God Has A Tiger By The Tail, Reading List

Here are three recent books, any one of which might give you nightmares. They’re a follow-up on my first post of 2016, “God Has A Tiger By The Tail.”

  • “Flash Points: The Emerging Crisis in Europe,” by George Friedman, published 2015.
  • “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath,” by Ted Koppel, published 2015.
  • “This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate,” by Naomi Klein, which was included in the New York Times Book Review list of 100 Notable Books of 2014.

The subtitles above are self-explanatory. The authors need no introduction. Continue reading

Advertisements

State and Warfare

I don’t know if this perspective on the changing nature of war is 100 percent correct, or not. It certainly provides food for thought in this second decade of the 21st century.

I’m uncertain about the term “consumerist warfare.” This would seem to imply that the warfare is designed to protect a consumer-driven economy.  I need to think about this some more.

As we view the final season of “Downton Abbey,” it’s as if many in America and the U.K. and Canada are caught up in an extended meditation on the old order slipping away and a new and unknown order going forward. Ready or not! The many posts pondering the end (or at least evolution) of the western nation-state over at Clarissa’s Blog also cause us to think about changing times writ large.

Clarissa's Blog

The manner of waging war transforms with every transformation of the state model (Many people say that it’s the other way round: the state form follows the changes in the ways of waging war. Ultimately, the warfare methods are indissolubly linked to the state model, no matter what “comes first.”)

As we discussed before, the nation-state model arose, to a significant degree, in response to a need to find a less costly way than any that had existed before to wage war on an unprecedented scale. This goal was achieved in full, as we all know from the example of the two world wars. Without the nation-state, this kind of warfare would not be possible.

As the nation-state withers away and a new state form comes to replace it, warfare changes as well. Today we are seeing a gradual consolidation of what I call “consumerist warfare.” (This is just my own…

View original post 383 more words

God Has A Tiger By The Tail

It’s as if God has a tiger by the tail.

Do you feel like the world is spinning out of control? That the center cannot hold? Or that the universe is spinning so fast it will self-destruct by centrifugal force? Or some other, as yet unidentified, force? 

The scary thoughts I’m having at the end of one bad year and the start of an unknowable New Year were sparked by seeing the movie, “Star Wars.” However, this witches’ brew has been bubbling in my brain for some time.

Change comes fast and furious, and I wonder if we are near a convergence of forces that could bring on catastrophic change. I’m flashing on the Age of Aquarius, but this is not what hippies and free thinkers were hoping for in 1967-1969.

Think about it. All Black Swan scenarios are on the table.

War.

Global warming.

Technology off the leash.

Government. Or worse, the absence of government.

Economic collapse.

Social upheaval.

Mass migration(s).

Epidemics or pandemic.

Water scarcity.

Starvation.

Revolution.

Fascism.

Anarchy.

Chaos.

“Star Wars” is a brilliant, futuristic story of the battle between Good and Evil. The Light side and the Dark side.

(Aside: Does Star Wars glamorize war?  Don’t worry, this won’t be on the final exam.)

Back to the battle. Is it a battle between Good and Evil, or between God and Satan? I suppose it depends on whether you have a religious point of view, or a secular point of view.

Maybe it’s not a battle so much between Good and Evil, but rather, a battle between Truth and Lie. Or Truth and Illusion?

In 21st century political discourse, we have difficulty agreeing on facts. Maybe it’s a battle between Fact and Falsehood? Or Fact and Ignorance? Love and Fear?  These are some of my disorderly thoughts at the turn of the year, questions sparked by Star Wars. I should not wade too far into philosophy or theology, lest I be in over my head.

That’s enough uncensored thinking for the first day of the year.

What say you? A tiger by the tail? Spinning out of control?

— John Hayden

Jon Taplin On The Brave New Technology Revolution

If you have 45 minutes and you’d like to know what’s happening in the worldwide technological revolution, I recommend “Sleeping Through A Revolution,” a lecture by Jon Taplin of the Annenberg Innovation Lab. Watch and listen to the lecture here.

The Internet economy is destroying jobs. Taplin cites the ruins of the music, newspaper, book, film, and television industries. The Internet economy has transferred a wealth of income  from the “creative class” (the makers of content) to monopolistic Internet platforms, such as Google and Facebook, Taplin says. And Amazon.

But wait! Musicians, editors, printers, authors and workers in the TV and film industries are not the only losers in this Brave New World of technology monopoly. Taplin predicts:

“The technological revolution is about to come for everybody else’s job too.”

Do you doubt it? The number of robots in the world is doubling every 30 months, Taplin reports. The lecture covers a lot of ground. Past, present, future. I’m not going to report the whole lecture. I urge you to watch it for yourself. I plan to listen to the lecture at least one more time.

— John Hayden

Our Time: Spying Everywhere, No Jobs Anywhere

Two stories of our times may have passed nearly unnoticed in the Christmas Eve edition of The Washington Post. If you find yourself with a few quiet moments for reading, today or maybe tomorrow, I recommend the following from the 12-24-13 Post.

“Edward Snowden: I Already Won,” on Page One. It’s a long read, but it pulls the whole Snowden- NSA story together with some clarity.

And “How robots are stealing our jobs,” the chilling story in Economy & Business, page A13. Continue reading

Virtual Democracy Emerging As We Tweet

Think Congress is dysfunctional? That’s old news.

Consider replacing traditional representative government with a revolutionary new system.

Listen: Radio talk shows had a bright idea.

Two words: “Audience participation.”  Invite listeners to call in.  You can be on live radio! —  But only a select few get through the jammed switchboard.

Next, invite listeners to send an email.  — Bingo! Everybody gets through! — The host reads four or five emails in the time it takes to chat with one caller.

English: Tweeting bird, derived from the initi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fast forward to cable TV news:

“We want to know what you think. Send us a Tweet about  [insert burning issue of the day]. We might read your Tweet on the air.”

Next step, Reality: 

Vote “Yes” or “No” by dialing a number on your cell phone.  Continue reading

Om Malek and Matt Mullenweg

Philosophy of the Web 101. I think everyone who’s interested in where the Web is and where it’s going, or in the evolution of social media, and the rise of mobile media, will want to hear this 20-minute conversation between Om Malek and Matt Mullenweg. Is the age of the laptop coming to an end? Here comes the touch-screen future. What comes after that? We’ll think about it next year. — John

Joined The Gym

Status

Aging wears you down, I can report, based on 64 years of experience. One doctor told me our bodies are designed to wear out. Too much exercise might wear out your knees faster. But I’ve suddenly realized that I won’t be able to get out of a chair in five years, unless I take up strength training (in moderation). Yesterday, I joined my local gym. Now if I can only manufacture some self-discipline. — John

 

Seasteading

Seasteading” is a long, amazing post that is very much worth reading. It’s “1984” all over again, but worse.

Are we really about to enter an age of extreme, anarchist wealth? I was aware that many of the ultra-rich are hoarding their money offshore. And many more have secured and stockpiled luxury survivalist redoubts in isolated areas.

Given the results of the 2012 presidential election — disappointing in the extreme to the super-rich — it’s not unreasonable to think that some of them might be of a mind to give up on democracy. Not that they ever liked the concept of popular rule.

Many among the wealthy seem to have a paranoid, survivalist bent. Are they crazy, or do they know something we don’t?

And why would they want to coop themselves up in some mountain hideaway or aboard a luxury oil rig or ocean liner, when they already have the Cayman Islands?

Obviously, there are many things I do not know or understand. — John

This Ruthless World

For years now, slow-news days have brought us the breaking news that the world’s richest people — and hence the world’s best — fed up with taxation, government regulation, and having to co-exist with the unwashed masses without hunting them for sport, are about to go off to live on a modified oil rig, a “project” known as ”seasteading”. Alternatively, they may inhabit a giant cruise ship.

On the surface, it looks like a perfect futuristic Galt’s Gulch, a cluster of manicured, pastel-colored apartment buildings separated from the world of “parasites” by the forbidding ocean, but yet within a safe distance of some friendly country, one that does not mind having billionaire excrement, broken champagne bottles, and an occasional dead body washing up on its beaches. There are no taxes to pay, no building codes, no labor laws, no zoning regulations, no legal protections for non-residents (you know…

View original post 1,451 more words

Vote Robin Hood

Hmmm . . . I was going to say, “No comment” . . . Seriously folks, Robin Hood’s not running this year . . . But, if the winner-take-all economy continues . . . and rich patriots continue to accumulate all the money . . . and stash their wealth in the Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts . . . Well, Robin Hood might begin to seem like a good idea. 

Robin Hood and Maid Marian (poster, ca. 1880)

ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN (poster, ca. 1880) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robin Hood is the English folk hero who fascinates the creative imagination. His popularity never wanes. Let’s see, at least eight films, according to Wikipedia. Also, some television shows on BBC, at least one music album, and two computer games.

Robin Hood. Hold that thought. It’s something to stash away for some future election . . . if they still allow elections in the future.

— John Hayden