Request for Technical Opinions

Readers of Notes On Liberty must include a fair number of information technology-savvy people. I am not one. I wish to gather opinions on the following question:

Is it possible, over a period of two years, to lose completely two years worth of email emanating from a high-ranking government bureaucrat as well as the emails of six other people?

I ask because I was under impression that you have to try hard to lose any computer information for good. I am also under under the impression that what emails are physically on my computer is irrelevant in the middle-run because everything is stored on a server even if it’s not deliberately backed up. (I back up everything although I am not obligated to do it by law, the way federal agencies are obligated.)

Thank you in advance.

L’Espionnage américain en France.

C’est l’administration Obama qui est chargée de tout. Un mot du président et l’espionnage des alliés cessait. Complètement, sur les chapeaux de roue.

Ne me blâmez pas. Je vous avait prévenu avant même qu’il soit élu, alors que vous l’acclamiez bêtement: Barack (“la chance”) Obama n’est pas le gentil “Black” (en Français dans le texte) de vos rêves plus ou moins cinétiques. Nous somme nombreux ici à penser qu’il est simplement en train de saccager, de détruire la belle et forte Amérique de l’après deuxième guerre mondiale avec ses conneries sur tous les plans.

Les avis sont partagés cependant sur un point important. Certains opinent que c’est un malveillant gauchiste àl’ancienne mode. D’autre, dont moi, penchent plutôt vers l’idée que c’est un beau parleur fondamentalement incapable. Avant d’être élu à un poste ou un autre, il n’avait d’ailleurs jamais eu de vrai emploi de sa vie.

Obama’s Newest War Campaign: Syria?

I’ve written about how disastrous a war campaign in Syria would be before. You can check out the archives here. At this point I think my track record for predicting what will happen when the US attacks another country is pretty damned good.

Here’s how I’ve accomplished this: government is, at best, an arbitrator of last resort (“courts and diplomacy”). If societies begin to grant a government’s scope much more than this minimum, expect to see bad things happen. Bombing another country for ambiguously stated purposes will lead to bad things. These bad things will be much worse than the bad things currently in place.

Don’t believe me? Look at Iraq. And Libya. And Afghanistan. And Vietnam. Et cetera. Et cetera.

Mark my words: if the Obama administration bombs Syria we will have much more to worry about than “projecting weakness.” An onslaught of chemical weapons, horrific ethnic cleansing campaigns, and decades of civil war will be in the books. The war would have been over by now if the Obama administration had not armed Islamist rebels. I wrote at length about Syria and the US’s strategic blunders here. Feel free to check it out.

Islamists, by the way, are people that adhere to the same type of philosophy as al-Qaeda, the organization responsible for 9/11. These are the people the Obama administration and Republican hawks support, and have supported, on and off again for five decades.

The Obama Presidency as the Pinnacle of Progressivism

Recently, I have been seeing a lot of libertarians tsk tsking  progressives for pinning their hopes on somebody like President Obama. For example, in a thread initiated by this article by Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic, an anonymous libertarian stated that Obama was “no progressive at all.”

Yet this is untrue. If anything, the Obama administration represents the pinnacle of Progressivism: “big” government taking care of the forgotten man in all aspects of his life. Self-styled progressives feigning disgust in the current administration’s dirty laundry need not do so. Either they implicitly endorse the authoritarianism of the Obama administration and pretend not to in polite company, or they don’t fully understand the moral and intellectual foundations of the ideology they purport to adhere to.

Words are Deeds for Young Americans

I keep wondering why I don’t see or hear young people react to the burden newly imposed on them – and forever – by the implementation of Obamacare. It seems to me that, by and large, they don’t know about it. In addition, they tend to harbor an all-around cynicism of such completeness that they deliberately tune out anything negative as if it were completely expected. I except young Christians from this generalization.

To raise this question is to ask why president Obama continues at such a high level of popularity. (Although his ratings are sinking, they are till high by most standards.) The best answer I can give to this question is so simple, it took me an embarrassingly long time to grasp it. It is that the young, and many others who are not young, think that words are deeds.

Recently, I spent a little talk time with two young women I knew not to be on my side on much of anything. They told me that they supported Obama because he is “pro-women.” They assured me that he resisted the Republicans’ many attempts to abolish “contraception.” (NOT abortion.) They couldn’t name any successful Republican venture against contraception. I interpret this to mean that they may have heard of some speech by some extremist somewhere and considered it a done deed. Both were insensitive to my argument that if they mean by “pro-women,” defending contraception, most relevant decisions belonged to states and are therefore not within Mr Obama’s realm of decision-making.

I am not here dumping on the young and feeble. I was having a meal with these young women because one is a sometimes reading buddy of mine. (A “reading budding” is like a drinking buddy without the hangovers.) The other has a quick intelligence that is so obvious it invades the room she is in like a strong perfume. Neither is a dummy and I am always charmed by their company. But they are preoccupied by many other issues, more personal ones. They satisfy themselves that listening to words makes them politically conscious enough and good citizens, I suspect. And, of course, even in the absence of confirmation bias, they would hear ten of Mr Obama’s well-delivered speeches for one speech from any Republican at all. (“Confirmation bias” is the well-studied tendency to pay more attention to items of information that conform with one’s opinions than with those that diverge from it.)

So, when Mr Obama speaks of improving the economy (five years later and some), his young supporters consider it done. Difficulties finding jobs, or good jobs, stagnating wages, irresponsibly mounting college tuition, rising and absurd mountains of college debts, must come from somewhere else. The more frightening prospect is that the bad economy – started elsewhere but continued by the Obama administration – is becoming the normal state of things for young people who have little memory of happier times.

Here is a tangible example of the new normal. Some dispositions of Obamacare law 2,000 pages-plus drive companies to limit employment to thirty hours a week. Now, consider a reasonably well paid young worker taking home $13/hr. (Taking home). With the new limited work-week, this young worker has to manage to live on about $20,000/year. It can be done, easily in some rural areas , with difficulty in most American cities (except Detroit, of course). In my town of Santa Cruz, rent and utilities would easily eat half of this amount.
Of course, depending on where you live, with that kind of income, you might be eligible for food stamps.

I have seen something like this happen in France. We may have a French disease.

I try hard to think back and I suspect I did the same when I was young. I mean that I confused words with deeds. That plus a strong sense of justice may explain why I was a leftist. It took years and a really good education to get into the habit of looking at the facts behind and after the words. That new custom turned me into a conservative libertarian quickly.

This analysis is all bad news. I hope the young of today are smarter than I was, and quicker. They surely know more than I did; they are closer to the facts if they want to be. I hope I am wrong about mistaking words for facts. Please, tell me that I am.

Snowden and Me

Much unnecessary hoopla about Mr Snowden. Much conspiracy theorizing on conservative radio (but not on Rush Limbaugh).

I think things are pretty much the way they look. He has not worked for the Chinese or anyone. Not much that is very new has been revealed. The new things for some people on this blog is that Mr Obama is just as bad (OK, almost as bad ) as Mr Bush. N. S. !

Mr Snowden is almost certainly not guilty of spying: You have to spy for somebody or for something.

Personally, I think he is probably guilty of violating some contract or other that he signed. That’s worth a year in Club Fed with Bernie (what’s his name again?)

Personally, I did not like the blank surveillance cover and the data mining before. I still don’t. I don’t like big government and I don’t like big government doing big things. What’s so hard to understand?

There is one thing I learned again that  I already knew: College is overrated. Mr Snowden, the high-school dropout was earning $200,00 a year, in Hawaii. Of course, he was working for the Fed. Government.

Update: Booz -Allen says that no, he must be bragging, it was only $120,000. That’s before bonuses, of course.