Steven Howard Johnson: Reflections on OSINT

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Steven Howard Johnson

Phi Beta Iota:  Mr. Johnson is the author of Integrity at Scale, free online, whose many ideas are being integrated into the vision for a Smart Nation Act and the hub of the Smart Nation, an Open Source Agency and global Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2) network of networks.  He is a party to the on-going push to establish the Open Source Agency and create a more competent and ethical America.

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As I look at the Open Source idea, I find myself experiencing a fair amount of dissonance between a methodological vision of open source intelligence, at one level, and at a very different level, an aspirational vision that sees it as a way of disinfecting a misguided and corrupt set of bureaucracies.

One mission is potentially endorsable by the powers-that-be.  The second mission is not.  Ask people to endorse both and it isn’t likely that either will move forward. If corruption prevention is to be the mission, the open source agency will have to find a home outside of government.  If transparency of intelligence is the mission, then perhaps it can find a home inside government.

My second source of dissonance has to do with design and scale.  Open source intelligence is potentially as vast as all the server farms Google will ever own.  How does a relatively modest site, squeezed in between State and Watergate, ever acquire the heft to handle the challenge?  The scope of the mission and the scope of the agency seem out of sync with the scope of the real estate footprint.

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Aug 24

Reference: Smart Nation Act (Simplified) 2011

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Original Online (.doc 1 page)

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Aug 17

Tom Atlee: Citizen Deliberations – Chart and Options

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Tom Atlee

Dear Friends

I am quite excited about the progress that has been made in various citizen political participation proposals. All of these clearly have tremendous potential and the articulations of their rationales are becoming quite compelling.

With such innovative deliberative democracy proposals, I want them to be thought through well beforehand, engaging a variety of authorities and perspectives in a search of answers that can embrace that diversity with greater wisdom than otherwise. I am especially interested in finding out people’s concerns and what solutions appear when we seriously seek to understand and address those concerns (this being a basic principle of creative consensus processes and of collective wisdom in general). I consider this vital if we seek to inject sane, powerful initiatives into the kind of toxic political environment that exists today. There is just too much at stake to fail simply because we didn’t explore our design issues sufficiently ahead of time.

With that intention in mind, I have the following twelve thoughts and inquiries to offer. I would love to be part of a serious inquiry into questions like these, both in person and online.

Coheartedly,
Tom

Observations

Comparison Chart

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Aug 16

Winslow Wheeler: Defense Cuts, Defense Flim-Flam

Winslow Wheeler

There are numerous misleading and misinformed assertions being made about the defense spending parts of the debt deal.

The White House’s “fact sheet” asserts a $350 billion savings in the “base defense budget.” The $350 billion in defense savings that the White House declares apparently uses a different “baseline” (basis of comparison) and pretends that a two year cap the bill establishes on “security” spending will extend to ten years.  Most misleading of all, it assumes that all savings in the “security” category (which includes DOD, DOE/nuclear weapons, all State Department related spending, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security) will occur only in DOD spending.  In fact, the “security” category was designed to broaden the base for “defense” cuts and to lessen the impact on DOD.  The undocumented $350 billion in “security” savings will actually translate into lesser reductions in DOD spending, but the amount is unknown.  The actual amount will be decided by Congress in the future.
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Aug 1

Tom Atlee: Making Wise Decisions on Public Issues

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Tom Atlee

Dear friends,

I have worked for several months to develop the ideas in this article and to articulate them in an accessible way.  They are fundamental understandings underlying the co-intelligence vision of a wiser democracy.

If the ideas intrigue you, you can find a longer version with more detailed guidelines and references online.  I wrote the abstract below to make it easier for you to see the whole pattern at once.  I hope you find both versions interesting and useful.

Coheartedly,
Tom

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GUIDELINES FOR MAKING WISER DECISIONS ON PUBLIC ISSUES

by Tom Atlee

As a civilization we have tremendous collective power, but we don’t always use it wisely.  We can make good decisions, but we face messy, entangled, rapidly growing problems with complex, debatable causes.  Efforts to solve one problem often generate new ones.  We need more than problem-solving smarts here.  We need wisdom.

A good definition for wisdom here is

the capacity to take into account
what needs to be taken into account
to produce long term, inclusive benefits.

To the extent we fail to take something important into account, it will come back to haunt us.  But often we only realize we overlooked something long after our decision has been implemented.  Certain practices – because they lead us to include more of what’s important – can help us meet this challenge.  Here are eight complementary ways to do this.  The more of them we do, and the better we do them, the wiser our collective decisions will be.
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Jul 31

Tom Atlee: Abundant Democracy Resources

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Tom Atlee

Dear friends,

In 2001 the Co-Intelligence Institute released a breakthrough compilation of more than 100 democratic innovations.  At that time there was no other comparable resource on the web.

This year we decided — and began — to update this list, to fix its broken links, to add new innovations and resources, and to make it into a wiki to allow other people to add democratic innovations they knew about.  You can see our initial progress online.

While preparing a grant proposal to expand the project, we researched the web for other lists of democratic and participatory practices and resources.  We were surprised to find quite a few.

We decided that to add the most value in the context of this great wealth of resources, our project should

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Jul 29

Koko: Crowds Fund Science Directly…

Koko the Reflexive

Scientists Turn to Crowds on the Web to Finance Their Projects

By

New York Times, July 11, 2011

In January, a time when many scientists concentrate on grant proposals, Jennifer D. Calkins and Jennifer M. Gee, both biologists, were busy designing quail T-shirts and trading cards. The T-shirts went for $12 each and the trading cards for $15 in a fund-raising effort resembling an online bake sale.

The $4,873 they raised, mostly from small donations, will pay their travel, food, lab and equipment expenses to study the elegant quail this fall in Mexico.

. . . . . . .

In the crowd funding genus, MyProjects is a different species from Kickstarter. All projects on the site have been vetted by scientists and already receive financing from Cancer Research UK. And the funds are guaranteed regardless of whether the MyProjects goal is reached. Mr. Bromley calls it “substitutional funding.”

. . . . . . .

The quail project was one of thousands that Cassie Marketos, a community editor at Kickstarter, has approved. “It’s one thing to buy a book about quails,” she said. “But to know that you played a small part in making it happen is a much different experience.”

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Phi Beta Iota:  The world is in an intermediary stage toward governing without government.  The era of outrageous fraud, waste, and abuse–massive investments by the government of tax-payer funds on the basis of ideology or special interests, not intelligence with integrity–is coming to an end.  Participatory democracy, alternative localized or specialized currencies that cannot be taxed, and intelligence-driven self-governance that is open to all stakeholders (Panarchy), are all emergent.

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Jul 15

Future of Multinational Intelligence & Operations

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Robert David STEELE Vivas

I am just back from a phenomenal conference on UN Air Operations put together by Professor Walter Dorn and Major Bill March.  The highlight of that event was Senator Romeo Dallaire, LtGen (Ret), author of Shake Hands with the Devil as well as the more recent They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children.

Here are my notes on points made by Senator Dallaire, followed by some additional  personal views of my own with respect to the future of the UN, NATO, and regional organizations long overdue as stewards of their respective regions peace and prosperity.

+  Drawing on history we can project into the future (not in a linear fashion, but from an informed foundation).  We need to do both, we cannot go on as we are with our short-term perspective.

+  We must achieve a communion of humanity in the larger context of the planet as a whole–this is a grand strategic vision in which nation-states are actually limiting elements.

+  National and regional planning must be integrated into a larger global planning and forecasting process; we must go global.

+  The will to intervene in important, and should be but is not, common sense.  Refugees and displaced persons are vectors for disease and root sources of rage.

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Jun 19

Kenya Advances with Participatory Budgeting

Michael Ostrolenk

Participatory Budgeting in Kenya: Finance Minister invites Suggestions through Social Media

Marvin Tumbo, Contributor:

The Kenyan Government has been getting quite tech savvy in the recent past, becoming more pronounced as Kenyans join the civil service. This has resulted in subtle, but solid, movements towards a better connected Government as was showcased during the Connected Kenya Summit in Mombasa in April.

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See Also:

Participatory Budgeting Practices, Games, Resources

Search: “participatory budgeting”

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Jun 8

Worth a Look: Digital (Interactive) Citizens Project

John Steiner

The Digital Citizen Project builds upon the new digital capabilities of television broadcasting and the Internet’s advances in social engagement, to bring an unprecedented degree of citizen participation to news programming for the 2012 election period. The project is premised on the belief that, when offered the chance to appear in media as “informed citizens,” a large number of people will rise to the challenge.

How it Works: Digital Citizen 2012 is a cross-platform and converged media series that seamlessly connects people using social and mobile applications, to television programming of the 2012 campaign. Using well-established online engagement tools, public participants contribute video, audio, text and still images of themselves to the station’s website, stating their opinions and posing questions. Initially, the online community will vet contributions. Producers will join in, to assure the inclusion of representative groups in this process and to track contributors whose posts are popular among the community. Utilizing the digital capabilities of modern studio production equipment, a significant number of the pre-recorded contributor questions and comments will appear on the live programs.

A much smaller number of contributors, whose articulate positions prove popular with the community, will be offered the opportunity to appear live via webcam on the TV program. These participants will be required to take part in a carefully designed online facilitation process that bolsters their arguments with facts, and introduces them to others with different opinions. These “informed citizens” will then be able to speak directly with journalists, experts and candidates during the programs.

Learn more….

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Jun 1