Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Fission Accomplished (and Geek Wednesday)

I got this note yesterday from my blogging partner, Terry McKenna, who wanted to remind us all to observe the third anniversary of Mission Accomplished:

Just a quick one to celebrate. After all, it is three years to the day from when George Bush Jr. landed on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, and announced “mission accomplished.”

Perhaps the real Bush mission was to convince us to keep him in power; if so, then he succeeded. But if we think of the idealist dream that inspired the Iraq war, that of bringing democracy to the Middle East, then Iraq is a complete failure. The average Iraqi is now much worse off than he or she ever was under Saddam Hussein – for under Saddam Hussein, those who stayed out of trouble had a good chance at survival. Now there are no guarantees.

So what have we accomplished?

• We’ve killed 2400 Americans, all but 140 after the mission accomplished nonsense
• We’ve reduced Iraq’s energy production, both in oil and electricity to a fraction of what was produced pre-war
• Iran continues to move forward with the development of nuclear energy, assured that we have neither the means nor the will to stop them
• Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the safe harbor for Islamic terrorists

The argument now is over whether Iraq is suffering from an insurgency or a civil war. And to be frank, it doesn’t matter.

—T. McKenna


Geek Wednesday

Bob Sullivan of MSNBC discovers the dark side of data-mining for fun and espionage.

The new Mac ads (click the graphic). They're okay—funny in a couple of spots. But my favorite ad of all time remains the beautiful crazy ones spot (click to view).Certainly, the recent twists and turns of Apple's fortunes are at least interesting. But with Gates & Co., it's the same drumbeat: Vista will be later (and maybe later still); they're pissing off Google again (literally, according to this writer's title); and the vulnerability parade continues apace.

But the pundits are crying out in alarm, "You're next, Mac"! If I hear "Wolf" one more time from a bunch of guys selling antivirus products for a platform that hasn't seen a real virus in about 7 years, I might just turn off the firewall on my Mac. The day may come, mind you, but I wouldn't panic at the 4% market share point.

You want something to panic about, geeks? How about losing control of the Internet to multinational telcom companies that have been doing an economic circle-jerk with the Bushies for five years? Well, the Senate is moving on it; so you can hope that it bogs down in the House of Deadpresentatives (which is fairly likely, in fact), or you can do something about it, just to be on the safe side.

Finally, a fond salute to technology and the people behind it. That anti-war march I joined last Saturday was not the product of the mass media—I challenge anyone to tell me they found out about it beforehand on TV or radio (with the exception of a few spots on Air America, which doesn't count as mass media). It was certainly not the product of government planning or massive special interest groups. Nope: the word was spread largely online, over blogs (like this one), websites, chatrooms, discussion groups, and viral marketing style email. In other words, technology and the geeky people that make it work brought this great, great event to our city.

Whether or not that march will help to shorten this insane war or save a single person's life is yet to be seen. But it's another incentive for you to act to keep the Internet out of the hands of smug authority and all the psychotic Dick Cheneys of this world. The Net is the people's platform, our launching pad for change. If it is taken from us, we will surely suffer; and our children are more likely to inherit a stark and desolate world. The Net, paradoxically, is our shield: let's keep it ours, so we can continue to share the living truth among us, safe from the deceit and the depredations of Power.

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