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Distant View of America's Fall
Saturday, August 16, 2003
 

Lots of typically bad news with links to Dubya, but I think the summary should just be that Dubya has the anti-Midas touch. Everything Dubya touches automatically turns to sh*t, but now he's touching the entire country, and even the world. The problem is that the Bushies work hard and mostly effectively to disguise the causal links while working to exploit the public damage for their personal political and financial advantage.

On the west end of the country, California is sinking into some sort of bizarre anarchy. Dubya is pretending to be above the fray, though he's already "unofficially" endorsed his good buddy Arnold ("The Terminator") Schwarzenegger for the job. Years of public service as a qualification for public office? Ha. You need to be a movie actor. Name recognition is the only important criteria--and the support of rich and greedy oligarchs who plan to continue raiding the public till. However, I think the causal link to Dubya is more direct. The selection of 2000 in Florida has convinced the Bushies that democracy is dead, and they're just rendering the corpse for soap. Amusingly enough, a lot of the dissatisfaction with Davis that the GOP is exploiting to drive this special election is due to the electricity problems that were created by those great GOP supporters at Enron. You'd think that the voters should get the message and reject the GOP, but now they apparently want the Terminator. What's in a name? Everything, apparently.

Meanwhile, on the east end of the country, there were massive power outages. Exact causes are not clear, but already quite obvious that the infrastructure is in bad shape. How did that happen? Anyone remember that old deregulation stuff from the '80s? Guess what happens when you adjust the balance away from the public's interests and in favor of increasing profits? Just about enough time for the declining infrastructure to start showing--but don't expect the Bushies to make this connection, since their goal is to push for more deregulation. They don't want to get confused with "stupid" and complicated facts. They know where the money is, and the only "fact" they're concerned with is how to get more of it. Rich utility companies donate more money to the GOP. That's the only causal relationship they care about.

Good side of not having power is that with their computers shut off the east end of the country wasn't as badly afflicted by the latest nasty computer worm that's been going around. Fortunately, the writer of the worm was a lousy programmer, and rather stupid, too, so there were both implementation flaws in the worm and design flaws in the payload, or things would have been much worse.

I don't think it's purely reification to blame Dubya for contributing to the damage, though of course it's hard to pin the real blame without knowing what really motivated the moron who wrote it. The apparent motivation was to express anger at Microsoft, and that anger might well have been aggravated by knowing Dubya will never bother his rich friends. I certainly felt my normal anger increased by struggles to download the patch from Microsoft before a friend's computer got attacked. Lost that race, too, but Microsoft is completely free from liability. Gosh, I'd love to bill them for my time wasted because of their incompetence. Not just in creating the original bug. Anyone can make a mistake, even such a huge one. However, having made the mistake, Microsoft's remedial efforts were just SO pitiful. I actually took the patch with me, but I'd taken the wrong language, so it refused to accept it. There is NO good reason for a language dependency in this patch, and every reason to allow a language override. After that, I had to stumble around the Microsoft "security" pages trying to find the patch, but meanwhile the worm struck. If the anger at Microsoft really was the motivation, I'd regard it as a form of insane anarchism--the same sort of thing that began to afflict oligarchic Czarist Russia from a few years before the end. On the other hand, that may well be a disguise for something more sinister, like a North Korean cyberattack.

One peripheral thought on this general topic is another aspect of blame for Microsoft, but again nothing that they'll ever be held liable for. However, it does very accurately reflect the anything-for-money motivations of the Bushies. Microsoft's attitude has always been to use the control of the OS as a kind of weapon in their quest for every larger piles of money, and it's natural to build your weapons as big and powerful as possible. This leads to the the cancerous design philosophy of putting more and more functionality into the OS, creating more and more dangerous toys for the virus writers. To be contrasted with the design philosophy of Linux, which is to make a clean and strong skeleton, but one that you can use to build any functionality that you desire. Very unlikely that there'll ever be any similar attacks on Linux no matter how widespread Linux becomes. Too many variations hanging on the skeleton. However, no big money to be made from Linux, so who cares? 

Basically focused on what Dubya Bush is doing to the nation of my birth...

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