And there’s still a helluva lotta people out there who wanna believe …

Bruce Schneier has a way of shaking things up when it comes to the conventional wisdom on national security, TALES FROM THE CRYPT(OGRAPHER)

What's wrong with this enormous aggregation of data?
It's very troubling, because it goes to the heart of liberty and individuality. The right to do things while not being watched is very fundamental to humanity, whether we sing in the shower or have private conversations with friends. If we are constantly under gaze, we can't experiment as human beings. When we know we're being watched, our lives are altered, even if we're doing nothing wrong … can collect my data—actually, I like it when they present me with books I might want to buy—and we gladly trade data for convenience. What we don't like is when we lose control over it, when it goes into the hands of data brokers and is used for things we're not aware of.

What's the biggest threat to our privacy?
The confluence of corporate and government interests. Right now, data that is illegal for the government to collect, they buy from corporations. And data that corporations can't possibly get, they buy from the government. So there's this confluence. And it's not because someone is being malicious. It's because that's where technology is leading us. Corporations are not public charities. They will do whatever will make them the most profit that's legal.

I'm just impressed with how down to earth and practical the guy is. There is an inherent amount of BS in every facet of an increasingly complex society it is probably in our best interests to put a premium on people that are able to break through some of the smoke and mirrors.

It is probably far past time that the so-called "conservative" party declare themselves for what they are. They are not patriots, they are ultra-nationalists. They are anything but conservative, they are the radical right fringe. While the christianists only make up about 24 percent of the radical right, Wall St. right-wingers have formed an unholy alliance with them and are thus enablers of a movement that resembles the Taliban more then the Minutemen. That a few people are rejecting the label "patriot" is testament to the success that the ultra-nationalists have had in giving patriotism a bad name. I still think of myself as a patriot, but I have to admit to a general irritation at those that have wrapped their garbage in the flag ( Bush, Malkin, O'Reilly, Coulter, Dobson, etc.) and then tap it down with their bible. On the perverse ideological scale there isn't much difference between them and the worse authoritarian movements of the last 100 years. The last Republican president we had was Dwight Eisenhower. He actually believed in small government, in compassionate effective government. Look behind the curtain on every domestic issue and there is a right-winger that wants big government intruding into the most personal aspects of your life. On every foreign policy issue the fringe right demands every American's lock step obedience; if you dare exercise your first amendment rights you are a traitor ( It seems that a rational person would see lying a nation into war as treachery). That deeply dangerous rigidity of thought resembles nothing even close to American values. If these people reject America's core values how can they call themselves patriots. If moderate minded Americans stepped back and let the right-wingers of the modern Republican Party have their way there would be nothing left of America, there would be just another authoritarian state doomed to failure. For a party that fully embraces Armageddon and its inherent nihilism that assertion probably doesn't bother them in the least since in their view we're all doomed anyway.

I link to this with reservations. I fall in the habit like many of calling non-extremists Muslims moderates. Inherent in all organized religions is an element of the non-rational. As such people that are very religious may never be truly moderate in their thinking. On the other hand many spiritual people are committed to helping others and are generally non-violent. Seeing the current state of the world those that are making some attempt to reach out to "moderate" Muslims should be welcomed and encouraged if only for pragmatic reasons. At least pragmatic for those of us not on the far right fringe, the fringe that seems addicted to the porn of war. U.S. Muslim Clerics Seek a Modern Middle Ground

They say that Islam must be rescued from extremists who selectively cite Islamic scripture to justify terrorism. Though Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir do not denounce particular scholars or schools of thought, their students say the two are challenging the influence of Islam's more reactionary sects, like Wahhabism and Salafism, which has been spread to American mosques and schools by clerics trained in Saudi Arabia. Where Wahhabism and Salafism are often intolerant of other religions — even of other streams within Islam — Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir teach that Islam is open to a diversity of interpretations honed by centuries of scholars.

Mr. Yusuf told the audience in Houston to

"That's not Islam,

He asked the audience to pray for the victims of kidnappers in Iraq, saying that kidnapping is just as bad as American bombings in which the military dismisses the civilians killed as "collateral damage."

You've never been a greater example to
the country than you are now, sir, but
… but you need to get out more, sir,
and talk to the people. No one I know
feels … close to you.

Nixon looks at him, moved by his concern.

I was never the buddy-buddy type, Al.
You know, "Oh I couldn't sleep last
night, I was thinking of my mother who
beat me" — all that kind of crap, you
know the psychoanalysis bag … My
mother … The more I'd spill my guts,
the more they'd hate me. I'd be what
… pathetic! If I'd bugged out of
Vietnam when they wanted, do you think
Watergate would've ever happened? You
think the Establishment would've given
a shit about a third-rate burglary?
But did I? Quit? Did I pull out?

He stares, waits.

No, sir, you did not.

Damn right. And there's still a
helluva lotta people out there who
wanna believe … That's the point,
isn't it? They wanna believe in the