maxomai: dog (dog)

  • In Egypt, we learn that the United States helped bankroll the anti-Morsi movement. Which means, in effect, that all this hand-wringing about whether Morsi's ouster was a coup is just kabuki. Justin Raimondo lays it out for us here.

  • Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are throwing money at the interim Egyptian government ... probably with the tacit understanding that elections, civil liberties, and the like, should not be a priority. If there's anyone who's threatened by the Arab Spring, it's the arthritic monarchies of the Peninsula.

  • A Q-poll of 2014 American voters shows that a majority view NSA leaker Snowden as a whistleblower, not a traitor; which once again goes to show that the political leadership and pundits are painfully out of touch.

  • Microsoft is undergoing a massive reorganization after more than a decade of stagnation and losing ground to Apple, Google, Amazon, and others. And yet, Steve Ballmer remains at the helm, when any reputable analyst would suggest that his first move should be to fire himself. Still, there is good news - you can't get fired for buying Microsoft. (Parenthetically, remember when IBM was, you know, relevant?)

  • Are you on the J. D. Holmes mailing list? You should be. If you were, then you'd know that the re-release of Cults of the Shadow is now available for pre-order.

  • College students are really enthusiastic about math and science, until they realize that they're actually really hard. Draw your own parallels.

maxomai: dog (Default)
A year ago - December 27, 2011 - I gave my predictions for what would happen in 2012. Unlike most other political pundits, however, I score myself on my predictions a year later.

My predictions for last year were:


  1. Barack Obama will be re-elected to a second term as President.

  2. John Boehner will be ousted as Speaker of the House.

  3. Democrats will just barely hold on to the US Senate

  4. The US unemployment rate will dip below 8%.

  5. The European Union will hold on .. barely.

  6. Inflation will remain below 10%.

  7. Protest movements in the US, Russia, Europe and MENA will accelerate.

  8. The US will substantially reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan.

  9. Oregon will win the Rose Bowl.



Let's see how I did!

Read more... )
maxomai: dog (Default)

  • You've probably heard that Microsoft is buying Skype (2)...which has Linux users wondering, "what alternative is there for us?" Well, for now, there's Empathy for GNOME, kinda; but in the future there might be another, somewhat better alternative if GNU Telephony (2) can get off the ground. If your C++ is up to snuff, and you like keeping Microsoft honest, this is a good place to participate. (And hey, there's always voice.google.comGoogle Voice, right? Right?)

  • Strikes are rolling across Egypt, and an examination of these strikes can provide clues as to how Egyptian society, post-revolution, is taking shape. For example: via @alaa comes word that medical workers are striking in Egypt, against the neoliberal slant of the new government. Interestingly, the Muslim Brotherhood leadership opposes the strike - and the Muslim Brotherhood membership voted for and joined the strike. "Four legs good, two legs better" is the new rule in the Muslim Brotherhood, apparently. BTW, the strike is being led by a Christian woman.

  • Will US troops stay in Iraq past the summer deadline? It appears that the US isn't taking "no" for an answer.

  • Krugman sums up the problems with Obama's falsely-so-called deficit commission, here.

  • What I want for my birthday is a pair of these - and a pair of feet that will fit into them. Ah well.

maxomai: dog (Default)

  • You've probably heard that Microsoft is buying Skype (2)...which has Linux users wondering, "what alternative is there for us?" Well, for now, there's Empathy for GNOME, kinda; but in the future there might be another, somewhat better alternative if GNU Telephony (2) can get off the ground. If your C++ is up to snuff, and you like keeping Microsoft honest, this is a good place to participate. (And hey, there's always voice.google.comGoogle Voice, right? Right?)

  • Strikes are rolling across Egypt, and an examination of these strikes can provide clues as to how Egyptian society, post-revolution, is taking shape. For example: via @alaa comes word that medical workers are striking in Egypt, against the neoliberal slant of the new government. Interestingly, the Muslim Brotherhood leadership opposes the strike - and the Muslim Brotherhood membership voted for and joined the strike. "Four legs good, two legs better" is the new rule in the Muslim Brotherhood, apparently. BTW, the strike is being led by a Christian woman.

  • Will US troops stay in Iraq past the summer deadline? It appears that the US isn't taking "no" for an answer.

  • Krugman sums up the problems with Obama's falsely-so-called deficit commission, here.

  • What I want for my birthday is a pair of these - and a pair of feet that will fit into them. Ah well.

maxomai: dog (Default)
  • Anonymous started releasing leaks from Bank of America detailing their schemes for fraudulently foreclosing on home mortgages. More at bankofamericasuck.com/ (currently slashdotted). Of course Slashdot has a discussion.

  • How's the revolution going in Libya? Not well. In fact, despite the claims of the Bengazi leadership and even if the rest of the world gets off their asses and establishes the no-fly zone they've been debating for almost three weeks now, it's looking almost certain than Bengazi will get crushed. And in Bahrain the Emir has asked Saudi Arabia to step in. Looks like the Arab Spring could be coming to a quick, bloody end soon, with only Egypt and Tunisia being the better.

  • Egypt blogger and metalhead @3arabawy (2) was using Flickr to store images for his awesomely-named Piggipedia project, intended to shine a light on the Egyptian secret police, especially their torturers. Flickr (which is, btw, still hosting some of the Piggipedia photos) decided that they didn't want to host photos from the Egyptian secret police complex, and deleted them, using the lame excuse that they violated IP. This turned into an epic fail when Anonymous, and then Slashdot, caught on. Now not only is the Piggipedia project (2 - PDF) alive, it's gotten more attention than it ever would have had Flickr not been a bunch of assholes who sympathize with torture. That, and of course Flickr looks like a bunch of assholes who sympathize with torture.

  • Oregon Governor Kitzhaber, and the mayors of Portland, Eugene, Seattle and Vancouver BC, have officially asked for the high-speed rail money that the teabagger governors have rejected. The hope is to have high-speed rail from BC to Duck Territory. (Beavers can drive to Salem.) More here and here.

  • James Cameron was set to produce and Guerillmo del Toro was set to direct a $150 million Universal Studios production of At The Mountains of Madness -- when Universal balked. According to Del Toro, the Studio's actuaries don't think that an R-rated movie (which Mountains of Madness would almost certainly be, because it's such an intense story) can gross enough to justify the $150M budget; and Del Toro wasn't willing to do this movie on a smaller budget, or worse yet, Disney up the story to guarantee a PG-13 rating. Lovecraft fans are mounting a campaign to get Universal to change their minds. There's even a FaceBook page.

  • Check out Qatar's web censor page. Isn't it just disgustingly cute?

  • Could this - an ancient settlement in Spain that was apparently wiped out by a tsunami - be Atlantis?

maxomai: dog (Default)
  • Anonymous started releasing leaks from Bank of America detailing their schemes for fraudulently foreclosing on home mortgages. More at bankofamericasuck.com/ (currently slashdotted). Of course Slashdot has a discussion.

  • How's the revolution going in Libya? Not well. In fact, despite the claims of the Bengazi leadership and even if the rest of the world gets off their asses and establishes the no-fly zone they've been debating for almost three weeks now, it's looking almost certain than Bengazi will get crushed. And in Bahrain the Emir has asked Saudi Arabia to step in. Looks like the Arab Spring could be coming to a quick, bloody end soon, with only Egypt and Tunisia being the better.

  • Egypt blogger and metalhead @3arabawy (2) was using Flickr to store images for his awesomely-named Piggipedia project, intended to shine a light on the Egyptian secret police, especially their torturers. Flickr (which is, btw, still hosting some of the Piggipedia photos) decided that they didn't want to host photos from the Egyptian secret police complex, and deleted them, using the lame excuse that they violated IP. This turned into an epic fail when Anonymous, and then Slashdot, caught on. Now not only is the Piggipedia project (2 - PDF) alive, it's gotten more attention than it ever would have had Flickr not been a bunch of assholes who sympathize with torture. That, and of course Flickr looks like a bunch of assholes who sympathize with torture.

  • Oregon Governor Kitzhaber, and the mayors of Portland, Eugene, Seattle and Vancouver BC, have officially asked for the high-speed rail money that the teabagger governors have rejected. The hope is to have high-speed rail from BC to Duck Territory. (Beavers can drive to Salem.) More here and here.

  • James Cameron was set to produce and Guerillmo del Toro was set to direct a $150 million Universal Studios production of At The Mountains of Madness -- when Universal balked. According to Del Toro, the Studio's actuaries don't think that an R-rated movie (which Mountains of Madness would almost certainly be, because it's such an intense story) can gross enough to justify the $150M budget; and Del Toro wasn't willing to do this movie on a smaller budget, or worse yet, Disney up the story to guarantee a PG-13 rating. Lovecraft fans are mounting a campaign to get Universal to change their minds. There's even a FaceBook page.

  • Check out Qatar's web censor page. Isn't it just disgustingly cute?

  • Could this - an ancient settlement in Spain that was apparently wiped out by a tsunami - be Atlantis?

maxomai: dog (Default)
Each file is on one (1) person.

#StateSecurity file archive. Each file is for one person. Fee... on Twitpic

In other news, Al Jazeera has finally caught up with today's events in Egypt. Read about it here.
maxomai: dog (Default)
Each file is on one (1) person.

#StateSecurity file archive. Each file is for one person. Fee... on Twitpic

In other news, Al Jazeera has finally caught up with today's events in Egypt. Read about it here.
maxomai: dog (Default)
This morning news came over the usual Twitter feeds that @3arabawy and other protesters raided the Egyptian Secret Police headquarters after rumors that they were destroying evidence. What they found is disturbing, but sadly, not surprising.

For example, they found this machine, a torture device made in Germany. The gentleman in the sweater is demonstrating how he was tortured in this device. (Not graphic)



They also found shredded documents.



Lots and lots of shredded documents.





Most of which, by the way, should be relatively easy for a motivated party (such as Egypt's protesters) to reconstruct, seeing as they are band-cut. That could make things very interesting for all sorts of regimes that liked to outsource their questionable interrogation practices. (I'm looking at you, W. And I hope I'm not looking at You, Barrack.)

More from the BBC.

Incidentally, it's also come out that the Mubarak regime was using Gamma Group's software to monitor emails and Skype calls of dissidents.

UPDATES

  • Not seeing any coverage of this on CNN or Al Jazeera English. Boo.

  • 3arabawy's blog is being slashdotted right now. Nonetheless, he records his experiences of this morning's raid here, here, and here.

  • Wikileaks is offering to reconstruct those shredded documents. Hoo man.

  • There's a FB page for secrets uncovered from the SSHQ raid here.
maxomai: dog (Default)
This morning news came over the usual Twitter feeds that @3arabawy and other protesters raided the Egyptian Secret Police headquarters after rumors that they were destroying evidence. What they found is disturbing, but sadly, not surprising.

For example, they found this machine, a torture device made in Germany. The gentleman in the sweater is demonstrating how he was tortured in this device. (Not graphic)



They also found shredded documents.



Lots and lots of shredded documents.





Most of which, by the way, should be relatively easy for a motivated party (such as Egypt's protesters) to reconstruct, seeing as they are band-cut. That could make things very interesting for all sorts of regimes that liked to outsource their questionable interrogation practices. (I'm looking at you, W. And I hope I'm not looking at You, Barrack.)

More from the BBC.

Incidentally, it's also come out that the Mubarak regime was using Gamma Group's software to monitor emails and Skype calls of dissidents.

UPDATES

  • Not seeing any coverage of this on CNN or Al Jazeera English. Boo.

  • 3arabawy's blog is being slashdotted right now. Nonetheless, he records his experiences of this morning's raid here, here, and here.

  • Wikileaks is offering to reconstruct those shredded documents. Hoo man.

  • There's a FB page for secrets uncovered from the SSHQ raid here.
maxomai: dog (Default)
Well, are they?

Some of Egypt's revolutionaries certainly think so. Check out this tweet....notice who's retweeting it.

This shouldn't surprise anyone who gets Marxism.
maxomai: dog (Default)
Well, are they?

Some of Egypt's revolutionaries certainly think so. Check out this tweet....notice who's retweeting it.

This shouldn't surprise anyone who gets Marxism.
maxomai: dog (Default)
So far this week, we have not one, not two, but seven different revolts taking place that are drawing inspiration from the events of last week in Egypt.

  • In Bahrain, thousands of pro-democracy protesters were cleared out of a public square through brutal police action while many of them slept. Police are also attacking ambulances helping the injured. The protesters have since re-gathered; the Army is reportedly rolling in now. The King regrets the violence but whatever legitimacy he had is pretty much gone.

  • In Iran, the government is basically things up as they go along. They even went so far as to stage a funeral for an anti-regime protester killed by the government, and claim that he was actually a government agent attacked by anti-regime protesters.

  • In Libya, Gaddafi's government is responding to protests with bullets first. Not tear gas, not water cannons, not rubber bullets; live ammo first. This apparently has not deterred the protesters.

  • In Jordan protests have been relatively quiet. The demonstrators are asking the King to give up some of his powers. The King has not acquiesced but has not tried to trample them down, either.

  • In Yemen, reports aired earlier on Al Jazeera that the people were too conservative to revolt appear to have been exaggerated. Not much details right now except that the regime is responding by killing its people.

  • In Iraq, the actions of yesterday have unleashed 31 more protests across that nation. More here.

  • And last but not least, state workers in Wisconsin are drawing their own parallels between their own fight against Gov. Walker's union busting and the the Egypt revolution. See here, here and here.


2011 is promising to be a very interesting year. And just as in the 1960s when the only way to get the truth was through underground newspapers, in this decade the best first hand information is from Twitter.

Stay tuned!
maxomai: dog (Default)
So far this week, we have not one, not two, but seven different revolts taking place that are drawing inspiration from the events of last week in Egypt.

  • In Bahrain, thousands of pro-democracy protesters were cleared out of a public square through brutal police action while many of them slept. Police are also attacking ambulances helping the injured. The protesters have since re-gathered; the Army is reportedly rolling in now. The King regrets the violence but whatever legitimacy he had is pretty much gone.

  • In Iran, the government is basically things up as they go along. They even went so far as to stage a funeral for an anti-regime protester killed by the government, and claim that he was actually a government agent attacked by anti-regime protesters.

  • In Libya, Gaddafi's government is responding to protests with bullets first. Not tear gas, not water cannons, not rubber bullets; live ammo first. This apparently has not deterred the protesters.

  • In Jordan protests have been relatively quiet. The demonstrators are asking the King to give up some of his powers. The King has not acquiesced but has not tried to trample them down, either.

  • In Yemen, reports aired earlier on Al Jazeera that the people were too conservative to revolt appear to have been exaggerated. Not much details right now except that the regime is responding by killing its people.

  • In Iraq, the actions of yesterday have unleashed 31 more protests across that nation. More here.

  • And last but not least, state workers in Wisconsin are drawing their own parallels between their own fight against Gov. Walker's union busting and the the Egypt revolution. See here, here and here.


2011 is promising to be a very interesting year. And just as in the 1960s when the only way to get the truth was through underground newspapers, in this decade the best first hand information is from Twitter.

Stay tuned!
maxomai: dog (Default)
In a recent diary on the Second Amendment we heard the most right and honorable Twigg beatify the Egyptian revolutionaries thusly:

They didn't arm themselves, they didn't form militias, they didn't, in fact, either shoot anyone nor even, to my knowledge, carry small arms. They carried just the arms they were born with, and they raised their arms, their hearts and their voices in peaceful protest. They exercised their human right to gather and protest. They sent their message loudly, clearly and irresistibly from the center of Cairo, the short distance to the Presidential Palace via the assembled and watchful military.

Their guns were Facebook, their bombs were Twitter, and their nuclear weapon was an unshakable resolve that "We Shall Not Be Moved". That's it. That is what it took, and that is all that it took.


Which is, actually, a massive rose-colored whitewash of how things went down. Let us wind back in time to Groundhog Day, Feb 2 2011, and visit a time when the revolution almost got crushed, except that the Egyptian people took up arms and fought back.

Wherein we see our shadows... )
maxomai: dog (Default)
In a recent diary on the Second Amendment we heard the most right and honorable Twigg beatify the Egyptian revolutionaries thusly:

They didn't arm themselves, they didn't form militias, they didn't, in fact, either shoot anyone nor even, to my knowledge, carry small arms. They carried just the arms they were born with, and they raised their arms, their hearts and their voices in peaceful protest. They exercised their human right to gather and protest. They sent their message loudly, clearly and irresistibly from the center of Cairo, the short distance to the Presidential Palace via the assembled and watchful military.

Their guns were Facebook, their bombs were Twitter, and their nuclear weapon was an unshakable resolve that "We Shall Not Be Moved". That's it. That is what it took, and that is all that it took.


Which is, actually, a massive rose-colored whitewash of how things went down. Let us wind back in time to Groundhog Day, Feb 2 2011, and visit a time when the revolution almost got crushed, except that the Egyptian people took up arms and fought back.

Wherein we see our shadows... )
maxomai: dog (Default)
The cameras have, for the most part, turned away from the spectacle in Egypt. Mubarak is, of course, gone. The protests haven't completely died down but most of them have faded away (and the ones that haven't are being shooed away by the Army). People are still celebrating and reporters are still savoring the chance to write "former President Mubarak" in their stories.

But, much remains to be done. Friday was only the first, and perhaps most glorious, step in what is sure to be a painful evolution. Egypt is now under the control of a military junta that appears to have grudging respect for the revolutionaries. The revolutionaries, meanwhile, are busy cleaning up after themselves and arguing between themselves about what to do next.

What will happen next is impossible for me to guess. But, pay attention to these two people. Both of them had a lot to do with this revolution.

The first is Wael Ghonim (@Ghonim on Twitter), a Google executive and administrator of the FaceBook page of the movement. On Jan 27th he disappeared for twelve days, detained by state security forces until they could ascertain whether he and his movement were the result of foreign influence. He was released earlier last week, and his subsequent appearance on DreamTV gave the revolution new life when it desperately needed it. By any measure, he's a bona fide part of the Revolution. (He's also, btw, going to be on 60 Minutes tonight.)

Since then, Mr. Ghonim has used his personal cache as a face of the Revolution to call for educated Egyptians to return and "build the New Egypt." He has started a Google spreadsheet where Egyptians can propose and vote on ideas for moving forward, called for people to go back to work, has met with the junta to develop plans for the way forward, and has their express permission to for a campaign to raise £100B Egyptian to build a new economy. His agenda, from what I can tell by reading his Twitter feed halfway around the world, appears to be one of cooperation, progress, boundless optimism, capitalism, and so on.

The other person to pay attention to, IMO, is Hossam el-Hamalawy (@3arabawy on Twitter). Mr. el-Hamalawy is a long-time labor and human rights activist, which in Egypt is not for the stupid or weak. He, also, was part of this revolution from the beginning, and while he's not as famous as Mr. Ghonim at this point, he represents a large portion of the secular currents that made up the Revolution. He is deeply pessimistic about the controlling junta, and for good reason -- a lot of the junta is made up of the old Generals who participated in the oppression and corruption of the Mubarak regime. He is also quick to point out Obama's own failure to stand against Mubarak. He advocates continuing the protests, most especially the various labor strikes taking place right now (2), despite the Army's warnings about a crackdown. He is, in fact, anticipating a general strike. His agenda is unapologetically Marxist; his attitude can be best summed up as, "The Egyptian middle class and their Facebook buddies need to shut up and let the revolution continue." We should also point out that it is unapologetically pro-Palestinian. (Note: I don't see Mr. el-Hamalawy as the leader of this movement, but he makes for a convenient public face because he is clear in his convictions and writes English.)

A lot has been said by the pant-peeing right in America about their fears of an Islamic state run by the Muslim Brotherhood. Frankly, I don't see much chance of that panning out; but I do see a conflict coming, and it's going to be between the wired middle class that are relative newcomers to this whole revolution business, and the activists who are old hands. Frankly, I think the wired middle class is going to win the day on this. They have talent, brains, vision, energy, and I think they will soon have junta on their side. That, plus Egypt's industrial infrastructure, location, oil reserves, and about $12.5 billion in capital if Mr. Ghonim can raise it, could turn Egypt into a major economic power in ten years. They may end up betraying a huge part of the Revolution in order to accomplish this goal, and that's going to lead to a lot of bitter feelings in the years to come.
maxomai: dog (Default)
The cameras have, for the most part, turned away from the spectacle in Egypt. Mubarak is, of course, gone. The protests haven't completely died down but most of them have faded away (and the ones that haven't are being shooed away by the Army). People are still celebrating and reporters are still savoring the chance to write "former President Mubarak" in their stories.

But, much remains to be done. Friday was only the first, and perhaps most glorious, step in what is sure to be a painful evolution. Egypt is now under the control of a military junta that appears to have grudging respect for the revolutionaries. The revolutionaries, meanwhile, are busy cleaning up after themselves and arguing between themselves about what to do next.

What will happen next is impossible for me to guess. But, pay attention to these two people. Both of them had a lot to do with this revolution.

The first is Wael Ghonim (@Ghonim on Twitter), a Google executive and administrator of the FaceBook page of the movement. On Jan 27th he disappeared for twelve days, detained by state security forces until they could ascertain whether he and his movement were the result of foreign influence. He was released earlier last week, and his subsequent appearance on DreamTV gave the revolution new life when it desperately needed it. By any measure, he's a bona fide part of the Revolution. (He's also, btw, going to be on 60 Minutes tonight.)

Since then, Mr. Ghonim has used his personal cache as a face of the Revolution to call for educated Egyptians to return and "build the New Egypt." He has started a Google spreadsheet where Egyptians can propose and vote on ideas for moving forward, called for people to go back to work, has met with the junta to develop plans for the way forward, and has their express permission to for a campaign to raise £100B Egyptian to build a new economy. His agenda, from what I can tell by reading his Twitter feed halfway around the world, appears to be one of cooperation, progress, boundless optimism, capitalism, and so on.

The other person to pay attention to, IMO, is Hossam el-Hamalawy (@3arabawy on Twitter). Mr. el-Hamalawy is a long-time labor and human rights activist, which in Egypt is not for the stupid or weak. He, also, was part of this revolution from the beginning, and while he's not as famous as Mr. Ghonim at this point, he represents a large portion of the secular currents that made up the Revolution. He is deeply pessimistic about the controlling junta, and for good reason -- a lot of the junta is made up of the old Generals who participated in the oppression and corruption of the Mubarak regime. He is also quick to point out Obama's own failure to stand against Mubarak. He advocates continuing the protests, most especially the various labor strikes taking place right now (2), despite the Army's warnings about a crackdown. He is, in fact, anticipating a general strike. His agenda is unapologetically Marxist; his attitude can be best summed up as, "The Egyptian middle class and their Facebook buddies need to shut up and let the revolution continue." We should also point out that it is unapologetically pro-Palestinian. (Note: I don't see Mr. el-Hamalawy as the leader of this movement, but he makes for a convenient public face because he is clear in his convictions and writes English.)

A lot has been said by the pant-peeing right in America about their fears of an Islamic state run by the Muslim Brotherhood. Frankly, I don't see much chance of that panning out; but I do see a conflict coming, and it's going to be between the wired middle class that are relative newcomers to this whole revolution business, and the activists who are old hands. Frankly, I think the wired middle class is going to win the day on this. They have talent, brains, vision, energy, and I think they will soon have junta on their side. That, plus Egypt's industrial infrastructure, location, oil reserves, and about $12.5 billion in capital if Mr. Ghonim can raise it, could turn Egypt into a major economic power in ten years. They may end up betraying a huge part of the Revolution in order to accomplish this goal, and that's going to lead to a lot of bitter feelings in the years to come.
maxomai: dog (Default)
People have already started streaming into Tahrir Square.

Much as I'd like for this day to be "The Day of the Shoe," I'm hearing word that this is already being called "The Day of Martyrs." I hope that name is in tribute to those who died, and not intended to be predictive. As usual, you can follow the events of the day at Enduring America, Al Jazeera English, and of course, Antiwar.com.

My favorite tweet of the last 24 hours, by far, is this one. (If it's not showing, try closing the NetworkedBlogs bar.)
maxomai: dog (Default)
People have already started streaming into Tahrir Square.

Much as I'd like for this day to be "The Day of the Shoe," I'm hearing word that this is already being called "The Day of Martyrs." I hope that name is in tribute to those who died, and not intended to be predictive. As usual, you can follow the events of the day at Enduring America, Al Jazeera English, and of course, Antiwar.com.

My favorite tweet of the last 24 hours, by far, is this one. (If it's not showing, try closing the NetworkedBlogs bar.)

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