Sunday, November 19, 2017

What Puts People At The Top One Percent?

It would seem to be controlling access to the right professions, as well as controlling all aspects of financing itself; especially as it relates to the laws that govern such things. The healthcare part probably comes into the fray for the obvious reason that we'd all like to continue taking whatever advantage we might have, no matter how marginal it might be.

It also seems to me that someone who was proposing the deemphasis of specialization, in this context, might just be onto something here. Of course that also might just be my bias in these things. Still, it does give some interesting perspective.

Myths of the 1 Percent: What Puts People at the Top

Friday, November 17, 2017

Is This What You Think Will Replace 8 Million Retail Workers?

Better hope to the gods not.


Who delivers Amazon orders? Increasingly, it's plainclothes contractors with few labor protections, driving their own cars, competing for shifts on the company's own Uber-like platform.

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Liability As We Have Known It Is Doomed In The New Operating Environment We Now Face

This stems from the situation that reminds us that it is not just a new environment of expressive instrumentality (the vast changes in media, information, and the ways that they can now affect our physical reality), but also the accumulated effects of centuries of commercialized, industrial throughput (encompassing all of the production, and consumption) on our planet's many natural systems (which would include social systems, as well as the various physical process systems).

I make this claim for liability based off of the linked Bloomberg article below. In it do we see the coming absurdity of a new legal doctrine concerning the "Takings Clause" of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment; articulated by Justice Ginsburg that (quoting from the article J.V.):

...the government should compensate a property owner for a taking if it has interfered with a “reasonable, investment-backed expectation.” That is, if it was reasonable to expect that a home you invested in wouldn’t flood, but it does, and a court finds the government responsible, then compensation could be due...

 Whereupon, of course, it becomes a question of what is "reasonable" if so many systems may be sliding, or are near sliding, into various forms of cascade effect, as one sustaining process after another alters profoundly, or ceases to exist altogether, under the onslaught of accumulated human endeavor. Whereupon as well change begins to accelerate far beyond any system to handle; prepared or not.

As the article reiterates, it is a flood zone, bayou area to begin with. One that reasonable people decided the government had to take a role in managing (back in the sixties). This in turn leads to certain assumptions being made on old weather data, so that insurance norms could be put down, so as to not make them be mandatory. These people were told a certain set of odds and then made investments based on those odds. If the odds are always going to be changing, however, who's fault is it?

What is especially interesting here, for someone with my perspective, is that what we ought to have here is at the basic foundation of enlightened self interest that should guide a Libertarian, Socialist form of government (at least as I see it): that these people should be helped regardless of fault. And, in fact, if you got rid of Capitalism, a tremendous portion of why you would want to spend so much time, and effort, in the first place to figure such things out (where it is usually only the lawyers who make out), would just vanish. The union of communities, as well as the individual communities involved themselves, would automatically be the unified payers, as well as joint holders of all liability. This would be, in fact, an essential aspect of the new social contract (hammered out through, no doubt, tough negotiations within the redefinition of the Constitution).

And let me be clear here. This sense of "enlightened self interest" stems from what ought to be the obvious fact now that everything affects everything else. It is so precisely because of so much change in the scope and power of our new forms of instrumentality. It is, in every sense of the phrase, a new fact of life; unless, of course, we fall back to some dark age, apocalyptic fantasy; where most, if not all, technology is lost. A horrible fate indeed, but one, given how severe climate change might get without correction, that might still qualify for the "we should be so lucky" type of assessment.

Instability is our common enemy now exactly because things have already become, and are likely to continue to become, more unstable. As such we must do everything we can, within the guidelines of a thoughtful, and caring balance, to alleviate such instability. In this poverty, and deprivation of whatever form, is just as important as too much carbon in the atmosphere; too much competition for markets and resources just as poisonous as the chemicals used to do fracking. And the more we can find ways to tolerate others (even if their beliefs are onerous) and cooperate (where the rule is every individual has the right to vote with their feet, just as every community as a right to live as it sees fit, just as long as it is a case of no specific harm, no foul) to the greatest degree possible.

Make no mistake. This will require an arduous rework of our constitution. That's just the way it has to be. Get that through your heads. It is absolutely mandatory. Just as we must mobilize ourselves to the maximum degree any other grave threat might require. We must do this because we must all be involved in working to redefine, and reorganize, every community that exists in this nation. Just as the Federal Government itself must be redefined, and reorganized.

This is what you must do if you want to have any hope of surviving what is likely to come; or of being able to do so in something that still qualifies as a decent standard of living. Wait too long and events will simply dictate what we collapse into, when the truly serious feces starts hitting us in about ten to twenty years from now (or sooner). Given the trends so far the likelihood is that it will be one hell of a authoritarian nightmare. It will have to be in order to force order of some form or another; and even that won't be able to survive the dire rise of oceans, or the creation of vast swaths of completely uninhabitable land, or water; as well as the many social dislocations, and bloody armed conflicts,  indefinitely.

Better think long and hard on this one before you decide to continue doing nothing.

The U.S. Flooded One of Houston’s Richest Neighborhoods to Save Everyone Else

Thursday, November 16, 2017

This Much Media Concentration Must Not Be Allowed To Happen

Not if you value a diverse expression of ideas and Concerns. Not if you value the basic concept of a broadly informed electorate, so basic to any Democracy worth its salt.

Sinclair’s growing conservative TV network gets FCC help

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There are too many publications. Advertisers keep lowering rates. And a huge, huge, huge amount of digital media is funded by venture capital.


40 percent of Detroit residents don't have any access to internet at all.

Monday, November 13, 2017

What Do You Want To Bet That, Because The Need Is So Great...

...And this response is so hardly adequate to that need, that the inevitable corner cutting, and not paying the day to day maintenance staff nearly what they ought to be getting, that the "patients" end up bearing the brunt of staff frustrations; that they in fact become the targets of this situation being entirely their fault; which of course is complicated by the fact that they should bear some responsibility. It was, after all, bad choices that probably landed them here.

None of that, though, changes the fact that a society cannot last long if they do not come to grips for why the current environment seems so conducive to creating people who do not know how to do much of anything but indulge in bad choices. What is one to expect, however, from a situation where there is no longer much of any lasting stability for major economic stratas to provide the kinds of connected family/community support structures that might actually infuse into our children the kind of beneficial behavioral habits that produce good choice makers. Even worse, what little structure there is seems to encourage only one main thing; getting what you want now without any question of whether the things encouraged to be desired have lasting social value or not.

And the only reason this continues is that it does have the unbelievably great ability to make a few people quite disproportionately powerful in relation to the rest of us. People who can then insulate themselves from most of the fallout from one more great need not really being attended to.

And so another situation simply festers and grows worse.


It was supposed to be a refuge for troubled adolescents and foster kids who had run out of other options. But at Hill Crest Behavioral Health — part of UHS, America's largest psychiatric hospital chain — a culture of violence flourished.

Friday, November 10, 2017

American Politics Are A Disaster Because Nobody Wants To Recognize The Base Problem

The current economic operating system has been obsolete for some time now. What else would you expect for something that old; let alone what just the electrification of experience retrieval has done. We are thus in a completely new operating environment; one that requires completely new ways of organizing ourselves, so that we can interact more directly, and cooperatively with each other; making maintaining our own communities our jobs.

That's how you create involvement in depth. That's how you create roles for your citizens where they can see that they have meaning, and that they matter, because they would matter automatically; as everyone would need to do their part to keep their community functioning; especially to the nearly self sufficiency that we'll need to push all of our communities to (using efficiency on a massive new scale to help us counter balance any coming resource deficiencies). All while still maintaining as much quality of life as each community possibly can.

The alternative I have offered on this blog is a good place to start the discussion, but let's just first be sure to recognize the need to get the discussion going in the first place.

Joe Weighs In On Elections: US Politics Are A 'Disaster' | Morning Joe | MSNBC

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Koch Brothers Key to Funding Assault on Campaign Finance Regulation

How Can Someone Who Understands The Downside of Capitalism So Well...

...Have such a hard time coming to question the ultimate, continuing viability, of an economic operating system hundreds of years old?

It's hard not to have a great deal of respect for Mr. Reich; especially when you are reminded of his discerning prescience for our current state of affairs by the telling video clip that was presented on the linked segment below of Morning Joe. It is something everybody ought to hear.

It's troubling, though, that, even when Mike Barnicle confronts him with what technological change has done to make things so different now, all he can respond with is the same old "get big money out of politics;" arguing only that only the US has the extreme levels of inequality of outcomes we see now, and that other countries are doing just fine with that. A questionable assumption at the get go in my mind, if for no other reason than whatever the differences if inequality might be in absolute terms, what the other countries actually have might still be quite more than is desirable; or that the trend lines there might also be on similar upwards slopes.

More to the real point, however, is the simple question: How can one system, which operates inside the now superior, operational control system, for all subsystems, have something taken out of it when that something is exactly what makes everything go? Put another way: How can you take money out of politics whan money and information are the same damn thing now?

Is it really so hard for good, perceptive people like Mrl Reich, to see that we have a completely new kind of operating environment now. An electrified information environment. And the old, mechanistic thinking that formed Capitalism just no longer applies nearly as much as it used to; especially if we are to remain anything at all resembling a sane, sentient species.

This new environment demands meaning. Involvement in depth. Balance between a number of seeming contradictory forces, and a deep, visceral understanding, of just how interconnected everything is now. Capitalism will never allow us to structure ourselves to the proper degree to achieve what we now require; so now we must demand it. And we must be willing to stop working as a nation to make them take us seriously.

Robert Reich On 'Saving Capitalism': Citizen Activism Is Giving Me Hope | Morning Joe | MSNBC