Well, Darn, I Just Don’t Feel Like Talkin’

Yes, I still have lots to say, but I am having, what for me is an all to few occurrence, a lack of obsessive need to write about it.  I’ll let you guys in on a secret.  I rarely write this stuff off the cuff.  Usually, these posts brew over days, sometimes weeks, as I build as solid an argument as I can and look at the reasons for the post.  My post “Let’s Set the Pace” was running in my head for months.  While I thought of the reasons why I wanted to write it, I cringed at the backlash I expected to receive from reactionaries who did not read the entire post.  I’ll have to say that I was disappointed with the lack of response since I would love to discuss it further.  I would love discuss any of my posts further but for now, no new arguments.  They are still brewing.

I don’t bite

I just wanted to let you, my faithful reader that I have yet to have, that I don’t bite.  Yes, I do write a lot of stuff that is highly political or religious, but I actually like the challenge of discussion.  Please don’t be afraid to debate these issues with me.  I’ll warn you now that I will make you work for it; however, if you succeed in changing my mind, the next person will find it harder to change it again.  Let’s just have fun with this.

Open Mouth, Insert Golden Spoon, and Cry like a Two Year Old Denied More Ice Cream

I am so sick of hearing the Republican Party’s, and their rich backers, whiny attitude about being asked to pay a little more taxes.  They are spending millions of dollars on a campaign ad blitz built upon an out of context sound bite from President Obama.  The sound bite played out of context is “… If you own a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen …”  The first problem is when you here the entire speech, you find out that he was referring to the highway system and infrastructure that allows businesses to thrive.  The second problem is that even if you focus on the misrepresented sound bite, the idea is still valid and says something of the truth that Republicans work very hard to befuddle.

 The truth is that the people behind these ads are not only greedy beyond belief, but they also have huge John Gault complexes.  They strive very hard to convince the gullible public that businessmen like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mitt Romney created the businesses that made them wealthy solely on their own.  Anyone who is dumb enough to believe this BS should be locked away for their own protection.  There is no way any one person could make a company into a multi-million or multi-billion dollar business on their own.  If the business is a service, a lone person could not interact with enough customers to create that kind of wealth and if they could do so with only a few customers, I would seriously question the legality of the service.  Now the entrepreneur that has an idea for a product, they may be able to sell a lot alone, but again not enough to make millions.  Also, even if they make the product themselves, they had to get raw materials from somewhere; they had to get the product to the customer; they needed capital to start production.  In other words, they had workers helping them.

Steve Jobs did not personally build every Apple computer, I-Phone, or I-Pad.  He did not write every line of code that runs them or each individual component with which they are made.  Now I am going to say the most sacrilegious thing a Republican could hear, Steve Jobs was completely replaceable.  Yes, even the mighty founder of Apple could have been replaced. We might have had to wait a little longer, but someone else would have eventually taken us down the same path.  They may even have done it better.  Time and need will create the will to create something independent of any one person.  If all the multi-billionaires suddenly disappeared from the earth, yes, the world economy would collapse for years, maybe decades as we sorted out the mess, but others would eventually step into the gaps.  The simple truth is that billionaires are no less irreplaceable than a good worker.

In reality, the Republican’s would have us believe that business owners live in a bubble of rarified air separated from the rest of the world.  We on the outside are a starving mass of savages that only know how to scratch our asses and beg from the almighty businessman.  Through the businessman’s kind generosity, we are given sustenance to make our lives better and if that sustenance was withheld, we would die immediately.  What a pile of bull.  The simple truth is that the shoe is on the other foot. If we did not mine the resources to make the product, they would not make money. If we did not build the products they created, they would not make any money.  If we did not transport the products to a seller, they would not make money.  If we did not take receipt of the money from the customer, they would not make money, and most importantly, if we did not buy their products, they would not make money.  In the end, we are the ant to their grasshopper.  We do most of the work and they take the cream of the crop.

 

As for the John Gault complex, all I can say is that he was a fictional character that never had to deal with reality.  Question, in their little island utopia, who built the houses that they lived in?  I highly doubt it was any of the rebel entrepreneurs.  I can just imagine the fight to see who was lowest on the totem pole and; thus, had to do all the labor.  Which ones had to be servants to the others?  What many millionaire businessmen don’t understand is that, while you may be bigger than a lot of us, you are still nothing but a servant to the Billionaires.  You better decide whose side you want to be on, the side that truly makes the economy work or the side that sucks money out of the economy for their own personal tally sheets in the game of who has the most.

Hey Republicans, take that golden spoon out of your mouth, quit crying, and don’t ask for any more ice cream until you have done your chores!

 

A Failure of Imagination, America

As I have done many times on my old blog when I had thought I reached the end of what I wanted to say, more showed up banging ceaselessly upon my brow until I wrote it down or got a headache.  Apparently, I had some more failures rattling around my head and they had a distictively American flavor.

1.  Americans fail to imagine that the large investment banks currently hold our economy and our lives in hostage to their greedy whims.  Some will say that this is just business and it is the way it should be.  These people fail to imagine that their great lives could be lost in an instant of greed from someone bigger than themselves.  Our entire way of life is in the hands of the people that control the money.  If this was not the case, we would not have to worry about Bain capital buying our companies and sending the jobs overseas.  We would not have to worry about the banks not loaning money to keep our businesses running.  Here is something to think about, control of information has been said to be the key to the future, so how do you control the information?  Money.  If you don’t beleive me, check into who owns what media and what media controls which news company.

2.  Americans fail to imagine that their every purchase, from a house to a car to a pack of gum, affects people the world over.  They fail to see the depth of the connections between us and every other country.  You cannot threaten China with trade sactions without understanding the costs to our own economy and vice versa.  A person buying a pack of gum has the weight of the world on his back.  They are employing hordes of people from the grocery clerk that makes sure the gum is on the shelf to the cashier that checks you out.  They are paying for the truck driver that delivered the product as well as the gas delivery driver that brought the fuel to run his truck.   You employ the warehouse worker who unloads the truck from the manufaturor of the gum.  You employ all the workers including the CEO of the Gum manufacturor.  You are also paying for the advertisers to sell you on buying the gum through commercials, packaging, or research.  You are funding governmental agencies that oversee and regulate the companies.  Further, you are financing the people that create the ingredients including those used in packaging, which may be in another country.  Let us not forget the oil workers across the globe who labor to suppy us with the fuel for every aspect of this single transaction.   You are paying for the betting on Wall Street for all of the companies involved here and in turn, all the foriegn and domestic speculators involved in Wall Street.  Ok, enough.  My head hurts and I could just go on and on.

A Failure of Imagination (full post)

“A failure of imagination,” is a phrase supposedly spoken by Astronaut Frank Borman during the senate hearings of the Apollo I accident.  I learned of this phrase from the great miniseries From Earth to the Moon.   In the second episode of the series, the horrific events resulting in the deaths of Gus Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee are dramatically re-enacted.  During the inquiry many errors of design and construction were examined as to their role in the accident with some people interested in seeing the program suspended as too dangerous.  When Mr. Borman was asked directly what caused the accident he replied “A failure of imagination.” 

Whether this is an accurate portrayal of historical fact or artistic license, I do not know; however, the words and the explanation given have stuck with me.  In the show, Frank Borman went on to elaborate what he said.  He wanted to express that, while there were problems within the program, there was not a sense of disregard for safety as some would portray.  In reality, many people within and without NASA failed to imagine a fire occurring on the launch pad because the focus of the scientists, engineers, and astronauts was on accidents occurring during the flight.  They failed to connect a greater risk of fire to a test in an unfueled rocket; a test that had been done the same way through several missions without prior incident.  Basically, everyone failed to plan for the conundrum of circumstances that occurred that fateful day.

What I personally took away from this idea is to never trust anyone who talks in absolutes.  Your money is completely safe, nuclear power is safe and clean, or oil can be safely exploited in wildlife sanctuaries without risk.  Mankind and modern history is a living testament to the power of a failure of imagination.  I bet the designers of the Titanic failed to imagine their wonderful creation crashing into an iceberg.  What about the operators at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl failing to imagine the disasters that occurred at these Nuclear Plants.  We very much know the failure of imagining a tsunami that could wipe out all the back-up power needed to prevent meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi.  I am sure that the first bank to repackage mortgages into mortgage back derivatives did not foresee the global economic catastrophe they would create.  (I tend to believe that they did not see the potential even though I feel they knew they were repackaging bad debt so they could sell it off their books.  As time went on; however, I think they knew what was coming and knew it would not hurt them but us.)

I’ll bet Hilter failed to imagine the Russian’s defeating his army just as the French failed to imagine how easily the German’s crossed the Maginot line.  Einstein probably failed to imagine the lingering fear of Nuclear annihilation that was a result of his equation E=MC2.  Countries like Cambodia failed to imagine that Communistic fervor could lead to the atrocities of Pol Pot. We have been following our singular lack of imagination from the birth of man until now.  This is why I have problems with any religion, government, or scientists who say they know the answers to our problems.  They may know things, which could help now, but they cannot, or in some cases will not, see all the consequences of their actions.  Scientists do not know that there is no God.  Popes do not know that there is a God.  Companies do not know that the product they are giving you is absolutely safe.  Consumers do not know that companies intentionally misled them.  What I am trying to say is to never take things for granted because someone says you should.  They may be just failing to imagine what they say is not the truth.

Failure of Imagination

This is just a place holder to a post I wish to write later, but I will tell you that these are words to live by and are a quote for the character of astronaut Frank Borman in the mini-series From Earth to the Moon.  Whether or not the real Frank Borman said these words, I do not know at this time, but the idea behind the words is valid no matter who said them.

Wrapped around their finger

This post will change your life, well, maybe if it sinks in, if your willing to think about it, if I am not foaming at the mouth.  Ok, there is a good chance it won’t, but I hope I reach someone.  This post was inspired by a rant on dailyrichblog at wordpress.com.  His post dealt with the fervor over a negative review of The Dark Night Rises by someone who has seen the film in advance.

Dailyrich commented about how rabidly attached people get to certain franchises and how unwilling they are to take criticism of said franchises.  For want of a better word, geeks.  To begin with, I myself have at times found myself among the rabid masses and occasionally still do.  My post; however, is not about what they do, but why they do it.  I draw from my own experience from the past and with respect to this blog.  The people who get so worked up about and respond to criticism of something as trivial in the end as a Batman movie have invested a part of themselves in the object of their obsession.

For me it is people responding to my posts.  At times in the past it has been about the Star Wars franchise.  I wrap a part of my self-worth into the object I obsess about.  When someone criticises the object, they are criticising me, which causes me to lash out at them.  The same could be said for many a geek.  Some of their self-worth is wrapped around what ever they choose to love.  Unfortunately, by accounting your self-worth to something outside yourself, you set yourself up to either be hurt a lot or piss others off defending the object you connect with.  No matter what object it is, there will always be someone who does not like it.  In addition, eventually you may someday find yourself disappointed by the object of your self-worth. 

My main point in all of this is not to attach your worth to anything outside yourself.  You cannot control anything out in the world, even the responses to what you say, so wrapping a part of you around something is a problem waiting to happen.  Your feelings are going to get hurt, you will hurt someone elses feelings, you will lose yourself, or be let down.  It is ok to enjoy things like a movie just don’t connect it with your self-worth.

Illustrations and Writing

Well, this week has been stressful (my natural statis for mostly no reason at all) but I have managed to post a story in the July Flash Fiction contest over at SFFWorld.com.  To top it off, I created an illustration to head the story and was actually able to insert it, no small feat given I had to figure it out.  The story is called “A Darkness in Molar” and deals with an infiltrator into a holy order and the betrayal he causes.  If you get a chance, join the site and give the story a read.  I actually tried something different this time.

Thoughts I did think much about at the time

This post is a twist on a series of post in my old blog.  Those posts were explanations of thoughts I had and dismissed or set aside at the time only to later realize I had been correct in my assumptions.  This post will be different in the sense that I have been thinking about this idea for some time in a semi-serious way and I am now watching it come to pass.

Although this is based on Revelations in the Bible, my nonreligious friends can still follow the idea without the reference.  To begin with, I believe somewhere in Revelations there is a reference to the survivors of the Rapture being marked with the number of the Beast.  I have heard of other references to this idea, but this is where I get the thrust of my idea.  What brings this thought and post to mind is a news story about officers making an arrest.  In the story there was a quick mention of the arresting officer wearing an armband with a bar code on it to stream line the process and improve accuracy.

So, you may ask yourself, what is the big problem?  I am hoping that even without the Biblical connection you can see the dangerous possibilities here with respect to technology.  Add to this fact that patients in hospitals are daily given bar codes to improve the accuracy of their healthcare.  The actual problem I see is how easily we accept having numbers physically attached to us.  Is this man insane, they are only trying to protect us?  Well, to me, this is how insidiously easy it is to get us to sign away our rights.  For now it is removable bar codes but it won’t be long before someone comes up with the bright idea of putting our medical histories on a chip that can be inserted under the skin.  They will tell you that it is to improve accuracy and safeguard against accidental incorrect treatment.  Officers may be required to have a chip inserted to accurately trace each step in the arrest process.

Before you go “this guy is off his rocker”, think about all the things that are already accepted.  We regularly have RF chips inserted into our pets to help find them when they stray, easy enough to expand to humans.  Just remember Pink Slime.  It was a product meant to be fed to our pets that somehow became part of our own diet.  Next, our cellphones can already be used to locate us.  Nothing new there; however, I have to wonder, even if we turn off the GPS, is it really off.  I don’t know because it is all computer programming, which takes place under the surface and can be hacked.  Just ask the parents of the slain girl in England that Murdoch’s company hacked into her phone.  Of course, there are all the systems being implemented in medicine and law enforcement to better input data into computers and improve accuracy.  It all sounds so reasonable and sane.

My fears grow from our history.  Ask a Jewish person who remembers the holocaust and humans having numbers tattooed on their bodies.  Now ask them if they had a bar code on the wristband they wore in the hospital.  See how easily good and evil intertwine.  Systems that start out small expand and incorporate us all by being thought of as harmless by those that do not see the ramifications.  They trust blindly because technology is moving so fast that only those who make it truly know what it is doing.  They trust because we have been taught that technology is our pathway to utopia.  Unfortunately, technology is also the pathway to identity theft, phone hacking, and ballistic missiles.  Where ever good intentions are, evil intentions are not far behind.  It is just human nature, which leads me to the number of the beast.  Is it possible to have everyone marked in a way that an evil (most evil) being can control our lives?  The short answer is yes and we will allow them to do it.

Well, let me wrap this thought up.  Even if you do not believe in the Bible and the connections I have made, you can still agree on the looming danger represented by technology implanted into the human body.  Yes, today it is relatively unsophisticated with little chance of hacking, but the direction we are taking will greatly expand the possibilities for outside control of our lives through technology implanted within us.  Just think of how hard it would be to get your life back in order after identity theft if the information was stored on a chip imbedded under your skin that every business could scan at will.  If you think these ideas are farfetched, remember, the idea of having a computer you could carry in your hand was only a dream several decades ago.