Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Thoughts on policy toward North Korea

So the UN has put even more stringent sanctions on North Korea. I don’t see where that is going to force North Korea into abandoning its nuclear and ICBM arsenal and development. At best the sanctions slow the nuclear program by limiting access to hard currency.

Maybe, maybe, a more adept US administration could persuade North Korea into joining the Test Ban Treaty. They could commit first to no atmospheric testing, which would essentially cost them nothing since they haven’t been conducting atmospheric tests. However, more competent administrations have tried and failed to contain North Korea using negotiated agreements.

Absent a US-Russian-Chinese agreement to go in and denuclearize North Korea by force, the US has to accept that North Korea is a nuclear state and has no intention of denuclearizing, ever.

North Korea looks at states like Ukraine and Libya which did denuclearize, and later saw their governments overthrown by US-backed coups, and this doesn’t look like a good scenario to them.

Engaging in a florid war of words with the North Koreans, with insults like “Little Rocket Man,” is a spectacularly bad and unwise strategy. They are on the paranoid side of insecure, so we should be as stolid and predictable and imperturbable as possible. Enduring a million “dotards” is better than enduring a single nuclear strike on the US or its allies.

China is most concerned with a break-up of NK with loose nukes and a huge refugee crisis on their borders, and that would be a horrible situation. The US needs to not squeeze NK so hard that it collapses into warlords or a Mad Max-like anarchy.

The best option I can present is make the best of a bad situation. Treat them like Pakistan, more or less. If the US simply refuses to give NK a seat in the club of nuclear powers, it loses all chances of NK ever adhering to customary law, and it invites NK to make some kind of demonstration, which could go hideously wrong in a number of ways.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

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23 December, 2017 Posted by | diplomacy, news, North Korea, scanlyze, war | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Regarding the New York Times Readers Center

To: Clifford Levy
CC: A. G. Sulzberger

Cliff,

I have been a loyal New York Times reader for more than 45 years. I had two newspaper routes in Cleveland as a boy, one for a morning paper and one evening, and the first and most important thing I bought with that money was the Times on Sunday and Tuesday.

I am troubled by the description of the Readers Center position here:

http://www.nytco.com/introducing-the-reader-center/

In particular the following line.

“Collaborating with our marketing department to showcase the value of Times journalism.”

The job of the Public Editor as I am I think most readers have understood it, was to be an advocate for the Readers and to publicly take the Times editors and management to task when they screwed up, to put it plainly.

The job of the Readers editor would seem to be the opposite of that, going by the posted description.

Having the new Readers Center working with marketing is crossing a red line in journalism which should never be crossed.

I should not have to remind you, but the present circumstances indicate the necessity of so doing:

Journalists should:

– Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.

– Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content.

Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

The Public Editor position went a long way to restoring trust and the Times brand inflicted by inaccurate reporting and lack of editorial responsibility and oversight inflicted by, particularly, the false reporting in the run-up to the Iraq War, and it wasn’t just Judy Miller, though you sacrificed her, not undeservedly perhaps, and Jayson Blair.

Firing the Public Editor and then hiring a new “Readers Center” with the same brief, except for responsibility to represent the views of advertisers rather than those of readers, is a terrible idea in every way, moral, ethical, journalistic, and inflicts incalculable damage already on the Time’s already damaged reputation. The excuse that firing the Public Editor and eliminating that position was a cost-cutting measure seems untenable given that a new role, with a similar brief, was immediately established. With the critical and all-important distinction noted above. Going from being responsible for the insuring the journalistic integrity of the Times to overtly and self-admittedly being a shill and a mouthpiece for upper management and advertisers.

These are self-inflicted wounds, folks, what are you doing? Are you shorting the stock and hoping to make the Times fail? Or is this simply another unforced error committed for no conceivable good reason?

sincerely,

Henry Edward Hardy
former Senior Systems Administrator
Tufts University*

* institutional affiliation for identification purposes only

blog: https://scanlyze.org

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, need more information, or wish to discuss the issue further.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

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4 July, 2017 Posted by | ethics, journalism, New York Times, news, newspapers, Readers Center, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Liberals are unconsciously mirroring and enabling Trumps arbitrary skepticism of the media

I’m seeing a lot of my friends who think they are critical thinking intellectuals and think they oppose Trump, falling victim to imitating his tropes and memes.

Let’s take, “You can’t trust the mainstream media.”

I’ve been a thorn in the side of the New York Times and Guardian for decades now. I guess my high point as a loyal opposition came when the then-current editor of the NY Times, Bill Keller, called me on the phone because Art Sulzberger told him to and I got to tell him for three hours what I thought was wrong with the Times and how to restore it to its former greatness of the 1970’s.

It is fine and good to criticize wrong facts. To criticize the framing of a story. False equivalence. Errors in logic. Lack of historical perspective. Acting as stenographers for State and Defense. Paid content. Trivial articles pandering to the rich and privileged. Ridiculous reasons offered for anonymizing sources. Crappy clickbaitish “reviews” of video games which would never pass muster for books, movies or even TV reviews. Lots to talk about and speak to them about.

But what I am seeing now from a fair number of very smart friends who think they are critical thinking intellectuals and think they are opposing Trump is quite concerning.

“You can’t trust the mass media,” which is Trump’s trope, is spreading far and wide. This is the opposite of critical thinking. It is ad hominem argument.

Having so to speak thrown out the baby with the bath water, and arbitrarily rejecting information from the most trusted and reliable news sources, I see many of these folks posting memes and factoids because they agree with them. Many of these are either obviously false on their face from my perspective or have obvious errors in logic or framing and attribution, or lack thereof.

Okay so far not so bad, we all get fooled by trollish disinformation from time to time. Confirmation bias is rife. When I post false/wrong information and I learn otherwise, I acknowledge my error and correct it. If it is egregious, I remove it.

The problem I am seeing is folks who, when given evidence that their post is false, refuse to correct or remove it.

“I didn’t write it.”
“I never said it was true”
“People will be able to tell it is false.”
“I don’t care I like the meme.”
“I think it’s funny.”

No, no, no, no, and no.

This is the opposite of critical thinking. It is “I say it once, I say it twice, what I say three times is true.” It is Trump’s rhetorical answer to facts and logic. Blocking rational thought with solipsism and arbitrary skepticism without a reasonable critique of the facts presented in refutation, ignoring logic and reason because the other fellow is bad. Ad hominem argument. Or they challenge you to disprove their belief. Another fallacy, argumentum ad ignoratiam.

We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.

–Karl Rove, Republican operative

Is that what its come to? The Nazi Big Lie technique normalized and contextualized for all Americans now

1984 knocking at your door.

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Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

1 March, 2017 Posted by | ad hominem, argumentum ad ignoratiam, disinformation, Nazi, news, Newspeak, politics, scanlyze, solipcism, Trump | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aaronsw Is Not My Hero

Seems everyone is lionizing Aaron Swartz. Aaron is someone I was acquainted with peripherally through mutual friends at One Laptop. He was, and remains, my friend on Facebook. I have to say aaronsw is not my hero.

If I thought it was justified to take all the documents in JSTOR I would have done when I was the sysadmin for the company that wrote the first interface to it. I don’t and I didn’t. I never even looked at a single document and I had root on everything.

Same is true for the American Mathematical Society and about a million of their documents I worked on the public interface for back in the 80’s. Never looked at a one.

Aaron was very charismatic, brilliant, and had a lot of good ideas. But he also according to what has come out, acted incredibly stupidly in the whole scenario with JSTOR and MIT. They kept blocking him and he kept coming back. Hello, clue?

But maybe he thought of this as civil disobedience and in some sense meant to get caught. If so I think he totally wimped out rather than doing the six months they offered him or going to trial and potentially taking a draconian sentence.

Not to say I think he was treated fairly. Given that JSTOR and MIT saw no reason to prosecute (or that’s the official story at MIT now anyway), and that there is apparently no evidence that documents were ever exfiltrated off-site or published if I was the prosecutor I would have exercised discretion and taken a pass on this one. No harm, no foul.

It worries me that Aaron is being made out to be a hero who deserves to be be emulated. He wasn’t, and he doesn’t.

Aaron Swartz (wikipedia)

Copyright © 2014 Henry Edward Hardy

12 February, 2014 Posted by | Aaron Swartz, aaronsw, archives, censorship, media, MIT, news, OLPC, politics, scanlyze, suicide | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The United States is in a tizzy about chemical weapons in Syria.

The United States is in a tizzy about chemical weapons in Syria.

Is this the United States which didn’t adhere to the 1925 Geneva gas protocol for 50 years?

Is this the United States which lobbied successfully for tear gas and other chemical agents to be exempted from the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention if used against their own citizens?

Is this the United States which made such extensive use of “nonlethal” chemical munitions in violently suppressing the peaceful Occupy protests of two years ago?

Is this the United States which continues to use mines and cluster bombs in contravention of customary law?

Is this the United States which is preparing to go to war (without a declaration of war) in violation of international law, which prohibits aggressive warfare, which means attacking first. And all in the name of enforcing international law with regard to chemical warfare?

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

29 August, 2013 Posted by | media, news, scanlyze, Syria, war | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment