You Can’t Handle the Truth

This is too funny:
Son, we live in a world that has powerpoint. And those slides need to be produced by men with oak leafs. Who’s gonna do it? You? You with a star? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for my briefings and you curse my formatting. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that my briefings, while drawn out, probably save lives. . . You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at meetings, you want my presentations. You need my presentations. We use words like diagram gallery, paste special, clipboard . . . we use these words as the backbone of a job spent briefing something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain why I formatted an object to a man who briefs and gets promoted by the very presentation I make, then questions the way in which I format it! I’d rather you just said Thank You and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you make your own slide, and give the briefing. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think the slide should say.
Posted by Phil

Microsoft Wrong on War and Software

Microsoft’s eye on open source,” by Eileen Yu, CNET, 20 July 2005, (from Slashdot).

I have been discussing 5th Generation Warfare, a type of struggle very similar to waterfall development. In 5GW, programs / war are planned, analyzed, and designed in secret and then unleashed all ready to go. By contrast, 4th Generation Warfare (4GW) is like prototype development: programs / wars are released in “beta,” it takes many years to get it right, everyone knows about it.

The same knowledge that we learned from development software can be used in creating wars. Programs created through waterfall development are brittle — if a requirement was not known ahead of time, it is extremely difficult to add it later. In software, the most famous example of this is the hapless development of OS / 360, chronicled in The Mythical Man Month.

Because of the 360 debacle, and similar problems with the first version of Microsoft Word for Windows, most companies now use prototyping. Prototyping – or “4th Generation Software Development” — is extremely flexible. While the program will not be perfect right away, it will get “out the door” fast. Major Open Source (Linux, OpenOffice, &c) and Microsoft (Windows, Office, &c) programs use prototyping because of its flexibility.

Which is why Microsoft’s latest “pot calling the kettle white” is so bizarre


You can build it, design it, and it will work great. The trouble begins when you want to add things to it, add some services and things like that. Because of the brittle nature of the [open source] platform, when you do that, other things break. We see that in the labs all the time, and our customers see that as well. So that has a (total) cost of ownership impact on it.


This would be like an angry 1960s statement by North Korea calling Mao a “capitalist.” It makes no sense. And it shows once again by Microsoft has almost no credibility in the software development community.

In Net-Centric Politics, The Net-Centric Politicians Ru[i]n the Party

Internet and the Democrats,” by Jon Schaff, South Dakota Politics, 20 July 2005,

Schaff of SDP notes that the infusion of high-tech politics into the Democrat Party is hurting America’s Opposition, by turning the technophile “netroots” against the factions of the party who can actually win


There is no such thing as a free lunch. You get activism and money out of the online world, but you also get a louder voice for the far left of the Party. Note this bit referring to Marcos Moulitsas Zuniga, aka Daily Kos:


[Kos] sweepingly dismissed the Democratic Leadership Council, Joe Lieberman, and The New Republic magazine as “tools of the GOP.” In 2004, Kerry’s campaign cut its link to Moulitsas’s Web site after he wrote that he felt “nothing” when four American contractors were killed in Falluja, because “they are there to wage war for profit.”


And also:


After years of uncertainty, he had discovered his niche. Kos quickly found an audience by expressing the unmediated anger of the Democratic base toward Bush, and even more so toward Democrats who cooperated with him, especially over the war in Iraq.


Kos’s “niche” is fueling anger and resentment towards all who do not share his extremist views.

But to the point at hand, I think it is interesting that the very part of the Democratic Party that is gaining power is rejecting the only part of the Party that has won an election in the last 40 years (remember Carter ran as a moderate Southerner).


Have You Read Your Daily Blogosphere?

Freedom House Expo on North Korea








Conspiracy Politics: John Roberts for Supreme Court

The Power of Networking,” by Ramesh Ponnuru, The Corner, 21 July 2005,

I have been blogging about 5th Generation War, a type of conflict centered on secrecy and conspiracies. “5th Generation” tactics have widely been used in software development for a while. However, I did not mention whether or not “5th Generation” tactics are used in modern politics.

I have not been able to find a “true” 5th Generation Political network, but a commentary on National Review‘s website made me realize at least some of it (conspiracy) is here now (hyperlinks mine):


Many people have commented on the Roberts nomination as the continuation of the Republicans’ post-Bork “stealth strategy”–and also on the failure of that strategy in the case of .  suspicious of Roberts note that many conservatives vouched for Souter in 1990, too.

But I don’t think it’s true that as many conservatives with firsthand knowledge of Souter spoke as highly of him as are now speaking highly of Roberts. If I recall correctly–I wasn’t following these things closely at the time–he wasn’t the first pick of any conservative (I know several impeccably conservative legal figures for whom Roberts was their top pick). Conservative watchers weren’t terribly familiar with him. John Sununu told everyone that Roberts was “a home run,” and conservatives, presented with the fait accompli, supported his nomination with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

In-the-know legal conservatives are much more supportive of, and in several cases enthusiastic about, Roberts. It may be that the development of the Federalist Society–and the maturation of conservatism, as suggests today — has made it possible for conservatives to pull off the stealth strategy today in a way that was not possible fifteen years ago. People familiar with him signal his acceptability to their acquaintances, and the message radiates outward.
There are, of course, drawbacks to this approach. (In the forthcoming issue of the magazine I criticize one very important aspect of the stealth strategy–the notion, extremely popular among conservatives these days, that it’s inappropriate for senators to ask nominees pointed questions about their constitutional views.) Assuming that the goal is to get people with particular views or methodologies on the Court, a networking strategy runs a higher risk of yielding a Souter than a paper-trail strategy. It is also the case that one man’s elite network of lawyers is another man’s conspiracy.


Because the Republican sub-rosa vetting of Roberts happened in the context of existing Republican networks, it implies that a 4th Generation Network might evolve 5th Generation Components.

Another aspect of 5GP has also been adopted by the GOP to help Roberts: long preparation, rapid execution. MyDD and Crooks and Liars link to a Republican memo on Roberts uncovered by the Swing State Project. Republicans gave the Roberts nomination a long time for planning, analysis, and design, in order that its implementation be finished before SCOTUS reconfirms in October.

However, this is not true 5th Generation Politics


  • The power-network supporting Roberts (conservative activists) are well known, and recognized as dangerous by liberals
  • The individual John Roberts is well known, and recognized as dangerous by liberals
  • Political mobilization will be vital in a successful confirmation to the Supreme Court


Interestingly, if Conservative adoption of 5GP elements continues, we may be able to know when rightist factions adopt 5GP if we see a sudden drop-off in 5GP activities. Perhaps once they truly understand conspiracies, they will be better at hiding them!

Al Qaeda’s Greatest Enemy

The Command Posts reminds us al Qaeda says, “You Love Life, We Love Death.” This is not an idle statement. al Qaeda’s philosophy is based on a particularly violent desert militarism. Misery is fertile soil for al Qaeda. Mental misery, moral isolation, alienation, create converts and warriors for al Qaeda. The 9/11 attackers, 3 / 11, the 7 / 7 attackers, the 7 / 21 attackers, were all miserable men. al Qaeda’s world is one where life is not worth living — only the life-after-death is worth living for bin Laden and Zarqawi. al Qaeda wishes others to realize this, so they can live virtuous lives under the Shade of the Korean. al Qaeda grows when it increases the misery in this world, so the paradise in the next seems all the more beautiful.

This creates an internal contradiction: There are five stages to victory: penetration, isolation, subversion (take-over or take-down), reorientation, and reharmonization. al Qaeda’s core competency — isolation — makes every step straight forward except for reharmonization. Even in areas where al Qaeda is able to almost win — like Taliban Afghanistan — al Qaeda has never reharmonzied a population around it. The same tactic that makes al Qaeda strong in the first-half of struggle — increasing worldly misery — makes it very weak in the second half.

In the first half, they can convince men to kill themselves and others by saying beautiful women await them in Paradise:

But in any place al Qaeda takes over, such as Afghanistan, they impose their Koranic laws on population that do not find the laws beautiful. Prohibitions against immodestly uncovered hair or make-up gives al Qaeda all the staying power of radical feminism. Men are not perfect, cannot be perfected, and legal codes that believe morality can be created through vertical controls are doomed to failure.

The greater the fraction of a population al Qaeda rules, the less faithful the al-Qaeda ruled population becomes on average. The less zeal they have for what may await them in decades, after their body whithers. The more they would rather have something now.

There is a limit to the power of ideology to guide any people. The mundane world has mundane problems which pretty words and Mystical Entities will not solve.

As Christian rocker Pedro the Lion wrote, reflecting on the nature of faith

that Jesus said he’d fill my needs,
but my heart still bleeds
he’s just not physical

The Mystical Body of Christ, like the Mystical Shade of the Koran, is not physical.