Sunday, August 30, 2009

Google chaos

Not long after they lost a court case over abusive content hosted on their blogspot subsidiary, Google seem to have decided "never again" and unleashed a "Reign of Terror" on blogspot blogs that they thought might be dubious in some way. Four of my blogs were blocked in one day. The two that were most obviously innocuous were unblocked within 24 hours but POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN were apparently too marginal for immediate unblocking so apparently had to wait evaluation by some sort of Google High Priest. The Oracle has now spoken however and both blogs were unblocked a couple of days ago.

In the meanwhile I had of course transferred operations for both blogs to new sites here and here. And I am going to keep it that way. Once bitten twice shy. As Google has blocked those blogs once they could well do it again.

But some blogs have apparently not yet gone before the Google High Priest. He must be overworked. The following post from Wicked Thoughts suggests that:
Goodbye Google

I still think Google have the best search engine but they are woeful blog hosts. Via their blogspot subsidiary, they hosted this blog from January 2003 to July, 2009 without a single problem. Then one fine day earlier this month, they completely blocked anyone from viewing it. Why? I have no idea. What they can have against a humor blog quite escapes me. But so it was and is.

Moving my blog here seems to have worked well. I now seem to have most of my old readership back. But a niggle has been that Google has made all my past posts (archives) inaccessible too. I am pleased to say, however, that I have just completed the transfer of ALL my past posts elsewhere. So they are all generally accessible again. There are a lot of good jokes and funny stories in them so I hope a few people might browse them occasionally.

As I say in the side-column here: "The archives not stored on this site are mostly available at Wicked Thoughts Archive but the archives for April to July 2009 (incl.) are available via the Mirror Site"


Bill would give Obama "emergency" control of the Internet

This is a disgrace. It is a major step towards a Fascist dictatorship. We have already seen how Obama abused the financial crisis in order to push through every pet project on the Democrat wish-list for the last ten years. There is no doubt that he would misuse this too. The Democrats are so full of hate that a GOP lead during a Presidential election campaign could well be seen by them as an "emergency"

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

"I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. "It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill."

Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller's aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president's power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.

When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records," Rockefeller said.

The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government's role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

Rockefeller's revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a "cybersecurity workforce plan" from every federal agency, a "dashboard" pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a "comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy" in six months--even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," he says.

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

"The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."

Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

The Internet Security Alliance's Clinton adds that his group is "supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective."

Update at 3:14 p.m. PDT: I just talked to Jena Longo, deputy communications director for the Senate Commerce committee, on the phone. She sent me e-mail with this statement:

"The president of the United States has always had the constitutional authority, and duty, to protect the American people and direct the national response to any emergency that threatens the security and safety of the United States. The Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity bill makes it clear that the president's authority includes securing our national cyber infrastructure from attack. The section of the bill that addresses this issue, applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster. This particular legislative language is based on longstanding statutory authorities for wartime use of communications networks. To be very clear, the Rockefeller-Snowe bill will not empower a "government shutdown or takeover of the Internet" and any suggestion otherwise is misleading and false. The purpose of this language is to clarify how the president directs the public-private response to a crisis, secure our economy and safeguard our financial networks, protect the American people, their privacy and civil liberties, and coordinate the government's response." [Blah, blah, blah!]



Artists pressured into pushing Obama's agenda

The National Endowment for the Arts initiated a "call to action" earlier this month for members of the art community to push President Obama's recovery agency through works that focus on health care, energy and the environment -- a troubling sign, one artist said

A 39-year-old Los Angeles film producer is accusing the National Endowment for the Arts of initiating a "call to action" to artists to support President Obama's domestic agenda. The film producer, Patrick Courrielche, said he was one of roughly 75 artists, musicians, writers, poets and others on an Aug. 10 conference call hosted by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement and United We Serve, a nationwide initiative launched by Obama to increase volunteerism.

Courrielche said officials on the hour-long call -- including NEA Director of Communications Yosi Sergant and Michael Skolnik, political director for hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons -- encouraged the artists on the line to create works of art in their respective fields related to health care, energy and the environment. "What I heard was a well thought-out pitch to encourage artists to create art on these issues," Courrielche told "We were told we were consulted for a reason, and they specifically stated those issues as the issues we should focus on, to plant the seed. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what they're attempting to do."

The NEA did not respond to several requests for comment, but others familiar with the conference call dispute Courrielche's version of events, saying the purpose was a broad pitch for artworks on the theme of public service. Siobhan Dugan, a spokeswoman for United We Serve, said the call was organized by an "individual interested" in the group and was unable to provide a list of those invited to participate on the call. "The service that we are encouraging through United We Serve is taking place with no direct tie to any policy initiative, but instead focuses on the areas of the greatest need of our nation and our neighborhoods," Dugan said in a statement to

Thomas Bates, vice president of civic engagement for Rock the Vote, confirmed to he was on the call, saying he was invited by officials at United We Serve. He doesn't agree with Courrielche that there was a political undercurrent. "I don't remember it that way," Bates said. "The call I was on was about engaging artists in ongoing service projects, including on Sept. 11." Bates said his participation in the call revolved around a proposed service event in Chicago that his organization had considered. He did not elaborate.

Told of Bates' denial that artists were encouraged to produce art in certain areas, Courrielche said he omitted an "essential, specific aspect" of the conference call. "The word volunteerism was never used," Courrielche said. "Service was the word being used and it was in specific areas, those being health care, energy and the environment." Courrielche said the now ubiquitous Obama "Hope" poster by artist Shepard Fairey and musician's "Yes We Can" song and music video were offered as "shining examples" of the artist group's clear impact on Obama's landslide election.

The "potential propaganda machine," Courrielche said, is concerning on many levels. "The issue that troubles me the most is that the NEA was set up to promote the arts," he said. "If you have a meeting where you're trying to set up a machine that does your bidding, a propaganda machine, that's not what the National Endowment for Arts is for."

Moderators on the conference call did not specify whether any piece of subsequent artwork should be supportive or critical of the president's agenda in key areas like health care and the environment. "For me, it was implied," said Courrielche, adding he felt the NEA "tainted" the artistic process.

Courrielche, who said he took extensive notes during the call, recalled one particular passage he attributed to Skolink, who acted a moderator on the call. "So what I had hoped in bringing this group together," Skolnik said, according to Courrielche, "with the great hosts that again I want to thank for reaching out to their communities, was that we could begin to bring together our community in the same enthusiasm, with the same enthusiasm, and with the same energy that we all saw each other during the campaign, and we continue to work together on issues as important as United We Serve, and service, and begin here and continue to work together on other issues that we feel are important as was mentioned, some of them health care and others." Courrielche also wrote up his experiences for Big Hollywood.

Reached by on Friday, Skolnik declined to comment for this story.

Dugan said the group was not aware of the conference call leading to any new artwork or campaigns. "Organizations and people from all political persuasions and beliefs continue to support community service as one part of the solution to the economic crisis and the recovery efforts," she said. "There are no government funds provided or funding incentives given to organizations or individuals to participate or encourage community service as part of United We Serve."

Courrielche, who said he felt compelled to speak out about the call, said unidentified members of the press were also on the call. "I felt like I needed to say something about it," he said. "Now I think if [a piece of art] comes out, you have to question it, did it come from this meeting? This is the exact argument for why an agency like this shouldn't exist."



BrookesNews Update

The US economy: Getting there from here: More and more Americans are coming to realise that there is no quick fix for the economy. Furthermore, they instinctively feel that the Obama administration's policy of greater spending, borrowing and massive interventionism is not going to put the country on the road to prosperity. They are spot on. But how did we get here?
What is the true state of US savings and how will it affect economic recovery?: Since early 1980s and expanding money supply combined with rising government outlays have severely undermined the process of real capital formation. As a result, real savings could be in serious trouble. If this is correct then it will be very hard for the US economy to grow, for it is a growing pool of real savings that make genuine economic growth possible
More rubbish about unemployment and the recession : It's been about 70 years since the Great Depression ended and yet the lesson that government spending is not the cure for unemployment has still not been learnt. The economic fallacies that made possible the tragedy of mass unemployment are being resurrected by people totally ignorant of economic history, people like James Guest. Although these fallacies are easily stated the refutations are by necessity lengthy
The ACLU helps terrorists finger CIA agents : The leftwing American Civil Liberties Union has been secretly photographing alleged CIA agents near their homes and then passing on the photos of the agents and their addresses to terrorists suspects. This is an open invitation to terrorists to murder the family members of CIA agents. The question now is why the ACLU has not been charged with treason
Health care and the elites' meltdown :Outraged by the American people's spirited resistance to theit attempt to take over the health system the Democrats' responded with lies, libels, abuse and vicious distortions. America's deeply corrupted media joined in the mayhem, demonstrating that it is no more than the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party
Obama, Ayers and the knowledge 'too big' to handle : It is becoming clearer by the day that Obama is firmly in the anti-American camp of the left. From all evidence, even after eight months as president, it is apparent that he has fully accepted the left's relentless, anti-capitalist, anti-American agitprop as true knowledge
Don't be fooled by the co-op option of healthcare : Fanatical Democrats are determined to force private insurance out of existence leaving in its place the single-payer system created and controlled by federal government bureaucrats. As with every government-run health care system ever done throughout history, rationing and 'pulling the plug on grandma' become a vital part as costs spin higher and out of control
Democracy, when I like the outcome : Why is it Democrats who finds it so intolerable when democracy doesn't go their way? Why can only those results that support their own ideological agenda - a term Mr. Obama & Co. like to deploy when they wish to besmirch the opposition - manage to be democratic, while when the vote or the meetings go against them, something must have undermined the democratic process? My guess is that many of these folks really do not want democracy at all
U.K. on ObamaCare: Been there, done that : Why do the Democrats want to impose on the American people a medical system that has been a social disaster wherever it has been tried? The UK's National Health Service provides tragic example after example of what happens when the state takes over the medical system


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


No comments: