Tuesday, March 01, 2016

SuperTuesday: A Choice To Make.

In Route To Super Tuesday


Originally this post started life during the writing of why I had centered on choosing Ted Cruz as the US Presidential Candidate to support. In between that post and today the group of viable candidates has decreased substantially. In turn more and more of this post turned into a postmortem than a comprehensive look at what each candidate did, or did not bring to the table. 

In the intervening time Eric S. Raymond linked an interesting, if vitriolic, opinion post with rather vivid mental imagery reflecting upon the anger casual voters might display towards the state of the mind of the quote/unquote "Establishment" within the Republican Party. I saw other sites; both political and non-political; start running stories that Voter Anger in general was a real problem not just for the GOP to deal with, but for the DNC as well. Polling numbers from the states that have completed either their caucus stage or their primary votes have shown a dramatic rise in per-population percentage ratios under the Republican Party compared to elections across 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, and so on; almost reaching back to the 1980's and the election of Ronald Reagan. In turn; the per-population ratios for the DNC have likewise fallen to, if I'm not mistaken, possibly record breaking lows. 

In turn this post morphed yet again; starting to focus in on the GOP's game plan to deal with an outraged voting base. In respect to changing focus; elements were added covering the possibility that quite a few of those who would normally vote in a DNC Primary making the jump towards voting in a GOP primary. Which eventually lead to a completely incoherent mess. 

As SuperTuesday polling hours draw ever closer; I turned back to the keyboard to try and wrangle together some of the points I wanted to make.  I'm not sure that in the limited time between when this post will go live and the opening of the polling precincts that there will be time enough for there to be any kind of impact. 

With that in mind; I do want to say this.  If you are an American Citizen who can vote on 3/1/2016: Your Best Vote is for Senator Ted Cruz. 

So; onward; which right now means turning back the pages of time:

The Presidential Campaigns Begin


In several ways I found myself perplexed by the width and breadth of the GOP's Presidential Candidates across the end of 2015. Even the worst candidates showing up at the initial undercard debates were still State level Governors with success stories for their time in office.  For the first time in decades there were still at least 12 viable candidates under a calendar year out from the election date. For the first time in perhaps centuries there were viable candidates to be found among those who entered the party race from outside of the usual political spectrum.

Yet, as 2016 rolled into play and the earliest precincts opened; 2014 repeated itself. The Republican Base had shifted. The average polled electoral voter wasn't interested in the family relative of two previous presidents; nor in the credentials that came with being a state Governor. Rather, the Republican Base, poll after poll, debate after debate, kept focusing on the Political Outsider's... or Politicians whose calling cards were printed with: T.E.A. Party.

The Outsiders

Early on I found myself quite attracted to the Political Outsider Carly Fiorina; who as of this posting has suspended her campaign. I commented in a number of places that my memories of Carly Fiorina centered around her time at HP, her routine positioning in lists covering Worst CEO's of All Time, and her observed obsession with Microsoft Ideology.  I still have very vivid memories of the turning point; when she went from somebody I could not care about to somebody I wanted to see take the nomination. I was driving in my car listening to an interview she was giving, and being able to complete her sentences word for word. Not because I was smart enough to know what she was going to say... but because she was quoting... Me.

At the same time I was trying to wrap my head around the concept that Carly Fiorina had either been reading my blogs or came to the same intellectual conclusions I had come to over the years; another outsider perhaps pushed her out of the potential limelight. Dr. Ben Carson was perhaps the best outsider choice; being both perhaps the most intelligent person in the field and one who had accomplished some of the most difficult management tasks ever imaginable. In one of the later debates Dr. Carson brought up that he was not a stranger to making literal life-and-death calls at 2am; and nor was he unpracticed at putting together the best possible teams to take on staggeringly complicated tasks. Were the Presidential Election determined by sheer intellect as embodied in long-form research papers and detailed plans, Dr. Carson would surely be an easy choice.

As of this posting there was an excellent editorial posted online from the good Doctor explaining why his campaign was still running as SuperTuesday closed in. Up until SuperTuesday more than 95% of the delegates to determine the GOP's nominee were still in play; the sub-5% already determined at best a highly inaccurate picture of the voting trends to come. The editorial was a first class example of exactly why Dr. Carson would have made a great President; but for me it is too little too late.  If Dr. Carson had been writing such editorials after each debate; or even each week; or even going on-line through Youtube for a Modern take on the Fireside Chat public relations technique; then he might still be a contender that I would consider casting a vote for.

Speaking of those debates; some unveiled perhaps a different side of Dr. Carson. In one of the late 2015 debates Dr. Carson shot back a complaint at a moderator because it took too long to ask Dr. Carson a question. While I feel sure that Dr. Carson was trying to make a point about the moderators at a previous debate; who were more interested in trying to craft a free-for-all among the candidates; the complaint came across as petty. Not exactly the image a Presidential Candidate really should be portraying; or repeating. Which Dr. Carson proceeded to perform at the very next debate; then the next debate; then the next; and so on. With other qualified candidates to chose from who all played to their strengths; there seemed to be little point to dwelling on Dr. Carson.

Then there was the outsider taking the top spots in all the polls: Donald Trump. A business man with absolutely no filter on his mouth. After years of double-talk and political tongue wagging who did not want a candidate that just said the first thing that popped into their mouth?  Who didn't want a candidate that had enough money in the bank to fund their own campaign so there'd be absolutely zero question of kowtowing to special interests?

Yet, Trump was never the candidate for me. When Senator Ted Cruz took to a debate stage and talked about New York Values the meaning was clear. New York was the state where Hillary Clinton managed to find work in an elected office. New York was the state where an anti-police Mayor was elected into office. New York was a state where there was absolutely zero effort to recall that incompetent mayor. While Donald Trump might have been insulted by Senator Cruz's New York Values comments; Donald Trump was not insulted enough to fly back home, start the proceedings to get the mayor recalled from office, and get the State Attorney General to put Hillary Clinton in a maximum security holding cell.

I'll come back to Mr. Trump for the conclusion; but I think the stage is set now to move onto the political candidates:


Shakedown

So let's get to the point where I write about why I found myself choosing the politician Senator Ted Cruz by talking about why I would not want to support other political candidates. I'll start with Governor Chris Christie whom I have claimed is quite Republican In Name Only. Governor Christie has expressed personal views on subjects like abortion that I would find untenable to be held by somebody with a conservative disposition. During one of the debates Governor Christie was called on some of his personal actions; and to the best of discernible available evidence... lied his butt off.

Which, honestly, I don't think the Governor had to do. I think it would have made a much stronger case for his candidacy if Governor Christie had looked straight at the moderator and said something to the effect of: "You know what? I did give some money to Planned Parenthood back '94. You want to know something else? The organization I was familiar with back then, that I wanted to support back then, isn't the organization we know now. They weren't responsible for all of the tragedies we found out about in the late 90's and early 2000's. They weren't the very example of a corrupt business that the Federal Government should be spending Zero Dollars on. I'd like to think that I've grown up over the years; that I'm a better person than I was back then. I'd like to think I can learn from the mistakes of my past; and ensure that those mistakes are never repeated.

Boom. Done. Governor Christie had the perfect opportunity to make a case for being a Conservative Republican coming out of New Jersey... and he blew it. By now his campaign is suspended and he has voiced support for Donald Trump.  The RINO bit turned into quite a bite.

Given the timing of this particular posting I won't delve into either Gov. Jeb Bush or Gov. John Kasich. As already referenced above; the voting populace simply has not been interested in either candidate; Gov. Jeb Bush having the good graces to suspend his campaign. Gov. Kasich has not realized it is long past time to bow out of the race.

Which leaves Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz as the other two politicians.

Breakup

Early on in the race I was personally torn between Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz.  I liked the personal stories of both candidates. I liked many of the positions. I liked many of their policies. While Senator Cruz appeared to have the best on-paper policies; Sen. Rubio had a longer history of working across the aisle.

Then; as referenced in the I Choose Cruz post; Senator Rubio just threw his viability into a trash can in the span of a single debate. As I sat re-watching the clips where Senator Rubio pulls out the shotgun and takes out one foot with a highly inaccurate and under-educated blurb on encryption; then promptly shoot the other foot with highly inaccurate takes on National Security and transparency; and then reload both barrels to subsequently blast the seat of his pants with a highly inaccurate take on Snowden; I was hit with an Epiphany.

The Average American Voter Does Not Care About Working Across The Aisle.

The DNC, and in turn much of the quote/unquote Mainstream Media, have been playing up the importance of President working with an opposite party. The favorite example to date has been the amount of work between President Ronald Reagan and Congressional Representative Tip O'Neill.

However; a quick check of the history books seems to reveal an interesting fact. While Rep. O'Neill was a Democrat; he was neither a Socialist or a Communist. Rather; all things considered; his reputation was far more middle of the road. President Reagan did not have to deal with a Congress that was controlled by an almost hostile radical political faction.

The modern day DNC barely resembles the DNC of the late 1970's and early 80's. A DNC that was marked by candidates like Jimmy Carter and an opposition to the Socialist Policies that had wrecked nations around the world. The DNC might have been a little kooky; heavy on the idea of citizen entitlements; but they were a far cry from the policies of the Obama Administration or candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

With that epiphany in mind I realized I knew why Donald Trump was so popular; and why DNC reported voting percentages were dropping like comparative stones.

Takeout

In short; Donald Trump was a Democrat. He grew up in an environment heavily controlled by then DNC social ideals; but also while gaining real-world experience in business. 

The DNC of today does not want people who hold Conservative Fiscal Policies; they want those who espouse Socialistic Social Policies. There is no room for anybody in today's DNC who believes that the Freedoms of Religion apply to Christians; or for anybody who believes that All Lives Matter; or for anyone who questions what business practices the Planned Parenthood organization actually participates in. 

Record numbers of former loyal DNC party members are tired of watching their party drift further and further from the "Glory" days of Rep. O'Neill's time in office. One of the most notable was a Kentucky Clerk who was abandoned by her political party when she attempted to exercise her Religious Beliefs, only to find support among those in the GOP. 

Donald Trump could probably seal his place in office by just getting up on a stage and saying something to the effect of: You know what? I used to be a Democrat. I gave money to Democrat Politicians. I supported with my money what they told me to support. You know what? I found out they didn't want me anymore. They looked at my job creation, my success, and they said they didn't want me. They looked at my family; at my business; at me; and said they didn't want me. They looked at what I had to offer; and said they didn't want that. So I'm here. I found open arms in this Republican Party. I found people ready to listen to what I have to say; people who said "We Want You Donald Trump."  So yeah, there's a lot in this Republican Party I'm not used to. There's a lot I haven't seen comin from New York.  But you, you've shown me. As I've gone across this great land; talking to each and everyone of you; I've learned something. I've learned what you think is important. I've heard about your opposition to Planned Parenthood; I've heard you talk about my past; I've heard you talk about how I spent my money. Fine, I'm flexible on a lot of things; I'm a businessman who likes to negotiate; and that's the key here. Negotiation. There's room for us to talk. It's a give and take. I can tell you this much though; elect me and I'll do my best to represent each and every one of you. Everything you believe in, I want to be important to me; because that's how we get the best Deal. That's how we Win. 

If Donald Trump were to embrace his position as somebody who is from the DNC of yesteryear; somebody outcast from the political party they would have called home; and somebody who found a home in the GOP, then he could probably ignite and combine those in the DNC suffering from Voter Apathy and those suffering from Voter Anger into an unstoppable force. 

Only; Mr. Trump has seen fit to make a run for the far right; claiming conservative credentials he probably doesn't actually have. He has been accused of being a Confidence Artist; which in some ways is one of the largest No Duh! moments I have seen in recent memory. Mr. Trump is a businessman from New York with several billions in his bank account. That there could be possible connections to a Mafia of some kind or evidence of links to various Cons pulled over the years; would not be a big surprise. The link between successful New York Businessmen, Mafia types, and legally grey business practices is as stereotypical as a Corrupt Chicago Politician. 

However, I'm not entirely convinced that quasi-legal dealings in Mr. Trump's past; or potential Mafia connections; are a reason to entirely dismiss him as a Presidential Candidate. Mr. Trump has a reputation for the practice of looking after himself.  I harbor no doubt that were Mr. Trump to be elected to the Office of the Presidential of the United States his desire to win; his desire to be the best at whatever he can be; would actually make for good qualities. Sure; it might bring back the days of Crony Capitalism; but Crony Capitalism is easier to fix than Socialistic Corruption. 

In short; Donald Trump is probably somebody who would carry through on his campaign promises. He's a businessman first; and if American wins on Energy Production, transportation, resource production, immigration reform and ejection of illegal aliens; then Mr. Trump's properties win. 

Yet; as I expressed before; my reason for not voting for Donald Trump stems not from his policies or beliefs; but because American Citizens have a much better candidate in the Republican Field. That candidate is not Senator Marco Rubio. 

Shattered

As 2016 has closed off it's first 2 months I find my decision to step away from Marco Rubio easier and easier with each passing day. His announced policies are simply not as effective as anything Donald Trump or Senator Cruz have presented. His claim to be able to work across the aisle is meaningless when the aisle is dominated by an ideological gap rather than bridged with shared ideals. His promise to beat Hillary is hollow after his massive flubs on National Security, Encryption, and Snowden. 

The only reason Marco Rubio still seems to be a viable candidate is a massive mistake on the part of the GOP Establishment. It is a near textbook example of "Those who do not Learn from History are Going To Repeat It"

Across 2008 and 2012 the GOP Establishment tried to move middle-of-the-road candidates through the political process. The attempts failed; with Senator McCain's stellar imitation of a planted vegetable certainly not helping his case; and Mitt Romney coming off of 2 previous losses in the primaries and a concerted effort to make the race a third time charm. 

The fact is this: as candidates get closer and closer to the actual election; most candidates take a turn for middle-of-the-road rhetoric. The result is Presidential Elections with candidates who only have minor differences in their policies; rather than deep ideological differences that the country must vote on. 

The tactic has twice now failed for the GOP Party. A middle of the road Republican Candidate simply cannot; under most normal conditions; win against a middle of the road Democratic Candidate; simply because the DNC typically offers status quo. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were highly competitive with their middle of the road presentations; even if their actions in office barely resembled those of the campaign trails. 

So in 2016 one would assume that the GOP Establishment; which is best defined as the senior party members who are hung up on time-in-party as an ultimate deciding factor; would realize they had to change strategies. They needed something other than a middle of the road candidate; somebody whose every action screamed consistent ideology; somebody with a reputation for holding to a line.

Except that didn't happen.

The GOP Establishment tried to run the exact same playbook that cost the last too elections; with large amounts of resources to longstanding party members and not so much for party outsiders or those who rocked the Senatorial vote. The result was a disaster as both Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. John Kasich helmed campaigns that seemed to have more in common with the Titanic than with the HMS Conqueror

So; as the Gov. Bush and Gov. Kasich campaigns ran aground like the HSM Vanguard; the big money backers and Establishment types turned to Sen. Marco Rubio.  The very same Senator they had dismissed for not waiting for his turn to be President; and somebody who had shot his rump off on national television. 

Senator Rubio, at some point, realized that his campaign needed some tweaks; so like Donald Trump Senator Rubio took off quickly towards the right-wing of his party. Since then my email in-box has been flooded with reasons why Senator Rubio is more conservative than Senator Ted Cruz on one topic or another.

The result?  Senator Rubio comes across as a flip-flopper of a higher order magnitude; just based on the emails from the promotional campaigns. I suspect that if Senator Rubio's campaign hadn't been given buoyancy from the Establishment types; it would have already ran into the ground.

Quite simply; of the remaining GOP Candidates; Senator Rubio is easily the worst candidate possible who is still viable. 

I found myself staring open-mouthed with the GOP Chairman, Reince Priebus, claimed something to the effect that it wasn't his position to tilt the scales of the nomination cycle. BULL.

It IS with Chairman Priebus's purview as the Chairman of the GOP to let party members know when their actions put long term party gains at risk.  Attempting to back another middle of the road candidate; attempting the same playbook that failed the last two Presidential elections; DEMANDS action from the Chairman's Office. It demands that Chairman Priebus flat out tell Party members they have one option: Get a New Strategy

Strategy

The new strategy is simple: Back Senator Ted Cruz with everything the Party has to offer. 

There are a number among the GOP who simply don't want Donald Trump to take the nomination. Fine. That is their prerogative. Running the old playbook isn't the way to get that result. Running the old strategy will not obtain that result. 

If Donald Trump can take the nomination in a one-on-one fight against somebody who is tested; principled; almost annoyingly consistent in his Conservative Values; then fine. Donald Trump will have earned that victory. 

That candidate that all those who want to DumpTrump need to support; is Senator Ted Cruz. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

I (Would) Choose Cruz.

The 2014 Preamble

In 2014 US voters spoke en masse. An unprecedented wave of election results sent not just record numbers of freshmen representatives into both Houses of Congress; but also into the houses of Governors across the Union. On November 5th I wrote about that Absolute Mandate, the Power of those flying under the banner of Taxed Enough Already, and the utter revulsion of the Obama Agenda on G+:  https://plus.google.com/+JeSaist/posts/a9BFnxZ9MrR

What voters got across 2015 was not the implementation of their Mandate. What voters received instead was a sitting President that abjured from any pretense of following a rule of law. Instead of working within the confines of the Presidential Duties to draft legislation for a vote before Congress; the sitting President turned to policy edits and departmental orders to carry out his agenda. The abuse of so called Executive Orders were, to rephrase various contextual comments, carried out under the Chief Executive's belief that he was working to represent all of the US Citizens who did not vote.

Which... there is no polite way to say this... is simply ludicrous. The United States is ostensibly a Republic; a style of government where citizens elect an individual who best represents the interests of those individuals. A salient point of the voting system is that elected representatives are bound to represent the interests of those who vote; not those who did not take the time and effort to vote.

While the average US citizen watched the sitting President descend into observable childish lunacy; if not abject delusional behavior; attention then turned to the Congress which is charged with oversight of all of the actions that can be taken by a sitting President. Freshmen to the House of Representatives and Senate found themselves opposed not by the other political party; but by their own senior leadership. Senior Leadership that quickly found itself being referred to as The Establishment. An unattractive title if there ever was one.

Clashes between "The Establishment" and those attempting to carry out the 2014 Election Mandate eventually came to some kind of internal conclusion. In a rare occurrence one of the Senior "Establishment" members holding the special position Speaker of the House stepped down. Those attempting to carry out the 2014 Election Mandate had won an important internal battle.

Throughout all those events one name continued to rise to the forefront and feature on the front pages of websites owned or controlled by Liberal Democrat Interests. One name was almost continually in circulation on every single site controlled by AOL Media's Arianna Huffington. One person who was bound and determined to carry out the expressed will of the People to stop the Obama Agenda and get the United States back on Track. One name that, despite not even being in the House of Representatives, was name-checked as a deciding factor that lead to the Speaker of the House turnover. One name that was attached to every single bill that needed to be defeated; one name that was attached to every single bill that was abandoned. One name who was making a difference that the Liberal Democrats and quote/unquote Establishment Republicans could not stand. One Singular Enemy who stood between the gates of the Obama Delusion and Sane Rational Behavior. One Enemy the quote/unquote "Liberal Left" was desperate to extinguish. The very embodiment of a real world Senator Bail Prestor Organa:

Senator Ted Cruz.

In some ways I'm not entirely sure that the preceding is hyperbole. I honestly saw more hit pieces on Senator Ted Cruz filter through Huffington controlled sites than any other political representative. In my book; anybody who can get on Huffington's nerves often enough that there is an observed editorial mandate to attack that person even on web sites that supposedly have zero political connection is probably somebody I want to spend a few hours playing Borderlands or UT'99 with.

It would be fair then to say that I was already tilting in the direction of Senator Ted Cruz even before the first debates and the now legendary Cruz Missile swept through social media like a firestorm across a petrol laced corn field mid-drought. What locked him in though? What made him somebody that I... after spending an in-ordinate amount of time specifically advocating ideals and not names... would openly state: You Need To Vote For This Candidate.


The Taxes


I'll go into why the other candidates sunk themselves for me in a different post; as for many there were very clear moments where they became somebody I would have difficulty voicing my support for. For Senator Cruz though; there wasn't really a singular moment where he said something, or did something, that turned him into somebody that I would openly support. 

It was rather a culmination of factors. The easiest place to start with is taxes; especially as I am somebody who self identifies as a member of the T.E.A. Party. Senator Cruz's Tax Plan is freely available to view online on his own website. In essence the Tax Plan centers around dismissing the IRS and implementing a Flat Tax.

Now, I could waste reader's time talking about the benefits of a Flat Tax plan. I shouldn't have to do that as the information on why a Flat Tax plan is sane and reasonable should be self evident. For those who really do need that kind of information spoon fed to them are probably better off just following the link to Senator Cruz's website.  

Instead I'd rather take the time and draw the link between the Tax System and political lobbying as I have done before on this blog; incidentally much to the dismay of a great number of political activists.  The extensive loopholes, credits, bonus's, and collective write-offs in the currently implemented and IRS Enforced Tax Plan functions as a root cause driving one prong of the push on Homosexual Marriage. To put simply: The Homosexual Lobby generally wants equivalent fiscal benefits to Heterosexual Couples despite not being able to fulfill the one obligation that those fiscal benefits are supposed to encourage: Produce the Next Generation.  

A Flat Tax plan that impacts everybody equally makes it easier to directly deal with issues like housing, utility infrastructure, food resources, and other aspects of simply living outside the manufactured walls of how much credit any one particular house or apartment gets based on who is inside and what their sexual relations are. Ergo a flat-tax plan effectively ruins much of the Homosexual Lobby's mentality; removing the fiscal payoff(s) for having reached equivalent legal status for couples living together. 

The Marriage Position

Removing the fiscal pillar that props the Homosexual Lobby up in turn makes it easier to reveal the second and more insidious prong of the Homosexual Lobby attack: Forcing the government to tell "The Church" what "The Church" can and cannot do

This segues into Senator Cruz's positions on Marriage and Family Life. I, for one, really don't care what people do for sexual entertainment in the confines of their own apartments. 

I do care when people's sexual entertainment and practices result in attempts to re-define various words. The entire concept of Marriage in relation to the US Government is one that is rooted within the Judeo-Christian concepts that the country was founded on. To repeat myself: The Entire Point of the US Government Recognizing a Marriage is that the Union of a Man and a Women Brings About The Next Generation Of Citizen

There just is no way around that simple fact. Senator Ted Cruz, to date, stands on that sane and rational understanding of just what the purpose of the Government's recognition of Marriage means. That in turn segues into the next point:

Citizenship

Recognizing that a Marriage brings about the next generation delves straight into Citizenship. I want to tangent for a bit here and write about Senator Ted Cruz's eligibility for the Office of US President. The challenge has been raised that while Senator Ted Cruz was born of an American Citizen Mother, his Father was not an American Citizen, and Senator Cruz was born off of US Soil in Canada. The US Constitution makes some specific statements on the eligibility of Presidential Candidates; and there are some arguments that suggest that because Senator Cruz's father was not an American, and because Senator Cruz wasn't born on National Soil or under a Protectorate, that the Senator is not eligible for the Office of US President.

 Bull.

Couple of numbers here. Props to those who grok the meaning without using Google: 
  • 1839
  • 19
  • 1919
  • 1920


If you guessed or realized: 
  • Married Women's Property Act
  • 19th Amendment
  • 19th Amendment Introduced
  • 19th Amendment Ratified


Congrats. You might already have figured out where this is going. When the US Constitution was written Women could generally not hold property; nor could they vote. As such the legislation was written with under the vernacular and context of the time.  Over the years, as a country, the US came to the conclusion that Women did have rights, they could vote, and were equal citizens to Men. These legal victories are the lens upon which the Constitution's Limitations on Eligibility of Citizens for the Office Of President must be viewed. 

Under that lens, as a son to an American Citizen, Senator Ted Cruz is eligible for the Office of the President of the United States. Period. Stop. There is no other argument. 

Which circles back around to the points from earlier. The entire point of the US Government recognizing a Marriage is that a Marriage is one of the legal frameworks for recognizing a citizen of the country. Okay, fair argument that an ever growing number of US Citizens are produced out of wed-lock; but the point still stands. The recognition of a Marriage is part of the legal process in recognizing a chain of citizenship.

Immigration and Borders

Immigration, or rather the blanket-amnesty pushed by the Obama Administration, is another aspect of future citizenship. Senator Cruz is saying all the correct things; and his congressional record covers all of the desirable objectives. Chief among those objectives is simply enforcing the laws that are in place.

Yes. That does mean there will be a significant number of deportations. It's going to hurt. It is going to rip families apart. 

One of the self-evident problems is the sheer scale of illegal immigration within the US. A scale of millions that was only achieved largely due to efforts of those identifying under Liberal Left ideals working in border states to prevent laws from enforced. So called Sanctuary Cities are a symptom of the Liberal Left's contempt for what everybody else voted on; and for what was passed into the books of Law.  

Senator Cruz has outlined a fairly comprehensive plan on how he will address Immigration and Borders. I can't lie; it is going to hurt. Cleaning up messes other people caused is rarely pretty.

In reference to the security wall to be built on the southern border. I have my own crazy plan to make the wall along the US's Southern Border a canal large enough to get two super-tankers side by side from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean; and I'd love it if Senator Cruz gave that moonshot a chance. 

The Tipping Point(s)

By now it should be pretty obvious. Senator Ted Cruz supports many, if not all, of the same ideals I have talked about here on this blogger, on G+, and on other various sites. Which comes back to the original question. When did everything Senator Cruz said and did culminate in me dusting this particular site back off to run a self-published post? 

Honestly. It was not Senator Cruz himself that tipped the plates.

It was Senator Marco Rubio. 

During one of the debates Senator Ted Cruz started talking in very plain English about the exact capabilities of law enforcement under a recently passed bill. The type of information that in the wake of the Snowden leaks had courts across the country agreeing that the average US Citizen should have been informed about. 

Senator Rubio broke in and said something about not discussing National Security in front of 15 million viewers... the exact same viewers that those National Security and Law Enforcement issues needed to be talked about to in plain English

That started the scales tipping. The scales took another tumble when the subject of Encryption came up in a debate. As best as I can determine Ted Cruz is at least aware of Kerckhoffs's Principle; or is knowledgeable enough of Open-Source development practices to realize that security professionals would treat any US Backdoor into any encryption as a front-door for every criminal on the planet; and simply write their own code; or leverage an audited Open-Source project with code not necessarily hosted within the confines of the US Borders. 

The event that wiped Senator Rubio from consideration; was the event that left Senator Ted Cruz as somebody I could support. That event was Senator Rubio up on a debate stage saying he would prosecute Snowden as a criminal while Senator Cruz would welcome Snowden home as a Patriot.

Snowden is a Patriot.

I've been over all of the evidence to date and I can find nothing that indicates that Snowden preformed his leaks with criminal intent. I genuinely believe he was somebody in a position who saw something atrocious going on... and could not let his country suffer under the Intelligence State that the Obama Administration had wrung into existence. 

Rubio's declaration on Snowden was not the clincher that made me state I Choose Cruz... but the impetus that drove me to look far more closely at Senator Cruz's policies, plans, and record. The same record, policies, and plans... that carried Senator Cruz into the top spot of the Iowa Caucus... are what makes me believe that Senator Cruz is the best candidate the GOP has to offer. 

Putting the cartoonish hyperbole, quote/unquote's, theatrics, metaphors, and snide snarky shots to one side; Senator Cruz has an uphill fight. His record is not one that resonates with much of the Senior Leadership of the Republican Party. It is my opinion that anything short of an overwhelming majority of US Voters all saying We Choose Cruz could result in a repeat of the 2015 political tragedy. The freshmen Congressional Representatives and Senators; the new blood swept into office to fulfill a mandate... could find themselves not fighting against the remnants of what was once called the Democratic National Committee. Rather they could find themselves fighting the Senior Members of the GOP... who are just as responsible for the mess the Obama Administration created.

So this is me. Je Saist. Je Zerias. The One Grumpy Bunny. The Eye of the Hurricane, Insanity Unchained and Chaos Purified. 

With one message. One simple message.

If you are an American Citizen over the age of 18: 

You need to get off your butt, get registered to vote; and go vote Ted Cruz into the US Presidential Office in an Avalanche that would make the Swiss Alps Jealous. 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Repealing Obamacare: mind the cross-purposes talk

Pardon me while I brush away some dust. This is going to be better done here rather on than on G+ as I intend to toss a print-version at some of the politicians who can't be bothered to check their G+ notifications... or set up a G+ account. 

The short version of events is as follows: The Republican led congress has called for a vote to defund, dismantle, and generally repeal the quote/unquote Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Obama has in turn stated that he will veto any attempt to undo the ongoing disaster known as ObamaCare. Mr. Obama also has the support, or so he thinks, of his political constituents.

The Republican Party is confident that currently elected Democrats will have in mind the significant losses to seats in the House of Representatives, Senate, and Gubernatorial positions. Strategically there is no question that supporting the Affordable Care Act has permanently ended the political careers of many card-carrying Democrat National Party Members. There is a strong expectation that Democrats who have any expectation of ever holding any political power again will break ranks and vote to pass the legislation ending the Affordable Care Act. There is the stronger expectation that should Mr. Obama enact his threatened veto; those same Democrats will likely choose to make history and save their political futures by voting to over-ride Mr. Obama's Veto.

In attempting to stop what is perhaps now a reversal in progress on par with the Repeal of Prohibition, it is worth keeping in mind that Mr. Obama, his party constituents, and members of the paid broadcast and print media are engaged in deliberately talking at cross-purposes to the Republican Party and the United States of America as a whole. Those aligned with Mr. Obama accomplish this cross-purpose talk with a single question:

What do the (Republicans) intend to replace the Affordable Care Act with?

This is a Mugs Question that opens into a Mugs Game. Mr. Obama and those aligned with his political ideals will accept nothing outside of a "Nanny-State / Single-Payer" insurance system. As American's have learned from Mr. Gruber; Such a System Was Never Economically Viable To Begin With.

To be blunt the economic non-viability of the Affordable Care Act was fairly obvious even for those with zero experience in any college level; or for that matter grade-school level; economics course. What it comes down to is "How Does Insurance Work?"

Insurance companies such as StateFarm, Nationwide, Progressive, Allstate, and Geiko all have a fairly simply business model.  Those covered under an insurance policy deposit a comparatively small amount of their financial resources in a series of payments over time into the Insurance Company's Bank. The word "Bank" refers to the total collected amount of financial resources the Insurance Company has; not to a specific banking institution.

The Insurance Company adjusts the amount of financial resources expected to be deposited from any single covered entity against the Risk(s) that the covered entity will have to withdraw from the Insurance Company's Bank. The greater risks that any single entity represents requires a larger financial resource to be deposited. Case in point: an automobile driver with multiple legal violations will be considered a "High Risk" to the Insurance Company's "Bank." As such an automobile driver with multiple infractions on their license will be expected to deposit a significantly higher financial resource.

The Insurance Company Business Model relies on a greater number of covered entities contributing greater financial resources to the Bank than the number of covered entities withdrawing financial resources from the Bank. Which in-turn creates the infamous Insurance Adjuster archetype; an individual who is responsible for minimizing the amount of financial resources that have to be withdrawn from the Bank. Once again Auto-Insurance is a standout example where an insurance company might cover repairs at one auto-shop rather than another because the financial resource costs for labor and equipment costs are lower.

The Insurance Company Business Model ALSO relies on an almost entirely voluntary client base. Even the United State's mandatory Auto Insurance provisions require that a US Citizen actually own an automobile that is driven on an automotive infrastructure maintained using Taxpayer funds.  In other words: in the US a driver has to have automotive insurance if they take their vehicle on public roads. The need to rely on a voluntary client base directly leads to competition between insurance companies; which in turn helps lead to lowering the financial costs for any single covered entity who might get a better deal with a competitor.

Mr. Obama's Affordable Care Act outright ignored many of the fundamentals of the Insurance Company Business Model. At the very least the Affordable Care Act attempts to make coverage by an Insurance Company mandatory. Those who cannot afford a viable third party Insurance Company must be covered by a Taxpayer Sponsored Insurance Company; which automatically invalidates any up-ward spiral of expected behavior caused by competition. Rather than making health-insurance easier to access; this directly causes a drastic decrease in customer-service and let's third party entities attach booster rocket's to their financial resource premium. What's a potential client going to do? Pay-up for the increased costs on third party plan? Pay for their own coverage and the coverage for other s in taxes?  Not pay anything at all? Making insurance coverage mandatory was never a viable solution.

Mr. Obama's Affordable Care Act also places more power in the hands of the Insurance Adjuster Archetype. I myself have run into an issue with established entities like Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Georgia where a panel within the insurance company made a ruling on medical coverage, when no person on that panel was even remotely qualified to make any kind of ruling in regards to the medical issue at hand (neurosurgery). There is no getting around the fact that Medical Decisions absolutely have to be made by a Competent and Qualified Doctor; not by an insurance company employee using WebMD or Wikipedia. This is not a fact that is up for argument or debate.

Mr. Obama's Affordable Care Act further ignored the principles for an actual Insurance Company Business Model that a covered entity's financial deposits are adjusted not only against the risks that financial resources will have to be discharged for that covered entity; but also against the risks of how much any single discharge could cost. In the case of Health Insurance there is no question that financial resources will have to be discharged. As will shortly be addressed; the US health care system was already rife with doctors charging patients leveraging financial cash one amount; yet charging insurance companies significantly greater financial resource amounts with the expectation that the actual amount would be haggled down to somewhere above a financial cash transaction. Mr. Obama's Affordable Care Act did absolutely nothing to address the risks on either side of the Insurance Company Business Model. 

The point to be made then is this. The Republican Party does not have any legislation in mind to replace the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act was never affordable and never did anything to actually lower the costs of medicine in the United States. To quote some quick-shots from myself on G+ in October 2013: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117255203942825212306/posts/HVZo85um87R

The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to stop Doctor's Offices from charging insurance an inflated figure and then haggling down; while charging cash patients far less money.  
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to lessen the amount of insurance paperwork any single Doctor's office has to deal with. Rather, according to the Doctor's I try and stay in contact with, their paperwork and filing needs will increase.
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to lower or establish tax exemptions on medicines. 
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to stop brand-name drug developers from overpricing their drugs; and then using the trade system as a battering ram to prevent generic drugs sold at affordable prices from making it hands into patients. As a personal example: I suffer from high blood pressure. The best drug combination, to date that works with my body chemistry is a Bystolic / Hyzaar combination. While Hyzaar has a generic available, as this posting Bystolic does not. The practical result for me is that I currently make do with an Atenolol / Lisinopril combination that is nowhere near as effective; but is affordable. The Affordable Care Act does nothing to address the market abuses of the pharmaceutical companies; and that in turn has a direct effect on the downstream costs of health care.  
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to get more Doctors into Practice. There is a shortage of both Doctors and Nurses within the United States. The Affordable Care Act does nothing to reduce the amount of financial and legal risk that is associated with practicing medicine; nor does the legislation reduce or simplify the costs or processes in training to become a Doctor or a Nurse. The practical result is that the Affordable Care Act does absolutely nothing to address the practical shortage of people who are qualified and trained to serve in medical professions. As such Doctors, and by extension nurses, continue to be forced to turn the costs of their education back onto their clients, e.g. the patients, which continues to escalate health care costs.
Any New legislation from the Republican Party in regards to health-care will, in all likelihood, actually try to the address the actual cost issues at hand. Just passing a law stating that Doctors must charge cash-resource and insurance-covered patients the same exact financial resources would eliminate a staggering portion of the price-gouging that occurs and crater Health-Care costs almost overnight. That being said since Health-Insurance generally carries a labor overhead on the part of the Doctor a bill that allows Doctors to charge Insurance Companies a specified percentage over cash-resource would be more likely to pass with bipartisan support.

In the same way; legislation that targets the market abuses of pharmaceutical organizations would likewise have a direct effect on health-costs. A common argument here is that a prevalence of generic products would drive the billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies out of business. I'm not convinced. Speaking for myself I'd happily pay out for the brand name Bystolic / Hyzaar if the brand-name versions resource cost was within a percentage'd delta of a generic version rather than a logarithmic'd delta. Case in point: Each day millions of consumers around the world happily pay for brand name medicines like PeptoBismol, Advil, or Bayers Aspirin; despite vendors like Wal-Mart and CVS offering store-branded generic versions for less financial resources.

Understanding that the issues with Health Care in the United States are not, and cannot, be solved with legislation focused around quote/unquote Health Care Exchanges and Insurance Coverage is one of the first steps towards fixing Health Care not just in the US, but in other nations.

As an ending note an alert reader might have noticed that a specific form of addressing a specific person was avoided in the entirety of this posting. To be blunt: When a person in an politically elected office demonstrates complete and absolute utter incompetence in that office; that person forfeits any and all rights to the protections and benefits offered of that office; including but not limited to the expectation to be addressed by the title that office would normally grant.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shadow Test #4

Experimenting with labeling and email sharing.

Shadow Test #3

Round 3: If this works, a post from my main account should be pushed to zerias.blogspot.com and the GNiE G+ feed.

Shadow Account Test

If this works properly... This post on zerias.blogspot.com should be automagically pushed to the GNiE G+ feed.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Digital Rights: Removed and Regained

Here is an interesting question for you:  What is the difference between the popular anti-cheat program PunkBuster and malicious root-kits like Microsoft ZDPP, Tages, or SecuROM?

On the surface all of the programs have the same basic function. That function is to implement a software lock on a program.

This software lock prevents the users of that program from carrying out certain actions; and at extreme ends can prevent users from the utilization of the program. Despite these similarities Punkbuster is welcomed in gaming communities, while the other utilities are openly reviled.

The impetus for this thought was a repetition of an oft-used claim I saw on the Sega Forums. Somebody made the comment that the application in question would not ever be on /Linux. This statement was based on that application's usage of NProtect's GameGuard, and the quote/unquote following statement: "which goes against the general use policies of linux."

The reasoning behind the statement took me aback. For starters, there are no such general use policies for /Linux systems. Secondly, I am very familiar with the GameGuard program. It is a competitor to PunkBuster, and as far as I am aware, not a malicious rootkit or a Digital-Rights-reMoval application. In my mind there is a clear difference between useful utilities that prevent players from hacking games, malicious DRM rootkits, and benign DRM Services.

The Lock-Out Implementations
  • Anti-Hacking: Punkbuster, GameGuard, Valve.Anti.Cheat
Tools like this prevent the computer user from breaking an application and using that break to affect other players in a networked environment. These tools generally do not prevent modifications to the program itself, the digital-lock is run as a process, and are generally optional to utilize. The person hosting the network-server must enable the anti-hacking tool, and the person launching the client-application must agree to use that anti-hacking tool.
  • DRM Malicious Rootkits: SecuROM, Tages, ZDPP
Rootkits like these prevent the user from accessing the application itself, and the digital-lock is generally implemented on a system-wide level rather than a process-level. The result is that these rootkits take away control of the application itself from the user, and can result in permanent system-level damage. Most of these rootkits have limited activations or installations which cannot be renewed or extended, thus forcing the purchaser to repurchase the software if they want to continue to use the software they already purchased.
  • DRM Benign Single Sign On Services: Desura, Valve.Steam
Services like these require an internet connection in order to authenticate ownership of the application. Applications are stored in a defined container, but users are largely not restricted from modifying stored applications. The Digital-Lock is often implemented as a process. These services often include additional features such as un-attended installations, automatic-updating, data-file synchronizing, cloud-storage utilities, and other features such as storefronts or library management.

The drawback to Single-Sign-On systems is that they do not address the offline-user. Not to put too fine a point in it, but what was wrong with entering a unique-CD-key code?

To me these differences are as clear as the difference between day and night. What is the perspective from somebody who is not as technically inclined as I am? Are these programs really all that different?

What about from a moral or ethical standpoint. Is it ethical to lock down computer software to prevent access or modification? Is that a morally right thing to do? For me the determination comes down to a very specific litmus test:
  • Is the lockout going to beneficially affect somebody else's application experience?
  • Is the lockout going to negatively affect your personal application experience?
  • Is the lockout intended to prevent theft of the application?
These three questions pretty much cover the litmus test for applications that implement a software lock out.

Yes, it is morally or ethically correct to lockout software if that lockout prevents a negative experience for somebody else. This would be the anti-hack tools such as PunkBuster and GameGuard. They ensure that people who are playing games in a networked environment are playing in a fair environment. Such lock-outs are already supported within the /Linux software ecosystem. Technologies such as Punkbuster have native IA32 and x86-64 libraries. Strangely, the aforementioned GameGuard does not advertise GNU/Linux support, even though I am led to believe that GameGuard has at least a native x86-64 client available upon request in order to compete with Punkbuster and Valve.Anti.Cheat.

No, it is not morally or ethically correct for lockout software to prevent you from using the software. This would be the malicious rootkits that can destroy your operating system or force you to have to re-purchase a software license. This would also include always on 24/7 dial-home services for non-internet-only games.

It is morally and ethically permissible to implement a software lock to prevent theft. However, in order for this type of lock to be morally and ethically acceptable, the lockout needs to be non-destructive and flexible. Single-Sign-On services are an acceptable compromise that give content generators a level of theft-protection while not threatening the users-computing environment.

The /Linux Perception

With the above concepts in mind, that there are notable differences in software locks, and notable differences in what makes those lockouts acceptable or unacceptable, how do this relate to /Linux? How do we explain to somebody who is unfamiliar with the /Linux software ecosystem that software-lockouts are permissible? How do we explain that there are no such things as usage policies?

The answers to these questions can be complicated. Over the years an extensive amount of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt has been generated on the subjects of the /Linux kernel, the GNU Operating System, third party applications, licenses, and many other aspects of the overall /Linux software ecosystem. A very recent case in point is the Free Software Foundation call-out on Canonical over the usage of private keys and Grub2.

Many computer users seem to be under the impression that proprietary programs cannot be run on /Linux systems, or that technologies that implement a software-lock cannot be run on /Linux due to some non-existent policy. Most think this either due to the repetition of F.U.D. from sources such as Microsoft, or just general confusion from lack of education. Before going further it would probably be a good idea to just clarify the relationships between the Kernel, Operating System, and Applications. To do that I'll use some breakdowns for Android/Linux and for an Embedded GNU/Linux:

 

In these pictures we can clearly see the drill down of the components working with each other. Applications talk to the API's and Libraries in the Operating System. It is those API's and Libraries in the Operating system itself that turn around and talk to the hardware devices exposed by the kernel. Incidentally, this layout is why you have *updates* for drivers, libraries, and API's. Errors or inefficiencies of code in these components can affect the entire operating system due to their low-system-level.

This breakdown is also explains why applications compiled for Android+Chromium  are not necessarily compatible with applications compiled for GNU and vice-versa. While the underlying kernel itself may be the same, applications generally talk to the API's and Libraries in the Operating System rather than the kernel itself. This is the Important Bit to remember.

Applications that run on GNU/Linux operating systems generally access the GNU libraries, which are released under the Lesser GNU Public License.  Let me quote something from 2004 written by the FSF: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-java.html

FSF's position has remained constant throughout: the LGPL works as intended with all known programming languages, including Java. Applications which link to LGPL libraries need not be released under the LGPL. Applications need only follow the requirements in section 6 of the LGPL: allow new versions of the library to be linked with the application; and allow reverse engineering to debug this.

Note two of the salient, e.g. bolded, points made by the Free Software Foundation. Any and all applications can access the GNU libraries, regardless of license, financial cost, or any other factors. The only restrictions is that the author of that application cannot restrict reverse engineering of their product for the purpose of debugging library updates. Again this was written in 2004 and some elements of the LGPL have been updated or clarified in the LGPL Version 3.

There is another restriction to the LGPL, and it is one Google brings up here: http://source.android.com/source/licenses.html,

LGPL (in simplified terms) requires either: shipping of source to the application; a written offer for source; or linking the LGPL-ed library dynamically and allowing users to manually upgrade or replace the library.

Many users and developers get hung up on the concept of OR, and for some reason or another believe that using the LGPL GNU Libraries requires releasing the source code that calls upon those libraries. There are some valid concerns here for some vendors since dynamic software linking can be an issue on embedded platforms such as cellphones and Tablets. In such constrained software environments the operating system is distributed as a static-image. Historically most constrained-computing devices; which for point's sake is defined as almost every single electronic device with an embedded operating system; are never updated after they are released. This is one of the reasons phone vendors such as AT&T struggle to get Android Operating System updates out in something that does not resemble a geological time scale. AT&T has not yet adjusted to users not only wanting, but demanding and expecting Operating System updates on an embedded device as part of the service plan.

In terms of desktop usage, this is not really a problem. Although many users and developers might be unfamiliar with the /Linux software ecosystem, they should be familiar with the Microsoft Windows distribution method. Microsoft generally presses out a static disc image for their Windows Operating System, and it is this image that is distributed to end users and vendors. The end-users and vendors are responsible for ensuring that the static-image that was distributed is then updated with the latest sets of software patches. This is a very normal operating procedure for users of desktop computers.

Most GNU/Linux work in much the same way. The user installs the operating system, then pulls updates down for the operating system. Developers writing for GNU/Linux systems thus have to determine whether or not they want to statically-link their library files for distribution, or dynamically link the library files and simply use those provided by the operating system. Dynamically linked applications are generally preferred since users can have a wide range of  GNU libraries in use and dynamic linking is the only sane way to distribute applications.

To reiterate, the dynamic linking restriction in place of source code does not, in any way shape or form, concept or idea, particle or boson, prevent the distribution of a proprietary application with an attached financial cost from using the GNU Libraries.

What about the Kernel?

So then, if there is nothing to prevent proprietary programs from running natively on /Linux systems, what about the Linux Foundation's call out of Nvidia for it's proprietary drivers in 2008?

Again, two separate things here. The /Linux kernel is just that, a KERNEL. The /Linux kernel is not an operating system. For the /Linux kernel proprietary drivers are a nightmare, which is why there are only two real proprietary drivers of note: Nvidia-GLX and AMD Fglrx. Linux kernel development occurs almost too fast to really support an out-of-tree driver API. This rapid pace of technology is one of the reasons AMD has said they'll be opening up Catalyst for the HSA Foundation (slide 30).

It is important to separate the Kernel from the Operating System. Yes, the /Linux Kernel developers have a very vocal policy against software lockouts and proprietary licenses. The policy of the /Linux Kernel developers only applies to the /Linux kernel, not to the Operating System. Case in point, the Android+Chromium operating system(s) also use the /Linux kernel, but because they are not widely associated with GNU/Linux and the associated "viral" GNU Public Licenses, they do not suffer from the perception that there is a policy against software lockouts or proprietary licensed software.

Distributing Digital Rights reMoval software

In theory then, could malicious rootkits under proprietary license like SecuROM or Tages be brought to the GNU/Linux platform? Assuming that the native-client applications were dynamically linked to the GNU Libraries, then yes.

Could those applications be distributed? If the license allows for the unencumbered redistribution of the application, then yes.

Would those programs be distributed? This is the better question to ask. One of the signature problems of commercial /Linux support is actually getting applications into the hands of downstream users. Many Windows users may be unfamiliar with general GNU/Linux distribution methods, but are probably familiar now with digital distribution through applications like Valve.Steam, Google Play, Itunes App Store, or the Amazon App store. These digital distribution stores are largely modeled after networked software storage systems developed for GNU/Linux known as package repositories. Valve.Steam, for example, is often referred to as "Apt for Windows" given the multiple similarities to the Debian Apt system.

Many of the applications released into the /Linux software ecosystem are released under open-source licenses with unencumbered distributions. This allows the programs to leverage the networked system package repositories for storage and distribution. Programs with proprietary licenses can still be distributed through package repositories. Case in point, Debian designates proprietary licensed applications as non-free and makes them available, although as a separate option from the main distribution.

There is a difference between an application that can be added to a repository, and one that will be added. Most package repositories tend to be guarded with multiple levels of security. For example, becoming a Debian Maintainer requires jumping through lots of hoops including physically meeting with another maintainer. Adding a deliberately malicious package would destroy the trust the downstream users have with the maintainers of the repository. Offhand, I think this might be where the concept that a universal policy against software lockouts came from.

There is a drastic difference between a Repository Maintainer protecting downstream users from a malicious application, and a policy against software lockouts. One does not beget the other.

Where do we go from here?

The /Linux software ecosystem continues to grow across both GNU/Linux and Android+Chromium/Linux. Commercial vendors who have long since ignored the /Linux software ecosystem are slowly being forced into adopting platform neutral development techniques. In all fairness the platform neutral approach has also been helped by deliberate breaks in Microsoft's Windows Operating systems. For many developers the only way to target Windows Xp, Windows 7, and Windows 8 for application deployment is to adopt a platform-neutral development strategy such adopting graphics technologies like OpenGL over DirectX.

From my perspective the turn-about has been both hilarious and painful to watch. Companies like Valve and Unigine tend to approach /Linux, and for that matter platform-neutral development and distribution as a market reality rather than a one-off experiment. Companies like Electronics Arts tend to approach /Linux development and distribution as an experiment, something that can be abandoned if things do not go completely right. Companies like Activision will happily use /Linux for servers, but have no idea what to do with the desktop /Linux market other than ban players from Diablo III who were not using Windows.

With non-native repository solutions such as Valve.Steam and Desura vendors now have an external solution to distribute their native-client protected applications to downstream users within the /Linux Software ecosystem. Does this mean that we will see the rise of malicious software distribution through Valve.Steam or Desura?

My guess is an "unlikely no." There are multiple reasons for this, starting with the simple fact that most malicious software lock-outs never really worked to begin with. Anti-consumers such as pirates were not halted by malicious roots such as SecuROM, Tages, or ZDPP. The malicious rootkits only impacted legitimate users.

Then there is the network-connection question. Some of the vendors I've talked with over the years admitted that they shipped a malicious rootkit instead of a Single-Sign-On service for the sole reason that they wanted to prevent application theft from an offline user. The computing market has changed greatly in the past several years as Internet Access has become almost ubiquitous. While it might be possible that there are still Windows users who are buying modern-day application packages with no intention of ever connecting to the Internet, I think it would be a bit of a stretch to find a /Linux user with disposable income looking to buy a modern-day application package with no internet access. I think application vendors could probably be assured that solely distributing their applications through a Single-Sign-On service on GNU/Linux such as Valve.Steam or Desura would not limit or hamper potential sale opportunities.

The resistance to pushing commercial released consumer applications into the /Linux software ecosystem is not going to go away overnight. Vendors and consumers need to be educated on what the Open-Source licenses really say, and years of Reaper Indoctrination say Shepard is alive, I mean, years of Microsoft's F.U.D. flinging are going to be difficult to counter. We will continue to see vendors decline to release their applications into the GNU/Linux ecosystem due to concerns over licensing, library linking, or imagined policies, regardless of what the facts actually are.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Android Centralization

I normally don't repost comments I've made in other people's G+ streams. Well, this time I am, by collecting some of the comments together and expanding upon them.

One of the murmurs going around tech circles right now is an apparent push from Google to centralize Android/Linux distribution. The objective on Google's part is to get Android/Linux updates into the hands of users. Case in point the latest version of Android/Linux is the 4 to 5 month old Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 release. However, Android phones are still shipping with the literal years old Android Gingerbread 2.x release, and many popular Android/Linux phones like the Galaxy S II still haven't been updated despite carrier promises (AT&T) to get their act together.

The largest issue caused by inability of carriers to get their acts together and get updates out to device owners is not application incompatibility, despite what some reports, and programmers for that matter, would have you believe. The actual Android Application Programming Interfaces are very clearly defined and relatively stable between releases. The reference case in point here could be any long standing RPM or Debian based GNU/Linux distribution. Despite a wide variety of GNU/Debian operating system environments and /Linux kernels, you can generally maintain program compatibility if you target the published /Linux API's. Case in point, I can still run games like UT'99 and Doom3 that haven't had any effective updates to the binary executables in years.

From what I can tell from the Android/Linux documentation Google wasn't too particularly worried about Operating System fragmentation since they could implement API fallbacks for deprecated API features. In practice the program compatibility question does become complicated. The level of control given to vendors means that API fallbacks may not be exposed on any single Android/Linux device a user may actually have in their hand. There also can be other vendor-caused issues, such as "baked-in" shovelware like Facebook.

In my opinion the largest of these vendor-cause issues is the exposure of users to security threats. As Android/Linux devices become more widespread they become a more desirable target for malicious software and targeted attacks. It is my opinion that too many security choices are left in the hands of the phone carriers, many of whom have a long history of proving they have no business participating in software distribution or management.

Centralizing Android distribution allows Google to force the software-compatibility and security issues. This proposed centralization is very similar to the methods used by Apple in regards to the Iphone, which often raises the question of why it took Google so long to mimic Apple's successful software management strategy. My opinion here is that the recent history is being re-written by the present events.

Google publicly launched the Open Handset Alliance in November of 2007. When Google started the Open Handset Alliance it, as in Google,  was trying to break into the smartphone market. The Android/Linux platform was unproven, and for that matter, unwanted.  In 2007 there was active market competition from not just Apple's Iphone, but also from Palm and RIM. Case in point 2007 Palm was both profitable and already talking about their next generation software platform. Granted 2007 was also when RIM thought the Iphone was a wormhole product. Just getting the a foothold against the established players in the smartphone meant Google had to take a fundamentally different approach than Apple, which meant allowing the decentralization of updates and allowing phone vendors to do their own things.

Fast forward to today and the market itself has changed. Former smartphone powerhouses Palm and RIM have been mismanaged into irrelevance. One of the strongest players in the dumbphone market, Nokia, suffered not only from internal mismanagement that encouraged in-house competitions to ludicrous levels (Symbian, /Linux, and QT); they also suffered from external mismanagement (Microsoft, Elop, and Windows Phone). Also, yes, I know I just linked to an article written by Andrew Orlowski. As far as I can tell that article is actually accurate. Yes. I checked. Multiple times.

Anyways, the very competitors that forced Google to make concessions to get the OHA rolling to begin with, are, as far as the market is concerned, gone.

There are other factors to consider, such as the emergence of malicious software that attacks mobile devices, and then the whole updating question. Quite frankly Apple pioneered the entire concept of a smart-device getting an operating system and functionality upgrade, something Palm and RIM users had always equated to "spend more money on a new device."

Another unmentioned factor here is Kaz Hirai's push on Android through Sony. Sony needs Android centralized in order for Sony's content-driven Playstation Suite plans to actually work. I'm not too terribly interested in going into why Sony needs a centralized Android since that is it's own story, and will likely be posted on GNiE.

Additionally there is the whole legal quagmire with design patents, software patents, copyrighted API's, and so on and so forth. Google's ongoing triumph against Oracle in a courtroom probably is the straw that broke some of the involved camel's backs.

From an outsiders standpoint I think Google only now has the market muscle to actually push centralization of Android Distribution onto unwilling carriers. From the user's perspective the hopeful outcome is that devices running Android/Linux will be updated within a reasonable amount of time, say a couple of weeks if not days, from the launch of new software versions. I'm not sure I can imagine what the hardware vendors perspective is, but the loss of software competitors means they'll just have to focus on making better hardware. I can imagine what the carriers perspective is right now, Google's taking away their baked-in cash-cow shovelware deals and giving users back their devices. I think AT&T is not going to be happy about this.

And before you ask, I'm singling out AT&T since the Samsung Galaxy II S was flagged for ICS 4.0, and as far as my friends tell me, it's still Absent without explanation.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Homosexuals: It was never about Rights.

Okay, I've had enough. I think the breaking point for me was somebody who declared that Homosexuals being unable to marry was equivalent to the "Separate But Equal" doctrine. That's a load of horse hockey, and it's probably about time somebody shut the entire concept down. Might as well be me.

Thing is there has been a dramatic push by supporters of the Homosexual Agenda and their counterparts from the Liberal Democrats to compare the lack of legal right for Homosexuals to marry to various legitimate civil rights issues in the past. Comparisons can involve the female right to vote and the civil rights of non-white US citizens. The Homosexuals and their supporters claim that they are being discriminated against. Okay, so the first point of contention here is to define discrimination. Dictionary.com defines Discrimination as: "treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit." Let me phrase this in terms of plain English:
  • If I were a business owner of a computer repair shop and I needed a new employee to repair computers it would NOT be discrimination for me to ignore applications who have no experience repairing computers. It would be discrimination if I were to discard an applicant  with experience in repairing computers because they were Catholic. Their religious status makes no difference to the job.
  • If I were a business owner of a bakery and I needed a new baker it would NOT be discrimination for me to ignore applications who have no experience in baking. It would be discrimination if I were to discard an applicant with a Diploma in European Baking and Pastry because they were white. Their color makes no difference to the job.
  • To take this to the extreme, if I were a business owner of a car repair shop and I needed somebody with two hands to help with repairs it would NOT be discrimination to turn down an applicant for that job who was missing an arm. It would be discrimination for me to discard that application because he had a girlfriend. Their sexual status makes no difference to the job.
With the idea of discrimination defined and the concept framed in real world terms, what does this mean in regards to the Homosexual Agenda and it's supporters? How is the lack of legal recognition of marriage's between Homosexuals Discrimination? In order to answer this question we need to define Marriage. Dictionary.com defines Marriage as: "the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc."

Next Question: Who defines the social institution?
  • Is is the established central government? No. Governments typically establish Civil Unions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_union
  • Is it a Church? Yes in part, most marriages are referred to as Holy Matrimony, and are performed under the authority of a priest.
  • Is it a religious Convention? Yes in part, the concept of marriage as Holy Matrimony was laid out within the books known as the Jewish Torah, books that are accepted by Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions.
This now poses the question: If a Government can recognize it's own form of a legal union without regard to a religious mandate, why does a Government need to recognize a Marriage? Let me phrase this question another way: What is the point of Marriage?
  • Is it love for your partner?
  • Is it to have kids?
  • Is it to save money?
  • Is it convenience?
Good questions, but what does Marriage do that a Civil Union does not do? Yes, this will be pertinent in a bit.  Let me add another question right now: What does the Government gain from recognizing a Civil Union or a Marriage?

The short answer is this: From the Government's point of view the sole reason a Government needs to recognize the legal status of people living together is that it provides the Government with a concrete benefit. From the perspective of a Government the concept of Marriage has only one concrete benefit. That benefit is the production of more citizens. All of the fiscal benefits that Married Couples get are designed to do one thing, and one thing only. Aid that couple in producing children.

Remember something I said years ago? That the Homosexual Agenda is just about money? Well, it's not, and I'll get to that in a second. Here though is one half the crux of the Homosexual Marriage push. It is to award Homosexuals with the same financial benefits that Heterosexual couples are awarded. However, Homosexual Couples are physically incapable of fulfilling the Physical Requirements for those benefits.

 
This goes back to what I opened with in terms of Discrimination. It is not discrimination to withhold or disallow a person from partaking in a specific job, benefit, event, or whatever, if they don't meet the requirements for that specific job, benefit, event, or whatever.

The reality is this: Homosexuals do not qualify for the Benefits of Marriage to a Government. Ergo it is not Discrimination to disallow Homosexuals Citizens the benefits that are granted to Heterosexual Citizens.

I suspect that these statements will produce lots of teeth gnashing and probably earn lots of vicious whining from people who hadn't actually thought this through. I'm not finished lobbing bricks through the glass houses though. Remember a question from just a couple lines ago? What does Marriage do that Civil Union does not do? Yes, let's bring that back up. What DOES a Marriage do that a Civil Union doesn't?

Here's the short answer: a Marriage is generally established by a church or a religious body. A Civil Union is generally established by a government. This difference is the key point on why supporters of the Homosexual Agenda want Marriage Recognition.

What supporters of the Homosexual Agenda want is for the Government to tell the Church what the Church has to recognize.

Subtle isn't it. The same group of people that howl and complain about Separation of Church and State; the same people who have made it all but illegal for Priests and Pastors to even mention politics from the pulpit; the same people who howl about religious persecution; the same people who stamp their feet and point dramatically anytime it even looks like the "Church" might have a modicum of influence on their lives; are trying to influence the "Church" and interfere with matters of the "Church."

In case you missed the point, this is the textbook definition of Hypocrisy and Double Standard. Supporters of the Homosexual Agenda and Liberal Democrats feel they are free to perform the exact same actions they declare nobody else can perform.

To reiterate I expect that these statements will also generate a large amount of teeth gnashing and more whining from people who hate to be called out. Unfortunately for them, I'm not done. When looking at the cold hard logic behind the goals that supporters of the Homosexual Agenda are trying to achieve, the question has to be raised; How did this ever become a big deal to begin with? Why have Homosexuals become some a large part of the perceived American Life?

The roots to these questions are to be found in the so called Kinsey Reports, which were two books published on sexual behavior. Many of the commonly accepted ratios for homosexual market penetration and demographics were taken from data provided by the Kinsey Reports. The problem here is that Kinsey Report were false, and were medically disproved. All of the figures and ratios developed by Alfred Kinsey were, in fact, fraudulent. For the record, Kinsey himself was a pedophile and is confirmed to have committed acts of sexual abuse. In most academic circles this would result in the immediate rejection of any data furnished or provided by a person who had committed such acts.

One of the larger of the legacy problems here is the abject failure of the American Medical Association to act on the status of the Kinsey Reports as fraudulent data items, or to act on the revelation of the crimes committed by Kinsey. These abject failings has been complicated by other failures of the AMA. Since most people are not aware of these failings I have more questions to ponder here.

For example, did you know that most people who claim to have same-sex physical desires also have mental or psychological disorders? Did you know that people who have identified as homosexuals who have received treatment for confirmed and diagnosed psychological problems have reported the loss of same-sex attraction? Did you know that people who have identified as homosexuals who have undergone counseling have reported the loss of same-sex attraction? Did you know that the AMA has blacklisted doctors who have tried to research the link between psychological disorders and homosexual attraction? Did you know that the AMA has worked to block medical reports or research that indicate a link between psychological disorders and homosexual attractions? Did you know that the AMA has worked to block medical reports or research that links specific chemicals and or bio-organic compounds to homosexual attractions?

While that sends quite of few of you to Google with exclamations that such events can't be right and that I have to be wrong, I'm just going to point you to Love Won Out. Which will link you to many of the former homosexuals who have been treated or counseled, and some who have been through treatment for other mental disorders and found themselves without homosexual attractions.

Here's another factor to consider. A few years back there was a push to find a "Homosexual Gene" which would cause somebody to become Homosexual. The entire concept didn't sit right with anybody who was awake during high-school biology where we learned that in order for genes to be passed on, there had to be kids. Going back to the physically incapable of producing children bit from earlier, there is no physical way for Homosexuals to pass on a gene that would cause same-sex attraction.

It is, however, very possible to pass on or generate things like Down's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and many other known birth or near-birth medical conditions. See where this is going? While it is physically impossible to pass on a "homosexual gene," it would be possible to pass on or generate a chemical imbalance or other mental disorder that would cause same-sex attraction. Keep in mind that hormones and pheromones as methods to modify sexual behavior are scientific facts, not to mention the non-scientific existence of aphrodisiacs which proclaim to modify sexual behavior. This is why the AMA, and for that matter other international medical organizations, blockage of research into the psychological, biological, and chemical effects on same-sex attraction is such a major point of contention. Such blockages are not just irresponsible, there is evidence to support that those blockages have stifled and stymied other areas of potential medical advances. All this blockage for the sake of perpetrating a fraud. Again, anybody who was awake through High-School Biology should have caught this. This is not, as one might say, rocket science.

The medical problem has been complicated by the influx of liberal democrats into positions of authority within news sources; like the Associated Press, Reuters, CBS, NBC, ABC, Microsoft-NBC, and CNN; and entertainment production companies. Homosexuals have been given a free pass for promotion by the people who are actually in charge of creating most of the content that is aired on television or in movies. Ergo there has been the artificial perception that Homosexuals really do make up a large percentage of an "average population."

Economically speaking, that has never been true. From a purely economical standpoint companies that support Homosexuals tend to lose money. The dramatic case in point here is the Disney Corporation which suffered an extended boycott, and only managed to stay profitable by slicing expenditures such as planned cruise lines, planned resort expansions and renovations, the shuttering of the 2D animation studio and the reliance on a third party for Disney family movies, and so on and so forth. The final result of the boycott was the ejection of Michael Eisner and the return of the Disney Corporation to a family friendly oriented company.

The same holds true with the Voting population. The dramatic case in point here is the vote in California on Homosexual Marriage. California is considered one of the hot-spots for supporters of the Homosexual Agenda, and they still got smacked down. To put it bluntly, every single state that has brought up the definition of Marriage as One Man and One Women has passed that measure. Every single state that has brought up the possibility of legally recognizing Homosexual Marriage has defeated the measure.

Put bluntly, supporters of the Homosexual Agenda are neither an Economic nor a Political Factor.

What they are is a bunch of people who have been given a megaphone, and told to have fun with it.

To repeat myself, I realize this posting is not going to be very popular. It is going to attract a lot of people who don't want to discuss things in terms of cold hard facts. It is going to attract attention from people who probably wish I had just stayed dormant instead of laying out another colloquial smack down.

Will this posting have any effect on the political landscape as we move closer to the US elections?

Well, that's really up to the people reading this.