Friday, November 28, 2008

The Structure of Education is Crazy

Education generally and higher education in particular is deeply suffering from structural binding that is making it much less effective and far more labor intensive for both student and teacher than it needs to be and what is worse has no real path to understand the quality of the result, or even the satisfaction of the need either for the student or Society itself.

A. Graduation/certification is hazing not a measure of knowledge.
Because certification provides entry into a class system that does not neasure actual ability, immense extraneous expenses in time and money are added far beyond the actual information or skills imparted, and to justify this and compete in self perpetuation most of a schools actions and decisions have little or nothing to do with education. This is especially true the more the emphasis is anything other than educating the students.

B Education is lifelong and not always at the same speed
The facts of life, written more in the real structure than rules or common belief, is that education starts with young children until 18-24 tears old and then is cut off to the average person. Differences in ability, or much more often life events that cause one to lose ground can only very rarely be made up at all. And even if the knowledge/skill is acquired by alternative means the certification is not, and the ability to contribute is blocked

C. Technology has Changed.
Senior professors who lectures a class of hundreds with the same speech year after year in order to justify his salary is short changing both themselves and their students. Technology could produce a much more interesting "Lecture" to convey information that is one way, and a secondary system to provide feedback like a FAQ system for common questions and one or two layers of human support for the places where the question is odd or interesting enough to warrant it. BitTorrent and technical support for computer programs etc have necessarily had to deal with these issues and while some bad ideas exist there, there is much that can be applied to all education.

D Government Support and Management is Critical
Of all sources of power to make decisions, and means to spread costs that are not directly transactional only the Government can act in the public good and in support of the Commons, and as an honest broker in the certification of facts.

a. Certify Knowledge Like the old banks that printed their own money, education certification is also money negotiated with dubious and certainly variable value, but unlike the old bank notes each certification carries with it an inseparable human life, causing each of them to be treated in equally unfair variety.

By creating a standard series of tests, perhaps thousands of questions long, that could be taken any number of times, it would create a standard measure of knowledge that could even be graphed blue where knowledge was strong to red where it was weak, that would apply a much stronger certification, without demanding where the knowledge came from.

b.Create an Alternative Path- By providing a Government supplied efficient Internet structure where through great BBC like explanations from the best, the general information is imparted, and then Bittorrent like a tree of seed providers and peers could efficiently impart and spread that information in ways pioneered even by Meetup, and the Obama campaign, the teaching of the most knowledgeable could reach millions instead of hundreds, and not just once but over years.

This would not eliminate books, but would impart more knowledge faster and more deeply than was technologically possible even 20 years ago,

c. Place all critical knowledge and skills back into the Public Commons. This can only be done by financing the production of the product, but by compartmentalizing and privatizing knowledge, not only are those who could contribute prevented from doing so, those with the knowledge can manipulate false outcomes, but two people, each with half of a majior breakthrough might never know, or if they can each discover it than what do they posses that is special.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A few modest suggestions

The whole world awaits, holding its collective breath, not in horror like 9-11, but in Hope, wonderment, amazement, and the expectation that America will amaze everyone and do the best things possible after eight years of doing the worst imaginable and much that was worse yet. The entire world is United as never since 9-11 and the time is now to unite it more by doing the right thing and not disappoint and wreck all that has been gained. Here are ten things that can put us on that track.

#1 Justice

A. Do no harm,
or perhaps better put, stop doing harm. There must be a layers committee to seek out all activities that the Bush Administration is doing that violate ethics, the Constitution, the law, human decency, and the Geneva Conventions and call a halt to all of it by proclamation in the body of the Swearing in Speech, backed up by whatever documents are needed. Since most will need to be sorted out, a plan to do that in each case will be needed before day one.

Before that moment they are Bush war crimes at the least. After that moment they instantly become Obama war crimes. Beyond that all shredding of the Constitution and the Magna Carta must be reversed.

B.Pursue Justice As Obama has put it there is a lot out there that looks like crimes and are crimes, but proving that a specific person is the criminal responsible is a much tougher thing. However to allow all that has happened in the past eight years to pass uninvestigated much less prosecuted is to ensure that it will happen again and soon and very much worse, just as Bill Clinton not pursuing the facts of Iran Contra and the S&L bomb gave us Enron, Bush2, and the current economic meltdown.

Fortunately there are people who have been looking at most of the details for several years now. It would not be a problem to sort them out and organize a program that will find wrong doers and have a Special Prosecutor sort out where there is prosecutable crimes, and to sort out where and how all those crimes, and even stupidity that looks like crimes can be locked away that they can never threaten us again. We have drifted very close to a level of proto fascism that I will be satisfied has been shoved back into its box when Obama and the new Congress actually take office. That box really needs to be nailed shut!

#2 Honor

A.The War on Totalitarian Theocracy - There is no war on "terror" terrorism is a technique. The only one open to anyone fighting overlords (like the Founding Fathers)and/or seeking to become them (like the CIA in Iran). It is used because it is effective, and because the military is the worst way to fight it. Every time it kills one the devastation creates many more. That is not "whack a mole" that is "whack a Hydra"!

It is not a war on Muslims. Many would like it to be so. It was so convienent to equate liberal ideas and Russian aggression and thereby create space for an American Totalitarian Theocracy to create and grow its base by being "anticommunist". It overplayed its hand by demanding Sarah Palin as "President in waiting", but it is only wounded and frightened, and we can expect that the danger of terrorist attack from that quarter, that has been covered up but still active, will increase a very great deal.

This is not about fundamentalist religion but eliminationism, Bin Laden or Muthee, they do not want negotiation but conquest. But they cannot be defeated by military but only on the field of ideas. It is only there that they are poorly armed. Attacked they swim in a sea of supporters, defending their policies they are a fish out of water as few would support if they knew the facts.

Unfortunately Israel is also led by Neocons and Theocrats. One cannot support the freedom, safety, and democracy of Israelis and at the same time support those who would use a perpetual war on Muslims, to give and keep themselves in power, and there will be no peace as long as Gaza is a concentration camp.

Israel is not a country of only Jews, but a dozen religions side by side. No matter how many are killed the demographics will make it majority Muslim even within the '67 borders in a very few years. The choice is only Apartheid or Secularity where there can be NO favored religion, the only other choice is the German path of extermination, and final solution, and I don't think even the most theocratic Jew could live with that.

3. Real Socialism- Not Soviet "government owns everything" "Socialism" but Socialized Person / child/ dog Socialism (the Soviets also claimed they were democracies. Why didn't everyone think one was as phony as the other?) Apparently even Barny is unsocialized.

My understanding of Socialism is an agreement to all work for a world where every person can contribute at their highest ability. That a person who has the talent to invent the solution to world energy needs not find themselves on the night shift of a 7-11 because their path was blocked on social or financial grounds. And not just the stars like that but at every level the whole society benefits if each person is as productive as they can be.

1. The National Bureau of Standards - One very great place that the Government can be crucial and reinvigorate the auto industry, as well as create industries as yet undreamed of is to rebuild the National Bureau of Standards to take back Government primarity of standards that corporations work to create their own standards to control and thus limit free trade, often crushing competition.

By taking control of everything from Computer Operating systems to bolt patterns on car parts, so that there was one published standard or a limited group of standards, managed as the GNU software is managed or the way that any hard drive fits in any computer, than any garage mechanic could produce the next generation of Green Car and become the American Honda.

2. The Electronic Commons

a. The Internet Al Gore was right that the government must create and defend a major Internet backbone that no other entity foreign or domestic can rule that Internet. Do that and demand Net Neutrality but allow other backbones as we have both USPS and FedEx will keep all sides honest and competitive.

A national investment in targeted satellite WiFi would also be a major leap that no NGO could do or should control that backed up with a program to make Internet available to every person no matter who or where, and especially backed up with a national education program about which more later, would bring America from 35th in literacy to number one as anyone could have college graduate level knowledge just by spending the time to learn it.

b. The Electromagnetic Spectrum - The electromagnetic spectrum is a limited resource, and more importantly it is one home to the font of information that our society bases it's Democracy. If that is captured Democracy fails, as indeed it would have even now but for the rise of the Internet to provide a surprise alternative.

The ownership of even two television stations, or other media is a restraint of trade as long as there is a responsible person wishing to use one of them. A rotating 5 year license that is open to genuine competition based not on bidding with money but based on what they would do for society, and how well they have behaved in the past, and that to receive one and only one license would bring press freedom back to America and America back to number one where we have fallen far to the back of the pack.

3.Corporate Criminality-Having abandoned Royalty and Baronies in 1776 they have come creeping back and threaten to overwhelm even the concept of National Government, replacing it with an international Gang Of Pirates formerly operating under the umbrella of the United States Government, but about to abandon even that for a world of Third World countries divided up into satraps not of land but of spheres of influence in some vital resource, with the ability to blackmail any country including America.

Not a conspiracy in the Illuminati sense, but the natural result of an ideology that does not believe that government should "interfere" in the doings of Corporations and that all barriers to their free exercise of power should be removed. Eventually they become "Too big to fail" and "Too big to oppose" but no one dares to say "too big to exist".

The first Step must be a special Prosecutorial team to prosecute and jail all persons in charge of corporate conspiracies to sell or cover up fraud and murder from the Vioxx case to the mass environmental disasters. Any decent civil litigation lawyer can point to a hundred grievous cases where massive death and destruction was protected because the corporation was at fault and the people involved felt immune.

The Idea of Corporations was that Investors were immune, not the entire corporation and all the operators. If the founding fathers saw what corporations have become they would be in a tizzy. If any person in a position of authority is not held accountable they will become as unsocialized as any pirate, as our current financial mess can attest.

4. Corporate Governance - There is no such thing as "Free Enterprise" where there are no rules but only Government enforced rules that till now have only been written by those wishing to protect only themselves. As a result it is not a surprise that CEO's who are supposedly only hirelings of the investors are walking off with what is often more income than the entire Corporation managed to net.

It is quite possible to change the rules to disallow default proxy voting, and what I am sure are other arcane rules that keep power in the hands of the CEO and out of the hands of any other stakeholders.

It is also possible to create a path for the emergence of the new Argentine style of Corporation that is owned and operated by all the people who work there in an American style Democracy that all levels of management are elected by those below. When there is a Government bailout of the investors instead of a deal with them to make a deal with the people who do the work and let them pay back the loan.

5. The Science Commons

a Chemicals - There was a time when most research was funded and run by the Government. Folks like the EPA went out and measured what was happening themselves, and HEW did basic research on chemicals to find beneficial and harmful chemicals like penicillin that drug companies competed to produce at the best quality and price.

The Antisocialists howled that the drug companies could do the work and report their results, and save taxpayers all that money. Now we can see how well all that worked out. The research is geared to what is most profitable and barely at all for common good. Testing asks only if a drug works at all, and not how it stacks up to other ways, and as the Vioxx case revealed even surpressed mass murder for the sake of profit.

There needs to be a return to Government research labs to build unbiased data in all fields. It can be easily paid for by charging a tax on all use of Government patents for private profit like the penicillin. Or taxing income from private patents funded by government research. Just collecting what is already owed would go a very long way to paying those bills.

b Biology- like the drugs genetic engineering all exists on the shoulders of research of hundreds of years, and like the Chemical and Drug Industries the Socialized dreams painted of abundant food and health have become unsocialized nightmares as power and profit rule ahead of social good.

Today one only has to patent a gene, even if it is detrimental overall, and have it spread to the entire ecosystem to be able to sue everyone in posession of the gene for patent infringement and control an entire food source. Such is the case with Soybeans, Corn, and many major crops. Instead it must be the patent holder that is responsible for the gene spread, and be the one liable if the gene causes a drop in productivity (as they usually do) of the folk who do not use the patented product. and that if the gene spreads beyond the control of the patent holder the patent cannot be enforced.

6. The Knowledge Commons - Our entire education system is a sixteenth century concept trying to do a twenty first century job, with all the sixteenth century prejudices built in. Our civilization can no longer afford an educated elite running an illiterate masses. We need every brain with the chops to manage the maximum contribution possible lest we all go the way of every previous civilization.

So what is needed is an Internet based National education program that anyone can obtain the knowledge and have a means of certifying that knowledge at the speed they are able without the overburden of regular college and grad school much less earlier grades where home schooling can supplement and advance regular public school rather than replacing earlier grades where socialization is an important part of early schooling.

To open or create the current college system for all people would be cost prohibitive, but a well planned and managed system that organized what the Internet already makes available, and added all the libraries and other forms of commons would leapfrog the entire civilization. Limiting the current copyright and fair use laws back to sanity would also be a necessary step.

7. A Creative Commons Award- built like the SBIR program a process by which inventions and other creative work could be called for and rewarded and put into the creative commons in full or partial amount.

As example an invention might be called for and a $50,000 reward offered and then a standard 1% fee given for every one made in five years, but available in a non exclusive basis to anyone who wished to go there

This would short circuit the labyrinthine patent process and spur creativity. It would also provide an inexpensive program to make it easier to manufacture without expensive litigation over rights.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Musical Chairs, Musical Houses, Musical Dollars

When I was a kid, our kindergarten class played a hateful little game with the Orwellian name of "Musical Chairs". Who knew that the Gang Of Pirates were building recruits even then.

The chairs of course were not musical but ordinary, but the teacher would count to assure herself there were one less than the number of students, and tell the students they had to dance around the circle of chairs until the music stopped, and then everyone would have to take a seat.

It was an innocent enough group of kids, in another place or time there might have been a stabbing or an eye gouged out, but basically the teacher did not care how each child got the seat, only noticing who did not. Anyone who cooperatively shared a seat was told that they were both losers, and sent to sit in the corner and be ignored. Rather like that guy with a sign on the street corner today.

Oh how enlightening this was for the school yard bully , or pre-school Machiavelli, you could do any dirty trick, run any scam, just as long as the authorities (teacher) did not see it, and the only authority around did not look or wish to know or would not have had the game in the first place. After you had out conned, or out threatened all your other classmates, the authority would declare you the great winner, and someone who's leadership skills might make them president one day.

Well the Authorities have stopped the Music again, and all you folk who saw the hand on the needle have taken their dollars to where you can't get at them and many who only had their houses or retirement savings in sunshine promises, and funny money mortgages are out of luck, and those now Post-school Machiavellians are sitting in your house and on your money pointing and laughing and blaming you for the poor decision of letting them play in the first place.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Good Tax

Once upon a time in the land of Yor were a very peaceful and wealthy people who were mostly not very quarrelsome but for one controversy. The king had placed a tax on the sale of Cows. Anyone who sold a cow had to give the king 90% of the proceeds of the sale. As a result while there was a lot of demand for meat, as hardly anyone sold their cow, and many who were tired of caring and feeding their cow very much resented the tax on selling it.

Now anyone who had a cow could sell the milk, and many who did not actually own a cow usually got paid a percentage that milk, or occasionally they would get a calf. The tax on a calf was high but calves were cheap and abundant so the king's percentage was not a lot in total money, and when cows got old and stopped producing milk, there was nothing for it but to sell it to the butcher and pay the kings price, though the percentage was reduced for very old cattle.

In the end all the cattle ended up with the butcher, just not until they were very old, so meat had a price that allowed the butcher a living, but he felt that if he got all the proceeds, he could live like a king. Now the king had an evil twin that had been banished, and headed up a Gang Of Pirates beyond the Pale, but he made a deal with the butchers, that if they overthrew the old king the twin would eliminate the hated Cow Tax.

So the butchers, with the help of those folk who were tired of caring for their cattle, or resented the percentage of the milk taken by those who did, got together and overthrew the old king. The new king, being evil after all, turned to his Gang Of Pirates to buy the cattle as they had the gold, and the butchers could get their cattle at well under the market price and on credit to the pirates, that was paid off as the meat sold.

At first things looked very good, meat became very abundant and cheap, the butchers were making killings at a tremendous clip, and becoming almost as wealthy as the Pirates, though with the falling price of meat and the Pirates percentages not as well as expected. Those who sold the cattle felt suddenly wealthy and loaned the pirates their money on the promise it would make more than they made from the milk. Only those who had made their living actually caring for the cattle felt left out as the numbers of cattle to care for became far fewer, while their own numbers and needs did not.

As the number of cattle became less there were fewer calvs as well and their price went up dramatically. The Pirates offered an easily solution by loaning the money to buy the calves, and noted that the price would be very much higher if there was still a Cow Tax, but the loans would be very short so the cattle would have to be sold for meat at a very young age when the note came due, and of course the pirates had it written that they got the cow as payment.

Over a bit ot time the excess meat was consumed, and the price went to an all time high, as there were far less cattle about. Milk that was once plentiful and cheap also became much more expensive. Those who cared for the cattle had to do so for far less of a percentage of the milk as there were far more caretakers than cattle now. Between the fewer cattle and the percentages paid to the Pirates who were now the primary cattle owners, the butchers were also not much better if at all than before.

Those formerly caring for cattle began to steal and rob out of desperation, so the evil king blamed them for all the troubles, even as he hired some of their numbers as guards, that were mostly used to come down very harshly on anyone who commented on how much better things were under the old king, holding fake show trials calling these folk the leaders of the criminals.

Eventually the people rose up and threw out the evil king, but the now very wealthy Pirates had moved on to ply their trade to Hither and to Yon, the palace already looted, and the people were left hating the Cow Tax as the cause of their misery, and the land of Yor never again became a place anyone wanted to be like.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Outing Criminals is saving their Country,not attacking,

Once again the "liberal" media runs like frightened children, when the Gang of Pirates accuse a film that outs the GOP crimes as being anti-American instead of confronting either them or the facts, or even attempting to discuss the real issues involved.

I find it amazing that when a Gang Of Pirates commit war crimes (to say nothing of the whole list of other crimes) that anyone would accuse the person noting the war crimes, of hating the folks who were the first victims of those Pirates. Talking about the monsters, is not an attack on the nation or populace they are controlling.

The GOP is not America, just as Saddam was never Iraq, or Hitler Germany. For the criminals (or their apologists) to wrap themselves in the Flag, like a bully who hides behind his mother’s skirts, as a means of deflecting justified outrage, is itself not only another outrage, but so cravenly cowardly as is beyond pathetic.

Americans do NOT torture, but some criminals, be they Mafia, rogue cops, or other sorts of monsters who happen to be Americans do. We cannot always bring such criminals to justice, but the vast majority of Americans wold want it to be so, if they knew about it and were able to do so. As long as such Americans are alive and the criminals also, it is not over.

For anyone to equate outing criminals with attacking America, they hoist themselves on their own petard as they are declaring themselves with the criminals and against anything actually American.



One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

from an old tale.

The Golden Rule
“That which is hateful to you do not do to another ... the rest (of the Torah) is all commentary, now go study.”

- Rabbi Hillel



The self made man just isn't admitting how or where he came by all those parts

---FreeDem---- Aug 2005


If a man tells you that the Government cannot accomplish anything of value, then voting for him would be like hiring an Amish Auto Mechanic.
If they don't believe in the concept, they are more than likely to do a very poor job of it.

---Bob Danforth Sept. 2009


Republicans never meant to cut government waste, fraud and graft, from the get-go their plan was to organize, monopolize and privatize waste, fraud and graft.

They see the civil service as meddling “middleman,” who interfered with the free flow of cash from taxpayers into corporate coffers. Their intent was to eliminate the “middleman” as an obstruction to corruption.

---Unknown rabblerowser Feb 2007


No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Edward R. Murrow

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot

Mark Twain


You see, we often get noncreative leaders, people most interested in preserving their own positions. They flock around centers of power. Such centers attract people who can be corrupted. That is a more descriptive observation than to say simply that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If you are corruptible and your imagination is confined to worries about loss of power, you exist in a self-destructive system. Eventually, as all life does, you must encounter something you did not anticipate, and if you have not strengthened your creative resources, you will have no new ways for adapting to change. Adapt or die, that's the first rule of survival.

The limited vision of noncreative people is not difficult to understand. Creativity frightens the unimaginative. They don't know what's happening. Things new and unexpected arise from creativity. This threatens "things as they are." And (terrible thought) it undermines illusions of omnipotence.


Herbert 1984 (the year not the book)


"News is what powerful people want to keep hidden; everything else is just publicity."

....Bill Moyer


Just as having only a hammer makes every problem either look like a nail, or as something irrelevant, our very technological skills have had us look there for explanations and ignore reality it cannot deal with. With our powerful hammer, we seek only nails, and dump the rest as dross. Not all questions involve hammers, not all answers are nails.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

My issue with Atheists is not that they have no God, there are many religions that have no God, but that they have no religion.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

__Note: by this I mean that there are many things religions do besides the discredited "science" and self serving promises (give me your money and God will hold and pay the note), many like charity or fellowship, even social accountability can be very good things not requiring a God.


Many have been very disappointed that their "God-critter" was not to be found as a technology swimming about in the shallower pools of knowledge. So in the obsession basic to our culture, we search ever deeper and more difficult pools, and always the "God-critter" seems to wink at us from the pool just beyond.

In the process we have found technologies beyond the wildest dreams of our most sophisticated ancestors. The great joke is that the "critter" never existed except as the pools themselves.

----Freedem --- Oct 2006

Indeed I do think that many folk, believe all kinds of stuff from the actually true, to the utterly illogical, with no personal discernment one from the others. But that would hardly make any of them a scholar to rely on, any more that one should get their theology studies from a door to door salesman, offering "get out of hell free" cards, on special because the creator of galaxies in greater numbers than beach sand, nonetheless has an ego so weak He cannot exist without shamelessly excessive psychophancy from a major portion of the inhabitants of this particular dust speck.

----Freedem ---June-2007

More to come