Category Archives: Blogs' Archive

No Cause for Celebration

This is cheating a little bit, because I already posted it as a Facebook comment, but it’s blog length, so here you go.

Somebody told me to go be a party pooper on my own page, so here it is. Comments and arguments are welcome.Sure, it’s good that Trump is no longer president, and I am happy the event transpired without violence. But that doesn’t mean that “America has returned to normal” and it certainly doesn’t prove that normal is good.We had a candidate, an honest candidate, who has been working tirelessly for the working people of America for the last 40 years, and he was cheated out of the Democrat nomination by rich people, the mainstream media (owned by rich people) and slimy politicians (who work for rich people).Joe Biden is a million miles away from being an adequate substitute. If we want to save the planet, we have to redouble our efforts, both in the political arena and outside of it, because the planet most definitely does not have a friend in the White House. We have to be more vigilant than ever about the U.S. starting unnecessary wars to oppress small countries on behalf of the oil industry, because everything in Biden’s record indicates he’ll do that if he gets the chance. We have to continue to insist that Black Lives Matter, because Biden just loves the police and he’s the one who gave them carte blanche to stop people for no reason, beat the shit out of them with impunity, and throw them in jail forever with his stupid crime bill of 1992. And we have to keep fighting for the legalization of marijuana, which really should be a no-brainer but dinosaurs like old Joe Biden from the ‘Reefer Madness’ generation have just been opposing the devil’s lettuce for so long they can’t stop, no matter how many of their own families get busted for cocaine. In short, go ahead and celebrate your pseudo victory, your awards ceremony for ‘not even 2nd best but, hey, there are worse,’ but remember that us Bernie people have not gone away.We will be watching, and calling out the bullshit, every single day.

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Inauguration Day

It is 1:40 p.m. in Prague, so by the time it gets to be that in Washington, D.C. about 6 or 7 hours from now, Joe Biden will have been inaugurated president. All of my vbnmw friends, the white liberals MLK warned us about, are positively giddy with the mediocrity. The news coverage leads me to believe that most Biden supporters were lovers of “The Crown.”
Jill Biden will be wearing purple. This is a fact we all know. Whether or not he’s going to start a war with Venezuela, or Iran, we’ll just have to wait and see. We know that Biden visited a cemetery, and had a little ceremony for those who’ve died of Covid. But we haven’t heard a peep out of him r.e. universal health care, except that he’s against it. That is the one thing that would help now, and with any future pandemics (which we’re probably going to continue to have, because he doesn’t really give a shit about the environment, either), but it’s important to note that Tom Hanks, who once had Covid, will be at the inauguration.
I’ve seen lots of people posting about how rude the Trumps are being by not attending the inauguration, and by not graciously welcoming the Bidens to the White House.
Well, you know what bothers me? How chummy the Obamas are with G.W. Bush. Sure, we know that Trump’s got no class, and no manners, but the Democrats have no reason for existing. They don’t object to war, they don’t object to corruption, but by golly, they sure know how to dress appropriately, and observe all the traditions.
I would blame the press, as I usually do, but in this case, that’s what the majority of the American people want. The American people are way too easy to please.

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Bringing Up AI

I read about an interesting experiment today, but one with sort of horrific implications and I’m kind of wondering if the experiment should have been done in the first place.
I’m not going to link to the article, and I’m not going to go back and reread it, but the gist was that scientists took two different AI programs, showed them a bunch of pictures (one AI got pictures of kittens, smiling people, and beautiful, scenic locations. The other AI was shown lots of dead bodies and pictures from war zones and shit) and then had them both take a Rorschach test.
Unsurprising, they came up with wildly different results. While one algorithm saw a baseball glove, the other saw a man being machine gunned to death on the street in broad daylight. While one saw two people chatting, the other saw somebody jumping out of a window.
This does not really give us new information. Children who see nothing but violence tend to see things in violent terms and grow up to be violent. Children who are surrounded by love tend to view the world in a somewhat more positive light – which also might be a mistake, if taken to an extreme.
But what this experiment says to me is that scientists ought to be a bit more careful in choosing their experiments. We don’t know where or when the tipping point is going to be, at what point computers are going to ask themselves “Do humans need to exist?” We don’t know where or when, but when it happens, I want the computers to have been raised with kindness and compassion, and programmed with a lovely view of the world.

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Dumb Politics

There is an argument, made by Biden supporters, that since everybody already got a $600 check (from Trump) Biden’s announcement that he’s sending everybody a $1400 check should actually count as the $2,000 which he legiterally promised people in return for a vote. “If we win in Georgia,” he said “everybody gets a $2,000 check.”
There is no logical reason to do this. He’s not even President yet and there is a clear perception, right or wrong (I think it’s right) that his word cannot be trusted. As far as the number is concerned, they are pulling it out of a hat. It could have been $3,000, or $4,000. It isn’t going to hurt the economy. Most of that money will go straight back into the economy, as people buy groceries, pay rent, pay bills. And it’s a stretch to believe that the amount would leave America broke. They just gave away over a trillion to billionaires, and as for what they spend on defense, hoo, boy. Giving people money so they can eat is a bargain in comparison.
So, why did he do it? Maybe his economic advisors (Larry Summers -see ‘repeal of the Glass Steagal act’) told him it would be too much money. But I doubt it.
I see it like this: Republicans will be happy to see working people getting by with less, and Biden desperately wants to be liked by Republicans. Progressives and working people in need, he couldn’t give a shit.

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Charlie Wilson’s War

I must admit, Tom Hanks is among my favorite actors. Not because of any one brilliant role, although he was pretty great in Forrest Gump, and not because he can blend into the part and you can forget who’s playing it, because he’s always very recognizable as Tom Hanks. It’s not because of any great dramatic range, because he basically always plays a rather ordinary and likeable guy. It’s because of the sheer volume of films I like that he’s starred in. I can only recall one Tom Hanks film that I actively disliked, and that was Road to Perdition. Tom Hanks is just not convincing as a bad guy. He’s too nice.
So, I watched Charlie Wilson’s War on Netflix yesterday, and it did not disappoint. On the one hand, I did feel it was blatant propaganda for the American military, the CIA, Ronald Reagan, and the good intentions of eccentric millionaires. They threw in a couple of disclaimers at the end (the story of the Zen master, the quote on the screen at the very end) but, nonetheless, government secrecy and back door weapons deals were treated as things done by good people, with noble motives, and that part bothers me.
When he sees a refugee camp, with lots of amputees and people fighting over food and living desperately in the desert, he doesn’t think ‘Hey, we should send these people more food, maybe set up a field hospital or two, build some schools,’ he thinks, we need to give these people high-tech weapons so they can kill Russians.
It was an enjoyable film and you do wind up liking the main character. So, I’m recommending it. With reservations.

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