Thursday, August 29, 2013

Always Has Been

I have written my life in small sketches, a little today, a little yesterday, as I have thought of it, as I remember all the things from childhood on through the years, good ones, and unpleasant ones, that is how they come out and that is how we have to take them.

I look back on my life like a good day's work, it was done and I am satisfied with it.  I was happy and contented, I knew nothing better and made the best out of what life offered.  And life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.

-- Anna Mary Robertson "Grandma" Moses (1860-1961), American folk artist, Grandma Moses : My Life's History (1951)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Same Boat Now

... We did go to jail, but we got the Civil Rights Act.  We got the Voting Rights Act.  We got the Fair Housing Act.  But we must continue to push. We must continue to work, as the late A. Philip Randolph said to organizers for the march in 1963.

And the dean of the civil rights movement once said, we may have come here on different ships, but we all are in the same boat now.  So it doesn't matter whether they're black or white, Latino, Asian-American or Native American, whether we are gay or straight -- we are one people, we are one family, we are all living in the same house -- not just the American house, but the the world house.

And when we finally accept these truths, then we will be able to fulfill Dr. King's dream to build a beloved community, a nation and a world at peace with itself.

-- Representative John Lewis (D-GA), speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, at a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary, 28 August 2013, at the Lincoln Memorial

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Civilization Requires Slaves

The fact is, that civilization requires slaves.  The Greeks were quite right there.  Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing.  On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.

-- Oscar Wilde (1853-1900), Irish essayist, novelist, playwright, and poet, The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1895)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Forced Exposure

The owner of Lavabit tells us that he's stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we'd stop too.  There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum.  What to do?

What to do? I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure it out. And the conclusion I've reached is that there is no way to continue doing Groklaw, not long term, which is incredibly sad.  But it's good to be realistic.  And the simple truth is, no matter how good the motives might be for collecting and screening everything we say to one another, and no matter how "clean" we all are ourselves from the standpoint of the screeners, I don't know how to function in such an atmosphere.  I don't know how to do Groklaw like this. ...

My personal decision is to get off of the Internet to the degree it's possible.  I'm just an ordinary person.  But I really know, after all my research and some serious thinking things through, that I can't stay online personally without losing my humanness, now that I know that ensuring privacy online is impossible.  I find myself unable to write.  I've always been a private person.  That's why I never wanted to be a celebrity and why I fought hard to maintain both my privacy and yours.

Oddly, if everyone did that, leap off the Internet, the world's economy would collapse, I suppose.  I can't really hope for that.  But for me, the Internet is over.

So this is the last Groklaw article.  I won't turn on comments.  Thank you for all you've done.  I will never forget you and our work together.  I hope you'll remember me too.  I'm sorry I can't overcome these feelings, but I yam what I yam, and I tried, but I can't.

-- pj of Groklaw in a blog post announcing the closing of the site, "Forced Exposure" 20 August 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lose It

As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it.  Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn't go.  Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction.  Practice resurrection.

-- Wendell Berry (5 August 1934-), American philosopher, author, farmer, and social activist, "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" in Farming: A Hand Book (1970)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Can I Do Through Government

The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country.  He will ask rather "What can I and my compatriots do through government" to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect?  Freedom is a rare and delicate plant.  Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power.  Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom.  Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.

-- Milton Friedman (1912-2006), American Nobel laureate in Economics, in Capitalism And Freedom, Introduction (1962)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sleep Is God

Sleep is God.  Go worship.

-- Jim Butcher (26 October 1971-), American author, Death Masks: Book Five of The Dresden Files (2003)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Privacy Seppuku - Do You Trust Them Now?

The Privacy Seppuku pledge is simple: if a company is served with a secret order to become a real-time participant in ongoing, blanket, secret surveillance of its customers... it will say no.  Just say no.  And it will shut down its operations, rather than have them infiltrated by spies and used surreptitiously to spread the NSA's global spook malware further.  You can't force a company to do something if there's no company there to do it.

... That one that went thru with the seppuku?  She'll likely have a new service up and running in a few days or weeks.  The customers who got dinged by the shutdown?  They'll all get up and running on her new service. This is all 1s and 0s, remember?  You don't have to demolish a car manufacturing plant, after all - you're just wiping some VMs and reincorporating elsewhere.  Lease new machines.  Call it "lavabutt" on the new corporate docs, in Andorra.  Sign on to the Privacy Seppuku pledge, as lavabutt, again.  Off you go.  Do you think it'll be hard to get customers - old ones migrated over, and new ones alike?  Think on that: a privacy company that shut down rather than be #snitchware... do you trust them, now?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Laws That Say Otherwise

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit.  After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations.  I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision.  I cannot.  I feel you deserve to know what's going on -- the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this.  Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise.  As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

...  This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

-- Lavabit Owner Ladar Levison, on shutting down the encrypted email service used by Edward Snowden in response to government demands, 8 August 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Too Many For Too Long

Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason ....  We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.

-- Attorney General Eric Holder on a change to Justice Department policy so that minor drug offenders will no longer face mandatory minimum prison sentences, in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, 12 August 2013

Friday, August 09, 2013

40 Years Of GNotes on PLATO

Trvth acknowledges the early miracle that is gnotes on PLATO, without  which there would be no trvth.

* announce / nova  8/7/73  11:07 pm  CST  pjt / s *
Since you got here, you will undoubtedly note that we now
have a new system of user/system notes.  We hope that they
will greatly speed up your browsing...and provide us much
greater protection from note-destroyers!

Please direct any comments about these new notes to
Dave Woolley.

Old notes are obtainable by editing files -notes1- through

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Only ten people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama.  The effect of the charge on a person's life -- being viewed as a traitor, being shunned by family and friends, incurring massive legal bills -- is all a part of the plan to force the whistleblower into personal ruin, to weaken him to the point where he will plead guilty to just about anything to make the case go away.

-- John Kiriakou, Op Ed in The Guardian, 6 August 2013

Monday, August 05, 2013

MiniTri 2013

Champaign Park District MiniTri Triathlon trvth:

43:57.2 to cover 400 yards swimming (7:05), 6 miles bicycling (18:34), and 2 miles running (15:13), plus transitions.

Overall 29th out of 192 finishers, 5th in my (relatively fast) age group, 50-54; I would have been 3rd had I been 1:09 faster.

Interestingly, the fastest age groups were 40-44, 15-19, 50-54, and 20-24. The 40-44 group had 6 in the top 20, finishing 2nd, 4th, 6th, 12th, 16th, and 19th.  Apparently going through your first mid-life crisis is key to taking triathlon seriously.