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Monday, October 28, 2013

Steve Jobs - A Sincere and Detailed Interview

I stumbled across this video interview of Steve Jobs from 2010.  He goes into great detail about how the iPhone and iPad were developed, as well as the competition between his company and others - particularly Google, Adobe, and Microsoft.

Notice how throughout the interview Jobs mentions the 'market' and the 'marketplace'.  He eloquently boils down the free market system into the arbiters of success being the consumer.  Jobs understood that the prime authority in the free market is the consumer.  I'm paraphrasing, but he says at one point that "people vote YES when they buy our product and NO when they don't.  Hopefully enough people vote YES and we can come to work the next morning."   It is impossible to distill the marketplace better than that. 

As a worker in an insuffereable bureacracy, I was intrigued by Jobs' comment on how many committees exist at Apple - - zero.  He talks about how Apple is the "world's biggest startup" and it is run like one.  The areas of the company responsible for certain aspects and products work independently - and they meet once a week to compare notes and during those three hours they share progress metrics and ideas.  Key, trusted people have independent authority delegated to them, and they respond positively.  This was music to my ears, because my workplace, the public school system, there are committees started for everything, and nothing gets done.  The 'consumer' loses where I work.

One area where Jobs is counterintuitive to his own ideas is between the 30 minute and 42 minute mark.  He's talking about the new tools that bloggers have, and his attempted 'resurrection' of the press.  He laments the downfall of the NY Times, Washington Post and the Wall St. Journal and fears that we'll become a "nation of bloggers."  He says he feels it is important that these companies thrive and that a free press is necessary for a functional democracy.  Jobs was keenly aware of the disappearing balance sheet of these companies - he uses the terms "hard times."

What is odd in that line of reasoning is that the Mainstream Media he mentions have been tools of the Elite Establishment for roughly the past 100 years, and have tried to control thought and be the Gatekeepers of opinion for about as long.  For a man who had trip wire sensitivity to the needs of the consumer, the looming bankruptcies of the mainstream media should have been a signal to Jobs that the content was substandard, and the consumer didn't (and doesn't) want what they were offering.  The consumer is smart enough to know about what phone and apps he wants, but oddly deficient when it comes to news content.  I found this opinion of Jobs to be incongruent and the perfect example of cognitive dissonance. 

Here is the entire video - it is information rich and worth your time.  Listen to Jobs if you wish to hone your entrepreneurial skills.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

League of Denial

Jim McMahon can't remember where is.

Ricky Watters memory is slipping, causing arguments at home.

Kevin Turner, Watters lead blocker and fullback, has ALS.  He's 44 years old.

John Mackey lived his last years in an assisted living center, addled and on disability.

These stories and more like them are getting more attention because of the book and the PBS Frontline documentary "League of Denial".  Grantland wrote an honest article about what will become a problem for the NFL, if left unchecked and handled in the same 'protect the shield' mentality that has been the method thus far.   I first heard of "League of Denial" from a snippet of an interview on Mike Francesa's radio show on WFAN.  The NFL had just settled a class action suit involving scores of former NFL players for $765 million - the majority of which will go to disabled players.

The PBS special is worth watching.  The analysis of player's brains, the scientific process uncovering CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is riveting.  What's more incredible is the NFL's dogged stance of not allowing the findings through its media filters.  You will watch a clinic on leverage - the moneyed behemoth and massively powerful NFL blocking, denying, obfuscating and altering information to delay, deny and hide information that could hurt, or possibly devastate its bottom line.

One wonders if the NFL had simply, in the 1990's, paid restitution to disable players and required players to sign a "play at your own risk" contract.  It would have been a public relations nightmare - for about 6 months.  Then the sports obsessed and intellectually limited average fan (apologies to HL Mencken) would have forgotten about the whole thing and continued to spend money on the NFL product.

Instead, the NFL opted to hide and then deny scientifically sound findings, and now they have a problem.  Eventually, the NFL will be fine, as America is sports crazy and the NFL rakes in billions in profit - it is too powerful to be down too long.  There is a quote, however, that could create a bigger problem than anything else for the NFL.  In the documentary, one of the NFL officials is quoted as saying "if 10 percent of the mothers of America are against football, we're finished."  Ironically, this rings true - it is the concerned mothers of America who could do more damage to soon to be $25 billion dollar industry than anything else.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Facebook Follies - part 27

There is some debate going on about the ACA, also known as "Obamacare".  Of course Obamacare will contribute to the bankruptcy of the United States.  It won't do as much damage as Medicare or Social Security, or Bush's Medicare Part D, but it will simply speed up the train as it barrels toward the burning trestle.

Someone who sits in the 1st pew of the Church of the State took my and someone else's free market (and hence negative) views of the program as sacrilege  - he was OFFENDED.  In the below exchange you'll see how logical fallacies, logical leaps and poor attempts at obfuscation rule the day on Facebook.  Unfortunately for this person, he ran into a buzzsaw - me.

FS and I agree on the moral reprehensibility of the ACA.  NLB loves his masters, God - oops - government will heal all, and it is the beneficent overlord of the economy as well.  I used to be surprised that people thought this way, but I am naive no longer.  Take a look:

FS -  What I would like, is for the position of "hey, let's not force each other to do things" to be recognized as a legitimate human right and not be chastised as being a crazy extremist position. Especially when I am caught between two factions: one that wants to take my money and throw it TO people they do like and the other which wants to take my money and throw it AT people they don't like.

Mr. M - Mr. S you are correct, but you're going down a thoughtful path that many cannot understand as they've been addled and bamboozled. In order for healthcare to be a 'right', then you make healthcare workers slaves, as they are forced to provide their services as one has a 'right' to those services. The free market works, is has worked, but one must go back (in US history) at least 100 years to see even a facsimile of such a market. Once the AMA and the Rockefeller foundation got its claws in the medical establishment, the downward cycle began.

(side note - I was thinking of this article when I wrote this.  I will add italics to NLB's intellectually limited response)

NLB - I guess we'll all find out soon enough how monumentally the ACA destroys the good and pure market system I suspect we'll be just fine.
And Dcm, Last I checked there were plenty of major crashes pre-1900. Check your history. It's only in the highly market regulated 50s-70s that the boom-bust cycle took a break.
LOL the only country in the world where people talk like this, as though we're all goddamn mercenaries and everyone else can go f*** themselves. It's truly our national religion. "Yeah, screw the greater good." Rah rah, America. *sigh*
And yes, you are aligning yourself with a very common political position, FS, all assertions to the contrary.

MR. M - "check your history". Ok. I think I will, but only if you go through the reams of evidence that show that the business cycle is affected only by gov't intrusion. The boom / bust cycle is caused by 3rd party intrusion - it's why the French, when asked by the gov't officials 200 yrs ago said 'laissez faire' - let us be. I suggest von Mises' magnum opus, "Human Action", where he demolishes the views you seem to have adopted. Another good choice is Murray Rothbard's "America's Great Depression", where he showed that the FED and the US Treasury caused the Great Depression by the artificial expansion of credit. It's why you never hear of the Great Depression of 1921, because the federal gov't did....nothing and it was over in 18 months, and the downturn post WWI was worse than the one in 1929. Rothbard's "Man, Economy and State" is if you want the full monty, and not just an isolated American study. You can also go through Isabel Paterson's "Ghost in the Machine" - a great read, written in the WWII era when her views were unpopular. Albert J. Nock's "Our Enemy, the State" will, if you're looking for an analysis of the 17th and 18th centuries, do the job of showing you how government is the enemy of the people. For the 'happy ending' you can go through Carroll Qugley's "Tragedy and Hope" (B Clinton's mentor - mentioned by name in his DNC acceptance speech in 1992) for an insider's view of how the Big Banks have been intruding and, via the Morgans, Rockefeller's et al, taking over what was once a free economy and a free people. He wrote it after having 2 yrs of access to the papers of the CFR. Of course they broke the plates because it caused such a stir, but that's just coincidence.

It was the "check your history" comment and the "It's only in the highly market regulated 50s-70s that the boom-bust cycle took a break." comment that made me write all of that.  Telling me to check my history is one thing, but the 50's - 70's is purely odd, as 2 minutes of analysis blows it away.  Our economy now is multiple times more regulated, and we have no vestiges of a gold standard, and our boom bust cycle is out of control.  The guy makes no sense.  Notice the arrogant *sigh*, as NLB takes the pseudo high road, after making so many unfounded assumptions about freedom and the free market that his response becomes a parody.  FaceBook is usually not worth it to go bananas like that on someone, as he won't read any of those things, but there might be an enterprising person, or a critical thinker who will, and then it is worth it.  In the space below I posted this link, not for NLB, but for one of the Remnant

Monday, October 14, 2013

Right v Left = Fake

One of the first things that happens when a person wakes up from the matrix is that he realizes that the Republican v Democrat 'fight / debate' is a total fraud.  Yes, there are superficial differences but on the whole they are the same.  The differences?  The Establishment Right says that taxes should be around 32% of income, and the Establishment Left would like that rate to be closer to 40%.  Both are beholden to Big Bank and Big Corporation.  When I learned that Pres. Obama's largest corporate donor for his 2008 election campaign was Goldman Sachs, I quickly realized that everything I had been taught about the two parties was wrong - and had been wrong since about 1952, when Robert Taft was defeated in the Republican primary.

We have the same thing today.  Albert J. Nock wrote years ago that American Big Business was deathly afraid of, and did not want a free market.  They didn't want the little guy competing and possibly usurping their hold of the market.  This is why they re-named the Swope plan (Gerard Swope ran General Electric) the New Deal - a cartellization of Big Businesses with regulations keeping out competitors.

Now we have the same thing.  The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are going against Tea Party Republicans because they are against the expansion of debt and the raising of the debt ceiling.  From the Washington Post: "And the U.S. Chamber is doing research on key states where it can battle back against tea party candidates willing to use the country’s debt repayments as a bargaining chip."

You're taught that the Republican Party is an unthinking ally of the Tea Party, and they're all for Big Business and moneyed interests.  This is false - they're for government corporate subsidies and an unfree market that stifles the small business entrepreneur in a regulatory thicket that is impenetrable.  That, along with more debt, more FED inflation and cronyism, is the desired result - in other words the status quo is actually what the Republican Party wants - as does the Democrat Party.

Gary North sums it up best: "...the Chamber of Commerce has joined with the National Association of Manufacturers to pressure Congress to accept an increase in the federal debt ceiling. More than this, some businesses are now organizing for the congressional campaigns in 2014 to defeat Tea Party candidates in the Republican Party. This is the old-time Republicanism. This is the eastern Republican establishment. This is what the United States has faced with respect to the Republican Party ever since Lincoln was inaugurated. It is the party of big business. It is the party of intervention. It is the party, or was for decades, of high tariffs. It is the party of Hamiltonianism: Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Hoover, and Nixon."

I am reminded of two sayings.  One from Lew Rockwell: "It isn't Left vs Right, it's the State vs. YOU" and one from Pat Buchanan: "The major parties are two wings of the same bird of prey".

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The First Month 2013

Not My Daughter

Well, for the seventh year in a row it happened.  I work with the 9th graders - my entire schedule is made up of freshmen classes - and for the seventh year at least one mother has taken her child out of my school.  Brittany, Monae, Andina, and others - this year it's Kiara's turn.  The story is the same.  The mother, a concerned parent, actually comes to the building to take care of some business, and sees what is going on, firsthand, in the building.  Kiara's mother told me that her daughter, for the first time, was dreading coming to school.  The mother came in to take a look, and was witness to the usual complement of profanity, noise and recklessness in the hallways.  She saw unprofessionalism on some teachers' parts as well.  She was shocked to hear a person in the main offices say "F this job, this effin' job - I don't care".  She looked at the person as if to say 'hello, there is a parent here' - to no effect.

What the mother failed to realize was that when people can't be fired, and are never held accountable, they will often descend into this kind of behavior.  On the academic side, everyone is now breathing heavily over the Common Core Curriculum - the state's repackaged early 1990's plan for 'reform' and 'literacy' will save the day.  School failure, so easily seen by those on the outside, is wished away by those steering the ship.  This trend of 9th grade girls being taken out by their parents continues.  The academics are in disarray, and the toxic social environment scares away the concerned families.  To add insult to injury, Kiara was in the Honors class, and still hated coming to school.

How (not) To Start A Club

Students came to me to start a club whose purpose will be to analyze mainstream media and the insulting propaganda they spew regularly. Seems like an easy task - fill out a form and let the office know that we'll meet weekly to discuss things and do some projects.

Not where I work.  I have to have a petition with the student names.  Then the form with the names, particularly the officers of the club, and the dates we'll meet has to be filled out.  This has to then be put into a School Board Resolution and approved by the board at one of the monthly meetings.  The resolution has to be aligned to the school 'goal or goals', and signed off by the superintendent.  Then monthly reports have to be filed and sent to the principal, to be forwarded to the Board and the superintendent.

I might actually be forgetting a step.  It was a long list.  The powers that be in our district wonder why there are so few clubs and extracurricular activities - perhaps they should look at the bureaucratic farce that is the 'process'.  Too bad - I was looking forward to Friday afternoon discussions with the intellectually curious students.