Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How The War On Drugs, And The Increasing Cost Of Medications...

...Are Related.

You may not fully appreciate this, but the fact is that a big part of why we continue the war on drugs is that it has become a big business. There is also, of course, the fact that the war itself has been an immensely cost burdened mistake. A mistake that has obviously not stopped the drugs from coming in.

On the other side of things we have the whole nature of the Pharmaceutical Industry. If there is a way to squeeze more profit out of a drug you can bet they will take advantage of it. And one of the casualties in that little conundrum is the fact that the drug we have now to stop overdoses in their tracks is also becoming more and more expensive.

Before I go any further here I do want to be clear on one thing: A big part of the problem is the very poor choices so many of us make. And believe me, I've not only seen it first hand, I've lived it myself. A "benefit" of having grown up with parents who were both alcoholics, and whose relatives were as well. The effects of drug addiction, both alcohol and the other usual suspects, are something I understand quite viscerally. That having been said, however doesn't change the fact that I still believe that choices must have consequences. It also doesn't change the fact that, though Capitalism isn't to blame for all of these ills, it certainly has a far too big a stake in them for anybody to just ignore.

I make that preface because of two propositions I have been quite firm on over the years. One is the fact that, if you could take the money out of drugs you would eliminate a big part of the incentive to produce them in the first place. And secondly, even without that incentive in place, people are going to want to get high no matter what economic system you have in place.

So. The bottom line here for me has always been this.Whether we stay with Capitalism or not (though we certainly should get rid of if), we must stop the war on drugs. Absolutely and without question. What we should do in its place, at least in a broad stroke kind of view, is this:

All drugs must be made not only legal, but cost free. And we do this by the maintenance of a two tiered dispensary system. The first tier would be a pay to stay affair, run by third parties, who charge not for the drugs themselves, but for a more pleasant atmosphere to take them in. The second tier would be basic accommodations at the most fundamental level: clean, sheltered, and private to be sure, but with no frills whatsoever.

The idea here would be that you could take whatever drug you desired (excepting the not so dangerous ones, like Pot, and maybe alcohol), but with the understanding that you can't leave until the drug has left your system. And if you are so completely addicted you keep dosing to the point that you overdose, then this is what will happen: Three strikes and you're out. The first two times you will be saved, and you will be strongly encouraged to seek treatment; treatment we might actually be able to afford now that we're not paying for another useless war, by the way. But if you continue to refuse this treatment then you will simply be allowed to die. And I say that last part with a conviction that comes not only from our battles with addiction, but also from our ambivalence on whether people have a right to choose when they want do die.

In both cases here choice is the most important aspect; both in the understanding that you need to take responsibility for your choices, but that, in a free society, personal choice has to be of immense importance for the society as a whole to protect.

Think about these things. Find a way to take action and do something about it.


Evolution could have predicted the failure of the war on drugs.


Kaleo, a privately-held pharmaceutical firm, has an antidote for the opioid epidemic — but its fast-rising price is putting it out of reach.
See Also:
The Alternative For Capitalism

These Are the Kinds Of Contradictions You Create...

...When you let fear, and those who pander to fear, rule you.

And in the end you have neither protection from what you were played to be fearful of, nor a better understanding of how fearful you should be of those who would play with your fears in the first place.

How many fatal terror attacks have refugees carried out in the US? None

See Also:
Without A Money Mad, Greed Centric Form Of Economic Operating System, Wouldn't Be Here, And W'e Be A Hell Of A Lot Less Likely To Be Heading Where Troglodytes Would Like To Take Us.

How to Build an Autocracy

The preconditions are present in the U.S. today. Here’s the playbook Donald Trump could use to set the country down a path toward illiberalism.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Which Religion Are We Talking About Here?

The linked video here claims that Liberals Have lost their religion.

There's an easy assumption to be made here, of course, and that's where it's necessarily only a theology that we need to be talking about here, and not only that but of faith in general as well. And the difference there is what I want to post about now.

Certainly, as a group, and as the video makes clear, Liberals in general don't go in for traditional norms of faith; especially when a deity is involved. What you have to remember, however, is that Liberals are, if nothing else, a product of the age of reason, which of course is where the Renaissance came to flourish. In this sense empiricism, and enlightenment, came together to form a faith in both knowledge and rational Capitalism. Free Trade, free markets, the free flow of information, and the "rule by law" would be our path to truly just salvation (remembering just how brutal things were materially in Feudal times). And to this day their faith remains in those, even if circumstances in the last twenty to thirty years have made that faith harder and harder to hold on to.

So... If you don't have deities, and this faith in markets has really been coming up a pauper, is your faith in science, and knowledge in general, enough to sustain you? Judging by not only their lack of success lately, but also by their lack of anything even resembling a comprehensive new vision for a self governed people to latch onto, what is a political grouping to do?

Let's see... A political persuasion needs both a new faith, and a new way to pursue a just, well informed, new type of prosperity... Hmmm.... I'm going to go out on limb here and say I might just have something here they ought to be aware of. Just saying.

If they bothered to take the time to look into it they might be quite pleasantly surprised. At the very least, it couldn't hurt.


Liberals Have Lost Their Religion And That's Come Back To Bite Them

The Democratic Party has become the party of the secular and that's a big turn off for Americans of faith.
The Atlantic

See Also:
Can Something From Nothing End In Nothing? Or Is There A Real Problem With...
...Considering that nothing is something in the first place?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Time Off From Mr. T: What About The Foreign Policy You Could Expect...

...From an alternative to Capitalism.

This is a really tough question to tackle. So many factors go into what makes up geopolitics in the world today. National aspirations and ideologies. The history of each nation, not to mention the entangled histories of it and the nations around it. The current economic needs. What they have at hand to address those economic needs. And in relation to the last point, their standing in not only competition for markets, but also the ever growing competition to secure critical resources (especially if they are not exactly at hand) to ensure the survival of their economy.

For me, as a systems analyst, when you look at process interaction, you tend to want to look at both the macro and micro so that you can have a feel for both the big picture dynamics, as well as how the lower level interactions either mesh positively, or discordantly, not only with each other, of course, but with the putative goals established for the big picture. And in this, naturally, is one of the main buzz words of systems people: Integration.

I should point out before going any further that I started out thinking about the need for an alternative years before I got into IT work. Having already established a fairly strong sense of labory history, and the proclivities of large holders of capital to do whatever the hell they wanted (sometimes for good, but mostly not so much), I came upon the work of Marshall McLuhan. And I have to say that was my big moment of intellectual influence. Once I read "Understand Media: The Extensions of Man" I was hooked into a viewpoint that would become a life long "big factor." After that it was read everything I could get my hands on from that man ("The Mechanical Bride," "The Gutenberg Galaxy," "From Cliche To Archetype," "The Global Village," "CounterBlast," "War and Peace in The Global Village," etc.).

Besides giving a completely new view on how the major means by which we both store, and move experience affects us, and how we perceive the world, I couldn't also help from coming away from his ideas with a profound sense that there was a social-political message about how change in those means of storing, or moving, experience, must necessarily demand commensurate change in social and political structures as well. I mean, how could it not after all? Which I mention now because, surprisingly enough, during the sixties he because noteworthy a great deal more for his understanding about how advertising could be so much more effective (describing "gap" and "connection" and the use of puns as new ways to sneak past the conscious mind to put meaning into people's heads).

In any case, though, because of his influence, not only did the new realm of information processing become important to me, thinking more holistically did as well. A process only added to as it was connected to Stuart Brand, and his idea of seeing biology, geology, and atmospheric sciences as amazingly intertwined, complex systems.

With this preface you might be seeing why I might be inclined to think of social, and political change as something that requires a comprehensive view of all of the systems involved; which, is why there seemed little choice in my mind that to address any of the problems in any of the individual systems you also had to address the bigger picture.

What is the bigger picture in it's truest sense? We want to be able to prosper, as both individuals and as families, neighbors, communities, cities, states and nations. We want to do that now, however, in a way that doesn't make a whole host of other issues go south in the process. In this I have taken the liberty of encapsulating this "bigger picture" idea into the notion of striving for "thoughtful loving structure." A structure for which both thought, and the need to love, come to bear on our approach to all of the subsystems already mentioned.

So how does this apply to foreign policy? To address that, in the context of my alternative, we need to separate that into two parts: 1. What organizations, of what structure, would replace foreign policy administration in a new organizational model. And 2: What would my alternative offer as advantages to whatever method of administering foreign policy that might ultimately be settled upon?

To answer the first question I have to own up to what should be an obvious starting point. I don't have all of the answers not only because I am not an expert in foreign policy, but precisely because I don't have anywhere near all of the questions that have to be asked in conjunction to the operation of my alternative. I have given some broad outlines as to how government and the military ought to be set up, but I am honestly not sure of all of the ins and outs of a new form State Department within a setup where we no longer have representational government, but run things ourselves from the City State on up.

I have already indicated my opinion on the need of streamlining the organization of the military, in conjunction with absolute universal service (say six years in length, starting at the age of 18, where the military becomes, in effect, educator of last resort, and where being a soldier isn't the only way to serve your country, as well a means of maintaining national security). I have also suggested a system of revolving task responsibilities that people could choose from within their city states. My thought, as an extension of this would be that, as people got older in the community, their requirement to have the normal minimum of local tasks might be allowed to diminish to some degree. As this happens, given the levels of experience acquired, new task groups might be then identified where longer terms of occupancy would be allowed: as in the case of higher levels of administration; where making quick decisions in response to changing circumstances are required prior to letting a larger vote on matters take place. And, as those who cycle through those administrative tasks at the lower level gain experience, they might, with the consent of the local electorate, be allowed to then join regional, or higher levels of a immediate administration. Perhaps this could then be extended all the way to the highest levels of national administration; remembering that it would not be these people creating policy, but only those charge with the responsibility to carry that policy out.

This does, unfortunately, leave a lot left unspecified, but that is just the way it has to be for now. What is need here is a great deal more input from a great deal more people better versed in policy at a national, and global level. That being said, however, doesn't change what I believe is the next important aspect here, and that is number 2 on our list above.

If we take economics out of the equation as it has been know for the last several hundred years, we will give ourselves a place to act from on the global front that would put us in a much better position to work from both a higher moral ground, but also one where there can be a great deal less concern that our motives are suspect. How could this not be so if we were, first of all no longer competitors within economic markets, and secondly where our ability to lessen our impact on the competition for global resources were much reduced? And we could do that to a much greater degree because it would only be our national desire to prosper, as opposed to many individual desires to maximize profit, that would be our main driving motivation. For me, that, as well as getting rid of the whole "mass production, mass consumption" model, would go a long way to accomplish all of these desirable ends.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Taking A little Time Off From The Terrible Mr. T.

Honestly, my "it's just too much meeter" has been so pegged of late it's finally coiled itself around the peg post. How could it not be time to take a step back (at least for a bit), and just focus more on what this blog is supposed to be primarily about, and not just from the "Capitalism Stinks" side of things either. In fact, I think it's high time I spent more text on the various "how would it be" considerations that I would expect from the alternative I've been proposing.

To kick things off I thought I'd talk about education. A reasonable person might want to ask: "How would that work? Would you get rid of full time teachers and class rooms? If so, what would replace them?

And right at the get go I want to emphasise that the idea here is to have a Federation of City States (using "City States" loosely in that it might entail a wide range of sizes, both in respect to population density or total population, and/or physical size); and I mean a Federation where each City State would have a great deal of leeway in the details of how they could go about organizing themselves. There would still be Federation wide dictates (as in having a direct vote as a part of personal participation in City operations; ownership of items you made; the ability of citizens to move about as they may, taking the items they made with them, or at least a resource equivalent; the free movement of information; Federation mandated levels of trade, technical, and social skills, etc.), of course, but specific things like what would be taught would be up to each City.

The first thing to emphasize here is that we need to get away from the idea that "what needs to be done" will be accomplished by anybody other than the community itself, which is to say that every adult (or nearly so) needs to be involved in teaching the community's kids as a whole, and doing it so that it's a constant process of being out in the community as much as possible so that the kids can see exactly why different things are important to know. Not to say classroom time would be eliminated, mind you, just not relied upon nearly so much as now.

The second thing to emphasize here is that a fundamental part of a City's State operation would be the establishment of process categories that would encompass all aspects of city operation. For instance you might group things like this: 1. Rapid Response. 2. Physical Care. 3. Education. 4. Infrastructure Maintenance. 5 Infrastructure Development.

The point of the groupings would be to set up a system in which each citizen, subject to non emergency situations, would be able to select tasks to rotate through as a part of their work responsibilities. A certain minimum number of total tasks would be set, as well as the requirement that you could pick what you wanted, as long as it was at least one from each, and perhaps a few extra from groups deemed especially important.

So let's say you picked "policing" from "Rapid response," "Retirement Aid" from "Physical Care," "Primary School Age" from "Education," "Software Repair" and "City Sanitation" from "Infrastructure Maintenance," and "Heavy Machine Operation" from "Infrastructure Development." You would then spend one to two weeks in each specific task before rotating to the next. Staffing in these rotations would also be set up as to be staggered in such a way that ongoing continuity of specific tasks could be maintained as much as possible, with someone there to always provide hand off.

With teaching you would get a group of kids, "located hopefully close to where you actually live, and you would then see how much reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history sociology, and science you could impart by showing the kids how it all comes together everyday in your work life; as in what you have to be able to read to do policing, how much writing and arithmetic is involved in all of the jobs you do; of how geography determines the advantages, and disadvantages, of building or growing anything in particular places; of how that feeds into history, not only locally, but for everywhere else, and how older people understand how good, or bad things used to be. Of how science makes it possible to have computers in the first place, as well as a beginning to understand how they work, and why someone has to tell them how to actually do things. And finally about how important it is for people to try and understand who people are, what's important to them, and how finding ways of working together, even when we don't necessarily like, or understand, everything other people believe in, is the only way we can get things done in the world, and still not hurt or kill each other in the process.

What I'm describing here is no more than an organic process integrated into the everyday life of every community. As opposed to locking kids up in "fact factories" where knowledge acquisition is no more than an assembly line of pieces slapped on, or plugged in, as haphazardly as utility and limited resources might allow. Followed by the obligatory testing to see if any of it stuck or not, and caring only insomuch as it justifies resource allocation or not.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that we would change the stark demarcation between grossly different environments; much as Marshall McLuhan lamented (back in the fifties and sixties) when he pointed out just how ridiculous it was in thinking you could maintain one information environment, trying to impart certain facts, from another larger environment where, for the rest of the day, the kids are awash in multi sense communication urging want, need, consumption, and ever more mesmerizing distraction.

What we're talking about here is direct connection with each other, and with each priority the community faces on a day to day basis. A connection that automatically propagates incentives to make things work because we are all, as a community, directly responsible for the outcome. Automatic incentives to help each other because there will always be great need for bodies and brains to be applied, and the simple fact that not everyone is going to be very good at everything. I may know everyting about programming an application, but dick about how joists should be cut and placed properly in building a house. You may know everything about fixing motors, or pumps, etc,. but very little about handling people in emotional situations. The list goes on and on.

I talk a lot about "thoughtful, loving structure." What that might be at any given moment is not so easy to define precisely because it would need to be able to be in constant motion; always adjusting itself, and accommodating new circumstances, but what one can say is that it applies a lot in how you go about achieving it; as much to say that it's just as much about process as it is about an endpoint. And in this, working together, like folks doing a quilting bee, or the Amish doing a house raising, or even folks separated now by our specialist society coming together in moments of great crisis; when all that matters is helping your neighbor. At that moment, even if only for a short time, do we achieve thoughtful, loving structure. Wouldn't it be nice if we could find a way to make that kind of interaction a more permanent state of affairs? Well... I think we can, if we put our minds to it. Especially if we give up on old notions of how things are supposed to be arranged. Easy to say, certainly, and a hell of a lot harder to actually do, but consider what might be gained if we do. Consider what might be lost if we do not.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Timely Inspiration Can Be A Real Bitch Sometimes

So now we have the "newspeak" of "alternative facts." What else is already here? What comes next?

Sales of Orwell’s Dystopian Classic ‘1984’ Soar After Trump Claims, ‘Alternative Facts’

See Also:
How the Media Needs to Respond to Trump Now | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Where We Need To Go
Capitalism Won't Take Us

If This Is The Kind Of Destination You Desire...

Then by all means, stay on the path of Capitalism.

Not to say that Capitalism is to blame for all of it certainly. But you do have to admit that it plays one hell of a role in getting us to this sorry state of affairs. Would this man even have a brand if it were not do to money, and the things it can manipulate?

You may not agree on what I have outlined for an alternative, but you either have to have to accept that we are on the right road, despite the difficulties, or that we are not and you are ready to suggest a better alternative, because if you have one, I beg you please post it here. I will gladly sing its praises, and support your better idea, rather than continue as we have been. If you have a better idea you can probably articulate it better in anycase. So have at it. Because somebody better come up with a better pretty soon.

Some Experts Say Trump Team’s Falsehoods Are Classic ‘Gaslighting’

A New Blog Header

Will You Do Something About Finding A better Alternative?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Only Thing Increasing Tentions With China...

...Let alone outright conflict, will accomplish is giving increased leverage to the aspirations of a friend of Our Lord of the Tantrum Text... You know, the guy who dictates to Russian now. For pretty much everybody else in the world, most especially us and the Chinese, things will get a lot worse.

And all it would take is traded sanction here, and a trade sanction there (forget about an actual trade war); maybe some shenanigans with the debt of our their holding, and/or our currency. Pretty soon Walmart and Amazon, and anybody else doing the low cost merchandising model now, would be smacked with either serious negative margins, or equally serious price increases across the board. Then the perceptions of further instability would take the air out of whatever confidence either marketers or consumers would have for future decisions. Which then puts a lot of feet on the breaks of a lot of different investment or purchase choices. And you've seen how that car finally gets stopped before.

And just so we're clear here, this certainly doesn't go bad for just us. Just as much as we depend on their cheap products, or their willingness to buy our debt paper, they depend on us to be there to buy the products, or keep the bonds a safe place to put their surpluses in. It doesn't take a magic crystal to see that, with both the general economic slowdown worldwide, as well as new competition from other lower wage nations, China is already having a hard time trying to sell anywhere near what they could produce. You throw in a building bubble they still haven't dealt with yet, corruption they still haven't stamped out yet (at the truly egregious level anyway), and the social costs of unanswered environmental, and social disparity issues, and they have serious fragility issues of their own to deal with.

Our relationship with China needs the kind of patient, quietly firm, but still engaging, form of professionalism that only practical, and knowledgeable, diplomats know how to apply. China is a player now. They've earned, and deserve, our respect just as much as our resolve for a parity of equitable interests (for both them, us, and everybody else in the region). That means working behind the scenes, understanding the psychologies involved, to work a consensus (with all the stakeholders in the region) that mitigates the differences as much as possible, while looking for ways to positively engage in the very kinds of solutions that solve mutual problems. And how could working together to solve critical energy needs, and which also aids the environment, not be a good thing for both sides?

And that's the real bottom line here. There are just so many other serious problems, beyond just localized economic issues, that need to be addressed. The environment, Resource alternative solutions. Growing susceptibility to antibiotic diseases. The refugee catastrophe that radical climate change has already started to make itself felt. We can't solve these problems by ourselves. We are going to need help. All of the help we can get; from the Europeans, South East Asia, Africa, the Pacific Rim nations, and South America (I'd say Russia as well, but there's really going to need to be a leadership change there before we can engage them positively again). And the universe knows it's hard enough when things aren't direct turmoil. Start more war rattling and you only make things infinitely worse.

Is any of this really so difficult to see? It just seems so simple and basic. And yet even to recognize the mere consideration of such a basic approach appears to be out of the reach of the inmates now in control of our newly appreciated asylum.

Keeping a sense of hope now is becoming ever more difficult.

Beijing Pushes Back on Trump Admin Over Disputed Islands in South China Sea

Alternate Facts, Lying, Or The Inability To Discern Reality At All?

From the Inauguration through yesterday has seen a whirlwind of appraisal of, and consternation over, what Our Lord of the Tantrum Text views as what is going on around him, and how he acts on it. On one end of the spectrum, at least for me, is a cold, self centered opportunist who manipulates things to whatever degree he can; often brashly in contradiction to himself on a ongoing basis. On the other end of the spectrum is, as expressed by Keith Olbermann, the idea that he really is clinically out of touch with reality.

Neither of these possibilities is very encouraging for our country, but naturally Mr. Olbermann's viewpoint would be the most chilling of all. And whether you agree with it or not you have to admit the argument for it presents an all too plausible possibility. As scary as it is, however, you would also think it would be the easiest scenario in which to make a determination, and then to take action. I mean, if he's clearly unhinged then it really does become a no brainer to put him out to pasture; preferably of the padded cell type.

If it is of the former type, however, it could still be very dangerous for us, and a great deal harder to formulate a consensus in removing him from office.

Trump is certainly way too full of himself, and it also might be close to pathological, but I have to wonder if it is (more or less?) complex than that. That is to say that he started out with a sense of privilege, New York inspired it would seen (not so much with a silver spoon in his mouth, but with gold plated brass knuckles in both hands). His old man set him up with several hundred million to start out with. And perhaps, just as important, if not more so, he got the entry to the same doors of power in New York City his old man had accumulated after decades of grinding the access out the hard way.

The one other thing that's important here, however, is that it was only little after he skated comparatively easily through most of his N.Y. real estate business, that the debt he quickly plowed himself into with the casino's, taught him (or at least proved to him) a very important fact: get into the system big enough, where it's not only yours, but a lot of their skin, that you've talked them all into putting on the line, where you then just look them in the eye and say: "I'll just let it all fail..." (he's probably got enough hidden to not make this a totally catastrophic bet -- J.V.). "...I don't care. Go ahead and sue me if you want. You won't get a dime. Take whatever pennies on the dollar I'm offering and be thankful for that."

And they took that deal; whether he was bluffing or not because he does a really good job of seeming like he's crazy. But then off course... where's the line drawn between crazy willing to take risks, mostly because you've gotten away with it before (as a spoiled kd kinda thing), and being simply pathologically unable to determine crazy in any action you might take because you just flat out don't perceive reality correctly in the first place?

For me, though it's not been easily one way or the other, I still tend to lean towards the "I get away with shit, I love to think I'm a big risk taker, and I've got the money to surround myself in a buffer so thick not caring what people think is easier than than breathing. I love being a bully, and I especially love pushing folks around who never took me seriously in the first place. My business acumen may actually suck but I am good at snowing people and not giving two shits about how it might make me look. If you win despite the obvious contradictions then what difference does it make how ugly the grinding out process was. What do I stand for? Other than getting more famous? Or richer? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's simply about playing the bullying game and laughing behind the backs of those who thought they were better than me. And the opposers, who are now sycophants, and who have let me get this far, will shit their pants before taking on the risk of chaos I can create if they want to take me down now."

Analysis: Trump’s ‘Alternative Facts’ fight Carries Campaign Bluster into White House

A Plea to Trump Fans: This Man is Dangerous | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

What A Surprize...

...Not only another promise he won't keep, but a basic "fuck you" to the nation, and our understandable desire to get the air cleared of the growing number of suspicions surrounding him.

The direction he seems to be going here is: "You know I'm dirty. I know you know I'm dirty, and I really don't give a damn. I'm here now and I'll bust the constitution anyway I can to stay. Congress will blink before I do in risking chaos. Just you wait and see.
Donald Trump Will Not Release Tax Returns, White House Adviser Says
Reversing Campaign Pledge, Trump Won't Release Tax Returns Even After Audit: Adviser

The Only Depth The Man Has...

...Is his ability to serve his own interests; even when standing before a symbol of great sacrifice.

For him even genuflecting won't be enough. He's going to ask you to bend over and spread your cheeks. And then expect a "thank you" from your lips for his benefaction.

Ex-CIA Boss Brennan, Others Rip Trump Speech in Front of Memorial

Even When Things Get Dark...

...Women remind us not go give up hope.  And to keep fighting.

Women’s Marches Held Around the World in Solidarity With D.C. Demonstration

Friday, January 20, 2017

Because Pretty Much Everything That Hits This Overly Fragile Economic Operating System...

...Will cause it catastrophic costs. Made even more catastrophic because of all of the finger pointing (as always) on who's ultimately going to foot the bill (from Digg):


In four scenarios envisaging the economic impact of a solar storm, the mildest triggers a daily loss to the US economy of $6.2 billion, or 15 percent of daily output; the worst case sees a cost of $41.5 billion, wiping out every dollar the world’s largest economy generates each day.

Ya Think?

No comment needed here either (from Digg):


With ambitious job growth planned in 2017, Amazon may come to define the nature of work in the United States. And that might not be a good thing.

The Circumstantial Evidence Continues To Accumulate -- Continued

This post needs no further comment (from Digg) :


The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him.

A Protection That's Likely To Be Taken Away From You

A student loan collection company that ran rampant with overcharges. To the Tune of $4 billion no less. As if student loans weren't hard enough to pay without the "we'll fuck you because we can" tax. And the guys that found them out are just another of the protections our inefficient, and overbearing government will probably not be providing you now that Our Lord of the Tantrum Text is taking up residence in the White House.

As I've said before, government is not very good at doing a lot of things, but given the choice of having poorly run protections, or no protections at all, I think I would prefer to err on the side of the former. Because poorly done or not something is better than nothing when it comes to the rapacious appetites of those who live enthralled by money. Most especially when that enthrallment comes at the behest of a belief system with the longevity and staying power of Capitalism.

I do have to point out, before moving on here, something that still puzzles me about the anti government crowd. On the one hand, as a point of principle, you decry most everything government run. On the other hand, however, you end up voting for candidates worse than idiots because you have lost faith in those who have been running things. My question is: How can there be anybody running things in good stead when you seek to put people in office who don't believe in government either. And if the order of the day is that government is bad, then why wouldn't those who believe a great deal more in the power of money, and profit, think they have a right to do as they please. After all, the belief system that lies at the foundation of their passion says that markets are the ultimate arbiter of good outcomes. And of course, human nature being what it is, if I think I'm one of the chosen to do Capitalist good, why shouldn't I get a special premium for my great service. After all, it's only those idiots who do believe in government who do it out of sense of selfless service. And if you have any doubt about that just look at the contrast between the guy who's departing the White House, and the guy who will now be taking up residence. Do you really think there is any way the former is in this to the same degree of not feathering his own bed? Or that the latter thinks this is anything but a chance to further his brand, and that brand's ability to make him more money?

Student Loan Collector Navient Sued for Overcharging Borrowers

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beating The China War Drum

I need to start this by pointing out one of the prominent contradictions of Capitalism today: On the one hand it has always keen about the idea that production should always specialize where it is most efficient; where efficiency is usually meant to be the best bang for the buck. In this regard, as we have already seen, the Big Money interests of opening markets, and most especially labor markets, with the ability to trade back with goods made from cheaper labor, has been made manifest in NAFTA, and the TPP, as well as the World Trade Organization.

A big part of what is going on here, certainly, is that Big Money, and those who control it, have no real nationality (see the fictional manifestations of this in the books by Daniel Suarez: Daemon, Freedom, and Kill Decision) any more. The only criteria that matters in this mindset is where are the best profits to be made, and how can we make them.

Another, more traditionally nationalist, if still quite practical, view is the one that worries about national viability if you don't actually produce much of anything related to core productive capability any more. This view is getting repeated a good deal more in recent years precisely as China has been able to take advantage of the favorable trade imbalance cheaper labor (among other things) has given it; at least until the last year or two (and for which they surely see slipping away now). You can hear this view repeated quite well by John J. Tkacik, Jr. (Former Diplomat -- China, Taiwan, Ex Head of the China Information Bureau, State Department -- Washington DC -- From Documentary 2017 - World War 3 USA vs CHINA - BBC Documentary 2017, Timestamp 45:01 ):

"...The United States cannot maintain itself as a superpower if we allow our industrial production to be... to be offshored...to be outsourced... And that's what's happening now... we're finding very large amounts of our basic... core industries. And I don't just mean like steel, steel is just one of them... copper, you know, basic resources, but things like semi conductors... and when we find that our semi conductor industry has gone from 12, you know, state of the art wafer fabs, to three, um because more and more are being built in Taiwan, Japan.. well not in Japan, in South Korea, and in China. If we're allowing our, you know, state of the art, cutting edge, electronic science and technology, research and development, to move to China... we can't survive as a superpower."  

 That both groups would still claim to be true torch bearers for Capitalism is nearly as contradictory as what either means when it claims to define what a "superpower" is, or can be, any more. On the one hand it is capital flow itself (which, also contradictory, must necessarily include information) that is the superpower, and on the other it is competitive nation states, vying for both resources, and market control, that is the true superpower.

The problem, however, is that neither can have what they feel is the true definition of Capitalism, or continued "Superpower" status for that matter. This is so because information will never be truly free flowing (which is why so much effort is put into stealing it, and why the thieves will always be one step ahead of the hoarders) as long as it exists under the commodity constraint of "net gain" for the "Big Money" side  And for the traditional nationalists you can't preserve jobs, in Capitalist economic sense at least, just because they contribute to "national power."

There is, certainly, a perhaps much greater constraint on the old notion of superpower: the very simple notion that now, with resources so constrained, and climate change so increasingly extreme, that such old exercises to establish such dominance are nothing more than pissing matches conducted on the lower decks of the Titanic as it encounters the first ripping shudders of a very rude awakening. In this context the only superpower that ought to matter anymore is the degree to which we can find ways to cooperate with each other; either to slow climate change down, and/or deal with the collateral damage, that is inevitable now, as best we can.

I do want to get back to the videos I've featured here, though, because, like it or not, this has been a big part of the foundation for Trump giving lip service to starting trade wars with the Chinese, and pretending, in the interim, that bluster will save the day when it comes to preventing actual armed hostilities.

These are, to say the least, very effective sets of advocacy (I really hesitate to call them propaganda precisely because I can relate to the populist ethos they stem in significant part from), even given the degree to which they stoop to pandering to nationalistic pride, and ego. There are very real issues here, but there is also a profound tendency to oversimplify complex considerations.

China has, obviously, benefited greatly by trade imbalances; restricting their markets even as we open ours; playing fast and loose with their currency to keep their trade surpluses going, etc. And just as obviously, the American middle class worker has not benefited nearly as much. We also, however, get China portrayed as an unstoppable economic juggernaut (without very serious problems of it's own which could actually bring the current government down, and the rest of the country into unbelievable chaos), just as Japan used to be portrayed when we thought they would end up owning all of America, and winning WW 2 after all.

We also get China's military presented as the equal to ours, which it isn't, even if there are certain vulnerabilities that we should always be wary of (like the new diesel, or fuel cell powered, subs; satellite vulnerabilities, spectrum vulnerabilities;  or strategic missiles that can target our carriers).

Now that resources are getting more scarce. Now that Taiwan is even more of a thorn in their side, and jobs are still not very easy to provide, what do we do? And in that, it seems to me, the one thing we cannot do is business as usual. We have to keep a balanced view of the context, avoiding power vacuums just as much as sabre rattling, even as we work to create a new interactive dynamic.

Let's be clear. If the roles were reversed. If, say, the French (however surreptitiously, or not) helped the south to hold on to, say, Florida, after they lost the civil war, keeping Jefferson Davis's government alive; how do you think we would feel about it even only, say fifty years after it was all over. Obviously the Chinese want an undisputedly singular nation; and both for very real reasons of a strategic, and national pride nature. The fact is, however, regardless of how illegitimate the beginnings of the Taiwan state may have been, there are facts on the ground now that we simply cannot turn away from. The question then becomes how do you finess not abandoning, but also not explicitly recognizing, those facts?

One way, of course, is to grant concessions in one sphere as you also withhold them in others. And in this our willingness to bend financially might be seen as one form of payment. The fact remains, however, that you don't give in to easy bluster just because it gets you votes, or because it begs deeper financial questions. You resist the former outright as obviously counter productive, and you look to new alternatives to address the deeper financial questions. You also look for new ways to offer incentives, as concessions, that also happen to offer real solutions to common problems; of which both countries have plenty (hence the hydrogen energy initiatives I've suggested using sea based Tornado Turbines).

Let us also not forget that the same contradictions inherent in Capitalism, that plague us, will be plaguing them as well, and perhaps more severely as they have a far more vast disadvantaged groups of people than we will ever have. Groups that not only still struggle against poverty, but also the deep insults of corruption, environmental insult, and degradation that make our events of poisoning, or flooding, or mine disaster, look tame in comparison.

The bottom line here is that we, and the rest of the world, desperately needs a new way of conduction interaction with other nation states; one that can at least eliminate the competition for markets, as it also seeks to minimize the competition for resources, because this is the only way we can ease the prime pressures that put us into conflict scenarios in the first place. And this needs to start with one nation taking the lead in that change, phasing out the old cost based economics with the new effort based one. A phasing that, one would hope, could be done so that other, less developed nations could step in to take our place consumption wise (at least for a while to get their level of material well being up to change as well).

This will be doubly difficult because we will still need to maintain a very strong military regardless of what we ultimately change to because a power vacuum is just as bad as power belligerence, and unjust unilateralism. The hope here would be that we could protect ourselves at least as capably, and a great deal more efficiently, as we use universal service, a military streamlined to no more than three service groups (Fleet, Mobile Infantry, and a national event response force -- combining the Core of Engineers with disaster relief responsibilities), and a command structure we can count on to prioritize defense needs on actual circumstances, as opposed to juicy contracts, and/or career opportunities after you leave uniform.

As I said, though, that is the hope. Making it happen will require a will and commitment at least equal to, if not more than, the commitment and effort we put into winning WW 2. No small thing to say the least. Can we do it? I honestly don't know. Not any more in any case. That being said, however, doesn't change the other side of the coin for that question: Can we afford to do nothing? Do we simply accept that war is inevitable. Even as ultimate environmental destruction is inevitable? I sure hope not. However improbable the odds are, at least in trying there is still a chance we could pull it off. Bad as those odds are they are better than what's in store for the current state of affairs.

Documentary 2017 - Documentary 2017 - Crouching Tiger Part 1: Will There Be War With China

Documentary 2017 - USA Death By China 2017| How America Lost Its Manufacturing Base (Official Version)

Documentary 2017 - World War 3 USA vs CHINA - BBC Documentary 2017