Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Internet Flood at the Gates of the Citadel

The one thing I see as a far outsider, well two things actually, is first that because they were monopolies newspapers were never the real watchdog of Democracy as much as another "Pig at the Trough" with their own power base, that balanced the other powers occasionally if they got out of hand, but were mostly complicit in that power, and mostly under pressure at the least from big advertisers, if not actually in pocket.

The second and perhaps more important thing I see is that all of Shirky's insights are also true in the much wider context. The printing press brought the Reformation but it also brought trade and innovation, and with that eventually "cheap" printing presses.

Once any person could print something that reached a critical mass audience, there was no King whose head was safe.

Those Publishers and Traders now consolidated power and became the new Kings, not just like the old, but just as fat and happy. And then along came Radio, and again there was cheap communication, and again the new "kings" were almost dethroned, but saved themselves at the last minute with "licenses" that made Radio, and later Television expensive and monopolistic.

Now along comes the Internet, and again anyone can own the new "Press" and again there is no restriction of content capable of reaching a critical mass.

The first reaction of power is GWB and a massive propaganda campaign, particularly juiced with Fear. This has been a part of the program that worked before as Communists were the boogymen and at first that worked, (the Internet was not yet at critical mass) but facts broke the propaganda model and GWB went down in flames.

Now we have a new battleground, some have never gotten it and their increasingly shrill pronouncements have left them looking as barking mad as they claim for everyone else.

But there are others who would use subversion where brutality did not work, if not to stop the now strongly running tide, then at least to turn it and protect the most potent parts of power, that they can retain their kingship as they did in the 1940's.

That battle is not over but it will not be an easy victory for either side.

This is a response to Rosen's Flying Seminar In The Future of News as I noted in a previous post the university structure sis also one of those "Pigs at the Trough"that the Internet is already destroying. It is only their gatekeeper status on the certification that one is educated that holds back the flood.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lets have the Socialism vs Feralism debate

I am really looking forward to the first real Ideological discussion in several generations. When it comes down to who you want running Society.

Should it be the Feral "lord of the flies" approach, where freedom is the freedom to act without thought or conscience, consider only yourself, and not be accountable to anyone? Or will we have the Socialized approach, where the fact that you did not care that the new toy you made contained poisons that killed dozens and injured tens of thousands was reason enough for you to be made very sorry and have a very bad life after that?

Shall we again turn America over to the Gang Of Pirates who do not believe that Government has any role except to throw the military at any group of folk we don't like? And since Government is naturally corrupt, to prove it by being as corrupt as humanly possible, shoveling money into no-bid crony contracts that accomplish as little as possible at maximum costs? (After Katrina the Gop paid out more to add blue tarps on houses than a new roof would cost, and then hired illegal aliens to do the work below min wage. A typical Gop contract.)

Or shall we have that sort of Socialized society the GOP is complaining about, where an honest and humane entrepreneur can create and run a business making real stuff without having it ruined by a sharpie who increase profits for himself by stealing from his employees, customers, and everyone else and undercut the honest business, so that eventually only Giant Feral Businesses like AIG, Wal-Mart, & Enron are left (well Enron is dead, but only because they stole more than existed, but the other giants from Disney to Home Depot are no less feral, just more solvent).

Until America re-establishes its social contract, that each person must consider others in their decisions, and work togeather on every enterprise for the common good. And recognize that everyone is advanced when every person can contribute their maximum ability without artificial barriers. And that it is the Government's job to reduce those barriers and hold accountable those ferals (foreign or local) who would steal by pen or gun from those who actually did the work, even as the entire populace would hold that Government accountable to do that job. There will be major partisanship.

If the Socialists win, there is a wide range for reasonable people to disagree. What is reasonable accountability, and what is intrusive. What are possible sorts of enterprises? Some might be governments like a city, or a natural monopoly like a power company. But perhaps accountability could still be managed if the power company only owned the distribution. Perhaps Schooling should only certify the knowledge and not how it was obtained (as long as anyone could still obtain it) But no more "leader gets the gold and everyone else gets the shaft" businesses.

The alternative is the usual case in history, with an elite that has no incentive to improve the world and a populace that has no means. In that case even the Elite suffer from the lack of productivity, but also lack the concern or imagination to see how things might be improved.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Faith can be problematic, but not "stupid" or really ignorant

I have worked with many religious fundamentalists, and unlike some on the Left see a very sharp difference between Faith and Ignorance, much less what they put down as stupid. The best example that comes to mind is a person I worked with in an architecture office who could quote you the specifics of any law or rule from any of the various codes we had to design to, even faster and beyond most in the office.

This made him a very valuable, and not at all stupid person, however to explain structural 3d issues or complicated implications that involved mental athletics was very difficult and tedious. I realized over time that to undertake such an exercise in a fundamentalist world was to walk on very thin ice, and brought up in that culture you quickly learn not to go there.

Our boss was similar in being fundamentalist, but had learned to compartmentalize to an amazing degree. Positively brilliant he saw those issues before I did and had several ideas what to do about it ready before I got there. He was so brilliant it was easy to forget the fundamentalist part, and occasionally bump into the wrong compartment and be very shocked at the reaction.

Over the years I have met many partway along those extremes, but always there is a core that cannot be challenged, and to do so feels like watching you stab kittens, they are very put out and offended.

For some that area may be sharply limited, in others it bleeds out to every area of life, but in each case to cross that threshold is to engage in kitten stabbing.

I used to joke that real faith was impossible and belief divided into four types. The first was like growing up in the 1100's the earth looked flat enough, nobody thought otherwise, and the subject virtually never came up. Under that situation it is not faith but common understanding that the Earth was flat. No reaching needed.

In level 2 belief, you might hear that some kook has suggested that the earth is a sphere and no matter how far you go you will not reach an edge. But the preponderance of the evidence you are aware of still weighs for a flat earth.

In level 3 belief, it is an active conversation, that many or even most folk believe in a round earth. The round earthers have some good points about horizons and where the sun goes at night, but your leadership and loyalty is with people who stick to the flat side of the argument. That is stubbornness and loyalty but still not faith.

Now if you go up in a space shuttle, or even just live in the modern world with all the evidence around you that you live on a round planet and still believe that the world is flat, that is true Faith. Many fundamentalists, while not believing that the earth is flat, would still agree that such belief in the face of contrary evidence was the ideal of faith.

( cross posted from a discussion here)



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