“Greed is a powerful tool for making bad things invisible”
Mather, Matthew. Darknet (p. 251).
Photograph of some rice paddies in China. It was taken in the morning or evening, I do not know which and published by non-profit National Geographic, soon to be the for profit “Fair and Balanced” National Geographic.
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
The skies are a clear deep blue above the Golden Hills. The days are very warm. A slight breeze makes them tolerable. All in all, it seems like paradise. But, the leaves curling at their edges, the yellow lawns, and the silence tells us all is not well. Ants rush around desperate for moisture while we humans complain that we have less water to waste.
One day I went into Sacramento to wait for the car to be serviced. I had coffee at Chicory, the coffee house with the tattooed baristas that I like so much. After, I walked across the street to Capital Park. I felt a bit down for some reason. Passing by the Weeping Lawson and Mourning cypress trees did nothing to raise my spirits. They perked up, however, while I sat on a bench under a Magnolia tree in the center of the park contemplating whatevers. I love this park. It is a tree museum.
Another day I drove down to Vallejo to deal with my grandson’s legal problems. We interviewed a highly regarded criminal law specialist. He was an impressive older man. Unfortunately, his firm represented the other defendants, so he had a conflict. Nevertheless, he spent about a half hour with us giving some background on the judge, DA and other criminal law attorneys.
While listening to him drift off into stories and insights, I began to feel I had taken a wrong road in life. When I began law school, I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney. I could not see any other purpose in being a lawyer. Throughout law school, I interned with legal aid at 125th St and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. I was there for the great Harlem riots of the early 60s.
During the riots, I traveled back and forth between Harlem and Rikers Island arranging bail and interviewing detainees. It was then I first learned the great difference between the riots, demonstrations, and crises reported by the media and its reality.
At times, during the riots, I stood on the corner of 125 and Lenox along with some of the denizens of the area, drinking coffee or something stronger. Every once in a while, a young man would detach himself from the group of young men who were shouting and chanting in the middle of the street and throw a rock at the line of cops just waiting for something like that. They would rush forward and our rock thrower would run back to the safety of his compatriots. Sometimes the rock thrower would slip and fall or be too slow and the cops would catch him beat him a few times with their billies and haul him off to the paddy wagon for the trip to Rikers. The locals on the corner with me would cheer or hoot as the case may be and then go about their business. Now and then, a garbage can would be set on fire. In the evening, the looters would come out and break the windows of a few stores. Tear-gas canisters are shot off. Often it seemed that there was more media personnel on the scene than cops or protestors. On TV that night, it would appear as though the entire area was devoured by fire and smoke with hoards of dark beings struggling with each other in the foreground. Meanwhile, away from the corner of 125th and Lenox, life continued more or less normally.
Anyway, after law school, for some reason I felt that legal aid would not be the best place for beginning my criminal law career. I also rejected the DA’s office. Instead, I joined an insurance defense firm, the lowest of the low, in order to get the maximum trial experience possible. I amassed a record of consecutive victories among the three best in NY history at the time, thereby denying justice to many people who had been injured through no fault of their own. Then things happened and my dream died. But that is a story for another time…
Back in EDH, one morning the sun came up red like blood. I later learned that there was a massive fire down near Jackson about thirty miles away southeast of us. For the next few days, the skies hung heavy with black smoke —the air filled with grit making breathing difficult. The fire is still raging as I write this but the smoke and grit has lessened.
This is a photograph, posted on Facebook, of one of the fires devouring the State. It sort of resembles the end times, doesn’t it?
Then to make matters worse, SWAC arrived like the evil one herself, breathing fire and self-pity. I think it’s time to get out of town.
On Sundays, we have breakfast at The Train Stop in Roseville. After breakfast, we usually go to Denio’s where I look for walking sticks (with little success) and $2 Hawaiian shirts (more success here). Then we search out newly open malls or stores. Last week, we went to the new Bass Pro Shop in Rocklin. The huge store is dedicated to the sale of things usable in the type of outdoor recreation that generally involves killing, like guns, bows or fishing gear. With the disappearance from the environment of large animals and things like that, I wonder what they can use those things to kill now. It has been estimated that in about 70 years from now the human population will reach over 11 billion that is 4 billion more than we have now or more than the current population of China, India, and the US combined. Maybe everyone is just preparing for a new kind of outdoor sport…well, maybe not so new.
Bass Pro Shop
My Kindle for Mac stopped working. Back to paper books? — Pookie the recidivist.
The sun has emerged again from the curtain of smoke. All is well again in the Golden Hills. The victims of the fires are not fortunate. The emergence of the sun does not brighten the aguish of losing ones home. I would suggest praying for them, but I believe praying usually only benefits the prayer. It helps alleviate the guilt of not doing more. On the other hand, I guess if you tell the victims that you prayed for them, it may make them feel better. Food, clothing and health services would probably make them feel even better.
Ha, I fixed my Kindle — Pookie the computer expert. Now I can help make Jeff Bezos even richer and bury myself in ebooks so that I can avoid doing anything for the victims of disasters and instead insist that government handle it — but not raise my taxes to do so. Hmm, that is a lie. I do not pay taxes so I probably will not care if they raise someone else’s.
Sometimes, in the evening, I just sit in the park.
B. ANNOUNCEMENT — Pookie runs again.
I have decided once again to run as a write-in candidate for the Republican nomination for President. Since I abhor working hard, I decided to reissue my posts from the last time I ran, four years ago. Not much has changed except the names so I could not see any downside to repeating myself. I have republished my announcement on Facebook.
I thought I would entertain those who patiently have read this far with the campaign post that set out what I believe may be the most important issue facing the nation today:
“Back when this great nation of ours was founded our four fathers were drinking tea, freedom’s drink, when they heard the bells and decided to leave the tea party meeting there in Boston, Massachusetts and march down to the docks to tell the British that were around there that they were not going to pay their taxes anymore.
“So all four of our founding fathers, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, everyone a good Republican, marched right down there to those docks and wharfs. When they got there, they found the British were preparing to unload crates, disguised as tea bags but secretly containing irony to impose on the American people.
“So they jumped on those ships and dumped all that irony into the bay and saved our freedom because irony is not American since it would replace our guns as it has done in socialistic places around the world. As a result, we Americans remained free. Unfortunately, all that irony polluting their bay is one of the reasons those poor people in Boston remain socialist to this day, but the rest of America was saved except for San Francisco and maybe Oregon and New York City.
“You may ask how our four fathers knew those crates that were all marked with the word “Tea” stenciled on the outside actually contained irony. Well, they realized that “Tea” spelled backward is “Aet” which sounds like ate, which, if you think about it, is very ironic.”
Note: Sarcasm, however, is as American as [add your own analogy]
Note ii: Donald Trump, however, is ironic — like a Ringling Bros. clown is ironic. Jeb Bush is not ironic. He, unfortunately for him, is a tragedy.
Contrary to Stephen Hawking and others, the creation of Artificial intelligence is not the thing we should fear most. It is the proliferation of Decentralized Autonomous Corporations (DACs). They already exist and their numbers are growing.
Matthew Mather describes a Decentralized Autonomous Corporation (DAC) as a network of artificial intelligence agents which divides its labor into two parts: (1) tasks it pays or incentivizes humans to do, and (2) tasks which it performs itself.
It can be thought of as an organization run without any human involvement, under the control of an incorruptible set of business rules.
Like most corporations, it generally cannot be terminated except by the investors, often has more rights than ordinary citizens and cannot be imprisoned if it breaks the law. Moreover, its investors are shielded by law — responsible only to the extent of their monetary investment for the actions of their creation.
Recently, a group of large banks announced that they will begin exploration of DAC’s for integrated banking services. At first look it may appear beneficial since, among other things, transactions will be more transparent and access for customers simpler. The banking transactions, however, will have no human control. Whether that will be good or not in the long run, I cannot guess. But, at a minimum, the owners, and their descendants, having done no work other than hiring the technicians to set up the system, could nevertheless receive fees forever, ultimately draining off huge amounts of money from the users. Someday, in the not too distant future, they may inherit the earth — or what’s left of it.
A. Quigley on Top:
“To me, the most ominous flaw in our constitutional set-up is the fact that the federal government does not have control over of money and credit and does not have control of corporations. It is therefore not really sovereign. And it is not really responsible because it is now controlled by these two groups, corporations, and those who control the flows of money. The new public financing of the Presidential elections is arranged so that they can spend as much as they want: voluntary contributions, not authorized by the candidate, are legal.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
Income inequality and the overwhelming influence of wealth on our political process will resist any long term resolution without reform of the basic elements of the corporation: immortality, limited liability, and personhood.
C. Today’s Poem:
On Seeing Weather Beaten Trees
Is it as plainly in our living shown,
By slant and twist, which way the wind has blown?
Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914)
“One of the great attributes of discretion is that it can mask ignorance of all the most common and lowly varieties”
Catton, Eleanor. The Luminaries (Man Booker Prize) (p. 397). Little, Brown and Company.