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Atomized junior- The Radio Weblog

Saturday, 31 January, 2004
 
Raft of the Medusa

I'm trying to keep Atomized from turning into a campaign web log. It is dedicated to all and the smallest particles of meaning on the web, or so the tag line reads.

I've been wondering; though, since the other day when the Dean campaign pushed Joe Trippi out the door Dean Replaces Campaign Leader in Shake Up and brought in Roy Neel, whether this Neel person is someone my sister might know. He was formerly chief executive of the U.S. Telecom Association. My sister is an antitrust lawyer who currently works for a large federal commission that deals with tele-communication. For years she was a partner with AT&T's outside counsel, Sidley and Austin, and for a year Deputy White House Council for telecommunications. She knows many of the telecommunications lawyer/lobbyist types in dc. This guy Neel seems to have been associated with the baby bells so they were probably on opposite sides of that fence. Unfortunetly she is up in Lewiston Maine this weekend at her old college (Bates) where she is on the board of trustees. So I can't ask her til Sunday.
As I think about it; my sister and I lead very different lives.

I've followed links from both Lawrence Lessig and Dave Winer's web logs to posts by Isen and Dan Gillmor's Silicon Valley.com column. Between what is said here and what has been said in the other media, I don't see the reasoning of bringing Neel on board. I often look for reasons to have logic, heart, or craft. I 'll accept any of those - give them their due degree of respect. This just seems to have nothing. I can agree that the Dean campaign had hit a juncture that it was simply not transitioning through, and that it was time for someone like Joe Trippi to move out, so that the campaign could move on. I also agree with Gillmor that selecting Neel just seems like pandering, it seems to cut against the idea of that candidacy being about anything. It's possible that if you notice and attache meaning to details like this you are focusing too much on the process of elections and not their meaning. Its hard to tell how much a campaign technician means to a campaign. To me the Dean campaign is now in the stage of those in a lifeboat when they start drinking seawater.
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Wednesday, 28 January, 2004
 
Sort Out

Maryland's primary occurs on 02 March. This is the primary they call super tuesday. A little disappointing really, ten states go off that day including the large states California, New York, and Ohio. All of which have over 150 delegates. This severely limits the possibility that any of the remaining candidates will show up in Maryland looking for votes. I was looking forward to seeing one of these guys in action. I've seen Al Gore speak twice. I suppose now I will have to pay attention to the Leher Newshour Online NewsHour Vote 2004 when they broadcast entire stump speeches, or worse read speeches in the newspaper. Stump speeches are mostly useless anyway. They're all about the candidates positions and issues. These people don't have issues, not ones that they're going to tell you. First they decide whether they want to run for president. Then they try to raise a little money for the effort. One of the things they buy with that money is a staff. They tell the staff to set them up with some issues. It's better to look back to the last real job any of them held, or watch how they react to new or unexpected situations. It is, or rather with the New Hampshire results in, was early days yet. If a candidate gets all the way through the primaries and heads off to the convention with any notion of becoming the nominee his or her staff will have looked at what consistency lies in whatever he or she has said and done and arranged it in the best possible light. They will then hand this over to the parties platform committee and a beautiful wedding will take place. Now you've got issues.

It is important to try to get a read of these people as individuals before the press turns them in to objectified and typified celebrities, and before the institutional mantle of chosen one is laid on some ones shoulders. One of the critical things that any president does is select people for jobs, thats half the presidency right there, This is something that George W Bush does very well, I can't really tell how or why - it can't be that people want to receive their official debasing nickname from him (he calls former secretary James Baker III jimbo, I hope he calls Rumsfeld Pinky and Wolfowitz the Brain. The Bush white house is the tightest, most on message administrations I have ever seen. If, there is some jostling from behind the backdrop and occasionally feet can be seen sticking from underneath the curtain they get dragged back under - upstage before anyone gets a close look.

The selection aspect to the job is one reason to look at Kerry, who faced with a campaign that was disintegrating replaced a number of people and brought things back under control. Over all though my impression of Kerry is that he will look best among the democrats losing to Bush. He will look presidential, he will look noble, and statesmen like. Women will have babies just so he can kiss them, and for years -decades - to come, people will say his concession speech was a thing of beauty and vision and an example to all. The Democratic Party will be available for viewings on tuesdays and thursdays at the the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Nothing against Kerry but he is simply on the wrong side of a power curve that George Bush is on the right side of. Barring a clear turndown of the economy or obvious failure of the Iraq and terrorism based foreign policies. things are proceeding along lines that would bring Kerry in short in November despite all the rhubarb that he is the electable one. Looking at republican commentary, I think they are also concerned with scenarios where a democratic candidate could seize on an unfolding situation and catch fire. I think they view this as the only way they could lose and are more afraid of Dean and Clark because of that. Dissatisfaction with the Iraq war has not coalesced into a national feeling and would be unlikely to without going on for another year or so with the current casualty rate, But it could be re-branded and presented as myopia, incompetence, and the product of crass puerile meta-strategic thinking.

As you see Dean struggling to attain gravitas, and Clark discover America, look for the Kerry campaign to signal a willingness to more sharply engage Bush, probing for seams in the teflon.
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Monday, 26 January, 2004
 
Best of jill Hives

Mir who runs the Web log the Dim Sum Diaries has a post referring to my blog roll,. This reminds me I have more sites I mean to add to it, while keeping it small. Mir's Post revolves around the name I gave it: "Terrifying Face of the Other". She has illustrated the principle perfectly in all its inherent complexity with a Calvin & Hobbes. My niece and nephews will approve.

It set me to wondering; though, why I called it that. I named it the way the way I name things and come up with new ideas. I grab the first thing floating by in my stream of consciousness that doesn't have sense to get out of the way and haul it aboard. This begs the question why would a phrase like that just happen to be swimming by. I remember once the first week or so I knew my friend Micaela. This was back when I called her Nancy. I thought I understood her, and I told her this. We were both sophomores in college at the time. She gave me a hard sour look and said that that was the worst thing anyone could ever say about anyone else. At the time - when she was near half the age she is now - she viewed a persons individual experience and interior life as a formidable thing - not to be guessed at or assumed. An opaque surface. I remember her saying once that when she was very young she said to her sister (Sally) that when she grew up she was going to save the the world. Her sister shrugged and responded crushingly "Save the world - from what?".

Sometimes what you see people go ahead and do, and a certain part of what they say, consists of the id leaking through into their managed lives like a Francis Bacon portrait. I always run across people who claim not to know why people do what they do, better that than admitting that they do. I think people who write are always delighted to find that snowman who will take you by the hand and fly you over the country villages to the north pole to meet Santa Claus. Still like Bill Waterson, they may not be inclined to too quickly turn their back to one. I am sure for my part that everyone on my blog roll has the ability to save the world or bite it to pieces. Even as they wonder at it.
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Sunday, 25 January, 2004
 
New on the stories page

I copied the "Mark" stories over to the section of the Radio Userland interface provided for stories. The link over on the left hand Navigation area Essays and Stories will get you there. I added a fourth story to the original three while I was at. I will problably add at least one more story eventually to round things out. Now that I've thought about this a little more and have remembered things a little more.
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Friday, 23 January, 2004
 
Dream No. 9

This is why I didn't get much writing done last weekend - A picture named dreamx.jpeg I went on a field trip (falling asleep at nine pm all week is why I haven't written much this week). I went with my sister and nephew Lucas to check on her beach house in Chincoteague - to make sure the pipes hadn't burst, like they have in previous years

To get to Chincoteague one must pass through Zippy county. I've been roller skating at this rink before. What I mean when I say roller skating is falling repeatedly on my butt. In the summer the place is often jammed. A picture named dreamr.jpeg

About 15 miles further south on highway 13 is a trailer park named Dreamland which I couldn't get a picture of, which is the saddest place I have ever seen.

_ _ _
23Jan04 20:07 EST Sorry about the picture - It looked as if it had sorted out allright on my iBooks 12'' screen, but when I got into work and pulled it up on a 17'' Dell flat screen (w/Opera as browser) I saw that I had both pictures and the text all overlapping. I think Its fixed now.
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Thursday, 22 January, 2004
 
deficeit speechifying

I watched the presidents speech the other night. Now; he's not my man, I didn't vote for him I'm still waiting for my man. All the same I watch these big set piece speeches prepared to give whoever it is talking the benefit of the doubt. A strategy and attitude which undoubtedly plays against my own best interest. I was going to write a post at one point making the case that large parts of the Bush foreign policy were actually incumbant on any administration that found itself in the situation we find ourselves in now. I believe that was before we actually went ahead with the Iraq war. At any rate I didn't write that post. The considerable latitude the president has in the field of external policy is what struck me most. The ability even to declare what is and isn't a situation - to assert what apparent aspects of a situation truly describe it and get to its heart. While watching his speech I was reminded that the same crowd that declared Saddam Hussain public enemy number one are the same people who five or six years ago were trying to shove Bill Clinton back down whatever sulphur emitting crack in the earth they were so desperately sure he had crawled out of. Its not hard for this crowd to find the face of total evil, they can do that. The hard part is getting them not to. I don't need George Bush to conceive his job to be World Witchfinder General. I would rather have a administration that views Arab discontent, hostility, and violence - on whatever scale - as a political problem to solved, than as a zorastoran absolute to be annihilated.

President Bush made a point of mentioning that some aspects of the patriot act are coming up for review next year - the democrats clapped - then he added that the terrorist are not following the same schedule - the republicans clapped. Consider that along side a speech given by the Vice President in California a few days before Cheney's grim vision: decades of war where he asserted that the war on terrorism would last for generations. Get ahold of a good review of what is in Patriot i and Patriot ii (I know Slate did such a review last fall I will try to get that link if it still exists) ask yourself if living with these laws for generations will not change this nation.

At certain times during the domestic portions of the speech, particularly when he was talking about the tax breaks which he was at pains to thank the Congress he was speaking to for passing, he seemed to be on the brink of breaking into a fit of giggles. He did this as he said that the people can always spend money better than the government. Even economists will caveat a statement like that. And it is a surprising thing for a man who has so many friends who run companies surviving almost totally off government contracts, especially these days.

I do believe that Karl Rove has decided that: if, in fact, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and most of the people some of the time - thats all you really need. Remember as Dick Cheney told Paul O'Neal: deficeits don't matter Reagan proved that.

Addendum: The Slate piece which has links to to ACLU, EFF and ALA resources on the Patriot Acts as well as DOJ resources is A Guide to the Patriot Act, Part 1 - Should you be scared of the Patriot Act? By Dahlia Lithwick and Julia Turner. The full article is in four parts.
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Friday, 16 January, 2004
 
Frosbite Falls

Seven below zero in Boston. I knew there was at least one good reason I don't live up in Massachusetts anymore. Its a balmy fifeteen degrees above zero here in Maryland.

Frosbite Falls is, of course, the home of Bullwinkle J. Moose
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Body Politic Incorporated

My previous posts the on CS Monitor column Myth of the Populist Stock Market brought a response from someone named Doug. This would be one of my brothers-in-law, originally from Aberdeen. Despite the severe handicap of being Scottish by birth, he is currently the head chef at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, where everyone has to genuflect and call him 'Chef Anderson". You don't get a job like that for just being able to bake a potato. It is unlikey I will ever convince either of my brothers-in-law that I have any sense especially since men genearally want to think they married the only reasonable person in a particular family. I wouldn't want to take that away from anyone.

I would like to clarify what I was trying to say with that post.
First in regard to privatization of Social Security. While social security is generally presented as a pension-like thing, where you pay in your money and upon retirement you get your money back, normalized adjusted and in installments. The obvious actual structure is that the current working generation is paying directly the retirement of the previous, with all attendant sensitivity to demographics (two tables from the Statistical Abstract: USA Statistics in Brief--Population by Sex, Age, and Region, ACS: 2002 ACS Tabular Profile for United States). You can draw an envelope around the sector of the economy that is working and paying in (the government collects such numbers) and around the sector that is receiving benefits (ditto). Under optimun conditions there is balance, When the baby boom retires there will not be balance. Ahead of this two events occurred, the SS tax was raised to try to build up its fund, and people have been encouraged to start retirement accounts and cooperative pension plans. The republican plan in very general terms is to rescind this tax hike, which was losing its race as it was. Within a short span this will impact on payouts on existing obligations. Additionally if no reinvestment scheme is mandated a certain percentage will simply spend the money, of those that invest some will lose much or all accomplishing the same thing. There is nothing to suggest there is an adequate body of assured performing stocks that will return better that treasury bills - which is what the SS admin. bought. For the people for the specific of their retirement there is little this program adds. What it does is move a very large body of money out of the governments control into private hands. The administration of this money will involve no less effort or cost though decentralized and reestablished in the private market.

It is a trend toward what Jacob Hacker in a column for the New York Times calls the Family Risk Factor Concerned with reduced and reduced availability of health care, he examined family incomes and noted significant volatility which he believes points to increased assignation of risk to the individual or family. Risk is a term referring to uncertainty in an economic endeavor, usually priced directly or indirectly (as a lesser rate-of-return) or managed by being spread out, usually a function of the government or other large scale institution. The lower middle class is likely to feel the greatest burden of this and similar developments: Op-Ed Columnist: Our So-Called Boom. Krugman is mostly right about holiday sales, Walmart did well in the final count, it was chains like Target and old Navy that fared poorly (I was in college before I knew that Christmas shopping could be done in places other than Filene's Basement).

The significance of this and other general movements to place the American identity not only wholly in the free market, but specifically within the stock market - to create a notion of citizenship as though it where a franchise is to subtly (but not slightly) change the social compact. Incorporation absolute. Gessellshaft beyond gemeinschaft. Contract before consideration. Everything that is - is in black and white. above the dotted line and ahead of the mouse click that completes the transaction.

A significant portion of the markets growth over the last decade or so was contingent on an increased share of the nations money supply being directly invested in it, as opposed to elsewhere. If the market apportions capital wisely instigating industrial growth and increased human capital - all to the good. if not than much is being given to one of America's most hyperactive institutions to accomplish nothing and feed a disquieted hunger only, which will be all we are.
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Sunday, 11 January, 2004
 
Mark Stories.

I wasn't completely satisfied with the way the last of the Mark stories turned out. I had even hung on to it a day after I put it in the web log queue before I put it up on the server trying to smack the spelling errors out of it Trying to remember all the details and signifiers which had made that incident stay with me. I don't think it all came together right then. But I will gather all three of the Mark stories together sometime soon and put them up on one page under the "Stories" button At that time (maybe next weekend) I will edit it, sand it round-over router it, stain or rub it with linseed oil, until it says what it needs to say.

This week-end was unproductive. consisting mostly of napping, reading, and scribbling some notes towards future posts. During the week I commute back and forth to work on a bike, its about three miles, which is nearly effortless most times of the year. This is not true when the temperature fall below 30 degrees through to the teens (like last week). At such times my destination gains the appearance of being situated beyond an ice bound thin atmosphered mountain pass at either end. A week of that and my thinking leaves written language and reverts back to the protohominid symbol thought known today only by the three-toed moss-backed sloth.
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Thursday, 8 January, 2004
 
Little Fund on the Prairie

Here's a column for the CS Monitor editotial pages to consider The myth of the populist stock market csmonitor.com. An idea that i've heard more often recently is the stock market as the new American Homestead. That it will be the market that gives us our American identity, resolve, community. No waving fields of grain, purple mountains majesty, rather Nasdaq and the Dow, that and there is where we will belong. The President believes this and asks we scrap social security and trade in for personal securities.

I hear this talk at the same time I hear the regulators and journalists covering the market admit that todays market lives in two parts one for the big players and insiders - with no real rules that anyone follows, and another one for everyone else. Day traders and small to medium investors, mutual fund folk.
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Tuesday, 6 January, 2004
 
Mark iii

This is the third of three short vignettes written about Mark Edmunds my best friend from my Navy days. I knew Mark for about two years. When I first conceived a few weeks ago about a trilogy of short impressions, I pulled a handful memories off the top of my head, settling on three before I had put much thought into it. Not a lot happens in these stories, but then what needs too? I call this one

Mark vs. the Suds

The period following our cruise was a very strange disquieting time. In informal Navy jargon we had just completed "our Westpac on the Ranger". Normally it would a quiet time, virtually the entire unit would cycle through leave at first, new sailors would be brought in to replace those leaving just as Mark and myself had come in a year and a half earlier to replace Chris Healy and Mark Schwartz, Later it would progress through a series of increasingly complex training cycles culminating in short "workup ops" deployments on the aircraft carrier the squadron would attached to for the next cruise. Generally this would be known even before you got off your previous ship or shortly after. The workups we did with the USS Ranger were in and around the islands of the Santa Barbara Channel. None of that happened after the Ranger Westpac. The decision had been made to junk the RA5C as obsolete and to decommission all the squadrons that flew it because there was no plane to replace it. The idea was that F-14s from existing squadrons would be rigged to perform tactical photo-reconnaisance. We decommissioned a few weeks after getting back to Key west. Most of the squadron transferred out quickly, many stuck with begging leave from their next command. We were the last Vigi squadron the others decommissioning through the spring and summer as they finished their last deployments.

Those of us that were left after four weeks were scarcely noticeable in a large empty fleet hanger. We were in different quarters too, being placed in the building which had formerly held the Army unit which had manned Key West's Hawk anti-aircraft missile batteries; which had pulled up stakes and left town at some point while we were gone. There was no real work to be done by day and fewer friends to hang out with each night. Mark had gone home on leave to see his girlfriend (whom he married the next year). On the particular evening of this story, a bunch of us younger sailors too filled with ennui to even go into town decided to head over to the EM club with the idea of getting really hammered. Just as we were heading out the door, Mark arrives back from leave, with a suitcase and a seabag. I remember we all thought after a long flight from Ohio, switching planes in Miami and tooth jarring final leg on a Air Sunshine DC3 down to Key West Mark would just want to crash. No. He went to his room opened his door just wide enough to jam his luggage through. turned on his heels and headed out with us.

The next hour is filled with Boilermakers and conversation forever forgotten. Somewhere around 9pm in a fit of reasonable forethought Mark decided to head back to the BEQ to do laundry. The seabag had been full of dirty clothes- his room was full of dirty clothes. I eventually peeled myself off the bar about and hour later leaving the others to close the place down. It was about a half mile across base to our BEQ, less if you cut through the athletic fields, It was a beatiful fall night some time in late October. As I walked across the softball field I saw a figure sitting alone on first base side bench. I recognized that it was Mark and went up to him.
"Hey Mark, what're doing?"
"I don't really know" he says, "I was walking across the field here and I stopped to look at the moon."
I turned and looked up at the moon as well. It was a full moon or nearly full. Everything is painted white or bleached out in Key West (Boca Chica Key) in the daytime everything was too bright to look at. I have no solid memories of what the middle part of that base looked like, just directions from one point to another and which buildings were next to which. Even in the moonlight the landscape seemed to glow with more light than the moon should have had, it didn't look familiar at all but it seemed quiet nice. For a minute or so we both just sat there on the bench and looked up at the moon and stars. Teetoring on the brink of self mesmerization I thought to ask Mark if he had finished his laundry. I had assumed he had done the wash, gotten it in a dryer and was heading back over to catch up with us. At the mention of laundry Mark leapt to his feet and exclaimed "Laundry!"
"Mark", I said, feeling genuine surprise, which was difficult because I was numbed to no small degree at that point of the evening, "you left the club at nine, have you been just sitting here for an hour and a half."
"Well you see", he started, "after I stopped to look at the moon I couldn't remember whether I was walking across the field this way or that way; so I thought I would just sit here until I could remember, and thats what I'm gonna do."

I had to think about this for a moment. It didn't appear to make any sense, but I didn't want to overlook anything. On the ship - despite the fact that we looked completely different, had different regional accents, and had different last names - Mark had convinced several people that we were brothers. He would simply tell a story to address the lack of facts he had at hand. Despite the abounding implausibility of these explanations people would believe. Mark almost never played things completely straight. I don't think he thought that was something one ought to do for strangers.
"You were headed back to the BEQ", I said (as definitely as I could), "laundry remember." Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, but about this time the next wave of people leaving the EM club came by and after a period of checks and observations of the moon, we obeyed the dictates of the hour and followed the flowing current back to the BEQ.

There is a coda to this story which I considered not going into. It's my favorite part, but its too cliched and destroys the story maims the narrative thrust. Mark did start a load of laundry when we got back, I remember him setting about it with the taking-care-of -business so stay out of my way demeonor he adopted when he didn't know what he was doing. I called it a day and went to bed, I was woken up by my roommates about thirty minutes later, because some had struck them as so funny everybody on the floor had to get up. there was water covering the floor of the main hall around the laundry room door. The laundry room itself was full of soap suds up to peoples knees. Mark was in the center of it (having poured an entire box of detergent in a single wash) with a mop and bucket shouting at everyone who came near him that everything was under control and he was taking care of it. The unfortunate who was on watch that night was trying to push all the suds down the drain with a broom. I think some of the older petty officers eventually broke out the firehose and washed out the whole room. I like the coda to this story because it contains the implicit practical advice not to mix laundry and alcohol, which is too often tragically ignored.
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Saturday, 3 January, 2004
 
A Few Neo Links More

I wanted to add another small set of links on the Administrations NeoConservatives to the ones I posted the other day when disscussing Bilmons Post. These are ones that concentrate on the Straussian angle which is intregal almost to a defining point to these people. I haven't linked these previously because they were in my other computer (the bondi blue 233 mhz iMac). this means a) I had only just finished reading them even though they date from October or November, and b) I probably came across them on Dennis Dutton's Arts n' Letters Daily. I'm not sure why half way through my previous post I started to refer to bilmon's web log as Whiskey Glass rather than Whiskey Bar, probably some form of dyslexia.

Open Democracy touched on the Neo/Straussian issue twice once with an interview with a anti straussian academic Shadia Drury Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neo-cons, and Iraq, Danny Postel - openDemocracy. I've read just enough Leo Strauss to be puzzled her perception of the man and his work. Going over the Open Democracy site just now to pull the link onto this machine I noted that the next month a dialectic response was put up Leo Strauss, the Straussians and American foreign policy, Mark Blitz. This Blitz piece, which is a passionate well written article show why these people are difficult to argue with. You can feel the righteous indignation, the assumed moral and intellectual superiority rising like so much steam from the page. I'll tell you; though, his argument about weapons of mass destruction not being a deliberate deception -- because it was too obviously false therefore it could not have been used that way. That is the weakest rationalization I have ever seen commited to print in my life. The moral equivalent of the O.J. defense. But it tells you how they feel about you.

Even William Kristol weighs in on Strauss: "What was Leo Strauss up to?", Steven Lenzner & William Kristol The Public Interest. They named their piece well -- they don't know either.

The only useful article here is the one in the Washington Monthly which everyone but me seems to have read back in September "Con Tract", by Laura Rozen
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Basic Encyclopedia (be)

A point of consideration: MIJI. What is MIJI you ask? Meakoning, Intrusion, Jamming, and interference. This acronym is a term of art I remember from my Navy days. You may look it up in the Dod Military term Dictionary, plain and new acronym & abbreviations. They have other favorites of mine like MODLOC or as we called it "steaming around in big circle"

Meakoning was a Vietnam war practice of using false radio homing beacons to lure helicopters off course where they could be shot down. It is a commingling of the words Mekon (river delta) Beacon, and Taccan - a pre GPS air navigation system. Intrusion is the practice of pretending to be, on the the radio or some communication system, a friendly force entity for the express purpose of gaining information or giving disinformation. These could be quite elaborate, orchestrated, mimicking multiple units, enemy units, field and headquarter units apparently conversing with each other, and could depict entire fire-fights that in fact never occurred. Jamming and interference are more obvious terms. MIJI was Soviet military doctrine, they believed it was important, a great Force De-Multiplier and possibly they were quite good at it. It was considered a useful tool for asymmetrical warfare. It was learned directly by any military that sent or sends personal to the former Soviet republics for training and indirectly by any student of Vietnamese, North Korean military operations.

I say 'possibly' because it is next to impossible to get the military to admit to any particular instance of being MIJI'd, while they allow that in general it exists. I remember finding it a difficult concept to grasp myself twenty some years ago. Now with Internet and email address hijacking, spoofing, identity theft, hacking and cracking of various intensities I find it easier to consider.

Why do I mention this? Simply put Chatter a term denoting both Elint and communication intercepts. The 'chatter' has been up - this is a statement of statistical relevance. BA flight 223 will have to be grounded and cancelled indefinitely, New York will nuked on 4 February - this is more of a signal to noise issue best pursued through some form of information theory - or possibly game theory. Two recent articles by leading daily newspapers illustrate the murky nature of the data Flight Groundings Lead Allies to Query Washington, and Hunt for UK terror cell. It is not just in this one aspect of the war on terror that the potential for false or misleading information can be seen. For the purpose of disruption a word alone can cause the Office of Heimat Security, but also for more deliberate diversion. This permeates all aspects of our program of confrontation, not the least its vanguard of military confrontation. Which share at once a primacy of technological absolutism.

There were those who said quietly, because they were not allowed to say it loudly that MIJI was persistent source of failure for the military since the inception of electronic if not electric warfare. That we have been duped often, and often massively. This is true, because of who we are, because of our progressive technological optimism, our lack of a deep rooted social skepticism. Our belief that our systems and institutions, tools and technology, lead ever upwards towards increased sophistication, incresed wealth, increased ability to reduce any emergent problem. Towards the good. An echo of irr-regarded evolution. We will always believe in the answers, we believe our gadgets have given us.

This is not entirely different from the problems Paul Wolfowitz thought he was addressing with his career long second intelligences. He compounded the problem of tactical and more chimerical strategic deception, by postulating that entire nations- societies- civilizations were composed of a differing second human nature, in which nothing of the self or akin aspiration could be recognized. At best this represents a chain of informal fallacies, running on to willful distortion. A propensity to see deception at a level where it cannot exist, human nature in aggregate is one, and be incapable of seeing it at street level like so many weapons of mirage deception they talked themselves into believing existed. Forever MIJI'd and forever Punk'd.
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Thursday, 1 January, 2004
 
Idol Speculation

There has been a cascade of interesting reading on the Foreign Policy adventures of the administration recently. Best of the lot was a post in the web log Whiskey Bar: Twilight of the Neocons? I came across that in Metafilter thread on Stop Loss Orders in and of itself a minor issue - if you're in uniform your enlistment ends when the army says it does, not before.

Whiskey Bar speculates whether James Baker"s successful mission(s) combined with recent decisions to effect a hand over of sovereignty in Iraq in advance of a constitution - mean that the period of neoconservative ascendency in the administration is over. The original post was a web log master piece and the writer one 'bilmon' held in through a week of comments responding at edifying length to everyone who voiced in. Web logging at its finest.

I read this a few days after absorbing three articles in last Sundays Washington Post: Threats Force Retreat From Wide-Ranging Plans for Iraq, In Iraq, Pace of U.S. Casualties Has Accelerated two front section news stories and a piece by a senior editor Robert Kaiser Iraq Isn't Vietnam, But They Rhyme. Reading all of these together gives some credence to Whiskey glasses tentative conclusion that the neo cons are in the dog house. Personally I don't think so. I think that this war (on Iraq and on terror) has given them everything they really needed out of it, and with some minor caveats it hasn't gone that badly - from their perspective.

Whiskey glass does an excellent job of distinguishing the flavors of republican foreign policy and trying to line up the players. I agree with his generally assessment of VP Richard Cheney. Though most of the conventual media mark him as a old guard republican, Considering his actions and staffing decisions across several administrations, whether you call him a pseudo-realist or crypto-neocon, he belongs with the adventurers. Also acknowledging that Nat. Sec. Adviser Condeleeza Rice's main value to President Bush is that her principle loyalty is to him and not some faction is astute. Referring to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld as a ruling troika is an interesting idea, as far as that goes troika is probably a better word than triumvir. Considering the notion of using 'regent' to refer to the Bush/Cheney relationship; Bush was born in 1946, Cheney in1941. The two men are much closer in age than most people seem to think. Eminence Grise (gray eminence) is the better fitting term.

The people writing in to comment made one assertion repeatedly I differ on; that is the assertion that this kind of article could never get published in the mainstream media this is not true. Both the New York Review of Books Neocons in Power, and Christian Science Monitor Special: Empire Builders (also note this articles intregal sidebars)[flash-warning all] have published extensive examinations of this lot, the Boston Globe as well -- even if the Washington Post and New York Times notably haven't. The Post in particular often gives the impression its editors would rather be locked in a cage with a rabid and distempered wolverine than write about the plays and players of the Bush Administration.

I have two log entries in the same vein as the items above I've been trying to complete for a month, I think I'll try to weld them together and finish it. Why let Bob Kaiser have all the fun?
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