Wednesday, June 29, 2016

If a Reasoning Engine Can be the Best at Jet Paced Dog Fighting...

...What skill is immune to machine replacement?

This begs not only the question of why we're still making manned jet fighters, but why we still think human skill as a commodity has any lasting, long term viability.

Just another reminder of why Capitalism is obsolete.



See also:

Today on Flash Forward: A future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When They Get You to Feel Tremendously Deep Feelings Without Any Thought at All

That is the essence of the purest form of "Glowing Terms" and "Resonant Imagery." You mix that with the ever more resounding drum beat of "Be Afraid" (of any and all things -- change in general; supposed freedoms lost on the one hand, while important practical freedoms are taken away on the other; or simply that you lack in a plethora of personal characteristics: not manly enough, not womanly enough; not sexy enough, not popular enough, etc.) and you get a marketing/propaganda powerhouse that is truly breathtaking in its reach and breadth.

The visceral impact of this is brought home in a very well written piece for the Guardian on the NRA's 145th annual meeting and exhibits show by Ben Fountain. And let me tell you, if ever there were the best mix of consumer expo with political power building, and the orgy of money making underneath it all, this is it.

I really recommend that you give this article a read. The subtext here explains a lot of why money, and the selling of everything, for the benefit of a few, has become so toxic. Something that goes far beyond the mere fact of having a gun or not.

Fear, loathing and firearms: sensory overload inside the NRA's Mall of Death

Guns and wall-to-wall star-spangled patriotism are the National Rifle Association’s way of projecting a rugged image of strength to its members, but they also point to the steady current of hysteria throughout American history
From Tori Murden McClure, MDiv (Harvard), president of Spalding University, and the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean:
US deaths from terrorism, 2001-2015 (all numbers estimated high-end and rounded up):
  • 9/11: 3,000
  • Military personnel KIA, Afghanistan and Iraq: 7,000
  • Military contractors KIA, Afghanistan and Iraq: 7,200
  • Military personnel, postwar trauma (pegged to KIA in the absence of reliable figures): 7,000
  • Civilians, domestic terrorism: 87
  • Civilians, overseas terrorism: 350
  • Total: 25,000
And this:
US deaths in non-terror incidents involving firearms, 2001-2015: 404,496
And also this:
Estimated civilian deaths from GWOT in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2015 (from neutral sources, low-end estimate): 1,170,000

Monday, June 27, 2016

Got No Grit...

...Used to be a purgoritive declaration spoken by callused folks, worn hard by life in a host of physical extremes, as well as the psychological effects of "keep on keeping on," no matter what. These were the kind of people who either died, or kept their feet, and didn't whine much about either prospect.

One might have cause to question whether modern life requires more or less of this once oft spoke characteristic in the people who live in it now, but one thing is quite clear. The more literal grit that makes modern life possible, in the form of sand, has really come to be in increasingly short supply.

I have posted before (here, here, and here)  of the geopolitics of sand, with various nations trying to use it to create convenient new "facts on the ground," even when it gets created by pushing oceans back, but now we face this new lack of grit because it has become just one more scarce resource. When you read the linked New York Times article linked below you will see just how important that resource has become. For which I have to ask my usual question: Is a cost based economic operating system up to the task of addressing this issue? And is it, as a consumption oriented monster, in no small way responsible for it?

Believe it or not, we use more of this natural resource than any other except water and air. Sand is the thing modern cities are made of. Sand is the essential ingredient that makes modern life possible. And we are starting to run out. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Can You Lend an Invisible Hand?

As this New York Times article reminds us, the invisible hand of the market (hear the song "Can You Lend An Invisible Hand?") is about anything but giving, or understanding, in the true sense of human need. Even more astounding, however, is that we would ever think that the same system that, after creating the decline of a viable middle class able to pay for absolutely necessary public infrastructure, or public services, wouldn't cut corners in delivering same to a captured market. Because, after all, profit is our true ruler now. And you thought it was government formed  by the people, for the people, under the rule of law. What a rube.

When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers

Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have increasingly taken over public services like emergency care and firefighting, often with dire effects.


See Also:

JUN 28 2016, 10:28 PM ET

Water Systems Violate Lead Rules Nationwide, Advocacy Group Finds

This Is Your Life, Broughtto You by Private Equity
Since the financial crisis, the private equity industry has become
hugely influential. Here’s how it plays out in your daily life.

     BEN PROTESS and 
     DANIELLE IVORY | AUG. 1, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Another Important Long Read Recomendation

Jonathan Rauch has done a very good job of describing, and considering the reasons for, the current insanity of American politics today. This is something everybody ought to take some time to read and ponder over.

He breaks this down into an introduction into the current chaos we are mired in now, and then five categories related to the physiology of disease towards our "body politic:"

1: Immunity (Why the Political Class is a Good Thing)
     The checks and balances of the Constitution were augmented by a necessary system of not only political parties, with local hierarchies controlling selections, but by a further Congressional system of seniority, committees, membership, and leadership based on seniority. With control these systems created middle men who had clout to impose some discipline. 

2: Vulnerability (How the War on Middlemen Made America Defenseless)
     The wave of reforms that started early in the 20th century, but accelerated greatly in the seventies, against backroom deals, rules against pork swapping, and changes in the way parties conducted primaries, as well as campaign finance reform limiting direct party donations, began to weaken not only the power of the middle men, but their very credibility to exist in the first place.

3: Pathogens (Donald Trump and Other Viruses)
     Because of #2 above, as well as because of changes in media technology allowing almost anyone to appeal to wide groups of people, true believers of whatever stripe, as well as the naive, and uninformed, idealists (what he refers to as "politophobes") who either hate partisan bickering, and/or think of it as quite unnecessary, the atomization of interest groups around a good number of undisciplined actors was inevitable. 

4: Symptoms (The Disorder that Exacerbates All Other Disorders)
     Because of #3 above any pretense at leadership, in order to effect a hard won compromise, becomes a joke. As a result, not only is Congress emasculated, but the further increase in gridlock serves only to increase the general disdain for the political sausage making process in general with the public; thus forming a quite non virtuous circle of self reinforcing decline in legitimacy, and respect, of the growing number of "politophobes" out there; who are then easy pickings for the likes of Trump or Cruz. 

5: Prognosis and Treatment (Chaos Disorder as a Psychiatric Disorder)

I have left the last part blank because Mr. Rauch is quite candid in admitting that he doesn't have all of the answers; who could with something so complex. There are a few general suggestions: as in bringing both money back in such a way that it make the parties relevant again, as well as bringing back the horse trading with pork so that there can be a carrot, as well as a stick. Pretty much anything that would make the middle men of yore viable once more.

For my part, I think there is a good deal of logic in what he has described here. Given that there will always be considerable diversity in what people think is important, and then how to address those priorities, coming to workable compromise will always be an emotionally charged, and competing ideas, grinding down process; hence the making of sausage metaphor. What you have to remember, though, is that this revolves around keeping the current system functional, and perhaps in that is a fundamental, unwarranted assumption.

He is, after all, quite right to question how we conduct reforms, pointing out that the cure can often cause more problems than the cause it was originally meant to fix in the first place. This is, in fact, an important aspect of complex systems; you can change them to a certain point, but beyond that you risk interactions that you can't possibly anticipate; something that I have been trying to emphasize for some time now as it relates to reforming Capitalism itself. Once past a certain point of technological change, which is so infused into it as this point, any further attempts of such make for more economic dislocations then they seek to ameliorate in the first place.

The main problem in making government less insane now, from my perspective, is that it has become so entwined within the related problems affecting Capitalism, and the fact that it is simply no longer relevant to the technological environment we now live in. Mr. Rauch admits that money will never be taken out of politics, but in that admission is also a tacit acceptance of the rest of the horrible contradictions that this cost based economic operating system has presented us with.

A part of the problem with representational government in the first place is that it now exists within an environment of unbelievable hyper marketing. Not only does this, and the entertainment that carries it, put us into ever greater states of fantasy, virtually everything in that context becomes something someone is trying to sell you on, so why wouldn't there be a substantial starting point of distrust for any messaging that anybody of note might be putting out; assuming you're paying attention at all of course. And this only begins to touch on the questionable messaging that corporate interests present us with, in addition to selling a product or service. They have, after all, their own set of priorities in terms of what's good for the nation as a whole. All of which is to say that, for there to be a workable system of representation, there must also be a truly informed electorate, but how can that be when information itself is gold, and nobody gives you anything unless they receive a net gain from it?

The other part of the problem here is the very nature of a factory oriented mode of social organization. Such a system inherently places us in separated specialities, and working cliques, which are far too disconnected from each other in terms of understanding what is important generally. This also creates an education system that itself is a separate little factory of knowledge assembly; one that's supposed to work despite the overwhelming distractions that these spaces are submerged in (just as Marshal McLuhan described). You need only add in the fact that we seem incapable of funding them to the degree they ought to require, whatever their inherent deficiencies are, and you provide yourself with a population that is guaranteed to be ignorant, and intolerant, far beyond what lapses in personal choices, as well as a lack of discipline, would suggest would be the case.

The bottom line for me here is that we are already being made insane because we live within an economic system gone berserk because of it's warping under the effects of electrification. How could we expect our political system to be made to do anything but follow in kind.

How American Politics Went Insane

It happened gradually—and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse

  • Saturday, June 18, 2016

    Supply Side Economics Running on Empty --Additional

    Just in case you needed proof that the rest of us haven't done so well in wage increases, here it is.

    Also, just to review, let's consider the overall scorecard: Greedy speculative bankers, making a ton of money, caused the Great Recession. Nobody of note involved went to jail for it. We, on the other hand, took it in the ass, financially speaking. And, as the economy has been crawling along, not quite so down any more, but not growing much to speak of either, the one percent's share of the largess the government doled out in free cash to get things going again is by far the biggest.

    So. What do a significant number of us decide to do as a solution to "Make America Great Again?" Nominate a millionaire huckster as their Presidential Candidate!

    Man, have they got selling us on BS down pat. It's a wonder that, as so many of us bend over again without any question, they aren't also saying: "Please sir, may I have some more?"

    What Recovery? Americans Missed Out While the 1 Percent Cleaned Up

    Thursday, June 16, 2016

    Supply Side Economics Running on Empty

    As this latest report about the so called "neutral rate" of Federal funds policy indicates, at least to this non expert, the Federal Reserve bank is at a complete loss as to what to do next; other than not much of anything but watching in utter confusion.

    To really appreciate this you have to keep in mind that, after years of pumping cash into the system with the "quantitative easing" policy, and keeping the Fed borrowing rate at zero, or lower, They are scratching their heads now wondering why inflation isn't advancing above the current Fed lending rate. An amazing situation after all when you've had corporations awash in both cash on hand, and profits, going on market concentration, or market diversity, buying sprees, and yet overall economic growth has been looking like the growth of intelligence in this country.

    What could possibly be going on here? Could it be... Satan? ...No, not him, though I'm sure they'd be happy enough if that were the case. Perhaps all of these years of keeping wage growth so low might have something to do with it. Because, gee, what would people actually do with real amounts of disposable income? Besides pay off a huge amount of debt of course. Maybe they'd actually start buying things in significantly greater quantities? And all that one can say about that is... Gosh, what a concept!

    The problem, of course, here, is that to rearrange how the gains made from production and commerce are distributed would require that the holders of capital, and production, would have to be satisfied with lower real profits in order to make it happen. That they might then gain in the long run with real growth just doesn't seem to occur to them, but that's greed for you. It certainly does tend to make taking the long view a good deal more difficult.

    What's really crazy here, though, is that this lack of growth, hard for the average working person though it may be, has been quite good for the planet, relatively speaking of course; as less consumption usually means less pollution overall. And with carbon still rising pretty damn fast anyway, shouldn't we take some comfort there? ...Well ...Probably not. If for no other reason than this just illustrates why we're damned if we do and damned if we don't as far as options go in a cost based economic operating system.

    At the end of the day, what you have here, is just another example of one of the contradictions inherent in Capitalism. And another reason why it is long past it's use by date.

    Fed's Yellen Acknowledges Difficulty of Escaping World's Low Rate Grip

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016

    A Long Read Recommendation

    The New Republic has put forth a very worthwhile series of essays on what underlies the split that has been a part of the Democratic party for a long time now. And I have to say that it is well worth the time go through all of them.

    From my perspective, of course, a good deal of that split comes from the time worn difficulty that Liberals and Progressives have always had on dealing with the contradictions, and shortcomings, of Capitalism. The center of that split, however, has always been the faith that Capitalism can be kept worthwhile as long as the average folks can stay organized enough to keep the reforms coming as needed. In fact, even in the extremes of Socialistic Progressivism was the idea that Capitalism just needed to be run by the will of the people, rather than by the will abstract markets, or market hegemonists.

    And perhaps in simpler technological times there was some truth to that faith, given that competition, or the pace of technological change, wasn't anything like it is today. The advent of information processing, and retrieval, systems, however, has blown all of that out of the water now. To the point that, for Capitalism to work at all, it needs unhindered control of all of the aspects of flow and process. And of course, in that context, "working" applies mostly to the movers and holders of the counters that give that "ism" it's name. Everybody else is simply factors in the front end of production, and the back end of consumption. Factors that need to do what they're told because doing anything else simply creates more issues of cost.

    As the first essay in the N.R. list makes clear, however, the historic "split" should put no doubt at all to the fact that, for the most part, the Democratic party has been simply "Republican" light as far as economic issues go. And for precisely that reason, without listening nearly enough to the Progressive side of things, have they been completely useless in countering the Republican push of the so called "center" to a place where disaster has come to feel like it's in our face for real now. It's as if, instead of the metaphors of "right" and "left," we've come to have "down" and "up;" whereupon people now think that ass holes are belly buttons, and are surprised that stuff comes out of them at all, much less the stink it causes. And the trend is for more down, where you just know what the orifice some people will be talking out of will be very soon now, if not already.

    In any case, though, do read these essays. And as you do, keep asking the question. Are Liberals and progressives fighting over the wrong issue? Does the degree of reforming Capitalism, or the efficacy of them singularly, or in mutual interaction, matter any more? Isn't it about time to start asking whether it is in any way viable at all now? About considering just how much technological change it requires for any operating system to become irrelevant for the conditions now made manifest?

    The Split

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016

    Bill Maher Having the Best of Both Worlds

    I really do enjoy the satire that Mr. Maher does. Even as, with the linked segment below, he makes fun of what might be considered an extreme sort of Socialism. Goodness knows that the more doctrinaire of us (like myself) need to step back at times and laugh at our own idiosyncrasies, which we have, of course, in abundance.

    The segment referred to here, however, isn't really about Socialism at all. It is about his view that Capitalism, though prone to excess, is still a good system, with the subtext here that the best part of it is it's emphasis on working for what you get; the assumption being that at least some part of Socialism is merely about getting something for nothing.

    What I find especially irritating here is that he is a man who enjoys one of the most terrible aspects of Capitalism: it's more than questionable valuation of things. After all, all he does is mouth funny observations about various aspects of society; certainly useful to some degree, of course, but to the point of allowing him to live well in Hollywood? And whether you think that makes him a rich man or not, it still puts him quite a ways above the average citizen he seems to speak for. Should that be worth more than a K through 12 teacher? More than a day care worker? More than a fire fighter, EMT, or policeman (etc.)? And in that context isn't he getting at least a bit of something for nothing? Simply because some skills, in association with notoriety, can bend a market to their advantage?

    The fact of the matter is that Socialism has never been about getting something for nothing. It was simply a reaction to the inordinate power of the abstract of money to allow the control of what formulates, and manages production, as well as how the results of that production are distributed equitably. The problem with Socialism, even before the advent of electrified experience retrieval, is that it was based on the assumption that Capitalism could be amended to the dictates of Socialist goals, and still be viable; something that history has ultimately shown to be false.

    The problem has always been the dichotomy of having competitive entities, able to have the flexibility to respond to the changes in markets, so as to always put production to the right item at the best price possible, and yet to do that with some kind of socially representative committees who would then put decisions into place, in a time critical manner. As the over bureaucratization of past Communist attempts at Socialism have attested to, this is just damn hard to do. And it becomes infinitely harder to do now with the advent of electricity and the new hyper environments of competition and marketing that result from it.

    What is really going on here, as far as Mr. Maher is concerned, at least, is that he gets to enjoy a significant cache in criticizing Capitalism on the one hand, but never going so far as to question its ultimate legitimacy at all on the other hand. I mean, why would he bite the hand that feeds him after all. Even if it really isn't legitimate any more.

    I mean, let's be serious here: Just because human skill as a commodity is no longer viable any more? Just because hyper marketing is putting us in an ever increasing environment of fantasy, and exploited base emotions? Just because information, so critical to an informed electorate, is now synonymous with money and, as such, always guaranteed to never flow freely? Or, lastly, because hyper consumption is simply not sustainable on a planet made up of delicately balanced, interactive systems?

    Gosh. Why would anybody want to question the legitimacy of an operating system responsible for all of that? Especially if you were enjoying your own bit of something for nothing.

    Marketing: If You Don't Think it's Propaganda Wrapped in Dollar Signs...

    ...You're an idiot who does not think much at all. Sadder still, however, is that there are so many of us ready to buy into one piece of BS or another without much thought at all about either the immediate BS, or the process that make BS so attractive in the first place.

    In that context it's no wonder at all why being trumped at becoming a chump is more and more the new American way.

    Even if they could afford it, many people would balk at the thought of paying $10,000 for a sandwich. And yet the majority of Americans pay a similar markup, essentially, for a bottle of water.

    Friday, June 10, 2016

    What is a Priority in Our National Interests?

    Whatever the best campaign contributors say it is.

    In the case of space launch capability you would think that truly objective consideration would weigh not only immediate cost factors, but also how critical it is to have certain production capabilities here at home that are not only reliable, but competitive on the world market. You would also want to make sure ask, just because we have policy issues with another country, is it always in our interests to disengage trade wise? Isn't the point of diplomacy to find ways to engage each other in positive ways? And are we sure that not purchasing an item from a particular company punishes the leader of that country more than the people that populate it?

    Such objectivity, of course, in our form of marketed government is quite naive. Any more than thinking rationally about much of anything at all would be. No, we just leave it to competitive lobbying and the money that fuels it.

    Why Does the U.S. Use Russian Rockets to Launch Its Satellites?

    See Also:

    Tuesday, June 7, 2016

    Trump Declares War on Anybody Who Would Dare Question Him

    The mean spirited ego of this man is finally coming to the fore. With a call to arms to the Trump Chump brigades he makes it clear that he feels himself above any criticism, let alone subject to the rule of law.

    And yet there are still Chumps out there that want to put him into our highest office of government; questioning yet again the argument that there is intelligent life on this planet.

    Trump Orders Surrogates to Intensify Criticism of Judge and Journalists

    During a Monday conference call with supporters, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee overruled a directive sent out by his own campaign.

    See Also:

    Monday, June 6, 2016

    By Trump's Own "Logic..."

    How can he, as a rich man, not be biased when it comes to not only money in general, but everything to do with his money, the people of money he works with to get more money, and all of the interests that make getting a lot more money possible?

    And yet he is able to sell all of his working class Trump Chumps on the notion that he will occupy the nation's highest office with the interests of working people as a priority.

    Isn't it also interesting that anybody who opposes him is a "hater." Whereas anything he does is truth personified. And perhaps that is the the larger takeaway we should consider here: That he is a hater of any truth not the product of his own selfishly deluded mind.

    He's building a wall alright. A wall between himself and the rest of reality.

    Donald Trump: 'It's Possible' a Muslim Judge Would Be Biased

    Sunday, June 5, 2016

    Once We Become Deeply Involved In All Things Intra Solar...

    ...Are we really going to trust to the "keep costs low, and profits high" mentality of markets? Do you think the temptation to cut corners in the face of intense competition will simply go away because working in a vacuum is dangerous? And, if you think a product recall is difficult now, do you think it will be anything but a hell of a lot harder out there?

    These are some of the things you ought to be contemplating when manufacturing screw ups like the Takata air bag fiasco keep coming up in the news. Just more to chew on when you also contemplate the long term viability of Capitalism.

    Airbag manufacturer Takata has been expanding a recall of faulty airbags. At least 65 million cars are affected and the problem won't be fully remedied until at least 2019.

    Saturday, June 4, 2016

    Prepare for The Old "Expectations Are Too Low to Fail" Ploy

    Before we get too far into the final stages of the Presidential race, and the talk then turns to what to expect from the winning candidate, we need to prepare ourselves for the quite likely pivot that a Trump Presidency will pull four years down the road should he win. And the basis of this pivot will revolve around how little disastrous his first term was and still have it stay above the expectations. The final takeaway being that, in coming in above that very low bar, his presidency was something of a success, and boy did those pointed head pundits who criticized him get it wrong.

    I bring this up now for two reasons. First, because, if Clinton is the Democratic candidate he will have a very good chance of winning, and secondly, all he has to do is virtually nothing while in office, especially as it relates to the ridiculous promises he's made all over the political map (suggesting, of course, that he made them only for their courageousness), taking cover in the declaration that we went in with every intention to do these things, but the votes in Congress just weren't here so we couldn't.

    If you look at that notion of "doing nothing on purpose" to beat expectations, can you then say that his term in office wasn't at all the disaster it was portended to be? And to that I just want to be on record now to argue that, even if this ultimate in cynical political manipulation were to come to pass, it would still be a disaster. And the reason for that would be the effect of a final blow to the propriety of the office itself that such "fucking with it" would represent. And to understand that better, you need only consider the primary reason he would have for doing it in the first place.

    I have already posted on how his other, failing for the most part, brands have now turned around because of his brand success in getting the Republican nomination. Just imagine how much more successful they would be if he could pull off a term where things either didn't get much worse (if he were really lucky), or only got as bad as they probably would have if Clinton had been elected. And the real beauty of it all would be that it would hardly matter if he were only a one term president, the mere fact that he pulled off such a sales con job in the first place, would be branding gold for who knows how many Trump new offshoots that might come out of that amazing mix of pompous ego, and unbridled greed, that makes up his character.

    The real thing to watch here will be just how much of that massive ego of his gets caught up in believing his own hype. Will it push him to really work for the policy extremes he been blandishing about with; the emotional hot buttons that have spurred the rubes out their to vote for him? Or is there, in fact, no cynical manipulation at all involved here, just a truly, disturbingly miss informed, megalomaniac who thinks he really does have all of the answers; even if a short attention span, and a love for bombast, has him jumping all over the map of outrageous extremes?

    In either case the bar that really matters, as far as the election goes, is the one concerning how low you can go in becoming the President. His lasting legacy, in addition to, or despite, any of his policy outcomes, will be what he did to exalt branding, propaganda, and the complete irrelevance of fact, in getting elected to what used to be an actual position of leadership; and what will become no more than another product placement reality show.

    Of course, if we, and/or him, aren't very lucky, what becomes of the Presidency won't matter much at all.

    See Also:


    Middle classes around the world seem weary of free politics and are open to strongmen like Trump.

    A Confirmation of Needing a New Way of Organizing Production and Distribution

    On Real Time with Bill Maher last night entrepreneur, and activist, Nick Hanauer, had a quite cogent response to the question that Mr. Maher reads from a viewer. The question concerns labor unions, and whether there is still a place for them, but Mr Hanauer uses that as launching point for a short description of not only the power imbalance that unions used to address, but the fact that we need to reimagine how work, production, and the results thereof, should be distributed.

    Check it out from time stamp 1:30 to 2:52.

    Real Time with Bill Maher: Overtime – June 3, 2016 (HBO)

    See Also:

    Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rule – Capitalism Eats Everything - June 3, 2016 (HBO)

    Rambling Incoherency as Interview Rope a Dope

    Trump's interview with CNN is a contrast of opposites. One the one hand is the incoherency itself, which froths from his mouth in an almost manic, free association, of odd anecdotes, irrelevant comments, and self serving puffery that, on the other hand, serves to leave the interviewer fumbling for some ground from which to keep pressing Mr. Trump on the point of the original question. And the effect of this is to leave you wondering if he's actually trying to wield stupidity as a planned weapon, or is it simply a character quirk that coincedently has some benefit in keeping anyone from actually getting him pinned to answer responsibility to his own BS.

    In either case, however, it ought to be abundantly clear that this man either can't, or won't, set forth a consistent set of values and goals, with cogent argument supported by facts; which is, of course, the very essence of the "play book" that the Trump University salesmen worked with to get people to buy into their quite questionable "service" product.

    And still the rubes out there buy into this crap. Do these people understand what the old saw of "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice..." was trying to make clear?

    OH MAN

    Watch Donald Trump's Crazy CNN Interview With Jake Tapper About The 'Mexican Judge'

    Friday, June 3, 2016

    The Political Cowardice of Republicans

    All of them know just what piece of bad news Trump is. They've all said so, and more than once in most cases, with language that is anything but not emphatically negative. The way Trump says one crazy thing one day, and something contradictory the next, with a whole lot of lies in between, how could it be otherwise. However much you may dislike Clinton, her Democratic version of Republican light is far and away more tolerable to the nation's real interests than Trump's pure insanity. Even Sanders would be better than Trump from a Republican view, if for no other reason than they could be confident that they, and enough Democrats, would block any of his really Socialist desires (even if they would be a better deal for the rest of us).

    With Ryan, as the last, most visible holdout, finally falling in line, however, we see that none of them have the stomach for taking real stand on principles; fearing as they do that stepping out of the party line will remove them from some kind of party credibility. How they can do that without throwing up, given the lack of credibility this monster they created has, is just something way beyond astonishing to behold. And the really funny thing here is that, come some time down the road, whether Trump wins the Presidency or not, there will be a backlash. Whether it's from the immediate Congressional trouncing they will get in losing existing majorities, or the inevitable buyer's remorse after a disastrous Trump Presidency, it will come. And after that it will be those who can say that they didn't blindly follow, lemming like, over the Trump precipice, that will have the ability to start making a Republican comeback; at least if the remaining Republican rank and file have any sense left at all.

    Time will tell I guess.

    Analysis: Paul Ryan Backs Down — It's Donald Trump's Party Now

    Thursday, June 2, 2016

    The Ongoing Disaster of Water Infrastructure

    The Wired article linked below on further investigations into the full scope of how bad our water infrastructure is reveals, as if we needed it, further indications of how federal agencies, as well as city municipalities, either jumped to little considered, short term solutions (where the "fix" caused even worse problems), or attempted to squelch efforts to find out just how bad things might be. And of course, the subtext here is the knowledge all of the officials involved in these various departments have: better to try and ignore it, or bury any suggestive testing results because nobody's got the money for truly fixing anything anyway, let alone the liability costs (both in lawyers fees and damage payments).

    We, in turn, cry out in understandable rage as our children suffer, and we get sicker as well.

    The thing is, this is all so predictable when viewed through the lens of the shortcomings of a cost based economic system; especially one where the politics has become so mired in the interests of the producers of profit. In that context cost reduction is religious mantra, made worse by the fact that these same interests can see only as far down the road as the next fiscal quarter, or two.

    Play the states against each other with the game of granting tax breaks, which the cities can't avoid much either, and what would you expect would happen to maintenance, or reinvestment budgets? Shit, this is the same reason so many of our children are becoming more ignorant, even as they are also poisoned. And the other side of the cost coin is to choke down growth in real wages so the rest of us can barely afford to live, much less with a modest amount of real quality of life.

    Is it any wonder then why everybody points the finger at the other guy when it comes time to raise somebody's taxes? Or everybody is ready to give the tax man the finger for thinking of suggesting more in the first place?

    So.  Problems that are inevitably going to burn us one way or another get buried (literally and figuratively), punted down the road, or turned to mental vapor by the really effective propaganda of the candidates, or interest groups, of those same producers of profit. Very little of substance gets done and the beatdown goes on.

    What a picture. I'd ask what's wrong with it but so many of you can't think straight anyway... I mean you think a really rich guy like Trump is the answer for christ sakes... so why bother. Go ahead and pop open another beer, or smoke another joint; link up to another favorite binge watch show and just let somebody else worry about it.

    The Crisis in Flint Isn’t Over. It’s Everywhere.

    by Ben Paynter
    Photographs by Dan Winters