To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. - Sun Tzu

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Socialism: 100% of your Daily Vitamins and Minerals

Every student should be given an identical opportunity for education. District-based funding is insane; each school should have a budget of $6,000 (or so) per student, regardless of geography.

Try to make social programs capitalist and we'll be a nation of Winners and Losers: Prosperous communities can fund their school districts well, paying for better teachers, better equipment, and more advanced classes; but poor communities can barely afford to keep the building standing- What do you suppose that does to grades? Rich getting richer and poor getting poorer- And conservatives, libertarians, and laissez-faire economists either don't realize this, don't care, or want to return to feudalism.

They want to privatize social security, health care, and education- things deserved by every person by virtue of their being human. Every is susceptible to economic bad luck. Every is susceptible to disease and injury. And every child deserves equal access to education.

This is not Communism but Socialism, and if you try to make these things Capitalist, anyone who is not rich will fall between the cracks. The stock market might not crash on the eve of your retirement, you might never get cancer, and you might be able to afford to send your children to a private school for $10,000/year- But there is nothing special about you that makes you immune to misfortune or blessed by providence- Just chance. You could be anyone, and just because someone has a larger number in their bank account does not mean they are more deserving of basic human needs.

Monday, February 13, 2006

So Cheney Shot a Guy

And it somehow took 18 hours for anyone to realize what was going on, in this day of "instant communication". So I read the DailyKos diary WH Press Briefing: Where to begin and WTF? by BarbinMD which analyzed Scott McClellan's comments and whatnot. Go read it and then come back.

This administration and people in it have Fucked Up many, many times. New Orleans, Iraq, Gannon/Guckert. Yet, as I read in some MSM rag in 2004, Bush is the "Teflon President"- nothing sticks to him. This is, as you should know if you've read my (few) other posts, a direct result of corporate media controllers dictating that these stories are handled in ways that will not be damaging to the administration; the "MSM filter" that protects Bush from serious criticism- not all criticism, since that would be too obvious, but from any questions that cannot be easily swatted aside.

All previous Fuckups have either been pre-planned (9/11, Iraq, Enron) or a result of conscious policy (in other words, Their Fault), but controlled so they can easily be spun into being Someone Else's Fault. Yet here we have a Fuckup that is blatant, impossible to hide, and yet actually an accident- But the practiced, reflexive Fascist Propaganda Machine still tried to deal with the situation- After all, this is the Teflon President, and no-one in this administration has ever made a mistake! They wanted to control and spin the situation, even though there was no need to.

It's not the fact that Cheney shot a guy that's a problem. That was probably an honest mistake. The problem is that the White House Spin Machine still tried to control the story. And that hints at how much practice they have.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Jesus Christ!

Jesus was either just some petty anti-Roman rebel leader, or the Zealots took some eloquent loony and trumped him up to get support. Happens all the time in this sort of situation (a proud, independent ethnic group looking for Ex Deus Machina to save them from their conquerers. see also the American-indian Ghost Dance). I mean, walking on water? healing the blind? Sounds more like common propaganda, to the point of cliche. When that 33rd generation hit, the Zealots saw an opportunity.

So, during his life, Jesus probably did no miracles whatsoever, but bitched about Rome (and, more importantly, the local Jewish pro-Roman traitors/sycophants) and got executed for treason. Common Roman policy- they probably whacked dozens of equivalent "troublemakers" a year all across the empire. But he had a following and people remembered him as being a nice guy.

A couple decades later, Zealots slyly claim he did actually do miracles (and people fully believed in divination, direct divine intervention, and real miracles back then), therefore God would be on the side of the rebellion. Rising up and Ite Domus'ing the Romanuses was their only goal, whether they would actually win wasn't in the playbook. Well, God wasn't their co-pilot (proably because he doesn't exist), and I think we all know what happened around AD 70.

So, in summation: Jesus was just some vocal anti-Roman and anti-Corruption guy who was fraudulently deified by nationalist revolutionaries decades after his death.

He may have said some things that were good (as Skeptic's Annotated Bible says, "enough to fill a pamphlet"), but he wasn't divine. Sorry, Christians, you've been getting up early on Sundays for nothing.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Adam Smith's Folly

He couldn't predict psychological advertising.

Corporations with inferior products but superior advertising will have more customers than businesses with superior products but inferior advertising.

Modern advertising is not defined by facts but by psychology. Look at a car commercial: Certainly they may talk about the gas mileage and safety ratings (while providing no context for the reliability of said safety ratings), but only interspersed between shots of the vehicle doing impossible things which you will never do.

Food commercials: Perhaps there is a variety of smiling people eating the food- Does this quantifiably and rationally argue the superiority of the food? Of course not. These commercials create the impression that you will also be smiling and happy if you eat this food.

Wal-Mart even gets to lie. They claim to "always" have the lowest prices, but this is simply not the case, as can be shown by comparing prices of products not in the sunday flyer. And of course their commercials show the warehouses as magical fun-lands full of smiling, happy people, which you can also be if you shop there.

Honest, locally-owned small businesses cannot compete with psychological advertising, which take massive ad agencies and millions of dollars. But it is by far the most effective form of advertising- That is, the ratio of customers gained to dollars spent on advertising improves explosively with psychological advertising, even though that money creates no real wealth, paying for itself by manipulation.

The solution is difficult. I would like to advocate worker ownership of factories and firms, and no company should be larger than just a few buildings. This would keep businesses too small to engage in effective, widespread psychological advertising. But for now, it is the responsibility of each individual to doubt and relentlessly question everything which is controlled by the corporations. Remember: They only want your money.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Discordian Thermodynamics

There's a difference between "Chaos" and "Entrophy": Chaos is what we call it while energy is moving from order (all energy is in potential states) to entrophy (no potential energy). Order and Entrophy are boring, because nothing's happening- Chaos, however, is interesting. That's why 73% of people are Erisian Discordians, according to the 2120 Census results.

Order -> Chaos -> Entrophy. Furthermore, trying to go the other way just speeds it up