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Thursday, November 26th, 2015
2:56 am - A Chance to Give Thanks
I'm Thankful for so much. Tommorow I will mostly be off of any work duties and will get to be with both my immediate and extended family. I am blessed my parents will be there, I am blessed with wonderful siblings and nieces and nephews and in laws and friends who are like family. We are in good health and spirits, we will be celebrating around a table and not in a war zone or in some famine zone or fighting a plague somewhere far from home. We will have the luxury of discussing things and possibly disagreeing about abstract notions, not forced to only think about the necessities of survival. None of us really know how many more times we will get a chance to share gratitude with the people who matter the most to us, each time is a gift.

Thank you to everyone, seen and unseen, who work to create and defend that little bit of domestic tranquility where we can pursue happiness.

current mood: grateful

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Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
5:05 pm - Happy New Year!
2014 has been a hell of a year! We had a son! Lot's to say, looking forward to 2015. Wishing the best to every single person who reads this! Peace and Love y'all!

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Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
3:04 am - Understading cause in different contexts.
From my other, more public bloc: A priomer on understanding cause and effect in different contexts.


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2:17 am - Thanks
Thanks to all my Isreali/Palestine friends for posting when they can. It's good to get some kind of information from people actually out there and hopefully gain a better understanding of what is going on.

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Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
4:15 am - How Snooping Diminishes Our Lives
Posted to my other blog about ongoing NSA revelations, the culture of reprisal against hackers, and how we do the censor's work for them:

How snooping diminishes our lives


current mood: Free

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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
4:50 pm - Tradition!
I continue the annual tradition on my other, more public, blog.


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Saturday, March 15th, 2014
4:20 am - My thoughts on the lastest CIA/Senate/NSA struggle.
Posted on my other, more public blog:


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Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
1:58 am - Why we cannot respect our elders
Again, another post I put on my public blog:


At some point, I really need to update my personal blog. Since my last "What's up with me", I have bought a house, gotten married, conceived a child (My wife helped!) and joined the local Fire Department, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Some thoughts worth writing about are out there.

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Monday, January 20th, 2014
4:33 am - #BearFalseWitness
Posted to my other, more public, blog, more about truth, culture, technology and all that:



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Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
8:41 pm - 2013 in Review
Posted to my other (more public) blog:


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Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
3:08 am - Shopping!
I think I have all my Christmas Shopping done, so, you know, way to go me!

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Friday, December 20th, 2013
2:38 am - Duck Dynasty, False Realities, and the Return of Kayfabe
From my other blog:


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12:30 am - Today reminded me of this:
September 16 via mobile
Congratulations to the whole Manufactured Miley outrage incidents. With parents showing THIS MUCH disapproval, teenagers purchasing the upcoming album is GUARANTEED. Bravo, marketing.... bra-vo.

current mood: Stupid

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Friday, December 13th, 2013
11:17 pm - Let in Snow!
To my Egyptian and Israeli friends posting all the snow pictures, let me offer my feedback... "Whoa!"

Thank You.


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Friday, November 8th, 2013
10:27 am - Typhoon beyond the capacity to measure at times.
To all my friends who are or have loved ones in the Philippines, I am hoping and praying everything is going to be all right. The islands were some of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and the hurricane/typhoon hitting it has been as strong as any ever recorded (being intense beyond the capacity of certain instruments TO record that high). I am hoping for best for you all.

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Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
3:19 am - The Road to Hell and it's Various Paving Stones.
Note: LiveJournal would not publish this with the formatting I wanted so I used my other blogging account.

If you want to read a long-ish post I spent too much time researching, writing, and editing, here it is:
(It has AI's, Corruption, Robots, a political history of the U.S., personal anecdotes and Urkel)

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Monday, September 2nd, 2013
1:39 pm - LABOR DAY!!!
Labor Day is the best Holiday!

1) Falls on a Monday - The Day I am happiest to have off work!
2) Is Federally Recognized!
3) Doesn't require religious recognition/non-recognition!
4) Great weather for the lake, water gun fights, or vegging out!
5) Recognizes the Labor Movement and the contributions of everyday working folks.
6) Did I mention not having to work on a Monday?

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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
12:01 am - Tales from the TakenVerse
"I will find you, and I will kill you"

I am just going to believe that Taken, Taken 2, and The Grey are all sequels in one long storyline and that Rob Roy is a prequel about a badass ancestor of Taken's Bryan Mills.

current mood: Bored

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Monday, April 1st, 2013
9:13 am - AFD!
I love April Fool's Day in the U S of A! It's like an entire type of creativity gets bottled up all year from all the world's would be con artists who are to ethical to pull such a thing off and it gets spent all on one day. I love it!

Love it: http://www.google.com/landing/nose/

Love it: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2013/04/google-announces-youtube-shutdown-or-its-biggest-april-fools-day-prank-yet/

Love it all!

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
1:48 am - No True Anything
So, last year I was in Cairo at a University that treated every foreigner (like the client I was bodyguarding) like some kind of potential big-shot donor (even though she was certainly NOT handing out the kind of money they were wanting) and I was talking to students waiting to meet the next dude that would tell us how awesome this school was, how awesome the revolution was, and how we could "help". The students liked the chance to practice their English on a real-life American.

Anyhow, that lead to this conversation:
The young man was asking why Islam is regarded among Westerners as "The Explodey Religion" and why we did not realize that was unfair to a billion or so people. I stated that in defence of the Westerners, the only images and messages from Islam people in my home state are exposed to are those associated with terrorism, insurgency, war, beheadings and so on. If we hear an Arabic name on the news, it is likely in reference to someone who was killed in a drone strike.

The young man explained how those individuals are "Not True Muslims" and religion of peace and 99% of people were peaceful and so on. My response was that if you asked the family of the latest Iraqi suicide bomber what his religion was, they would say "Islam" or the latest home-made rocket scientist, or beheader or so on. While HE might not accept them as Muslim, THEY certainly claim membership in Islam and there is no firm authority to claim otherwise. This is similar to the No True Scotsman fallacy. Where the definition of a term is progressively narrowed to fit the terms of the argument. Since there is no worldwide gatekeeper on the term "Muslim", anyone can claim someone is or is not a "true" Muslim. This is true with many religions.

(I prefer the TV Tropes summary to the Wikipedia description)
Angus: No Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge!
Bonnie: But my uncle Scotty MacScotscot does just that!
Angus: Weel, then he's no' a true Scotsman.

This either wasn't persuasive or was having trouble crossing the language/culture barrier, so I held up a bottle of Coca-Cola and said something like this:

"This is a Coke. I have had a Coke more or less like this one in a dozen different nations all around the world. The entire world can recognize this is a Coke from just the name, the logo, the type face, or the shape of the bottle. There is nothing particularly unique about Coke, it is mostly water and sugar. There is some local suger/water beverage pretty much everywhere. But you know what you are going to get when you have a Coke.

If you or I were to make our own sugar/water mixture, call it Coke and put the Coke label on it anywhere in the world, and army of lawyers from Coke Headquarters would parachute down from the sky like hail and would have the full backing of whatever nation we were in to shut down our operation within a matter of nanoseconds. We all implicitly understand that this is the case and that we should respect the sacred Coca-Cola.

How is it that our sugar water is protected with more authority than our way of worshipping our god? How is it that the commandments from Moses, Jesus or the Prophet are more easily altered or mixed than the formula to our beverages? Unless we spend at least as much effort safeguarding our faiths from charlatans as we do our preferred bottled sugar water, we are destined to be lumped in with crazies and frauds whether we like it or not."

Now, the kid had a point that people from my home state are unforgivably ignorant about religions that don't involve snake-handling. But I felt that the point that the only way to have a membership mean anything is to offer the possibility to lose it. When you wonder about the positions of "The Catholic Church" or "The Democratic Party" there is a clear answer to be found. There are documented successes and failures and evolutions of opinion and the labels "Catholic" or "Democrat" or even "Republican" have some kind of meaning to parishioners or voters or whomever. If a Catholic suicide bombs a Planned Parenthood tomorrow, we do not have to wonder very long if this is an activity sanctioned by the Catholic Church, there exists an authority to tell us "Nope. Should not do that."

This brings be to a discussion from my Facebook page that is lingering with me. I was making a case (albeit in a troll like fashion) that everything posted to my wall from self-described Libertarians about the possible Hostess Liquidation was, to put it simply, mean. People were either going to take a big pay cut or lose their jobs right before the holidays and Meme after Meme boiled down to people sneering and cheering at their loss because there were union members. Being the son of a hard-working union man, it sickened me. Why would anyone choose to live in a mental world that ugly and needlessly cruel?

My - rather smart and reasonably worldly by the way - friend responded with:

FIRST:"Let me address two things here. First, about "libertarians". There are real libertarians and those who simple take the title."

Real libertarians, didn't vote for Romney
Real libertarians, don't like Glenn Beck
Real libertarians spend a good deal of their time on the scholarly Libertarian sites such as mises.org not on "some kid from their parents basement" blog site
Many republicans are taking the name because of what they have done to conservatism, if they sound like a neo-con, they probably are.
If your "libertarian" friends see this and take offense, they are NOT libertarians."

Now, that sounds remarkably like an assertion of the "No True Scotsman" defence. But, as with Islam, there exists nothing to validate or refute his assertion. There is no official arbiter of what is and is not a "Libertarian" idea, thought, or group. There is an official (gets on the ballot) "Libertarian Party" but many of their positions are rather vague: The Democratic National Party Platform weighs in at 32 pages, the Republican Party Platform weighs in at a graphics-heavy 62, but the Libertarian Party platform is a slim 7 pages.

It is VERY EASY to maintain idealogical purity when you are never called to actually hold office and govern.

So, like it or not, when Glen Beck describes himself as a "Libertarian" (and he does), well, unless Gary Johnson wants to play Pope and excommunicate him, he is now a voice of yours whether you like it or not.

I have always interpreted "I'm not really a Conservative, I'm a Libertarian" as the political equivalent of "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual". A wishy-washy non-answer that exists specifically to shield the speaker from any kind of commitment to any particular path of action, or sometimes short for "I imagine myself as rich someday and don't want to have to pay any taxes, but I also smoke weed.". As for Von Mises, well the Libertarian Party Platform makes no mention of him by name, he passed on in 1973 when the Libertarian Party was only two years old. David Koch once ran as their Vice Presidential candidate. The most popular name associated with "Libertarian" according to Google is "Ron Paul" and he is a registered Republican... there is a point to all of this.

In the age of a Facebook group gaining a membership of thousands taking only seconds to make, in an era where information and trends can be spread without going through official gatekeepers, in the era we live in now: Clear affiliations mean more than ever.. The bottom up organization of Occupy Wall Street meant that it was harder to break up for a few months than if it had a hierarchy, but it also led to the inevitable and justified criticism that it was unclear what the movement stood for. The same thing became true of the Egyptian spring.... groups that were organized to be hard to define and combat were also unfit to change their strong following into a coherent political movement. The Muslim Brotherhood mostly ended up filling the gap in power they created. I have ALWAYS been anti-authority as part of my nature, but if the terms that describe your core beliefs are vague and undefined then you are woefully unprepared for any war of ideas. Scotty MacScotscot is one of you, either own it or define in very clear and unchanging terms why not.

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