1984 Redux: A Cautionary Tale

…or; Why You Can’t Trust the Gatekeeper

Go read this article, then come back.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

While this post is mostly directed at Apple, it also applies (albeit to a lesser degree) to other platforms; MS, Google, and Amazon come quickly to mind.

For those who find the above linked NY Times article too long to read, I’ll briefly sum up the controversy.  A developer submitted an app to Apple for inclusion in the iDevice store.  The app tracked US drone strikes around the world and presented them to the user in an interactive map.  Nothing overly controversial here, many newspapers periodically publish such maps.

Apple rejected the app allegedly due to not being “useful or entertaining enough”.  The developer worked some more on the app, adding more useful and/or entertaining features and dutifully resubmitted the app.  This time Apple rejected the app for sullying the iPhone interface with a Google logo.  Back to the drawing table went the developer, he refactored the Google logo, finding the balance between giving credit to the maps provider and not sullying Apple’s devices.  He then resubmitted the app to Apple, fairly certain that his app would soon be published to the app store.

Only it wasn’t…and it never will be.  Apple’s censors rejected the app for having “excessively objectionable or crude content.”

This raises the question of whether technology companies should be the gatekeepers of what is news, what is objectionable, or any other question of societal import.

And if it was just Apple we could dismiss it as just one mega-maniacal corporation exerting undue control over what news and information its users are allowed to consume.  But app stores are fast becoming the norm.  Google’s Android Market, while much more open and transparent than Apples, still has control over what gets into the market.  Amazon has a similar store, closer to Apple’s in its control freakery, but still a fairly niche affair, thus attracting less scrutiny.  Microsoft also has a mobile store, also fairly tightly controlled.

These mega-corporations will tell you that mobile is special, that the user experience must be tightly controlled to maintain the carrier’s networks, maintain battery life, preserve user experience, etc…ad nauseum.

Then they move onto the desktop.  No relaxing of control, still the same harsh censorship of their mobile stores brought home to the desktop.  And that is when the facade crumbles.  The store censoring has nothing at all to do with the stated reasons.  When all else has been stripped away, we are left with the true reason, control.  Control of the information and data that a user can take in.

Apple and Microsoft together account for more than 99% of desktop computer usage.  While both of their desktop app stores are in their infancy, it is no challenge to see where they are going.  The trend is there for all who willing to open their eyes and see, tighter intertwining of the mega-corporate tech companies and the State.  “Keep your regulations soft and ineffective, and I will deliver the populace to you in a way not even imaginable in the most dystopian of novels.”

And that is where you arrive if you take recent trends and project them to their logical conclusions.  A sort of self-chosen soft-fascism.

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
–Joseph Goebbels

To the press we can also add our gadgets and other technological wizardry which can increasingly monitor and/or report our likes, dislikes, location, preferences, associations, political ideology, entertainment choices, communications and virtually every single thing that we do.

It is truly a brave new world; the question is who we are going to allow to control it.

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The Cycle is Complete

Welcome to the New America, a fascist state.  With the merging of the political and economic elite, the cycle is complete–and we have been had.  The American populace (the “good” Americans) sits idly while our government seizes the economy.  I am thankful for the first time that I do not have children, I will never have to face the day when my grand kids ask “why did you do nothing to stop it?”

Congressional members have stated that their constituents contacting them have been against the splurge by a factor of up to hundreds to one.  Still no one came forward to make the case to the populace.  Goebbels would be proud, create a crisis and drive it home, fallout be damned, they are but sheeple.

Could not my representatives have made the case for the splurge?  Could no one be honest about the situation?  There are none that I am aware of that supported a global recession, most people are reasonable.  So why then could not a few hours have been set aside to explain this to the populace, if things were truly as dire as the economic elite claimed, surely the people would understand.  But no one made the case, why?

Because the political elite have sold us out, and they sold us out at bargain basement prices.  Welcome to the new Amerika.

The German Die Zeit had an interesting piece a week ago (translated here)–basically stating that the Chinese had us over a barrel.  They threatened to drop the dollar if we did not pay up.  The political elite have sold us out to their Chinese masters.  No wonder no one would make the case to the public, we would have risen as one and hung them.

So what happens now?  We continue our downward spiral, we put ourselves further into debt until we become a third world nation of paupers and slaves.  We continue to scapegoat the Hispanic immigrant.  Never once will we fess up.  Obama, McCain–there is no difference, they’ve both sold us out and have done so in secret.

The stock market was not going to tank.  That is an easily uncovered lie.  Paulson, Bush, Pelosi and company have been running down the economy and market, if it was going to tank, it would have–but that was never the issue.  The issue was about debt (and debt’s inverse: credit). The issue was about the Chinese financial system taking control of our economy.  The issue was about a nationless ad hoc group of economic elites seizing the reins of government.

The US government must obtain more than $20,000,000,000 in credit every month. This is just for normal operations, it is built into the budget. We are currently in debt over $10,000,000,000,000 (that is 10 trillion). Some perspective:
A million seconds is 12 days,
A billion seconds is 31 years, and
A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.

US currency is .0043 inches thick, meaning there are about 233 bills in an inch. If we had a million dollars in $1000 bills, the pile would be less than four and a half inches high. If we had a billion dollars in $1000 bills, this would be 1000 times higher or 375 feet. If we had a trillion dollars in $1000 bills, this would be yet 1000 times higher or over 71 miles.

Between the splurge and our regular borrowing habits, the US is adding about two trillion dollars to the debt this year.  Now we are surprised? They call it a crisis that no one could have predicted? Bull! This is the only outcome that could have happened. And the splurge does nothing to solve the problem, it simply puts it off a few months.

In the meantime our economic overlords simply wait…in the end they get it all.

The second revision of the US is upon us. Version 1.0 was basically 1776-1865, version 2.0 followed from 1865 to 2008, now we are at the genesis of version 3.0. What are you going to reply when future generations ask why you did nothing to stop it?

Thank You Barbara Lee

Representative Barbara Lee speaks for me–and today she voted for me…hooray for a voice of sanity in the madhouse. The Bush/Pelosi proposal should stay dead.

And stocks are tanking, but it is the fault of Bush/Pelosi/Paulson they are the ones who have been running down the economy for the past 10 days

I copied this from Lee’s Congressional website:

[Edit 10/3/08:  Barbara Lee just voted to help pass the bailout, the following is evidently just political crap.]

–start Lee’s statement–
Washington D.C.- Today Congresswoman Barbara Lee delivered the following statement on the House floor in opposition to the financial bailout bill considered today. The Congresswoman voted against the bill, which failed by a vote of 205-228.

“Thank you Madame Speaker and thank you Mr. Frank, the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, for his efforts to improve the administration’s $700 billion blank check proposal.

“As a former member of the House Financial Services Committee for eight years, I can tell you that the situation we find ourselves in is the direct result of the deregulation happy, turn a blind- eye approach of this administration and its allies in Congress.

“Now we see the horrific price of these reckless deregulation policies. More than 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs since January. People need jobs to obtain credit and to pay their rent. They need jobs to pay their mortgages or to put money in their 401k or retirement account. Millions of people are living paycheck to paycheck, if they have a paycheck.

“Home foreclosures are skyrocketing, and home values are plunging, banks are failing and we are still spending more than $10 billion every month on a war in Iraq that should never have been waged.

“So there is no question that we are confronting an economic and financial crisis.

“But I’m convinced that this bailout plan is not the solution to this mess.

“First, it does little to address the underlying problem – the foreclosure crisis. We need a moratorium on foreclosures and bankruptcy reform to help people stay in their homes.

“Second, this bill should be paid for by the high-flying industry that created this problem. $700 billion should not be given to Wall Street and the Bush Administration unless those who cause this mess pay for it. We should also prohibit the tax deductibility -and my bill the Income Equity Act (HR 3876) would do this across the board – of executive compensation in any company where the highest paid corporate officer is paid more than 25 the times the pay of a bailed-out company’s lowest-paid worker.

“And third, we need an economic stimulus package to deal with the crushing reality of the recession that is hitting people hard and growing every day.

“I cannot vote to reward those predatory and subprime lenders who are creating such havoc in the lives of millions of Americans.

“There is a better way.”
–end Lee’s statement–

Thank you Barbara Lee!!!!!!

Marcy Kaptur, On the Right Side of History


Marcy Kaptur, a US Representative from Ohio.

Transcript: Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, here is the latest reality game. Let’s play Wall Street Bailout.

Rule one: Rush the decision. Time the game to fall in the week before Congress is set to adjourn and just 6 weeks before an historic election so your opponents will be preoccupied, pressured, distracted, and in a hurry.

Rule two: Disarm the public through fear. Warn that the entire global financial system will collapse and the world will fall into another Great Depression. Control the media enough to ensure that the public will not notice this.

Bailout will indebt them for generations, taking from them trillions of dollars they earned and deserve to keep.

Rule three: Control the playing field and set the rules. Hide from the public and most of the Congress just who is arranging this deal. Communicate with the public through leaks to media insiders. Limit any open congressional hearings. Communicate with Congress via private teleconferencing calls. Heighten political anxiety by contacting each political party separately. Treat Members of Congress condescendingly, telling them that the matter is so complex that they must rely on those few insiders who really do know what’s going on.

Rule four: Divert attention and keep people confused. Manage the news cycle so Congress and the public have no time to examine who destroyed the prudent banking system that served America so well for 60 years after the financial meltdown of the 1920s.

Rule five: Always keep in mind the goal is to privatize gains to a few and socialize loss to the many. For 30 years in one financial scandal after another, Wall Street game masters have kept billions of dollars of their gain and shifted their losses to American taxpayers. Once this bailout is in place, the greed game will begin again.

But I have a counter-game. It’s called Wall Street Reckoning. Congress shouldn’t go home to campaign. It should put America’s accounts in order.

To Wall Street insiders, it says “no” on behalf of the American people. You have perpetrated the greatest financial crimes ever on this American republic. You think you can get by with it because you are extraordinarily wealthy and the largest contributors to both Presidential and congressional campaigns in both major parties, but you are about to be brought under firm control.

First, America doesn’t need to bail you out, it needs to secure the real assets and property, not your paper, that means the homes and properties of hardworking Americans who are about to lose their homes because of your mortgage greed. There should be a new job for regional Federal Reserve Banks. We want no home foreclosed if a serious work-out agreement can be put into place. And if you don’t do it, we want a notarized statement by a Federal Reserve official that they tried and failed.

Second, taxpayers should directly gain any equity benefits that may flow from this historic bailout. We want the American people to get first priority in taking ownership of the institutions that want to pass their toxic paper onto the taxpayers.

Third, before any bailouts for Wall Street, America needs major job creation to rebuild our major infrastructure. America needs assets, not paper. We need working assets.

Fourth, the time for real financial regulatory change is now, not next year. A modernized Glass Eagle Act must be put in place. We need to reestablish locally-owned community savings banks across this country and create within the Justice Department a fully funded unit to prosecute every single high-flying thief whose fraud and criminal acts created this debacle and then forced their disgorgement of assets going back 15 years.

Fifth, any refinancing must return a major share of profits to a new Social Security and Medicare lockbox, where the monies can go to pay for a dignified and assured retirement for every American. This Member isn’t voting for a penny of it. Those who created and profited from this game of games must be brought to justice. The assets they stole must be returned to the American taxpayers, right down to the tires on their Mercedes.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in cosponsoring my bill to create an independent commission to investigate these well-heeled wrongdoers. Real reform now, or nothing.

Proclaiming the “F” Word

I am starting to see that I am living in a fascist state.  Unless Obama comes out in the next 24 hours to oppose this privitization of public wealth, our Nation, come Monday morning will be a fascist one.
In contemporary usage the f word usually only means that we disagree with someone.  Through repeated usage the f word has been diluted–made synonymous with nazi–activist types often call the police or legal system the f word, kids use it against their parents for setting rules, and we all bandy it around quite freely.
This is not how I use the f word here.  Instead, I refer to it in its traditional sense:
Fascism:  “a political philosophy, it describes an authoritarian regime that exalts the state above the individual, readily resorts to military action to solve international disputes and seeks to control every aspect of the nation’s existence — political, social, religious and economic. ”

Unless GW suspends the elections, we do not yet live in a dictatorship, so perhaps neo-fascism would be the more proper term.

This whole bailout proposal is a sham.  This plan has been in the works for months, if not years.  All that was needed was a crisis–either manufactured or natural–to unveil it and ramrod it through.  Anyone who wants to debate this past Friday is labeled as wanting a depression and will, in fact, be responsible for it.  This is pure extortion.  Give us your credit card or else…no debate, no questions…only the echoing…or else.

Only a few are literate enough to understand the magnitude of the problem, not quite coincidentally they are the same ones who created the problem…and the same ones who now offer the “solution.”  And if you ask questions you are trying to cause a global recession.  What sort of Alice in Wonderland story did I wake up in?

Like many of the Bushies, Henry Paulson cut his teeth in the Nixon administration, in his case as a staff assistant at the Pentagon.  He then went to work for Goldman Sachs, where he worked himself up to CEO before being recruited by Bush to be Treasury Secretary.

Paulson could not see this crisis looming, but he can see clearly that $700 billion must be appropriated immediately.  And of course, let’s not forget…or else.

I see the entire crisis as being manufactured and magnified as a last grasp power grab by Bush & Co.

While the fascist state has been bubbling under the surface for many years, Bush has managed to bring about a complete transformation in less than 8.  Pity those, myself included, who thought he was dumb.

Who will be brave enough in the next 24 hours to challenge this?  Who has the stature to make the case to the public?  I’m placing my bets on nobody.

Edit: Holy Cow!  It seems that Polosi, Obama, and the rest of the DemoRats are prepared to sign on and turn the keys to the printing press over to the banks.  Only the House RepubliCants are standing in the way.  Obama seems to be falling all over himself to stay out of the way of this deal going through.  The signature issue of this season and I can’t tell the candidates apart.