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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Sirius ‘Open Source’ Disregards the Rule of Law and Human Rights

Demolition Man ~ Violation: It's about sharing, not just taking

Summary: The company that I left this month is breaching several regulations and failing to follow the law; to make matters worse, pointing this out from within the company is impermissible and may very well instigate witch-hunts

THE HOLIDAYS are not over, but we’re still in a relatively quiet period of the year. People are resting. Nevertheless, we’re receiving additional information, which we plan to cover next month. As we shall show, under the guise of “manners” and the veneer of “professional” self-appointed enforcers are lying to people and lying about people. It is highly manipulative and it pits Sirius ‘Open Source’ in conflict with human rights, not just labour regulations and ethical codes.

Shown below is a portion of a month-old report (predating my resignation). It highlights the fact that the company where I worked for since early 2011 had gradually become more and more hostile towards its workers — to the point of false accusations and pathological lying.


Adherence to the Rule of Law and Human Rights

From what can be gathered thus far, the company is shooting from the hip, walking in the dark without any legal guidance. From what’s witnessed and what lawyers have made an assessment of, legal protocols are disregarded or simple breached; the managers don’t go through HR as they did before (impartial), probably due to cost-related overheads and a lack of budget/money in the company’s bank account, as can be seen by failure to comply with very basic legal protocols. Very, very basic stuff.

In a society based on the Rule of Law it is important to ensure, at all times, that laws are being followed, including the freedom of expression. A proper investigative process should be based on law-compliant guidelines rather than made up or twisted as one goes along, based on some personal preferences of a self-appointed investigator. Improvised ‘laws’ aren’t laws but kangaroo courts of theatrical nature with arbitrary routines.

Freedom of speech was in general respected, but only selectively (i.e. rules not equally and consistently applied). Inside work, for instance, some people were allowed to express political opinions, whereas others got reprimanded for making a harmless joke pertaining to Donald Trump (whom the company’s founder supports). Is it the case that some workers have the privilege to express political opinions, whereas some are denied that? Is kinship a recipe for immunity, not just a recruitment fast lane?

In the same vein, management can use very crude language at times, but even reasonably polite words used by ordinary staff are spun as “rude” and staff is forbidden from expressing opinions, based on false pretexts of “manners”.

Governments Typically Lie (Because That’s Just What Governments Tend to Do)

Angry Russian Guy: I hate that other country so much!

There’s this stigma or stereotype associated with people who allege that the government, through politicians and state media for the most part, misleads its people. Sure, they typically lie to populations outside the country too. The stigmas or stereotypes are intended to discourage such view being held or publicly expressed. Of course the government does not always lie (absolutism), but oftentimes there’s more incentive to tell supposedly ‘white’ lies.

Over the past few months I’ve covered many examples where both our government and the BBC lied to us, mostly for business reasons.

Governments aren’t in the business of science, mere facts, truth, evidence…

Governments in modern history — even in supposedly civilised nations — act more like front groups of wealthy businesspeople. The politicians are beholden to them.

This does mean we should expect lies; this is especially true at times of war. I’ve decided to archive this old and rusty page, seeing it’s likely to be offline altogether some time in the future and it’s likely Fair Use given the diversity of voices and of course key quotes going centuries back. The underlying HTML looks like something from the 1990s.

Who coined the phrase, “The first casualty of War is Truth”?

Mike Owen, Hebden Bridge UK
  • In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: The first casualty when war comes is truth. However, this was not recorded.

    In 1928 Arthur Ponsonby’s wrote: The ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. (Falsehood in Wartime)

    Samuel Johnson seems to have had the first word: ‘Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.’ (from The Idler, 1758)

    Peter Brooke, Mewmachar Scotland

  • The original quote is “The first casualty when war comes is truth”. Hiram W Johnson, staunchly isolationist senator for California, to the US Senate in 1917 (the year of his election to the Senate, where he remained until his death in 1945).
    Philip Draycott, Leicester UK

  • …”The first casualty when war comes is truth,” was coined by Hiram Johnson a Republican politician from California who served in the United States Senate for nearly 30 years, beginning in the midst of World War I and concluding with his death in 1945–as it happens, on the same day the U.S. dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima…
    Gareth, Leeds UK

  • Rudyard Kipling.
    Paul Hardy, Croydon England

  • It has been attributed to both Athur Ponsonby in “Falsehood in Wartime” (1928) and US Senator Hiram Johnson in a 1918 speech. However, the true origin may be in the edition of “The Idler” magazine from 11/11/1758 which says “…among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.”
    Andy Ward, LONDON UK

  • Hiram Johnson (USA). The full qoute is “The first casualty when war comes is truth”.

    Coincidentally Johnson died on August 6th 1945 (of old age!)

    Kevin Wooldridge, Lowestoft UK

  • Boake Carter, an American Radio Reporter. Not sure when though. I seem to remember hearing the original broadcast in a TV origram some time ago.
    Ken Blair, Stirling Scotland

  • Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) – a Progressive Republican senator in California. His actual quote, ‘The first casualty, when war comes, is truth’, was said during World War 1. He died on Aug. 6, 1945, the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
    Gilbert Sharp, Bury St Edmunds UK

  • Michael Herr in his book “despatches” based on his experience as a journalist in the Vietnam War.
    Martin Togher, London England

  • Aeschylus.
    Joy, Doha Qatar

  • In war, truth is the first casualty.
    Aeschylus
    Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC – 456 BC)
    B Smith, Chicago Il USA

  • The most fundamental of the Chinese fifth century general Sun Tzu’s principles for the conduct of war is that “All warfare is based on deception”.
    Ed Richardson, Deer Lake, Canada

  • Alfred E. Neumann
    David Page, Gatineau, Canada

  • Aeschylus

    Frank Olsen, Ringoes United States

  • Although frequently attributed to Sun Tzu (544?496 BC), “All warfare is based on deception”; the Sun Tzu quote actually refers to methods of subterfuge in war and goes further to explain, “Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

    The first corroborated quote reflecting the true essence, almost verbatim is “In war, truth is the first casualty,” attributed to Greek writer/poet Aeschylus (525BC – 456BC).

    Reese, Jeffersonville, IN United States

  • “In war, truth is the first casualty”, this quote is from Aeschylus

    Ensar, Dusseldorf, Germany

  • Read “the First Casualty” by Philip Knightley – a history of deception in war – it’s all in there.
    John, London

  • Aeschylus

    “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

    Susanna Richards, Somerset West, South Africa

  • Aeschylus greek tragic dramatist
    525-546 BC
    In war, truth is the first casualty
    Andy, South Boston, Ma USA

  • There are now two books that give authoritative answers to these kinds of questions, namely the Yale Book of Quotations and the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. The latter records that Mrs. Philip Snowden wrote in the Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the National Education Association: “Someone has finely said that ‘truth is the first casualty in war’.” A similar quotation appears in E. D. Morel, Truth and the War (1916). The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs further notes that “Currently the proverb is often attributed to Aeschylus, but the attribution seems to be no older than the 1980s.”
    Fred Shapiro, Bethany, Connecticut USA

  • Soooooo many answers…. yet sooooo many of them are wrong, ignorant, and ethnocentrically shortsighted!

    The first to coin such a phrase (and then be PLAGIARIZED by all these other people that you all tout and argue over) was a Greek writer (Dramatist – theatrical arts) named Aeschylus.

    Good job proving the ignorance of the masses (especially since you can learn the etymology of this particular phrase with a little researching online these days… or by GOING TO COLLEGE and taking a dramatic literature course or two!)

    “Ignorance is a disease that can never truly be cured”

    James T., San Diego USA

  • Perhaps “James T., San Diego USA” would likely to cite precisely where Aeschylus wrote it. As presently he’s is looking the most ignorant poster here.
    Davey F=Dave, Ickenham England

  • This quote was stolen from Aeschylus “In war, the first casualty is truth.” Aeschylus lived from 456 B.C. to 524 B.C
    Jayme Ariss, Shelburne, Canada

  • Let’s cut the sniping. Would anyone like to support their arguments by accurately citing the primary source?

    Many thanks,
    Ian.

    Ian Buckingham, Norwich, UK

Eben Moglen – Freedom in The Cloud

Corporate Accountability

Factory

IN THIS weird age when corporations are assumed to have the rights of individuals (e.g. privacy) while evading the liabilities and burdens of individuals (e.g. tax, which they can evade using loopholes) it makes one wonder what became of so-called democracy and capitalism. This was not the vision people had after they had laid the foundations for what they considered to be a humane system. Nowadays, our society is based upon ever-increasing debt and a debt that our descendants are expected to pay back. It’s a society where corporations (and their owners) gain vast amounts of money at the expense of real people and when things go awry, corporations will get bailed out and in some cases left alone when they hurt people (e.g. BP in the gulf). There is a massive looting — “piracy” one might say — going on all the time. All the power and welth gets passed to corporations, which now control the political systems too.

If we wish to cautiously proceed with the idea that corporations are like people, then we must subject them to the same standards and restrictions we apply to individuals. Otherwise, civilisation as we know it will sooner or later collapse.

Activism and Legacy

LEGACY of one’s life may typically matter to a person when death is near. That’s partly because last/recent memories persist better than old ones. Legacy is also what remains in visibility after a person departs from this world, having first emerged in it through conception. But legacy need not be associated with depressing things such as being deceased. Legacy throughout one’s life can be seen as the work that’s left to have impact when one moves from one area to another, from one field of work to another.

In older terms, publications and books were seen as a form of legacy. In a digital world the importance of these becomes more questionable and long-term persistence almost dubious. Work that is done in the disciplines of science and technology may matter a lot at the time of publication/invention, but only years later that work becomes uninteresting due to irrelevance. There are of course exceptions such as key, landmark papers (Charles Darwin’s for example) and immortal series such as Cosmos, but the vast body of work will only have its 15 minutes or fame — if any — and thereafter be shelved.

Activism is different in the sense that it has broader impact due to scale of reach (like target audience). Those who fought SOPA, for example, achieved a great deal and did this not for profit but for ideology.

In my younger days as a researcher I strived to publish papers and had my name put on half a dozen of them around 2005 when I was completing practical work on my Ph.D. In early 2006 I stopped submitting papers and also ceased to attend conferences. These had low impact compared to my sites, their target audience was small (mostly departments in the same field as mine), and the sense of accomplishment was not high. It was then that I turned to activism and spent the majority of my day dedicating energy/effort to good causes, even if it comes at the expense of a paying job. There have been no regrets, except perhaps regrets that I had not started doing this sooner.

The life of an activist is a lot richer than the life of a compulsive businessman. Richness cannot be properly measured in terms of monetary currency and some people are so poor that all they have is a high bank balance. Over the long run, history teaches, activists have a memorable legacy; the latter have not.

Fedora, Importance of GNU/Linux Competition, and Technological Freedom

FEDORA 11 is a fine distribution of GNU/Linux, but my session got stuck (frozen) today. Generally, scheduling on the desktop in this out-of-date operating system is somewhat deficient. Windows sometimes do not respond for a period of several seconds. The bug where a text selection cursor is made permanently visible and allows no real interaction with any applications kicked in… againtoday. It happens quite rarely with other distributions and there’s an escape route out of it, e.g. if the terminate signal can be sent to the application causing it, assuming it can be identified. But not this time though. Bearing in mind that it’s not the very latest version of Fedora and having used the fourteenth release since it was made available (even installed it for others), it does seem fair to say that for a smooth experience on the desktop, one is still better off going with the Debian family. Mandriva (predominantly but not strictly RPM-based) has been very good too, probably a lot better than Fedora.

The problems with Fedora are not really caused by adherence to freedom. Some creases and bugs, however, might not be addressed early enough because Fedora’s adherence to freedom (not strict adherence, but better than Ubuntu’s for example) limits the extent of its userbase, which in turn reduces the incentive Red Hat has to concentrate on the desktop side of things.

I have been working with Fedora 11 since last Friday (just waiting for my home computers to get back online with the new line activated) and as much as I try to love Fedora, I cannot help feeling that Kubuntu and Ubuntu have been giving me less hassle. Deep inside I wanted to declare that Fedora was better, but the experiences simply suggest that any such claim would be wishful thinking, even deceptive. The problem is that Canonical was made quite arrogant (hello Hubris!), which harms Ubuntu on technical and communal grounds alike. Canonical could use more competition.

It may be true that Linux in the mainstream is all about Android, Google, Ubuntu, mainframes, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux these days. That’s fine. As long as Fedora uses and reuses the same pertinent packages, there is no risk of Fedora truly falling behind. The wonder of Free software is, as long as one is allowed to copy the competition or branch out of it, unfair advantage is harder to gain. Canonical and Google have both attempted to produce “added value” (or enhancement) which is hard to emulate, replicate, or even get involved in. They are using some very vendor-specific code, which changes the balance of control not just with copyright assignment. It’s not progress and it is usually counter-productive.

Next week I will resume GNU/Linux advocacy and do a lot less programming (below is a new screenshot of the application I have been developing, but it’s unfortunate and regrettable that the code depends on a proprietary framework) and there is a lot of thinking to be done regarding strategy. Generally speaking, the world’s population loses control over technology at a very rapid pace* and software freedom is no longer the only freedom worth pursuing by a developer with passion for humanism. The head of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has just stepped down and it is hard to blame him; maybe he too reached similar dilemmas and came to realisations that software freedom is not enough. Collaboration too is crucial (GPL encourages it), not to mention education in general.

Expressions GUI
____
* I spent half an hour this morning chatting with a lady in her 70s. She too — not too surprisingly — feels as though mobile phones are a burden rather than a blessing. In general, she is also concerned about today’s society which lacks face-to-face interaction and intimidates her generation that’s not at all accustomed to a technological control grid. Free/libre software is being used a lot in this context (primarily for companies to bring their user-hostile proprietary layer to market immediately), not as much is being produced though. If technology is not built to provide the user some more control, then it usually tries to control the user. But people are not made sufficiently aware of it, unless the FSF speaks out, as it recently did against Android.

What Freedom Means in Relation to Control

What freedom means to me is not the same freedom that is preached to the masses by broadcasting companies. It is neither freedom of choice nor freedom that relates to cost.

In its most fundamental state, any person is not tied to anyone else except perhaps the community which is family, extended family, and sometimes more than that. In that case, a person is familiar with/to all peers, which is also what enables trade without currencies. There is a level of trust.

As societies grow bigger and bigger (moving into mega-cities, as noted in the previous post) trust gets replaced by control. Rather than trusting one’s peers people increasingly dominate and reign over other people; it’s means of peer control and it regulates one’s behaviour.

In the software world too there is a move from small communities of privileged developers with access to expensive machines; these days, a lot of people have access to computers and moreover to the Internet, which connects many of these disparate people. Mechanisms of control rather than trust are over time being put in place and these range from simple censorship to all sorts of artificial restrictions.

Freedom is always hindered by control. It is a relation of opposites. Control is antithetical to freedom assuming that control is not one’s own. Whether in a society as broad of ours one can ensure total freedom is very much questionable, but one must always keep in mind that if freedom is the goal, then control by others is a threat; sometimes it is a necessary and legitimate threat, but often it is (mis)used as a pretext for someone else to take control over others.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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