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Russell Brand at the Cambridge Union: “Make It Sexy”

3:04 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

You may have heard of Russell Brand, the comedian and ex-drug addict turned political – I would also say spiritual – activist. This is an interview hed did recently at the Cambridge Union in England. From the YouTube description:

Russell Brand at the Cambridge Union, in conversation with Leo Kirby, Lent 2014 Speakers’ Officer. Maverick actor, comedian, author and burgeoning political activist, Russell Brand is a cultural phenomenon with a phoenix-like ability to rise from the ashes of his own self-destruction.

A former heroin addict, Russell has given evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on drug addiction and is now fronting Comic Relief’s Give It Up Campaign. Russell encourages abstaining from voting and holds ‘not a flicker of doubt’ that a revolution is coming.

It’s little over an hour, about 35 min followed by a question and answer portion.

Now I need to say that I do agree with nearly all he says but the one thing that really caught my attention, about half way through, was the answer he gave to the question, “How do you think we can persuade most people to join” in change, his response is “make it sexy.” And I truly believe this is the one thing that the left and progressives have unfortunately ignored. The one thing that Madison Ave. has known from the get go. There is not one thing I have seen from cigarettes to manufacturing equipment that has not used sex — either explicitly or implicitly — to sell. Why? Because it works!

You want the system changed, Medicare for all, economic equality, green energy? Find a way to make it sexy. Make it sexy to everyone. Masculine and sexy. Feminine and sexy. Make it look like George Hamilton and Marilyn Monroe. Make it fun.

One of the biggest errors that has been made so far is the stern, serious, almost morose way these ideas have been presented. No wonder they are slow to catch on. Think about it, few people want to go to a funeral but most wakes are packed.

Industrial America Went the Way of the Dinosaur and For The Same Reasons

1:38 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Packard Plant – flickr creative commons

WWII built or rebuilt industrial America. Big plants and factories were needed to manufacture the essentials of war. Aircraft and tanks and ships and guns and electronics and vehicles of all sorts. After the war with the help of government contracts and consumer demand, these big plants and factories still hummed with activity.

Steel plants turned out the steel that was needed for nearly everything. Cars and trucks and buses and even radios and television sets and stereos and washers and dryers. They all used steel and the steel plants hummed with activity day and night. Employing thousands, if not millions of people for nearly every aspect of manufacturing required people to perform some task. Someone to operate the lifts and belts and mills for the automobile engines and transmissions. Someone to wire chassis or assemblies for the electronics. Even when RCA introduced the printed circuit, someone had to make the circuit boards and somebody else to put the parts on them and still somebody else to put the boards on and off the flow solder apparatus.

And there were engineers and draftsmen and technicians to design all of this by hand.

Meanwhile the Europeans and Japanese and Koreans and all were rebuilding from the ravages of war. Building new smaller, more efficient plants. Using the newest technology. Beginning to use transistors in their products. Learning how best to manufacture them and improve on them. Using new techniques to  assemble transistor radios. Make the printed circuit boards. Changing and modifying them year after year to improve them and make them more reliable. For they knew they had to do this if they wanted any chance to compete with American products.

Most Americans lived pretty well. Even blue collar workers, thanks to the unions and the fact that there were more jobs than people. But this would not last.

While American auto makers ere building big cars for the baby boomer families with a lot of children, Volkswagen began importing cars built for the baby boomer children themselves. Small, inexpensive, thrifty and easy to work on. Soon other European manufacturers did as well. And then the Japanese.

And the American manufacturing firms like RCA, GE and Raytheon were using the same techniques to make transistors as they did vacuum tubes — each one perfectly functional. The Japanese were busy trying to build them hundreds at a time. At first the fall out rate was high, but with analysis of the fall out and why, changing the technique and going back again, the fall out rate dropped. As did the cost per item. Making Japanese transistors, and then integrated circuits much less expensive than American counter parts. The American companies began shipping their transistor manufacturing overseas to the updated, more efficient Japanese plants or got out of the business all together.

European manufactures had much smaller plants and their business model very different than American manufacturing, producing smaller quantities of more expensive  cars and electronics targeted not to the lower class consumer, but to those who could afford it.  Or to those who wanted smaller, more sporty cars that could handle the European roads.

Japanese cars and electronics began to show up. Smaller and better made, though not so much at first. It wasn’t long before they out sold American products.

It was not just the price and performance though that did in American industry but capitalism and the size of industry itself that helped to bring about it’s demise. American industry with it’s huge plants became like the dinosaur of long past. Just too large to change fast enough to catch up. For RCA to compete with the new Sony sets would have meant a complete restructuring of the manufacturing process and even rebuilding of a number of it’s facilities.  Costing millions of dollars and digging into it’s profits, a situation the capitalistic investors would not tolerate. All they cared about was a return on their investment.  A situation that was to hit a number of car companies as well. And this can be seen in this picture of the old Packard Plant in Detroit.

American Motors and RCA went out of business or were broken up and sold off. Like the dinosaur, their shear size and weight condemning them to eventual extinction.

Electronics firms began to ship their production to over seas facilities more equipped to handle the emerging technology of the time.  Lest the capitalists force them to shut.

Others simply closed up shop.

Maybe, just maybe, had some of these business been cooperatively owned and cooperatively run without the hindrance and financial demands of capitalistic investors, they might have been able to change, adapt, evolve and survive. We will never know.

The Fate of Capitalism

5:41 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Robotic Sandia Hand – flickr

Came across is little item in Raw Story. One of may that have popped up in the last year or so. Even Paul Krugman has mentioned this, as has Robert Reich. That at the rate technology is progressing, there will be few items that requiter people – humans – to do. That Robotics and technology is replacing people in many sectors and it is increasing. And I think that this article understates the situation.

I personally can come up with ways to replace fast food workers with robotics and automation, and I am certainly no genius at robotics.  We already have robotic surgery or robot assisted surgery.

Our food uses automation in nearly every step. When I shop, I quite often use the self check-out and even this and stocking could more – if not entirely – automated. In fact most big box stores could be nearly entirely automated. As could automobile factories. One commenter posted about dark factories and more and more of this is going to happen. Not less.

We go to the store to buy food, but at least two people who post and comment here live entirely off of food thrown away. We have the ability now to build custom houses, apartments and other buildings using automation and the transported to the site, assembled and within a week, inhabited. With all the plumbing, electrical and data wiring done as the sections are being built. Instead of dozens of highly skilled carpenters needed on site, only a few and a crane operator. And even with that, we have thousands of homes sitting empty.

With solar and wind power and new organic batteries to store the energy, electric companies are not really necessary.  Electric companies that already need fewer and fewer people to run.

Even the military apparatus is getting the robotic treatment for arms manufacture to the actual fighting.

Yet with fewer and fewer people needed, our population keeps growing.

The whole point of this diary is NOT top make any more direr predictions, but to point out one little fact.

That with all this going on. The vast majority of people in this country still have not really absorbed it. The vast majority of people in this country still cannot get their heads around it. They are still thinking and seeing a world where hundreds or thousands of people were needed to design and build a color television set that is not even as complex or versatile as your cell phone.  A cell phone where the workers simply put the boards in a plastic case, hook up a few wires and put into a box. And even THAT can be easily automated these days.

That capitalism is not only responsible for that which I covered in my previous diary, but capitalism it self is becoming – if it not already has – unnecessary and obsolete.

We either replace it and put our energies to better use or  face a like upheaval that may return humanity to the neolithic.

Capitalism 201: Applied Capitalism

6:19 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

We have heard and read a great deal about capitalism form some very astute people such as Professor Richard Wolff and read numerous articles about and Marx and Marxist theory on-line and from many books.

Alaric entering Athens – flickr

I refer to them as theoretical capitalism.

This I will call applied capitalism. As it it has been and is currently applied in most countries and on the streets.

Capitalism Plunders

This has been the case from the very first. It plunders land, resources and people. Forget the propaganda that you have been told about hard work and enterprise and all. Capitalists take what they want, if necessary by force. This country was plundered from the first. Of land and animals and resources. From the natives. Africa was plundered and it’s people were brought here and there labor was plundered.

When people like Krugman and Reich talk about “growth,” what they mean is resources and people to plunder. The financial sector and the military industrial sector is all about plundering. JP Morgan working in collusion with Bernie Madoff is a perfect example of this. As well as the various wars and military bases.

Capitalism Exploits

It exploits the resources and land and especially people. Capitalism will take undo advantage of any person, place or thing. From Wall Street right down to the corner Quicky Mart. Capitalists are known for manipulating stocks, and currencies and commodities to take advantage of the situation. This is especially true of peoples emotional and mental state. This was proven evident with the market crash of 1929 which was at least in part do to manipulations of a certain group of investors who played upon those who would panic when a stock would go down, by the stock selling short.

But it does not end there. The whole point of the corner used car lot and the all night Quicky Mart is to take advantage of people who are wanting or even desperate for their products and services. Charging as much as they can get way with for them, often for products and services of questionable value and use.

Even the medical profession is known for this. Using scare tactics and people’s fear to manipulate them to have tests and procedures done, working in consort with the pharmaceutical industry to peddle their wares and the insurance industry who uses your fear of financial ruin. Threats and intimidation are honed in all of these.

What is euphemistically referred to a Pay Day Loans are really another way to exploit those on the edge via legalized loan sharking. The funeral industry makes nearly all it’s money from exploiting peoples emotional and mental states after a loved ones death, as does the legal profession.

There is in fact not a single situation or capitalist enterprise that does not exploit a person’s emotional or mental state. Madison Avenue has it down to a science. Colleges give degrees in this as well.

Capitalism Oppresses and Deceives

Capitalism  has always needed some group to oppress and subjugate. Politically and socially and economically. Natives and Blacks and Women and Italians and Irish have all been used in this manner. Using military and police forces to make sure they have little recourse. Stymieing their ability to have any voice or even any kind of a decent life. So to make it easier to exploit them  and their labor. Labeling them as inferior in some way or always suspect. Blacks are still the group of choice in this country for this but can be replace with another group if necessary. Using the so called justice system to incarcerate them so as to provide cheap or free labor for tasks that capitalist will not perform. Even helping to plunder other people. Nearly all of politics is geared toward this. It is also required that these groups be easily identifiable by their appearance as well as their behavior, so the can be more easily rounded up when necessary, or disposed of.

It also deceives and lies and misleads. So as to increasing the capitalists chances of exploitation and plundering.

I hope with this added insight into the workings of capitalism, the reader can become better able to avoid it’s many pitfalls and landmines.

Growing up white in America

9:47 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

My typical middle class family

I spent my first 14 years in a totally white part of North Eastern Ohio. Geauga county. Named after the Geauga Indians that lived there until European diseases wiped them out. Along with other tribes. Went to school from kindergarten trough part of 8th grade in a big brick school built during WPA. It is where I had my first life lesson.

There was a kid who rode the same bus as I did in first grade — Mack Wilder — who would tease and bully me no end. Including grabbing my lunch box when we got off the bus and trowing it on the ground, knowing my thermos would brake. Half way through the year my family moved to a new house that my parents had built and my bus and rout changed.  So no more Mack Wilder. I still hated him though. But he was no where to be seen the next year. I eventually asked another kid what happened to him and was told that he and his mother left and moved to Cleveland to live with her sister. That his father drank a lot would would beat them both constantly.  My anger toward him just deflated, right then and there. I actually began to feel sorry for the kid – the same kid the bullied me.

We had Amish kids in class but that was all. Everyone came from more or less middle class families. A lot of them lived on farms. Some actually worked the farm, others just lived on one and used the barns and other buildings as giant play houses. My aunt and uncle and grandmother on my father’s side, along with my cousins, lived on the west side of Cleveland. Between Clark and Dennison Av. A very white blue collar area.

I was aware of different ethnic groups but mostly from their caricatures on television but I was more aware  there were kids whose last names I could not pronounce. [Not that mine was all that easy. I only became able to spell it correctly by the time I was in 4th grad.]  And I was in Jr. High before I knew my father was of Finnish decent. He never thought of himself as anything other that American since he was born here, in Pittsburgh Pa. I was aware of Black people but had never meat any. Even in Cleveland as they did not go downtown then or ride or drive the buses. But I knew of the situations down south from the television and radio news, which my parents watched religiously. I knew of president Kennedy sending troupes to Alabama, though I don’t think I really understood why or why the people there had such a reaction.

Which brings me to life lesson number two. In 1963 – when I was 14 — my father decide to move us all down to Florida. We wen initially down through Western part of Virginia then the eastern side of North Carolina and Georgia and stopped in Port Charlotte on the West Coast. At that time Port Charlotte was a Golf and Water Front community just the other side of Peace River lagoon from Punta Gorda. Both white as the driven snow. And nearly everyone there — especially in Port Charlotte — was a white upper middle class northern transplant. [I would find out later this was typical of most communities on the west and east coasts of Florida.]

It’s also where I came smack up against bigotry and racism. Not the in-your-face kind that was presented on the news from Alabama and Mississippi or North and South Carolina. No this was the dog whistle kind,  though the term was not used then. The under-your-breath kind. Terms like “Those People” and “Not our kind” and “They.” I had a friend there in the Jr. High and we would hang out at the bus stop waiting for the bus after school. When president Kennedy was shot I — and most all others — was in a state of shock. They even brought a TV int our class room to watch. Pretty unusual for that time period. I saw my “friend” at the bus area but he was not who I imagined he was. He was jumping up and down and singing “Kennedy is dead. Shot in the head. Kennedy is dead. Shot in the head.” There was a set of monkey bars there and I told him if he did not shut the hell up, I would wrap him around those monkey bars permanently. Our friendship came to and end that day. You see I knew with out having to ask or even guess much why he was happy.

I knew… You see both my parents were vehemently anti-racist. My mother having had a set to with here father over a Jewish boy she had a crush on and my father about his sister and mother’s attitudes. Though I had never been exposed to racism, it was explained and pointed out in great detail.

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What is it with rich white people?

8:30 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Gated Community – flickr creative commons

I just read this story about a woman from a well off background who was having major financial problems. About to lose her house and shot her teen age son and daughter then killed herself. What is weird is NOT that this happened, but that is seems to be happening over and over again. And in nearly every case it’s about some upper crust white who is about to lose their house, job and/or relationship.

And nearly every time I read about some school or mall or other killing, the person doing the killing is from an upper crust white family and area.

Now there is this item on Bill Moyers site about how wealthy people favor punitive and harsh Punishment for criminals and even school children. Interestingly the study sited also point out that they by and large feel entitled to what they have.

Holland: I’m always struck by how different scholars working with different methodologies find complementary results. Your colleague, Paul Piff, found that the wealthy tend to be more likely to have a sense of entitlement than average people. He also found that they were more likely to exhibit narcissistic traits. These all seem to be perfectly complementary.

Keltner: Yeah, Paul Piff’s findings and Michael Kraus’s earlier findings — and studies by Hazel Markus, and Nicole Stephens at Stanford — are all consistent. We take great heart when different scientific approaches converge on a notion or an idea, and this is all converging on this idea that there’s something about wealth and privilege that makes people perhaps a little too self-focused. And they lose sight of the great breaks they get in life, thinking, as you said, that if you’re born on third it’s because you hit a triple.

Could this also be why they seem more likely to flip out when this entitlement is likely to be lost ? That they also feel entitled to ownership of even other people? Or that the cops from those areas are far more likely to engage in abuse and even murder and get off for it.

One study shows that the rich have far less compassion than those in the lower economic classes.

One has to wonder about their values and moral compass. Or do they even have any …

It’s Electric!

6:54 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Electric Substation – flickr creative commons

Nearly everything now in our home and businesses and health care facilities and just about everything, even if you have gas to cook and heat, uses electricity. So when I came across this article in Foreign Policy online, it gave me pause to say the least.   That unknown some small group performed a “Military Style Raid”on an electric substation.

Around 1:00 AM on April 16, at least one individual (possibly two) entered two different manholes at the PG&E Metcalf power substation, southeast of San Jose, and cut fiber cables in the area around the substation. That knocked out some local 911 services, landline service to the substation, and cell phone service in the area, a senior U.S. intelligence official told Foreign Policy. The intruder(s) then fired more than 100 rounds from what two officials described as a high-powered rifle at several transformers in the facility. Ten transformers were damaged in one area of the facility, and three transformer banks — or groups of transformers — were hit in another, according to a PG&E spokesman.

Think about this for a moment. A couple of people were able to disable an electric substation and it will take a couple of months to bring it back online. No cyber attacks. No fancy gadgets or explosives. Just some big rifles and knowing what to hit and when.

I would say most here remember the black outs that hit the North East in 1965 and the one in 2003 as well as the NYC blackout of 1977. All of which took very little to bring about. Now can you imagine what would happen if a determined group were to hit strategic points at the same time?

Most of these are not guarded at all and apparently close access is not required. I know in Florida that most are out in the open. Even the major ones.

If anyone wanted to bring this country to a halt, they could.  And NSA spying on ones emails would not stop them.

Thar’s Gold in them thar hills …

4:06 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

As I sit here waiting on a fairly long freight train nearby a RR crossing, with box cars and tank cars and coal or ore cars – I am thinking about how pursuing and using all these resources are decimating our planet, how we are going to need another planet for us and to use before long, even if we get our act together ecologically.

I was in a discussion with my brother concerning his need to put his masters degree in astro-physics on hold for an undermentioned amount of time for financial reasons.  I allowed as how the pursuit of such a course of study was much easier when the country IE Washington and Wall Street were all aflutter on beating the Soviets to space. And once the Soviets stopped being a concern space-wise or any otherwise, this money and motivation instantly vanished.

In the communication he gave me an interesting link. He also reminded me that the Chinese have a fully functioning rover on the moon now. You can bet your life that a moon landing is not far off and rest assured that the Chinese missions will not be just a There and Back Again thing. Their presence will be an extended one and with a purpose.  And I need not wonder if their reasoning could be similar to the link I gave above. An effort to explore with intent to mine asteroids and such.

At Planetary Resources, our mission is to prospect and mine asteroids to address one of the paramount problems faced on Earth and beyond: resource scarcity.  We are laser focused on developing the tools to grow the economy beyond Earth: radiation tolerant embedded systems, deep space communications and remote sensing capabilities, autonomous navigation, and integrated propulsion on the smallest, most cost-effective platforms possible.  With our first launch scheduled for next year, our work towards asteroid mining is in-progress.

I have to admit when I first heard of this awhile back, I was skeptical and thought it a bit silly. But now that I think about it just makes sense from a long term, as well as a short term, point of view. For all sorts of reasons, from resource depletion to ecological, humanity has to get serious about space exploration with the intent to colonize. To do this will require immense resources and new technology which is only really available in space. Technologies to the propulsion of craft capable of interstellar travel that can only really be developed in space, using materials that may not be available on earth in sufficient quantities and/or processed here on earth but could easily be processed in space.

Space has a number of advantages from an engineering point of view. No gravity to deal with. An immense thermal well for heat and cold. Physical and sound pollution is no longer a problem  I remember even reading somewhere where the mining and processing of material on the planet Mercury was considered. The solar side is hot enough to smelt anything and the dark side cold enough to well …you get the picture. And the propulsion systems needed can only really be developed and tested  in space without the possibility of destroying vast areas of countryside if and when they initially fail.

There is plenty of historical precedent for it as well. After all, North America was discovered and populated essentially for resources that Europe wanted. And this brings me to another point. Since we are unlikely to eliminate or even change the attitudes of these rich sociopathic SOBs who make everybody’s life hell – genocide being frowned upon and such – what we need to do is convince them there is money to be made out there, just like the early explorers did with the new world. By investing in space mining and exploration, they can get rich, rich, rich.  Meanwhile all kinds of other possibilities become available since space miners and their employers need the same things they do here. Food, sex, entertainment ….

We are not going to rid ourselves of them so why not put them to good use.

A Difference that makes no Difference ..

9:23 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Flickr creative commons

I have been reading Andrew Levine’s “Do Elections Make Any Difference?” in Counterpunch.  He takes a good deal of his premise from Arthur Schlesinger Jr’s Kennedy or Nixon: Does It Make Any Difference?, whether or not voting for Kennedy or Nixon in 1960  would make any difference. A book that tried to make the proposition that Kennedy needed to win for a myriad of reasons, some valid – so not so much.

Going from there to the Reagan years and how the as the republicans have gone off the the scale to right, the democrats have never been that far behind.

Evangelicals who lived in the South were Democrats and so were Catholics in immigrant communities in the Northeast and the upper Midwest.  Most of the former would become Republicans once blacks got the vote, and many of the latter would become Reagan Democrats.  At the time, though, these constituencies still voted in accord with their economic interests, and there were many New Dealers within them.

However, it is plain in retrospect that the seeds of conflict between economic and social liberals were already in place.  That conflict would erupt full-blown in the Reagan years; it has blighted our politics ever since.

Indeed racism and bigotry was always front and center in the north, though not as in your face belligerent.  However one must take into account the history of slavery in this country and how it has always played a very large part in our political and social and economic make up. The plantation system that existed in this country was based entirely on White Male superiority. And attacking slavery was also attacking White Male superiority.

Not only that, those who owned plantations and to an extent those who were just underneath, did not have to do any physical work what so ever. Slaves did it all ! For over 200 years this had been the normal way for southern elites to be elites. I would say even more so than the northern bankers and merchants. Like Wall Street today, slave owners dominated American politics. A little know fact is that is that Slavery was a major bone of contention between the Colonies and England. Not only that but the British and French and Spanish would teach their slaves to read and write and speak proper English, French or Spanish. Where in, in the colonies is forbidden to teach slaves.

One of the first protests against the enslavement of Africans came from German and Dutch Quakers in Pennsylvania in 1688. One of the most significant milestones in the campaign to abolish slavery throughout the world occurred in England in 1772, with British judge Lord Mansfield, whose opinion in Somersett’s Case was widely taken to have held that slavery was illegal in England. This judgement also laid down the principle that slavery contracted in other jurisdictions (such as the American colonies) could not be enforced in England.[206] In 1777, Vermont became the first portion of what would become the United States to abolish slavery (at the time Vermont was an independent nation). In 1794, under the Jacobins, Revolutionary France abolished slavery.[2Wikipedia

This White Male superiority also lead to a belief of White Male entitlement, that they expect and deserve to be treated differently, that they are entitled to their wealth and possessions. So it should come as not surprise that the unions, socialism and communism that was taking over the northern cities in the 1920s and 1930 was almost entirely absent in the south. Some of the strongest anti-communists came from the south. For all of this ran counter to the southern White Male plantation attitude that predominated the south. As it looked to them the same as the reconstruction era instigated by the republican dominated north of the time.

The south lay in ruins for decades. Farms, plantations and factories were destroyed. The economy was in depression. On top of that blacks in the south under radical reconstruction were given land and special treatment in government. Given this, the southern White Male hated, despised and – in more than a few cases – could not stand the sight of a black man. The southern Evangelical church, being the main meeting place for people, was instrumental in  helping to maintain this attitude. And the republican party for a very long time represented an anti-south IE anti-White Male supremacy.

It is hard to believe nowadays but, on social issues, Republicans in 1960 were no worse than Democrats.  With the South already shaky and with their Catholic working class base, Democrats knew they had to watch their step.   Republican liberals and “moderates” felt less constrained.

Their base, in those days, was generally more enlightened and better educated than their rival’s.  Some of their constituents, women especially, were favorably disposed towards women’s equality, birth control, and even abortion rights.  On civil rights, Republicans were generally decent too, though they were seldom ardent; it was not in their nature.

But these republicans were mostly northern republicans and remnants of progressive wing of Teddy Roosevelt.  Just listen to a speech my Wendell Willkie some time. Such a person would never even make it into the democratic party these days.

The democratic party was always pro business and even at the outbreak of the civil war a number of democratic areas up north wished to align themselves with the south. The republicans, having ousted Teddy Roosevelt and his progressives and now embracing business, were ripe to be taken over completely by Wall Street after FDR and his New Deal – which many despised.  With southern blacks now in the democratic camp thanks to FDR, another thorn in the side of the south. Then LBJ signed the civil rights acts, giving southern blacks the vote. The south went solidly republican.

Nowadays, social liberals are all Democrats; in the Republican Party, the species has gone extinct.  However, on the traditional axes of political contestation, both parties have moved far to the right, and there is hardly a sliver of light between them.

They are both dedicated to free market theology; they both worship at the altar of private property.  In a word, they are on the same side in the class struggle.

All centering around White Male superiority as one can see. The current republican party despises non-whites and the democrats just like their voting block.

That the two parties were on the same page was even clearer in the days when Schlesinger was drumming up support for his Prince.  Then, more than now, it was conceded by all that a substantial degree of regulation was a good thing – not just for the general population, but for (most) capitalists too.   FDR had triumphed over Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

However views that appeal to economic elites seldom disappear, no matter how thoroughly they are repudiated; at most, they live on underground until conditions are right for them to burst forth again.  Our Reaganite Presidents and our bought and paid for legislators have made the conditions right.  Accordingly, in this on-going Bush-Obama era, the repressed has returned with a vengeance.

Driven by ideology or greed or both, capitalism’s class warriors made useful idiots of the GOP’s lunatic fringe.  It worked for a while, but the monster they concocted may by now be beyond their control.

The GOP’s lunatic fringe as he says, is made up us frustrated white males and White Male superiority plays so well into the slave holder mentality of the past as well as the anti-union sentiments past and present. And their Evangelical Christian rhetoric is just the same old segregationist dressed up in religious garb.   With a FOX news host insisting that both Santa and Jesus were white. You really cannot separate economic, religious and racial bigotry. They are all intertwined. They are all part of White Male supremacy. Which both parties embrace.

Both parties love servitude. The difference – if one can call it that – is in how they treat their slaves.


The Industrial Revolution is Over

10:38 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Industry Decay – flickr creative commons

Wikipedia defines the industrial revolution as such:

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, the increasing use of steam power and the development of machine tools. It also included the change from wood and other bio-fuels to coal. It began in Britain and within a few decades had spread to Western Europe and the United States.

I would say that the Industrial Revolution actually hit is peek around the 1960s when factories employed hundreds of thousands of workers to manufacture everything from air conditioners to watches. No matter what it was, people were required to put it together. This promotional video produced by RCA in 1959 shows what was involved in making color televisions during the 1950s in a New Jersey plant. All of this was done by hand. Computers were still big, slow and very, very expensive. In fact Motorola and Zenith both used point to point wiring even in their solid state color sets up through the mid 1970s.

Not just electronics but cars and furniture and clothes and toys. As the Japanese and automation and computer controlled manufacturing took over, these plants got shut down. People were needed less and less to build more and more complex things. CNC and computer aided design enabled engineers to design and build prototypes almost in a day. Printed circuit board designs shipped out to “board houses” and the boards shipped back. Pick and place machines instead of people assembled the boards, computers tested them and computer controlled machines installed the boards into plastic cases that were also manufactured by machines.

From the Hollerith cards used to run the mills of old to computer designed fabrics that can be what ever design or color you wanted. CNC run milling and routers for furniture. Laser cutting of fabrics and on an on. The workers involved need not be as highly trained, for their tasks no longer required it. Push button progress.

The big assembly lines of old gave way to packing centers. One of two people could turn out more products now than the plant managers in the RCA video could ever hope for in their day. And have the ability do to it even more reliably. In a way we have come full circle. Home 3D printers and CNC operated routers and mills are becoming more and more common place. The ability to design and build you own printed circuit boards has been around for nearly 40 years now and is even easier now than 10 years ago. You can design you own multi-sided circuit board, send the design off through the Internet to a board house where they will make the board for you and even put the parts on it, if you wish.

It was only natural that RCA and GE who were increasingly sending their products to Japan and Taiwan to be produced would wind up out of business as Taiwanese and Japanese companies produced items there to compete.

The need for big plants to manufacture everything has shrunk considerably and is shrinking still. The industrial revolution that made the desk top computer possible is coming to an end, as the PC is now making the manufacturing plant an anachronism.

We are in a way coming back to the world that was replaced in the late 18th century where now a few people can build what they need in their garage or small shop. Where big plants are only really needed for big articles like planes and trucks and cars and ships, for which there is not a big call for. Certainly not something one would buy at Target or Amazon.

The question now is, what do we do now?  What do we do with the Chester Rileys in a George Jetson world?