Discuss amongst yourselves

So much for the purple finger

Donald Rumsfeld raises a middle finger to the democratically-elected Iraqi government of which the Administration is so proud:

Leaving Iraq now would be like handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a column published on Sunday, the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.

“Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis,” he wrote in an essay in The Washington Post.

And then he goes on to brag that 75 percent of the military activities are being at least partly carried out by those same Nazis. The frightening thing about the Bush Administration is that Rumsfeld is one of the bright ones, which means that either he doesn’t believe what he is saying and has complete contempt for the Three Monkey Republicans who he knows will swallow his words and mindlessly repeat them, or he’s whole a lot dumber than I think he is.

There are no Nazis in Iraq. The far more accurate metaphor is comparing the Americans to Tito in Yugoslavia. It didn’t matter when he died and it doesn’t matter when we leave, the serious fighting starts as soon as the oppressor/occupier exits the scene.

IP and innovation

MSNBC on the patent predators:

While most technology companies make money by developing software, building hardware or providing services, Forgent Networks Inc. has taken a different route: It produces threats and lawsuits that try to cash in on ideas.

Forgent and other companies with similar strategies — often called “patent trolling” by critics — amass intellectual property portfolios and file suits against other businesses, accusing them of infringement.

With a skeleton crew of 30 employees and the help of a law firm, Forgent has built a business out of suing — or threatening to sue — companies, even though it offers no related products and does no development of the technology itself.

What was that about how patents protect creators and support innovation? Anyone who has seen firsthand how Microsoft systematically obliterates the true innovators knows how specious the logic of IP is, at least in the software world.

There’s no question that what Forgent is doing is legal, the question is whether the present system aids or detracts from encouraging technological advancement and economic growth.