Raise some glasses, Ladies and Gents...this Blog may be 70 posts old, but - like most everyone still living* at 70 - it's still a feisty teen on the inside. Don't know why I'm choosing 70 to make even a small fuss about a milestone or other....maybe 70 is the new 50? Doesn't really matter...if you really want to complain about an excuse to celebrate, go ahead, for all the good it will do you!
*"Living" is more than the state of not being dead yet.
On my way home from Star's today (We did indeed talk things over a bit. Most of the day was spent being thoroughly lazy and comfy...fine by me.) I picked up the X-Press,
Why in hell is Metro still around in Ottawa? If you're going to read a short paper, do you really want to read one that takes itself so seriously? Serious news requires the space for a decent volume of information, enough room for debate...the Metro has neither. Dose worked because it had a sense of humour, bizarre horoscopes, and, of course, sex advice from strangers. It was something you didn't find in greater detail in the Citizen or Sun (let's face it: Dear Abby is TAME!). X-Press is one step up, because it barely even covers Newspaper material, and has cool local stuff instead....and 'Savage Love...best Sex advice column Ever! Metro is as useful in the hand as it is trampled on an OC bus floor!
PS. If, by any chance, someone who writes for Metro sees this...I say "take two pages less talking about celebrities, and call me in the morning!"
Well, I read the "High Bias" column, which informed me that Security services in the US and Canada are now using the same computer algorithms to determine if YOU are a terrorist. I believe one of the criteria was "seat and meal choice on aeroplanes". I have melodramatically suggested in the past that a lot of "antiterror" legislation was the beginning of a Dark Path, and I know that others have predicted a loss of all privacy, and everything from there up to the rise of totalitarianism. Wherever that Dark Path leads, we have now embarked upon it,
for better or for worse.
I am not against computerization in general, but here, I have to start by opposing this particular use. This is no game of chess, no daisyworld, no SETI! Terrorism comes in too many colours, shapes, and sizes to be calculated. More importantly, many of these colours, shapes, and sizes are NOT NECESSARILY terrorists. If, as is proposed, anyone with a risk factor above a certain threshold will have their personal data forwarded to other agencies, does it not make sense to have a PERSON REVIEW SUCH CASES? The computer will work only as well as it is programmed (Example: In 2001, Hal 9000 was NOT FUCKING EVIL! He was a computer programmed for accuracy who was ordered to lie, and went crazy as a result of the conflict. The error was Human!), and the program is not (yet) capable of the flexibility that a human mind is. Were that it the case, though. An impartial, human-like mind would be a very useful asset indeed. At any rate, there will be people who are flagged by bizarre coincidence, and it would save time, effort, and money in the long run if you paid a guy to look out for red herrings (as it were) among the "high-risk" crowd. If this sort of thing is going to happen, every citizen is OWED this service. The reason the Government turns to such barbaric measures is because they are easy...regulation and due process would make the methods less easy, and therefore no better than honest ones. This would be VERY, VERY good. Plus, even if the governments go ahead anyway, there will be STANDARDS to ensure fairness.
It is such a cowardly thing, to collect data which should be private. It is an admission of fear, of resignation. An American soldier killed in Iraq is not a victory for Terrorists, but every granule of 'dirt' collected on any citizen IS! What freedom do you have, if everything you do is recorded, and should a computer, simply following orders, decide you are a threat, you can be arrested without charge, and held indefinitely. Ladies and Gentlemen, you no longer live in the Free World. The internet, thankfully, is still around, but suppose someone codes a national terrorism filter, and decides to add a little here and there, take out "dissidents" by "accident", hmmm? This may or may not ever happen, but that might not matter. Why risk the PR backlash when you can just record every site that anyone visits, and then "vanish" the people who read what you don't want them to? Maybe if you talk to someone who says the wrong thing, overhear someone, even? There are CCTVs everywhere in the UK these days, they could tell if you were in earshot of someone "dangerous", and they could have you dealt with. If this sounds more than a little alarmist, you are correct. None or all of this may happen, but the fact remains: Big Brother Is Watching You!
Now, you may say "but these measures are for COUNTER-TERRORISM purposes only!"
Good one, skippy! Remember when the GST was scrapped? Of course you don't, because it WASN'T. It WAS promised, some years ago, however. Or, how about that Ad-scam in Quebec? Government so honest, why, Abe Lincoln would be put to SHAME! If we are lucky, these petty crimes may only be portents of more petty theft to come. If these lies are the beginning of something greater, however, it would be wise to begin fearing for your life!
But back to that whole "cowardice" thing I was on about. There is a nifty little thing in our laws called a 'statute of limitations', which is a lovely thing. If the law cannot catch you and prove you have done something after a certain number of years, you can confess, and you cannot be held accountable, because the Law failed. Some crimes cannot have such a limit (it is never safe to let a murderer lose, after all), but it is a healthy thing, because it provides additional motivation for the Law to WORK HARD in the alloted time. Antiterror legislation allows you to be held indefinitely without trial. There is NO motivation for them to convict you. There is every reason to keep you in a cell for the rest of your life, and say "We have made this country SAFER by [FUCKING OVER THIS POOR BASTARD and] holding him as a suspected terrorist!". The reason is simple: you cannot catch a truly dedicated terrorist, because he or she is clever enough to blend in. Governments need smoke and mirrors to make people believe that terrorism wears a Burqa, or somesuch, because the minute the general populace realizes what I have said here, the Governments lose all that nice, cushy power to make life a living hell for anyone they don't particularly like.
Don't laugh it off. Could be you they have in the crosshairs...
"I only have 2 nipples, but I have 3 PS3s"
Yeah, well I have NOT-several-thousand-dollars-spent-on-3-systems-that-will-be-more affordable-when-there-are-games-worth-playing-on 'em!
On the other hand, I can't really criticize. Soon, I should be bragging about my having a new Lian-Li case (for the uninitiated, simply imagine if pure sex could be made from brushed aluminum. Now, bend that into a computer case. That is Lian-Li). I hope I can still snag it at near-half-price. Now the question is, do I buy 3?
That would be fucking RAD!
Anyhow, that's all for tonight. I feel like a little bit of Videogame commentary in the near future, a little escape from the spooky spooky politics will do everyone some good. WoW: Burning Crusade (or as I like to call it "ha-ha, I'm not going to buy it because I like having money and some semblance of a life!") is coming out soon, which ought to be...interesting.