Category Archives: politics

Outdated Voting Machines and Hacking

crapitalism, politics Leave a reply

There is just so much in this article (Every Voting Machine at This Hacking Conference Got Totally Pwned) that makes me extremely angry.

Some personal background: I am not a programmer. I am not an IT security specialist. I have, however, worked in the IT sector since roughly 1995, and have been employed at various levels from front-line technical support for internet service providers, to internal office support for a large, high pressure financial institution, to network administrator for some small startups. While my employment has not been continuous in that sector (I don’t find it interesting *at all*), it would be fair to say that I have 15 years experience and exposure to changing technologies, and have needed to keep up with them (and a lot of their vulnerabilities) since I started.

While I am not a programmer, by any stretch, I am familiar with a number of programming languages and am familiar with the thinking involved in conceptualising algorithms and how technology works.

With all that in mind, I’d like to draw attention to a few statements made by the people involved with these voting machines, and why the US voting system is currently fucked.

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Objection to the George Wainborn Park Ireland Canada Monument

culture, History, personal, politics, Rhetoric Leave a reply

It’s come to my attention that there’s an organization pushing for a monument to be raised here in Vancouver, in George Wainborn Park, “for the sole purpose of providing recognition to the significant contribution of Irish Canadians and Canadians of Irish descent to Canada”.

I object to this (and yes, I’m Irish) for a number of reasons that I’ve outlined in an email to that organization. I’ve included it below.

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Koukl’s Anti-Abortion Nonsense

civil rights, politics Leave a reply

[Note to reddit visitors from /r/prolife: I haven’t ‘run away’ from my attempt at discussion on your forum, your mods have simply decided that ye are too fragile to discuss this topic and have banned me. If you would like to continue the conversation, you’re welcome to comment below.]

I recently made the tactical error of engaging with some anti-choice folk on their Kelowna Right to Life facebook page. As this particular group seemed to laud themselves on their intellectual and academic rigor, while disparaging that of the pro-choice folk, I thought I’d see how they responded to Judith Jarvis Thompson’s seminal work, A Defense of Abortion.

The short answer to that is “poorly”. In addition to clearly either not reading or understanding the paper, they kept referring to this awful article by Greg Koukl. This article will be a dissection of Unstringing the Violinist. (If nothing else, the anti-choice people come up with some decent article titles)

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Trump DOES Represent American Values

culture, History, personal, politics Leave a reply

This video is intended for Americans (and only Americans) expressing the sentiment that ‘this is not the America I know’ or that ‘Trump does not represent American values’. To the Americans expressing these sentiments: where have you been all your life?

Why only Americans? Because they should be familiar with the history of their country, far more than those of us outside of it.

 

Brexit: Britannia’s Stumble

economics, politics Leave a reply

“Left out in the cold, cobbling our own shoes” or something like that. I don’t remember the exact phrase, but my father’s words to me leading up to the vote on the Maastricht Treaty left an impression on my 14yo self that has not left me, not for one second, even though it was over 20 years ago.

As someone who grew up in the growth and development of the EEC, then the EC, then the EU, it’s been as much a part of my life as anything else in Ireland. Without the EU, it’s clear to me, Ireland would have been locked out, looking in at the well-to-do folk, over near-impassable trade barriers that would have left us in the continual state of poverty that Ireland was ever so slowly dragging itself out of in the 1980s and 1990s.

And the UK just voted for that outcome? In the immortal words of Miley: “Well, holy god……”

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The Irrelevance of the American Presidential Race

culture, politics Leave a reply

[Edit, Jan 28th, 2017: given the executive orders that have gone out over the last few days and the resultant clusterfuck, I am completely wrong on this point. Consider this entire post retracted. I’m not deleting it, as I prefer to keep my mistakes visible.]

At this point, it’s agreed across the political spectrum that the American Presidential race is a disaster of epic proportions. With Trump clearly in the lead on the Republican side, much ink has been spilt over how we (or they) have gotten here.

I think that Samantha Bee (on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) has come out of the closest when she laid the blame at the feet 2010 midterm Congressional elections. She’s absolutely correct that that election is the cause of the deadlock of the US Congress over the last several years, but I think she doesn’t go far enough.

The issue is that Congressional elections matter far more than the Presidential elections, but TV has confused the populace.

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The Conservative Party and the Upcoming Canadian Election

culture, politics Leave a reply

To briefly post on this:

The choice here in Canada seems to be between the entirely corrupt Conservative party, and pretty much anyone else. Are they corrupt? Well, here’s a list of Federal scandals in Canada, half of which are under the current leadership. More details can be found by googling, and more citations of corruption can be view on this blog.

If you’re voting Conservative, I’m curious as to why? Feel free to leave a comment. Please note that bullshit like ‘the other parties are bad’ just won’t fly here.

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A Discussion of GMOs

crapitalism, culture, health, politics, science Leave a reply

I recorded a podcast on srslywrong, and it was released last night. I’m fairly pro-GMO (generally speaking), so I was asked to take the pro-GMO side of a debate. It turned into more of a discussion of GMOs rather than a debate, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

I’m interested in feedback here, but bear in mind a couple things:

1) My background is not biology or science. I regrettably misspoke a few times in this (e.g. when I conflated genes for Roundup resistance with genes for the production of BT, and when I had a brain fart about bacteria being prokaryotes).

2) I’m not interested in yelling at people.

3) I’m interested in pushing broad strokes and general understanding, rather than devolving down nit-picky tangents. There’s a whole bunch of areas where I could have jumped down Eric/Cody’s throat for things that he said that I considered to be just plain ‘wrong’, but as they were tangential to the discussion, I left them alone. (and, to his credit, Eric/Cody cut me the same slack.

Click here to go to the podcast.

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Christianity, the Religion of Peace

culture, politics, religion Leave a reply

In the face of the violence that has occurred over the last few years, by people of varying ideological stripes, the narrative that has been written is the enlightened west fighting off the barbaric, uneducated Muslim terrorists. It doesn’t seem to matter a whit how ignorant that particular view is, all that seems to matter is that we (the people doing the bulk of the bombing world-wide) tell ourselves stories about how oppressed we are and how bad ‘they’ are..

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Bradley Miller, Judged

civil rights, culture, law, Philosophy of Law, politics Leave a reply

Professor Bradley Miller has been appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, effective January 16th, 2015. His bio there states that “his main areas of practice were commercial litigation, class actions, administrative law, constitutional law and human rights law”. And yet it would seem that his understanding of human rights is less than complete.

In an article written two years ago in Public Discourse, (Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada), Miller makes a range of claims that are supportable only if one believes that the right to tear down others is more valuable to society at large than the right to not be torn down.

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