Tyranny and the Cloud

Only one thing worries me about the cloud: It facilitates state control because Cloud Computing reverses the decentralization (distribution) of computer power that heralded the internet. I think I got this fear from Cory Doctorow and his “The coming war on general computing.”

Anyway, maybe it is just a phase. Distributed Computing may very well be making a comeback as we see the end of Cloud Computing.

“World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian and military participation.” -Marshal McLuhan

Sex crime and police matters

NewImage

I completely understand why Nottingham police want to fight back against the street harassment of women, but I think we are treating the symptoms, not the causes. Additionally the medicine proposed by Nottingham Police is also toxic. It erodes civil liberties, misallocates police resources, reinforces victimhood culture, allows subjectivity into a domain where evidence is vital to justice, sexist and open to abuse by malicious women or pressure groups with an interest in exaggerating the scale of the problem.

What are the misogynistic hate crimes that Nottingham Police will record separately and make a “police matter”?

“Incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.”

Example include:

  • Wolf-whistling
  • Staring at body parts (breasts)
  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Unwanted physical or verbal contact
  • Unwanted mobile phone messages
  • Taking photos without consent

None of this is evidence based. It is all about subjective experiences, how the women feel.

Feel not think

Nor is it even about crimes. The mere recounting of an alleged incident will result in a recorded “hate” incident….

No crime is still crime

What are we to make of all this?

I really want us to solve this problem. I come from a family and culture where male respect for women and being a gentlemanliness are highly valued. Where I grew up, the abuse of women – verbally or physically – would earn any man a thorough hiding at the hands of other men. Merely swearing in front of women was considered an embarrassing lapse that might earn you a smack on the ear from an older male.

I am the father of two daughters and I want them to live in a safe, decent society free from harassment of any sort. I also want them to live in a free and fair society, not a nanny state where every human interaction needs to be policed and the mere feelings of a designated member of a “victim class”- entirely independent of evidence or objective standards – are sufficient to criminalise actions. Those feelings are also enough to classify any public encounter or incident as a “hate incident”, again unlinked to evidence, which will lead to a body of “evidence”, that will possibly derange public policy and policing.

We have the familiar cast of bunglers in this story. The state trying to shore up collapsing social mores with ham-fisted and discriminatory over-legislation and destruction of civil liberties. We have social worker-bureaucrats – like Nottingham’s “hate crime manager” David Alton- securing their jobs generating a growing list of hate-crime victim groups and classifications. We have pressure groups grinding their political axes.

My main gripe with this police reaction is that is addresses the symptoms not the causes.  In Turkey, they understand this.

 

Chemical castration of sex offenders in Turkey condemned by women's groups | Global development | The Guardian 2016-08-17 19-01-10

Turkish women’s groups understand that punishing individual sex offenders, however cruelly, will not stop systematic problems unless the root causes are addressed. Photo is a screenshot of the Guardian website, click the image for the article.

Women’s rights groups, lawyers and doctors have condemned Turkey’s decision to introduce a mandatory chemical castration programme for convicted sex offenders, arguing the treatment does not address the underlying reasons for widespread violence against women, and that bodily punishment will instead lead to increased abuse.

Özgül Kaptan, director of the Women’s Solidarity Foundation (Kadav), has condemned the law – which came into effect on 26 July, at a time of extended legislative powers – as misguided.

“It’s a very bad and dangerous decision,” she said. “The law reduces crimes related to sexual abuse and rape to the one offending individual and to that individual’s body, which disregards the systemic problem of why so many men in Turkey commit these crimes or are violent against women.

“Men are taught to think that they have a right over women. We need to change ideas about gender equality and masculinity. What we really need is a change of attitude, of education. That cannot be done by passing such a law, or overnight.” – The Guardian, “Chemical castration of sex offenders in Turkey condemned by women’s groups“,  Monday 15th August 2016

The Turkish feminists have an unlikely ally, Rob Slane writing in Conservative Woman magazine. All emphases mine:

The other big problem with the statement itself is that it is so vaguely worded as to be essentially meaningless. It could include just about every attitude or example of behaviour men exhibit towards women (or should that be men exhibit towards woman?), and is thus at the mercy of entirely subjective definitions of what does and what doesn’t constitute a misogynistic hate crime. Does it include a man attempting to give up his seat for a woman on public transport? The definition is vague enough to include it if the lady in question perceives it to be demeaning.

Of course you might say that this is not the sort of thing Nottinghamshire police are talking about. What they are actually trying to address is real, low-level harassment that women in their area often face. What do you say to that then?

Simply that this is a hopelessly foolish way of dealing with it, and the method merely confirms that we took a wrong direction way back when. In the first instance, police forces continually complain about overstretch and of the need to free up resources. How does this woolly-worded initiative achieve this? It doesn’t. What it could end up doing, though, is forcing officers to spend their time investigating hundreds of low-level instances of harassment, and so missing the more serious incidents.

So how do you deal with incidents of low-level harassment? There are no quick fix answers to this, but the clue is to work out how we got here. How did we get to the stage where young boys today have immeasurably less respect for girls today than they would have had even 20 or 30 years ago? How did we get to the stage where multitudes of young men see females through the porn filter? How did we get to the stage where the chances of a woman finding a man who will be responsible and faithful to her are becoming less and less each year?

…Much of what are now being labelled “misogynistic hate crimes” are simply a consequence of the tearing up of the very relationships and social expectations that once required males to be respectful towards women. Yet having done it, we are surprised to see the outcome – a generation of males who are less respectful towards women. As C.S. Lewis put it, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

And so having torn up those relationships which were so vital, women must now apparently look to the State to step in and deal with the consequences. In the past, other men would have performed this function. A man who was seen to be hassling a woman would have been told in no uncertain terms by others in the community to quit it. And he would have quit it, knowing that the consequences of continuing were most unfavourable to him. Who will do that now? Those that might be prepared to do so know they run the risk of being beaten to a pulp.

The answer to the disrespect and unpleasant hassling of women is not to be found in yet more laws and more policing of such incidents. Instead it is in recognising that far from bringing liberty and a more civil society, the hacking away of the relationships and social boundaries mentioned above has largely destroyed the foundations from which true liberty and civil society can begin to flourish. Only when we have reconciled ourselves to this might we begin once again to see boys growing up into men who really do respect women.

http://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rob-slane-so-called-misogynistic-hate-crime-is-the-bitter-fruit-of-the-feminist-assault-on-marriage/

I agree with Rob on this. We have gone badly wrong somewhere and the solution is not the police. It is cultural, political and educational. It is about values. Involving the police seldom helps and sometimes even inadvertently hurts:

Carceral solutions to structural problems have a tendency to have the most negative consequences for more marginalised people. They also tend to help marginalised people the least.

…What we are very likely to see with treating misogyny as a hate crime is that there could well be more arrests and prosecutions, but only under particular circumstances: when a Nice White Lady™ is victimised by a Nasty Black Or Brown Man™.

…It’s a repeated pattern in carceral solutions, and means that help will not go to the women who need it most because the police would rather come down hard on people that they already despise.

At the end of the day, the solution to misogyny is the same boring old thing that is the solution to everything else: societal change, starting with ourselves. Challenge it where you find it and nurture and embody alternatives, and support and believe survivors. The police are not, and have never been, the magic bullet for solving problems that they cannot even begin to solve.

Misogyny is misogyny, and the police have never been our salvation.

From https://stavvers.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/at-best-treating-misogyny-as-a-hate-crime-wont-make-any-difference/

Another gripe I have is that many of these laws are unenforceable. The dreadful spate of sexual harassment crimes and rapes now plaguing Sweden show us that even with dozens of witnesses, stringent police attention and tokenism in the form of “Don’t Grope” bracelets, almost all the cases “were dropped due to lack of evidence or problems with identifying suspects.” These were large scale group molestations of young women and girls, even gang rapes, and the police are pretty much powerless. The culture of the perpetrators – in this case recent migrants to Sweden – is a key factor in the problem. The police are too overstretched and weak to protect women. Their powers and staffing are designed to manage a law-abiding culture where women are respected and safe. A sudden growth (through migration) in the numbers of men who do not share those values have overwhelmed them with dreadful consequences for Swedish women and girls.

We also have the now familiar discrimination against men we find so often in gender stories these days. Why does only the harassment of women count as a “hate incident”? This definition is sexist towards men by downgrading harassment against them, and prioritising crimes against women, even though men can and do experience harassment at the hands of women. Why not just expand the gender hate crime category if you have to, even if you know the victim split is 10 to 1. At least it does not actively discriminate against one gender.

The Nottingham police provisions also reinforce victimhood culture and the continued atrophying of our ability to conduct ourselves with agency and independence without needing to resort to authority to adjudicate every minor dispute:

We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures. The first major transition happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when most Western societies moved away from cultures of honor (where people must earn honor and must therefore avenge insults on their own) to cultures of dignity in which people are assumed to have dignity and don’t need to earn it. They foreswear violence, turn to courts or administrative bodies to respond to major transgressions, and for minor transgressions they either ignore them or attempt to resolve them by social means. There’s no more dueling.

Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized. 

…The key idea is that the new moral culture of victimhood fosters “moral dependence” and an atrophying of the ability to handle small interpersonal matters on one’s own. At the same time that it weakens individuals, it creates a society of constant and intense moral conflict as people compete for status as victims or as defenders of victims.

I have other misgivings. The vague wording and muddled definitions are also based on notions that are inimical to legal justice. The idea that that feelings and pure subjectivity are sufficient to establish guilt. It is not. Evidence and objectivity are the cornerstones of justice. Granting powers of judgment exclusively to women, without any restraining requirements of evidence or even clear rules, creates a Judge Dredd like situation on the streets of Nottingham where all humans identifying as women are the judge and jury of any man they encounter.

As we have seen with false accusations and feminist abuses in Canada, malicious women abusing the legal system to persecute men is far from rare. These sorts of laws are wide open to abuse by miscreant women. Even the most ludicrous, paranoid, divorced-from-reality compulsive liar attention-seeker will have serious police attention, their incident added to the official register of “hate” incidents and some innocent man will suffer the all the trials of the falsely accused “hate” criminal.

See more:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/19/the-u-k-police-force-that-sees-misogyny-as-a-hate-crime.html  – Excellent

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/13/nottinghamshire-police-becomes-first-force-to-record-misogyny-as/

http://guerillawire.org/justice/nottingham-policefur-coat-and-nae-knickers/

https://stavvers.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/at-best-treating-misogyny-as-a-hate-crime-wont-make-any-difference/

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/vote-should-wolf-whistling-made-11612859

http://www.uptheclarets.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=5840

 

ISIS Are Target Practice for Robots

Drone
Photo Credit: JimNtexas via Compfight cc

“In the long run, the so-called ISIS Caliphate is destined to become a walled-in training facility where the major military powers test their new weapons on live combatants. Wars sometimes have expiration dates, but training is forever. Expect the Caliphate to be a permanent war zone, by design.

Along those lines, see Putin’s comment about Russia’s escalation in Syria. He said, “It’s hard to imagine a better exercise (for Russian forces). So we can train there for a long time without any serious harm to our budget.”

…I can easily imagine a teen signing up for ISIS and the chance to change the world. But does anyone sign up to be the replacement targets at the all-robot firing range? We will find out. If you want to kill an idea, you have to go after it directly. That’s what Putin is doing with his comments about using Syria for military training.

Source: Target Practice for Robots | Scott Adams Blog

Taxi Militias

An article in Denmark’s Information newspaper revealed that victims of honour violence in Copenhagen are often tracked down by ethnic minority taxi drivers who return the women to their abusive families or spouses. This follows news that Islamists in deprived areas of Denmark work with ethnic gangs to enforce sharia . If Islamists were able to command a highly mobile reconnaissance and rapid reaction force of taxi drivers, the police would have a major threat to deal with.

I strongly doubt the taxi drivers are part of some organised militia or Islamist plot. It is just the power of social networks in close knit immigrant communities at work.

I would understand, however, if immigrant communities were organising defensively. In Ted Allbeury’s 1983 novel “All Our Tomorrows”, an economically and socially divided Britain is occupied by the Soviet Union. In describing the gradual disintegration of Britain prior to the occupation, Allbeury describes class warfare and ethnic riots. One of episodes of the novel describes how Britain’s Asians manage to defend themselves from marauding mobs by quietly organising and preparing long before the trouble kicks off. They organise militias, with radios and weapons, to successfully defend their areas.

These scenarios seem utterly unrealistic until such a collapse happens. Belfast in 1968, 90’s Yugoslavia, Syria since 2011:  Those that organised to defend themselves survived. Even in the UK in the 2011 riots we learned that in even the most seemingly stable countries large scale targeted mob violence can happen extremely quickly. Just ask the people of Ealing who formed street defence leagues spontaneously to guard against the mobs tearing up the nearby town centre.

 

See also

Why Rioters Beat The Police
Security militias in Jewish areas of London

Anonymity

With so so few people being antifragile combined with increasing attacks on people’s livelihoods over their mere thoughts and beliefs, we have millions of prisoners of conscience, people persecuted or justifiably fearful of persecution for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously held beliefs.

If it is unsafe for you to speak freely or reveal what you think for fear of persecution, then anonymity is your shield. Learn about how to achieve it properly and use it wisely.

our method: pseudonymous speech…

anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. it thus exemplifies the purpose behind the bill of rights, and of the first amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation– and their ideas from suppression– at the hand of an intolerant society.

The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. but political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.

– mcintyre v. ohio elections commission 514 u.s. 334 (1995) justice stevens writing for the majority

though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks) anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the united states. used by the likes of mark twain (aka samuel langhorne clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by alexander hamilton, james madison and john jay (aka publius) to write the federalist papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume. particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the united states, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech. like the economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker- as it should be. we believe not only that you should be comfortable with anonymous speech in such an environment, but that you should be suspicious of any speech that isn’t.

From http://www.zerohedge.com/about via http://fabiusmaximus.com/about/authors/ 

See also:

https://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_post

Mass murder in Paris…

..and within minutes the pious ninnies were warning that it is…

important not to rush to false conclusions now. Despite the history of earlier attacks on Charlie Hebdo.
— Wolfgang Blau (@wblau) January 7, 2015

Yes Wolfie, forget the victims, outrage at mass murder and disgust at the assault on free speech, the important thing is not to rush to “false conclusions”.  The real threat is the backlash from the terror, not the terror itself. The real problem is racism on social media not mass murdered cartoonists*. Remember, the worst crimes are thought crimes…

i_am_charlie

* Of course Wolfgang was not saying all of this, but reactions from Human Rights Watch and others were so predictable I was cringing for them:

human-rights-watch

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

[Another forgotten, unfinished post from the draft folder from Feb 2014]

Cruel and unusual punishment is a phrase describing punishment which is considered unacceptable due to the suffering, pain, or humiliation it inflicts on the person subjected to it.” – Wikipedia

I continue to be appalled by the US justice system and its cruelty.

The most recent story to come to my attention is that of Justin Carter a young man who made what an obviously  facetious threat on Facebook and found himself thrown in jail, unable to meet the impossibly high bail bond, where he was raped and he now faces 10 years in prison.

This is the terrifying thing about the USA today. Merely being accused of a crime can have you end up in jail for months or even years where you may be raped and beaten whilst awaiting trial. Even if you are acquitted on all charges they have suffered cruel and unusual punishment (rape, incarceration without trial).

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2014-02-13/news/the-facebook-comment-that-ruined-a-life/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/02/13/texas-man-faces-decade-in-prison-over-facebook-comments/

http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/14/update-texas-teen-faces-8-years-in-prison-over-facebook-comment/