April 5th, 2012

Godzilla, default

The curious fate of Soviet strength:

There is a fundamental paradox surrounding the events of 1989-1991. This paradox is that a regime which had some of its truest believers in the fanatics among its opponents collapsed and was revealed to have been a hollow shell and since its collapse has been discovered to have been a hollow shell for at least the decade before it finally disintegrated.
[this is a spoiler link]
The paradox, however, is this one: until 1989 the USSR was considered to be reaching a peak of power and influence relative to democracy, and it was certainly doing this from a territorial sense. It is now fully understood just how hollow a great deal of the fearmongering about the Soviet war machine of the 1950s and 1960s was. It is less well understood that in the 1970s-1980s the USSR was attempting to build a capability to wage and win a nuclear war and had at least on paper all that it required to do so.

So then we are left with the problem of why it is that all observers outside this system mistook what was in fact a hollow shell of a state that was starting to corrode and disintegrate at long last under a set of contradictions for an unstoppable juggernaut crushing everything in its path.
Collapse )

As to why this matters? In this age of a North Korea among the nuclear states and an Iran clearly angling to be one, the cautionary nature of assuming that a totalitarian state's impression of strength is actual strength should be pretty glaringly obvious. We should not assume simply because a regime has enough grapeshot to suppress opposition that this makes it somehow strong or in actual practice a threat. The reality of such claims to power rooted solely in the ability to bring force to bear is that the regimes that use them tend to be simultaneously very weak and very inflexible. We tend to make them into what they're not, and then have only ourselves to blame for underrating our own concepts and systems when they prove not to be what we had made them to be from fear and loathing. The fault lies not with the stars or with machine minds and machine hearts but instead with our own cowardice and our own gullibility.

The Scarlet Letter in the age of social media and freedom of speech

Hunter Moore's website is this week's cover story for The Village Voice

A few weeks ago, I discovered a website called Is Anyone Up by accident that had a "theme" of posting what I grew up hearing as "black-mail" photos: very intimate photos of what would be considered "awkward situations" if the photos were ever made public. And what was unusual in my mind, were E-mails sent to the owner of this website pleading with him to take down the photos. His reaction would tend to be "Well you should have never had these photos taken in the first place if you are worried." Lo and behold, this week's Village Voice has a cover article on the website, and its 26 year old creator Hunter Moore. Be warned, there is some extremely graphic language behind this cut.

[Spoiler (click to open)]

According to the Village Voice "Is Anyone Up" is a "virtual grudge slingshot of a website that gleefully publishes "revenge porn" photos—cell-phone nudes submitted by scorned exes, embittered friends, malicious hackers, and other ne'er-do-well degenerates—posted alongside each unsuspecting subject's full name, social-media profile, and city of residence. And with captions like "Kelsey is a little slut from Pittsburgh whose clit deserves some attention." For his part, Mr. Moore is absolutely unrepentant about any of the repercussions of his website:

People are probably going to want to fucking kill me after I say this. But if you are quote-unquote being cyber-bullied, you should just fucking kill yourself."

I do not want anybody to ever be hurt by my site-physically. I don't give a fuck about emotionally. Deal with it. Obviously, I'd get a ton of heat for it. But-I'm gonna sound like the most evil motherfucker-let's be real for a second: If somebody killed themselves over that? Do you know how much money I'd make? At the end of the day, I do not want anybody to hurt themselves. But if they do? Thank you for the money. The more traffic I'd have that day, I'm going to get paid for. So if someone fucking killed themselves? Do you know how much hate I'd get? All the Googling, all the redirects, all, like, the press I'd get paid for, for that day. And whatever.

Mr. Moore started the website a few years ago when a former girlfriend sent him nude photos as a 'kiss and make-up' gesture; he didn't want a reconciliation and he posted the photos on a domain he owned after his friends kept asking to see the nudes. And it took off from there: Moore went from sharing a room in a dump of an apartment in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, to making nearly 17,000 a month in website revenues.

If you think posting an under-age photo will snag Mr. Moore and get him into enough hot water legally to have the website taken down or jailed, he's got that covered too. He personally reviews every photo uploaded, and checks file information on the photograph, claiming he has law enforcement connections that allows him to check on contributors who send in submissions. If someone finds out their photo is on the website without permission, legally the only avenue of redress is under the DMCA. If you claim you are the copyright owner (the person who took the photograph), you can ask to have the content removed. Direct confrontation doesn't work either. He appeared on the Anderson Cooper show, where two women confronted him about their nude photographs being posted on his website. Clip below:

After that on air confrontation, the next day Mr. Moore REPOSTED their nude photos with the caption The Girl Who Confronted Me on the Anderson Cooper Show. You would think Mr. Moore would be scorned for his humiliating website, but not so. He has many supporters, in fact underage women Tweet him saying they can't wait to turn 18 so they can submit their own photos to his website.

This behavior is classic trolling, which has drawn him an online army of adoring defenders. Moore has 35,000 Twitter followers; his site has more than 91,000. One woman named her child after him. Three things fangirls have tweeted at him in the past week: "If you had aids, id still fuck you just to say i have aids and that i got aids from you"; "One day I'm going to have Hunter Moore tattooed on my stomach with an arrow pointing down that says 'God Was Here'"; "I wonder how many girls have tried to steal @Huntermoore used condoms." "We all want to be him," insisted Charlie Rittenhouse, a 25-year-old fanboy acquaintance from Islip, Long Island, minutes before we all climbed into the limo hailed outside Moore's Webster Hall birthday party. "We all fucking do." Internet, this is what you've created.

That last line sort of captures it all. Mr. Moore's timing for being able to do this is rather unique. Sure he could have possibly done this twenty years ago with a small magazine. But it would have had limited circulation and certainly the costs of starting it would have been daunting (and the irony is that Moore wants to see himself now as a new Hugh Hefner type of media mogul). And even had this website started in the 1990s, it wouldn't have the impact because there wasn't really a Web 2.0 with social media. And that's what makes this seem very cruel. Within a few seconds of a bitter ex sending out those revenge photos, you're within a day or two of having your life put on a very public display. I think what he does is completely disgusting and he's a classic sociopath (e.g. the way he answers direct questions in interviews). He's going to eventually screw up, and will be shut down over legal issues. If you want to hear him on friendlier ground you can listen to an interview.

Gawker article "Creator of Sleazy Revenge Porn Site Wouldn’t Care If Someone Killed Themselves Because of It"

Village Voice "Hunter Moore Makes a Living Screwing You."

click for link

uestion for the conservative group. Are some of us just too much a drag on the healthcare system, and 'culling the herd'  the solution to survival of our prescious health care private pay system? Is this a perfect example of 'the poor being coddled' or perhaps 'medicare fraud' because, yo, this lazy poor person DOES have legs, why does he need a government-regulated-for-safety-standards wheel chair? Where's mine???

When you drone on about doing away with "ObamaCare" and the horrors of "mandates robbing people of their will to work", do kids like Timmie here constitute criminals as well because they want to sing in the choir too? They certainty can't pay taxes! What a bum! Bet he is an Occupier! You may think "looking at him makes me uncomfortable, therefore he is a liberal and should be forced to work for his healthcare, or, do without".

This 'attitude' I have heard over the decades from GOP voters is why I will not vote GOP, nor proclaim myself 'conservative'.

Today the word Conservative is the new Liberal. 



They Took Our Jerbs!!

Not Hiring

I belong to the generation of workers who, born in the villages and hamlets of rural Poland, had the opportunity to acquire education and find employment in industry, becoming in the course conscious of their rights and importance in society. - Lech Walesa

In the theater of the American mind, the word immigration evokes the following script:

We open the scene with indigent immigrants crossing the border or being brought across the border illegally from Mexico. We visualize people that earn money in the US and then ship it to their underprivileged families in economically depressed countries. We curse the people that displace Americans in construction, the service worker industries, manufacturing jobs and agriculture. After all, these are hardworking blue collar Americans that are trying to provide for their families themselves. We become irritated that they are draining public resources that should be reserved for our nation’s citizens.

Notwithstanding this clichéd scenario, there is something much more disreputable going on here. Despite our ranting regarding our unskilled labor force being displaced, the professional workforce is being compromised legally in this country in the same manner. Not only are we bringing in offshore professionals at wages well below their qualifications, these immigrants are leveraging their temporary visas to export jobs and industries overseas.

[Jennifer's Story]

Meet Jennifer Wedel, the woman featured in the Google+ Hangout video conference with President Obama. She followed up on President Obama’s offer to take her husband’s résumé and try to find him a job. I have since talked to her online and apparently that wasn’t her point. Although her husband is actively and aggressively pursuing corporate employment in Texas, Jennifer is fighting for his cause by taking a critical view of government work visa policies in the US. Jennifer runs a support web site for the middle class unemployed as well.

These work visas for professionals come in two flavors. The H1-B visa is by invitation only. It allows immigrants to work in the United States provided they are sponsored by a company. The company has to illustrate that it is not viable to hire an American for the position due to insufficient qualified candidates. The L-1 visa requires that a candidate work for an American company, in a subsidiary in their home country, for a year before they can be transferred to the United States within that company for up to 3 years on the visa. These can provide a path to a green card in the US. L-1 visas were designed to be granted due to the same shortage of skilled Americans as the H1-B.

This has led to a series of abusive collaborations with foreign interests by American companies to water down immigration restrictions and hijack American jobs. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has tried to combat these abuses by tightening restrictions, but is fighting an uphill battle. Despite the influx of offshore candidates flooding waning American jobs and the economy, there has not been any reduction in the cap for H1-B visas. Incoming H1-B visas are capped at 80,000; but F-1 student visas in demand fields can be converted to H1-B visas upon graduation thus bypassing the legal cap. To get around these restrictions, corporate America is turning to the L-1 visas to funnel lower wage professionals into America. There is no cap on L-1 visas. These offshore people then take the experience gained back home to export more of America’s industry and wealth offshore.

American companies are citing reports that say American workers are paid less than visa workers. However the reports skew the USCIS numbers by using artificial age and education level projections to justify their numbers. As a result, American companies are lobbying the US government heavily on behalf of foreign concerns to allow foreign dumping; exploiting H1-B and L-1 visas using the hackneyed excuse that the government is smothering innovation. Apparently, these companies believe Americans are incapable of the innovation they seek. Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) have been pursuing a bipartisan effort to reform the H1-B cap and the uncapped L-1 visa that is being favored to export American jobs. The L-1 visa is particularly nefarious because it favors outsourcing firms that provide porous access to American jobs and industries from offshore body shops. Jennifer is working with these senators to curb the foreign dumping that is going on in our most competitive technical industries.

This is not, at all, about getting the most qualified people into positions that are difficult to fill by Americans. It doesn’t take a postgraduate degree to write C++ or Java code; or any other substantially technical position. This is about siphoning America’s equity to other countries by discounting professional services through an offshore employment black market. A foreign productivity base is counterproductive to a thriving domestic economy. Apparently America is the only industrialized country that hasn’t gotten this message.


(no subject)

Even the NY Post, that height of reporting and honesty, now seems to be recognizing the NY needs a higher minimum wage.


The bottom line:

New Yorkers by 78-20 percent backing an unspecified increase from the $7.25 per hour rate, found even Republicans favoring a hike by 53-43 percent. Independent voters were supportive by 76-21 percent and Democrats by 91-7.

And if you're unaware, the NY Post is a fucking trash paper; it's owned by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp and iirc, is written at an 8th grade reading level. The NYT and other reputable NY new sources have been trumpeting this for awhile--but, I'm sure we all know that the NYT is just a part of the vast left-wing media conspiracy. So if even the NY Post is putting this out there, it seems like it has support across political lines.

So here's my question for all you free-market types:
If the people want this (as polls indicate) which do you put first--the will of the people, or your sacred cow of free-market principles? Let's say, hypothetically, you were the Gov of NY. If the assembly and senate passed a bill, would you veto it? Or would you respond to the will of the people?

Democracy or libertarian economic policy?

If you're not a free market believer, I trust you agree NY needs a min wage increase. If not, love to hear why.