Saturday, October 09, 2010

Heinrich Isaac - Tota pulchra es

Thought I might have some time to write today, but I just returned to Sarge's apartment about 15 minutes ago, and it's already past 11:00. Today was a full day -- first we had breakfast at a local diner, then he ran me through some shooting drills with the Glock and the M4. Afterwards, we went to Emo and Mr. C's house, where Sarge helped burn some leaves while I helped Emo with a crossword. I eventually went back outside to meet C's friend B. After they stopped yard work, we hung out at the pool and then had dinner -- delicious steaks cooked by Mr. C (who makes a great turkey for Thanksgiving, even if his cooking method is unorthodox).

Tomorrow: Mass at Emo's Korean church, and the afternoon over at their house again, probably.

I'm running on even less sleep than usual, as I couldn't sleep comfortably on the plane. My seat wouldn't recline and I woke up continuously during the flight.

On Monday we will be going over to V's house for more instruction in shooting. I heard an interesting opinion tonight from Mr. C about Larry Vickers.

Friday, October 08, 2010

It's been a long two weeks. Flying out tonight to visit Sarge. I should be able to post more later this weekend.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Transition Voice

An introduction to the new magazine Transition Voice. It features one of Matt Simmons's last interviews.
Picking blackberries without bleeding to death
Gene Logsdon,

Carol has stories to tell about picking blackberries. For her family in Kentucky, wild blackberries were a cash crop. Her mother would sally forth into the puckerbrush with her children every summer to pick them by the gallon. They sold the berries along with other produce from garden and orchard at local farm markets. The blackberry money was used to buy new school shoes.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Tom Whipple reviews The Impending World Energy Mess

ASPO-USA (Energy Bulletin)

The book.

Food and agriculture in a steady state economy
Brent Blackwelder, The Daly News

A steady state economy would move away from control of food by transnational corporations and toward an increased number and diversity of small and medium-sized farms, and healthy rural communities.

Something that deserves a fuller elaboration

with plenty of numbers and diagrams.

Someone posted this comment to James Howard Kunstler's blog this morning. It was removed, but it can still be found in the Yahoo cache:

Another AX: WORK

Take a look at all of those skyscrapers in New York City, Tokyo, Seoul, etc. What do you think all of those office workers actually "do" ? Do you really think they are actually producing anything ? Are they needed for anything except being a place holder - a figment of imaginary labor - work, to justify billions of dollars of money transfers amongst the already and only ever going to be rich ? The truth is work in general is no longer needed, is destined to become obsolete no matter what anyone says or thinks or desires.

The calculation is easy to do: there are 200 million office workers worldwide, information workers, "knowledge" workers, research workers, "innovation", and research and development and all of the other mega Bull Shit terms and expressions the modern economist love to talk about. So exactly what are they discovering - improving - creating ? Absolutely nothing except billions of dollars being robbed from the poor. But let's look at it for what it really is: out of 200 million workers I would fanthom that only 1 out of 1,000 are creating anything, are really producing anything of lasting value, any real optimization, any real improvement, any real result, any real serialization of work as something that accumulates.

But this is ok, the other 199 million are just running around in circles, they are essentially spinning their wheels, they are mostly just killing time and creating and solving imaginary problems, and playing the status game, office politics game, and creating useless meetings and every conceivable way to pretend to actually be working and doing something.

But those 200,000 that are actually optimizing, that are improving the little work processes that are left to do, those guys there are setting the stage to eliminate at least each 100 jobs as a minimum. For what is all of this research, optimization, innovation worth if it doesn't cut costs, which in the end really means cut jobs ? And cut costs they will, no matter how inefficient they are becasue it is only natural that processes can slowly be improved and optimized. So 200,000 workers (the only ones that are actually serializing work, accumulating lasting results) will eventually each cut 100 jobs, so another 200 million unemployed workers will appear in the near future.

So the future of work is actually no work, hundreds of millions of unemployed, mass poverty, eventually starvation, thanks to the capitalists, success model of rich robbing everything from the poor. We need free salaries, and cheap rents since there will no longer be any possible work in the future. We need to get rid of the competition mentality, the me better than you idea, the idea of "earning" what you need, we need equality and everything must be furnished for free since automation and technology have essentially killed all possible work and will kill all work in the future.

You don't understand: you won't be choosing "capitalism" or whatever, the forces at play are going all in the same direction no matter what you or anyone wants. Optimization, automation, chinese or south korean scientists - engineers automating factories, creating production shortcuts, etc. etc. This will trickle through and translate into less costs which means somewhere and somehow less money to workers or less work. No matter what, this world is going towards the end of work, work is no longer needed, I know many people for one reason or another have no work, have nothing to do, even if they wanted to, because the modern production process is all geared towards the elimination of work.

We better get this straight and not buy all the BS justifications of the economists that say more productivity, more research etc. will create new jobs. And in fact these are exactly the items that are eliminating work. More productivity and more research will kill jobs, not create new jobs, unless you consider dog walking a new "kind of job", a new "service job"...

No matter where and how many people can build houses or cut the lawns (valid only in the US, most countries don't have houses with lawns to cut, etc.) there is not enough work for too many people. We have huge excess capacity in all productive endeavors, Spain and the US, just to name 2 even very different countries built way too many homes and now have a glut of homes, the US may have 15 million empty homes, all of Europe from Lisbon to Moscow may have even more, they did all the right things, they built all the homes they could, but the system cannot support them without free salaries to millions of families that could use them.

The right wing thugs like to pretend there are these magical solutions, "technology destroys jobs but creates more jobs than destroyed", or "go somewhere else where they are looking for your manpower", etc to put the blame on the unemployed, to put the blame on the victim and not on the system: we live in automatic economies, work is disappearing at an alarming rate, there is no magical solution. We need free salaries and cheap rents, government owned, because the government is the people, the government is the nation as a whole, is the only real value, the collectivity, the individual is an egotistical criminal that wants to rob from the poor, wants to beat up the weak and kick them out of work.

A central government that gives what the people need, and a progressive government that will use all the excess productive capacity for progress, the future, like space exploration, millions of skyscrapers, a society where the common good, and not the individual good is cherished. Exploration of the solar system and then the stars and planets, thousands of rockets, the future of humanity, a future of science and discovery, of an advanced civilization that puts all of its energy to use for progress, for the advancement of everyone, to share with everyone, to go higher and higher and further and further. Capitalism is a stone age system for violent - ancient apes that like to fight and have huge egos.

But this is exactly how the system is being set up to be: I started out talking about 200 million office workers worldwide in skyscrapers who do a kind of comic book, make believe work, all mostly office politics, time wasting, changes and counterchanges all in the name of making it seem like they are working. The japanese salaryman for example has to wait until 10 at night to go home because he cannot leave before his boss, because of status relationships, not because there is real work to do in an office for 12 hours a day. In the US many stay more hours in the office, to show how "dedicated" they are mostly to the status and power structures that are put in place, to avoid being singled out as lazy, since going home early is a sign of being lazing, since what actually is being produced, which is really nothing at all, is totally irrelevant, only the status and power relationship counts and has any meaning, etc. so they won't be the next on the layoff list.

The reason why so many millions can do no work at all in reality and get paid an essentially free salary, is because the economic system and its technology and energy resources has created a free ride: most work is automated, most endeavors can be accomplished easily, and in fact if they really wanted to optimize work you would have millions of more unemployed office workers, which will eventually happen anyway.

The real labor that is left to do, like building the skyscrapers, like working 12 hour shifts in Chinese factories is paid as little as possible (200 to 800 dollars a month), any real work tends to be paid less and less worldwide, while a majority of free loaders can live off the huge excess capacity and productivity of the semi automatic economic system. Only a few million slaves are really needed to provide most of the goods, to a rich workless majority: this process will continue, more optimization means less work, more free loaders, and eventually even less slaves, since robots will do all the work.

But we are still stuck with a moralistic, old fashioned, "you have to earn it" mentality when the economic system is telling us, this mode of thought no longer applies, the rules have changed, work is no longer needed, is destined to disappear whether you like it or not.

Take a look at all of those unemployed in the US, in Ireland, in Spain, etc. There are millions of them and tell them you are all lazy, you all want to play the victims, you don't want to baby sit, or paint homes, or "invent" a new line of work: as if millions of people can't figure out and invent all of these new kinds of jobs and work that are waiting to be discovered.

The Z80 microprocessor was designed by 2 top notch scientists (faggin, shima) in the 1970s and a few technicians in a one year period: maybe 10 man years, and that microprocessor, like many others has eliminated millions of jobs after 30 years. That is real work, productive work: we have millions of man years worldwide and the result is recession, pain, poverty, and everyone fighting everyone over breadcrumbs, a war between the poor.

That is the trend, like or or not, no one can do anything about it: work is not needed, if a corporation can get the same output with fewer people they will go for it no matter what. And this talk about "marketable" skills, or "specialization" is a bunch of BS. They are always inventing some hot new "skill" that you have to have for some imaginary new "line of work" that has never existed for all of the time mankind has been on earth. I know, I have seen it in technology, most of this talk of specialization and hot skills is just an excuse to not hire anyone, because they are not up to the "challenge", and since the challenge is ever changing and always impossible to meet, then it is always the workers fault, he doesn't have the skills or ability.

What crap, like for example they giving you a program with 10,000 lines of code that is completely not understandable (on purpose, so the original programmers had some leverage) and telling you to find the subtle - intermittent bug in a couple of days, etc. Or you having to double the sales target in two months, on products that were difficult to sale (mostly you had to have the right "political" and "people skills" connections to sale, etc.).

Don't buy all this BS of skills and technology and specialization. I can't remember how many times companies switched back in forth saying one day, we need highly specialized workers in javacrap and the next day we need a global type who understands business and not specialization, so whatever the heck you were, you were always at fault, either specialized or too global, or too whatever idiotic term they invent to have leverage and power on the employees.

Now, I agree that work isn't disappearing all of a sudden, that there are segments like electric cars, some IT, wind power, some infrastructure, some new products, industries, health care machines and drugs (drug everyone into oblivion ?) etc. that will still need people, etc. But make no mistake, the general global trend is dead on with eliminating work as much as possible and also as fast as possible now that you have technological powerhouses like South Korea, Taiwan, some of China - India, the always present and still powerful JAPAN, etc. working on automating jobs away.

Another trend in the long run is the whole disappearance of the corporation as an entity, there will no longer be many corporations understood as a group of people working towards a unified goal or production process: mergers and acquisitions are another method of killing jobs, each time a new company is absorbed by IBM or Microsoft, more people become redundant (you don't need 2 marketing divisions do you ? or 2 R&D labs do you ?, etc. ) , and fewer and fewer big players gain more and more power.

Saturated Fat Symposium

Wayne State University (via WAPF)
Light Immortal, Light Divine
Homily by Most Rev. Augustine DiNoia, OP, at the annual “Red Mass” in Washington

Special Forces Medal of Honor recepient

Duty. Valor. Honor.
Inside the terrifying firefight that revealed what kind of soldier — and man — Wheaton's Rob Miller was.

Srdja Trifkovic on Joseph Sobran

Joe Sobran’s Timeless Lesson on America’s Role in the World

Sunday, October 03, 2010

When we were going to Emperor Palace today for lunch with the grandparents, I noticed a lot of auto and foot traffic. Later I found out on the radio that Hardly Strictly Bluegrass was happening this weekend. I misssed out! I didn't receive a reminder from the FB page, either. I missed watching Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands, Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Magnolia Sisters, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson & David Holt, The Del McCoury Band, Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer, Anderson Family Bluegrass, and LUCERO! The MD's family was in town this weekend, so I probably wouldn't have gone even if I had known that it was this weekend. While I was waiting for the pedestrians to walk, I was thinking about how much I disliked the city and the people who live there, especially the single hipsters. Even if we have a common interest in bluegrass music, that does not suffice to create community; we're just members of an audience. Traditional music doesn't necessarily have a connection to traditional morals, but it does seem to me that bluegrass music does have its origins in a Christian culture, even if it is the attenuated Protestant culture of the South. One still hears bluegrass songs about God and Christ; there may be lyrics about love and marriage, but not about domestic partners and civil unions. Perhaps someone will eventually write a bluegrass song reflecting the "progressive values" of San Francisco, but would it get any play among the people among whom bluegrass music originated? Do Bay Area bluegrass enthusiasts identify themselves with those British folkways? Or is bluegrass just another form of American folk music they've adopted as their own because they're making some sort of statement, whether it be aesthetic or political?

I don't care for modern Western business formal wear, but it's better than what a lot of young people are wearing these days. (Again, can't we have something that is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and suitable for a variety of occasions? If formal must mean inconvenient, then can we upgrade our casual wear?)

Still, I may make an effort to attend next year, depending on who is performing and if I am in the area.

U.S. Army combatives

Fort Benning Fans links to photos for the 2010 Army Championship Combatives Tournament. 1st Infantry Division FB page has this album.

There is this article which is supposed to highlight the effectiveness of Union Army combatives.

Has the Army been too influenced by MMA/reality fighting, like the UFC? (It's been a while since I've looked at the reality-based fighting systems--most have incorporated grappling as a "tool." even if they do not make it the primary tool or the take-down as the goal.) Grappling may be more "flashy," in so far as it provides visible results, but does it help or put soldiers' lives at risk? Wouldn't they be better off learning how to use a knife? They are supposed to learn how to use the bayonet, knife, and other weapons in hand-to-hand combat, but from the promotional materials one would think that it's all about ground-fighting. Does the Army competition (and routine practice sparring as well?) reinforce a false understanding about what actual hand-to-hand combat is like?

See this video: Level 3 Army Combatives.

Day 1 of the competition:

A video about U.S. Army combatives:

Modern Army Combatives
Combatives School
Modern Army Combatives Program
The Field Manual (scribd)
another article and this
Military Times

Now You Know: Marié Digby Interview with Nicki Sun

Chuck DeVore's recommendations for the November ballot propositions

He links to this page on his official website, which gives his recommendations and his reasons.

An alert from Michael Ruppert


The video can't be embedded, so if you would like to watch it, click on the link that is provided.

Let's see how good his reading of the times is...