Yeah. In case you didn’t realize before, look at that picture. Think about it. Remember those pictures of supposed Iraqi WMD depots and crap? Look at the supposed pictures of dead Osama. So obviously shopped. Its all bullshit. This announcement, whether he was killed, is still alive, or was killed years ago, is probably all propaganda intended to get Obama re-elected, or maybe even cover/distract from some covert operation in Syria. You don’t wonder why all of the major networks are slamming this ‘news’ all day?

I don’t know how they did it, but I’m not even sure its really a coincidence that the name of America’s supposed number one enemy for many years is only one letter away from the name of our president. I think maybe they set it up that way on purpose just to fuck with conservatives and divide the population.

Afghanistan was supposed to be about Bin Laden as much as anything. You know what it is actually about, aside from territory and fossil fuels? Heroin. The Taliban actually eradicated the opium crops, so we went directly over there and turned the entire country into a giant opium plantation at the point of our soldier’s weapons. The Afghans are our slaves. Its not that they only want to grow opium because its the only way to make money. They _can’t_ grow other crops, because they know if they try, our soldiers will shoot them.

Relative to other parts of the world, Afghanistan isn’t all that far from India. Look at the history of the British in India. Anyone ever heard of something called the Opium Wars? Coincidentally, the majority of Americans are of British descent.

On the history in India:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company#Opium_trade

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars

[Map](http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=india+&aq=&sll=12.382928,77.167969&sspn=87.437974,150.996094&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=India&ll=36.597889,55.722656&spn=76.302442,150.996094&z=3)

[Opium financed British rule in India](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7460682.stm)

>_Sea of Poppies is a historical novel. Is it the fact that the British were the world’s biggest opium suppliers two centuries ago that led you into this story?_

> I should correct you. It was not two centuries ago. Under the British Raj, an enormous amount of opium was being exported out of India until the 1920s.

>_When and how did you end up researching and learning more about the British opium trade out of India?_
I was looking into it as I began writing the book about five years ago. Like most Indians, I had very little idea about opium.

> I had no idea that India was the largest opium exporter for centuries. I had no idea that opium was essentially the commodity which financed the British Raj in India.

Notice the sharp dropoff in 2001. The UN reported that the Taliban had succeeded in eradicating the opium crop that year.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/20/world/taliban-s-ban-on-poppy-a-success-us-aides-say.html

May, 2001

> The American findings confirm earlier reports from the United Nations drug control program that Afghanistan, which supplied about three-quarters of the world’s opium and most of the heroin reaching Europe, had ended poppy planting in one season.

http://publicintelligence.net/usnato-troops-patrolling-opium-poppy-fields-in-afghanistan/

> Many of the photos do not mention anything related to destruction or removal of poppies. Instead, they describe how troops “patrol” through and around the fields. In one instance, a US soldier even seems to be even helping with cultivation… November 2009, the Afghan Minister of Counter Narcotics General Khodaidad Khodaidad stated that the majority of drugs are stockpiled in two provinces controlled by troops from the US, the UK, and Canada. He also said that NATO forces are taxing the production of opium in the regions under their control and that foreign troops are earning money from drug production in Afghanistan.

[Brother of Afghan Leader Said to Be Paid by C.I.A.](http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/world/asia/28intel.html)

>Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

[US Department of State, Question Taken at Daily Press Briefing on July 13, 2009](http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/july/126044.htm)

>_Question: What is our reaction to the recent release of five drug lords in Afghanistan?_

>Answer: We note that the Government of Afghanistan has scored some notable successes in arresting, successfully prosecuting, and sentencing known narco-traffickers.

>The U.S. has aided Afghanistan in these efforts. The Department of State, through the U.S. Department of Justice, has contributed approximately $6 million to the development of the Criminal Justice Task Force. Established in May 2005, this joint task force is responsible for investigating and bringing cases against mid- and high-level traffickers.

>It is disappointing however, when successfully-prosecuted traffickers are later released, as has occurred recently. This undermines the work of the Afghan Ministries of the Interior and Counter Narcotics.

If it was 4,500 metric tons per year in 1999, last few years it is probably way more than 6,000 metric tons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_production_in_Afghanistan

According to this http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_central_southern_az/yuma/agents-recover-22-pounds-of-black-tar-heroin 22 lbs. of black tar heroin has a street value of 1.7 million. Thats 10 kg. So assuming that opium converts to a similar weight, thats $170,000 per kg. 6000 metric tons = (6000 x 1000) kg * $170000 = $1 020 000 000 000 per year or $19 billion per week.

Which means if the war costs $2 billion per week, there is a potential profit of $17 billion per week. Or if I am way off the mark and the opium is worth say, half, thats only a potential war profit from drug sales of around $8 billion per week.

After reading the recent article on the X protocol “Thoughts and rambling on the X protocol – It’s Time to Die” my response is that he is right on target.

I also have an explanation for why we have this situation with X: its just not profitable for individuals or individual groups to correct those underlying flaws.
Profit is a short-term proposition that is related only to the individual person or group making the effort. Someone looks at a task like redesigning or cleaning up X and estimates the amount of effort required and what they will get out of it and makes the correct decision that they just will not gain as much as they put in.

Effort of individual group required for complete modernization and overhaul of X: 23,192 somethings

Estimated business gained by individual group because of complete modernization and overhaul of X: 2,154 somethings

Estimated net loss: 21,038 somethings

This is just one crystal clear example of where profit is not an acceptable motivating force for a society and is in fact holding back technology.

On the other hand, if the person were to analyze that task with regards to what the entire human population would gain from completing a clean-up/design upgrade of X windows, the equation changes completely. Everyone will benefit if this is accomplished.

Effort of individual group required for complete modernization and overhaul of X: 23,192 somethings

Estimated business/productivity gained overall because of complete modernization and overhaul of X: 2,154 somethings * EVERYONE = 21,540,000 somethings

Estimated net gain overall: 21, 516, 808 somethings

The problem is that there is no individual group that is going to gain sufficiently alone to undertake it.

So what is the alternative? The alternative is cooperation. We have nearly instantaneous global communications and more computing power than we can use. But while we continue to support the competitive market model of organizing society we will be hindered by the constant need to chisel out enough advantage over our competitors and consumers that we can “make a living”.

So not only do people not have the time available to cooperate as much as necessarily or have a profit motive, they are spending all of their time just trying to survive. And the competitive nature of our capitalist society means that it is vital to keep one’s most valuable information secret in order to be profitable.

Food is one area where these particular problems with capitalism cause quite a lot of suffering. This is why I suggest open source potatoes. Agricultural technology should be freely exchanged, produce locally grown, etc. Instead, our ridiculous system makes it more profitable to ship large quantities of food vast distances than grow it locally. And the profit motive even sets up a situation where some companies deliberately sabotage food growth in some areas in order to boost their own sales.

Open source software successes have shown that people don’t need a profit motive in order to accomplish great things. We should take that lesson to heart, because the fundamental system structure we are enduring is holding us back in all areas.

Practically speaking this currently is just kind of a novelty, due to the fact that the WPF frame uses IE (yuck) to display web pages.  But I think that it still demonstrates a more general and very interesting feature of Avalon Edit, which is the text editor component in SharpDevelop 4.

Daniel Grunwald is awesome for a lot of reasons, one of which is that he has set up his editor component so that you can insert any WPF control into the middle of your source code.

Here is a link to the page where he explains how that works: http://danielgrunwald.de/coding/AvalonEdit/rendering.php

Just as a test, I downloaded SharpDevelop 4 from SVN and modified this method definition from Libraries | ICSharpCode.AvalonEdit | Rendering | LinkElementGenerator.cs:


public override VisualLineElement ConstructElement(int offset)
 {
     Match m = GetMatch(offset);
     if (m.Success && m.Index == 0) {
         Uri uri = GetUriFromMatch(m);
         if (uri == null)
             return null;
         System.Windows.Controls.Frame frame = new System.Windows.Controls.Frame();
         frame.Width = 700;
         frame.Height = 300;
         frame.Source = uri;

         //VisualLineLinkText linkText = new VisualLineLinkText(CurrentContext.VisualLine, m.Length);
         //linkText.NavigateUri = uri;
         //linkText.RequireControlModifierForClick = this.RequireControlModifierForClick;
         el = new InlineObjectElement(30, frame);
         return el;
         //return linkText;
     } else {
         return null;
     }
 }

Now, when the editor sees a url, such as http://www.reddit.com, instead of just displaying it as an underlined link, it opens up a WPF frame pointed to that URL.  For example, a method definition might look completely normal when collapsed:

— but when you expand it:

This would work a lot better if we had something like a WebKit component instead of the WPF frame using IE.  That is actually possible, because you can put any WPF component in there.

What I really am thinking about are possibilities like displaying math equations in actual math notation, or editing dictionaries in table form, or formatting the text in comments, or quite a lot of other options.

In fact, we are not eliminating poppy fields.

UN Report Shows Afghan Opium Production At Record Level

US/UK Soldiers guard the poppy fields with armed patrols. “Although the poppy fields are beautiful to look at, 2 Para Patrols Platoon are on guard at all times.”http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/newsbeat/newsid_7375000/7375494.stm

The Taliban banned opium in 2001

February 2001 Taliban Seem to Be Making Good on Opium Ban, U.N. Says

September 26 2001 Taliban Lifts Ban On Opium Production

Opium production history chart


To actually answer the question, what is the reason we are in Afghanistan, I will give the only explanations that make sense to me: 1) heroin — Drugs = money; 2) control over fossils fuels; 3) control over territory (empire); 4) human attraction to war

1. Heroin — Drugs = Money

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_and_Contras_cocaine_trafficking_in_the_US

CIA opium smuggling Afghanistan

CIA Venezuelan US cocaine delivery

Narco Aggression: Russia accuses the U.S. military of involvement in drug trafficking out of Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai appointed president of Afghanistan under UN auspices in Germany

Reports link Karzai’s brother to heroin trade

Afghan Forces Confiscate Opium Cache, Capture Taliban Commander

Afghanistan: President Karzai Pardons Convicted Drug Traffickers

2. Control over fossil fuels

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanistan_Oil_Pipeline

Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Natural Gas Pipeline Project

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline

Central Asia pipeline deal signed December 2002

3. Control over territory

Strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia

4. Human attraction to war

How did all of these aggressive, largely unethical motivations result in an invasion and continued occupation? The best explanation I have heard is the theory given in the book The Psychology of War : Comprehending Its Mystique and Its Madness.

Basically, the idea is that ‘mythical thinking’ (as opposed to observation and rational thought) makes it possible to engage in activities (wars) that solve the most basic age-old human dilemma: the conflict between self and the group.

http://www.popmatters.com/books/reviews/p/psychology-of-war.shtml


Put yourself in the position of U.S. leaders who see all of these strategic goals in Afghanistan.

What do you think would have been the reaction if they had simply presented all of these reasons and asked the American public for permission to invade Afghanistan on this basis in September 2001?

I originally intended to simply write a comment in response to the recent NY-Times op-ed titled “The Guns of August” but comments were closed so I am entering my correction here along with an analysis of the strange similarities between that article and the August 20th entry on the Economist website “Still crazy after all these years”

It is relevant to note for context that I was a very strong Obama supporter and have always associated with the democratic/liberal side, and have even engaged in quite a large amount of right-wing bashing myself.  However, recent realities such as the global financial crisis and massive war expenditures have led me to down the path of investigation, and I have discovered that the left/right paradigm is a false, divisive tool and that many of the fears about the U.S. government of the “right” are shared by the “left” and unfortunately, backed by quite a lot of evidence.

I will start with the strange similarities between the NY Times op-ed and the Economist entry and then conclude with some information refuting a few of the claims in the NY Times article.

I believe there is a concerted propaganda campaign aimed at political dissidents, a.k.a. “right-wing extremists”, which is currently rolling out a new phase of articles.  In this particular instance I cannot be certain as to whether one author simply took a few helpful ideas from the other or if they were each actually following specific bullet points from an overall propaganda plan.

Strangely Similar Text

The bolded words match exactly and the italicized phrases seem to mean about the same thing.

Nytimes.com

three men from Bagdad, Ariz., drove 2,500 miles in 1964 to testify against a bill tightening federal controls on firearms after the Kennedy assassination. As the historian Richard Hofstadter wrote in his own famous Kennedy-era essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” these Arizona gun enthusiasts were convinced that the American government was being taken over by a “subversive power.” Sound familiar?

Economist.com

NOT long after the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963, the Senate contemplated a bill to tighten federal control over the sale of guns through the post. Three gun-lovers drove 2,500 miles from Arizona to Washington, DC, to protest. One argued that the bill was part of “a further attempt by a subversive power to make us part of one world socialistic government” and that it could “create chaos” and help “our enemies” to seize power. Not much has changed since Richard Hofstadter described this incident in a hugely influential book, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”. Gun-lovers still argue that the slightest curb on their right to bear arms will make America vulnerable to tyranny. And in other areas, too, the paranoid style is alive and frothing.


Nytimes.com

This month the Southern Poverty Law Center, the same organization that warned of the alarming rise in extremist groups before the Oklahoma City bombing, issued its own report. A federal law enforcement agent told the center that he hadn’t seen growth this steep among such groups in 10 to 12 years. “All it’s lacking is a spark,” he said.

This uptick in the radical right predates the health care debate that is supposedly inspiring all the gun waving.

Economist.com

Some people watch the ferment at town-hall meetings in America today and worry that another Oklahoma-style atrocity is brewing. A few protesters are waving placards wishing for Mr Obama’s death. Others are ostentatiously wearing firearms outside his rallies. A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Centre describes an uptick in the number of “Patriot” militia groups since Mr Obama’s election and frets that some could turn violent.


NYTimes.com

Coburn is a Republican senator from Oklahoma, where 168 people were murdered by right-wing psychopaths who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Their leader, Timothy McVeighhad the Jefferson quote on his T-shirt when he committed this act of mass murder.

Economist.com

Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with a bomb in Oklahoma in 1995 because he thought the federal government was hatching various dastardly plots.


NYTimes.com

“What the right as a whole fears is the erosion of its own social position, the collapse of its power, the increasing incomprehensibility of a world — now overwhelmingly technical and complex — that has changed so drastically within a lifetime.”

Economist.com

Belief in conspiracy theories can be comforting. If everything that goes wrong is the fault of a secret cabal, that relieves you of the tedious necessity of trying to understand how a complex world really works.


Bullet Points

Aside from the four instances above where the text of the articles was strikingly similar, the articles have many other assertions in common:

  • Individuals who believe the government is criminal are crazy
  • Individuals who believe the government is criminal are right-wing
  • Individuals who believe the government is criminal are terrorists threatening violence
  • Individuals who believe the government is criminal are associated with Hamas and other middle-eastern terrorist groups
  • Individuals who believe the government is criminal are Nazis
  • Politicians must stop repeating criminal accusations against the government
  • The Secret Service agents will protect the president from individuals that carry guns who are threatening the president
  • Radio or television hosts that support individuals who believe the government is criminal are outrageous or crackpots
  • Accusations about euthanasia policies are obviously irrational fear-mongering
This is far from a comprehensive list.

Real Government Conspiracies

Unfortunately, offenses attributed to “right-wing extremism” in the NY Times article were very real conspiracies involving the U.S. government in what is referred to as false-flag attacks.  The Oklahoma bombing is a good example.

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy‘s strategy of tension.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag

First of all, we are supposed to believe that a truck bomb caused this damage:

The following is an excerpt from a recent infowars.com article that provides insight into the true nature of the Oklahoma City bombing:

  • Just like 9/11, the official story of the Oklahoma City Bombing, that McVeigh alone carried out the attack using a fertilizer truck bomb, is contradicted by a plethora of eyewitness account as well as physical and circumstantial evidence.
  • In early April 1995 a Ryder truck identical to the one used in the bombing was filmed by a pilot during an overflight of of an area near Camp Gruber-Braggs, Oklahoma. A June 17th, 1997 Washington Post article authenticates the photos as being exactly what they appear to be, photos of a Ryder truck in a clandestine base at Camp Gruber-Braggs. Why were the military in possession of a Ryder truck housed in a remote clandestine army base days before the Alfred P. Murrah bombing?
  • In a 1993 letter to his sister, McVeigh claimed that he was approached by military intelligence and had joined an “elite squad of government paid assassins.” McVeigh often contradicted himself and changed his story on a whim to fit in with the latest government version of events. Is the Camp Grafton footage evidence of McVeigh’s enrollment in such a clandestine program?
  • Multiple reports of Arabs at the scene assisting McVeigh were ignored and surveillance tapes were withheld under national security. The likely reason for this was the fact that Bush senior and Clinton were responsible for bringing in nearly 1,000 Iraqi soldiers captured by U.S. forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, some of whom were involved in the bombing.
  • The FBI claimed McVeigh scouted the Alfred P. Murrah building weeks before the bombing and yet on the morning of the attack he stopped at a local gas station to ask directions, lending credibility to the new claims that he was being controlled by other conspirators and that the target of the bombing had been changed.
  • Original reports of two explosions and several failed devices being defused by bomb squads were buried by the establishment as the official explanation that McVeigh acted alone was pushed. Scientific analysis conducted by General Benton K. Partin revealed core columns were blown out from within the building and the extensive damage to the Alfred P. Murrah building was completely inconsistent with the explanation of a single and relatively weak fertilizer truck bomb.
  • Many eyewitnesses reported that bomb squads in full reaction gear were seen around the building immediately before the blast. Police officer Terence Yeakey, who helped save dozens of victims, was one such witness. Yeakey compiled extensive files on his observations but was later found with his throat and wrists slashed having also been shot in the head after he had told friends he was being followed by authorities.

Southern Poverty Law Center

Both articles refer to the SPLC, which references a Department of Homeland Defense report in April in relation to its concerns about “right-wing extremism”.  DHS responded to a Freedom of Information Act request for data used to compile the report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” not with any first-hand interviews or intelligence, but rather with the following list of web pages, all visited on August 4th, most of which are actually on the SPLC website or ordinary news articles:

09-502 Interim Response 1 (1)

Posted by: ilaksh | June 23, 2009

Intelligence

This is me trying to start thinking about my own understanding of intelligence.

My idea is that maybe the basic capabilities of intelligent systems are less numerous and complex than most people think.  Maybe its starts with a basic ability that even a worm or an insect has, and that just gets elaborated on and scaled up all the way to humans.

A worm has to do some things that are actually pretty smart when you compare them with the abilities of the average computer:

  • integrate fairly arbitrary patterns of sensory information from its environment with a time dimension
  • use this information to determine the actions that will most likely lead to a desired set of sensory patterns in the future

In other words, it has to, for example, move in the direction of a scent to obtain food.

My theory is that perhaps the worm must be intelligent in order to do this and that the difference between worm intelligence and human intelligence might just be a matter of something like being able to handle more complex sensory relationships over greater time spans and also having more built-in patterns for predicting the correct actions and integrating senses.

Posted by: ilaksh | April 19, 2009

2D programming via composed code-generating widgets

Here’s something I’d like to code in JavaScript in the near future.  I believe this type of approach is used somewhat commonly in UIs generated by IDEs and some metaprogramming tools.  However, I feel it should actually be useful for all types of programming.

This is an example of what a function definition might look like:

idea1

This code is created by dragging-and-dropping and then editing interactive widgets.  These widgets are in the example:

  • function definition
  • parameters sub-widget or part
  • string and numeric variable
  • return
  • html template
  • division
  • multiplication

The core of each widget is a function that takes input from the widget properties and outputs Javascript code.  The simplest example could be the code generator for ‘return’, which might look something like this:


function generate() {
  return 'return ' + this.generateChildren();
}

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