000 businesses, government agencies and other organizations worldwide. For information, visit http://www.ess-home.com/.

Media Contact: Dawn Kehr
Phone: 480.346.5526
E-mail: ess-media@ess-home.com

Website: r information, visit http://www.ess-home.com/

Is Wikipedia subject to "Information Operations In Support of Special Operations"?

An article by Professor James Fetezer (co-founder of 9-11 Scholars for truth ,http://www.st911.org) titled "Wikipedia: What it Doesn't Say about Scholars for 9/11 Truth" makes interested reading and is thought provoking considering the treatment of the 9/11 truth movement by Wikipedia, or the unseen hands and minds which control it. Wikipedia claims to be a non-biased searchable knowledge base, a "wiki", that is essentially a website that allows users to easily add, remove, edit available content. Wikipedia is a tremendous source of factual information, however we must always question the information and validate information independently of Wikipedia. If the general public feel that Wikipedia is a great source of "factual" information, you can be assured that the government has also realised and acted on this. If "REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES - Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century" is to be taken as a terms-of-reference for all that has transpired since September 11th 2001, then surely the statement "The Internet is also playing an increasingly important role in warfare and human political conflict" (page 69), needs to be taken as seriously as the often quoted "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor" (page 63).

The Dawn of a New blog

My personal blog will stray off the 9/11 path as I see fit.

IMO, a matter which is equally important to empowering politically active citizens of the United States is to ensure that the votes count. I'll be dropping links about Election Fraud and other political issues over time.

Welcome to the Monkey House.

-reprehensor


Pull The Plug

Aviel Rubin, 09.04.06, 12:00 AM ET

You don't like hanging chads? Get ready for cheating chips and doctored drives.

I am a computer scientist. I own seven Macintosh computers, one Windows machine and a Palm Treo 700p with a GPS unit, and I chose my car (Infiniti M35x) because it had the most gadgets of any vehicle in its class. My 7-year-old daughter uses e-mail. So why am I advocating the use of 17th-century technology for voting in the 21st century--as one of my critics puts it?

The 2000 debacle in Florida spurred a rush to computerize voting. In 2002 Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, which handed out $2.6 billion to spend on voting machines. Most of that cash was used to acquire Direct Recording Electronic voting machines.

Yet while computers are very proficient at counting, displaying choices and producing records, we should not rely on computers alone to count votes in public elections. The people who program them make mistakes, and, safeguards aside, they are more vulnerable to manipulation than most people realize. Even an event as common as a power glitch could cause a hard disk to fail or a magnetic card that holds votes to permanently lose its data. The only remedy then: Ask voters to come back to the polls. In a 2003 election in Boone County, Ind., DREs recorded 144,000 votes in one precinct populated with fewer than 6,000 registered voters. Though election officials caught the error, it's easy to imagine a scenario where such mistakes would go undetected until after a victor has been declared.

Consider one simple mode of attack that has already proved effective on a widely used DRE, the Accuvote made by Diebold (nyse: DBD - news - people ). It's called overwriting the boot loader, the software that runs first when the machine is booted up. The boot loader controls which operating system loads, so it is the most security-critical piece of the machine. In overwriting it an attacker can, for example, make the machine count every fifth Republican vote as a Democratic vote, swap the vote outcome at the end of the election or produce a completely fabricated result. To stage this attack, a night janitor at the polling place would need only a few seconds' worth of access to the computer's memory card slot.

Further, an attacker can modify what's known as the ballot definition file on the memory card. The outcome: Votes for two candidates for a particular office are swapped. This attack works by programming the software to recognize the precinct number where the machine is situated. If the attack code limits its execution to precincts that are statistically close but still favor a particular party, it goes unnoticed.

One might argue that one way to prevent this attack is to randomize the precinct numbers inside the software. But that's an argument made in hindsight. If the defense against the attack is not built into the voting system, the attack will work, and there are virtually limitless ways to attack a system. And let's not count on hiring 24-hour security guards to protect voting machines.

DREs have a transparency problem: You can't easily discover if they've been tinkered with. It's one thing to suspect that officials have miscounted hanging chads but something else entirely for people to wonder whether a corrupt programmer working behind the scenes has rigged a computer to help his side.

My ideal system isn't entirely Luddite. It physically separates the candidate selection process from vote casting. Voters make their selections on a touchscreen machine, but the machine does not tabulate votes. It simply prints out paper ballots with the voters' choices marked. The voters review the paper ballots to make sure the votes have been properly recorded. Then the votes are counted; one way is by running them through an optical scanner. After the polls close, some number of precincts are chosen at random, and the ballots are hand counted and compared with the optical scan totals to make sure they are accurate. The beauty of this system is that it leaves a tangible audit trail. Even the designer of the system cannot cheat if the voters check the printed ballots and if the optical scanners are audited.

Aviel Rubin, professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University and author of Brave New Ballot: The Battle To Safeguard Democracy In The Age Of Electronic Voting.

 

Noam Chomsky: a great intellectual? a gatekeeper? a shill? Or all three?

 Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

Even if it were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares?”


Video of Noam Chomsky answering a question about 9/11 scepticism;

9/11 reloaded

I made a short 9/11 film, check it out here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-izPdng8Ck

Site Work for Wednesday Night

don't you hate it when you work on something for a few hours and when your done you feel you have nothing to show for it? i know i do.. in any event, i spent a bit of time tonight trying to figure out the moderation and voting systems that are out there for drupal.. i've just been playing around with them on my local machine though as the implementation will probably be a bit more complex than the stuff i've been adding to the live site.. i'm guessing at this point that user based voting systems will not be in place at the initial launch - which is fine by me.. my main goals are to get the comments sections user moderated (comments with a 10% or less approval rate will be automatically deleted), and news story submissions user moderated (news stories with a 65% or higher approval rate will be automatically published to the front page).. of course these are just general ideas at the moment, there definately will be a period of fine tuning in the first few weeks after the new site launches.. in any event, i did get a couple of things done asside from the research..

  • setup new feedback pages for submitting news, comments, and contacting individual Team+Members
  • fixed issue where '9/11 Related Music' and '9/11 Related Videos' header buttons weren't working in FireFox

thats really it.. i spent a bit of time also playing around with little icons next to things like 'add comment', 'comments', and the category tags.. it actually looked pretty cool, but the icon for tags would show even if there werent any tags entered.. i'll probably come back to this at some point once all the functionality is in place and i can add some more swank to the layout.. oh, and i also played around a bit with getting the news page (home) to list date headers like on the current site, and to make the archive show an entire month at once.. hopefully these two things can get done tommorrow night.. still gunna plan on doing the switch on saturday morning, my only concern right now is whether the server overhead will be more or less.. we shall see..

Site Work for Monday and Tuesday Night..

Ended up wasting a couple hours having to write a nice letter to someone who screwed up on some wedding stuff I had ordered, only to end up wasting about another hour or so with a glitch in the profiles for the WYSIWYG editor.. but I did get a few things done..

  • WYSIWYG editor now has seperate profiles for Team Members and standard users - keeps users from doing certain things that might cause issues
  • Setup 'tags' site section - Shows a 'tag cloud'.. basically it shows all the tags/categories associated with posts. it isn't much now, but once all 1600+ posts are brought over and tagged it should be quite handy
  • Setup 'quotes' site section and panel - Users can now enter in quotes which after vetting will appear in the 'quotes' section and in the new 'Random Quote' panel.
  • Added a slight color and border to the nodes formatting so that all the posts don't just run together

Here are a few things I got done last night:

  • Fixed favicon not showing
  • Updated footer
  • Fixed issue with relative URLS in panel blocks (i hope)
  • Setup 'events' site section and panel - Users can now enter in upcoming events which after vetting will appear in the 'events' calendar and in the 'Upcoming Events' panel.

I'm definately looking foward to building out a resources section.. Basically allow users to submit flyers, links to buy shirts, books, movies, etc. etc. as well as general information on forms of activism.. Not exactly sure how we're gunna handle this yet.. probably gotta figure out content ratings and moderation a bit better first..