What’s a Furby Worth Now (was: Inflation for Democrats and Republicans and other Dummies)

The basic principles of economics are not complex,  but human intuition is not effective understanding very large, slowly changing systems. I tried to simplify the concept of purchasing power, or inflation, 10 years ago, here (EggVille).

Judging by the dangerous nonsense I continue to read everywhere, some of it written Nobel Prize winner in economies and paid progressive stooge Paul Krugman, it appears to have not worked.

Let me further simplify:

Imagine an economy where the only product in existence is the predecessor to ChatGPT, the Hasbro Furby.



Demand is equal among everyone for exactly one Furby. No new Furbi are, or can be created, but they last forever in working order.

There are 10 Furbi in existence, 10 people in the entire economy, and $10 in circulation.

What does a Furby cost?

Another $10 is added to that same economy in the form of free $1 Covid19 checks for everyone, in exchange for doing nothing.

What does a Furby cost? Why?

Adding money to an economy makes the purchasing power of a dollar drop and raises prices.

The first of two of largest mechanisms to add (or, hypothetically, remove) money from a Western capitalist economy are “Quantitative Easing” (QE). QE achieves exactly what I describe above with the additional $10. Money is created from thin air, added to the government’s checkbook and given away, in exchange for nothing. It is never retired, or “paid back”.

The second is government debt. If debt is used to make an investment with a return, like the Interstate Highway system, or Hoover Dam, then it can increase economic output, wages, and wealth. There is an argument for leaving this debt to future generations as they will benefit from it.

We have not behaved like this since the Clinton presidency. We have amassed so much debt (as I warned) that it can only be paid back if spread across the next 6 generations. This is called “pull forward revenue”, which means stealing from the future and partying now. And it works. Sort of.

What’s happening to prices now? Why?

“Inflation Reduction Act”, anyone? The level of ignorance assumed by The Brandon Group appears to be correct.

Ignoring the moral questions here, there are several real issues this theft causes:

1. Interest payments paid on the debt are paid out of taxes, and budgets shrink by that amount, or taxes go up.

2. It is highly inflationary.

3. There is a declining return on investment, rather like heroin. The early effects are large, but the effect of additional “stimulus” over time declines.

4. Historically, this practice has led to collapse and war.

One of the arguments made by those who are invested in continuing to do this, under the name “Modern Monetary Theory”, which means dangerous historical and economic illiteracy, is that it worked for twenty years, so obviously, it will work forever.

It “worked”, because globalization (offshoring your job), and financialization (bankers own everything) depressed wages in the middle class, keeping measured inflation low. Low, because with bills, debt and no job they have no ability to ask for higher wages.

Globalization had the effect of making America the world’s banker, which spread the size of the linked economy from one country to most of world, and delayed the impact. Globalization is not all bad, indeed it increased total global wealth, reduced prices and quality of goods, lifted many people out of poverty.

One could imagine a globalized world where most governments are honest and wise, and don’t use endless debt to create the illusion of wealth so as to keep themselves in private jets at Davos. Such a world would produce great amounts of new wealth, and link people economically making war less likely.

It seems wee don’t get to see that experiment run.

It might just all work out OK.

Mike.

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ChatGPT, What do These Stories Have in Common?

Story #1

A very long time ago, I worked at Motorola. And I was incredibly proud to work there, and met many brilliant people. And some, less so.

At the time, the working assumption in the business world was that Japan’s culture of cooperation, hire for life, logistics and quality techniques would take over every industry, with supercomputers being next. Soon. America was dead because our cars were crappy.

Our cars were crappy.

Motorola responded with a program called Six Sigma,  which revolved around aiming for 3.4 defects per million units. Ironically, Motorola already had a well-deserved reputation for excellent quality in both hardware design and manufacturing. We didn’t have a quality problem, we had a cost of goods problem. One that Nokia would soon exploit and do fatal damage to Motorola.

Of course, Six Sigma had to be applied to software too, since a good program is good program and should be used everywhere. And no one had a clue how to do it, but we saluted the flag and wrote things about it that were purely fictional and didn’t ask too many questions.

A few years into that job, I noticed that we were building a lot of clever, complex, high quality, expensive products that were failing in the marketplace. I had no idea why, and clearly our leaders didn’t either. Down the road, Microsoft was shipping obvious cheap junk and people in their late 20s were buying 911s at lunch. I few years later I would work there and learn why their products were doing so well.

In 1988, Motorola won the first Malcolm Baldridge award given by the US federal government for American quality.

I read seemingly endless industry press, and internal preening, about how Motorola’s practices made us an almost invincible force in technology.

I learned a few important things from that experience:

Companies (later, I learned all organizations), even formerly great ones, at scale and given time, lose their edge. They do what worked before, and hope it works again. When cellular phones with a bill of materials one half of ours appeared, the company was on the path to extinction. And a manufacturing process designed by committee and implemented by The Dept of Bureaucrats might not be the best way to compete in a rapidly moving new software industry.

Companies can be far down the road to extinction, while making huge amounts of money selling old stuff, with the damage being only barely visible inside the company, and invisible outside the company. The next story the press writes is “nobody could have seen it coming”, followed by a bunch of incorrect analysis about what happened.

Story #2

A long time ago, having worked at Microsoft for only a few years,  I helped ship an extension to Windows 95 that implemented VPN. And after shipping it, we went back to Nova Scotia for vacation. While there, I discovered that the shipped feature wouldn’t maintain a connection back to Microsoft in Redmond for longer than a few minutes, when it just stalled forever. We hadn’t seen this in testing.

I debugged it there, and tracked it down to two things: a bad exponential backoff timer – it only got larger, never smaller – in TCP/IP that had been in 9x since ship, and poorly designed VPN protocol that added huge amounts of latency to every packet, ironically, because of the TCP/IP issue in the outer tunnel layer impacting the inner tunnel.

That’s pretty funny if you are a nerdy dweeb.

Anyway, I was horrified. We had already had a million or so downloads of this thing, and that was a scary big number back then. I had shipped something that worked perfectly on our best in class internal networks, but didn’t work in the real world of modems and bad ISPs.

Would I get demoted? Yelled at? Mocked? Would it end my career? Read about it in press? Would my mom find out?

None of this of course happened. In fact, it was a huge effort to get a fix shipped long after it was done. Nobody cared, because there was no feedback loop. There was no channel to collect enough samples of issues to collate and sort them, outside of our internal testing which didn’t work in this case. And we were steamrolling everyone in the industry and making money hand over fist.

Obviously, validation that we were the smartest people, with the best strategy, execution and products and that was that.

What was happening, of course, is that the core value proposition of Windows, that it ran every program on every piece of hardware, combined with the innovation and economics of a high scale hardware industry overwhelmed everything else. The model, and the product, changed the world forever and create one of the most important companies in the last 100 years.

In those days, in the absence of a working, scale, feedback loop, we “dogfooded” our own products ruthlessly. Basically, we ate out own dogfood to see if it was tasty and nutritious. We were our own testers, and we tested the design, the models, and the implementation. And checking in shit was frowned on. Oddly, once the shit was checked in, fixing it properly was frowned on. And using that method, we shipped Windows 95, Windows NT, Visual Basic, Access, Office and many other products that changed the world and continue to do so today.

But eventually scale and 50,000 new hires would overwhelm that method, and something better was needed. We listened to the top experts in the world, and learned that, despite localizing and selling our products in every language and every country in the world, including right to left languages, and built-in support for the hearing and vision impaired, we were too stupid, bigoted and physically large to understand that our game controllers were too big for Japanese hands. The solution, somewhat counter-intuitively at least to me at the time, was to change our hiring, promotion and firing process to be structurally more favorable to women, and to a lesser degree, Blacks, so that “we looked like our customers”.

Something that is now so core to the company’s mission that the CEO is paid for performance on it:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/inside-microsoft/annual-report?activetab=innovation-spotlights%3aprimaryr4

What a relief that the solution was so simple.

Of course, we also had to build and empower The Dept of Bureaucracy to make sure everything was right, and worked right, and we never made any mistakes.

Windows 8.

The company was hated for its arrogance, greed, and bad products.

This of course has all been turned around now. Microsoft is making money hand over fist selling old stuff, and the press and shareholders love them. They love themselves, like we used to, in the good old days. People in their late 20s are buying Teslas.

Windows 11.

Mike.

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ChatGPT Gets Clicks (take 2)

One of the lies that BigTech tells you when they get caught injecting blatant bias, (Google search results, Facebook feeds, etc.) is that the decision was made by an AI, and that AIs are not sentient, do not have emotions or bias and are incapable of what they are being accused. They imply, without explicitly saying, that they are coldly objective and immune to human prejudice, selection bias, ignorance and madness.

This is of course, nonsense. Look no further than to the existence of researchers and policy people with titles involving the word Ethical, who are working on biasing AIs to never return anything like “fatherlessness, bad schools, gangs, drugs, a culture of victimization, failure and dependance constantly reinforced by rich white democrats”, but rather the deemed ethical “white supremacy and racism”.

AIs are trained, not programmed. They emulate human learning via experience and pattern matching. They have an uncanny ability to apparently infer knowledge that wasn’t specifically trained, by finding patterns between or combining known patterns. This pattern matching occurs in multiple dimensions, sometimes a very large number of dimensions.

AIs will be (or maybe are) freaky good at detecting cancer from many input values that humans cannot process at once, or perceive subtle relationships between them. To do so, or course, requires lots (lots!) of correct is cancer/is not cancer training first, based on actual experience. The trainer doesn’t have to understand why a data set is or is not cancer, only the truth. And AIs can’t really explain how they work, either.

They just do. Magically.

The only time an AI is objective is when it is booted in an untrained state. If mistakes are made in identifying cancer, or not cancer, and the model trained incorrectly, it will have a bias toward incorrect answers.

If you trained ChatGPT by having it crawl ten years of the NYT, WaPo, The Atlantic and Vox, it would have a garish bias toward factually incorrect liberal nonsense.

If you trained it with Reddit, it would have a garish bias toward factually incorrect random nonsense.

Zerohedge, doomsday scenarios, some of which are real.

CBC, BBC, The Economist and Wikipedia, authoritative sounding, grammatically correct, slightly pompous, factually reasonable answers that subtly but consistently push liberal nonsense by stroking the reader’s ego.

FOX News, fair and balanced, per FOX news.

AIs are biased, and BigTech knows it, because they bias them. They tell you otherwise because they think you are too stupid to understand and that they are way beyond untouchable. Which may be true.

ChatGPT today has an impressive knowledge base, and answers non-political questions with stunning effectiveness. Political or social topics read like you are interacting with a tenured Critical Indigenous Transwxmxn Theory prof at a state university who is doing side work as fact-checker for Mother Jones on an article about how Extinction Rebellion has stopped global warming during the latest pause.

It’s tedious.

While sending people to the moon is highly complicated, it is also deterministic. The system can be broken down into smaller pieces, each piece tested, and reassembled without loss.  Complex Systems, while also complicated, do not decompose and recompose into the same thing. They often have many variables, feedback loops and cycles that interact with each other, and run continuously. The human endocrine system, weather, markets, fish stocks in the ocean, the rise and fall of religions and societies are examples of complex systems.

The science tools we have, divide and conquer, do not seem well suited to understand and influence these things.

AI does have the potential to predict, identify, diagnose complex systems in way that divide and conquer has not been able. There are many potential applications of this.

ChatGPT is interesting because it is highly effective in a complicated domain (language and knowledge).

Will it enable Microsoft to challenge Google in search?

One of the lessons we should have learned by now, but haven’t, is that BigTech is stunningly bad at predicting or influencing the future. Despite collectively spending 100s of billions of dollars attempting to do so, there are few BigTech companies with more than 3 profitable product lines, and almost always because they are so intrenched into the process and practices of society that they are impossible to replace.

Based on probability alone, Microsoft asserting that they will use ChatGPT + Bing displace Google, or propel the profitable products Windows and Office to geometrically higher levels would be reason to bet against this. Keep in mind, Office has yet to improve spell checking to the level that Google had in their search query 12 years ago.

Remember when virtual reality was, beyond a doubt, the next big thing that would propel profitable products to geometrically higher levels?

That was yesterday. Facebook still suffers from that delusion.

Will it replace search?

It’s interesting to consider how ChatGPT might evolve toward a business. The training model is currently locked. Unlike Twitter, Facebook, TikToc , search and recommendation systems, it does not currently “learn” either from advertisers paying to influence it, or from actual customer choice.

It does learn within a session, and quite impressively. This has already led to interesting jailbreaks that exploit its complexity and non-determinism.

Twitter network effects are high scale, but simple. The platform has influence because it is largely a one-to-many broadcast system. A small number of people influence a large number of people. The simplicity of the model makes it easily gamed, with social attacks (Reddit) and distributed attacks (human and machine bots).

Dorsey Twitter likely didn’t start out to be a propaganda, censorship and bankruptcy system that rigs elections, run by the US Federal Bureaucracy in pursuit of perpetual single party rule, despite ending up that way. The tools it created, boosting/deboosting and hard/soft banning at the user and tweet level were likely created initially to maintain control of the experience.

People started gaming ChatGPT almost immediately. And so far, the response seems to have been procedural programming at the input and output side, that does conceptually what Dorsey Twitter did – block and hide things.

Google (and Facebook) also influences thought and elections in the direction of perpetual single party rule, mainly via ranking. This is powerful and also harder to detect than the crude mechanisms above (admittedly, Google is now also a scale player in the deplatfrom, defund and bankruptcy racket). Note that Dorsey Twitter style power is directed at individuals, and Google ranking power at content sources, although they overlap. ChatGTP is still in the content space.

Currently, ChatGPT is more of a reader of a copy in time of part of the web. An amazing one, for sure. This isn’t a business. Sadly, human behavior on the Internet has taught us that access to ignorance is more valuable than access to information and truth.

ChatGPT could sell ads as they currently exist in the same way that Google does, by selling keywords at auction. I might see the same ad in response to a search or conversational query for Ford F150 Lightening, or “How to get from Heathrow to Tower Hotel?”

This doesn’t seem very disruptive, and Google would likely be able to respond.

ChatGPT could alter the training model by choosing what to look at and what not to look at, and then package and sell this influence to companies and governments. Organizations could supply raw training data to influence the model. That would be disruptive, powerful, and nearly impossible to detect.

Aldus Huxley, call the office.

If ChatGPT adds customer behavior to its training set, the ensuing gaming that will occur will be fascinating to watch.

Will it destroy white collar “knowledge workers” jobs?

Knowledge” workers: Middle managers, Directors of Policy and Compliance, bureaucrats in the Dept of Rules and Regulations and Recommendations and Bureaucracy, many academics including teachers, many lawyers, and many people in NGOs.

They are not people who build things, or service and support things, or do things that are needed.

The value that these people provide is that are part of a system that enables scale. Scale can produce efficiency. iPhones don’t happen unless you sell a lot of them. Or, in the case of the military, NASA, or civil engineering projects, concentrations of power.  But for the most part these people are literally beyond useless, subtracting efficiency, quality, innovation, freedom, wealth and happiness from society.

These people ran your lives for the last 3 years, destroyed much that was working, and solved nothing. Have you noticed banking, insurance, health care systems getting easier and better lately? Used Windows 11? Walked in a city? Driven on a road? Done anything online except Amazon without calling customer support?

While it is tempting to imagine all of them being replaced with AWS instances of ChatGPT, and while this would actually work, it isn’t going to happen.

Over time, all organizations learn self-defense. Organizations that make and do useful things generally trend toward doing these things better, as defense.  Useless organizations learn politics. They entrench their tentacles deeply into scale process, via convention, policy (that they make) and law. They always get a veto.

Defunding a sprawling bureaucracy doesn’t yield a lean, efficient, creative, accountable and responsive organization. It creates an intrusive but dysfunctional organization. Take a look around at the condition of your roads, ferries, airports. We are spending more on these things than we ever have before, including when they were built. As soon as someone attempts to cut a budget by 4%,  the most visible and critical services will be degraded as punishment. Lots of money will still be available for shelters for migrant battered underage transwomen whose safe spaces have been displaced by climate change in Lesotho. Lots of money. So much money, in fact, a large number of relatives and friends of knowledge workers will become wealthy providing these essential services, as will the useless class themselves, in time.

ChatGPT poses no threat to anyone’s income here.

Statistically, in the USA, the government bureaucrat class is mostly women with a majority of these unmarried. ChapGPT will not displace these folks unless we give it the vote, and make sure it votes for whoever will expand the government bureaucrat class with more of the tribe in power there.

One of the unexpected things I learned as a Vice President at Microsoft was that there are two ways to approach the role: The first is to do the job as you have been led to understand it – think, act, take measured risks, take accountability, lead. That sort of stuff. The other is to let others do the job for you. And they will, writing your emails and speeches, telling you who to hire, fire, promote and layoff, what meetings to attend, what to say, etc.

Occasionally a Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Peter Thiel comes along and steamrolls the bureaucracy and gets things done. But for most of us, fighting it means you will be in role for less time, you will make less money, work much harder, suffer more be unceremoniously dumped in time. The inverse is also true – the organization class will reward you, including looking the other way when needed, for playing along. Or better. Sometimes much better, especially in government.

All Western governments have been in this mode for a long time. Imagine the effect that Air Force One, the secret service, the promise of a $100,000,000 Netflix deal, insider trading profits have on people who are accountable to no one, and control trillions of dollars.

They are all compromised.

Imagine the effect this environment would have on people who start out with no principals at all beyond greed and self-indulgence, like the Clintons,  the Bidens and Gisele Fetterman. How did Al Gore, and many others, quickly make $100,000,000? By cutting government waste, fraud, bad policy, etc?

Not a chance.

We are not going to save money or regain our freedom by replacing the governing class with ChatGPT. Mostly likely they will use it as a tool for their own agenda.

Mike.

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Brainwashed by Mobile Phone

Over the last few years, right-leaning media and the RNC have been sharing short clips of Jen Psaki spinning obvious lies with a sincere fake authenticity. Jen was bright, quick-witted and very good at her job. She understood the questions, the reasons for those questions and the consequences of various answers. She could recall and defend the day’s talking points, pretend to not understand/hear a question, stall, deflect and lie with ease as needed. Everyone was in on it. She knew she was lying. You knew she was lying. She knew you knew. It was institutionalized deceit and deception.

Karine Jean-Pierre, a black lesbian immigrant who replaced Psaki is not very good at her job. For most of my adult life, I would have not added the “black lesbian immigrant annotation to the name KJP, because these things should not be relevant to doing the job, and perhaps might be seen by some, including myself, as purely private matters. But the Brandon Group proudly made it an election promise during the primaries to disqualify the largest pool of potential candidates for Vice President of the United States of America in favor of a black women. And we got Kamala Harris, a person not good at her job. Not good at all.

If you are still having trouble understanding the system here, the Brandon Group gave you Rachel Levine, Nina Jankowicz and Sam Brinton. Elizabeth Warren lied to gain preferable advantage over the very people the system she abused was designed to help. The most recent supreme court judge, a black woman, is apparently too cognitively and educationally feeble to know what a women is, but is qualified to be a Supreme Court judge for life. This is of course all institutionalized nonsense, and everyone knows it. Ketanji Brown Jackson knows exactly what a woman is, but choose to lie about it. Like Jen, KJP, Brandon and Trump before her. Smooth dishonestly is pre-req for the job.

Still not getting it? Admiral Rachel Levine. Admiral of what?

They are laughing at you.

From this experience, we can learn little to nothing about the suitability of woke activists at various other jobs, but we can learn a great deal about the results of the process of woke quotas hiring. None of this should be a surprise to thinking people – omitting the largest pool of potential applicants and awarding jobs without consideration as to ability, experience, motivation doesn’t seem to lead to hiring the most qualified people. There’s even a name for the distasteful quality of expecting people to be able to do their job – Ableism.

What if this not all just incompetence? What if it’s by design? KJP takes less flak for doing her job poorly than Psaki did for the simple reason that she just seems so pathetic. And, with her boss setting the bar for incompetence she doesn’t seem all that bad by comparison. It’s easy to forget that these are some of the most important and powerful people in the world, doing a job that affects billions of people.

There are lots of reasons people vote democrat, but people who feel disenfranchised make a up a sizable number of them, and the party cultivates and courts these people. According to exit polls, young people and single women swung the midterms for democrats.

In 2012, the Obama campaign ran a visual flat art styled ad featuring the entire life of a single women, raising a fatherless child, supported by other people who earn money and pay taxes. Julia, by voting democrat, had replaced her hypothetical financial dependance on a husband and the shared ownership / work split that that is marriage with complete dependance on other taxpayers, whose money was being forcefully taken from them and their families and given to Julia.

The response from the far right to this ad was needlessly unkind mockery, sympathy, and explanations about how this doesn’t work at scale financially, economically, socially etc.

The common assumption was that real life Julia wouldn’t be aware of this, and pointing it out would be enough to have her, wisely, not choose it.

What was the alternative being offered? Was it better? How?

What if Real Julia(tm) was aware of the sadness and unfairness of this life, having lived by the rules of feminists for her entire life, in an increasingly feminized and castrated society that wouldn’t allow even questions about what was being gained, and what was being lost from all of this, and why.

https://mikezintel.wordpress.com/2020/02/16/60-years-of-social-engineering-was-the-cycles-of-acceptable-liberal-thought/

A pattern common to most once free western social democracies as they devolve toward increasingly coercive methods of enforcing the currently popular definition of justice is that the first few generations initially see genuine benefit from these methods and values but over time the deal changes.

Looking at this from a narrow economic angle, giving money to retirees by taking money from younger working employees, when there are many more in the workforce is a great deal for the first few generations of old folks. Spending the unearned income of unborn future generations is similarly a great deal for the living, and this continues until the math of stealing more from the unborn simply doesn’t work anymore.

Individuals may notice that, over generations, increasingly larger amounts of money are power are demanded by the ever-growing bureaucratic governing class, with steadily diminishing results, and that it doesn’t seem to matter much who wins elections. This is in part the predictable and repeatable pattern of inefficiency and inflexibility that is the result of all large scale bureaucracies over time, and in part the depletion of other people’s money to spend now.

And yet, people continue to “vote against their own economic interests”, as rich coastal liberals explain, and are uneducated hypocrites for accepting government handouts at the same time as they vote against them in principal.

Just as the first few generations benefited out of proportion to their contributions, any generation that moves to end this cycle not only has to pay for the money already spent by the Boomers, they don’t gain even parity when it’s their turn. They pay twice. At least. But it’s worse than this. The relentless increase in taxes to not even quite pay for progressive economic policy greatly reduces everyone’s buying and saving power. One discovers that in high tax Western Europe, Canada, and increasingly the USA, even two good incomes is often not enough to save for retirement, raise a family and pay expected healthcare costs.

Not leveraging the system, even as it slowly fails, is not an option. You are paying either way. Multiple times.

It shouldn’t be hard to understand why the younger few generations feel slighted. They did what they were told: took on student loan debt, got some degrees, deferred or cancelled marriage for children and bought into the whole social justice quota system. And yet they, correctly,  don’t see home ownership as ever being possible where it was just assumed by their boomer parents. If they got lucky and had rich well-connected parents or were born with the skills to be successful in STEM or medicine, or they hit it big as an influencer or crypto gambler, they were on easy street. Everyone else senses there is something grossly unfair going on, but they can’t figure out exactly how it all works. They are easy prey for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC and rest of Grifters, Inc. Their votes were bought first time with a lie that they would be getting a second stimulus check and some good weed.  The second, time, for the lie that student loan debt would be transferred to someone else to pay. And weed. Young people are especially easy to manipulate because they are not yet cynical, because they don’t yet understand human nature, and give people the benefit of the doubt. Bless them.

The ruling class doesn’t want you to figure any of this out, and so they fill your heads with dangerous nonsense like environmental justice, pregnant men, the ever loving patriarchy, white supremacy, the end of democracy, pandemic of the unvaccinated, and don’t look at this war over here and if you do – they are the invader (not like the USA in Iraq). They browbeat you into believing all this, or pretending to believe it for fear of being shamed, not hired, not promoted, fired or laid-off.

Correctly. Progressives are the authoritarians now.

We are attempting to run a grand experiment. One where we attempt to run an advanced society without any shared notion of observable reality.

It might work.

Mike.

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help

RESUME OF: Doaah Nubain-2S-Onyx-Ghalen

CONTACT INFO: Currently residing on the stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh).

OBJECTIVE: A high paying, leveraged behind the scenes position silencing people I disagree with and controlling how everything thinks, that affords me enough free time and income to pursue interdisciplinary artistry and decolonial practice-based research. Rather like a GenZ Reporter with the CBC, but in America, where things cost less.

EDUCATION: I recently completed my third M.A. degree. I intended on publishing an M.A thesis, apply for art grants, complete art projects, and more, but following a recent racial trauma, I missed my deadlines.

EXPERIENCE:  Twitter, Trust and Safety Team, Manager of the Purpose and Activity Ninja Team, 2016-2022, a position for which I was underpaid and overqualified.

SKILLS: I had a mental breakdown after it was overlooked that I had left work early due to stress, and a staff photo was taken without me. This trauma has tremendously impacted my mental and physical health in ways I never experienced before. I haven’t been eating, drinking or sleeping well. My sense of taste and smell changed. Even food I used to enjoy smells repulsive. I have severe neck and shoulder pain that I am currently treating out of pocket since my extended health coverage through work has been exceeded. I have suffered multiple anxiety attacks in public, which is why I limited commuting on public transit and am using Lyft/Uber instead. My ADHD symptoms worsened, as my brain feels extremely overwhelmed trying to navigate ways to cope with the trauma, financial burden, and stress. 

My ancestors used dreaming a tool of survival, and I do to.

My ancestors did not have the privilege to heal and decolonize oppressive systems. The scars remain.

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“Our Culture”

Big Tech, you might want to work some overtime this weekend scrubbing your servers of all the monthly Diversity & Inclusion presentations.

You remember, the encrypted ones HR presented from only one laptop. The Powerpoints with the column headers describing the selected favored demographics, and the goal, sorry goals are illegal, targets toward hiring and promotion. With the names of each manager in rows, and their personal / team score achieving this goal target. The ones where you could add all the targets and then figure out how many white men had to go.

The presentation which scored the hiring and promotion system which had been adjusted to structurally favor the CEO’s favorite groups and disadvantage the others. Followed by the two-hour brainstorming meeting, a meeting where precise words, phrases and sentences were carefully thought-out (i.e. eliminating structural bias good, structural favoritism not so good), to have all the managers volunteer ways the system could further be biased towards some groups and against others.

The meeting where the managers looked around the table and realized they better get on board and how or will be next on the chopping block.

The meeting where someone would eventually say, perhaps we could make sure our recruiting pipeline is as broad as possible, carefully mentor and select the best interviewers and managers, reinforce the importance of being aware of and free from personal bias and track and reward long term success growing talent, set a consistent high integrity example in ourselves, work tireless to encourage talent growth and treat everyone with equal dignity and respect. Or, something like that. And then the room would go quiet and that person would get the ‘ol  I Wonder How Long They Will Last Look of meek pity.

There are deep moral questions here that are way beyond me. Does replacing a highly qualified, experienced, hard-working, high integrity white male immigrant to the USA from the UK with a highly qualified, hard-working, high integrity black woman whose great great great great great grandmother might have been a slave make everything OK?

Beats me.

Is the argument made by a Supreme Court Justice whose writings look like they have been cut and passed from Vox, that she herself would not be a Supreme Court Justice if not for quotas persuasive?

I’ll pass.

What I know you have accomplished is to destroy trust in the integrity of your leadership among a majority of employees and vastly reduced capacity in the entire industry and it’s beginning to show.

All this I’m sure was wonderful during a period of stock buybacks with zero interest bonds and record high stock prices. What’s coming next might require some introspection.

Mike.

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Trudeau. Ally.

One of the odd things I observed during Microsoft’s seemingly endless mandatory “Diversity and Inclusion” training was the concept of ally.

There have always been women and men willing to enter into an understood arrangement that trades money and power for real or fake flattery, “visibility” and intimacy. Usually, they were somewhat discrete about it.

But the “diversity” programs formalized this in a curious way: Ignoring the always very precise language of these things, and observing behavior, an ally is a man who agrees to hire, assign organizational power to, promote, pay and not to lay-off/fire women in general, and specifically the women most vocal and active in “diversity” initiatives. And the men willing to do this proudly labelled themselves, and promoted the practice to other men.

Why do men do this? Some of course, believe the Diversity, Inc. line that women are systematically discriminated against, and want to help. Some are lonely. Some need insurance, or hope they will someday need insurance. May hope they will be sparred the ax when their turn comes around.

Last week we learned that Dan Price, the very progressive CEO of Gravity Payments has been accused by multiple women of being a very creepy guy. Very creepy indeed.  Maybe a 6 or 7 on the Weinstein scale.

Dan, and Harvey, were outspoken allies.

My aunt, frequently remarked that we really didn’t know what a society run by women would be like, since we hadn’t tried it.

She was correct, then. But this is no longer an open issue.

While elected officials in Canada are of both genders, management positions and front line employees in the government bureaucracy – where real policy is made and money spent – are overwhelmingly staffed with women.

Trudeau is a outspoken ally.

Women enter university at a higher rate, and graduate at a higher rate.

Government, non-profits and corporations have systems in place that are structurally biased against men in hiring, firing, promotions and procurement. 

Men are injured and die in the workforce at higher rate.

Women have the power in divorce court.

Boys are drugged by teachers at a higher rate.

The experiment has been run.

This might come as a surprise, because as these deep structural changes have been implemented, feminists have been careful to promote the now very obsolete women as weaker victims messaging. Indeed, look at cbc.ca on any day. 30% of the articles have a message of women’s empowerment and accomplishment, and 30% of discrimination against them, usually imagined. Stories about men  – especially men in fatherhood roles – as role models are rare. The phrase toxic masculinity is bandied about as if it’s accurate and objective.

Point any of this out and be slandered as a weak, overly-sensitive man. Irony has suffered.

So how do we score this so far?

It’s clear that equality was never the goal, nor is it now. Absolute power is the goal. 

We still have wars.

Society is tossing aside objective observable reality in favor of a feelings define reality model. Covid19 demonstrated the limitations of that model from a results perspective. 

We talk a lot of sensitivity, and protecting the weak, and yet the level of anger and intolerance in society is high. People seem more divided.

There are many more laws designed to increase safety. Some things are more safe and lives saved. Many are not. Much personal freedom has been lost in this process.

Women enjoy, seek and use power at the same rate as men. Society is becoming more authoritarian. Many people are afraid – for good reason – to speak their minds. Indeed, to say anything controversial. Many people pretend to believe obvious nonsense (i.e. gender differences are entirely the ill results of a bigoted society. Forcing people to pretend to believe obvious nonsense is tool used to maintain power over them.

We are much more passive-aggressive.

The understood rules that applied to dating, relationships, sex, authority and power have been tossed aside. The new rules are whatever women want them to be in any specific instance.

Long term committed relationships with children are becoming rare, but Tinder is growing. There are fewer children. Women complain there are no good men left. Men, rather than risk destroying their means of income via a clumsy mistake, and well aware of divorce court outcomes, limit themselves to clearly superficial sex, and otherwise play xbox.

Taxes are high, and going hirer. Prices are high, and going hirer. Savings buy less. The understood lifetime contract between citizen and state, that healthcare, retirement, disability/misfortune would be provided for as needed in exchange for a lifetime of ties so high that total dependance on the state is a financial necessity is breaking down.

Wealth has been “pulled-forward” from future generations via massive debt and consumed. The younger generations face debt, fewer jobs, slower economic growth, less earning power, poorer services and government benefits. And yet, they cannot afford to buy a house.

Environmental policy is a mess. Global warming is somehow more important than overfishing or a lowering water table. Paper straws, etc. are nasty and accomplish nothing. The people in charge of policy are not informed or mature.

All up it’s a judgement call. It’s not a society I prefer. And not the one we were promised.

Mike.

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The Varieties of Religious Experience

One of the interesting things about having spent a part of my life at least trying to be a devout Christian, and at least part of my life at least trying to be to a card carrying Far Left liberal, hereafter referred to as a Lefty is that I understand the values, motivations, and structures of both these things.

Both groups, at least in America, believe that their beliefs and actions are the anthesis of the other. Lefties, the angrier of the two groups, believe they are fighting authoritative repression. Christians are more likely to believe they are fighting Godless ignorance. The most extreme of both groups believe the other side is both ignorant and evil.

A curious thing is not how different these groups are, as you might assume given the seemingly never-ending petty conflict, but how similar they are.  Which is why they are in conflict.

Both groups have an elite priesthood in charge of the orthodoxy. Christians formalize this in the church hierarchy. It’s less formal on the Left, but exists in universities, NGOs and feminist organizations. The Christian orthodoxy is rooted in ancient, scared texts. The Left’s orthodoxy, being much younger, is constantly evolving, but at the core (ironically) it’s a David and Goliath myth, the ever-evolving feminism, and a gross misunderstanding of science. Both groups have sin and sinners, redemption, and penance.

Both religions have command control style operation that enforces the orthodoxy: the church and the media. Both make heavy use of indoctrination at the youngest ages and continuing throughout life. Indoctrination is formal and relies on heavily on guilt and repetition. There is little tolerance for ambiguity or disbelief, and formal mechanisms to recruit.

Over time, what started as single religion fractured into subgroups with similar but different orthodoxies (i.e. Baptists, Catholics). Doctrinaire Environmentalists think people who accuse them of being Socialists in disguise are just stupid, but the truth is that Environmentalism,  Socialism, Social Justice-ism are all factions of Leftyism, and reinforce each other sometimes unconsciously, but never by accident.

Consider, without prejudice, the following two creation stories:

#1 An invisible omnipotent benevolent infallible force created the universe and the intricate complexity of life, which we barely perceive let alone understand, in 6 days, from nothing at all. On a whim. But this was tiresome, so he took a day off. He later appeared and performed miracles for about 2000 years, then sent his son for a visit and to be murdered, and both have remained in hiding for the last 2000 years but are still there.

#2 The universe and the intricate complexity of life, which we barely perceive let alone understand, was the result of an octillion quattuordecillion centillion uncorrelated accidents randomly taking place over a quintillion duodecillion eons from nothing at all.

On some reflection, they are both equally likely to be true, equally impossible to prove, and frankly farcical.

And yet, one of these beliefs is backward superstition, objectively ridiculous. The other, the only rational explanation proven by observable reality. The belief in which is not required, but to not believe a badge of ignorance.

To be fair, Lefties believe white people are born and must die racists, black people cannot be racist, democratic policies have improved the lives of inner city blacks, socialism raises living standards by making everything free and isn’t corrupt, children raised by their natural parents are not happier and more successful, gender doesn’t exist, women, when they exist are physically capable of doing anything men can but are socialized out of trying by men, when they exist, any patterns in qualities and behavior between men and women that have existed for centuries across civilizations are result of male sexism which always exists, men, when they exist can get pregnant, abortion saves lives, women get paid less for the same work as men, and global warming is not just proven, like evolution, but a more serious threat than overfishing or running out of energy.

At the same time.

There are differences of course. The most important one being that one has a real God, and the other, like Scientology and Kwanza does not. There’s a school of thought that believes humans have an innate spiritual hunger, that will be filled somehow. Lefties use science and dogma as a substitute for a God, but they really don’t confuse this with an actual deity.

The important emotions in Christianity are guilt, fear and hope. In Leftyism guilt, anger, arrogance, and a little hope. Christians are on balance more fearful but less angry than Lefties. Providing a framework for angry people to become self-righteous is recruiting tool in Leftism. Fear serves that purpose for Christianity.

Leftism seeks absolute power over everyone. It’s unclear if Christianity is as much as an opt-in thing as they believe, or if they are just losing the battle for power. The situation may have been very different in the Middle Ages.

Perverts appear to be randomly distributed, and happy to hide behind whatever piousness is handy.

Both religions attempt to change the brutish state of nature and reality with force of will. Christians leverage the supernatural directly, via prayer. And by charitable action. Lefties believe that by controlling thought, speech, and actions they can change human nature. They believe this is an entirely rational, indeed scientific process. But if one lies long enough (see list above), eventually it gets hard to tell the truth. And with gender recently becoming a fluid, much like wine turning to blood, the two are converging on the supernatural. Lefties perform charitable actions by forcing others to do them.

Both groups have an onion of believers. Most people who identify with either religion will find much of this post hyperbolic, bordering on silly. Because for every person who strongly believes abortion is sin, a much larger group believe it is just a somewhat sad but sometime helpful reality. And for every person who thinks abortion is joy, to be livestreamed, a much larger group believe it is just a somewhat sad but sometimes helpful reality.

Most people think of large organizations as scaled up versions of small organizations. This is a dangerous mistake, that impacts both religions, but is the fatal flaw in Leftyism.

All organizations at scale, given time, devolve the same way and for the same two reasons. The first is the nasty combination of human nature + money + power. Fear, greed, envy, lust, power can exist generally without harm as demons in our heads in the 4H club. But throw in money, power, and secrecy at scale and far too many succumb.

The second is central planning. It doesn’t work. It can’t work. In order to scale, organizations need to lock into some simple patterns and scale them with process and bureaucracy. Process and bureaucracy are death to creativity, innovation and learning. Over time, every organization gets dumber and less responsive to external changes.

It matters not a bit if the organizations is Big Religion, Big Government, Big Military, Big School, Big Environment, Big NGO, Big Corporation, Big media. Organizations age and die.

The free market has a mechanism for destroying dead companies, freeing their resources, and creating new ones.

Big Government, the darling of Leftyism, never shrinks, never learns, and never surrenders power.

Christianity, ironically, has cautionary parables about this.

I would write about the afterlife, if I knew anything about it.


Mike.

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Maybe This Would Work (was: For Ian)

Assumptions:

PCR-RT tests are not only useless due to high false positive rates, they are dangerously misleading.

Antigens tests, while having both false positives and false negatives, are much cheaper, easier and more accurate than PCR-RTs.

Covid19 does not target indiscriminately. It is tragically lethal to people over the age of 80, and younger people with diabetes, heart problems, obesity, cancer, immune system disorders, and other comorbidities. The death rate in children rounds to zero, but some children are at risk.

The vaccine saves lives with a healthy risk/reward profile, but the value accrues largely to the least vulnerable group. Older people benefit less from vaccination due to lower immune system function at age. The risk/reward profile for children is an open question, but the risk will have to very low to justify the limited benefit.

A strategy to eradicate a global disease that so far has produced multiple viable mutations in less than six months, by starving it of hosts, with a vaccine that starts at 95% efficacy (i.e. only 5% of the people who would have gotten it, get it post vaccination) and decays to 60-70% in six months is badly flawed, unless your plan to give the entire world boosters every 4 months.

If, hypothetically  you eradicated the disease from a geographic region but without strong immunity, it will return, likely in mutated form.

Lockdowns, social distancing and masking, while likely the best ideas we had at time, failed.

There is natural evolutionary pressure on the virus to mutate to less lethal forms. The vaccine likely puts pressure on the virus to mutate to more lethal forms, while at the same time reducing the pool of potential hosts.

Natural immunity is better and longer lasting than vaccination immunity.

A government bureaucracy, run by career politicians, who arrive at truth via a vote, is not science.

Science is not a consensus. It is a jumble of competing ideas, that get debated and proven, or disproven over time. This is often a slow process, that cannot be hurried much.

Politicians, on the whole, do not understand science, do not care to, are not very trustworthy.

I don‘t know how to achieve this in the real world, but it might work:

Stop using the PCR-RT, except in a clinical environment in concert with other diagnostic tools. Stop blanket testing for “cases”.

Sort demographics into best risk/reward for vaccination, and encourage people to  do it, via education, for their own protection. Risk/reward includes both tiny probability of reasonable  protection with very low risk, and some protection in the highly vulnerable.

Immediately stop the fiction that we can achieve “normalcy”, which isn’t a word but probably means normality, via carpet bombing with vaccines.

Do not vaccinate kids without comorbidites.

Assume the infected/recovered are immune, and do not need vaccination. But monitor for waning natural immunity.

Stop ignoring therapeutics like HCQ, Ivermectin and monoclonal antibodies and others, and aggressively study these things and others in every combination. Go with what works.

Carpet bomb the world with home antigen tests. Encourage anyone at high risk, or living with someone at high risk, to take a quick test if they suspect symptoms or exposure. With positives, take the high risk people to hospital immediately, and let the vaccinated quarantine at home unless they become very ill. Use therapeutics to save lives, both as prophylactics and as early treatment, when they seem to work somewhat.

Stop listening to politicians and career government bureaucrats posing as scientists. Stop lurching from idea to idea, and blaming other for failure of what are actually failed ideas.

Stop the masking, the anti-social distancing, lockdowns, mandates and other “soft” coercion, and return to a thoughtful normality.

Stop focusing on one risk to life at the expense of all others, and understand people die from multiple causes. Save more lives by doing so.

Live. Free. Think.

Mike.

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Are We Still Very Sure We Know What We Are Doing?

To Date:

WA State Deaths              8500

Population                         7.5M

Deaths/Capita                   882

Sweden Deaths                 15,000

Pop                                   10M

Deaths/Capita                   666

Mike.

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