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Black Propaganda: US Government solicits software to generate fake personas

Part of the US Government has been caught trying to buy software that would allow it to generate 500 fake personas generally known as sockpuppets. They plan to use Facebook, Twitter, and blog comments. This particular leaked email refers to a submission from the Air Force, and apparently for use in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the details reveal that “persona management software” is a spookily mature market sector. Who knows how widespread this is already?

Astroturfing by community organizations is one thing. But Establishment anti-news, non-points, and funded fake opinions are quite something else. When the Establishment sponsors the activists and the activists post fake messages, taxpayer funds are used against the taxpayer. Is it happening? How would we know?

The story is starting to spreading through blogs.

According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HB Gary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated “persona management” software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

The source of the quote above, and for publicizing the revelation is Happy Rockefeller on The Daily Kos.

UPDATED: The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All

Washington’s Blog “The Empire Fights the Net” has a useful description of the power involved.

Unfortunately, the Air Force’s contract description doesn’t help dispel their suspicions either. As the text explains, the software would require licenses for 50 users with 10 personas each, for a total of 500. These personas would have to be “replete with background history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent.” It continues, noting the need for secure virtual private networks that randomize the operator’s Internet protocol (IP) address, making it impossible to detect that it’s a single person orchestrating all these posts. Another entry calls for static IP address management for each persona, making it appear as though each fake person was consistently accessing from the same computer each time.

They apparently want top-dog programmers:

I [Happy R] have rummaged through the leaked email, some of which contain resumes for employees there. These guys are recruiting people with incredibly advanced skills from many different agencies and top universities like MIT.

Happy Rockefeller was astonished it was posted openly, and so were the contractors:

I can’t imagine why this is posted on an open site. And when this was discovered by a couple of HB Gary staffers, they weren’t too happy about it either:The first email just had the title, “WTF Dude?”
The response email said, “This is posted on open source.  Are you fucking serious?”

Black Propaganda is used in wars as a way to demoralize the enemy, but the tactic must be o-so-tempting for government sectors that “need” consensus support (and what sector in a democracy doesn’t?). Happy Rockefeller worried that it was designed to use against “progressive bloggers” but doesn’t realize that since progressives usually like big-government, those bloggers and the black propaganda guys are often on the same team. In the end, it doesn’t matter what kind of blogger they are if the government can use active lies and crafted deceit against its own people. It’s a dark art.

The freedom and transparency of the internet pose a grave threat to anyone intent on deceit. Now, even if there are no government sockpuppets, the seed of doubt has been planted. The doubt undermines the legitimacy of real petitions and real throngs. Who is real? Who isn’t? In five years time, how will we know?

PS: John Brookes, and Mattb (where are you Matt?) are both verified real people. Please respect that, and if you know a real AGW fan, with a real name, invite them to come comment here too.

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98 comments to Black Propaganda: US Government solicits software to generate fake personas

  • #
    Siliggy

    I have been accused of being one of these sock puppet clones in this YouTube movie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBfMT3q6n9A

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  • #
    papertiger

    Maybe we need a special handshake, secret word, or some such.

    They used to ask “who won the world series” to sniff out the fakes.

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  • #
    wes george

    Hold on one second!

    A progressive moonbat blogger is worried that the US government — controlled by a the closest thing to a socialist President the US has ever had — is using sockpocket bots to spam the blogosphere with anti-Obama, free-market propaganda?

    Hey, where do I sign up! ;-)

    Seriously, though, this Happy Rockfellar is typical of the conspiracy theorists of the left. Even when “We’re the ones that we have been waiting for” control the executive branch and own half of Congress they still imagine that somehow Evil Cheney’s Halliburton are the tail that wags the dog.

    What’s really happening is that the Obama administration and the Pelosi/Reid Congress have been the most grotesquely spectacular failure in American governance since King George sent in the Red Coats! Nostalgia for the good old day of George Bush ineptitude run rampant across America. Naturally, the moonbat Left will never accept that their righteous leadership and agenda are failures, it must be some evil, militaristic, sci-fi conspiracy. If you doubt that, well then you are a obviously a “racist.”

    Here in the Lucky Country we don’t need no stinkin’ botware conspiracy to manage opinion. We do it the fair dinkum way:

    We taxpayers fund a state-owned and operated Ministry of Information which is the de facto propaganda arm of the Green/Labor coalition. It’s called the ABC. It’s totally legit, operates with impunity day and night, 365 days a year, churning out lie after misinformation after smear after misdirected attention, all served up cold with a few facts sprinkled in to sex things up a bit. The ABC even has its own websites and edits all comments to perfectly reflect the latest groupthink.

    And the Left is worried that software bots are comin’ to git ‘em?

    If only it were that easy!

    LOL

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  • #
    BobC

    This could initiate a fun game: “Spot the Sockpuppet!” I’m a little out of date on the subject, but these artificial personas have always had limitations that allow them to be identified. In particular, they (used to) work largely by pattern recognition and were thrown for a loop by double entendres, puns, metaphors, etc. — especially if they were “creatively” distorted, or mixed.

    When faced with something that they can’t recognize, they tend to fall back on stock replies that aren’t strictly responsive, but sound vaguely related. (Sort of like the behavior of “Sean” on this thread — not to be confused with the real person “Sean” on a number of other threads here. NOTE to ED: The software should disallow identical names for different people — I know we can tell them apart by the avatar, but that is hard to describe.)

    Of course, some troll could pretend to be a sockpuppet, but that would be counterproductive, as it would just get him ignored all the faster.

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  • #
    Lawrie

    There is a bloke running around calling himself Tim Flannery. He’s obviously not the real Flannery because in the “Land” interview (17 Feb pg 29) he says we need more renewables and less CO2 and that special interest groups are creating noise around the issue. Now the real Tim would have admitted that his climate predictions have been 100% wrong and that he stands to profit from renewables; he has shares in a geothermal company which received $90 million in taxpayer funds for further research. Couldn’t be the same bloke could it? I mean, he wouldn’t lie to us would he? The $180,000 he gets as Climate Commissioner surely wouldn’t have him toeing the Government line on the desperate need for a climate /carbon tax. Nope. Definitely a clone.

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  • #
    Ian

    Apostrophe catastrophe: personas, as in pizzas.

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  • #
    Graham

    Definitely onto something there, Lawrie. No other rational explanation. There’s that flip and flop on nuclear power, too. In any event, none of the Flannies have exactly struck a chord with readers of The Australian!

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  • #

    Sock puppets, part of the scientific consensus building strategy. *Choke*

    Here’s another pro-nuclear post moderated out of ABC Unleashed Labor going nuclear in rush to self destruct

    “I challenge any Labor Government to persuade the residents of a major Australian city that a nuclear power station is safe enough to be built in their backyard.”

    I’m very much looking forward to the day that this nanny state lets me put a Hyperion-style reactor in my backyard. Literally. In my backyard.

    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/product.html

    You know CAGW is a fraud when The Greens don’t want to open a scientific debate on nuclear energy. Even though, it is the only proven low C02 emitting base load power source. Gen IV Thorium reactors can be operated for thousand of years. In which time, progress in nuclear technology will no doubt provide a new fuel solution. I’ve got my money on Focus Fusion.

    http://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/article/focus_fusion_reactor/

    Even more disturbing, is the shunning of technology(fast breeder reactors) which use nuclear weapon stockpiles as fuel. Only a party of hatred and loathing for humanity would deny us the means to eliminate A-bombs from this world for good.

    http://www.ieer.org/ensec/no-3/main.html

    I guess their excuse could be that I’m invested in Focus Fusion. It was just a turn of phrasing, I don’t literally have money in it. If, and when more technological challenges are overcome I would invest.

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  • #
  • #
    Jim Barker

    Identity theft just took a wild turn.

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  • #
    Graeme From Melbourne

    Attack of the sockpuppets – doesn’t sound that scary does it?

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  • #
    Grant

    Jim Henson? Imagine Cookie Monster and the Swedish Chef blogging.

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  • #
    Bob of Castlemaine

    So Obama’s secret is out, Obama Meets with IT and Internet Bosses to Create Jobs. Apparently that’s virtual jobs for sock puppets.

    You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. Corporations don’t make big changes in business plans and policy unless there are very promising incentives to do so. And the President of the United States is someone who is fully capable of delivering such incentives.
    Is this really about creating jobs? A little. But anyone can tell you that the CEOs attending this dinner are capable of only creating so many jobs – a number that wouldn’t even change the US unemployment statistics.

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  • #
    Grumpy old fart

    This has been going on for a while now. Old news, though nice of Anonymous to actually find and publish the proof that it’s been going on.

    On a slightly wider note, I’m concerned at the political partisanship demonstrated here. The climate con is *not* a Left Conspiracy, both right-wing bankers and left-wing greenies are pushing it on us. Attempting to frame the debate in the usual Australian political party lines is a mistake, because both parties will potentially support this with the right push.

    Australian political parties are well-known for opposing whatever the other one says regardless of the truth of the matter, and so we find the lines currently drawn as ‘Labour/Green pro-carbon price, Liberal anti’ but it should be remembered that there are powerful financial interests who also want a carbon market to play in. If the Liberals get in next time then we may well find the sides have switched again and we’re still fighting government sockpuppetry.

    In US politics the same is true. This is not an “Obama conspiracy”, it was pushed by the Bush government as well as watermelon academics. Trying to frame it as a Republican vs Democrat or Right vs Left fight will equally miss the point.

    We are being lied to by lots of different people for lots of different reasons. Kudos to Jo for attempting to sort out the truth, but remember we’re here to find the truth not pick a side.

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  • #
    Denis of Perth

    Looks like we’ve gone from The Sims to The Dims!

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  • #

    Why label bankers right wing? “Right” means more individual rights and responsibilities, smaller government, more competition. That would not necessarily suit the elite rare international-player-banker. It’s much easier to pull strings and buy people off if there is one centralized power and no genuine competition (then you’d have to pull two strings more strings).

    I haven’t seen a big banker funding right wing institutes and encouraging anything less state control. When have banks ever worked to stop the rise of the totalitarian state or communist tyranny?

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  • #
    Grumpy old fart

    Interesting question. I’ve never seen “Right” as meaning Libertarian. If we start with the classic “Fascists are Right-wing, Communists are Left-wing” then neither are intrinsically opposed to large government, and both exhibit a tendency to totalitarian states.

    If you’re casting right-wing views as being Libertarian, which seems to be the case, and presumably left-wing views as being Authoritarian, then obviously the climate con falls more to the left.

    However, my original point remains: both parties in both countries will support a carbon market because the power base behind each party want a carbon market. Framing the carbon con as a partisan Liberal/Labour or Republican/Democrat fight misses the point.

    Or am I wrong in thinking the Liberal party tends to draw funding from large corporates who would like a carbon market to play in?

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  • #
    Mark D.

    re @ #2

    Apple core?

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  • #
    Keith

    This could explain all those Julias we have running the country.

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  • #
    LevelGaze

    Keith@19
    Boom Boom. Brilliant, you just made my day. :-)

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  • #
    Mark D.

    Old fart @ 17 you perhaps are too old. There are no overtly fascist players at any table today (that I recognize). Bringing that up is a ruse. You are in denial if you missed that the green movement is left of center and there is little on the right side promoting CAGW.

    Parties are complex. Platforms generally are better to focus on.

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  • #
    Mark D.

    That should read @ 14 AND 17

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  • #
    pattoh

    Hang on Keith,,

    I don’t know which version of the Maiden Aunt we are up to (V2.31 at least) but it has several conflicts with the hardware & other active dodgy RAM hungry software. All together too many pop-ups, key loggers, data miners & spy bots to do anything more than throw up a boring screen saver.

    I think the system needs an FDISK & a rebuild without the viruses.

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  • #

    So that explains John Brookes!

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  • #
    Ian Mott

    This is the logical extension of having 800 paid journalists employed in the Premiers Department. They are now just trying to improve value for money from their astro turfing sock puppets. Is it any different to the email round-ups from groups like the Vegan “rent-a-zombie-nutter” brigade, or the Whale wallies?

    And most DERM/NRM/EPA departments achieve the same outcome by simply failing to monitor the excessive amounts of net time engaged in by departmental staff. As long as they keep promoting the departmental line then they can continue without supervision. Start posting contrary views and they’ll crack down quick.

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  • #
    Keith

    lol, Pattoh,
    Maybe the problem is that the “updates” don’t completely uninstall the previous version.
    I think your solution is right – a complete manual wipe at the next election.

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  • #
    pat

    o/t but the MSM are at it again, with the usual disclaimer at the end:

    21 Feb: UPI: Climate change said threat to food safety
    Michigan State University Professor Ewen Todd says the effects of climate change on food safety, though poorly understood, is inevitable and must be addressed, a MSU release reported Monday.
    There are already examples of climate change taking its toll on the world’s food supply, he said, giving as an example a disease pathogen known as vibrio, typically found in warm ocean water but now becoming more common in the north as water temperatures rise…
    Other disease risks are also growing, he said.
    “Mycotoxins are molds that can sometimes cause illness in humans, and where you have drought and starvation there can be a mycotoxin problem,” he said. “That’s because people will store their meager resources of crops for longer than they should.”
    Extreme weather, including droughts and heavy rains, is having an impact on the world’s food supply, he said, and in some areas crops are being wiped out, resulting in higher prices and other issues.
    “Accelerating climate change is inevitable with implications for animal products and crops,” Todd said. “At this point, the effects of climate change on food safety are poorly understood.”
    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2011/02/21/Climate-change-said-threat-to-food-safety/UPI-16751298328966/

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  • #
    pat

    one to watch:

    22 Feb: Age: Daniel Hurst: Dam releases slowed after heavy rainfall
    Water grid authorities had to reduce the rate of water releases from Wivenhoe Dam after thunderstorms brought heavy rain to the area overnight…
    In an update issued today, the Southeast Queensland Water Grid Manager said last night’s storms and inflows into the Wivenhoe catchment had forced a rethink of the rate of water releases.
    “Approximately 10mm to 30mm of rainfall was received across the Wivenhoe catchment overnight,” the statement said…
    “To date 63,000 megalitres has been released, with Wivenhoe now at 96.7 per cent capacity.”
    The statement said this now meant work to bring the dam level down to 75 per cent would take nine more days from today…
    Water releases have also occurred at North Pine Dam.
    “Overnight, North Pine Dam released 4,900 megalitres to offset the impact of rainfall from the storms late yesterday afternoon and evening, which delivered 60mm of rainfall across the catchment,” the statement said…
    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/weather/dam-releases-slowed-after-heavy-rainfall-20110222-1b3my.html

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  • #
    pat

    regarding the wivenhoe release, every person i know wonders why the govt couldn’t simply offer everyone free water to wash down houses, driveways, etc. instead of releasing it into the river. people can hardly afford to pay their water bills, so it would have created some goodwill.

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  • #
    Mark D.

    Pat @ 27 did professor Ewen Todd really say this:

    “Mycotoxins are molds that can sometimes cause illness in humans….

    Because if he did, he doesn’t qualify to be a professor.

    00

  • #
    pat

    give thanx to hedley thomas for staying with this subject:

    21 Feb: Hedley Thomas: Australian: Releases too little, too late: victims
    “It is too little, too late because the releases of this water should have happened in September last year,” Mrs O’Malia, 43, told The Australian yesterday.
    “All the forecasts then were for a record wet season and everyone was making warnings about it, including (Lord Mayor) Campbell Newman. Why didn’t the dam managers make the decision to give the dam more capacity back then?”
    In a letter to Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson, she writes: “To date, the management of the dam has not appeared to proactively respond to the now changed climatic effects as seen in this active La Nina weather pattern. We no longer have confidence in SEQWater’s ability to mitigate flood potential for Brisbane.”
    The management of the dam and its contribution to the Brisbane River floods are at the heart of a vexed public debate that could have a serious impact on Premier Anna Bligh’s electoral prospects…
    Mrs O’Malia, who lost valuable antiques and heirlooms when water inundated the lower level of her home in the riverside suburb of Chelmer, sees the policy switch as proof that many people, including those in charge, failed to fulfil their responsibilities.
    “Unfortunately, I think water became caught up in politics.
    “The campaigns and restrictions during the drought were so good that when the weather went from El Nino to La Nina, the government was terrified to move away from the policy of conserving water.”
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/releases-too-little-too-late-victims/story-fn59niix-1226009088050

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  • #

    Hey All,

    Just wanted to post on the Left/Right discussion.

    One dimensional descriptions of Left and Right are very limited.
    There really is a different dimension as described by http://www.politicalcompass.org/ that redefines succintly the gaps in the Left-Right descriptions.

    Left – Right describes Economy.
    Up-Down describes Authoritarian – Libretarian.

    It really disgusts me that the Aus 2010 election ended up having the Greens as the most libretarian.
    http://www.politicalcompass.org/aus2010

    But it’s mainly because the Libs have been taken over by the almost neo-con-esque players in Aus politics and you don’t have true Libretarians valuing Liberty and Freedom leading the Liberal party.

    Would be interesting if everyone does the quiz and see where you lie on the compass.
    Post it and show everyone the kind of demographic that we have on this board :)

    00

  • #
    Grumpy old fart

    I think the left/right/up/down is a side issue, an interesting one I’ll agree, but not where I was going.

    All discussions in Australia (or the USA) that even vaguely touch on government action always get bogged down immediately into Labour/Liberal (Democrat/Republican) partisanship. And it’s not really helped by the massive amount of partisanship within Australian politics itself. Anything that one side proposes is entirely opposed by the other side as a matter of course, which isn’t always helpful. Debates on the actual policy suggested quickly dissolve into personalities, mud-slinging and don’t actually get to what’s best for the country.

    My point was that Liberal/Republican governments have been in power during the Climate Con, and will probably support it should they regain power, so the pro-Liberal/Republican stance often seen on the comments here is probably misplaced.

    The current Labour coalition with the Greens makes a anti-CAGW point of view more hostile to Labour, sure, but that doesn’t automatically mean we should all support the Libs. It’s not as simple as that.

    00

  • #
    PaulM

    Pattoh…not bad but I don’t think the hardware is the issue, I think it’s the installed OS.

    The progressive mindset believes in big governemnt with a special department & special minister to govern every aspect of our lives and they can never fully define the boundaries of their function so you end up with many functionaries each trying to administer overlapping responsibilities.

    Which OS would you think has a bloated beaucracy, governing every aspect of your computer functions & constantly trying to anticipate your needs resulting in conflicts, slower less efficient processing, never fully releases control & results in bottlenecks, memory leakage, resource lockups, application failures & eventually crashes the system. Windows.

    The conservative mindset believes in small government where the user of the system has primary responsibility for the outcome & the freedom to choose the inputs and how they are used or deployed. It believes in streamlining fuctions to free up resources to increase productivity & reward effort & initiative but requires a certain level of sophistication & knowledge.

    Linux would be such an OS.

    It is the ideology that drives the platform where you look to see the issues & the problem with the progressive mindset is that what you refer to as a virus is in fact the kernel of the operating system.

    The problems can only be fixed by using a Linux boot disk & replacing the bloated unreliable OS with one that works.

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  • #

    The way I see it, in terms of fear focus points; The Libs own national security, Labor own industrial relations and The Greens own climate change. All three will cross pollinate their fear based wedge politics when it suits, usually to nullify their opponents’ wedge issue.

    As far as left-right is concerned, as long as union and church memberships are in decline our politics will continue toward the center-state. Big gotchas? Liberals beating up the banks’ over interest rate rises, Labor putting sin taxes on everything which is good in life and The Greens opposing nuclear power.

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  • #
    Bulldust

    One has to ask the question … how long before sock puppets can pass the Turing test? In fact, it wouldn’t really have to pass the test, just close enough to look like an AGW fan that simply copy & pastes a lot from (Un)SkepticalScience to pass muster.

    I know sockpuppetry was something that William Connolley often talked of when engaging in edit wars on Wikipedia. It must be hard to distinguish genuine editors from fakes at times. on either side of the debate.

    Perhaps we shall see a move towards some kind of electronic signature system to distinguish individuals in the electronic world in the future. Needless to say, groups like the EFF would be dead set against any such invasion of privacy, but the way the current generation disregards privacy issues it could well be the way of the future.

    As an aside, World of Warcraft (which is only a game, albeit the world’s biggest single subscriber-based MMORPG) uses account ID’s now to verify posts on their forums. There is a slight loss of privacy, but it may well reduce anonymous trolling (literally and figuratively speaking – trolls are a playable race in the game).

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  • #
    pattoh

    PaulM you are on the money.

    It is the HerRanganus Fabiana kernal of the OS.

    The embedded viruses are hogging most of the RAM. Any keyboard or GUI input fires up an endless stream of promotional pop-ups so persistant & distracting the majority of users give up & go back to Home & Away or 7:30 (via the frig) to get some to get some apolitical cultural enlightenment.

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  • #
    val majkus

    o/t but
    I know our NZ colleagues will need messages of support
    and here’s one place to send them:
    It’s a NZ website
    http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/2011/02/hone-is-a-lovely-man/
    I’ve left the following message
    Richard and all my NZ friends whom I’ve met on this site – we in Australia are seeing the news of what happened in Christchurch
    the best of luck to you and yours and to everyone in Christchurch
    from Toowoomba and I’m sure all in Australia to whom NZ is a much cherished neighbour

    I know there will be many others who share my feelings and I encourage Jen’s readers to leave a message of support there

    http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/2011/02/hone-is-a-lovely-man/

    please provide a message; I know many of Jo’s readers are so emphathetic

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  • #
    John Brookes

    It certainly doesn’t explain me, but I’m not so sure about the ubiquitous Mr Snodgrass.

    Jo says:

    Why label bankers right wing? “Right” means more individual rights and responsibilities, smaller government, more competition.

    I think that “Right” means wanting an environment which favours the rich, the ambitious and the talented. Those who are in my “Right” tend to encourage your “Right”, as many of their goals are similar.

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  • #
    John Brookes

    Vaguely on topic. In some massive multiplayer online games, there are exceptionally boring tasks that you have to do to level up (and levelling up gives you the status boost which is what its all about). Like mining gold endlessly. So some people with money, pay poorer people (possibly based in Korea) to do their mining for them. You might think of these miners as sock puppets. Anyway, I was listening to some young gamers the other day, one of whom delighted in repeatedly killing the miners, because he knew why they were doing what they were doing. It was hilariously funny and rather sad, both at the same time.

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  • #

    If you look closely at what’s being described here, it’s really a wish list of what they’d like the artificial persona to be able to do. The reality is that AI constructs are simply not good enough to pass for real people for very long because they simply can’t engage with other posters and make any sense.

    A classic example is the bot who posts on the Delingpole blog under the handle “heliumlady”. 99% of its posts are auto constructed and there are occasional real posts being made by its operator. All it does is bump up JD’s hit count which is a good metric for his advertisers …

    Pointman

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  • #
    JPA Knowles

    Thanks Jo for a thought provoking post. I have often wondered about the authenticity of some bloggers, especially at the big newspapers. We operate in an etherial reality which could be even less genuine than the WIld West movie street fronts. I can see good reason for the One World brigade trying hard to distract thinking folk in an increasing blogsphere of free speech. If “sockpuppeting” is real we should all be more discerning and sceptical.

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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Grumpy old fart and Mark D

    re Conversation about left/right fascist/communist.

    Both Fascism and Communism are totalitarian regimes. The primary (really the only) difference is in the ownership of property.

    In a Fascist state, I get to own my own business, but the state tells me what to make, how many to make, and where to deliver them. Miraculously, my raw materials arrive just before I need them.

    In a Communist state, the State owns the business, I just get to run it, and the state tells me what to make, how many to make, and where to deliver them. Inevitably, my raw materials do not arrive on time, they are the wrong sort, and some has “disappeared”, en-route.

    So referring to them as left and right really makes no sense. If you need to differentiate, use Liberal and Totalitarian.

    Oh, and by the way, “left” and “right” comes from the Westminster Parliament, and refers to the “Noes”, and “Ayes” voting lobbies. Nothing to do with parties, since who is left and who is right changes when the government changes. (I have heard other explanations for this, but I believe this to be the oldest, and it certainly predates socialism and communism).

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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    With dedicated government financing, this sock puppet software might improve, but at the moment it is identifiable.

    Pointman, points out one way – engage with them and they appear to be autistic.

    Another way is to recognise themes. The latest ones are given a script, and then, using fairly simple rules of English, they will appear to be a large number of people all spouting variations on that theme, but providing no new information.

    If you look carefully at this blog, you will find that person A says something, person B will respond, and add something to the conversation, not every time, but often enough so that their moniker is known not to be a machine.

    I personally think that “persona management software” is about as far as it will go – it has been around for a while, and incremental changes are getting fewer and farther between.

    And the human mind is still more nimble and and considerably more subtle than these programs can ever be. We just need to be on the look out for them.

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    Jaymez

    I don’t think our Government would employ the strategy. There is a very real chance the sock puppets would make more sense than their real supporters.

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  • #

    Regarding Left / Right discussion, In Australia the Liberal Party is better described as Conservative, a philosophy defined well in Tony Abbott’s manifesto – Battlelines.

    On ‘Conservative’ vs ‘Liberal’ vs ‘Socialist’ Governments, he writes :

    Quotes Roger Scrutton: “…[the first maxim of conservative politics] our own self respect requires us to respect our culture and its institutions… The second task of the conservatives, he says is to ‘give up this breast-beating, gilt desire to throw away our inheritance.” P6

    “I am a Liberal because I believe that government’s role is to give people a hand up, not a handout. I believe in a limited government and unlimited opportunity.” P19

    “as John Howard once quipped, ‘a conservative is someone who doesn’t think he is morally superior to his grandfather.” P21

    Quotes: “…conservatives have not been infected with the spirit of improvement…Conservative feel no particular need to justify the status quo.” P56

    “The adage ‘If its not necessary to change, it necessary not to change.’ perhaps best captures this spirit.” P56

    “In political shorthand, ‘socialist’ parties might stand for government control of the economy, ‘liberal’ parties for individual freedom and ‘conservative’ parties for traditional institutions.” P57

    “Conservatism prefers facts to theory, practical demonstration to metaphysical abstraction; what works to what’s in the mind’s eye…Conservatives are not optimists or pessimists but realists.” P72

    We all know that Liberal party and Abbott’s supporters oppose Carbon taxation or other drastic actions, so as far as climate scepticism is concerned, they are the logical choice. My impression is that small business is generally pro Liberal, big business bets both ways.

    You can read more about Abbott’s philosophy on my summary of his book: http://www.tonyabbottexposed.com.

    Regarding the progressive Left, Roger Scruton’s latest book, “The uses of pessimism and the danger of false hope” describes the fallacies of ‘unscrupulous optimists’, which fit the ‘left’ progressive Governments world over, including our Labor:

    They include the ‘Best Case Fallacy’ (we are optimistic that our carbon tax may succeed against all logic and evidence, so its worth trying), the ‘Utopian Fallacy’ (Green policies will solve all social ills in a green utopia, but this requires destruction of current world and temporary coercion; any delays or failures can only be due to evil forces such as denialists, proving we need more coercion), “Born Free Fallacy” (Aboriginal people are born ‘free’ and would perfectly fulfil themselves, only if we removed our shackles of discrimination, oppression and disadvantage), The ‘Zero Sum Fallacy’ of class warfare, the ‘Planning Fallacy’ of planned economy (or BER central grand planning), and so on. It’s a good read.

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    Tim

    This is just an example of the last desperate lengths ‘they’ are using to win the propaganda war. They can’t seem to accept that the ‘populace’ is awakening, and it’s now impossible to put the AGW genie back in the bottle. They will still try, however. Whatever it takes to win power:

    Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” Joseph Goebbels quote

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    J.Hansford

    J.Hansford is a real person….. No sockpuppet could master my daft comments and convoluted mangling of the English language….;-)

    … and Jaymez has hit the nail on the head fer sure with his comment….:-)

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    Alexander K

    I have to hang on to the fact that I know who I am.

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    BobC

    Grumpy old fart: (@17)
    February 22nd, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    However, my original point remains: both parties in both countries will support a carbon market because the power base behind each party want a carbon market. Framing the carbon con as a partisan Liberal/Labour or Republican/Democrat fight misses the point.

    I think a case can be made for saying that the power base of the US Republican party is undergoing a major shift towards libertarian. Almost all of the Freshman Congressmen elected last Nov are AGW skeptics, and are acting on that.

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    Mark D.

    Rereke @ 43:
    Thanks for the refresher. I still don’t see any real Fascist players in CAGW. What I was stressing is that (at least in the US) the Left Democrat party is almost entirely the domain of the Green Machine and all things CAGW.

    I get what Grumpy is saying that truth is not a Left-Right issue but politically speaking CAGW IS a Left Side issue (in the USA) . If we in the US don’t recognize that we’ll have a tougher time stopping them.

    Yes there are Right Side (Republican) people that have bought into the scam but they have much less traction in the Republican Party. Mostly it is a few Republican academics or seasoned “lets get along” politicians that go along with CAGW. If you look deeper you’ll find “cross dressers” in either party that behave more like the Fabians we’ve discussed before. Perhaps I should use “Progressive Left” as BobC here does.

    For those of you that have to deal with multiple parties, coalitions and a different Left Right definition, I am sorry if I caused confusion. Grumpy Old Fart, I wasn’t trying to make you more grumpy (or older) :)

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    Tel

    I always thought that “Right” meant essentially a royalist — one who sits on the right hand of the king. The translation to a Westminster parliamentary system is that supporters of the current government sit on the right hand side of the speaker (where the speaker can be considered a token stand-in for the king).

    In modern translation, “Right” means someone who supports a hierarchical power structure with a single strong leader at the top (who has extensive king-like powers), and an approximately Feudal-style structure of lesser powers beneath that. The term “Right” also has a strong association with being conservative because it means conserving established power structures. The term “Left” basically only has definition in opposition to the “Right”.

    The modern “Left” don’t know whether they support anarchy or totalitrianism, because they generally haven’t thought too hard about such things. They know they don’t like the established power structures, and they feel the need to be “progressive” and change stuff. In theory communism was not supposed to have an absolute ruler, it was supposed to be rule be a wide committee of equals. In practice, it always devolves down to privileged party members and someone taking power (but keeping the convenient lie of equality).

    In my mind, the correct broad-based term for any system that regards individuals as of low importance and the collective as high importance is “Socialism”.

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    Tel

    I think that “Right” means wanting an environment which favours the rich, the ambitious and the talented.

    There was a basic principle of the Feudal System that if you could defeat someone (without obviously cheating) then you deserved to win and they deserved to lose. This has somewhat translated to the Capitalist system but we have shifted the ground from fighting with swords to competing in the marketplace. Companies that perform poorly go bankrupt and their employees go and work for more successful companies.

    Either way, the result is that some people do better than others, and thus a hierarchical structure is built with the more talented people on top, and less talented on the bottom (well, give or take a bit of random luck). Eventually this structure becomes the established order of things, and people accept it as such.

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    BobC

    Tel:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 6:52 am
    Either way, the result is that some people do better than others, and thus a hierarchical structure is built with the more talented people on top, and less talented on the bottom (well, give or take a bit of random luck). Eventually this structure becomes the established order of things, and people accept it as such.

    This is about as descriptive of Capitalism as the mythical blind man describing an elephant as “like a rope”, because he had ahold of the trunk. It’s not wrong, but it’s irrelevant.

    Winston Churchill was once asked the difference between the various economic systems. His answer:

    “Capitalism is the uneven distribution of wealth; Socialism is the even distribution of poverty; Communism is Socialism with a gun in your back.”

    Socialism and Communism are usually “sold” using the politics of envy — “why should other people get more than me?” This is dressed up as “Social Justice”.

    Capitalism is sold as the way to Cornucopia. When people are allowed to reap the rewards of their own efforts, inequality abounds, but the overall productivity of society is greatly increased. This eventually translates to a much higher standard of living than any system based on “Social Justice” can ever create.

    Furthermore, “Capitalism” is not really an economic system, but simply the result of freedom. It is what people do who are free to apply their talents and treasure as they see fit. To have anything other than Capitalism, you must suppress freedom.

    That Capitalism works and Socialism doesn’t has been demonstrated many times in history. For example, when the Pilgrams came to N. America in 1620, they formed a society based on communism. Over half of them died of cold and starvation that winter. The next spring, they voted to allow each family to keep all of the food that they could grow. There was plenty of food that winter.

    Here is what the Pilgrim’s leader, William Bradford had to say about the experience:

    “The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tired sundry years . . . that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing — as if they were wiser than God . . . “ “For this community [so far it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for others men’s wives and children without recompense . . . that was thought injustice.”

    (Not a bad description of the old Soviet Union, or Cuba today.)

    The difference between the Pilgrims and modern Socialists, is that the Pilgrims were able to learn from experience.

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    BobC

    To finish my thought:

    The “Right” is for freedom. That freedom results in inequality is a universal fact of Nature. That it results in greatly enhanced productivity and hence standard of living is an observed fact of history.

    The Left claims to be for equality, but is not forthcoming in explaining that the only way to achieve it is through slavery. Even then, there are still people “on top” — they just get there through force (politics) instead of productivity.

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    wes george

    Tel…mate… :-(

    Feudalism is an economic system in which the means of production—the serfs—are attached to the land which is owned by a class of nobles. All the productivity of the serfs is owned by the nobles and in return the serfs are allow to keep some small percentage of this production sufficient only to feed themselves and reproduce to create the next generation of serfs. Serfs are allowed no mobility between classes. They aren’t even allowed to leave the land the were born to. Serfs have no property or civil rights, other than to be fed, housed and churched by the nobility (the state) for their work.

    Therefore, feudalism is much more analogous to statist collectivism (Marxist socialism) than the capitalist system. Just like in the old Soviet Union the unemployment rate in a feudal economy is Zero.

    Capitalism is based upon the concept of a free markets of goods, services and ideas. In theory all players not only control their own individual means of production—rather than the state or a nobility—but they also own their property. Property rights are the basis for all our other civil rights. After all if you do not own what you produce, then freedom of expression, movement, due process, etc are worthless. Class mobility is not only allowed but encouraged by free market economies.

    The best ideas, the most productivity services and the most cost-effective goods are “naturally selected” by the open market over bad ideas, lousy service and crummy goods. The economic magic of “naturally selecting” the good over the bad is entirely dependent on individual autonomy. Without the individual freedom to choose there can be no open market. It’s the opposite of feudalism and socialism.

    In this way the free market creates a human economic ecology which works analogously like the natural eco-systems where the forces of evolution create a complex system of life far from equilibrium. In the same way modern market-based economies are delicately balanced resource distribution systems far, far from equilibrium.

    In practice, of course, human’s are creatures of cultural cognition with great moral pretensions and lots of rusted on historical idiosyncrasies. So we have made a pact amongst ourselves to regulate the free market so that the weakest among us don’t end up as beggars on the streets. We tax profits and redistribute this wealth to those most in need. We tax wages and sales so that we can have a national infrastructure that aids the free market and makes our lives pleasant. We agree that roads, bridges, ports, a defense force, public schools, museums, libraries etc are for the common good. We have unions, special interest groups, regulatory agencies, central banks, lobbyists, social clubs, private schools, NGOs and a thousand other phenomena that distort the theoretical free market into something far from totally free and therefore much more complex.

    All together this creates our civil society, it also creates a number of perverse incentives and some social injustices as well, but on the whole it is difficult to imagine a more fair and just way than the free-market system to distribute a society’s resources while creating the necessary conditions for innovation and evolution to meet the constantly shifting challenges of the future.

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    Ian Mott

    I think this thread has missed the point. Acting dishonestly, and misleading either the public, or through it, the policy process, is not only a breach of discipline for a public servant, it is also illegal. The decision to obtain “sock-puppet” software may only avoid criminal sanction if it is used, under very close supervision for well defined reasons of state, for example, to influence a minority prone to terrorism.

    It’s use in any other circumstance is a criminal act by way of conspiracy to give effect to an improper exercise of power. Its use in a commercial context should also constitute a breach of Trade Practices legislation. If it is not specifically mentioned in the TPAct it most certainly falls within the meaning of deceptive conduct and should be given specific mention in future.

    If this software is already on the market then we have a duty to get legislation in place that outlaws it. The clear intention of the software is to facilitate the gaining of a benefit by deception. And the principle has long been established in law that a “benefit” for which fraud may apply need not be a purely financial one. The fact that the “benefit” might go to people other than the perpetrator is also immaterial. It is “organised crime” and must be codified as such.

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    wes george

    Bob C,

    I didn’t see your excellent comments before I pushed the submit button. Tel, notice that Bob C and I are independently singing from the same hymnal.

    It’s important to note that today even unionized workers are deeply part of the free market system. We all own property, we all service debt and we are all capitalists now whether we have bothered to educate ourselves on economic matters or not. If you have super then you probably own shares too.

    Modern western economies have shown the Marxist class-warfare theory to be a failed caricature of free market societies.

    Marx was right about some things though: There are two main economic classes in our society and they are at war, but it’s not the working class against the rich.

    It’s the publicly supported class against everyone else!

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    wes george

    Acting dishonestly, and misleading either the public, or through it, the policy process, is not only a breach of discipline for a public servant, it is also illegal.

    So is the ABC liable for prosecution since it can be proven that the state-operated agency has misled the public about the true nature of the climate debate? What about Hanson and Gavin in the States. They work for NASA, a government agency and lie every day publicly online through their teeth “facilitated” by software. Should they be arrested and prosecuted… I don’t think so. What about Tim Flannery too? Should nutters be imprisoned?

    The decision to obtain “sock-puppet” software may only avoid criminal sanction if it is used, under very close supervision for well defined reasons of state, for example, to influence a minority prone to terrorism.

    OK, so it’s alright for state agencies to be dishonest and mislead the public if it is in the best interest of the society as a whole to avoid some kind of danger. Ian you just wrote the ABC’s and Tim’s defense for lying to us about Climategate and the climate debate in general. Obviously, they had to lie to us to scare us into Saving The Planet.

    It’s use in any other circumstance is a criminal act by way of conspiracy to give effect to an improper exercise of power.

    Is it a conspiracy when The Drum or RealClimate censors comment sections to represent the consensus they promote? Or is their right to manage the ideological direction of their web content? How’s that different than “opinion spamming” software at least in results?

    I am making this comment facilitated by software that didn’t exist until recently. If someone believes my comments are false and designed to deceive then am I liable for prosecution? What if I decide to cross post my comments across dozens of blogs and write a script to automate the uploading process?

    Be careful what you wish for Ian. You might well get it. Our statist luvvies would be happy to regulate Internet content, you know, in the interest of social justice. Just give ‘em half an excuse.

    I say bring the opp-bots and the snark bots on, baby. Let’s see what this threat to free expression is really made of before calling in the coppers to shut the whole party down.

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    John Brookes

    Funny that, I read Tel’s comments and thought, “Excellent stuff, now I know something I didn’t know before”. Then I read BobC & Wes, and realise that if I liked what Tel said, it only makes sense that they dislike it…..

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    Ian Mott

    No wes, @59, you are drawing a whole set of long bows. The ABC relies on ambiguity and the presentation of opinions rather than facts. Misrepresentation can only be an issue of fact, not of opinion. There is nothing ambiguous about a software that allows one person to appear to be 10 people. It is an issue of fact.

    Ditto for your generality about state agencies. Armies use camouflage to lie about their true location to the enemy. That is not a crime and never has been. You included my terms

    “under very close supervision for well defined reasons of state”,

    in your quote but failed to include this important distinction in your subsequent generalisation.

    Ditto for your generalisation about software. Sock-puppet software has a specific purpose which is to mislead while other software is neutral, being used for both honest and deceptive ends. The latter places a very high burden of proof on any accuser while the former makes the underlying purpose self evident. If there is sufficient evidence of intent, on the part of The Drum or RC to mislead then that does become a conspiracy. But, again, there is the burden of proof.

    You have failed to appreciate the distinction between publishing lies and purchasing equipment specifically designed to mislead. The fact that much of the material published by sock-puppet users might be factual does not provide them with a defense. The essence of the deception is in the number of people who appear to be making the statements.

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    PaulM

    Ian Mott

    “Armies use camouflage to lie about their true location to the enemy.”

    Mmmm, no, we use camoflage to conceal our location from the enemy, a completely different thing.

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    Andromeda

    An aside – regarding the NBN Co. The points of interconnect [POI], or places where networks pass traffic to each other will have Israeli software company Narus providing the technology.

    Narus provides services to amongst other places, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and according to internet sources is specialised in the production of supercomputers used by intelligence agencies worldwide for numerous applications such as phone taps, tracking voice communications on the internet [presumably Skype], recording Email and browsing habits, and disrupting internet activity in any country at any time if needed…..

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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tory Aardvark and Robert James, retief_99. retief_99 said: Currently reading href=http://joannenova.com.au/2011/02/black-propaganda-us-government-solicits-software-to-generate-fake-personas/ [...]

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    pat

    something similar from obama’s Regulatory Czar. Cass Sunstein:

    u can download the full paper by clicking on the download at the top of the page:

    January 15, 2008
    Conspiracy Theories
    CASS R. SUNSTEIN
    University of Chicago – Law School
    ADRIAN VERMEULE
    Harvard University – Harvard Law School
    We bracket the most difficult questions here and suggest more intuitively that a conspiracy theory can generally be
    counted as such if it is an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role. This account seems to capture the essence of the most prominent and influential conspiracy theories. Consider, for example, the view that….the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud…
    Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true…
    Our focus throughout is on false conspiracy theories, not true ones…
    Under this account, conspiracy theories are a subset of the large category of false beliefs, and also of the somewhat smaller category of beliefs that are both false and harmful. Consider, for example, the beliefs that prolonged exposure to sunlight is actually healthy and that climate change is neither occurring nor likely to occur. These beliefs are (in our view) both false and dangerous, but as stated, they do not depend on, or posit, any kind of conspiracy theory. We shall see that the mechanisms that account for conspiracy theories overlap with those that account for false and dangerous beliefs of all sorts, including those that fuel anger and hatred…
    A denial may, for example, be taken as a confirmation. In this way, conspiracy theories create challenges that are
    distinct from those posed by false but dangerous beliefs (recall the belief that prolonged exposure to sunlight is good for you or that climate change is not occurring).
    Accordingly, we will focus on indirect means of undermining such theories, principally by breaking up the closed informational networks that produce such theories…
    II. Governmental Responses
    What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government
    might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential
    effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions.
    However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5)…
    If government can dispel such theories, it should do so. One problem is that its efforts might be counterproductive, because efforts to rebut conspiracy theories also legitimate them. We have suggested, however, that government can minimize this effect by rebutting more rather than fewer theories, by enlisting independent groups to supply rebuttals, and by cognitive infiltration designed to break up the crippled epistemology of conspiracyminded groups and informationally isolated social networks.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585

    Cass Sunstein (from Wikipedia)
    “Conspiracy Theories” and government infiltration
    Sunstein and Vermeule argue that the practice of enlisting non-government officials, “might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts.” This position has been criticized by some commentators,[22][23] who argue that it would violate prohibitions on government propaganda aimed at domestic citizens.[24
    http://www.ask.com/wiki/Cass_Sunstein#.22Conspiracy_Theories.22_and_government_infiltration

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    wes george

    All good points, Ian, but it is all about long bows. Just because you can’t imagine any ambiguity of purpose to sockpuppetry doesn’t mean there isn’t any.

    If you start the legislative ball rolling on banning particular types of software because they can be used for a purpose you don’t like where does it stop? File sharing software allows people to violate copyrighted material. Should the file-sharing software be outlawed? Photoshop allows one to work in kiddie porn. Outlaw Photoshop? Or maybe only allow Photoshop…

    “under very close supervision for well defined reasons of state”

    Blogging software allows Jo to spread her “denialist rabble-rousing” to audiences globally. How are we going to Save The Planet if the software exists to subvert Climate Orthodoxy? Maybe bloggers need to be state-certified and placed…

    “under very close supervision for well defined reasons of state”

    Do you really want start down that path? And for what? To arrest an imagined potential to increase the amount of deceit that already wholesales by the petabyte tonnage on and off line? Dude, just chalk it up to the chaotic give and take of free expression and punt on common sense of the punters to sort things out for themselves. Kind of like we already do with spam. Those who give their bank account info to Nigerians we can submit for Darwin Awards.

    You have failed to appreciate the distinction between publishing lies and purchasing equipment specifically designed to mislead.

    So printing presses are OK to use to spread lies, that’s protected expression, but sockpuppet software isn’t? You’ve already pointed out that sockpuppetry could be used to spread truths as well as lies. Furthermore hiding one identity isn’t a crime. In fact, in many cases even in our own so-called free society it is a necessary pre-condition to free expression on certain topics for certain people. Now imagine some place like China or Iran. Yeah, I’d want my sock puppet software if I was in Tehran.

    Sock puppet technology might end up being the killer app that enables free expression in otherwise totalitarian environments.

    I see sockpuppets as just another turn in the technological evolution of rhetorical weaponry. If sockpuppet software is out there it won’t be long before both sides of every argument arm themselves with it and prepare defenses against it

    Like I said, bring it on, baby… ;-)

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    Grumpy old fart

    Good discussion :) Thanks for the thought-provoking replies.

    My 2 cents on the left/right:
    Yes there are Fascist political parties, mainly (or mainly successful) in Europe. And they’re not Libertarian, they want big government to control the population and stop people doing things they disagree with. Like being black, gay, unemployed, etc. The nearest Australian equivalent is probably the Religious Right parties, who also like big government for the same reasons (just add atheist and muslim to the list of no-no’s). Not sure where they stand on AGW though?

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    Ian Mott

    Sorry Wes, but that is a big cop-out. If you can claim there ‘might’ be some unforeseen ambiguity of purpose then you really need to furnish us with it. And it is no huge conceptual leap to add an exemption to any legislation for circumstances where an ambiguity might present itself. That is no argument for no regulation at all.

    “If you start the legislative ball rolling on banning particular types of software because they can be used for a purpose you don’t like where does it stop?”

    As with all laws, it stops when when reasonable men and women in possession of the relevant facts consider the issue has been served. To use your argument every piece of legislation is an uncontrolled ball that cannot be stopped.

    And again you miss the point. It is not a matter of whether I approve of the purpose, or not. The entire community does not approve of deceptive conduct. And the act of appearing to be many people, when infact you are only one, is the essence of this deception. The veracity of the things that are said is another matter.

    “Sock puppet technology might end up being the killer app that enables free expression in otherwise totalitarian environments”.

    Thats all very nicely speculated but we are not, yet, in a totalitarian environment. And on the balance of probability it is far more likely to become a major tool of the forces that desire totalitarian control. Would you give Gaddaffi an ‘A bomb’ on the grounds that a protester might make good use of it to blow up his dictatorial son in 20 years time?

    PaulM. Hair splitting. A concealed location is withheld information and is a misrepresentation by omission.

    And thanks, Pat @ 64, a good post. And we can be sure that Departmental minders are entirely in the loop.

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    PaulM

    Ian Mott.

    “Hair splitting. A concealed location is withheld information and is a misrepresentation by omission.”

    Really, I don’t recall during officer training any mention in the Geneva Accords & the various articles on land warfare a requirement to tell the enemy where you were. So I can’t see how the use of camoflage is a misrepresentation by omission or withholding information.

    Considering the purpose of camoflage is to make it harder for the enemy to find you & analyse your force structure and tactics I wasn’t hair splitting, rather I was pointing out your lack of understanding of the purpose of camoflage.

    I realise you don’t like being contradicted or prooven wrong so I will put in the simplest possible terms what soldiers sailors & airmen have known from the start, the purpose of fighting wars is not to die for your country but to make the enemy die for theirs. The use of camoflage helps that happen & to do otherwise would be somewhat counterproductive.

    If on the other hand, like many emenies our ADF has faced in the modern age, the enemy adopts the common garb of the general population & merges their forces & installations amongst the civilian population, that would be the lie or misrepresentaion you refer to.

    Call it hair splitting if you like, for me I was simply correcting an inaccurate representation of an area in which I have training & experience.

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    The sockpuppets idea is only a part of this. What if one person can pretend to be 10 others (or 50 others). They write real comments so they would pass the turing test, but the real point is that they are paid to write, they may or may not believe anything they say (some anonymous commenters here spring to mind) and ultimately it’s a lie. If they are government agents undercover, it is deceit.

    It’s the use of government funds to put forward “consensus” views that may not exist which is chilling. It becomes another layer of fakery, of propaganda which is hidden – so it’s worse. It magnifies a position held by possibly only a few people.

    And yes, the left-right scheme has many flaws. Those who want to paint the Nazi party as “right” try to pretend that fascism and communism are at opposite ends. Thanks Rereke for beating me to explain there’s little difference. In an orwellian way, those who want power know that if they strip our terms of clarity they also muddy our thinking.

    I think the most useful way of thinking of the “far right” is anarchistic – which is the true opposite of far left – communism. Total centralised control versus no centralized control. Obviously, I don’t want either extreme. But as long as we don’t label the far right for what it “could be” and recognise that next to no one is fighting for anarchy, we end up with these pointless muddy left-right labels, (especially the “extreme right wing” which some people slap on anyone suggesting a slightly smaller government). The current left-right debate is mostly only focussed on some version of the left (centralized power). Even conservatives are hardly fighting to cut the centralized power of the state.

    I started doing the political compass questionaire but didn’t like it. I would have ticked “no comment” on many questions if I could have, because they were so ambiguous I could see a reason to tick both agree and disagree, and it depended on how they defined a word. It did not seem well thought out. I quit.

    (How any political analysts could put the Greens as “libertarians” shows it is joke. These are the people who don’t want you to choose your light bulbs yourself.)

    PS: Yes, my left right paradigm is a libertarian one, and doesn’t cover the differences covered by conservative (ie wants traditional social mores) versus progressive (ie happy to change social traditions).

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    wes george

    If you can claim there ‘might’ be some unforeseen ambiguity of purpose then you really need to furnish us with it.

    Already have, Ian. What if I am a commenter in Iran who wishes expression anti-government sentiments on pro-government blogs? What if I’m a scientist at the CSIRO who wishes to reveal suppressed climate evidence but only if I can hide my sources and identity?

    And on the balance of probability it is far more likely to become a major tool of the forces that desire totalitarian control.

    Really? State-controlled media are forces for authoritarianism. Creating software hacks to spam state-controlled blogs with politically incorrect opinion while your true identity remains hidden empowers anti-establishment elements. It’s hard to imagine authoritarians needing to manipulate public opinion by sock puppeting orthodox opinion onto politically subversive blogs. Why not just shut down the anti-establishment bloggers? No need for high-maintenance geeks, just send a few scruffy security thugs around for a visit.

    In a free country, such as Australia, the political risk of a government agency—say the Ministry of Climate Change—running a sock puppet black ops totally out weighs any possible returns. Beside, why would they bother? The government already has a Godzilla-sized sockpuppet in the ABC!

    The entire community does not approve of deceptive conduct.

    And yet we know that deceptive conduct in reporting on climate change is an approved (if unofficial) method of drumming up support for a carbon tax in many professional and governmental circles. So is adjusting the climate record. Deceptive conduct is a hallmark of the whole debate.

    And the act of appearing to be many people, when infact you are only one, is the essence of this deception.

    Fine. I concede the high moral ground to you, Ian. You own it.

    But how is sockpuppetry substantially different then say editing a blog’s comments to decrease the number comments that disagree with your position? The outcome is the same. That kind of deception goes on every day—not at Jo Nova’s, but at Real Climate, Joe Romm’s, Open Mind, The Drum, et al— and we know it and we certainly wouldn’t want to make it illegal because by doing so we’ll end up limiting our own right to free expression as the same legal devices you’d like to see to ban “deceptive conduct” are turn against speech deemed “deceptive” by our political opponents, whom, btw, have definitively announced they are looking for ways to shut down rational inquiry.

    The whole idea that “reasonable men and women in possession of the relevant facts,” can or should be allowed to decide what kind of online delivery of opinion is deceptive and therefore disallowed invites all sorts of mischief if allowed into the domain of political speech. We’re talking about the evolution of online cultural values as much as software technologies. Premature government regulation of a more or less naturally evolving cognitive domain is sure to have unintended consequences.

    I don’t think you have adequately address those concerns in this debate, other than to hand wave it off as a “cop-out” or “a long bow.” Yet, in law every case is a precedent for the next related action. Banning an edgy online communication software tool when no harm can be demonstrated would, IMO, set a nasty precedent for government regulation of online content in a nation that has no bill of rights guaranteeing free expression online or otherwise. A foot in the door we’ll all live to regret…

    You’re playing with fire, Ian.

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    Ian Mott

    PaulM @ 69, Where on earth did you get the impression that I was implying that the inherent deception in camouglage was inappropriate? As if one has an obligation to be truthful to people who are trying to shoot you? Indeed, if you go back over my earlier posts you will note that my reference to it was as an acceptable form of deceit. And what could be a more relevant example of “appropriate supervision” than the rules of engagement?

    For the record, I was taught the essentials of camouflage by a team led by WOII “Squizzy” Taylor at the 1971 CUO course, the last one held before Whitlam shut the whole show down in 1972. A veteran of multiple tours, he was very widely regarded as a very reassuring man to have around when people are trying to kill you. And the unambiguous core theme of camouflage was deception.

    So if you are going to argue with someone then at least have the good grace to conduct a proper appreciation of the context instead of making up what ever landscape you want to be there.

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    wes george

    Joanne,

    The “what if” scenario of hundreds of alarmist sock puppets invading your blog—if you think about it—is not as chilling as it is hilarious. Imagine the feedback loop that would set off. ;-) It’d be like shooting fish in a barrel. Yee Haw! Pass me the ammo, Homer!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gUKvmOEGCU

    Note that the definition of an Internet sockpuppet has always implied a puppet master. The only new twist here is the puppet master controls multiple puppets…with an added dash of paranoid hype that mercenaries are involved. If we are that important to national security why not just send in the SASR? Problem solved in five minutes flat…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet)

    I’ve taught pensioners how to use the Internet and I am always shocked that so much of what we take for granted as online citizens is totally baffling to pre-digital age intelligence. Ever try to explain to great grandma how to use a mouse? It’s not nearly as intuitive as one might think. What about the hierarchy of a typical GUI? It inspires one to examine unspoken assumptions about our virtual reality. It’s all made-up. Could have happened a thousand other way.

    Likewise, the Internet we now use is an utterly fluid environment, evolving at a pace that’s difficult to keep up with. We are mistaken if we assume that today’s Internet will be that which we’ll navigate in 2020. To seek to “conserve” Internet “traditional cultural” is “reactionary” especially if you want to call in the coppers, since 5 years of Internet culture is akin to transversing 50-years of real world culture.

    Shareware, open source, the usernet, telnet, trojans, gophers, Veronica, mosiac,uunecode… God, how many tools and fears have I had to learn only to watch them fade into obscurity and almost all of them were an imagined security threat to someone at some time with sci-fi dimensions that were chilling… So forgive me for delaying until sockpuppets become 1/100th the chilling threat that spam is today before I cock an eyelid.

    Ian is one of my ideological heroes whom I would love to have dinner and consume many beers with… So I am a bit disappointed that he would call for government regulation of the Internet ecosystem. But I know he was just blowing off at the mouth. Whatever. You wouldn’t believe the unforced errors I make…ho, ho.

    The Internet is so much more interesting as the last wild place fraught with unanticipated innovation, even if it ain’t all friendly or fair. Wilderness, especially cognitive virtual wilderness is never going to be a totally safe place. At least here we are free. Forgive me French. F*&k the government.

    btw, I always repeatedly tell new users never, never, never, ever give anyone your bank account info online. You’ll be alright. ;-)

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    PaulM

    Ian Mott

    “For the record, I was taught the essentials of camouflage by a team led by WOII “Squizzy” Taylor at the 1971 CUO course, the last one held before Whitlam shut the whole show down in 1972.”

    WOII D “Squizzy” Taylor was from the RAOC and as far as I can ascertain was still in Hao Long in Phuoc Tuy Province in 1971. I have contacted RAOC and asked for confirmation of WO II Taylors service record and discharge date.

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    Andromeda

    Left wing – right wing / capitalism – communism, they are both wings of the same bird. The same mind / controlling brain operates them both.

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    PaulM

    Ian Mott

    Warrant-Officer Class 2

    Derek TAYLOR

    Service No: 29595
    Army Service Between: 30/04/1966 and 30/09/1971
    Total Days: 1082
    Corps:Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps
    Unit:Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

    I find your claims dubious at best.

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    I’m in total agreement with wes. I can’t see sock-puppet software do anything but blow-up in the face of any politician who decides to be involved with it. Lies or truth. It’s all about reputation. Once that’s gone, kiss your constituency goodbye.

    I can see the sock-puppet meme as being useful for advertising. WordPress gets plenty of VERY unsophisticated bots spamming blogs all the time and we web developers do spend alot of time at war with those bot developers to improve our client’s web hosting outcomes. But, beyond link building for small brands, there is very little value in spamming. Large brands using bots can only have their reputation, there’s that word again, hurt by automated online activity. This is why the most used marketing buzzword in the industry for the last half decade has been ‘organic’.

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    BobC

    John Brookes:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Funny that, I read Tel’s comments and thought, “Excellent stuff, now I know something I didn’t know before”. Then I read BobC & Wes, and realise that if I liked what Tel said, it only makes sense that they dislike it…..

    So, when are you going to start making up your own mind, John, instead of just deciding who to believe?

    I went through this flip-flop stage back in 1964, over the Vietnam war. Then I realized I needed to expand my data.

    BTY: I didn’t dislike what Tel said — I maintained that it was incomplete and missed the main point. Can a supposedly capitalist system slide into feudalism? Sure, but that isn’t what defines capitalism, and it can’t happen without suppressing freedom.

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    Ian Mott

    PaulM @76, Yes, and it would seem his last assignment was the CUO Course at Singleton during the August/September 1971 school holidays. I recall from a private discussion that he had a particular contempt for the kind of “gong hunting” officer who would go out and get his own men needlessly cut up for the sake of a mention in despatches. I hope he didn’t have you in mind.

    Myself and one other were the last two CUOs in the Mullumbimby High Cadet Unit during 1972. Feel free to check any records you like, matey. And I note that this is a $hit load more information than you have bothered to provide about yourself to this forum.

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    [...] I [Happy R] have rummaged through the leaked email, some of which contain resumes for employees there. These guys are recruiting people with incredibly advanced skills from many different agencies and top universities like MIT. Yet another H/T to Jo Nova [...]

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    Grumpy old fart

    Jo, I think most people would have the same response as you on a political compass. I know my compass is wildly different on different issues. It’s why mainstream political parties stay in the centre ground as much as possible, and why single-issue parties attract such weird support bases (who then start arguing amongst themselves on every other issue).

    So when are you starting your anti-AGW single-issue party? (j/k)

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    Tel

    Furthermore, “Capitalism” is not really an economic system, but simply the result of freedom. It is what people do who are free to apply their talents and treasure as they see fit. To have anything other than Capitalism, you must suppress freedom.

    Quite untrue. Feudalism is the result of freedom. It works like this: everyone has complete freedom including freedom to utilise the obviously highly efficient strategy of getting together a gang of goons and taking what other people have (much faster and easier than making it yourself). Given that this freedom exists, you can absolutely guarantee that people will be doing it.

    As the gangs get bigger we get armies and local warlords. The most successful of the warlords ultimately becomes king and now we have one person with absolute freedom (the king) and others must either swear allegiance to the king or die. Now you have a feudal system.

    For Capitalism to develope, it is necessary that particular freedoms be suppressed — in particular the freedom to raise a private army and the freedom to rob your neighbour, and the freedoms to steal, and to cheat. We call such behaviour “immoral” to make it clear which freedoms we are suppressing and which freedoms we find acceptable. Around this moral standard we build a rule of law which is absolutely necessary for Capitalism to exist.

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    Tel

    Feudalism is an economic system in which the means of production—the serfs—are attached to the land which is owned by a class of nobles. All the productivity of the serfs is owned by the nobles and in return the serfs are allow to keep some small percentage of this production sufficient only to feed themselves and reproduce to create the next generation of serfs.

    You are correct that I skipped details such as tenure to the land, etc. However, as I said “a hierarchical system” the presumption is that the people on the bottom of the stack end up badly off in one way or another. Having said that, I don’t think the fine detail of exactly how they are badly off really matters. In a strongly Corporatist system the workers are semi-owned by their employers so it isn’t a lot different (the National Socialists started allocating workers compulsorily to jobs after about two years in office for example).

    Serfs are allowed no mobility between classes.

    Completely untrue, serfs always have the right to take up arms and swear allegiance as a low-level warrior. Where do you think the pikemen and archers came from?

    Serfs have no property or civil rights, other than to be fed, housed and churched by the nobility (the state) for their work.

    I believe that’s untrue as well, although their position was not good, they did have some rights. After all, the king takes some interest in his people because their production is his property. However, it’s a long topic, and there were good kings and bad kings. Machiavelli explains this.

    Therefore, feudalism is much more analogous to statist collectivism (Marxist socialism) than the capitalist system. Just like in the old Soviet Union the unemployment rate in a feudal economy is Zero.

    Not theoretical Marxist socialism, which implies equal political power to all citizens. However, in practice all socialist systems build up an internal hierarchy through party favours, etc and the people at the bottom of the heap do end up resembling serfs in as much as they have few rights, and little freedom.

    Capitalism is … It’s the opposite of feudalism and socialism.

    It’s just another way to built the hierarchy… feudalism does it through force of arms, socialism does it through skulduggery and party favours. Capitalism does it through productivity and dominance of the marketplace. Corporatism is the ultimate extension of capitalism when the financial power and political powers merge.

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    BobC

    Tel:

    You say “Feudalism is the result of freedom”, but what you describe is Anarchy. You cannot define “freedom” as “anarchy” because, as you point out, anarchy results in the destruction of freedom. You might as well say absolute dictatorships are “free” because there is one person (the dictator) in each who is free to do as they please.

    Free markets (and hence Capitalism) exist in countries that are designed to preserve the most freedom for the most people. Even small schoolchildren understand that “my freedom to swing my fist ends at your nose”.

    Let’s get real, Tel: I can’t believe that you think “freedom” is “anarchy”, or that I was discussing anarchy. If you really can’t tell what I was talking about, read the founding documents of the United States of America — they do a pretty good job of setting up a government whose goal is to maximize personal freedom. They were not creating an anarchy.

    The Left would love to have everyone believe that personal freedom results in Feudalism — they are always looking for excuses to limit personal freedom and that would make it much easier. The Western Democracies, however, are the counter-example that proves this claim false.

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    BobC

    The concept missing from your analysis, Tel, is that of unalienable rights. When rights and freedom coexist, the limits on freedom are obvious (you must respect my rights). When no one’s rights are unalienable, you usually have a slide into the despotism you posit as the end result of any kind of society.

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    Ian Mott

    After almost 48 hours since PaulM @76 seriously impugned my integrity under the protection of a pseudonym, the gutless [snip] still hasn’t apologised.

    The community regards the fabrication of any sort of military record as a very low act so this cowardly slur, even on my humble record, is highly defamatory and deeply offensive.

    This anonymous low lifer jumped to a very serious conclusion from very limited information. The course that I referred to was attended by more than 100 participants and every one of them could confirm that WO Taylor was in charge.

    And this episode is all the more objectionable for the fact that it is not even material to the original discussion where this PaulM exhibited a serious comprehension deficit that he then tried to obscure by a low slur.

    You are a disgrace.

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    [...] another and potentially sinister facet to directed comment, as raised by Jo Nova the other day: Black Propaganda: US Government solicits software to generate fake personas  Astroturfing by community organizations is one thing. But Establishment anti-news, [...]

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    Mark D.

    Tel and BobC re various posts:

    Points made by both of you however in the end and with a great potential for mental depression, it occurs to me that we humans no matter what form of government (or lack thereof) are always slaves to somebody else. To what degree is the only question. Even slaves have elements of happy, safe and successful lives (depending on the “owner”).

    Today even in a “free democratic” society even with constitutional protections, we are often slaves to the bank, to employers, to regulations of all kinds and to the taxes we pay. Obviously we have collectively decided our lives benefit in some way by trading true freedom for the real and imagined benefits our slave masters permit.

    Life expectancy is perhaps one benefit and I think we might all agree that we three, at least, live in places where life expectancy is at an all time high.

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    Roy Hogue

    Mark D. @88,

    That’s a profound truth! Both the slave and the free man will be enslaved to something or someone. The free man gets some choice in the matter but the slave does not.

    I’ll take this country anytime!

    Roy

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    Tel

    You cannot define “freedom” as “anarchy” because, as you point out, anarchy results in the destruction of freedom.

    You claimed at #54 that Capitalism is simply the result of freedom. I’m pointing out that this is not true.

    I can’t believe that you think “freedom” is “anarchy”, or that I was discussing anarchy.

    Freedom is a lack of constraints against action. Any other definition would be self-contradictory,

    If you really can’t tell what I was talking about, read the founding documents of the United States of America — they do a pretty good job of setting up a government whose goal is to maximize personal freedom.

    Note: goal is to maximize personal freedom. Very different from the earlier claim that freedom is the starting point. We don’t even know for sure whether Capitalism can in fact achieve its intended goal (on a long-term sustainable basis).

    You might claim that Capitalism is the minimal amount of freedom we can suppress in order to prevent those remaining freedoms from being lost… but that’s quite a different to making freedom the starting point. My point is that in order to maintain itself, Capitalism does need to suppress some freedom. For example, can you have Capitalism where everyone is free to make a promise and arbitrarily decide not to keep their promise?

    Some of the details are quite fuzzy, but still very important… should corporations be free to make political campaign donations? If you answer “no”, then they argue it’s their money and they can spend it however, if you answer “yes” then you create a corporatist system where those corporations will buy the laws that suit themselves.

    Thus, Capitalism requires a very carefully structured set of freedoms, and it requires good laws to back that up, and good institutions to execute those laws in a just and even handed manner. It doesn’t get maintained by just allowing people to do whatever they like, it only gets maintained by great effort and vigilance.

    The concept missing from your analysis, Tel, is that of unalienable rights. When rights and freedom coexist, the limits on freedom are obvious (you must respect my rights).

    Equally was this concept missing from the original statement at #54 and anyhow, those “unalienable rights” don’t just flop down out of thin air. They are carefully chosen and considered. They are the product of human ingenuity (or divine intervention if you prefer), not the product of a simple cause and effect outcome.

    Although unalienable rights are a convenient concept for designing a system of well-structured limits to freedom, they still have their problems. Once you start creating lists of rights, before long someone comes and adds “right to get unlimited government handouts at someone else’s expense” and you can guess where the story goes from there ;-)

    Points made by both of you however in the end and with a great potential for mental depression, it occurs to me that we humans no matter what form of government (or lack thereof) are always slaves to somebody else.

    Please don’t be depressed on my account! Last I checked there was only one world to choose from, so worrying about whether it is the best of all world or the worst of all worlds is a bit of a pointless exercise. Our job is only to understand it and do the best we can.

    The free man gets some choice in the matter but the slave does not.

    Agreed, I’d rather have a limited set of freedoms than none at all. Inevitably people near the top get more than people at the bottom. I suspect that in a Feudal system I’d end up somewhere in the middle (as one of the artisan or intellectual class) which is pretty much where I’ve ended up in the current semi-capitalist system. I have no stomach for Socialism because I just can’t play the politic games and constant sneaky backstabbing that Socialism depends on.

    That’s a purely personal preference of course.

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    Mark D.

    Tel,

    ……… Our job is only to understand it and do the best we can

    Isn’t that the same for the anarchist? or communist etc etc

    The free man gets some choice in the matter but the slave does not.

    Even there I could provoke thought: The choice to work all day to pay the mortgage and taxes or the “no choice” to simply do the days work for the man.

    I have no stomach for Socialism because I just can’t play the politic games and constant sneaky backstabbing that Socialism depends on.

    I agree but suggest it isn’t limited to socialism.

    That’s a purely personal preference of course.

    Very true and good that we can make personal choices.

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    Mark D.

    PS I’m not depressed by anything you have said or done Tel.

    PPS, Thanks Roy.

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    BobC

    Tel,
    You say:

    Freedom is a lack of constraints against action. Any other definition would be self-contradictory,

    Well, one of the definitions at dictionary.reference.com is:

    civil liberty, as opposed to subjection to an arbitrary or despotic government.

    Another is:

    the right to enjoy all the privileges or special rights of citizenship, membership, etc., in a community or the like.

    And, of course, one of them is your definition.

    So, if you want to maintain that your definition is the only one possible; and that everyone who uses the word “freedom” is, by necessity using your definition; and that therefore I was actually supporting Feudalism when I talked about freedom — go right ahead.

    Just don’t kid yourself that you are engaging in a rational discussion.

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    wes george

    “In a strongly Corporatist system the workers are semi-owned by their employers so it isn’t a lot different (the National Socialists started allocating workers compulsorily to jobs after about two years in office for example).”

    I totally agree. Tel. But you seem confused about the meaning of Marxism and corporatism. Marx is not ANTI-capitalism. He’s for a state where all the capital (means of production) is owned by the state. Communism is a KIND of capitalism. Corporatism is a KIND of capitalism with state-controlled elements. So exactly right, mate, workers in a state-controlled capitalist economy are NOT free.

    “Corporatism” is totally different than free-market capitalism where citizens have the RIGHT to buy and sell skills, ideas, goods and services on an open market, indentured to no one, not the state nor a landed nobility or monopoly interests…Less people are poor in free market economies than in state-controlled (or feudal) economies. This is a fact of economic nature.

    Serfs are allowed no mobility between classes….Completely untrue, serfs always have the right to take up arms and swear allegiance as a low-level warrior. Where do you think the pikemen and archers came from?

    Class mobility is not the same thing as being obligated to fight and die for your master’s wars. In a free market society, the soldiery are paid professionals who VOLUNTEER for service.

    No serf—or communist worker—is free to advance their potential as individuals within their societies. But in a free market economy anyone with talent can do anything (or even nothing! Try that in a worker’s paradise.)

    In fact, social mobility is higher in free market economies than any in other kind of society that has ever existed in history!

    Social Mobility=Freedom.

    Note that a truly free market economy can only exist in a democracy, since by free markets, we must included freedom of ideas, suffrage and expression too.

    A fundamental difference between free market civil society and a feudal or socialist society, is that the individual controls their own means of production and the wealth it produces not the state or a nobility. And what is an individual’s means of production? It is him or her self and the skills, ideas, dreams, ambition, and life decisions they alone wish for and work towards. The state’s job is simply to keep the bloody hell outta the way of people’s aspirations while fixing the potholes and picking up the rubbish regularly and maybe keeping our borders secure.

    Corporatism is the ultimate extension of capitalism when the financial power and political powers merge.

    That’s what is occurring today, mate. The government is becoming ever more involved with the major corporations to write tax laws to pick winners and losers and thereby subvert the free markets of capital, goods, services and ideas to favour the powers that be, politically, culturally and economically.

    Like I said, Marxism is often confused as being ANTI-capitalist, when in fact it represents a kind of uber-capitalism, a super-monopoly where the state owns everything. Naturally, the next best situation is what Labor and the Greens aim for—the state and a few giant state-friendly corporations and trade unions plus the enviro NGOs controlling the economy.

    Both socialism and corporatism are mortal enemies of the free markets, individual civil liberty and democracy.

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    DirkH

    @Nate #32:

    It really disgusts me that the Aus 2010 election ended up having the Greens as the most libretarian.
    http://www.politicalcompass.org/aus2010

    That’s because their manifesto is a lie. No Green would ever lift a hand for free markets, lest it could be rejected by his socialist body.

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    DirkH

    70 Joanne Nova:
    It’s the use of government funds to put forward “consensus” views that may not exist which is chilling. It becomes another layer of fakery, of propaganda which is hidden – so it’s worse. It magnifies a position held by possibly only a few people.

    You’re describing the UNIPCC process there, Joanne, with the 2500 signatories (which were mostly small cogs somewhere in the WMO hierarchy)… so those sockpuppet armies would be nothing new.

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    [...] Black Propaganda: US Government solicits software to generate fake personas. - Part of the US Government has been caught trying to buy software that would allow it to generate 500 fake personas generally known as sockpuppets. [...]

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    Steve

    Regarding this revelation
    Oersona management software
    Solicitation Number RTB 220610
    Agency Department of the Air Force
    Office Air Mobility Command
    Location 6T Contracting Squadron
    Webpage can be found @ FedBizOpps.Gov
    Yes it is real and the use would be for Intelligence gathering on subjects such as terrorists by allowing infiltration of their networks,one can safely assume all Governments worldwide already have agencies doing this often unknown to other Government Agencies,as always the left hand doesn’t know wht the Right hand is doing.
    propaganda is far more mainstream for it to be effective,and with most in the Media already having been brainwashed by leninist thinking within Universities they are for the most part willing accomplices to left leaning Governments.
    Remember the real name of the NAZI Party was the Nationale Sozialistische Duetche Arbeiter Partie or literally in English the national socialist german Workers party.

    The above revelation for many is important as ther left socialists often attack by comparing the conservative groups to the Nazi Party when in fact the exact opposite is the real truth. These are the people we are fighting against for honest and fair Government within our respective countries.

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