18
Jul 19

“Dad, what’ll Climate Change do to me and my kids?”

Well, son, it’s going to be very rough for you and my grandkids. It may be too late to do much about it but we have to try–we have to work hard to mitigate the effects of climate change; plant a trillion trees (not a joke!) and do everything possible to reduce greenhouse gases. But it’s too late to stop the worst of it. The massive displacement of populations, the destruction of agriculture, the spread of pandemics, the explosive social chaos… I think humanity will have to suck it up and face a dominoes-falling series of inexorable climate change effects, which will probably reduce global population by 20 to 35 % in a frighteningly short time, and which will put such a strain on resources, especially food, our tendency in desperate circumstances to fall into the sheltering arms of autocracy will take hold like mold in hot wet places and we’ll tumble headlong into techno-fascist plutocracy of some kind. And since the ground has been prepared for hyper, brutal centralized control (as opposed to intelligent centralized government), and you have Putin smirkily saying that “liberalism is over in Europe”, an uneasy configuration of competing plutocracies seems inevitable.

And we have to hope that humanity will learn. That we’ll clean up our environment, overthrow the coming dictatorships, that we’ll come to respect nature, that we will learn to respect — and demand–education for everyone and that we build a new world worth living in. I’ll be gone by then. But you, your kids and your grandchildren have to be ready…


11
Jul 19

ALL HANGY – a short story co-written by John Shirley and Rudy Rucker

This story is found in its entirety at Flurb, Rudy Rucker’s online zine. Here’s the opening of the story–to read the rest, click on the link and scroll down and down…

“But you said you were gonna jump off the bridge, didn’t you, Roberto?” Breeze sounded like a girl doing a funny imitation of a guy, but that was just her voice.

Roberto hugged himself against the cold morning wind and glanced sideways at Breeze. Her long hair streamed from behind, over the railing, as if trying to get down to the cold gray sea. They were on the sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge, leaning on the rail, looking at the wrinkled chaos of the bay waters below. Tourists chattered behind them, endless traffic roared by on the metal-grated road. In front of them lay the void, just one vault over that rail.

“Um—yeah,” said Roberto. “Eventually might do it. Today we’re only reconnoitering. I’d want to be stone cold sure I have my moves right—so I end up all hangy. And, I’d want you to film me. This should be a big media event.”

“Camera’s ready,” said Breeze, pulling her cellphone from her jeans. “I’ve got hi-def video in here, and I can upload it wireless to my website. Go on and jump, Roberto. You told me you were all set to flip your, uh, dimensional entanglements? So…”

He wasn’t sure if she really wanted him to take the risk—or if she was trying to get him to see how dangerous the whole thing was. But she had that camera, and the green light was on.

“I’m not ready after all,” he admitted, looking down with a shiver. The bay was so very far below. A container ship slid under the bridge, bringing cars from Korea. “They say if you hit the water from this high up it drives your leg bones into your chest.”

“But you’d twist yourself into being all hangy before you hit the water,” said Breeze in that low voice of hers. All hangy was the term people were using for the new phenomenon.

Read the rest of the story (free!) HERE.


05
Jul 19

Are Home Fireworks a Real Exercise of Patriotism?

I enjoy a community celebration of July 4 with professional fireworks carried out with oversight, and for a relatively short period, at a fairground. But this annual celebration in our neighborhood of the sonic brutality of a war zone, carried out willy-nilly by the astoundingly selfish, is not an exercise of patriotism. It may not be legal in your town; in our town they have BIG fireworks that they blow up on the street, or in their yards, that they fire into the sky over our rooftops, making BIG noises, and so many people do it, so very loudly, it really does sound like artillery in a war zone. And goes on for hours.

A real exercise of patriotism would be actual military service; would be running for office; would be volunteering to make the country a better place by doing a good deed for a veteran, or volunteering to help homeless veterans, or registering people to vote. It would be helping out at a foodbank, or tutoring children who need help, or having a reading in the great works of American history. Why not do those things on July 4? Maybe a reading from the Constitution or the writings of  Jefferson or Lincoln… Creating ugly flashbacks for vets with PTSD is not patriotic, however. Terrifying small children and pets and people prone to anxiety for hours on end, is not patriotic. Robbing the elderly of sleep is not patriotic. Getting drunk, eating carbonized meat, and–by example– teaching small children that explosives are not dangerous, is not patriotic. It’s not unpatriotic. It’s just irrelevant. . . Associating home fireworks with certain political points of view is not only not patriotism–it’s childish and uninformed. . .

I’m a patriotic American. If the country is invaded by an enemy army–or thrown into chaos by a seditious militia–I will volunteer to fight off these threats to America. But I choose not to torment my neighbors, those stricken with PTSD, innocent pets, the weary elderly, or infants, with the annual, absurdly mindless use of explosives.


03
Jul 19

The Cruel Irony of Amazon “Fulfillment Centers” CAN End. If…

John Oliver’s entertaining and horrifying report on Amazon’s so-called Fulfillment Centers was scathing, was very much needed, and nearly made me despair of humanity. But–there’s hope for at least some mitigation of the near-slavery conditions at these giant warehouses, if Amazon CEO and owner Bezos is shamed or sued into doing the right thing. Or–if we simply persuade him that the right thing is not really problematic for his bottom line. I have some suggestions for reorganizing the Amazon mega-warehouses they call “Fulfillment Centers”.

The Problem. The ironic label “Fulfillment Centers”–which sounds like an unwitting euphemism for erogenous zones–draws bitter laughter from those who’ve worked at these macroscopic rat mazes. Workers are under constant threat of being fired if they don’t keep up an unnaturally high rate of moving goods in the vast warehouse, where the oh-so-urgently needed items are scattered almost at random all over the enormous building. There is some effort at organization but not enough. Fetching from distant shelves is a process  done on foot, some people traipsing fifteen miles in a day. Some of them are elderly people. There really isn’t time to go to the bathroom, because you’ll fall behind on the required rate of package transportation and you’ll be fired (not a hollow threat). And you only took the job because you really, really needed the 15 dollars an hour. In some centers people have collapsed. The psychological pressure is as taxing as the physical stress. The breathless promise of hyperfast delivery to spoiled consumers means a constant push push push for faster faster faster. It’s worse than that, really–watch Oliver’s acidly funny if nightmarish report.

Common sense solutions occur to me, but they’ll require Bezos investing money in the remedies–and of course that’s an onerous burden on him since he’s merely a billionaire many times over and one of the richest men on the planet. Oh what the hell, I’ll offer them anyway.

Here’s the First idea: Bezos, shut down one center at a time (or sections of a center at a time). While the other centers or sections continue status quo, the designated one is reorganized so that items are more rigorously stored by type. One area is a series of hardware sections, each hardware section specializing as much as possible. Workers are reassigned or hired to take over each such center, one or two per each. They obtain the needed product with relative ease, and give it to a freight tram–little three wheeled things with small truck beds–whose driver trundles it along the wide aisles to the delivery people. No one then has to go on these epic warehouse hikes. Also,  build more localized bathrooms–an expense and a worthwhile tax deductible one…Rinse and repeat with every section, and every Fulfillment Center. Gosh that might use up half of one of Bezos’s many billions. He might have to do without …without, uh…nothing at all.

Second, adjust the speed of delivery requirements. Amazon often delivers with astounding rapidity. It doesn’t need that breathless speed to be an enormously profitable business. It’ll remain,  robustly driving independent bookstores and record stories and hardware stores and clothing shops out of business. Bezos will continue to make billions.

Third, pay a higher wage, hire more people, and offer real benefits. I’m all for unions but Bezos is hardcore anti-union. If he hires more people (to ease the burden on employees) and improve their pay and benefits, he won’t have to engage in union busting–people will be less inclined to try to unionize. It works at CostCo. But if he can’t bring himself to go that far, he could pretty much end the rising public condemnation if he takes steps one and two alone.

You’ll still be crazy rich if you take these steps, Jeff Bezos. You’ll continue to  have Everest-high piles of  cash for your Blue Origin space program–I’m truly all for space programs, yours included–and you’ll still be able to do pretty much anything else you damn please…


26
Jun 19

Washington Post’s UFO obsession–and now it’s Alien Abductions

Been a lot of UFO articles in The Washington Post lately. Now there’s a piece about the Pascagoula abduction story in WaPo. Probably someone on staff into UFOs. But also–I think that in times of national stress (Trump’s our stressor and a huge one) people tend to see or think about UFOs more. They’re escapism. They’re, subconsciously, “a way out”.

Those of you who know me can guess what I think re Pascagoula. Here’s WaPo today recounting the story from the fisherman who claimed to be abducted with his friend :

“I was just getting ready to get some more bait,” Hickson told The Washington Post in 1975, “when I heard a kind of zipping sound. I looked up and saw a blue flashing light. Calvin turned around too. We saw a 30-foot-long object with a little dome on top.” As it hovered just above the ground, three small creatures emerged, also hovering, he said. The men were suddenly paralyzed. The creatures grabbed them with pincer-type claws and pulled them toward the object, he said. “I floated inside,” Parker told the Biloxi Sun Herald in 2018…Hickson said they were subjected to a physical examination by something that looked like a “big eye,” a constant mechanical sound buzzing the whole time.

There are the usual skeptical explanations (which you’ll find toward the end of this piece) but there are two non-ET explanations I never hear. One is that in 1973 psychedelic drugs were widespread in the USA. Suppose one of them convinced the other to get high, saw a hallucination, then convinced the other as to what he saw–got him to share in it through suggestibility. Told him this and that was happening hence the same stories. . .

Another explanation, far less likely, is that it was all staged for these guys as part of an psy-ops experiment. Jacques Vallee once told me that contacts in the French Secret Service admitted staging a UFO abduction in France. Could this be something of the kind staged by American intelligence?

But most likely it’s basically what the skeptics said (quoting from wikipedia): ‘Aviation journalist and UFO skeptic Philip J. Klass found “discrepancies” in Hickson’s story. When Hickson took a polygraph exam, the examiner determined that Hickson believed the abduction story, but Klass argued that the test was administered by an “inexperienced” operator and that Hickson refused to take another by a more experienced police operator. Klass concluded the case was a hoax based on these and other discrepancies. Skeptical investigator Joe Nickell wrote that Hickson’s behavior was “questionable” and that he altered or embellished his story when later appearing on television shows. Nickell speculated that Hickson may have fantasized the encounter with aliens during a hypnagogic “waking dream state”, adding that Parker’s corroboration of the tale was likely due to suggestibility, since he told police he had “passed out at the beginning of the incident and failed to regain consciousness until it was over”.’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/06/26/i-floated-inside-man-returns-site-ufo-abduction-it-gets-historical-marker/?utm_term=.228b1ba6c81f


20
Jun 19

CULTURE SLASH #3 – A COLUMN FOR THE AGHAST by John Shirley

LATEST POINTLESS “NEWS STORY” FROM CNN – Headline: “Walmart is getting rid of its blue vests. Here’s what the new ones look like” – no, really. That’s the actual headline. And there’s nothing else in the article of any interest whatsoever. Why does “no one cares!” not matter to CNN? And this did not appear in some kind of business affairs section. No, it was of general interest! To no one.

Years ago, I worked as an assistant at a marketing company. Firms would give us press releases about their new products to the marketing company, which the market outfit sent, almost verbatim, to contacts at newspapers—and which sometimes appeared in newspapers just as we at the marketing company had written them. This creeping laziness took root in the moldering loam of cynicism. I’m pretty sure this Wal-Mart “news” piece originated with a Wal-Mart press release. And we see actual articles about “the new burger from Burger King”—and nope, it’s not an ad. Or is it? Does CNN get revenue for pieces like this, revenue it isn’t letting us know about? Anyway, if you’re going to publish articles of no serious interest to anyone, how about this, which is at least accurate reporting: Latest Processed Food Garbage Offers Even More Calories and Carbs For Customers Who Prefer To Feel Like Crap.

YOU’LL SUCK PLASTIC AND YOU’LL LIKE IT – “Globally, we are ingesting an average of 5 grams of plastic every week, the equivalent of a credit card, a new study suggests. This plastic contamination comes from ‘microplastics’ — particles smaller than five millimeters — which are making their way into our food, drinking water and even the air.” That’s CNN too and it’s one of their actually newsworthy pieces. It’s also ironically appropriate. We’re choking sea life with our plastic waste, after all, so we deserve to choke on it too. And the comparison to swallowing a credit card’s worth of plastic has a certain unintended poetry—mindless consumers lean heavily into credit. They use those cards like—well, like crazy. And their mindless consumerism encourages the plastic-bound throwaway culture that’s wrecking the biosphere.

NEW FRONTIERS OF SHALLOWNESS: “They Have Millions of Instagram Followers, but They’re Not Real People” – New York Times …Fans of songs by “Lil Miquela” were shocked to hear that the supposed singer who has supposedly “worked with Prada” and supposedly “has a tattoo designed by a fashionable artist”…isn’t real. She’s made of pixels and voicing and she’s designed to attract followers and likes. But there are lots of these fake human beings—literally fake, not just “ha-ha, he’s so fake”, and it’s not just vapid teens who get sucked in. Adults, too, gape ingenuously at these glittery, disturbingly real-looking “persons” on Instagram and YouTube. You have to be remarkably shallow—like a millimeter-deep pool of liquid graphene—to believe that these creatures are real. They look realistic but everything about them, to those who’re paying attention, says they’re not even as real as scripted actors in full make-up. They’re CGI. And they’re not based on anyone in particular—they’re based on glamorous tropes. Their followers are so conditioned by hand-screen media their reactions become utterly knee jerk–they really don’t give their brains time to process what’s real and what isn’t.

Deepfake news stories—visual lies  now on the way to your cell phone, to further condition and distract you–come to mind, too. It’s another level of deceptive CGI… People have always been prone to falling under the sway of superficial media personalities —ask your favorite demagogue or popstar—but humanity has reached a new level of inane pliability. Which means we can be led…anywhere.

ANTI-VAX MILLIONAIRES – From the Washington Post: “A wealthy Manhattan couple has emerged as significant financiers of the anti-vaccine movement, contributing more than $3 million in recent years to groups that stoke fears about immunizations…” That’s a hedge fund manager named Bernard Selz and his wife, Lisa—gibbering paranoids who are doing a lot to stimulate anti-vaccine hysteria.

Here’s what will eventually come about, in your lifetime, because of people like this:  major plagues that will kill millions of people. You think the new measles phenomenon is bad? Pshaw. That’s nothing in comparison to what anti-vaxxers will shower upon us.

Thanks to climate change, viruses and bacteria once found only in relatively remote regions of the world are increasingly able to spread far and wide—to places where more people throng. The more people an infectious disease reaches–the more people it will go on to reach. It will expand exponentially…Plagues will arise. Hard working scientists will make vaccines available to counter major new pathogens and anti-vaxxers will block the vaccines. And when humanity realizes that millions could have been saved if not for anti-vaxxers, people like Mr and Mrs Selz may well end up being prosecuted for manslaughter. And they’re very likely indeed to be vastly, hugely, multitudinously — sued!

THE DNC IS GOING TO FORCE ME TO DO SOMETHING I DON’T WANT TO DO. And yes—I will submit to any DNC nomination, whoever it is, as the alternative will be worse….I have this sick feeling that the DNC is going to force me to vote for Joe Biden. Despite his long history of racial insensitivity predicating his recent senescence-driven racial gaffe; despite his history of being demeaning and handsy-grandfather inappropriate with women…despite all, I will be forced to vote for him if he gets the Democratic nomination because, well, as I heard Stephanie Miller say, “In the general election we have to vote for any carbon-based lifeform who isn’t Trump”. And she’s right. Even a blundering glad-handing, toe-stomping, clueless, badly aging white guy, like Biden is preferable to Trump. Biden would at least  return us to sanity. Mostly. He would see that competent people are named to cabinet positions. He would do pretty well with international relations.

But compared to someone like Elizabeth Warren,  Biden is an empty suit. Please, DNC—I’ll vote for an empty suit if I have to, but for pity’s sake don’t make me.


03
Jun 19

CULTURE SLASH #2

Culture Slash #2 – a fitful column by John Shirley

ENDLESS SURVEILLANCE BY OUR OWN DEVICES. Will our electric toothbrushes soon be reporting on our uvulas? My friend Jim Baldwin told me: “I got a bluetooth speaker and when I tried to connect it to my phone, it won’t let me continue unless I give it access to my contact list and phone call history. It’s just a fucking speaker. I’m taking it back.” He also says: “There are insulin pumps where you have to send your data to some corporation in order to stay alive.”

CNN ‘SHALLOW PERSON NEWS’ Headline: “Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West reveal name of their new baby” – the Kardashians and Kanye West care about this. Their close friends and family too. Who else cares? Nobody with a real life cares. I’m fairly sure most people don’t care. Why is this a news story?

THE EMBOLDENING. “IT’S ALRIGHT TO BE WHITE” – that was on a big banner stretched from a pedestrian bridge over a freeway, as we drove into Vancouver, Washington a few weeks ago. Above it, a large group of people—white of course—waved US Flags and grinned at us. MAGA hats were spotted. We had to be told it was alright to be white by the white racists of Vancouver? Is this their oh-so-clever play on “Black Lives Matter”? The latter being a slogan people like this insist on misunderstanding. They know perfectly well that “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t imply that the lives of “differently complected” people don’t matter. But willfully pretending not to know something is part of the white nationalist playbook. They would say, “It’s Alright to be White”  is not racist but in fact it’s a passive aggressive device, a linguistic “cut-out” for stimulating racism.

VOICE MENU BLUES. You can always tell when someone nearby is talking to one of those voice activated bots that asks you questions before you can talk to a real person on the phone. You hear the person in the next room going, “NO!” and “YES!”, at an increasing volume. And often, “NO, dammit, I said NO. Speak to representative! Shit!” as they try to get the thing to understand them.

DEEP FAKERY. And I quote: “If 2016 was the election of ‘fake news,’ 2020 has the potential to be the election of ‘deepfakes,’ the new phenomenon of bogus videos created with the help of artificial intelligence.” So the Washington Post rightly reminds us. Deepfakes can make a video of anyone—yes, you—“pulling an Anthony Wiener” or even murdering someone else, and other people won’t be able tell it’s fake. It could be used by a government–or an amoral President–to show images of, say,  enslaved women in a caravan of immigrants, or immigrants waving Jihadist flags and carrying guns. It would look real. It’s the glories of digital technology, reaching new levels of treacherousness. I will hereby boldly declare that I warned the world about this in the 1980s in a section of my A Song Called Youth cyberpunk trilogy. Yes, I predicted it. And here it is. . .

WaPo goes on: “A significant chunk of the U.S. electorate dabbles in conspiracy theories, encouraged by a president who promotes them himself. Millions of Americans consume “news” from outlets that pump out lie after lie. And the groups most likely to be fooled are those who have low levels of media literacy and are unable to discern questionable sources from reliable ones. If better forgers are coming, we, as citizens, need to ensure that voters are educated to become better detectives.”

DECEPTION IS PART OF OUR PUBLIC LIVES. No, I don’t mean deception in politics. Not in this instance. Scroll down on CNN  and you see, under the main stories, a series of pieces you can open all about–supposedly–health, or finance.  If you open upCardiologist: “This is what happens when you eat a steak”Cardiologist: “This is what happens when you eat a steak” “Cardiologist: This is What Happens When you Eat Steak” you’re instantly routed to a hard-sell dietary advertisement. Pure advertisement. Very sketchy, too–oozing exaggeration; reeking of superficial use of some of the facts.  But the linking window at CNN looks like all the legit CNN news windows. Same style of headline font, same everything. Except:  Up in the left hand corner of this deceptive section of the page it says, “Paid Partner Content”–which most people are probably not going to notice–or not think about. It’s not that clear. It doesn’t say “advertising pretending to be news articles”.  Many news sites have these ads pretending to be articles. Sometimes it says something like, “Recommended news from our friends”. Oh yeah–that’s clear. And adblockers usually don’t work on these ads as they look like the rest of the publication.  If you need to have ads on your site, fine, but stop pretending they’re not ads–that’s just sleazy–and stop pretending they’re all respectable advertisers. Many are pure scammers.

But egregious deception–far more deceptive than “girls might like you if you wear Axe Body Spray” hints– is now strangely accepted in American society. I regularly get junk mail aimed at deceiving elderly people into thinking it’s an official document. “Oh, that looks like a government envelope! I’d better open it!” Inside it’s some predatory company wanting to get you deeply in debt. They may have a warning in big red letters designed to look official: Deadline for Response In Two Days. Which is to frighten people into thinking that they’re receiving an Official Warning from some govt department and  they’re in trouble unless they go along. One we received recently said that the envelope contained Official Property Tax Valuation. Yes, they used the word Official. Inside, it was an attempt to get you to put your house on the line for a loan based on its worth. (Which technically applies to property taxes)…

I know these kinds of things are false before I open them–which I do just to see what this particular scam is–but not everyone knows. Many elderly people are not up to date,  and sometimes they’re easily frightened; relatively easy to deceive. Yet these are actual legal businesses. Why do we accept them, as a society? Because our society has no real moral center.


30
May 19

Mitch McConnell: UnAmerican; Alt title: Mitch McConnell: the Devil

Mitch McConnell will do anything to advance the far-right’s agenda. And of course that agenda is advancing the advantages of the 1%, of big oil, of racism, of neofascist Christians. He has done more damage than any other single American. Even more than Trump, in the long run.  I was going to list some of those “anythings” but I defer to Robert Reich. Here’s a quote from his article and the link to it.

PS: The devil is said to be a liar. Mitch McConnell has shown a willingness to say anything–which he contradicts later when convenient–to win. He’s the devil’s best liar in the Senate–and there are lots of liars in the Senate

“No person has done more in living memory to undermine the functioning of the US government than the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

“Yes, Donald Trump has debased and defiled the presidency. He has launched blistering attacks on Democrats, on judges he disagrees with, journalists who criticize him and the intelligence community.

But McConnell is actively and willfully destroying the Senate.”

Read on:      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/06/mitch-mcconnell-senate-republicans-donald-trump-judges


13
May 19

CULTURE SLASH #1 – a new John Shirley Blog Feature

Culture SLASH #1


YouTube—where morons go to become stars. And where they are frequently made stars. Most of their millions of followers aren’t watching them ironically. They’re watching them because they’re at least as idiotic as the YouTube’s most idiotic “stars”. “Beauty Gurus” James Charles and Tati Westbrook, for example. Their inconsequential feud cost Charles 3 million of his zillion subscribers! Oh no! Endless commentary results! CNN reports on it as if it were a real news story!

The exaltation of the shallow has its petty little dramas. It’s like someone on bad drugs staring—drooling—at the tiny ripples in a wading pool.
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Gizmodo reports that “A man says he paid about $150 for what was promised to be a clean home with a private bathroom in Amsterdam, only to find that his Airbnb was a shipping container illegally parked on the side of the road with a bed in it.”

The renter posted photos, and that’s exactly what it is—a shipping container with a chemical toilet and a bed shoved in it. In the ad it was described as a cottage!

It was illegally placed on the street and has been taken away by the authorities. Who can’t find the lister, or do I mean blister, who posted the ad for the thing. Some Airbnb listers have reportedly had hidden cameras in their temp housing offerings too. But it’s not just Airbnb listers who’re shady; some renters have left vile messes behind, partied with major drugs, and generally disgraced the place. It’s a risk you take both ways…And people have been robbed and raped on Uber and Lyft rides. Businesses that try—or attempt—to fly under regulatory radar will result in major suckage. It goes way back. Long ago I had a friend who subletted an apartment briefly in New York—where it is done crazily much– and it turned out to be infested with bedbugs. The persistent, nearly ineradicable pests hitchhiked in the subletter’s luggage and made life a nightmare once again in the next place they went. You pays your money and you takes your chances.
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Badly flawed tech is only half invented…Years ago I suggested that there should be a powerful agency, with sister agencies worldwide, that would have to approve electronic tech of any kind before it’s released. Sort of like the FDA but for tech—and indeed, the FDA may have to deal with electronic tech as people are creating some to be taken in capsules. It travels into your body and…does things to you.

My proposition was that we often have new tech shoved on us—we suddenly became responsible for pumping our own gas in most places, interacting with new tech to do it; we became our own cashier product scanners in some stores—a neat and insidious trick allowing the business to pass along labor they used to pay for, to the consumer. We’re increasingly asked to check ourselves in at airports. Cell phones were inadequately tested—there is at least some risk from the microwaves they use, and the damn things, for many pathetic cell phone zombies, are addictive. . .Technologies we thought were to protect our families—like cameras and intercoms in children’s nurseries—were easily hacked and abused. Technologies that monitor our buying habits are intrusive…I could go on. . .We don’t have to give up cell phones–we could’ve taken the time to force the manufacturers to design them more safely, and to minimize, and warn about, addictive aspects.

Technology that pollutes, too, is only half invented.

But when I suggested the new agency–to make sure tech is fully invented before being foisted on us–most people sneered or spoke darkly of Evil Bureaucracies. Lately it’s been discussed at higher levels—other people, years later, have the same idea and it may indeed come about…

See? Listen to me. I’ll steer you right.

“Right into the ditch, Shirley.” Why, you!


07
May 19

Another Indication that TRUMP IS A RUSSIAN ASSET

Nicolas Maduro, kleptocratic pseudo-socialist President of Venezuela, was sitting in his plane nervously awaiting takeoff so he could flee Venezuela for Cuba–when Russia told him to stay. Putin or his intermediaries are reported to have told him, hey, Nicolas, it’ll be all right. “Stay, Nicolas Maduro.” We infer Putin told Maduro that rumors of imminent American intervention were exaggerated. So Maduro stayed in Venezuela. This happened just a week ago, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

And soon after, Donald Trump suddenly changed his tune on Venezuela.

Up till that time Trump was eager to intervene in Venezuela, to install the real President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, in Maduro’s place. Trump spoke of moving troops to Columbia to prep for invasion. He was heavy on the rhetoric about removing Maduro who, after all, is theoretically a socialist (in word though not in deed).

But shortly after Russia suggested that Maduro should stay, Trump suddenly backed off that rhetoric. And though Pompeo and Trump’s advisers wanted Maduro out, CNN tells us:

“…news that President Donald Trump…is urging caution among senior advisers about potential US military intervention in Venezuela, is growing frustrated that some aides are openly teasing military action in the country, where a battle for power has recently intensified.”

Trump changed his tune because the kleptocratic Putin wants the kleptocratic Maduro to remain in power. Why does Russia want the status quo unchanged in Venezuela? Washington Post reports: “Russia owns substantial portions of Venezuelan oil fields, which it got in exchange for loans and bailouts over the past decade. And Venezuela signed over almost half of Citgo — its wholly owned company in the United States — as collateral to Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, for what was reported to be $1.5 billion in cash.” If there’s a change in power those deals might be voided.

So, Russia clearly told Trump to stop talking intervention.  Maduro’s departure could cost the Russian oligarchs billions in profits, Donald, so forget intervention.

And obviously Trump meekly replied, “Yes, Vlad.”

The evidence that he’s a Russian asset — not just an ally, but a puppet of Putin’s–is quite large. And the Venezuela turn-about is just another strong indicator.

More indicators from a Vanity Fair article in January: “There is a growing urgency behind these efforts, following a Washington Post story that detailed the lengths Trump went to shield his interactions with Putin from his West Wing staff, as well as a New York Times report that Trump privately told officials he wanted to withdraw from NATO. The first Trump-Putin meeting, in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017, is of particular interest to lawmakers. The interpreter in that meeting said President Trump instructed him not to discuss details of the sit-down and confiscated his notes when several U.S. officials asked him what had transpired, according to the Post.”