Monday, June 27, 2016

EU? UKExit? What? Why?

So, the UK, in a poorly organized demonstration of letting the "people" choose what they know not, chose to leave the EU.

No surprise.

There are lots of people pretending to be surprised. Lots of people using this as an excuse to sell off stock they didn't want. Lots of people getting excited about a new opportunity to say, "Oh NOOOOO! WHAT WE GONNA DO NOW!" and invent new ways to control what other people do.

Put n people in a room and tell them they have the responsibility to make rules, and they will happily make lots and lots of rules. Something like
number of rules == (2n+2)2n+2(t) 
where n is any number of people greater than 0, and t is time.

The one thing they almost never do is think of a reason to quit making rules.

The EU, for its first five years of existence, was not that poorly behaved.

But they kept realizing they didn't have enough power to do something important. And they kept making new rules to give themselves that power. And suddenly there are a lot of people in the EU legislatures who are not properly elected by the people they represent, making lots and lots of rules.

And those rules effect everyone's day-to-day activities.

And those rules, as they multiply and fill the rule books, make it harder to work and live.

Work? Isn't that what everybody avoids?
It's the work that we avoid
And we're all self-employed
We love to work at nothing all day
("Taking Care of Business", Randy Bachman/BTO.)
We all want to work, but we also all seem to want to call what the other guy does for work "nothing". All day.

I'm not going to psychoanalyze the human race today, but you know what I mean.

Because the other guy doesn't do what I want him or her to do, I have to make rules. If there is a new place to make rules, great! Let's go make rules there.

(System engineering is a very seductive line of work in this way, but that's a rant for another day.)

(The seduction in systems engineering lies in the "willingness" of the CPU to try to blindly interpret the rules the engineer makes. Humans are much better behaved, but the CPU is definitely a siren song.)

The EU has been making too many rules. A lot of those rules conflict with the laws and traditions of the UK. The people of the UK feel like they're being shoved between a rock and a hard place.

They want out.

The solution?

Well, one important thing the EU could do is quit following the bad example of the USA lobby/legislation machine.

Slow down. Clean up the laws.

Give ordinary people who don't own huge mansions and big companies and fast cars and jet planes and huge debts room to breathe and work, by removing the rules that constrain them.

If they have to make rules for somebody, make rules to restrict and constrain what the people with the huge mansions and big companies and fast cars and jet planes and huge debts do.

But, no. That's another case of making rules for someone else to follow.

The only rules that have any hope of working are the ones you make for yourself to follow. That should be obvious.

Quit making rules.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Thoughts on Snowden and the Information Industry

Edward Snowden committed a crime.

We know it was a crime because it was against the law.

(So there. Nanner nanner nanner.)

What do you do, when you find yourself working for an organization that is recognized by current law but fundamentally in breach of the founding law, the Constitution of your country?

If you're working for a Microsoft or an Oracle (or Google, any more) or a Monsanto, it's a bit easier to put yourself at a distance from the moral implications of what you do than if you work directly for the government. Maybe you can convince yourself that, in extreme interpretations of the Constitution, everyone is in breach.

Rationalization is easy. That's perhaps why the NSA hires contractors to do their dirty work.

Security is an illusion. I've said that many times before, and I am by no means the first to do so.

But that does not justify selling the illusion, nor does it justify deliberately undermining what little real security can be found in this world.

The NSA is doing both of those things, and lots of people are profiting. Huge boondoggles being financed by the loss of individual freedoms.
Someone had to say, as it were, the emperor is deliberately running around in peek-a-boo dresses.

The cynically named "Patriot Act" is a far greater crime than anything Snowden did. I'd go so far as to call it an act of treason, but everyone who says that is still immediately painted in shades of conspiracy theorist by, it seems, just about everyone.

Would I suggest a presidential pardon for Snowden?

Not in the current economical or political climate. Too many people are profiting from that un-Patriot-ic Act. It would be too dangerous to his life.

Putting him on trial would be a possible way of clearing his name, and of fully exposing the boondoggles and treachery being engaged in under the un-Patriot-ic Act -- but only if we could ensure that the trial would be fair, and that his safety could be assured during the trial.

So that would be too dangerous to all parties. Which is why they leave him where he is. For now, it's safest for everyone.

Who are the real villains in this story?

Bush, for the presidential directives that exceeded the Constitution?

Congress, for the Act that gave it the imprimatur of apparent legality?

Obama for failing to veto the continuance of that treacherous Act?

Or the bureaucrats who went ahead and implemented the anti-Constitutional parts?

I lean more towards the latter, myself. They are the ones who should be putting the brakes on, shoving reports of the problems up the line of command to the president and Congress, so that they have reason to tell the lobbyists to crawl back where they came from.

Oh. And the lobbyists, too. Definite treachery in that crowd.

What to do?

Again, it's back to you and me and our day-to-day choices. How much are we willing to pay for the illusions of success, etc.?

When are we going to wake up to the smell of the brew that is poisoning our system, that is causing the very violence that the sellers of security claim they want to protect us from, etc.?

It probably won't be a disaster to have either Trump or Clinton in the Whitehouse next, but you could register your disapproval by voting for a third-party candidate, instead.

Don't bother boycotting and demonstrating against the Monsantos and Microsofts, just quit buying what they sell. And if your bank is too big, try to find a smaller one, even if it's less convenient. Etc.

Make the inconvenient choices away from the big, easy money. It's that big, easy money that is funding both sides of the war that we are caught in the middle of.

It's up to you.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Yes! We Must Vilify Trump Now!!!!

(In case I am misunderstood, the title is tongue-in-cheek. No. Vilification is not a solution.)

So, the Democrats have worked really hard to get Trump into the Republican campaign so that Mrs. Clinton would look good in comparison, as I talked about in a couple of previous blogs:
And, as I thought, the Democrats are surprised that they cannot control the monster they created.

When you read the news, with Trump's not-so-palatable financial dealings getting plastered all over everything, think about the fact that it was mostly crossover voting in the primaries which pushed him so far ahead so fast, and made the clown look legitimate in the first place. This news is not so new at all.

Look at yourself in the mirror.

Were you fooled?

Did you campaign for someone better?

Are you involved at all?

Freedom has its costs:

Are you willing to pay the price?


That's okay. As has been said before, "the office" has a tendency to "make the man". Or woman, as the case may be. Maybe Trump or whichever of the two Democratic candidates remaining standing will "grow into the office".

I don't think the number of Americans who choose evil over good on a daily basis has come close enough to the halfway point to destroy the Great Experiment in freedom (not democracy!) just yet. (I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Not yet. I was really frustrated and depressed that day. Thinking about FBAR still gets me pretty negative pretty fast, though. The Feds used to keep their hands out of other countries' taxes.)

Don't forget, democracy is a red herring. We are ultimately free. We get what we choose, in the end. No government ever lasted long that contradicted too far the will of the people it tried to govern, but that is also a side issue.

The experiment was not an experiment in democracy. It was in whether we could stand to be governed by a government that recognized our freedom and tried to help us to be free.

Which is basically saying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Your faith remains alive in your heart, as long as you keep believing.

It's going to be a difficult four years. Keep the faith.