Nightmare and Hope

Posted on July 8th, 2016

Three days of nightmare But not a new one We idolize violence Even as we condemn it I criticize electoral politics frequently. Often by means of satire. Satire is one of the few things that can cut through the noise and arrest our conscience when we are deluged with trite soundbites, tribal sparring, aggressive advertorials, and social mass media memes. But I am incredibly serious, too. The reason I criticize electoral politics is that I despise abuse of and violence against human beings...

"Clinton pledges to forgive student debt of entrepreneurs"

Posted on June 29th, 2016

This story is the epitome of American politics: Mandatory schooling is started ostensibly to make good citizens, but the design is more useful for creating compliant laborers. Government creates numerous problems in early education, as well as economic and regulatory distortions that affect the direction and focus of higher education. People want better education. This turns into pressure for more people to go to college and even more people to do graduate work. The government subsidizes ...

On Blocking

Posted on June 7th, 2016

I was recently told in a Facebook group that I'm not "allowed" to block someone. I have the right to block someone. You have the right to block someone. Facebook (and other providers) have often give us that ability, and it is good that they do. One can block someone for many different reasons. A block can be for very serious reasons such as limiting harassment or protecting one's mental health. One can block to avoid people who troll, derail conversations, avoid the topic, bother other us...

What’s The Deal with Thiel?

Posted on May 30th, 2016

By Dan Taylor [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Recently, details have emerged about how Peter Thiel is funding the legal battles of others who have felt wronged by the online tabloid Gawker, spurred in part by his own outing by the tabloid. Now, certainly there is good discussion to be had in the fact that the USA justice system is so broken that it is both susceptible to this “outside support" model, and that this type of funding would be use...

"cannot provide information we do not have"

Posted on May 14th, 2016

The Intercept recently covered how a judge was punishing a secure-communications application. The title of this post comes is a quote from representatives of the application in question. I continue to press the idea that our systems designs need to architected to be resistant to “rubber hose cryptography". In other words, they need to be resistant to coercive pressures targeting users of our software (regardless of whether those pressures are criminal, political, or (frequently) both). When...

DRM-Free: Not Just About Piracy

Posted on May 14th, 2016

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is supposedly a tool for protecting intellectual property in digital media, but the usage of it has introduced numerous other challenges. These side-effects (or in some cases, arguably intentional effects) cause other problems for the proliferation and use of beneficial technology. These challenges can include: Speed, resource, and energy overhead Losing media you already “own" if the provider decides to discontinue it or goes out of business Inability to con...

Crowds, Not Crime

Posted on May 14th, 2016

David Whitehouse writes a “people’s history" of the rise of professional police, based on historical events in Britain, the northern USA, and southern USA. The central assertion is that professional police forces were introduced not to enforce laws, but to handle crowds. Throughout the essay, the author shares historical anecdotes about ways that communities addressed crime and justice before the introduction of police forces. I highly encourage you to read the essay for the additional per...

But What About Bosses?

Posted on May 10th, 2016

In freed-market organizational theory, one of the questions that critics often bring up goes something like this: “Won’t bosses just become de facto governors?" But just like “who will build the roads?", this is not a novel or unconsidered question. In fact, this kind of question, even when asked in good faith (not as an attempt to trick or troll), often reveals more about the person asking the question than the receiver. It reveals a failure to imagine, which is a common refrain in political...

Socialism & Free Markets

Posted on May 10th, 2016

Once again, people are confused about “Millenials". Apparently, surveys show that people born in that era tend to support “socialism", and also support a “free market" economy. Pundits say, “obviously they are confused!" In “Who’s Confused about Capitalism?", Kevin Carson disagrees, and I do, too. Free markets do not look like corporate state capitalism. And free markets are consistent with (and I would argue, the best way of supporting) nonviolent socialism. "So maybe when Millennials say...

Brian Zahnd on “The War of the Lamb"

Posted on May 10th, 2016

Revelation gets abused…a lot. Brian Zahnd gives us another picture to help avoid those traps. If Jesus conquers evil by killing his enemies, he’s just another Caesar. But the whole point of John’s Revelation is that Jesus is nothing like Caesar! The war of the Lamb looks nothing like the war of the Beast. Jesus is not like Caesar; Jesus does not wage war like Caesar. To miss this point is to misunderstand everything the Apocalypse is trying to reveal! If you want an accessible primer on Reve...

Todd Grotenhuis

Professionally an Information Security Specialist, Politically an Abolitionist, Theologically an Anabaptist