Profits Above All

    Nobody should be surprised that big oil has long known the impact of carbon on the the climate, just as big tobacco long knew about the relationship of nicotine on cancer. Likewise, I am certain Facebook, Twitter, and Google all know the impact of social networks on mental health.

    In my opinion the root cause to this behavior is the acceptance in the United States that it’s ok for one to profit from the misery of another. Any means toward the ends of more and more profits to the oligarchs is accepted by everyone, even for whom are the most affected.

    If you truly read the history of the United States you will learn that from the discovery of the content through to present time the United States has existed to make one class of people rich at the expense of anyone and anything that would be in the way of that class becoming more rich. This fact has made the United States, and many other countries in the Western Hempisphere very different from other countries in the world.

    The history of the United States is very much a fight, back and forth, between the oligarchs and everyone else. Everyone else won over the oligarchs in the U.S. Civil War, but the oligarchs clawed their way back up until FDR and the New Deal. Ever since the end of WW II the oligarchs have been fighting back and gained great ground during the Reagan years, and their accendancy has continued ever since no matter which poliitcal party has been in power.

    Today it appears that everything is in place for the oligarchs to completely assume control over nearly everything in the United States. Trump pretty much sealed the deal by placing the oligarch’s choice of justices to the Supreme Court, under the disguise of overturning Roe v. Wade. More consequential rulings are coming to remove the New Deal, Civil Rights, and election laws that were put in place as guardrails against the oligarchs.

    On the eve of the Civl War everyone else rose up against the oligarchs by forming a new political party (Republicans), and electing Abraham Lincoln, which lead to the Civl War and the oligarch’s defeat. Unfortunately, the oligarchs appear to have closed that risk to them by changing election laws and the amont of money it takes to be elected President to insure no party that they don’t control can possibly be a threat. At the moment it seems to me the only real possible equally dramatic act would be for enough states to open a Constitutional Convention that would fundamentally re-form the United States for good or ill.

    It seems to happen every time there is a migration of people from one application to another. When the new people start using the new application they seem to expect that the features and functions of the previous application to exist in the new one. When they can’t find the function, they ask where it is, and if they are told that it doesn’t exist it seems they then start to complain or at least doubt the reasons for why the function doesn’t exist with the alternate application.

    In my opinion, the idea that every application should work exactly the same is problematic. was created specifically to not be Twitter and Mastodon was created specifically to not be Twitter, and the value of these applications are that they are not Twitter!

    And you know what, it’s ok! Life can exist without a “like” button and it can exist without a quote “tweet.” We don’t need to change the minds of those who disagree, we just need to figure out how to co-exist.

    I must be the only person who doesn’t care about ChatGPT. Ok, there may be a few others, but too few.

    I remember in 1992 when Ross Perot warned of the “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the United States if NAFTA were signed. Sadly, I think that phrase is apt in describing democracy in the United States due in part to Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United.

    The U.S. Supreme Court is the most authoritarian branch of U.S. government. Nearly every low moment of U.S. History is tied to Supreme Court decisions, some which later were overturned. A case will go in front of the Supreme Court in December that could decide the fate of demoracy in the United States. It could give state legislatures power to decide any federal election, overturning the will of the people. Given the current make up of the court, I am not optimistic that demoracy will survive.

    Stop With the Opinion Polls

    Dear world, or at least anyone who cares, particularly the media. In the United States based on how the Constitution is structured, and how the political parties take advantage of its deficiencies through gerrymandering, lobbying, and campaign financing, majority opinions do not matter.

    The United States is effectively under authoritarian Republican rule overseen by six Supreme Court justices, and it is obviouse the Republicans don’t care about any polls that report anything about majority opinion. It only matters what those in power in the Republican party want because they only need Republican votes to stay in power.

    Right now what you need to pay attention to is, how are state legislatures structured and are voting districts gerrymandered to favor on particular party over another. If gerrymandering exists, what is being done about it, either through the courts or the existing legistlatures? Citizens need to know their state constitutions and what power they have for referendums, etc.. to overcome the games being played by the parties, particularly Republicans.

    In short everyone, in particular the media, need to pay attention to and put bright light on what is going on within the state legistlatures and courts. Every since the last Presidential election Republicans have gamed the systems to gain even more power to basically nullify the will of the people. In many cases, gerrymandering means it won’t matter how much this pisses off Democrats and Independents.

    Where we are heading toward, as will likely be supported by the current Supeme Court, are state legistlatures having near absolute power to override the citizens of the state to select Presidents. We will need an equivalent to the 17th amendment to prevent this from happening because this Supreme Court is going to say it is powerless to do anything about it.

    I believe this will be a growing sentiment about Christianity, and it will be deserved. We are doing things very wrong. Jesus never imposed his teaching on anyone, and he taught his followers to not be like those of the world who lord over others. Words and laws do not transform anything, only a better alternative way is truly transformative, and that is what the kin-dom of God is all about! Anything else is not truly good news.

    If Republicans were rational, smart, and intune with the majority of the nation that includes the minorities they court, they would reach out to Democrats to craft a bi-partisan bill that wrote the right for all Amercians to chose what happens to and within their bodies, including women’s right th chose an abortion up to X number of weeks, in to law. It would undercut a building backlash, make them look like doing something Democrats cannot do, and and showing they can govern.

    Of course, this won’t happen because Republicans are not rational amd not intune with the nation.

    I don’t personally use Twitter as much as other social media platforms, so I really don’t have a personal investment in what happens to it, but I am deeply suspicious of Elon Musk buying Twitter. I suspect he wants to buy Twitter to have a personal megaphone with no constraints. I am expecting Twitter to get worse under Musk.

    I understand lots of journalism and media types use Twitter, but if it becomes a private social platform under the control of an oligarch, is that the right place to be doing journalism? Once private Twitter should cease to be a source for any news.

    If Musk wanted to impress me he would get rid of Twitter’s algorithm completely and revert Twitter to a reverse chronological feed, citing how the algorithm is nothing more than feeding an addiction. We don’t need to see the algorithm, we need to get rid of it.

    Today has been windy, with sustained windows at 20 mph and gusts up to 45 mph. Fortunately, the temperature has been from the mid 40s to the low 50s, so not terribly cold, and yet I have been feeling cold all day. I think that my subconsious hearing the howling wind is making me feel cold, even if it isn’t particularly cold. Is that a thing?

    The problem with our politics today is that it is obsessed with the past. Conservatives want to go back to the “glory days” of the past (surely this what is meant by “Make America Great Again”) and Liberals want go back and fix the past. (surely cancel culture drives this). Both poles have an unhealthy view of history, it is neither to return to nor fix but to learn from. The majority of us are busy dealing with the present and see the obsession with the past as less than helpful.

    Something is fundamentally wrong in a democracy that has all the energy around laws to restrict voting rather than expand voting. We should be embarrassed that so few people actually vote, but as has been the case since the beginning the system is built to be run by an elite few. It is said the United States is a republic or a representative democracy, but who is really represented and who is not represented is the metastasis destroying the country from the inside out.

    You might have heard the phrase “sound track of your life.” One of the earliest songs on my sound track is Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, which for some reason my mind associates with the first dance I went to in middle school. Not that I danced at all, but that was one of the songs played. The memory comes back today due to learning that Meat Loaf has passed away.

    A Simple Plan to Solve All of America’s Problems suggests America’s problems are due to manufactured scarcity. I agree, but unfortunately scarcity is what makes some Americans very rich, and America is all about making a scarce group of people very rich.

    I write many of my blog posts on this site using the Drafts app on my iPad, and I can do that because supports an open API that provides the ability to integrate any editor to it. In this manner is the most open platform that I have used. In fact that means I can even use Drummer to write and publish a post to this site. The irony is, I cannot do the reverse as there is no way for me to write a post in Drafts to be published to my Daynotes. The cause in my opinion is that Dave is focused on a file format rather than an API.

    This summary about Matter makes the app sound appealing, but I am pretty happy with my current reading flow that uses River5, Radio3, IFFT, Pocket, Kindle Readwise, Roam and Evernote. The flow enables me to review and consume a high amount of information across every computer operating system that I may use.

    Microsoft now has a Notion clone, while I don’t really get Notion. Every time I have checked Notion out I just think it has too much.

    I read these stories of Manchin in the middle of all the current politics and I can’t help but think about how much of an ego trip that must be. Right now he has all the attention and power, Trump must be envious.

    Sir Sinclair and I

    British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair died yesterday, September 16. I, of course, never met this man who had an impact on the direction of my life.

    My chosen field of study in college, computer science, led to the career that caused me to move to metropolitan Detroit, ultimately meet and marry my wife, and have the life I now live. How I came to chose to study computer science was influenced by three events during my high school years: the arrival of the Apple II in my high school, taking an after school BASIC programming class, and being gifted the Timex Sinclair 1000. Sir Sinclair invented the ZX80, the predecessor to the ZX8, in Britian, and that same computer was later sold as the Timex Sinclair 1000 in the United States.

    I was raised by my grandmother and we lived off social security along with some savings. The personal computers sold at the time cost well beyond our means, but the Timex Sinclair only cost $100, though you needed the nearly $40 additional cost of the 16 KB storage for it to be useful. The nearly $150 total cost made it the most expensive gift my grandmother ever bought me, and I don’t doubt she made sacrifices to buy it, but she felt it important for my future. Turns out my grandmother was right.

    Even by the standards of the time, the Timex Sinclair was a bit of a joke for a computer. Frogger was one of the games available for the Timex Sinclair that my friend called “woodtick” because of how the large block pixel graphics of the frog took over the entire TV screen when it got run over by a car.

    Back then the common display for personal computers were TV screens. Programs were stored on cassete tapes. As I said, the Timex Sinclair only had 16 kilobytes of RAM. It had a membrane keyboard rather than a real keyboard that had most of the BASIC functions assigned. When writing a program you “typed” PRINT by pressing a combination of a function key and they key that had the command printed on it. I don’t recall whether I ever connected the Timex Sinclair to a printer or did anything like word processing.

    Despite the limits Sinclair’s invention made a brand new world of personal computing accessible to me in the comfort of my bedroom floor. Hours of typing in pre-printed programs from magazines and hours of experimenting with little BASIC programs sparked the interest that as I said led to the life I now have.

    Reading tributes and stories of Sinclair, I know that I am just one of hundreds of thousands of people around the world that share the same story. What a wonderful legacy. Thank you Sir Sinclair, rest in peace.

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