Sunday, December 20, 2015

Knocking on the Mind

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis once suggested that his fellow doctors might be contributing to the death of newborn babies and their mothers.  This notion was denigrated and unpopular, as you can imagine, among the doctors with whom he brought it up.  Lest this letter get too long, I'll leave you to consider and/or research the rest of that story.  The story itself is in no way denigrated, but it isn't nearly as popular as I'd like it to be.  It is the story of a hero.

Florence Nightingale wrote a lot.  Some of her notions were denigrated and unpopular, but her father had encouraged her to study mathematics and writing.  In fact, her 1852 essay "Cassandra" and the Greek character from whom she took the title both touch on the denigration of women in general.  She asks, "Why have women passion, intellect, moral activity - these 3 - and a place in society where no one of the 3 can be exercised?"  Seven years later, after tending to wounded British soldiers in the Crimean war, she published Notes on Nursing, still highly respected today in the profession that she founded.

I hope this essay has helped make you feel that you're ready to entertain a notion which might save babies or found a whole new profession or do some other fantastic thing.  If someone asked you to read it, and you have found value in it, let that person know.  Give them a sign that you won't write them off for suggesting something as outlandish as "Doctors' hands can carry disease" or "Women can be valuable medical professionals."

Cassandra, by Florence Nightingale

[Full disclosure: My wife is a nurse.]

WHY HAVE WOMEN PASSION, intellect, moral activity—these 3—and a place in society where no one of the 3 can be exercised? Men say that God punishes for complaining. No, but men are angry with misery. They are irritated with women for not being happy….

"Suffering, sad" female "humanity!" What are these feelings which they are taught to consider as disgraceful, to deny to themselves? What form do the Chinese feet assume when denied their proper development? If the young girls of the "higher classes," who never commit a false step, whose justly earned reputations were never sullied even by the stain which the fruit of mere "knowledge of good and evil" leaves behind, were to speak, and say what are their thoughts employed upon, their thoughts, which alone are free, what would they say? …

When shall we see a life full of steady enthusiasm, walking straight to its aim, flying home, as that bird is now, against the wind—with the calmness and the confidence of one who knows the laws of God and can apply them? …

Women often strive to live by intellect. The clear, brilliant, sharp radiance of intellect's moonlight rising upon such an expanse of snow is dreary, it is true, but some love its solemn desolation, its silence, its solitude — if they are but allowed to live in it; if they are not perpetually baulked and disappointed. But a woman cannot live in the light of intellect. Society forbids it. Those conventional frivolities, which are called her "duties," forbid it. Her "domestic duties," high-sounding words, which, for the most part, are but bad habits (which she has not the courage to enfranchise herself from, the strength to break through) forbid it. What are these duties (or bad habits)?—Answering a multitude of letters which lead to nothing, from her so-called friends—keeping herself up to the level of the world that she may furnish her quota of amusement at the breakfast-table; driving out her company in the carriage. And all these things are exacted from her by her family which, if she is good and affectionate, will have more influence with her than the world.

What wonder if, wearied out, sick at heart with hope deferred, the springs of will broken, not seeing clearly where her duties lies, she abandons intellect as a vocation and takes it only, as we use the moon, by glimpses through her tight-closed window-shutters?

The family? It is too narrow a field for the development of an immortal spirit, be that spirit male or female. The chances are a thousand to one that, in that small sphere, the task for which that immortal spirit is destined by the qualities and the gifts which its Creator has placed within it, will not be found….

At present we live to impede each other's satisfactions; competition, domestic life, society, what is it all but this? We go somewhere where we are not wanted and where we don't want to go. What else is conventional life? Passivity when we want to be active. So many hours spent every day in passively doing what conventional life tells us, when we would so gladly be at work.

And it is a wonder that all individual life is extinguished?

Women dream of a great sphere of steady, not sketchy benevolence, of moral activity, for which they would fain to be trained and fitted, instead of working in the dark, neither knowing nor registering whither their steps lead, whether farther from or nearer to the aim….

How different would be the heart for the work, and how different would be the success, if we learnt our work as a serious study, and followed it out steadily as a profession! …

In every dream of the life of intelligence or that of activity, women are accompanied by a phantom—the phantom of sympathy, guiding, lighting the way—even if they do not marry. Some few sacrifice marriage, because they must sacrifice all other life if they accept that. That man and woman have an equality of duties and rights is accepted by woman even less than by man. Behind his destiny woman must annihilate herself, must be only his complement. A woman dedicates herself to the vocation of her husband; she fills up and performs the subordinate parts in it. But if she has any destiny, any vocation of her own, she must renounce it, in 9 cases out of ten. Some few, like Mrs. Somerville, Mrs. Chisholm, Mrs. Fry, have not done so; but these are exceptions. The fact is that woman has so seldom any vocation of her own, that it does not much signify; she has none to renounce. A man gains everything by marriage: he gains a "helpmate," but a woman does not.

The intercourse of a man and woman—how frivolous, how unworthy it is! Can we call that the true vocation of woman—her high career? Look round at the marriages which you know. The true marriage—the noble union, by which a man and woman become together the one perfect union—probably does not exist at present upon earth….

And then it is thought pretty to say that "Women have no passion." If passion is excitement in the daily social intercourse with men, women think about marriage much more than men do; it is the only event in their lives. It ought to be a sacred event, but surely not the only event of a women's life as it is now….

Women dream until they have no longer the strength to dream; those dreams against which they so struggle, so honestly, vigorously, and conscientiously, and so in vain, yet which are their life, without which they could not have lived; those dreams go at last. All their plans and visions seem vanished, and they know not where; gone and they cannot recall them. And they are left without the food either of reality or of hope….

Jesus Christ raised women above the condition of mere slaves, mere ministers to the passions of man, raised them by this sympathy, to be ministers of God. He gave them moral authority. But the Age, the World, Humanity must give them the means to exercise this moral activity, must give them intellectual cultivation, spheres of action….

The ideal life is passed in noble schemes of good consecutively followed up, of devotion to a great object, of sympathy given and received for high ideas and generous feelings. The actual life is passed in sympathy given and received for a dinner, a party, a piece of furniture, a house built or a garden laid out well, in devotion to your guests—a too real devotion, for it implies that all of your time—in schemes of schooling for the poor, which you follow up perhaps in an odd quarter of an hour, between luncheon and driving out in the carriage—broth and dripping are included in the plan—and the rest of your time goes in ordering the dinner, hunting for a governess for your children, and sending pheasants and apples to your poorer relations. Is there anything in this life which can be called an Incarnation of the ideal life within? …

Was Christ a complainer against the world? … Christ, if He had been a woman, might have been nothing but a great complainer.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Finding Bad Programs in Good People

I have a very mild form of cancer.  My body makes too many platelets.  So I have an oncologist.  He asked if I had gotten my flu shot.  I said that I wouldn't get one because I think they would do me more harm than good.  He asked why, so I asked if he was aware of any graph showing a significant amount of history of disease prevalence both before and after a vaccination or other immunization was introduced.  I interrupted his pondering this after a few seconds to blurt out that there aren't any.  I told him my theory about why there aren't any: that such a graph would show that immunization is far less effective than advertised.

He mumbled something about conspiracy.

I chuckled at him a little and asked (disingenuously, I admit) why he brought that up.  I knew, and soon admitted it, that he realized that the prevention of such a graph would require a conspiracy. What made me chuckle was seeing that he, like myself and most other people who pay the least bit of attention to the world outside their immediate circumstances, had been successfully programmed with a mental trap door.

That was about a month ago.  Tonight I spoke with my father on the phone.  He just returned from an educational cruise on the Columbia River, on which he learned about the Lewis and Clark expedition.  I asked if he learned about any conspiracies, since conspiracy is what makes history interesting to me.

By now, you should have an idea of what I'm getting at, though it isn't because you're really smart.  It's because you've been programmed too. You may judge me as someone who tends to be bored, or that I have problems with authority.  You'd believe these things because a particular class of human beings has been studied in depth in recent years and found to have these traits.  As a matter of fact, I rarely get bored, and I recognize both reasonably justified authority as well as fake authority.  Of course I have a problem with the second kind.  Who wouldn't?

There's a word you may not have consciously recognized running around in your head right now, confusing you, perhaps.  It denotes an assertion about reality which may or may not be true.  It is the term used for that which scientists develop in order to come to an understanding about the evidence they have collected through experimentation.  It simply means "Maybe this is what's going on."  That word is "theory."

We can qualify the word "theory" in various ways to limit the scope of what it addresses.  For example, a "gambling theory" would suggest way that a gambler could earn a profit.  A "scientific theory" would be an idea about how things work that scientists would offer.  A "fantasy theory" would be one that involves magic or other unreal things - things that are fantastic, or outside the realm of reality.  A "conspiracy theory" doesn't mean what we think it means when we fall into the trap. The trap says "conspiracy theory" means "LIE."

After I told my dad that history is full of conspiracies and that they are what makes history fascinating to me, he immediately re-phrased what I had said using the term "conspiracy theory."  I noted that he added the word "theory" and pointed it out to him, and asked what he meant by it.  He said that he doesn't believe in conspiracy theories.  We agreed that he meant to use "conspiracy theory" to mean "something that isn't true."

"Conspiracy" denotes a plan held in secret by a group of people, usually because if word got out, those people would be in trouble.  If the prosecutor in a criminal conspiracy case does his job well, he will prove that some group of people conspired to commit a crime.  This prosecutor must entertain a "conspiracy theory" and prove to the jury that it's true.  Sometimes, the theory is wrong, and sometimes it is right.  The assertion that it is right is what the term "conspiracy theory" means.  Every criminal prosecutor must be prepared to entertain conspiracy theories in order to do his or her job.

Contrast the denotation of conspiracy theory with what it means to the common person, and you can see the trap: The supposition that a group of people have cooperated in secret is the denotation.  Perhaps they did, and perhaps they didn't.  The commonly understood (programmed) meaning is "a fascinating but untrue story that tricks some people into believing false things."

Why do I call this a trap?  If you work in a courtroom, and you recognize the prosecutor's work as "putting together a conspiracy theory" and you describe it that way to others, you will see them become a little confused.  They may challenge you thus: "Why do you have to call it that??"  You are perceived as "accusing" the prosecutor of something bad: creating a deception.

The trap has a special mechanism created by the popularization (the author of that article seems to confuse origination with popularization) of the term "conspiracy theory" by the CIA in response to theories that grew out of the JFK assassination, and later by the movie Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson.  How does that mechanism work?  The popularization of the term has created a word association between "conspiracy" and "theory."  The compound term, conspiracy theory has been presented in mainstream media in a way that has caused most people to misinterpret it as lie instead of theory that a group secretly cooperated.

So if you have a theory that a group has secretly cooperated, or if you actually know of a group that has secretly cooperated, you will probably feel like avoiding the best term to describe your theory.  However, because there is no way to describe any such theory without triggering your audience to think "conspiracy," and thus setting the trap for them to add "theory," making "conspiracy theory" and thus comprehend LIE, the trap can easily prevent you from spreading potential knowledge about this small secretive group.

Was this trap created intentionally?  What, are YOU a conspiracy theorist now??

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

SSL3_GET_SERVER_CERTIFICATE: certificate verify failed

Sorry for spamming my blog with technical info, but this is a good find for the geeks out there like me.

We found a references on StackExchange to this test, which can be run on any Linux system that has curl installed (which is generally how you get the titular error):
curl -v https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/v1/oauth2/token
This informed us that:
* successfully set certificate verify locations:
*   CAfile: /usr/share/curl/curl-ca-bundle.crt
  CApath: none
We have specified the CAINFO curl_opt in our PHP code, pointed it to a file, but when we tried to curl to Paypal's SSL server, it told us "error setting certificate verify locations: CAfile: /etc/apache2/...".  We concluded that, at least on our system, we'd have to use whatever curl was using as the default.
We copied the newest bundle.crt file into
/usr/share/curl/curl-ca-bundle.crt and that fixed the problem.
Some other things we had tried that didn't work and were unnecessary:
1.
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, true);
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST, 2);
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_CAINFO, '/etc/apache2/...

2.
Updating ca-bundle.crt in other places (we found two!)

This was while we were trying to get our CC payment system working after, as Paypal puts it themselves, "We will be performing the G5 and SHA-256 upgrades to payflowpro.paypal.com on October 13, 2015." which broke our system.
If this info helped you, please leave a comment so I know (not so important), and check out the other stuff I've written into this blog (very important!).
Thanks!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Exploring the Planet with Google Maps

I have been looking at Google maps.  I started because the folks at Anarchapulco owe me money and have offered free registration for the event to pay some of it off.  Acapulco is about 2/3 the way to a building I own on The Cacao Farm in Nicaragua.  I began zooming out and exploring Google's map and found places where the borders are all screwy, like west of China where a bunch of "-stans" are located.

The border between Uzbekistan, Kyrgistan, and Tajikistan looks like a corkscrew, and that's probably just a best-guess approximation by people at Google because those countries argue about who owns what.  And constantly on my mind is what that means - for a bordered region to have a name and a border which is screwy and contentious.  Why is that so?  Because authorities want to do stuff there that other authorities don't want them to do.  It's like children laying down duct tape in a public park...  But they kill each other.

Then I moved over China and examined the east coast of Eurasia.  I saw Nagasaki and my heart fell.  I had to enter "Hiroshima" into the search box to find it.  I thought about how all the people here in America felt in August of 1945.  The 70th anniversary just passed, unnoticed by most, I guess.  I dwell on it as it makes tears well up in my head.  I let the grief overtake me.

We have this instinct as children to blindly trust whoever gets us a nipple or picks us up, and it's justified because as adults we have this instinct to care for and love tiny versions of ourelves.  But somewhere between those two instincts, one is supposed to give way to the other.  The human brain is magnificent, but when something causes it to stop caring about other creatures of the same species - to stop so much that killing hundreds, thousands, or millions seems like a reasonable policy decision - that magnificence putrefies into a malevolence.

It would be ok if the rest of us recognized the means through which such a malevolence could magnify the suffering it causes.  If we recognized its source as ourselves, we could cease to be its source.  But income taxes in the 30s were small and everyone knew they didn't apply to very many people.  On the other hand, the public schools had been under the control of human farmers for decades, so it wasn't too hard to use WWII as a pretext to make the tax more widespread and publicize that horrible lie that connects death and taxes.

So I've been sitting here pondering the borders, the laws, the governments, and the severe shortage of well-developed consciences these things have produced.  I cried a couple times.  I'm getting old and I will die in the next several decades, but I see hope for the human race to get out of this mess.  It starts with people like you and me if we can recognize that we ought not to blindly trust someone who seems to succor us, and that if we are to do right by what children we might have, we have to teach them to grow up as well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Polylang: Identical page names in different languages

The problem: The links in a menu on a translated WordPress page should point to the translated destination.  PolyLang accomplishes this by adding a language specifier to the URL.  In our case, the URL uses directory names to specify stuff (like the language), so, for example, adding /es after the domain name would provide the Spanish version of a page.  The problem was that our menu items would add the "/es" twice.  This seemed to be a result of using both PolyLang and Enhanced Custom Permalinks.

WP appends a dash and a number (-#) to any slug that is already in use by a page in the same "sub" so that when it is used to build a permalink, it is different for each page in that "sub".  I put sub in quotes because whatever appears to be a subfolder in the URL helps make the URL distinct, but the language specifier doesn't count as one.  WP code wasn't written with the foresight that the same page might get multiple (distinct) URLs from some plugin (like PolyLang), so it enforces the rule that every page in the same "sub" (or in the root) must have a unique slug - even if there's already a unique language specifier in the URL.

But what if you want to preserve old URLs that would require the same slug?  For example, if you had different languages specified by having a language identifier in the URL, you won't want to add the -# (and you don't need to - because there is a language identifier already in the URL).

A client of mine ran into this problem which I've worked on solving using three methods.

The first method was an edit to the PolyLang file called links-directory.php so that the last line of add_language_to_link in links-directory.php massages the incoming $url.  Note that PolyLang code uses "$slug" to mean the language identifier.  My change replaces any existing occurrence of "/$slug" or "$slug/" with just a slash:
return str_replace($this->home . '/' . $this->root, $this->home . '/' . $this->root . $slug, str_replace(array($slug.'/','/'.$slug),'/',$url) );

 This seems to have fixed some of the problems but the menu items still had "/es/es" in them.

The second thing I did was to add some code from a post at Wordpress.org of the same name as this blog entry.  This didn't seem to have any effect, but I left it in place.

The last thing I did was because I noticed that one item in the menu didn't have this problem and I wondered why.  The reason was that the slug for the default language was misspelled (acapluco instead of acapulco).  Since it didn't match the slug for the Spanish version (correctly spelled, acapulco), the default permalink for that version contained the correctly-spelled slug and no -# (unlike all the other pages which did have -#).  The permalink for the default language had been manually corrected, so it was non-default.

When the permalink matches the slug, it's grey to indicate that it's the default permalink on the page-edit page (as if disabled, but you can still click it to change it).  Also when they match, the permalink code doesn't bother altering the URL and therefore doesn't trigger PolyLang to alter it (again) by adding a second "/es" which would otherwise break the URL.

Since the English version did have a non-default permalink, the code did massage the URL to add the language specifier (twice, I imagine), but since it was the default language, the specifier was the empty string and you can add that all you want without changing anything.  So the default language version can use any slug and a manually entered permalink and the changes that Enhanced Custom Permalink and PolyLang make to it don't matter.

That's pretty complicated, so here is the fix in simple steps that you have to perform on each page:
  1. Edit the default language version of the page.
  2. Change the slug to something you don't want to use (for example, change "contactus" to "contacus").
  3. Change the permalink so that it uses the slug you DO want to use (when you change the slug to "contacus" it will use that misspelling in the default permalink, so fix it back to "contactus").
  4. Click the pencil by each (non-default) language to edit those versions.
  5. Change the slug to what you DO want to use. (I think this will only work if you have ONLY one non-default language because when you change the slug for the second non-default language, it's going to match the first non-default language, so WP will add the -#.  I think)
  6. Change the permalink so that it matches the slug (and make sure you add the trailing slash).
  7. After clicking update, verify that the permalink is grey (indicating that it matches the slug).
At this point, all your internal links should point to the translated URL for the destination (with the /es or /ru or whatever) in it.

Some evidence of Norton's link to the NSA

A question on Norton's website asks "Is Norton/Symantec doing NSA things??".  The thread is locked so that no one can contribute an answer.  The question points to another issue in which the same question is posed.  One of the answers to the new question (asked because the earlier version was also locked) points out that threads get locked automatically when there is no activity for a while.  This seems reasonable.  The last reply to the new version of the question was made over six months ago in November of 2014 and it has been locked.

I had the same question, so I was using Google to search Norton NSA and found this other post, also on Norton's community forum.  It is not locked, and it's last reply is from over 18 months ago.  How old does the activity have to be for the thread to get locked?

The second "Is Norton/Symantec doing NSA things??" thread was locked when its last activity was at least eight months younger than the last activity of the still-not-locked "NSA's Malware Methods Outed in Latest Leak" thread. The replies from SendOfJive and Nikhil_CV in no way deny that Norton is "doing NSA things". To me, this strongly suggests that Norton/Symantec is doing NSA things.

It may be the case that the Rootkit found by orangedog using Avast! was just enough of Norton's legitimate "debris Norton files," to trigger a false detection, but if they put it there, why can't they remove it?  Has Norton mentioned any efforts it is making to clean up the mess it makes when it gets uninstalled so that other security software doesn't get false alarms?  Why are the threads locked?

My strategy for dealing with all the spying is to assume that they are collecting what I write.  This causes me to hide significant portions of myself, making myself far less knowable to them than they want.  This is apparently tolerable to them, for they wish to control me and don't realize that what they lose by snooping is worth far more than what they gain by it.  Some clue in, switch sides, and have started helping the cause of liberty.  If you're one of them, well done!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Taking After the Psych(ologists & iatrists)os

I recommend the whole 18 and a quarter hour long Episode 88 of the Peace Revolution Podcast, but at hour 18, we find a gem inside of an Adam Curtis film. Apparently, some psychiatrists "found" that half the population has mental disorders by testing their system.  Mr. Curtis does not understand what he is describing.  He expresses no consternation or amazement that, although the test of the system returned "astonishing results," while it was being tested, its results were taken as accurate.

Sadly, the official interpretation of the obviously broken system caused a large number of people to use the test as a list of recommendations they could follow in order to avoid "mental disorders."  While this is discouraging to those of us with working brains, it provides a strategy that might be effective.

I developed the following test which should help determine whether or not the person taking it has a quality as undesirable as a mental disorder, the quality of destructive self-deception, by which I mean those who need some kind of counseling.  Counseling is appropriate if their lives are to proceed normally rather than getting worse and worse, ultimately leading to premature curtailment of what could otherwise be a long and joyful life.

Self-Deception Test

  1. Do you generally question the validity of what authority figures tell you?
  2. Do you find that parts of your understanding of the world may not be accurate?
  3. When you test a system and its results astonish you, do you look for flaws in the system?
  4. Are you curious about things that disturb or upset you?
  5. Does your conscience ever tell you that obeying someone is wrong?
  6. Do you follow your conscience even when it tells you to defy an authority figure?
  7. For the questions so far to which you answered yes, were they easy?
  8. Have you ever deceived yourself?

SCORING:
You get one point for each question you answered YES.
0 points: Please avoid me, and good luck!
1 - 2 points: You are honest sometimes, which gives me hope.
3 - 6 points: You are like most people, most likely asleep or in denial and in danger because of it.
7 - 8 points: Welcome to the club.  Please help more people get in.

If you scored anywhere from 1 to 6, please contact me for counseling and let me know which questions you had to answer with a NO.  If you got a 7 or an 8, please offer your counseling services to others.  You may copy and paste this post as your own, or else rewrite it as you see fit.  If you scored a zero, well, your suicide cannot come soon enough for me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Disavow the Use of Coercion

We have been relying on coercion for millennia and suffering the natural consequences.  I sensed this several months ago and it had shut me down.  I want to be involved in lots of things, but bitcoin development and dealing is the only one I've been comfortable with since that realization.  It was not a conscious decision.  It was simply withdrawal and a lack of interest which I now can pinpoint to the reliance on coercion.

Oracle owns Java.  I love Java, but I kind of abandoned it because Oracle is a corporation which will use the full weight of the (unfortunately acceptable) coercive power of the governments in whose jurisdictions it operates to prevent people from doing whatever it doesn't like.  Fortunately (and I just learned this while researching this post), Sun committed to making Java open source, so Oracle can't do much along the lines of using coercion with regard to it.

I've been using PHP and HTML.  In June of 1995, Rasmus Lerdorf released the source code for PHP Tools to the public.  Tim Berners-Lee (the CERN employee who developed the http protocol and html, albeit from earlier ideas) encouraged others to build upon his ideas and to design further software for displaying HTML, and for setting up their own HTML documents ready for access.  I see in my own past that when I sensed coercion in the maintenance of something, that thing became less attractive to me.

This post comes from a deep place within me.  I publish it to urge everyone to encourage Oracle, Google, Apple, and every other company, group, or institution to disavow the use of coercion.

I am just starting out on a journey to develop apps for the Android OS, which is a creation of Google, based on Linux, which was released to the public by Linus Torvalds.  In this effort, I find that in order to run the Android Studio, I need the Java SDK from Oracle.  This realization brought to the surface my own disavowal of the use of coercion.  Disavow it.  Ask others to disavow it.  Hurting people, punishing them, or making them suffer for doing what we do not like is not the way forward.

If you use PHP or HTML or Java or Linux, you have no obligation to Lerdorf or Berners-Lee or Torvalds or Sun, but it's nice to remember how they have helped you.  As the webmaster for voluntaryist.com, I am working on a new section (under the direction of the site's owner, Carl Watner) that addresses the disavowal of coercion with respect to ideas, which are often called "Intellectual Property" and used to justify the use of coercion in defending them.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Camping on Water, and a dream I had...

I am going to Lake Powell to live on a boat for a week with my brother, his wife, a friend of his, and my dad.  There might be some other people too.  I decided it would be clever to google search some terms that might give me ideas, so I tried "living on Lake Powell" and then "camping on water".  While looking through the images for "camping on water," I was reminded of a dream I had yesterday morning.

I was climbing on some boxes and tables and chairs in a smallish room.  The room had white paint on the walls (I only just now realized that might be significant), and it was much longer than it was wide, like maybe a closet.  Actually I think it's more like a lot of kitchens.  I was high in the room, not drug high, but physically high, because I had some stuff under me.  A crate, a table, some boxes.  Oddly, some of them were cardboard boxes.  Cardboard boxes usually can't support you unless you're dreaming, so I was lucky there.

I don't know why I was on the boxes.  I think I was trying to get down, but going backwards didn't cross my mind.  Forwards meant up.  I reached the ceiling.  I was not comfortable at all.  The moment I worried that I might fall, I realized I was dreaming and so the worry disappeared.  Then it was just a challenge to climb myself out of what I perceived as a kind of mess.

Actually, it was more like a corner I was stuck in.  My feet and butt were supported by ... well, that's kind of fuzzy.  But I decided to remove some stuff that was in my way (and which was also supporting me somewhat).  I pushed against the walls to brace myself, felt stable, and kicked a box out of the way.  Then I kicked another box out of the way.  Then I could climb down.  And there was an apple pie down there, that I could get to on the way down.  I thought of American Pie and woke up.

I think this dream is about stress.  I developed a model of understanding when I took an independent college course at UCSD for Cognitive Science.  In my model, we have a foundation like bedrock, which is our need and ability to fill the need for food, love, shelter, comfort, etc.  On this foundation we add concepts which are fastened to the foundation generally by gravity.  School, I had discovered while tutoring math, tends to give us concepts that float; they are not attached to anything that is grounded, and they float away over time.

The more you build out your concepts, the higher your cognition gets.  If you add things near the top (think elliptic curve cryptography, on top of advanced math on top of math on top of counting), they are only as stable as all the things under them.  So my dream tells me that some of my understanding might be shaky.  In any case, I was above the pie.  But pie is delicious, so I had to climb down.  That's why I woke up.  I wish more people would wake up.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Coercion Perverts Authority

I've crafted this little re-statement of Lord Acton's "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.": "Authority is good and helpful right up until you think it's ok for authority to use coercion. Then it putrefies into a harmful and addictive drug that creates and intoxicates psychopaths." Or, more simply, coercion perverts authority.

I await input before explaining more, both in the interest of compacting helpful truths into sound-byte-sized chunks appropriate for consumption by the brain-damaged masses (not our fault!) whose attention spans have been systematically shrunk on purpose by those who would control us-  systematically, I say, through the use of coercion, aka "compulsion" as in "compulsory schooling."  John Taylor Gatto, winner of "Teacher of the Year" award on more than one occasion and at both the city and state levels, provides lots of great material for anyone who wants to understand that systematization.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Proposed Joint PR Detailing Tax Revenue Optimization

The following PR is proposed for use by a joint effort between the Congress of the United States of America and the Internal Revenue Service:

Many Americans have been frustrated by the uses to which the federal government has put its tax revenue.  This has created a massive downfall in tax revenue because the system relies, as required by the U.S. Constitution, on voluntary compliance with laws that invite Americans to consider themselves to be engaged in taxable activities.  Thanks to Peter E. Hendrickson, the mechanisms through which this voluntary compliance has been made compulsive have come to light in the decades surrounding the dawn of the 21st century.

IRS Commissioner Koskinen has described the problem to Congress in a recent letter:
We have been cornered into resorting to unethical methods of collecting tax revenue because of Hendrickson's revelations.  The best course would be to tighten up the activities that rely on tax revenue to eliminate or at least hide those which are most troublesome.  We leave it to you, our faithful leaders, to determine what programs and institutions are causing the most damage.

The main reason for this letter is to publicize my apology for the tactics my organization has been using to maximize tax revenue.  The publication of this apology and recommendation is being pulblished so that Congress can rely on public support for the tearing down of institutions and programs that currently enjoy major support from private donors, but ultimately demoralize citizens who learn about them.

Rep. (YOUR NAME HERE) has proposed legislation to remove funding for several programs, but seeks guidance from all interested parties on which programs deserve the axe:
National Security Agency (domestic information collection)
Department of Education (Ceded to states)
CIA and FBI terrorist sting operations
TARP and related programs
Department of Defense (foreign military bases)

If the removal of any of these programs would encourage you to continue (or start once again) to claim that you engage in taxable activities and thereby incur tax liability, please contact the representative at (YOUR WEBSITE HERE).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Obedience is Immoral

Blind obedience is always immoral.  Obedience that isn't blind is often also immoral.  Everyone with a conscience recognizes the possibility that an authority can issue a command to do something immoral, and in that situation, disobedience is the only moral choice.

At what age ought we to confirm the natural suspicion in children of these philosophical truths?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How Psychopaths Use Superficial Perception

 (This was adapted from an article by Pete Hendrickson, posted here.)

In 2007, initial government efforts to suppress a book about the income tax ended.  A steadily increasing number of Americans had been demanding and receiving complete refunds of amounts taken from them as "income taxes". The tax division of the USDOJ and the IRS sued the author.

The lawsuit alleged that refunds to the author and his wife for amounts paid in 2002 and 2003 were mistakes caused by a lack of awareness on the government's part that the couple had earnings in those years.

However, the government had received both W-2 and 1099 forms from those who had paid the couple for their work well before the refunds were issued, as attested to by the prosecuting attorney.  Also, the IRS issued and later withdrew summons for May 24, 2004 and again for August 30th, 2004, in part to determine "whether [the author] can be enjoined under I.R.C. Section 7408" (Hendrickson v USA, No.3:04-MC-00177-MMC (JCS)).

On April 26th, 2004, about five months before the second refund was issued, IRS Revenue agent Heidi Beukema had met with the author and received a copy of the book.  No determination that any specific claim in the book is false has ever been made, and the second refund was issued, even as the legal battle proceeded in Michigan and California courts.

The timeline of the refund and the legal actions and their dismissal renders the claim that the government lacked awareness of earnings indefensible.  Further damaging the government's allegations is the fact that the government has looked into enjoining the author from promoting the book and found no grounds to do so.  It has had the book for several years and has not identified a single incorrect claim in it.

The effect of the legal actions was to put into the mind of the public the idea that the book was wrong.  This superficial perception of the situation serves the government well if it wishes to prevent people from learning the truth that is on display in the book.

However, this superficial perception was too easily turned about by any who noticed that the refunds to the author and his wife have never been reversed, nor in any way shown to be mistakes as claimed by the government.

The government asked the court to order the couple to declare-- under oath-- that they repudiated their previous freely-made testimony to the contrary and now believed themselves to have done taxable things and to be in debt to the government. If made, such declarations would establish the otherwise non-existent tax debts.  Judge Nancy G. Edmunds issued such an order to the couple.

The tax statute provides the IRS with the authority to create a sworn affidavit proving that the author and his wife (or anyone) did taxable things, but this authority has not been used.  The fact that this tool has not been used suggests that any such affidavit would cause a problem, and that perhaps the problem was that whoever signed it would be guilty of perjury.  This, in fact, was the position the author and his wife took: that if they acquiesced to the order, they would be committing perjury.  The court order itself, in this case, is therefore an example of suborning perjury.

The attempt to suborn the couple to perjure themselves benefitted through two actions undertaken by the government, both of which provide further evidence to those who might examine their superficial perceptions and turn them around:

1. The government alleged that the book-- Cracking the Code- The Fascinating Truth About Taxation In America (CtC)-- argues that only federal, state and local government workers are subject to the income tax.  No such claim or argument appears in the book, but the book does show that any such claim is wrong.  Judge Edmunds, who indicated to the couple's attorney Andrew Wise that she had not read the book, nevertheless found the allegation to be true.

Based on this "false and frivolous argument in CtC" fraud, the court also "found" that the couple's original, freely-made testimony regarding the taxable character of their earnings for the years in question-- which was declaredly in harmony with the book-- was false (meaning "they don't really believe what they say they do about their earnings").

2. The government introduced as an exhibit a purported IRS "Examination Report" bearing numbers which would suggest, if taken at face value, a specialist's conclusion that the couple actually had earned "income" subject to tax and owed accordingly.  In an associated declaration, the examiner who prepared the report explained that this report "did not constitute a formal audit or examination of the taxpayers' 2002 or 2003 federal income tax liabilities or tax returns for the tax years at issue."

The report suggests that a "formal audit or examination" could have been done but was not, just as no IRS or government official would swear to an affidavit declaring the couple did taxable things.  A further inference to be drawn from this lack of performance is that the truth is other than the government and IRS would like it to be.

The judge's ruling adopts the government's request to order the couple to declare they believe that they owe the government the taxes.  The IRS will not declare these taxes to be owed. This is the critical element of the whole scheme, because if done, such declarations give the whole project legal precedence, and absolve all involved of the crimes of suborning perjury and collecting taxes not owed.

The judge also granted another request of the government. She issued an order prohibiting the couple from ever filing a return in the future "based on the false and frivolous claim in 'Cracking the Code' that only federal, state and local government workers are subject to the tax" which was "found" there by the judge who never read the book.

This second order implies that the book contains a false claim. Thus, the order itself can be used by any in the legal community who wish to prevent people from reading the book to discourage them.  In her DOJ-written "ruling", the judge actually refers to an alleged government interest in discouraging inconvenient testimony by other Americans as a rationalization for the order.

In any event, what matters for purpose of this discussion is that, like the order commanding the couple to declare they believe their 2002 and 2003 earnings to be taxable and thereby enable the government to claim ownership of their property, this second order dictating what they are NOT to say also violates the First and Fifth Amendment in the same degree. It just does it in reverse.

By the way, all of this happened without so much as a single hearing. At no point did the couple get a chance to actually confront anyone or challenge anything the judge was "finding" to be true. Their demand for a jury trial in the case was ignored (and never even acknowledged).

The government and others in the legal and tax communities have used the "ruling" in this case as evidence that "the courts have ruled against CtC". Our tendency to perceive superficially continues to be leveraged against us.  Encourage people to look more deeply into things.  Share with them the telling elements when you understand them yourself.


SO FAST-FORWARD TO 2013. All hope of discouraging the reading of CtC and its inconvenient, individual-liberating and state-restraining truth have been dashed. More and more Americans are reclaiming collected but never-actually-owed taxes, and are increasingly pissed at having to go through the hassles of doing so. Scholarship on the truth about the tax continues to advance.

Being the psychos that they are, the corrupt elements of the state responsible for all this fraud lash out. The wife of the couple at whom the bogus, rights-violating lawsuit was aimed is indicted on a charge of criminal contempt of court for resisting the orders made back in 2007 and exercising her rights of speech, conscience and due process.

The new case ends up in the courtroom of a colleague of the earlier judge, and another one of those who presided over the original efforts against CtC... Two trials ensue.

Desperately anxious to hedge the pretense of legitimacy of the lawsuit and its outcome with the pretense of a jury verdict on its behalf, the government and judge put in the fix. A team of specialist gunslingers from the DOJ Tax division are flown in from Washington to do battle with this untrained, inexperienced and non-legally-oriented housewife and homeschooling mom, who defends herself.

By order of the judge, the validity of the lawsuit is not open for challenge. The jury is instructed that the unlawfulness or unconstitutionality of the orders involved is not a defense to the allegation that resisting them is a criminal offense.

The indictment and the instructions to the jury carefully misstate one of the orders from the lawsuit ruling. The actual order on this subject prohibits the filing of a return based on the alleged claim of CtC that only federal, state and local government workers are subject to the tax, but of course, the book doesn't say this.

 Knowing that it would be pretty difficult to get anywhere with an accusation of having violated an order prohibiting a completely fictional transgression, the indictment and the instruction to the jury misstate this order as prohibiting the filing of a "false" return-- something believed easier to put into the minds of jurors who are all victims of lifelong disinformation about the nature of the income tax. Even with this false ploy in place no chances are taken. The jury is also instructed that it need not unanimously agree that the defendant actually did either of the two possible acts of offense alleged in the indictment.

But all of this failed. Even with the lawless "unanimity" relief and all the other cheats afforded to the prosecutors, the jury deadlocks.

Eight-and-a-half months later, the government tries again. All the previous cheats remained in place, and this time the housewife was prevented from making her opening statement, was constantly hectored from the bench, and many of her exhibits were disallowed.

The reading to the jury of court rulings on speech rights and void judgments was thwarted, and in the end of trial, sensing another loss, the prosecutors engaged in a deliberate fraud, introducing previously unseen documents which were falsely declared to be proof that the initial failed efforts to suppress CtC way back in 2004 and 2005 discussed (and thoroughly documented) at the beginning of this commentary (and in which the trial judge was involved) were no such thing, but were instead really just a routine audit of the defendant's husband.

The falsely-represented documents, which themselves betrayed the falseness of what the prosecutors said about them but which the defendant was given no chance to examine at the time, were kept from the jury.

After trial, the fraud was proven, and then admitted by the prosecutors. Nonetheless, the judge has refused to overturn the falsely-secured guilty verdict returned by the jury this time. (A Motion to Vacate detailing the fraud can be seen here, with relevant exhibits here, here, here and here; and a Motion for Reconsideration detailing the misconstructions of the denial of that first motion-- with exhibits attached-- can be seen here.)

 SO, HERE COMES THE DARKNESS. On the 9th of April this viciously assaulted housewife and mother is due to be sentenced for her "crime" of resisting orders issued in a completely fraudulent judicial proceeding of eight years ago after suffering through two completely fraudulent criminal trials.

By this completion of the assault on one righteous and upright American woman, the assault on all our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of speech, conscience and due process will also be completed. The evil precedent that a court can order someone to make dictated and false testimony favorable to a government case against her, and punish her for refusing, will be established.

Just as pernicious as the violation of speech and due process rights involved here is the pretense argued by the government throughout these trials-- which is that the juries should assume that what this woman was told to declare herself to believe really IS her belief, despite her sworn protestations to the contrary, because she had been told to say these things by government officials, and who could plausibly disbelieve what government officials said?

If this precedent is successfully planted in April, every American will have suffered, right then, a profound wound to what remains of the rule of law today. This one will be a bleeder, and impossible to undo without pounds of difficult cure.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas famously said, "As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." Right now, in this case and the entire sequence of frauds that lie behind it, the chill and stink of corruption are in the air. We ignore them at our peril.

Raise a hue and cry.

Demand the honest attention of the media and everyone else. Blog and post and tweet to inform all you can of the liberating, state-restraining truth about the tax being revealingly evaded by the government and its courts. Be in Detroit on April 9 to show support for the rule of law and opposition to corruption.

Don't just curse the darkness that is falling, but fan your own flame and become a bright point of light against it.

NOTE: To all those clinging to denial of CtC's accuracy about the tax for whatever reason-- be it your own theories about the law; reflexive skepticism about anything contrary to your long-held beliefs, or whatever-- you must account for the facts and government behavior documented in the discussion above. Remember, an honest but mistaken man, upon being confronted with the truth, either ceases to be mistaken, or ceases to be honest.

NOTE II: What is presented above deals with only a portion of the continuous government efforts to suppress CtC over all of the years since its publication in 2003. A more comprehensive discussion of these efforts can be found here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hacker Tracker

Transactions out of the "Bitstamp Hack" address into addresses that had never been used before:
1PhbKjG9gYeYVXfvi4AjW9pJ1s9MrqMuH4
1EtH88P5feywPJE1nyrjggd41JeCuEeKNi and 1Fze2Qx6Covm7jnC4ffCD9Lsst2sD7CaqE
16FEx2PYFwo9i38vyXktwYEfPiyQN6JpMW and 1K4wcA9fB9e3f68kuWFLm4uPq1VqBYxTpg
...

I did those three by hand.  This could be automated so that anyone can see (and blockchain.info could tag) those addresses for which the very first coins they get are from a known tagged address.  I did them so that I could use this page to tag them as "Bitcoin Hack Mixer" addresses.  Seemed like fun at the time.  It would be neat to see this automated.