December 3, 2012

Canada’s arch-traitor of the War of 1812

Filed under: Cancon, History, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:54

In the National Post, James Careless discusses the worst politician in Canadian history, the man who urged invaders to burn down his own constituency on their retreat:

Joseph Willcocks was an admired and effective member of the Upper Canada parliament for Niagara when the War of 1812 broke out. He quickly applied his skills to the war effort, convincing aboriginal warriors in his area to fight for the British. He earned the gratitude of the great British Army officer Sir Isaac Brock for his effort and fought alongside Brock at the Battle of Queenston Heights.

By all accounts he fought bravely. But as the war raged on, Willcocks decided to switched sides, joining the Americans who had overrun his Niagara riding. He created a turncoat regiment called the Canadian Volunteers who spied on Upper Canadians still loyal to the British, imprisoned their men and plundered their farms.

When the Americans retreated from Niagara in December 1813, Willcocks urged them to burn the village to the ground. This the Americans did, turning families out into the snow with the Canadian Volunteers’ eager assistance.

“This act of treason made Willcocks the only MP in history to burn his constituency,” says Sarah Maloney, managing director/curator of the Niagara Historical Society & Museum in Niagara-on-the-Lake (formerly Niagara). “His betrayal is unprecedented in our history.”

“Willcocks was certainly Canada’s worst-ever politician,” says Peter Macleod, pre-Confederation historian and curator of the Canadian War Museum’s 1812 exhibition. “But he was more than that. Willcocks was and still is Canada’s arch-traitor.”

Update, 24 May 2013: This was posted as a comment by Bryan Kerman, but comments are automatically closed on posted items after a few days, so it didn’t get added to the comment thread.

Sorry to surprise you but the article on Joseph Willcocks is misleading and covers up the big STATE LIE about him.

To whit:

1. He did not go willingly to the Americans but was run out by some prominent Tories, part of what would be called the Family Compact shortly afterwards.

2. He essentially fought his war within a war to hurt the Tories and otherwise political enemies who had caused him to flee.

3. His treason by taking up arms has provided convenient cover for 200 years to those who caused his expulsion and thence violent response.

These conclusions based on new evidence I have found is given in the ‘Introduction’ to my book Democrats and Other Traitors (Amazon) and throughout the novel.

Mr. Kerman’s book is listed on the Offorby Press website here.

The feudal technopeasant internet

Filed under: History, Liberty, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:20

Bruce Schneier on the less-than-appealing state of user security in today’s internet:

It’s a feudal world out there.

Some of us have pledged our allegiance to Google: We have Gmail accounts, we use Google Calendar and Google Docs, and we have Android phones. Others have pledged allegiance to Apple: We have Macintosh laptops, iPhones, and iPads; and we let iCloud automatically synchronize and back up everything. Still others of us let Microsoft do it all. Or we buy our music and e-books from Amazon, which keeps records of what we own and allows downloading to a Kindle, computer, or phone. Some of us have pretty much abandoned e-mail altogether … for Facebook.

These vendors are becoming our feudal lords, and we are becoming their vassals. We might refuse to pledge allegiance to all of them — or to a particular one we don’t like. Or we can spread our allegiance around. But either way, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to not pledge allegiance to at least one of them.

Feudalism provides security. Classical medieval feudalism depended on overlapping, complex, hierarchical relationships. There were oaths and obligations: a series of rights and privileges. A critical aspect of this system was protection: vassals would pledge their allegiance to a lord, and in return, that lord would protect them from harm.

Of course, I’m romanticizing here; European history was never this simple, and the description is based on stories of that time, but that’s the general model.

And it’s this model that’s starting to permeate computer security today.

“Wookierotica” in Oz

Filed under: Australia, Humour, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:09

The Register is always willing to go the extra parsec to get the NSFW story. Here’s Simon Sharwood on a burlesque show with a Star Wars theme being performed in Australia this month:

The show’s creator says the performance doesn’t necessarily involve nudity, as he dislikes notions that burlesque always has to end up with a pile of smalls on the floor.

As the NSFW video below shows, the production will certainly leave you feeling rather more kindly disposed to storm troopers. You may also find out whether Jabba the Hutt bought Princess Leia just the one bikini.

The show is billed as a parody and is definitely not in canon. It’s also proving hard to suppress: since debuting late last year, it has enjoyed several seasons around Australia. A new run of shows kicks off in early December at Sydney’s Vanguard Theatre, just in time for Vulture South’s Christmas party.

We’re from the ITU and we’re here to “fix” your internet

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Liberty, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:32

At Techdirt, Nick Masnick recounts some of the wonderful things the International Telecommunications Union would like to “help” regarding that pesky “internet” thing:

We’ve been talking about the ITU’s upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) for a while now, and it’s no longer “upcoming.” Earlier today, the week and a half session kicked off in Dubai with plenty of expected controversy. The US, the EU and now Australia have all come out strongly against the ITU’s efforts to undermine the existing internet setup to favor authoritarian countries or state-controlled (or formerly state-controlled) telcos who want money for internet things they had nothing to do with. The BBC article above has a pretty good rundown of some of the scarier proposals being pitched behind closed doors at WCIT. Having the US, EU and Australia against these things is good, but the ITU works on a one-vote-per-country system, and plenty of other countries see this as a way to exert more control over the internet, in part to divert funds from elsewhere into their own coffers.

Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the ITU, keeps trying to claim that this is all about increasing internet access, but that’s difficult to square with reality:

    “The brutal truth is that the internet remains largely [the] rich world’s privilege, ” said Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, ahead of the meeting.

    “ITU wants to change that.”

Of course, internet access has already been spreading to the far corners of the planet without any “help” from the ITU. Over two billion people are already online, representing about a third of the planet. And, yes, spreading that access further is a good goal, but the ITU is not the player to do it. The reason that the internet has been so successful and has already spread as far as it has, as fast as it has, is that it hasn’t been controlled by a bureaucratic government body in which only other governments could vote. Instead, it was built as an open interoperable system that anyone could help build out. It was built in a bottom up manner, mainly by engineers, not bureaucrats. Changing that now makes very little sense.

Canada is also on the record as being against the expansion of the ITU’s role.

Canada will look to prevent governments from taking more power over the Internet when governments sit down for 12 days of negotiations on the future of the Internet next week, but the government didn’t say Thursday where it stands on a contentious proposal that could see users pay more for online content.

Canada’s position going into the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) mirrors a number of Western allies in opposing having governments control how the Internet functions, leaving it to the current mix of public and private sector actors, according to documents released to Postmedia News under access to information laws. That stance is in contrast to proposals from some of the 193 members of the International Telecommunications Union, such as Russia, that want greater control over the Internet — more so than they already have in some cases — including more powers to track user identities online.

The meeting in Dubai will determine whether the ITU, an arm of the United Nations, will receive broad regulatory powers to set rules of road in cyberspace. The potential to centralize control over the Internet into the hands of governments has some users and hacktivists concerned that freedoms online would be crushed should a new binding international treaty change the status quo for how telecommunications companies interact across borders.

Vikings manage only brief moments of offensive effectiveness, lose in Green Bay 23-14

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:24

Green Bay was playing hurt, showing vulnerabilities, and shaky on both offense and defence. Minnesota had Adrian Peterson the cyborg running back going over 200 yards on the ground, but no passing attack at all. During the TV broadcast, even Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were making comments about Christian Ponder having nobody to throw the ball to (nobody open, that is). The first completion to a wide receiver came with less than three minutes remaining in the game. If this continues, the Vikings will have to spend several picks in the 2013 draft on wide receivers…

Dan Zinski at The Viking Age:

What’s the recipe for losing a game when your running back goes for 210 and a touchdown? Measure out a generous amount of bad quarterback play, mix in some terrible third down defense, add a dash of stupid penalties and stir. That was about how it went for the Vikings today. They had a shot at Lambeau Field, thanks mostly to Adrian Peterson, but they blew it. They blew it because Christian Ponder threw two unspeakably awful interceptions. They blew it because the D couldn’t get off the field on third down to save its life. They blew it because they didn’t play with enough discipline.

At the top of the list of culprits today was Christian Ponder. Even his most hardcore defenders have to admit this. He played a miserable game. The interception he threw in the end zone was just about the worst decision you can imagine. Can’t pass that one off on the playcalling or the receivers or the pass protection. That was all on Ponder. It was a throw that never should’ve been made. A second interception later was almost as bad. He just did not look like an NFL quarterback today, outside of one drive in the first half where he led them down for a TD. For most of the game he looked lost. Calls for his benching have been getting louder with each passing week but now they’ve become a roar. But of course the Vikes won’t bench him because they have no one else. Joe Webb is not going to lead this team into the playoffs.

The not-so-hidden Agenda 21

In the Libertarian Enterprise, John Walker talks about the UN’s Agenda 21:

In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (“Earth Summit”) in Rio de Janeiro, an action plan for “sustainable development” titled “Agenda 21” was adopted. It has since been endorsed by the governments of 178 countries, including the United States, where it was signed by president George H. W. Bush (not being a formal treaty, it was not submitted to the Senate for ratification). An organisation called Local Governments for Sustainability currently has more than 1200 member towns, cities, and counties in 70 countries, including more than 500 in the United States signed on to the program. Whenever you hear a politician talking about environmental “sustainability” or the “precautionary principle”, it’s a good bet the ideas they’re promoting can be traced back to Agenda 21 or its progenitors.

When you read the U.N. Agenda 21 document (which I highly encourage you to do—it is very likely your own national government has endorsed it), it comes across as the usual gassy international bureaucratese you expect from a U.N. commission, but if you read between the lines and project the goals and mechanisms advocated to their logical conclusions, the implications are very great indeed. What is envisioned is nothing less than the extinction of the developed world and the roll-back of the entire project of the enlightenment. While speaking of the lofty goal of lifting the standard of living of developing nations to that of the developed world in a manner that does not damage the environment, it is an inevitable consequence of the report’s assumption of finite resources and an environment already stressed beyond the point of sustainability that the inevitable outcome of achieving “equity” will be a global levelling of the standard of living to one well below the present-day mean, necessitating a catastrophic decrease in the quality of life in developed nations, which will almost certainly eliminate their ability to invest in the research and technological development which have been the engine of human advancement since the Renaissance. The implications of this are so dire that somebody ought to write a dystopian novel about the ultimate consequences of heading down this road.

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