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Ukraine: The Great Game, v2.0

By: raven333 Monday March 3, 2014 9:56 pm

(Cross-posted to my own blog.)

The Game

The original Great Game was the conflict between the British and Russian empires, played out in the territories of Central Asia. The new Great Game seems to be between the European Union and Russia, with the rest of the world’s great powers looking on: the USA, China, India. Fossil fuels are central.


Retirement Savings: A Note To The Help

By: raven333 Friday April 12, 2013 2:25 pm

If you think the money in your retirement accounts is safe, you’re wrong. We’ve already seen the savings of the middle class drained once. There’s no reason it can’t be done again; the same people are in charge. You may soon be living on a steadily decreasing Social Security payment.

All you upper-middle class people with your retirement savings, you think you’re so smart, you think your savings are safe, you don’t care about the little people who rely on Social Security. But the wealthy predators who run the financial system think that anyone who works for a living is fair game. Yes, that means you, Mr. Well-Paid Pundit. You hang out with these people, you think you’re one of them. No. To them you’re the help, to be made or broken at whim. You’re not a member. Never will be.

The truth of the matter is that Social Security is more, not less, secure than private savings, and if Social Security isn’t secure, your private savings are even more at risk. Fight for both, if you want to keep what you have earned.

“Just because you’re on their side doesn’t mean they’re on your side.”


[Cross-posted to my own blog.]

The Grand Bargain and the Transformation of the Democrats into a Conservative Party

By: raven333 Sunday April 7, 2013 12:34 pm

I think this is of a piece with the observation I made back in 2010; Obama “thinks that the jaw-jaw of politics is more real than the tangible results in the lives of the public.” At the time, I wrote, “it is a deeply unpopular and undemocratic way to govern.”

Read the whole thing
on my blog. Futureward, I think the following is most important:

Look to the 2020 elections. I expect the emergence of a coalition of progressives and tea party conservatives who figure out how to stand each other long enough to gather votes. Call it the Progressive Libertarian Party. This will not be the party that progressives have hoped for; it is going to contain strong anti-government elements, but it will support at some progressive policies, and it will be environmentalist.

It’s time to start thinking about this. What’s real? What can we sell to the country? Who will we be selling it to? And what will we compromise on?

Michigan: the Right to Scab

By: raven333 Saturday December 8, 2012 10:45 pm

The wires are full of stories about the new union-busting law in Michigan. There’s lots to say here: for one thing, it’s clear that this election was bought.

But there’s a story here. The consumer economy was born when Henry Ford, and others like him, decided to pay his workers enough to buy his own products. And this led, over his later objections, to the steady blue-collar union job: one which paid decently. With the passage of the Michigan laws, this all ends. Not immediately: existing union contracts stand. But soon. Used to be a Detroit auto-worker job was something to be proud of. But unless the unions find some way to fight this, they’re going to turn into one more kind of shit job, with low pay, poor benefits, and and crappy working conditions.

Congratulations, Charles and David Koch. You may finally have killed the US auto industry.

A Bad Day for Freedom

By: raven333 Friday November 30, 2012 12:18 pm

Syria shuts down internet and cell phone connectivity: (#SyriaBlackout.) BBC. Atrocities, presumably, to follow. Google and Twitter, very much to their credit, have implemented speak2tweet a voice tweet system, so some news is getting out, but the tweets seem to be mostly in Arabic. Hoping for some news organizations to start picking up the slack, here.

Reuters: Egypt constitution finalized as opposition cries foul. Morsi rammed it through. There seems no English-language translations yet, or even detailed summaries, but “The draft injects new Islamic references into Egypt’s system of government but keeps in place an article defining ‘the principles of sharia’ as the main source of legislation – the same phrase found in the previous constitution” and “activists highlighted other flaws such as worrying articles pertaining to the rights of women and freedom of speech.” Still haven’t seen a full analysis in English, though.

Software Patent Abuses

By: raven333 Monday October 8, 2012 7:25 am

Extended New York Times article on them. The law, as usual, is most favorable to the giants: Google, Microsoft, and especially Apple, which seems to have turned into a giant patent troll. It is no longer possible to start a software company with a good idea; you will will be sued out of existence.

James Kwak of the Baseline Scenario, software entrepreneur and, these days, economist:

Vlingo’s founder since decided to quit the voice recognition field—his area of scientific expertise [of 30 years!]—because of the legal landscape. I would have serious second thoughts about starting another software company today, given what I know about software patents.

Freedom of Thought and Android Phones

By: raven333 Thursday August 30, 2012 6:11 pm

Tab in hand
PARCtab, a Xerox research project from the 1990s.
Photo ©2006, Adam Greenfield.
Look in Elin Rønby Pedersen’s design portfolio
for their tablet and whiteboard.

Or, more of what open source intellectual property blogger PJ said. PJ is worth following; her blog Groklaw is at http://www.groklaw.net/.

This case represents to me just the next proprietary move to paint FOSS [Free and Open Source Software] into a corner. The intention is to tie it up with royalties and IP law restrictions that limit what it can offer so that it dies there in that corner. Steve Jobs said so, that he intended to kill Android. We need to take him at his word. That is what we are watching play out. And so there will be litigation after litigation now not just about copyright and patent infringement, but also now about the look and feel of devices. I can’t believe how stupid this has all become. But look to the law. The proprietary side is doing this because it can. No [intellectual property] law should be so harmful to the public as this. Do not be fooled by talk about the holiness of IP. We’re talking about monopoly rights here, and monopolies are supposedly only allowed for limited times, because they do harm, and only if there is a net benefit to the public. Is what is happening now benefiting the public? If not, is it Constitutional?—article

A lot is at stake here. The entire blogosphere is built on FOSS. If we lose that, we—everyone—loses the ability to act freely in the modern world in all kinds of ways.