The age of information. Not.

Who hasn’t heard the phrase “21st century is the age of information“?  I think everybody heard it in this or that variation.  Well, know that we have the context, let’s see what US Military thinks of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange:

The U.S. military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States — the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency. Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with ‘communicating with the enemy.’

Democracy news spread via Slashdot.

Presidential elections, Russia, 2012

Today Russia is voting for a new president.  There is a lot of discussion and effort to make these elections fair and square.  A lot of people are observing and controlling.  I myself won’t be participating though.  I don’t believe that I have any vote in the matter anyway.  Instead, let me quote a rather appropriate section of Douglas Adams’ book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

[An extraterrestrial robot and spaceship has just landed on earth. The robot steps out of the spaceship…]
“I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”

“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”

“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

“I did,” said ford. “It is.”

“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”


“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”

“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”

Ford shrugged again.

“Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”

American freedom and democracy

Russia Today reports:

The terrifying legislation that allows for Americans to be arrested, detained indefinitely, tortured and interrogated — without charge or trial — passed through the Senate on Thursday with an overwhelming support from 93 percent of lawmakers.

Only seven members of the US Senate voted against the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, despite urging from the ACLU and concerned citizens across the country that the affects of the legislation would be detrimental to the civil rights and liberties of everyone in America. Under the bill, Americans can be held by the US military for terrorism-related charges and detained without trial indefinitely.

Additionally, another amendment within the text of the legislation reapproved waterboarding and other “advanced interrogation techniques” that are currently outlawed.

That’s exactly the same freedom and democracy that the US is violently spreading to the rest of the world… This is a rather predictable milestone in The War on Terror.  Terrorists are still winning.

Price of a right to vote

Slashdot quotes:

Two thirds of the students at NYU would give up their right to vote in the next election for a full scholarship. Some would be satisfied with an ipod. A few would be willing to give up the right for the rest of their lives for one million dollars.

With elections coming up in both Russia and USA, it’s interesting to see sometimes how similar a few things are.   I’ve heard something similar to the above quote about Russian youth too.  In fact, I have to say that I feel pretty much the same.  The simple reason for it is that my vote isn’t worth anything.  It affects nothing.  And eve if it did, I am to vote for one choice of those that I would rather not have at all.  And those for who I’d run to vote for either don’t make it to the candidate status or don’t even try to.

Slashdot discussion has a few insightful comments on the subject.  Here are some quotes:

 Theoretically, if we had candidates that represented us instead of the interests of corporations and special interest groups, our right to vote would be worth a great deal.

According to our forefathers, the right to vote is worth your life. My how times have slipped. But I do agree. I can’t blame the voter when you have the choices you have today.

Logically, you’re not capable of voting if you’re dead – your statement is patriotic but makes no sense.

 The article didn’t surprise me much either. I think many people feel the same way you do. Many people don’t use their right to vote, so they actually give it up for free, so why not give it up for an iPod?

 You could have far more influence over the government with that $1,000,000 than you ever will by voting.

Yes, I’ve heard it all before and it wasn’t always coming from the Americans…