Archive for January, 2008

Ron Paul Book Bomb: Update

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

RonPaulBookBomb.com, which announced Dr. Paul’s new book around midnight, The Revolution: A Manifesto.  The stated goal of the website is to make Ron Paul’s book into an instant bestseller, and so far it looks like it’s working.  So far, over 1000 pledges have been collected, which has caused the book to rapidly move from being unranked on Amazon.com to positions #629, #516, #345 and now to #193!

Will the Book Bomb cause Dr. Paul to break into the top 100 or top 10?  Only time will tell, but it depends on how many people pledge and pre-order today.

Ron Paul Book Bomb

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

The rumors about Dr. Paul coming out with a new book have been confirmed by several online booksellers!  RonPaulBookBomb.com has been created with the goal of making Dr. Paul’s new book debut as a New York Times bestseller in addition to trying to make it #1 on Amazon.

From RonPaulBookBomb.com:
“Dr. Paul’s first original book in over 20 years covers all the ideas of the Ron Paul Revolution: on war, sound money, terrorism, the economy, the IRS, civil liberties, the Constitution, and everything in between.  Read the preface, and get a taste of just how important and explosive this book will be.”

(The site includes what appears to be the preface from the actual book.)

Who Won the Republican Debate?

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Who do you think won the GOP debate on MSNBC tonight?  Use your mobile phone to text 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 to 622639

1 Giuliani
2 Huckabee
3 McCain
4 Paul
5 Romney

Hackers Declare War on Cult of Scientology

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

The press release — complete with contact information — was posted on free internet press release service PR Log early yesterday morning. It reads as follows:

CLEARWATER, Florida – Anonymous announced their intention to combat the activities of the Church of Scientology on Monday. A spokesperson said that the group’s goals include bringing an end to the financial exploitation of Church members and protecting the right to free speech, a right which they claim was consistently violated by the Church of Scientology in pursuit of its opponents.

This announcement came as a response to attempts by the Church to keep secret an internal video meant to be viewed only by Scientologists, featuring actor Tom Cruise. Despite their efforts, the movie was leaked and rapidly spread across the Internet. The video caused much controversy, and members of Anonymous posted a message to several of their websites proclaiming war against Scientology. Soon after, Anonymous struck at the church; they blocked access to its website, made prank calls, organized protests, distributed anti-Church pamphlets and information, and extracted secret files from the Church of Scientology and its parent company, the Religious Technology Center.

Anonymous’ members cited several reasons for their actions against the Church of Scientology: many have stressed the alleged human rights violations under the auspices of the Church.[1] Others accused the Church of fraud due to its costly ceremonies, while some merely sought the entertainment they refer to as “lulz,” a corruption of the Internet slang “LOL,” or “laugh out loud.”

Most members, however, were concerned with the threat to free speech that the Church posed. This was most evident in the recent attacks on websites such as Digg and YouTube, where the Church filtered anti-Scientology comments and replaced their content with the text “[This comment is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Church of Scientology International].”

“The so-called Church of Scientology actively misused copyright and trademark law in pursuit of its own agenda,” one Anonymous commented. “They attempted not only to subvert free speech, but to recklessly pervert justice to silence those who spoke out against them.”

The Church of Scientology’s legal struggle with its online detractors began in 1994 with the Usenet group “alt.religion.scientology”, a community which spoke out against the Church. Legal representatives from the Church confronted them specifically over the use of Scientology in their name, citing trademark infringement and misrepresentation. This led to numerous lawsuits,[2] and the group was shut down.[3] The Church of Scientology later found itself in several further conflicts on the Internet,[4] including some with popular websites such as Google and Slashdot,[5] as well as an alleged “war” with users of the website YTMND.com.[6]

The members of Anonymous do not plan to end their attacks on the Church of Scientology. Instead, they will continue until the Church of Scientology reacts, at which point they will change strategy. Their main goal is to render the church powerless, and so the war could be one of attrition.

Science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard founded the Church in 1953. In the 55 years since its inception, the Church has faced allegations of being a commercial enterprise that harasses its critics, exploits its members, and neglects adults in its care. Scientology has also faced criticism over the cost required to progress through its “auditing” system, with the total bill for completing the course estimated at $365,000 – $380,000.[7]

[1] http://www.whyaretheydead.net/Universal_Declaration_of_H …
[2] http://www.discord.org/%7Elippard/skeptic/03.3.jl-jj-sci …
[3] http://www.nyupress.org/netwars/textonly/pages/chapter06 …
[4] http://www.news.com/2100-1023-959236.html
[5] http://slashdot.org/yro/01/03/16/1256226.shtml
[6] http://www.ytmnd.com/news/?news_id=40
[7] http://www.xenu.net/archive/prices.html

The press release is rapidly making its way into the internet via such models as StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, BoingBoing, and MetaFilter. Stay tuned!

Open-Source vs. Closed-Source And Why Democracy Depends On It

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Background: Source Code, Open Source, and Closed Source
In the world of software development, there are two major schools of thought.  In one, source code, which is basically just a set of instructions for a computer, is developed in private and is generally kept secret.  This is the closed-source model of development that companies like Microsoft use to develop Windows, Office, and dozens of other applications that you may use daily.  In contrast, the source code for open source software is readily available.  Anyone is free to download, examine, or even modify one’s own copy of open source software.  Two examples are the linux-based Ubuntu operating system and OpenOffice.org office suite.

When it comes to operating systems, the choice between open and closed source software is often a matter of security. That is, in the closed-source world, security largely depends on the secrecy of the source code. Since the source code can only be reviewed by a finite number of experts within the firm that created the software, there are inevitably mistakes that slip through the cracks. Mistakes that are found after the software is released can only be fixed by the software vendor, and the whole world has to wait until a fix is available. Having access to source code makes it much, much easier to find mistakes. That’s why closed-source vendors keep it a secret.  So, when source code of closed-source software gets leaked to the public, it’s considered a disaster, especially when most of the world depends on the software in question.

In contrast, source code in the Open Source community is available for the whole world to see. Mistakes that would otherwise go unnoticed are caught early in the development process, and mistakes that are found after the initial release can be quickly fixed by anyone.  That fix (usually in the form of a software “patch”) can then be made available to the rest of the community.  It is not necessary to wait for a fix from the software vendor.

Source Code and Voting Machines
I could drone on about how the closed-source development model is responsible for almost all of the most damaging computer worms, but instead let’s look at how these two development models apply to voting machines.  This is actually very simple.  Every computerized voting machine I have ever seen implemented operates using closed-source software that runs on closed-source operating systems.  As long as that’s the case, worrying about physical security and chain-of-custody is almost pointless.  As soon as someone finds a way to exploit a mistake in the software, he could exploit the mistake to manipulate the voting machine.

Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems, Inc or DESI) has the lion’s share of the computerized voting machine market. Their source code, which was written using the closed-source development model, has been leaked more than once.  A book could be written about the security flaws in their code, but suffice to say that anyone with access to a voting terminal (read: tech-savvy voters) could completely change the ballot file.

Closed-source software has no place on public voting machines!  The very notion is ridiculous, but it’s a growing trend in the United States.

Hacking Democracy
If you’re still not convinced that America is facing a serious problem, please watch this video in entirety.  The last half hour is the most important part:

Fox Reaches New Level of Distortion, Again

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

I’d like to congratulate Fox News on beating their own record of outrageous censorship, again.  This time, instead of removing a 4th place candidate from straw poll results, they’ve removed a Top 3 candidate from the results of a presidential election!  Take a look:

Here are the uncensored results from the Nevada Republican presidential caucus:

Candidate Votes % National delegates
Mitt Romney 22,649 51.10% 18
Ron Paul 6,087 13.73% 4
John McCain 5,651 12.75% 4
Mike Huckabee 3,616 8.16% 2
Fred Thompson 3,521 7.94% 2
Rudy Giuliani 1,910 4.31% 1
Duncan Hunter 890 2.01% 0
Total 44,324 100.0% 31

Here are the results that Fox News reported:

Thanks to Stephen Gordon at Third Party Watch.

Ron Paul Revolution Radio

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

I love the free market.  First there was Ron Paul Radio, and now someone has created Ron Paul Revolution Radio.  Each has its own set of programming, but the latter really stands out in terms of its professionalism and content.  These guys really deserve a listen.

Broadband Streams:
Most Players Click Here: Listen Now
Real Media Player Click Here: Listen Now
Windows Media Player click here: Listen Now

Dialup Streams:
Most players click here: Listen Now
Real Media Player click here: Listen Now

Windows Media Player click here: Listen Now

I still love Free Talk Live, of course.

Tom Cruise Scientology Video

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Okay, I couldn’t help myself.  At the risk of pissing off the Cult of Scientology, I just had to post this video for its comedic value.

I am truly fascinated by the Cult of Scientology.  However, rather than waste your time by writing what I think, I’ll encourage you to check out the wealth of information around the Web that already exists. Here’s one documentary I discovered today:

While watching Tom Cruise may be fun, you may want to check out the sobering truth about Scientology before you run around joking about it.

Regarding The Newsletter War

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

I’ve done my best to stay out of this, but I’d like to make a few things clear to others who are new to the libertarian movement:
What you are observing is a war between parties within the libertarian movement that has nothing to do with honest journalism or getting news to the public.  This is all about getting back at various parties because of things that happened decades ago.

The author of the New Republic article that started all of this knew well that Dr. Paul is not a racist, but was seen laughing when someone brought this point up to him around New Years.  Then CATO jumped on the bandwagon, claiming that this is why they hadn’t endorsed Dr. Paul.  Now Reason is pointing fingers at Lew Rockwell without citing any real evidence or even without quoting any reputable people.  These most recent articles, mind you, were released on the day that Lew was scheduled for eye surgery, presumably so he wouldn’t be around to defend himself for the next few days.

This was all done at the expense of the movement that CATO and Reason claim to be promoting.  They’re throwing away our only chance at having a president who truly believes in limited government for the sole purpose of slinging mud at others within the movement.  They had an unprecedented opportunity to further the libertarian cause but chose to cannibalize it instead.  It’s sickening to watch.

And to other young libertarians:
Take note of this ridiculous war and what it’s costing us, as libertarians.  Remember that someday we will be the leaders of this movement and that it will be up to us to ally and accomplish things without letting past disputes get in the way.  Don’t fall into the trap of collective thinking by hating various libertarians because of the organizations they work for or because of who they were taught by.  Analyze each person based on his or her individual views, find common ground, and work to promote freedom.  Let ours be the generation of libertarians, and not of ancient rifts that prevent us from doing something great.

See this post to learn of the anatomy of the Orange Line smear campaign and this post to learn by beltway “libertarians” engage in anti-libertarian activism.

The Live Free or Die Experience

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

My time in New Hampshire has been more incredible than I could have ever imagined.  Everything has been non-stop since I arrived almost a week ago.  This is the first chance I’ve had to stop long enough to write a quick blog post.

I have a few announcements to make:

  • First of all, I’d like a apologize to everyone who has sent me email.  I try to keep up with it, but I’ve had almost no time at all to read and respond since I arrived in New Hampshire.  I currently have hundreds of unread messages, but hopefully I’ll have a chance to tend to my inbox when I reach New Jersey.
  • Secondly, everyone is asking about the Frank Luntz audio file.  I haven’t even had a chance until now to plug the voice recorder into my laptop.  The recording should be around three hours long, and it will take some time to wade through it.  I will do that when I start working on the article with Max Raskn in New Jersey.  As long as the quality of the audio is good, I should be able to release it when the article is published.  This probably isn’t going to happen in the next two days, and I’ve given Lew Rockwell first dibs on publishing rights.  So, watch LewRockwell.com and subscribe to my RSS feed in order to be one of the first to know when it gets published!
  • Thirdly, I haven’t forgotten about the Triangle Ron Paul Meetup!  You guys rock, and I still plan on blogging my experience!

I’ve had such a blast meeting and hanging out with everyone!  Thanks for being a part of the Ron Paul Revolution!