We Are Borg

Posted on March 29, 2018. Filed under: Politics, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Are you kidding me?” That was the intrusive thought as I perused the electronics store looking for home security systems. My personal privacy is one thing I treasure, and, I wanted to protect my new hermit sanctum from uninvited and opportunistic “guests.”

My sense of what to expect in the way of suitable equipment was stand-alone motion sensors, site alarms, and, maybe closed-circuit camera surveillance, all of which would be subject to my personal control.

But, the systems on display here touted such wondrous features as voice control, inter-device wireless communication, remote viewing of my hermit cave from another city, even talking to a person ringing my doorbell from 200 miles away. And, it was touted, I had personal control of the entire security spectrum through my smart phone or other computerized device. Such control would be managed over Al Gore’s marvelous invention, the World Wide Web. YES! That would be the same internet that allows our identities, wealth, and reputations to be stolen… where employers can read your thoughts on personal web sites and fire you for being non-compliant with the employer’s views.

Another thought, chilling to my personal sense of privacy and control of my life, flashed through my mind on the heels of that hype: George Orwell’s 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Its distinction was the introduction of the term Big Brother, the name of an authoritative government whose power derived from the application of thought control over its citizens, a power facilitated by confinement and brain-washing of non-compliant persons.

It was the term “internet” that fueled my spine-tingling thought of Big Brother. That net would be the same place that has stored all the formerly private information about my financial dealings, my bank information, my medical information, my comments on Facebook and Twitter, my political affiliations and opinions, my religious convictions, my familial connections; even the kind of music and movies I see and hear, and the kind of things I enjoy and purchase at the grocery store. All known to the internet.

Yes, your personal calendar, though fortified against intrusion by that secret password known only to you, is vulnerable to any hacker’s eyes.

Oh, for the good old days of real privacy. Back then, your personal information was not sold or given away by businesses with whom you contracted, and the use of cash did not announce to the world your name, your address, your description, your employer, your location at the time you made payment, etc.

Cash is a private transaction, whereas credit cards and debit cards scream out everything about you over a virtual public-address system.

I just love internet sites’ declarations of privacy toward your personal business: Because we respect your privacy, we will not sell or give away your information to others… except to our affiliates and 3rd parties who can help us make another buck, and they have not agreed to anything regarding the privacy of your personal information.

That previous paragraph was my personal summation of what that 10,000-word, fine-print declaration of respect intimates.

Once, I considered myself to be “John Q. Citizen.” Now, I have become stamped on the forehead as “Grade-A Prime Marketing Prospect.”

I resist, but I know…

resistance is futile.

I try to remain apart, but, I know…

I will be assimilated.

Though Orwell missed the bigger picture, his Big Brother has jumped into the Collective Mind of internet feet first. NSA, FBI, FCC, KGB, and a host of other alphabet soup agencies and dot-com web sites gleefully mine the mother-lode of data held within that COLLECTIVE mind of internet.

Another chilling thought from the universe of Roddenberry’s Star Trek…

Resistance is futile.

You will be assimilated.


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Clone Wars USA: Rise of the anti-clone

Posted on July 21, 2016. Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The anti-clones have risen, and the clones, much to their consternation, are on the outside looking in…  sour grape-ing to be sure,  but, losers all.

  • Donald Trump:  The only pure anti-clone in the 2016 campaign, started with a commanding lead over a mob of clownish…   er, uh…   clone-ish ill-fated White House seekers and won the race well before the last lap.
  • Hillary Clinton:  Not a true clone, but none of the other clones leaving the starting gate with her were female AND former First Lady.  That was a departure from normal starting credentials.

The 2016 Republican National Convention.  The votes of convention delegates quickly anointed Trump as the party’s 2016 entry for President of the United States.  The ensconced power brokers and their favored clone, Ted Cruz, have been sulking for months and screaming, “NO WAY WILL TRUMP GET THE NOMINATION EVEN IF HE HAS ALL THE DELEGATES.”  Ted Cruz, his miffed inner child sulking visibly, gave a speech after Trump did indeed get that nomination.  Still in denial, he peckish-ly did not say things like…

  • I am 100% behind my party’s pick for President
  • Let bygones be bygones
  • Long live the Republican Party
  • …nor any other esprit de corps stuff that included The Donald in any Republican prayers.

Apparently, such sentiments would move little Teddy only if HE were the convention’s nominee.

Ted Cruz has gotten his feelings hurt.  After all, there was much talk at the beginning that his chances were good for getting the RNC nomination.  Alas, as the race began only its second lap, poor little Teddy was lost in the dust of Trump popularity.  In the end, he didn’t even have enough delegates to be a shaping force in Donald Trump’s Cleveland convention.  Cruz’s dream of being Hillary’s election nemesis will have to await another day.

But cheer up, Ted.  Hillary blew it eight years ago and here she is getting the Democratic nomination for president.  There is always the 2020 election year, and, you could run against either Trump or Clinton or both all over again.  IF…

Obama actually vacates the White House as the law dictates.  After all, you only need an Executive Order to by-pass Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Will of the People of the United States, and it is still 6 months before he gets his eviction notice.




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Clone Wars USA: 2016 Elections

Posted on February 29, 2016. Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Last year (2015) when it all started, it hadn’t seemed like any time had passed at all…   prob’ly ‘cawz it had only been about two and a half years since the last one.  As certain as the cycle of the seasons, it greets us again…   seemingly earlier than it used to…   sorta like how Christmas slid from a year-end event to post-Labor Day hoop-la.  But, here it is, an incessant buzz of views, denials, accusations, evasiveness, double speak, backtracking, maybe I will — maybe I won’t, media misquotes, media explanations, polls, poll results, and poll explanations…   and a big spike in the sale of theatrical makeup.

Yes, America, it is PRE-ELECTION time again in the USA.

Your words for the day:

  • clone = an identical copy of something
  • debate = a formal discussion-and-rebuttal exhibition of opposing views
  • political debate = a media sponsored simultaneous interview of candidates vying for political office
  • chorus line = a group of synchronized dancer-singers

Cloned candidates are the American way.  All are essentially the same, defined exclusively by the party-line they espouse, the manner in which they waddle penguin-like across the electorates’ viewscape and stand obediently as the media snipe at the ones the media doesn’t like.  Any hopeful lined up in the chorus line who does not adhere to the choreographed pattern is ridiculed and dissed unmercifully by the media.  The pliant public eats it all up (after all, the general public’s sense of what is proper is garnered from day time television shows such as phony court cases, those eternal soap operas, and so-called reality shows).  Media knows just how to give ’em what they want and get the public to fulfill media wishes.  Media will decide the winners and the losers.  It’s the American way.

Clay pigeon seems also to be a viable analogy.  They all look alike, talk alike, dress alike, parrot the same kind of lines with different adjectives interspersed, and — like all those beauty contest hopefuls — each and every one of them wants world peace.  (Locally, pre-election aspirations are to fix all those potholes that irritate the voters driving on the highways and byways.

And that is just the Republican field.

Filling out the roster for the other party, there is Hillary coming into the room; there’s that trademark smile with lots of teeth, slow deliberate movements, cordial outreach of the hand exuding warmth of personality, dressed in no-nonsense suits exuding matronly assurance.  She is no Iron Lady Thatcher (Great Britain PM), nor Indira Nehru (India PM) nor Golda Meir (Israel PM).  She’s just Bill (I-did-not-have-sex-with-that-woman) Clinton’s wife.  Lots of luck with that, Hilly.

Hilly, of course, was the media’s choice for 2016’s American Idol of the United States of America two years ago as they  soft-shoed the noise about alleged unethical and illegal actions during her resume-fluffing tour as Secretary of State of the same USA.  Now, in the media, she is as squeaky clean as a new-pope aspirant waiting for the white smoke of coronation.  The media has crowned her queen-elect much like they crowned king Obama 8 years before he even announced a run at the office.

But, there is a heretic in the midst of this traditional media-friendly clone shoot, one who does not wear the facade of the predictable clone.  Nor does he shrink from the puppet masters who may, over the long haul, succeed in taking him down so that the most groveling same-old same-old is left to contest the media’s pick for Queen of a Lifetime.  Yes, America, the Anti Clone has risen, and he flies the flag of the Republican Party, much to the disappointment of the GOP puppet masters.

At  first, he was dismissed as just one of a dozen or so aspirants; then he was dissed as a non-traditional politico; when he fired back disrespectfully at the media darlings who had shaped the so-called debates so they could harpoon targeted candidates, his favor among the voters rose; as the clones around him reshaped their positions to coincide with those of the New Anti Clone, the gap between them became greater.  In the midst of his rising popularity, he dared address the issues of danger to the United States, and, he specified restrictions on specific peoples of specific countries.  The media decried his insensitivity to the plight of the unfortunate murderers and terrorists seeking new targets in the United States.   Yet, the Anti Clone’s popularity rose   higher.

Everyone is dumfounded by this Anti Clone’s standing, even the leader of one of the world’s major religious sects, The Roman Catholics.  Recently, said leader ranted that “anyone saying such things is not a Christian,” or something to that effect, registering his unease at something the Anti Clone said.  It seems that this esteemed leader, with a staff of thousands to prompt him on international matters such as what day it is, none-the-less has confused the American election process with the Roman rite of settling on a new pope, wherein the religious standing of the aspirants is critical.  Americans, however (at least in theory), are not selecting a religious leader, rather an individual to defend the United States of America against all enemies domestic and foreign,  Religious preference, regardless of what native religious sects expound, is not part of the process.

Primary elections are now in full swing.  All of the look-alike clones (Republicans) have fallen short so far of the Anti Clone’s appeal.  And the media’s choice of President-elect is in control of the Democratic race.

It’s ELECTION TIME USA,  You gotta love it.

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Shovels and Manure: Part 2

Posted on November 26, 2015. Filed under: Politics, Psychology, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

(continued from previous post, Shovels and Manure: Part 1)

In the previous article, I got born, got my newbie starter kit installed, then discovered glitches in the applications phase.  New input was playing havoc with the resident databases causing angst as I realized I would have to troubleshoot my programming at the root level.  Simply put, I had to start thinking for myself, which meant I had to retroactively confirm the veracity of my previous data sources.  Zeroing in on accepted authority (experts) and accepted knowledge (expert assertions), I realized that self-aggrandizing, ordinary people who had been born naked and clueless like the whole of human kind were setting themselves up as the lords of all knowledge.

Wallowing in their unacknowledged ignorance, those expert authorities told us for decades…

  • The expert-designed Food Pyramid was the answer to proper nutrition and long life…   until they came out with a new one (twice) that didn’t kill us prematurely.
  • That teachers are the most valuable servants in society…   then we find out that these guys and gals are behaving like pedophile priests chaperoning teens and pre-adolescents on church-sponsored retreats or tutoring in one-on-one sessions away from school.
  • Expose your kids to chicken pox early so they won’t have to deal with it in later life…   had your shingles shot yet?
  • Plastic food packaging materials are safe for human use…   except now that is only “true” if the label says “BHP free.”

They told us for centuries...

  • The Constitution of the United States of America could only be changed if 3/4 of the states agreed to it…   unless the Supreme Court changes it by a 5-4 vote of biased experts who can’t be thrown out for biased judiciating…   or when a sitting president decides to MAKE laws instead of obeying them.
  • The Bill of Rights to that Constitution guaranteed certain rights to its citizens (such as no laws regarding an establishment of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to be secure in your property, freedom from being forced to give evidence against yourself…   stuff like that) unless changed by that 3/4 vote of the states.  Now, the Supreme Court says you gotta ask for your constitutional right to be entitled to it.
  • The world is flat, go too far you fall off its edge…   today we can take advantage of AROUND THE WORLD cruises.  The only falling hazard here is a bad plunge from your budget floor…   or is that “budget ceiling?”
  • The Earth is the center of the universe…   Galileo paid for this little indiscretion.  When not molesting children, them religionists banish free-thinking that shows up their ignorance.
  • Children can only be born to married couples…   or harems.  How, then, do we now have the terms “bastards” and “unwed mothers?”
  • Only humans can use tools…   and apes, simians, pro-simians, numerous birds, quite a few insects
  • Only humans can speak…   and apes, simians, pro-simians, numerous birds, quite a few insects
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away…   but, only if you hit him square in the forehead with it when he tries to approach you.  People don’t say proverbs like that anymore for fear that litigators will hit them square in the pocket book with a class-action lawsuit for practicing medicine without a license.
  • The world is only 6,000 years old…   can you spell b-i-l-l-i-o-n-s?
  • Good always triumphs over evil…   but how many good people have to suffer before the evil goes away?
  • We are in the latter days;  the end is near…   get your programs here, folks;  all the generations since Guttenberg’s quick-copy machine have left scads of them…   just change that date right there, change the identity of your generation’s 666, and go on lamenting…   and self-flagellate if that is your thing.

More recently, we have been told that only humans are smart enough to create stuff that can annihilate all life on Earth in one fell swoop…   they WOULD have to get that one right.  But, hey!  In an existence honed by responses to innate ignorance, one out of 200,000,000 to the 10th power ain’t so bad.

I understand that my own journey through EXISTENCE is a trial and error thing, and, that I can benefit from the information of others who have already waded through its dark water’s of uncertainty.  My problem is not that everything with which we work has to be teased from Nature bit by bit or that what was learned long ago may not be true today;  rather, my irritation comes from the knowledge that so much of that database is tainted by the personal goals of the “expert” information providers, who then proclaim — in speech or implied assertion — “I, a really super-smart guy, thought up this explanation and you, an embarrassment to the word intellect, can be assured that you can get it right only by accepting without question MY truth of reality.”  

My gullibility node has become unbearably distended, no doubt due to the vast quantity of bull sh…   uh, male bovine droppings being rained down on me from all directions.

Life forms get it right (i.e., live longer) by replacing ignorance with knowledge as they grow.  Homo sapiens sapiens has the advantage of being able to amass a vast library of hard-won knowledge that most, if not all, of its members can access to enrich their individual survival.  Yet, regardless of how vast that knowledge base may be, our Universe — to all intents and purposes — is infinitely vast, and, the degree of human ignorance is just as vast.  So…

Since my personal existence is of major importance only to ME, why can’t I give credence to my own conclusions?  Why can’t I, born naked and clueless just like all those acknowledged experts, be just as arrogant about MY “truth” as they are toward theirs?

Sounds like a plan to me.  “Hey…   YOU…   Super-smart Dude!  Stop shoveling that pile of sh…   stuff…   this way.  I need a little time to analyze its contents.”

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Myth: Vendor Overcharges To Government (Part 6)

Posted on May 24, 2013. Filed under: Journalism, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

10th in the series The Manipulators

Today’s proverbYou can’t fight city hall

Your words for the day:

  • scapegoat = one too helpless, often by reason of circumstance, to defend itself
  • witch hunt = the search for a scapegoat
  • not my job, man = the universal escape clause — unstated, but, inherent — in every assignment of responsibility

The Big Pee loves “ongoing coverage” of targeted scapegoats…   sort of a choreographed witch hunt.  Over the centuries, burnings, beheadings, public hangings, and executions by horses-going-off-in-four-directions-while-tethered-to-one’s-various-limbs have really filled the idle time of the masses.  All of that used to be free, but, in the spirit of capitalism, we now have to sit through silly and obnoxious ads from t.v. sponsors, subscribe to an internet service, or buy a newspaper to get our constitutional entitlement to blood and gore.  We are no longer unwitting witnesses to the grand processions of TIME and LIFE (Reality!   …not the magazines); we are now paying customers who are just here for the show.

Public officials are often targeted by The Big P (pronounced “pee”) when it is out to sell papers and such.  For that reason, I am surprised that our featured Jack-Haas missed his shot at Houston’s top executive, Mayor Annise Parker.  Ostensibly, all of the principals involved in those undocumented payouts of $19.2 million of taxpayer money are under her leadership.  And, since elections are only 2 years apart for that office, there has to be some interest by the public or the political opposition in such perception of top-level mismanagement.

Yes, Jack DID mention the mayor, or at least her office.  I paraphrase:  “According to the Mayor’s Press Secretary, that office is doing a separate review to be compared to the one being done by Dangerous Dave; and, the Mayor’s office will be diligent in working to recover any money owed the city, including litigation fees.”  In other words, the Mayor’s office is happy to join in the witch hunt for a cut of the booty.  Like a real Haas, Jack pursued no further, since that announcement from such a high office bolstered his tried-and-true theme, “Government…   victim!   Vendor…   villain!”

So, Mayor…  (Mayor-ess?  Your honor-ess?) Annise Parker, I was just wondering:

  1. Does the city’s accounting department perform a monthly closing of its books like real businesses?  Such as this would catch any variances or deviations at the time of occurrence and get them corrected for future invoicing and payments.  That’s what a real business would do.
  2. Does the city’s accounting department do a quarterly summary of its bookkeeping like real businesses do?  Ditto the benefit.
  3. Does the city’s accounting department do an annual report of all accounting functions detailing variances between documentation and money spent…   as real businesses do? 
  4. Real businesses have an outside auditor come in and verify their figures and on-going accounting practices — ANNUALLY.  Is Dangerous Dave, the self-serving bureaucrat who apparently gets motivated only once every 4 or 5 years, all you’ve got to rely on?
  5. Does the term “reconciling accounts” mean anything to the city’s bookkeepers and accountants?
  6. Does the city provide free coffee and donuts to all of its gold-bricking employees, who are being paid by the taxpayers to loiter?
  7. Are there any plans to have each city office submit requisitions for supplies to a central office where they are consolidated into a single order for maximum discount AND CONTROL?
  8. Are there any plans to have those who receive the materials actually document its receipt and identify it with the appropriate accounting numbers so it can be referenced when balancing the books…   and be available at the end of the year (or every 4 or 5 years) for Dangerous Dave the Auditor to review and criticize?
  9. The State of Texas has 266,874 square miles while the City of Houston has only 627 square miles.  With its thousands of offices statewide, Texas could easily run up 300,000 purchase transaction over a span of 4 years and 10 months (that of the Office Depot contract).  It is inconceivable that a piddling little 627 square mile bailiwick could rack up 1,100 purchases EVERY WEEK for 4-plus YEARS for miscellaneous office expendables (Dave’s figures, not mine) while taxpayer-subsidized supervisors notice absolutely nothing amiss.
  10. City employees have abused the spirit of the US Communities co-op purchasing contract by run-a-way impulse-ordering.  Will you be criticizing or rebuking those city employees who, instead of sharpening that dull pencil, opt instead to pick up the phone and order 1 box of mechanical pencils for ASAP delivery one thousand times a week?

Anyway, the journalistic Jack-Haas of the Houston Chronicle story missed all that stuff I have cited.  Why?  ‘cawz it was easier for him to meet his column quota by copying everything the important-sounding City Auditor told him and presenting all of that to a pre-conditioned, anti big-business, audience.  Taking the time to actually verify the basis of the “official” allegations would have been…   WORK.

And the General Public, that massive brain-dead jury pool so loved by litigators, receives its daily dose of anesthetics to numb that vaunted hallmark of humanity — those pesky reasoning abilities.

Next up:  A break from “The Manipulators”

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