Archive for November, 2008

The money pool: tracing back

The money pool was seeking something to buy. What was being sold is the question. The IBD traced it back to the source in Stop Covering Up And Kill The CRA

The exotic securitizations that have gotten so much of the blame were a symptom, not the cause, of the crisis.

This is the immediate concern because it is the market for these securitizations that has crashed. That market is also one that is easy to label with terms such as “corporate greed” and has been subject to a lot of regulation – and envy. But it is the intermediary, the shopkeeper, and not either the buyer nor the seller. The seller was a product of government social efforts.

The Community Reinvestment Act is to blame for the financial crisis, but it so powerfully serves Democrats’ interests that they’ll do anything to protect it — including revising history.

The CRA coerces banks into making loans based on political correctness, and little else, to people who can’t afford them. Enforced like never before by the Clinton administration, the regulation destroyed credit standards across the mortgage industry, created the subprime market, and caused the housing bubble that has now burst and left us with the worst housing and banking crises since the Great Depression.

The banks in this case are the guys in the middle, the shopkeepers. They have buyers lined up with money to spend. They have a government pushing, demanding even, unwise practice. They have a market anxious to for the pool of money, a market that could not find money without some unusual pressures like the CRA.

Fact: The 1977 law was only lightly enforced until Clinton added teeth to it in 1994 and launched an anti-redlining campaign against banks, led by Ludwig, Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros (and later Andrew Cuomo) and Attorney General Janet Reno that lasted into this decade.

Minority homeownership rates, which had been flat, began a steep rise in 1995, and home prices soon followed, stoked by easier lending. Numerous bank officials complain that they still feel pressured by CRA regulators to make inner-city loans they know are at great risk of defaulting.

The thing is that when the slide was greased, the price of the goods ballooned as competition for them increased. But the grease dried up when the owners of the money pool started to realize their money was going towards investments that had ballooned way past a reasonable value and were supporting untenable financial leverage rather than solid asset values.

It’s the guys in the middle, the shopkeepers, who got the splinters when the grease dried up. Their pain resulted in more normal and traditional uses of money flow to dry up and that has been what the bailouts have been trying to grease.

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Stephen gets it on the “troubled” mantra

When an Economic Crisis Hits eLearning, What Do Managers Have to Say About It? – Stephen only instructs his community but the advice should be taken to heart elsewhere – especially in the news media. He says to can this “in these troubled times…” stuff as it is not accurate and can be a self fulfilling prophecy.

the economy has not changed materially since before the crash. This is important to understand, because what it suggests is that the loss of wealth was of wealth that did not exist in the first place – it was largely fictitious wealth created by (shyster) credit markets. Real harm will be caused, though, if we act as though nothing is of value any more. We need to, for now, continue creating, selling, producing and consuming. But we also need to retool, because our economic patterns are not sustainable. The only way out of this is to replace, in relatively short order, fictitious value with real value. We don’t do that by pulling in the reins, managing conservatively, being ‘fiscally prudent’.

Stephen is looking for

an environmentally responsible, socially just, and progressive market economy based on fairness and humanity. Real value, produced by real people. To proceed in any other direction will most certainly unleash substantial and needless misery throughout what will have formerly been called “the developed world”.

Which sounds reasonable but one must keep in mind that a primary cause of the current mess traces back to governmental efforts for fairness in housing where that fairness ignored ability to pay. “Real value, produced by real people” is sometimes in conflict with the fact that not all people create the same value. Fairness must not mean that individual productivity does not have consequence. That is the tough dilemma.

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Words: selling socialism and the economy

The Washington Times carries two distinguished professors this morning. Dr. Williams describes how shallow thinking is deceived by pleasant words and Dr. Sowell on how evil words mislead and deceive. Both see how gullibility is in evidence as words are not examined for integrity.

Theft hidden by ‘virtue’ by Walter E. Williams:

Evil acts can be given an aura of moral legitimacy by noble-sounding socialistic expressions such as spreading the wealth, income redistribution or caring for the less fortunate. … The bottom line is that we’ve become a nation of thieves, a value rejected by our Founders.

‘Jolt’ the economy? by Thomas Sowell:

Barack Obama says that we have to “jolt” the economy. That certainly makes sense, if you take the media’s account of the economy seriously — but should the media be taken seriously?

Amid all the political and media hysteria, national output has declined by less than one-half of 1 percent. It may not have declined even that much — or at all — when the statistics are revised later, as they very often are. We are not talking about the Great Depression, when output dropped by one-third and unemployment soared to 25 percent.

The stock market took a dump but interest rates, unemployment, and mortgage rates are all still healthy. Only those who are buying and selling major assets – the financiers – are really suffering (so far). Yet we hear over and over again about soup lines and poverty and that scares people. One the one hand they start to hoard which reduces consumption which can lead to economic depression and all those things feared. On the other it can lead to gullibility about ‘spreading the wealth’ and governmental intervention in business and markets.

There has been a lot of cynicism about government bail-outs. So far such efforts have been mostly cornered into money supply which is a proper governmental role. But it is easy to cross the line as the plea to bail out the big 3 illustrates. As Sowell worries, even the current efforts may be a bit too much. Maybe the efforts to use taxpayer money try to save pensions, jobs, and eliminate inequality will continue to receive support.

It is something to think about.

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The money pool: distance between buyer and product

There was a vast pool of money looking for some better representation than government notes. This created a market for people to connect the money to products. Since the buyer was only looking for a return on investment rather than directly used products and services, the ‘connecting’ people had a lot of room for creative use of the money. Predicting the financial crisis: a few who saw it coming, and why takes note of an article by Michael Lewis on the roots of the financial crisis.

There’s apparently a very powerful desire to believe in a pleasant fable in which home prices continue to rise forever, and where heads of huge companies and the people they employ actually know—and care—what they are doing, and what the larger consequences of their actions might be.

A while back I called the subprime mortgage market and its derivatives and tranchings an attempt at alchemy, that futile quest to turn base metals into gold. Unlike actual alchemy, this effort seemed to work—for a while. But now it’s turned to dross.

When people are paid to create transactions, their interest is in selling transactions. In this case, the pool of money was a pressure and some creative product packaging tended to obfuscate the actual risks involved. That creativity when coupled with government policies for social initiatives were major factors in build a house of cards out of the pool of money.

What was the wind that attacked that house of cards? It may have come from the summer price of oil and a housing market that was a bubble ready to burst. Then there was this election campaign thing …

Many factors, many stimulants, many connections, and many misperceptions – that is why there is no simple fix.

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The money pool

One of the factors in the current finance sector is a large pool of money. That money stems from an historically unique demographic and from productivity gains.

The grandparents of the boomers could not expect to live long enough to retire. In 1900, the life expectancy at birth was a bit under 50 years (see efmoody). Two generations later, the boomers could expect an average life span of almost 70 years. For contrast, human lifespans of more than 40 years were unusual until well into the 19th century (Wikipedia). An average means half could expect to live longer. Longer than 50 means a few more years of work. Longer than 70 means a good chance to see some retirement if you can figure out how to afford it.

Technology for everything from farming to transportation to medicine to modern manufacturing management also had not changed much prior to the 20th century. The changes that marked the 20th century meant that each worker produced more and could do more and was healthier and more fit as well. Add this to a longer period of productivity and the result is wealth generation never before seen in human history.

All of this wealth owned by the common man presented a problem. You don’t stick that much under the mattress. So you bought stuff with it, stuff that you could sell later, preferably at a profit like real estate, stocks, and other financial instruments. This created a market for managing these transactions and keeping track of things. That created distance between the wealth and its basis and that opened the door that has resulted in an historic dump in stock values.

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A misplaced patriotism

It seems that many have expectations about what is due them as a right. Thomas Sowell describes one of these newly invented or desired rights in the Washington Times.

With all the various groups who act as if they have a right to win, we got to the present situation over the years, going back to the 1960s, where the idea started gaining acceptance that people who felt aggrieved don’t have to follow the rules or even the law.

“No justice, no peace!” was a slogan that found resonance. Like so many slogans, it sounds good if you don’t stop and think – and awful if you do.

Almost by definition, everybody thinks their cause is just. Does that mean nobody has to obey the rules? That is called anarchy.

The most recent episode is the reaction to the passing of Proposition 8 in the recent California elections. Another that keeps coming up to explain current politics is the Florida vote brouhaha in the 2000 presidential election. The latest presidential election also has some flavor of this from the perspective of an anticipated reaction, a projection if you will, rather than a realization.

Remember that story about when Clinton was elected and the response to a formation of jets flying over? ‘Their ours now’ shows just how deep this obligation of a right is felt and how much it means. It seems to be a misplaced patriotism.

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Testament to the effectiveness of propaganda

Brian Faughnan highlights a video prepared by John Ziegler, who also commissioned a poll to see what the average voter learned during the 2008 campaign. Media Malpractice? – How Much Did Voters Learn About the Candidates? lists some of what was found.

The results indicate that voters new very little about the relevant background or political history of candidates Obama and Biden but new, as fact, disproven myths about Palin. Only .5% got all of the survey answers correct.

It is indeed a testament to the effectiveness of propaganda when a majority of voters do not know things that are directly pertinent to their decisions and do know things that are not so. Getting a signal out of the propaganda noise can be difficult.

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Where’s the outrage?

It involves the standards of our society and what we accept and what we reject that defines us. Some are worried. Beldar gets rather vehement on Bill Ayers.

Proof: In a post-election interview yesterday with ABC News, this piece of excrement had the nerve — one might say, “the audacity” — to simultaneously contend that the bombings he and his comrades in the Weather Underground did were “not terrorism because [they didn’t] target people, to kill or injure,” but that “thousands of people were being murdered every month” by the lawful, elected, democratic government of the United States of America. That’s a despicable, intentional, unforgivable, scurrilous lie, immediately followed by another.

anyone else who could sit in the same room with Bill Ayers without complaint, without speaking out about his continued depravity, has deliberately chosen to ignore evil — and by ignoring it, to perpetuate and implicitly defend it.

It should be noted that Ayers is a professor of education at a prestigious university. He is teaching teachers for our public school systems. The fact that this does not seem to disturb sufficient people to have it on the table for discussion is, in itself, disturbing.

The fact is that the rationalization of despicable acts by claims that their country also committed despicable acts is not a tactic used by Ayers alone. Whether such an approach is used by the terrorists of 9/11 or by those who oppose the US response, the fact is that our society is marked by many who rationalize society hostile actions.

To see where this goes, read Baltimore Confidential by Rachel DiCarlo Currie. It is about “why some cops hate the drug war” – those who see the damage but can do little because of the barriers placed on them by society.

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Brand tarnishing

Sally Zelikovsky does a comparison and contrast in It’s How You Play The Game. The basis that leads to the contrasting behaviors is in the matters of civil behavior.

Many times I tried to engage you in conversation, as many of my like-minded friends have done, only to be met with scorn, ridicule, all too often ignorance and almost always the brush off. People talk a good game about robust debate, but they have shown they don’t live up to it.

This is another observation about “an endless onslaught defaming the brand and, it’s true, you know, if you say it enough, they will believe it.”

I say “unwittingly” because many of you fail to recognize the role you played in this daily onslaught against the President, in particular, and the havoc it wreaked on this country, in general.

When we are rude or intolerant or engage with the mob we do destructive things to our relationships and to our society. We can rationalize our behavior or minimize the value of what we do. That just lets the bleeding from many cuts continue.

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Promises to make the sale

There is always a great deal of cynicism about politicians and their promises. This last campaign seems to have been particularly fruitful on the promises part. Investor’s Business Daily has compiled A Checklist Of Obama’s Many Promises and suggests you “Clip it. Save it. And see how he did in four years.”

Few presidential candidates have made more specific promises to American voters than Barack Obama. They came so fast and furious in the latter part of the campaign, you’d be excused for not keeping up. So as a public service, we’ve put together a handy checklist of some of the biggest Obama promises — culled from his “Blueprint for Change,” his campaign speeches and advertisements.

For some, the profligate plethora of promises was a reason to be skeptical of the intellectual integrity behind them. For others, it may just be a feed for a cynical approach that dismissed them as they were made. Either way, the list of promises and their success in achieving office should be something to think about.

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Jobbing out

While the talking heads on CNN are going after Hannity and the Fox Network for not showing what they think is proper support for the president elect, there is another phenomena gaining visibility that is indicative of a power unveiled and a media complicit endorsement of tactics that do not seem savory.

What is happening now to Sarah Palin is very similar to the ‘jobbing out’ process in Pro-Wrestling and it is a travesty. And no, it hasn’t just started since the election ended, but has been ongoing, with the whispers getting louder and criticism’s stronger as the poll numbers weakened for the GOP ticket. [Michael Sparxx]

Then we have the claims that Palin’s remarks on the campaign provoked violence against her opponents. The original claims turned out to be baseless on investigation. The new claims only show that Palin’s opponents do not give up no matter the facts, no matter the reality, no matter what.

Sure, the media seized on them to distract from the factual pertinent connections between Obama and terrorists/radicals like William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright that Palin was talking about, but outside of claims from clearly non-objective sources there’s nothing to suggest that those things actually happened. [Rob]

And now there are indications that some of this Palin bashing effort is a hoax. That just illustrates the problem of defining a line between what is appropriate and what is not. It seems that when you have to make things up, as has been the case for many BDS issues in the last few years, then it is obviously over the line. But what is, or should be, appropriate? It seems that this has something to do with communications and clarification of an underlying truth that is of greater value than the deception in ‘teaching’ it. That is a values issue and, again, not as simple as it may seem.

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Getting a proper understanding

Engram takes a look at U.S. Economic Performance During the Clinton and Bush Years and provides some insight into one of the big lies of recent years and why it was big.

Most people are simply unaccustomed to allowing the data to influence their thinking, so they adjust the data to fit what they fervently wish were true. You should try hard not to do that. Even though data can be flawed, the best approach is always to seek out the best source of information and to then consider the possibility that what the numbers show is the closest approximation to the truth we have.

He notes that two financial bubbles have popped since 2000 yet the USA average GDP has grown 2.23% compared to 1.69% for the G6 or other major economies. Providing two numbers to compare is better than having one sitting by itself but a proper comparison must go a bit deeper and consider what the percentage means.

A point that is not understood by many is that the percent change figure makes things look better for the G6 than they really are. That’s because, on a per capita basis, the U.S. economy is larger than the economies of the G6.

To illustrate this, he compares a 3% increase in income for a sports star and the average wage earner.

If your income goes up by 3%, you could take a decent vacation with the extra money. If his goes up by 3%, he could probably buy an island with his extra money. That is, the same percent increase translates into a lot more actual money if the starting value is high than if it is low.

This gets into one of those realities that many just don’t get. That reality is the size of the US economy when compared to other countries on the planet. See, for example, US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs at Strange Maps. Or, from the Brookings Institute:

In May [2004], the European Union celebrated the accession of 10 new members. In one fell swoop, by adding their combined GDP to that of the current EU-15, Europe had finally caught up to the United States in economic size. Both economies at present have an annual income of around $11 trillion. Their per capita incomes differ significantly, with the European Union spreading the same income over 170 million more people. Nonetheless, for symbolic as well as practical reasons, the achievement of parity between the EU and U.S. economies marks a milestone.

The fact that the US has such a larger economy than the G6 and is growing at a faster rate means that it is gaining wealth faster. It’s half a percent greater growth represents a lot more money because its basis is so much larger.

If you have not investigated the matter for yourself, you should. The data-based truth is usually more interesting than what you get from well-meaning reporters who unconsciously process information through a left-wing filter.

Like the local CBS news that claimed an uptick in the stock market on Friday after an historic post election loss was a positive reception to the new president, you often don’t have to do much investigating to gain a better understanding. The place to start is to see just how absurd some of what is being posited really is.

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Economic worries (the base behind the big lie)

While the economy is currently sound, there are reasons to worry. The Social Security implications of age demographics is one that was set aside a few years ago as was the oversight of Fannie and Freddie. Maxedoutmama says Sorry, Guys and lists a few other challenges.

She sees the trend to continue: ” Obama, Pelosi and Reid have substantially similar ideas about energy. Early next year they will raise the gas tax, and under the new administration most realistic energy projects will not be approved. Instead, the unrealistic stuff will get a heavy economic subsidy.”

Protectionism is a threat: “Carbon cap and trade are either domestic economic suicide or protectionism. I think the new administration will opt for protectionism.”

Taxes and finding money for government projects will likely lead to further innovation in new taxation ideas. “If Congress were to tax interest and dividends on those 401Ks, they’d make much more, and I expect an attempt to do this somehow.”

Older unemployed workers face challenges: “if you are a 63 year old who has lost your job, you have very little chance (perhaps 1 in 10) of getting another which carries health insurance in this climate.” This will put pressure on Social Security and other social services.

The energy proposals will feed inflation and that has already “eroded the standards of living of lower-income people very rapidly over the last three years.”

There are proven methods for turning this around. They don’t seem to be on the table in the current political climate.

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The disappointed have found a cause!

There are many disappointed about the outcome of the recent election who weren’t too happy to start with about the candidate they felt it necessary to support. These disappointed have found a cause that addresses a fundamental problem at staffing levels that has been noted for some time on ‘their’ side.

Erick Erickson at Red State calls it Operation Leper.

We’re tracking down all the people from the McCain campaign now whispering smears … It is our expressed intention to make these few people political lepers.

Byron York takes note at NRO

It’s about the character of the McCain campaign. There is no doubt that it included some fine people who, whatever their opinions, wouldn’t be involved in this kind of behavior. But it also, obviously, included some who would. John McCain ran for president, to some large degree, on the character he had displayed throughout his life. Not so for some of those around him.

Michelle Malkin takes off on The McCain campaign’s classless cowards

Let’s assume the rumor-mongers are telling the truth for a moment. Who does it damn more: Sarah Palin or McCain and his vetters who green-lighted her for the vice presidential nomination?

To get a handle on this sort of thing, go watch the initial speech in the George Scott Patton movie (Youtube)and his comments about losers. It is one thing to suffer a defeat or setback but entirely another to dishonor the effort.

It is also interesting to consider this in light of the ‘big lie’ about negative and attack ads in campaigns. The McCain campaign was accused of this tactic while suffering not only the accusation but also the technique. Meanwhile it appears that the McCain’s biggest problem with this technique was from inside against itself.

This ‘loyalty’ problem has also been something to note in the Bush administration with ‘tell all’ books and intelligence leaks. There is a question here as to where standing against one’s group is appropriate or necessary and when it is best to sit on it. There is also a question about the best approach to handle these sorts of things.

What Erick illustrates is that disloyalty in a campaign is improper and unethical. If someone in the core is unhappy, they should first remove themselves from that core of the group and then proceed to act upon their unhappiness. Their behavior can then be examined to see if they are just disgruntled employees or whether they have something of true merit behind their choices.

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One of the big lies: the state of the economy

There are a few distortions of reality that qualify as big lies. Sowell describes one, the big lie about the economy and how it was, and is, used for political purposes.

The media have hyped current economic problems to the point where you might think we were heading for a replay of the Great Depression of the 1930s. They have been dying to use the word “recession” but there is a clear definition of recession – two consecutive quarters of negative growth – and we have yet to reach that.

If the meaning of words can be changed to suit political convenience, then discussions become an exercise in futility.

The big lie is presented as an axiom and used to explain all sorts of things, whether these things are real or not. Look around and see how many are excusing something “because of the terrible economy.”

One of the problems with this is that of the placebo effect. What people think and say often drives their direction and creates their destination.

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Nov 4 results: FCC opens path

On November 4 the FCC cleared the way for the use of TV channel guard bands for I’net access. As TV moves from analog to digital, the need for an empty space, a guard band, between channels to prevent them from interfering with each other is reduced. Getting more TV in less spectrum is the promise of digital TV and this FCC action is an attempt to utilize that promise. It is a second step after auctioning off the upper UHF channels (51 to 80) freed up in the planned transition.

The idea on this use of the guard bands for I’net access is that, while the equipment must still be FCC approved, transmissions do not need a license. There will have to be provision to make sure the equipment does not interfere with nearby digital TV transmissions. This will likely mostly depend upon a location database more than it will signal sensing.

A key feature of using this part of the spectrum is that it is at a lower frequency than the traditional 2.4 GHz WiFi which means it will suffer less attenuation getting into and out of buildings and other solid objects. It will tend to have a longer range with some trade-off for lower data rates.

Joshua Breitbart has a good description in Open the airwaves and the sky’s the limit and why the ‘free is good’ folks are very happy.

Wireless access is not a full replacement for wired connections, but it is a much cheaper way to bring people the Internet. Mobile phones are far more widespread than in-home computers with broadband connections, especially among the groups currently marginalized from the Internet. …

Once you don’t have to rely on big, corporate license-holders to get a connection, you can start to invent entirely new devices and applications. The FCC used the same kind of open platform for innovation with the 2.4 gigahertz band. That led to an astounding array of inventions — cordless phones, remote controls, microwave ovens, and wi-fi routers — all sharing one tiny piece of the airwaves.

Google has been one the primary backers of this idea. Catherine Holahan described their effort in Business Week’s Google’s Plans for the Space Between Your TV Channels

Companies such as Clearwire are providing I’net service similar to that envisioned by Google. This FCC action will make that type of service easier to implement over more area.

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Honor, duty, integrity: where did it go?

The Treatment of Bush Has Been a DisgraceWhat must our enemies be thinking? by J.S. Shapiro (Wall Street Journal opinion)

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty — a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.

“proving to the world what little character and resolve we have … has not gone unnoticed by our enemies … has shown to the world how disloyal we can be”

Those who are responsible for this state of affairs are now at the point. The rest of us stood by like in that ol’ western on TV where the sheriff had to face down the bad guys all by himself. It should be interesting. This isn’t a movie.

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It’s not the bias

Roger nails the point:

But bias, bad as it may be, is not the real problem. Everybody has a bias. We all know that. It’s when bias creates dishonesty that the dry rot sets in.

His example is the propaganda machine, the fourth estate becoming the fifth column. The point, though, is that it is the intellectual integrity that is at issue, that is creating damage, and that will have the most long term impact.

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eBox: caveats and limitations

As an approach to network administration, eBox is intended for those who don’t want to gain the expertise or spend the time needed to understand all of the nuance and interrelationships between services of a modern office network server. There are two basic approaches to simplifying things like this. One is to handle interdependencies automatically and the other is to depend upon a standard model or template for the system. eBox has a lot of work to do in both of these areas.

The sales pitch for eBox does not clearly indicate that its standard model is a server with two interfaces, each on its own network. In the eBox network settings, the interface with the ‘external’ box checked serves what is usually known as the WAN (wide area network) side that is attached to the I’net. The interface without this ‘external’ box checked is for the LAN (local area network) side. In the standard eBox network model, the eBox machine provides many services that are usually provided by standalone NAT router devices. See the eBox Network Scenario.

In the first scenario eBox is placed between your router and your local network. In the second one, eBox is installed just like another machine in your network. The latter has some limitations as we explain later.

Many micro businesses and home based businesses have a modem that connects to the broadband service, usually DSL or cable, provided by an I’net service provider. This connects to a NAT router that will have several ethernet ports and perhaps a wireless network that services the local machines. These NAT routers can run from well under $40 to several hundred and provide services such as network address translation, firewall, DHCP, and DNS configured by a web based interface. They are standard ‘off the shelf’ appliances that work very well for the basic WAN to LAN interface. If you set up an eBox machine that is a peer under this router with the other local machines, its capabilities become limited due to its model and that model’s necessary interdependencies.

The key here is whether to model is based on the assumption in between the source and destination of network traffic or just sitting in the network providing services to its peers. The eBox model is mostly based on the presumption of throughput.

Services that are strictly for a LAN, such as file sharing and user definition can avoid any interaction with upstream firewalls and traffic controls. Services like traffic shaping and load sharing seem to need to cooperate closely with firewalls yet eBox does not appear to define this interaction for the user. Then there is the proxy service which lists a dependency upon the firewall yet has no obvious need for that dependency. This is a state of confusion noted in the Firewall rework discussion.

The firewall module is one of the most criticised and controversial parts in eBox. Abstracting the firewall configuration is a tricky work, we tried our best, and it seems our approach can be improved.

It appears that eBox is rather young. It does not yet have the service coverage that its competitors like Webmin do, partly due to its primary feature of automatically managing interdependencies between services. This automation feature is perhaps also a reason why flexibility in configuring services like file sharing and web services is limited. A conservative approach to management of interdepencies is also why users may find the feature set restricted in ways that make like difficult for them, especially if not adhering to the network model presumed by eBox developers.

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Propadanda measured

Right Wing News describes one example of the effect of propaganda and why that effect should be a worry. In this case it is a nine point change in perceptions about the qualifications of a candidate when the propaganda has been the overwhelming primary factor during the time period.

Should this concern us? I’d ordinarily say no, because people have always wanted to put on a big show of thinking for themselves, and they’ve always been dissappointing in this. It’s one of those things that go all the way back to the snake giving Eve that apple…or the first man’s ape-tail shriveling up into nothingness, if that’s your point of view. Humans have always wanted to be regarded by other humans as deep, solitary, independent thinkers. They’ve never wanted to do much to earn that.

Here’s what concerns me. You can’t just spend millions of dollars repeating over and over again that a certain smart person is stupid, and then enjoy a nine percent increase in the number of people who believe it to be true. People have to have some reason to clamber on board the bandwagon. Sarah Palin hasn’t been giving people reason to believe that it’s true. As far as I know, free cigarettes and hooch haven’t been passed out to people willing to sign on to the idea that Palin’s a moron…and so it comes down, by process of elimination, to a technique the democrat power-brokers and party bosses are known for using, and using very well.

The questions are why people are so gullible and what it means. The answers are not pretty.

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