Thursday, August 20, 2015

Put your data in the cloud. But wait. Isn't that where the lightning is?

This was an extra ordinary event to be sure. The thing is, when you live in extraordinarily accelerating complexity, such events become something other than extra ordinary. No matter what you assume might be unlikely today may be something else tomorrow.

And trust me when I tell you that, as a programmer, one of the things that really fries your bacon is coding upon assumptions in future contingencies. And they are almost always the assumptions you are least aware of. Which can make even finding the source of the problem quite problematic.

Four Lightning Strikes in Belgium Erase Google Customer Data

The easy answer here is: Don't worry, the Republicans will find a way.

Of course the real question ought to be why would you even want to try, but being in touch with reality was never one of their strong points.

Rand Paul: 'How Do You Out-Trump the Irrational?'

Bankers refusing new sources of capital? Can we expect to be hearing from Rod Serling soon?

Submitted for your amazment. Not only might Trump be an actual candidate for president, bankers are truning away significant new capital flows. What's next? Will Ann Coulter suddenly announce she's gay and then marry Rosie O'Donnell?

Pot Risk vs. Profit: Bankers Cautious of Marijuana Dispensaries

Join the Trump Chump Brigade and you too can have certainty on a stick

Don't cloud your mind with confusing specifics. He certainly doesn't. And best of all, he still gets to make money at it. And you get to suck on a brand with confidence that he'll spend your money making that brand even more tasteless than ever before.

In N.H., Donald Trump Skips Policy Specifics, Focuses on Jeb Bush Attacks

See also:

As well as:
Donald Trump is a bombastic disaster: A video guide to his 14 most ludicrous campaign moments

Donald Trump is a bombastic disaster: A video guide to his 14 most ludicrous campaign moments

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

This is just one example of what happens to work when all that is valued is low cost efficiency

Behind the Alarming Expose on Amazon's Workplace CultureThe New York Times' expose on Amazon's labor practices has put the company on the defense. One former employee said colleagues cried at their desks.

See also:

We are all “Ambots” now: Jeff Bezos just perfected the “burn and churn” philosophy that’s sucking American workers dry

For all its revolutionary rhetoric, Amazon is just an outsize example of what plagues our entire approach to work

We are all "Ambots" now: Jeff Bezos just perfected the "burn and churn" philosophy that's sucking American workers dry

Dehumanizing nonsense as a garnish to our daily plate of bullshit

What this really misses, however, is not only the true value most of these people provide to our economy, but the constant input of perspective of what it means to be away from the turmoil they faced in their home land. Turmoil that, for the most part, our history of mucking about in the nations of their birth has caused. Tens of thousands of children at our borders because they have no parents, or home life, to grow up with. Older workers desperate to do anything so as to provide for families torn apart by poverty we're only beginning to viscerally understand, and by drug lords, or despots, our policies, and dependencies, have created.

That we are then treated to the spectacle of blowhards, and idiots, presenting these people as scape goats for all of our institutional problems, is the first step a nation takes towards the kind of dehumanization that created concentration camps, gas chambers, and industrial sized crematoria ovens, as a final bow to insanity as a solution for anything.

And let us not also forget that our institutional problems are also of our own making. We do so by continuing to participate in cruel farce that electrified Capitalism has made of a supposedly democratic republic.

How can you even begin to talk about value when a few have determined that ever more imaginary counters, held in the magical ether of computers, and vast networks of processing nodes, with their huge accumulations of same, are all that matters. All of it racing around at the speed of light via reasoning engines we have ever an ever decreasing understanding of. Providing a bottom line that the only thing that anybody still understands at all is that such accumulations still equate to power.

But still out government as "Reality TV" plays on. The blowhards and idiots are treated as real entities by our media and we lap it up as just more distracting entertainment. America's got talent alright. A spectacular talent for living in that river in Egypt.

Deporting Undocumented Would Take Texas-Size Economic Bite: Study

Monday, August 17, 2015

When information is money, and you also have to pay people to impart that information, education as a job guarantee becomes an exercise in diminishing returns.

As this article from indicates, job growth in what we've always called "Blue Collar" work isn't doing very well right now. And why should it when trade deals past and present make labor, even when it is trained, subject to the world's lowest price competitor. Capital, as well as the proprietary process that creates any end use item, can go anywhere in the world in less than a blink of the eye. And the end use item can be delivered virtually anywhere, in most cases, in no more than a matter of days. It doesn't matter to the wielders of capital where a thing is made, only how much it costs to make it.

But what ought to be really scary to those of you who probably already know these obvious parts of the economic cycle is that the electric acceleration of competition, coupled with the further acceleration of technological advancement, makes the requirement for new skills to be absorbed in ever decreasing time frames. Which leaves a new poster child of absurdity for us to behold: the consumer of training, having already taken on debt burdens (that also increase), has to pay for even more training. And then more training after that.

That, by itself, would be bad enough, but the thing we really don't pay nearly enough attention to is what this does to us as human beings. Of what being made to be more and more like machine tools in the snapping on, and then discarding, of one skill set after another. Never being allowed to become connected, in the long term, to the application of craft and a real relationship with our tools; the very things that help us express ourselves in meaningful ways.

And whether the tools are words, or applied machine languages, instrumentation, or the sharp edge of metal, or the mind, it does matter to the well being of an individual that they are allow the chance to become intimately familiar with their application long term. How are we to have any meaning otherwise? Do you really believe that simply getting some number of counters in remuneration will provide it? Regardless of what they might be traded for?

If you do then you are already a cyborg; a flesh machine waiting for the next skill mod to be plugged in so that more meaningless copies of someone else's idea of what might be marketable can be churned out. Not valuable in any human sense mind you, just marketable.

Why Job Growth Remains Mushy in the Middle After the Recession

Friday, August 14, 2015

Speaking of Oxymorons

Dear Mr. Krugman: Do you really believe we are all that much better at managing a market economy?

I've indicated my frustration on this topic before, but he just keeps doubling down on the mistakes the Chinese are making. They are making mistakes mind you, but to think that we have been doing oh so much better at keeping things running along just fine for everybody is just nonsense. Just as his fallback to the usual nostrums of government regulating prices and mandating wages is.

As a progressive I understand the motivation that Liberals have to try to use what they have always relied upon to fix what is essentially a flawed system. As a systems analyst, however, I also understand that, after certain levels of complexity are reached, mainly by the layering of changes upon changes, over many decades, you reach a point where any further tinkering only makes things worse. Both because you can't fully anticipate what all of the consequences of your changes will be, but also because the system itself is actually no longer applicable to the operating environment it seeks to provide functionality in. It is at that point that you must concede the point that it is time to start over.

And by starting over I mean it is time to re-examine the environment we now exist in, and then to redefine the kind of functionality we feel is most appropriate to it, in combination to what we can agree would be most conducive to allowing for a more connected, and meaningful lives. Lives that balance loving intent with the practical aspects of sustainable, and secure, material well being.

As I have also said before this will be anything but easy. How incredibly difficult only time will tell. The only sure thing that I can say is that it will be better to try to achieve it than wait for what will inevitably come if we just leave things as they are.

Paul Krugman explains the looming economic crisis that "bodes ill for the world as a whole"

Paul Krugman explains the looming economic crisis that “bodes ill for the world as a whole”

"Is it possible that after all these years [governments] still don't get how this 'market' thing works?"

The Oxymoron as product

This provided Alternet article serves to illustrate just how crazy electrified Capitalism has become. To the list of "Reality TV," "Uncompromised Political Candidates," "Free Markets," and "an Informed Electorate," as things we buy into we can now add "Wellness." Oh joyous day indeed.

That a system that is anything but conducive to the true attainment of well being could have the crust to sell us this notion should surprise no one. They have, after all, convinced us of the need to buy water no more pure than anything found at a sink or fountain, and in containers that simply boggle any kind of ecological thinking. Just as they've sold us on the notion that we are free, assuming you understand that freedom in this context means the ability to chose to work or not work, regardless of how shitty, outright unhealthy, disconnected or insufficient to actually live on that work may be. You are also free to worry, or not worry about keeping that questionable employment regardless of whether you, and the ones you love, may be left out on the street, and in even more harms way than before. Lucky you!

So rejoice dear readers and go out and buy a big can of "Wellness," and a super sized helping of "Happy."

"Wellness" is making us sick: How corporate America's favorite mantra leaves us all feeling inadequate

“Wellness” is making us sick: How corporate America’s favorite mantra leaves us all feeling inadequate

Mindfulness has become a tool to distract us from societal ills and further enrich our corporate overlords

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Of course we do. War is not only a profit center, it is a big part of "distraction as occupation."

America welcomes permanent war: Vietnam and the demise of the anti-war movement

America welcomes permanent war: Vietnam and the demise of the anti-war movement

Yes, it could happen here.

In fact, authoritarianism in one form or another, could become quite probable once things begin to really crumble. And they will, sooner or later. Of that you can be quite certain.

The inherent contradictions and absurdities of electrified Capitalism will accumulate in not only more and more fractured social cohesion, the physical limitations of what a cost based economy can respond to, as the planet itself begins to rebel as well, will make it almost mandatory for the ruling elites to enforce compliance by the rest of us by the harshest applications of rule by fear. And make no mistake. They will couch this in the grandest cache of patriotism and national honor possible.

Just remember. If Fascist thinking can take hold in Russia, who suffered at least as much as anyone else as a result of their rule, it can happen anywhere.

Hundreds of Nazi flags of the German political leaders are pictured leaning against each other, during a parade during the Reichsparteitag (Empire Party Meeting) in Nuremberg, Germany, September 13, 1935.

Could the Third Reich Happen Here?

And this is the type of personality that could help pave the way:

Donald Trump's biggest crime is his honesty: How he exposes the sickening rot at the core of the GOP

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

No, we are being occupied to death

Despite what this excellent reprint of an Alternet article is clearly indicating, it's not just the tasking that is killing us, it is the combination of complete distraction that both ends of the "seamless occupation" that electrified Capitalism now creates, that is killing everything. Us. Our social cohesion, and the planet.

The fact is that distraction consumption is just as much a killer as the inhuman hours of tasking that they also occupy us with. The two are, in fact, inseparable, as one serves to motivate the need for the other in mutual reinforcement. The more tasking the more off tasking hours you need to dull the pain. And of course, the better the instrument of dulling, the more it costs, which puts you in the proper frame of mind (or mental harness, if you will) to continue the process.

The bottom line, however, remains as it always has been. This vicious circle will be broken only when we decide to stop participating. It is really that simple.

America is working itself to death: How "9 to 5" became "24/7"

America is working itself to death: How “9 to 5″ became “24/7″-

Another case in point:

The Washington Works DuPont plant in Parkersburg, WV on Wednesday, August 5, 2015.

From the article:
"...A man-made compound that didn’t exist a century ago, C8 is in the blood of 99.7 percent of Americans, according to a 2007 analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as in newborn human babies, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood. A growing group of scientists have been tracking the chemical’s spread through the environment, documenting its presence in a wide range of wildlife, including Loggerhead sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, polar bears, caribou, walruses, bald eagles, lions, tigers, and arctic birds. Although DuPont no longer uses C8, fully removing the chemical from all the bodies of water and bloodstreams it pollutes is now impossible. And, because it is so chemically stable — in fact, as far as scientists can determine, it never breaks down — C8 is expected to remain on the planet well after humans are gone from it...."

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Connections Between Seemingly Isolated Symptoms

You might tend to think that these three articles from represent isolated aspects of what troubles our nation, and our planet. They aren't of course. They are simply different views of how an obsolescent operating model orchestrates ills on so many fronts; an orchestration mandated by the integration of singular self interests with the requirements of profit, cost reduction, and the preservation of already accumulated gains. And where such requirements are persued with absolute priority over pretty much everything else one might consider in a heirarchy of priorities.

If you do not recognize this then you are either part of the singularly self interested, one of the many "occupied by distraction," or one of the "hopelessly burned out" by the many distractions that are the true employment of the rest of us; where, of course, occuapation is a plodding combination of consumption and tasking, making sure we are useful on both ends of a munching machine we are not meant to truly benefit from. We are simply the grit that keeps it going.

Meritocracy is a massive lie: Race, inheritance and the the truth about the rigged American dream

Austerity kills: The sad, sick truth about right-wing economics’ body count

The poisoned poor: In poor countries man-made toxic pollutants spread like cancer. Here’s why you should care

Friday, August 7, 2015

Stewart leaving, politics as broken as ever, and the pundants still don't see the real problem

Jon Stewart really was good a political satire. Of this we can all be quite certain of. That he ended up being burned out by going over and over the same bull shit year after year has already been commented on, but we are still missing an important point here.

His pointed commentary, brilliant though it may have been, did nothing but play into the whole "government as entertainment" farce that it has firmly established itself as in the last twenty years or so now. All of us dear reader have been the rubes only too gleefully willing to occupy ourselves in playing along with the carny atmosphere, and the more freakish it gets the better. How else can one describe a process where simple buffoonery has given way to angry mutants who spout unbelievably absurd notions.

Even more absurd, however, is this insane re-examination of how we're going to go about fixing what is simply a symptom of a much larger, broken system. A system that for a few isn't viewed as broken at all. One that has, rather, been seen by these few, as the placement of government into the realm of entertainment, not only as a practical matter of good management, but as a real profit center in its own right.

The only way things are going to change is by the rest of us realizing that we have to occupy ourselves far differently than we are now. An occupation for, and of, the rest of us, so that this market, production, and consumption monster grinds to a halt. Something that will be hard, painful, and requiring of sacrifice; of which being passively entertained will be the first.

Stewart Rips ‘Bullshitocracy’ in Finale
The Night the Republican Debate Turned Into the WWE
How do we fix the Presidential debates


Roddy Piper-- We'll miss you dude, as will we miss the way only you could have done "They Live!"

America is a neoliberal horror movie: Why “They Live” is the perfect film for our depraved times

Additional 2:

The Mind and Speech of the truly Marketized

Saturday, August 1, 2015

All sides playing to their paranoia and risking their futures on nothing more than sand.

This post is prompted by a New York Times article again. One which touches on the subject of the geopolitics of sand, and the creation of supposed "facts on the water" when it comes to who owns what in the South China Sea.

It is more than just a worrying situation. Tensions are really starting to mount now that the Chinese have gone into overdrive on making their own "facts on the water." What is most troubling here, for me at least, is that there is no one who can act as an honest broker to work out a reasonable compromise between all of the regional powers. Certainly we can't do it as everyone would be suspicions of our motives (what with all sorts of valuable resources involved).

So many things are inter related here. Dwindling planetary sources of primary industrial feed stocks. Everyone wanting to make more money. Everyone wanting to be in a position of power relative to the other players. The list could go on.

Getting rid of Capitalism isn't going to rid the world of suspicions or the desire for power. Keeping it, however, isn't going to help much in finding ways to keep these tensions manageable.

What China Has Been Buildingin the South China Sea

Another example of how, even well intentioned reforms, make a market based economic model go crazy.

This New York Times article provides ample proof of what I was talking about in my "The Chinese economy and the panic of political leadership" post. When you mess with the Troika of profits, prices or wages you are asking for nothing but a lot of trouble.

The real question, however, here is that there is a need to have a way to better apply value to things. There is a need to have a better way for all of us to be connected in not only how production decisions are made, but in how the fabric of that production is maintained. And there is a further need to make livelihoods disconnected from singular forms of production so that anything that might pose a threat to us or the environment doesn't automatically unemploy thousands when it must be stopped.

That list could go on. The point is that electrified Capitalism isn't capable of addressing those needs anymore. It had its day. It did truly raise the material well being of vast swaths of population across the globe. It did this at a staggering price, but it did do it. Now its time to let it go and find a new way to proceed. In a sense it is long past time to put away childish things and become a mature species.

A Company Copes With Backlash Against the Raise That Roared