Thursday, August 21, 2014

the militarization of the police

Ferguson, Missouri shows what can go wrong when the police get military equipment and are trained for military type actions.  They forget that citizens are not the enemy and protesters are not criminals.  I blame the Battle in Seattle for part of this, where the police had to deal with Black Block vandalism and retardedness.  But definitely police need to go back to working for the citizens not having and us vs. them attitude.


Friday, July 25, 2014

War will never be the same; the Gerasimov Doctrine

http://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/the-gerasimov-doctrine-and-russian-non-linear-war/

"In the 21st century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template.
The experience of military conflicts — including those connected with the so-called coloured revolutions in north Africa and the Middle East — confirm that a perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict, become a victim of foreign intervention, and sink into a web of chaos, humanitarian catastrophe, and civil war."

No more one side lining up and another side lining up to oppose.  The distinction of what is war and what is not gets blurred, like in Ukraine right now.  Won't be pretty.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The jobless future; then what?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/07/21/were-heading-into-a-jobless-future-no-matter-what-the-government-does/?wpisrc=nl_wonk

"The only solution that I see is a shrinking work week. We may perhaps be working for 10 to 20 hours a week instead of the 40 for which we do today. And with the prices of necessities and of what we today consider luxury goods dropping exponentially, we may not need the entire population to be working. There is surely a possibility for social unrest because of this; but we could also create the utopian future we have long dreamed of, with a large part of humanity focused on creativity and enlightenment.
Regardless, at best we have another 10 to 15 years in which there is a role for humans. The number of available jobs will actually increase in the U.S. and Europe before it decreases. China is out of time because it has a manufacturing-based economy, and those jobs are already disappearing."

I'm starting to lean toward the idea of a guaranteed minimum income for everybody.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

This sounds bad; economic problems ahead?

http://boingboing.net/2014/07/08/oecd-predicts-collapse-of-capi.html

"The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a pro-establishment, rock-ribbed bastion of pro-market thinking -- has released a report predicting a collapse in global economic growth rates, a rise in feudal wealth disparity, collapsing tax revenue and huge, migrating bands of migrant laborers roaming from country to country, seeking crumbs of work. They prescribe 'flexible' workforces, austerity, and mass privatization.
The report, Policy Challenges for the Next 50 Years , makes a number of assumptions about the impact of automation on skilled jobs in the workforce, the end the recent growth in the developing world (especially the BRIC nations), and a series of worsening environmental catastrophes."

I think this is more a call for change then prediction. It's obvious that we are moving currently toward a time when there are only serfs and lords.  The rich accumulate all the wealth, and dole it out as needed to those below.  I thought we had already grown out of this system, but apparently not.

When people talk and cooperate, better things happen

http://worldtruth.tv/jaw-dropping-what-brad-pitt-is-doing-to-american-indian-reservations/

"Using participatory democracy principles, Pitt’s organization organizers met with families and community leaders about their needs and their vision for their new homes, and how the builders can preserve the culture of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, such as doorways facing east or north and using tribally significant colors."

"Pitt’s foundation employs lawyers, social workers, and loan workers to help the former residents of the Lower Ninth Ward whom many of which lost all documentation during Hurricane Katrina to get through the mortgage application process. The income of the applicants does not affect the applicant’s ability to obtain a home. The unsubsidized mortgage is designed to be no more than one third of the applicant’s income."

so many times charitable groups go to a place where people are in need, and they impose their own vision of what the people there need.  Pitt's group first ASKS what is needed before trying to help out. This is wonderful.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Universal minimum income?

http://www.businessinsider.com/giving-all-americans-a-basic-income-would-end-poverty-2013-11

"In 2012, there were 179 million Americans between the ages of 21 and 65 (when Social Security would kick in). The poverty line was $11,945. Thus, giving each working-age American a basic income equal to the poverty line would cost $2.14 trillion. For some comparison, U.S. GDP was almost $16 trillion in 2012 and the defense budget was $700 billion.
But a minimum income would also allow us to eliminate every government benefit as well. Get rid of SNAP, TANF, housing vouchers, the Earned Income tax credit and many others. Get rid of them all. A 2012 Congressional Research Service report found that the federal government spends approximately $750 billion each year on benefits for low-income Americans and that rises to a clean trillion when you factor in state programs. Eliminate all of those and the net figure comes out to $1.2 trillion needed to pay for a universal basic income, still a hefty sum."

I'm starting to wonder if this is a good idea. It hasn't been tried on a large scale yet, though.  But we've got to consider alternatives to our current broken system.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Libraries; moving from passive to active

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/design/2014/04/the_future_of_the_library_how_they_ll_evolve_for_the_digital_age.html

"Libraries have compensated for this shift by redefining their mission around providing access to new technologies. The slow invasion of computer clusters that has defined the past two decades of library design serves an important purpose, but that mission, too, now seems increasingly redundant. Already, three-quarters of Americans access the Internet at home, with both broadband and mobile access rising steadily, particularly among younger people. It seems unlikely that providing on-site public access to online media will be a compelling justification for funding brick-and-mortar libraries even a decade from now."

"Across the United States, librarians have been experimenting with ways of expanding on this newly elaborated mission—for instance, by opening so-called “maker spaces” in annexes and areas where bookshelves have been cleared out. A throwback to the mechanic’s library of the 19th century, maker spaces collect old and new technologies, from sewing machines to 3-D printers, and encourage patrons to develop and share skills that cannot be practiced over the Internet. "

what's happening with your local library?  Is it embracing social media?  Turning from passive information storage to resourcing innovative creation?  Does your community support your library?  Do you care?