Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fun Editing



I find myself now, in what are likely my December years, more impatient and less receptive.  I have enough experience and intelligence to recognize what is working, and will work, but not enough of either to design and manufacture, especially manufacture, new workable machinery from scratch. I am then a bellwether, but one with a sharp sense for danger, and a good salesman's gift for reading body language. 

Via Gerard I just read Michael David Cobb Bowen's essay Collapsing with the Swiftness, and then  The Peasant Principle, (so I could find out what the "slice" is).  Then I read Collapsing again.  My sense is that Cobb has the qualities I lack, but is himself about to get out of Dodge for some geek Hole-in-the-Wall.  The danger thing. My further sense is that it's all out of my hands.  I find no peace in that, but have a better understanding of the forces at work.  I excerpted below, but the full text is richer, and of course more cohesive. 


Only peasants care about America. Those who are wealthy find it merely convenient. But there is a slice somewhere in the connection between that make this place extraordinary. Long live the Slice. [...]

The Slice is smaller, much smaller than the middle class. I believe it to be smaller than the upper middle class. Indeed it is a small subset of the rich and near rich. They are the people who work because they know how and because they want to, but most importantly, they enable the institutions of power.

American exceptionalism depends uniquely on the persistence of the Slice, those capable of and desirous of maintaining a highly competent meritocracy. The rest of us are peasants.
[The Peasant Principle]

There has basically only been one idea circulating in my head over this matter of Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia, which is the speed at which collapse occurs. [...] So how many years will it take for anything to collapse? It never takes years, it only takes years of neglect bu the collapsing comes swiftly, like a thief in the night. Either you are or you are not prepared.

The only people who seem to be prepared for the future are those people who have none.
[...] like the lunatics in Egypt. Yeah, they're lunatics. They are the same lunatics that were in Iran a couple months ago. Only the people with no future are out there trying to make one just by showing up, yelling at police, throwing rocks, taking pictures, turning a car over, burning a building, dragging a dead body from the middle of the road. That seems to be all that ever happens. What would you do? I think I'd buy my guns and ammo ahead of time, get my shortwave transceiver hooked up, find some ex-military guys, get my women out of town. [...]

It always comes down to the Slice doesn't it? What level of outrage the military officers, engineers, doctors and literates can tolerate. Everybody else goes, more or less, with the flow - where the bullets are flying away from you, the electricity and painkillers to you. That's all the masses need to grant political consent. The first rule of maintaining democracy? Keep the streets clear of garbage. For that, you need people to work the infrastructure. Egypt uses pigs. Mubarak's government has been walking on stilts for years. Easy to tip over.

I'm making friends at 2600 and may go to Defcon this year. These are the people who could rebuild the internet from scratch, who might be found if they could be found, looting Fry's and building a packet radio network, resurrecting Fido and policing their IRCs with smarter bots than anybody in the FCC could possibly understand. I'm getting face-time with them because today it only costs 12 bucks to buy a pair of 4GB flash chips from Tomorrow who knows?

Right now what matters is what the Egyptian Army decides to do. What the Egyption ISPs decide to do. If they were partners with the American Systems Administration Force, they guys in the Pentagon would know the frequencies and codes on their communications systems and  recognize their voices on the air. They could be in confident contact right now, and the Commander in Chief would be in the loop. But arrangements would require the presumptions of empire, a presumption that Barack Obama would never hold.

He believes in natural law, but not that rights are the gift of the strong. And so he has faith that the lunatics in the streets everywhere will arrange themselves into the proper queues and that peace will establish itself. He's a dreamer that Obama and he and his brain dead hack Secretary of State are sleepwalking through yet another crisis, like spectators of the NFC playoffs who care more about the commercials at the Super Bowl than who wins.
[Collapsing with the Swiftness]

One "up-skirting" the Japanese

Just Another Upskirt

Another Upskirt

'Splain this Lucy.

Bite My Noodle, Preeze

Stuff That Makes Me See Led.


Certainly the most sensational story of the past week, that I have yet to mention, was "Asian-American lawmakers demand Limbaugh apology."  In making his public protest,  California state Sen. Leland Yee exposes another chink in his character, aside from being a Democrat from San Francisco - a total lack of humour.  Yee's excitement over Limbaugh's delicious parody imitation of the Chinese language [during a speech made by Chinese President Hu Jintao] has not unexpectantly unleashed wrath from the yellow journalism trade. It's a slippery slope to take seriously the ravings of the perennially aggrieved, like Yee, who would chop-chop out of the culture anything that displeases them. I'm fed-up with  all this chop suey gobbledy-gook.  Give us a blake arready.
zhiang-zemin picks

Hang On!

Russian Commie Late For Church

"i can't even do this in grand theft auto."

El Jefe

Matthews: Living Down To MSNBC Standard

The Glass House Thing
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the prospects we’re looking at as an American. We’re looking at the map of the world right now and where Egypt sits in the world. It’s so strategically located. It has, of course, the Nile River. It has, of course, the Panama Canal.
Egypt in South America?