Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Every lock has a key

A lot of companies today have approached the internet in the same way they used to approach television. They think they can control who can watch what from where and want to continue to censor what can be viewed based on location. They state they are saving money. This couldn't be further from the truth. Every major media corporation today is losing money by this outdated approach to producing content.

It is extremely easy to bypass DRM. You can by a DRM-free DVD player, or change the code on the Blu-Ray player to read all Blu-Rays irregardless of where the Blu-Ray disk was sold. People do this every day, the only people it stops are the people who don't know how to bypass the censors. It's only inconvenient until you know how to open the lock.

Instead of trying to limit people from watching (which in today's fast technological world is not just impractical but impossible) companies should try to capitalize in foreign markets.

American companies usually block commercialed access to their shows to foreigners. The United States has 317 million people, or 4.4% of the world population. These companies that have art that people want to view across the world (think of the Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.) and they won't let them watch them using programs like Hulu, meaning they cannot sell advertisements for those 197 countries, losing potentially millions of dollars of revenue each. The math is simple. Let's assume the owners of Hulu expand to the EU, Australia, and Canada, a population of 550 million people. Assuming only 1% of the population (5.5 million people) watch 100 videos a year (someone who watches 2 shows a week on average) and each viewing generates only a cent of profit (it is probably more than that) they are throwing away $5.5 million of profit. If the BBC did the same thing for the rest of the EU, the US, and Canada (a population of roughly 310+30+20+500-60=800 million) using the same state they are throwing away $8 million of profit a year. I wish I was so rich that I could throw away that type of moolah! I'm surprised the shareholders of the companies that own Hulu aren't protesting at their pointless sacrifice of over $5 million.

Viewers and fans of great TV lose nothing from this censorship, it is merely inconvenient. The real losers are the censors who choose not to make millions of dollars from willing international audiences. This is the present reality, the future is to make it profitable for content creators. They are the real losers in this system they have designed. Making laws to "fight piracy" reduce your own revenue is a stupid thing to do. If they want to fight piracy they will bring content to where it is being demanded and make profit where they currently are making nothing.

The internet is where people are looking for content today, and broadcasting is a thing of the past. Multicasting is the present and the future, and the sooner content creators accept this fact the sooner they can make the profit they should be making.

This is why DRM is the biggest financial drain of content creators today.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Increasing in purism:
A lot of younguns today desire wireless internet access in their places of work and home. They want everything to be available to them to purchase and use, thinking it is unreasonable when these things are made inconvenient. Personally, I think we should do away with internet. If you want to talk with someone call or text them with a cell phone, it's good enough. The internet is unnecessary, phones are good enough and we should be grateful for dial-up. Don't be so demanding.

A lot of people today are very disconnected from others because they use phones. They want everything immediately done and not have the anticipation of waiting for something to go across the country on a pony and have that long lifelong conversation. When everything with a phone takes so little time people spend a lot less time talking. We should bring back the pony express. Phones are unnecessary because everything can be transferred by pony, it won't kill you. Don't be so demanding.

A lot of people today feel like they need to write things down. Back in my day we committed everything to memory and recited the old stories on the beginning of the world which we know so well we don't need to write anything down.  Writing is unnecessary, memorization is enough. Don't be so demanding.

The only difference between these three statements is when they were popular.

The good is the enemy of the best.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Direct action

This is a response to a photo I found on Facebook overs year ago. It has been slightly edited.

Someone who associated with what occupy became once said, "if voting changed anything they would make it illegal"

Which is exactly what is happening across the country as ballot access is being restricted under the false premise of voter fraud. The same thing was done under every fascist and communist country in history. In other words, voting is being made illegal for many. It obviously matters.

This nonsense about "direct action" on changing government by protesting Wall Street in a camp when the corruption is on K street will never work. Unions didn't win until they pressured government under President T Roosevelt, passed anti-trust laws, and formed the progressive party which got seats in congress (Theodore Roosevelt ran as a Progressive in 1912). They then elected President Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 who passed regulations on Wall Street to protect Americans with a supportive congress which brought all of America out of the great depression, the rich, middle class, and even the poor. The progress continued until 1978 when union members stopped voting and the Republican Party had 14 years of undisputed dominance in government. Regulations were stripped, and America didn't complain when they saw their purchasing power plummeting year after year, and kept abstaining, and nothing has changed yet. The median American households real value falls every single year. Occupy chose this direct action bullshit which has never succeeded, using the same strategies those WTO protests in 1999 used which have failed every time they are tried without fail. Direct action has never succeeded, and it isn't illegal, though protesting is in some places, voting has a stellar record, and it is being made difficult in the south right now.

Suppoerters of direct action will often point to Ghandi and Mandela on how it worked, but Mandela won from prison while he was running for office, and Ghandi was in every way looking for massive political changes, to have India be political independent. Martin Luther King jr persuaded politicians to pass laws ending discrimination as a major tactic as his final goal, equality under the law, and he had two presidents who supported him on it. What occupiers called direct action is protesting against changes without actually running candidates to vote on the bills that will make a serious difference in the laws of our country. The only movements I can think that have done this without any political action (which many occupiers opposed) are the anti-globalization and animal rights movements, and they haven't succeeded by any stretch of the imagination.

Global change requires action. Action requires politics. Direct action is in reality inaction because there is no change after it is complete.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Kennedy was one of the greatest presidents in American history. This is something I truly believe for several reasons. His push towards social spending led to Medicare and Medicaid among other social programs that helps support Americans who have bad luck. He supported human rights more than any other president in American history, passing numerous bills to help African Americans, an issue long ignored by the politicians. His support of Germany which wanted to be unified was a message not of another war in Europe but of unification, and he would be pleased today to see the European Union and Schengen treaty today. When it comes to domestic issues he was the greatest president in American history.

Not to say Kennedy was a perfect president. He supported the government in Iraq that would lead to Saddam Hussein, and significantly increased our military non-humanitarian support of Israel, both of which made the world less free. Like every president he is complicated. Whether he would or would not have invaded Vietnam is a matter of gigantic historical debate, and I don't know what he would have done.

That aside, his economic policies loosened the monetary policy of the federal reserve which led to increased lending by private banks and led us to 8 years of GDP growth averaging around 5%. He was one of the greatest presidents our economy has ever seen.

Let us not forget Kennedy and the contributions he made to this country. I may be too young to remember him, but I recognize the benefits I have today from the great President John Fitzgerald Kennedy for his accomplishments which are significant.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A history of compromise

In my political science class we had a discussion about compromise and most of the classmates who spoke said compromise is a good thing and said they desired for the parties to "work together" and "find the middle". Some compromises are better than others, and some are just plain rotten. I can pinpoint no compromise that was completely good, though there are some (like Kansas-Nebraska Act) are just plain rotten. Here is a list of the seekers of this very romantic concept:
  • The Great Compromise which created our bicameral congress made it so we have a congress that is hard to get things done, but is the best compromise on the list because it made it so the large and small states would stay together.
  • What was maybe the only good compromise in history was the Missouri Compromise under Madison, which stated that slave states had to enter along with free states which allowed the nation to grow and postponed the ending of slavery.
  • Millard Fillmore (our 13th President) compromised with the Kansas Nebraska group which historians agree (which is rare for historians to agree on an issue) helped make the civil war happen sooner.
  • The Compromise of 1877 aka "The Great Betrayal" removed troops from the south which allowed them to implement the first Jim Crow laws.
  • Franklin Roosevelt compromised in 1937 with Republicans to lower the deficit, but the private sector wasn't strong enough yet to support the jobs the government was supporting, so he quickly reversed course in the Second New Deal.
  • President Clinton compromised on DOMA trying to get other bills done, which never happened.
  • President Obama compromised on ACA which left it without a lot of teeth to fully reduce the cost of health care and delayed its implementation by 4 years after it passed. Some say this might be necessary, but the PATRIOT ACT (a much larger bill that expanded bureaucracy far more than ACA's original form was going to) was in full force just months after its implementation with an entire new department! The only remaining reason to delay it by 4 years is because it gave people time to doubt its implementation, put it after the Congressional and Presidential elections so that it gave the Republicans a chance to win (which failed for the Presidential election but did give Republicans the House, despite losing the popular vote last year for the house thanks to gerrymandering).
I oppose compromise as a policy intiative because if you are running for office and say you want to do something, you had better do it, or expect that people will not like you. Our greatest presidents in my opinion were Washington, Lincoln, both of the Roosevelts, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Lyndon Baines Johnson (Andrew Johnson was a toad). The difference between these presidents and the presidents I listed above is they ran on a particular platform, and then worked towards their platform because all of them had the support of the American people. If you are an honest person and mean what you say you will do it. You won't walk into the German Bundestag and then reach over to the Neo-Nazi National Democratic Party and ask them what they want. They lost the election! The people chose your vision, you had better give it to them! If someone is an honest person they will do this, like the 8 presidents I list above. If Americans wanted the Republican vision of health care in 2008 we would have voted for Sarah Palin and John McCain, but we didn't. It was irresponsible and just plain rude for Obama and the other Democrats to then reach over to the Republicans and destroy their own bill that a majority of Americans had voted for in the previous election. They might have been able to retain the house in 2010 if they had actually stood by their platform, but instead of then stepping aside and giving into the insurance companies who have no interest in a stable reliable health care system they lost the election. Obama should have vetoed the NDAA in 2011 but he didn't. If something is right it should be done.

I respect the Republicans for one thing, and that is they stand by their word. If the Republicans state they want to privatize our schools, end Social Security, ship weapons to Israel, Iran, the Mujahideen, invade Grenada, veto the Americans with Disabilities Act, make it illegal for workers to organize, or put Habeas Corpus on hold you can believe they are going to do it, and for that I respect them. I don't trust their judgement as can be seen with the 2008 financial collapse, opposing bills meant to expand freedom etc, but I trust the Republicans will do what they say they are going to do given their history, I just think their platform is irresponsible and the wrong direction for a variety of reasons. But I do trust they will do what they say.

I have no respect for Mainstream Democrats, even though at times they make some good decisions like Obama talking to the President of Iran to reduce the tensions and bring Iran (which is one of only two ways to go over land from India to Europe, a geographic/economic position of unmatched importance) back to talk with Western nations so they can have freedom and the world can be better, the majority of the Democrats' decisions have been poor. Here is a list:
  1. President Obama has postponed a number of parts of the ACA over the past year, meaning it will be over 5 years since passage when it will come into effect. The insurance exchanges are only now coming into effect now, if the PATRIOT ACT came into effect it would have come into effect in 2004. The Supreme Court has granted access to people who challenge the ACA (apparently the GOP has standing) but has refused to grant access to challenges by civil rights groups on the PATRIOT ACT (who apparently have no standing even though the government is snooping in their records without independent warrants, and prisoners who have been given no habeas corpus even though last time I checked no enemy troops have been on American soil attacking us in a war for the past 12 years, meaning we haven't been invaded).
  2. President Obama has not made an honest attempt to repeal the PATRIOT ACT and has signed its re-authorization every single time. Obama is a conservative. The Terrorists won, the PATRIOT ACT is still in force. America will only defeat the Terrorists' motives when we reinstate our freedom.
  3. President Clinton caved to the Financial industry on deregulating Over-The-Counter Derivatives which allowed people to make dangerous trades that were a major part of the financial collapse in 2008.
This is why I have no respect for the Democratic Party as an institution and limited respect for President Obama. When a party wins an election, it has the ability to make its platform that the people chose become policy of the land but the Democrats haven't done this since the 1960s. President Carter attempted, but with the Republicans taking over Congress halfway through his term and being unable to convince the American people that it was foreign states increasing the price, not the American government, he couldn't do a lot else.

The one time the democrats really led was when they didn't compromise on the debt ceiling last month. Hopefully they will continue and get real progress done. I don't know what they will do next.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


First it was the existence of a German style health care system,then it was Benghazi, then it was the insurance exchange not working. 

The corporate media has been trying to get Obama on every little thing that didn't go just right, as long as it doesn't benefit their owners. None of them are looking at the real failures of the Obama administration, giving up the public option and other downright concessions regarding his most important bill, signing the NDAA of 2011 which is plain embarrassing, because each of these benefit the companies that donate to politicians campaigns and almost certainly have stakes in the private corporate media. They would put it as "holding the presidents feet to the fire."

What is really interesting also is that when it came to his predecessors decisions to invade Iraq, our the bill of rights on hold via the Patriot Act, the similar problems with Medicare part D's rollout, give the banks money they will never have to pay back, appoint extremely biased judges that have ruled that there is no limit to how much a corporation can donate to campaigns if they form a Super PAC hitch undermines our democracy and creates conflicts of interest for our elected officials, there was very little to none of this call for "accountability" when our bill of rights was put on hold.

It is so obvious to me how biased the media is and where their interests truly lie. There are problems they should be reporting, but since they serve their interest they get little to no screen time.

1. President Obama has made a number of concessions too soon, with the ACA, NDAA of 2011, and with a large exception of the fiscal cliff disaster (the disaster wasn't the debt, it was the closure of many government services that had a noticeable impact on our economy) has given a lot of ground to the republicans and got nothing in return, like how Clinton held the office (led is too strong of a word) back in the 1990s.
2. The Democrats have not made serious efforts to repeal the PATRIOT ACT, give justice to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other military prisons, give justice to immigrants being held in TSA prisons across the country, reform our immigration laws so we can have enough farm workers come here legally, repeal citizens united and implement mandatory public financing for political campaigns which will help destroy conflicts of interest and is used in New Zealand which is routinely listed as the least corrupt country in the world, renew the part of the Civil Rigts Act which requires some federal oversight in states where there is a history of gerrymandering, demand accountability on where and who we ship weapons to, making sure the process of who receives federal contracts is fair and accountable, or changing our tax code to be more progressive and help bring stability to our economy like exists in Australia. These types of actions will fire up the base of the Democratic Party and get people excited. There has been no progress on any of them. This is a major failure of the Democratic Party. The only 2 major bills the past 5 years have been watered down (even though neither one got a single Republican vote) and were very limited in scope. This isn't so much about appeasing the republicans as it is appeasing the corporate interests who are corrupting our system.
3. The surveillance of American citizens is unconstitutional without a warrant. There has been no serious effort by the President or his party to change those laws.

These are serious problems that threaten the ability of people to get fired up about the Democratic Party, I'm not very fired up personally after all of these concessions and am hoping for a third party if our electoral system would allow it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Basic Income

I saw an interesting post today on Facebook talking about a new method to jumpstart small poor economies. After watching the video of the people in India and thinking of how government spending is done today having some direct-to-citizen cash transfers makes sense to me.

The US government spends hundreds of billions of dollars on recipients, many of them extremely wealthy companies.

Seeing what is being done right now in Madhya Pradesh is stunning seeing how giving people these small gifts (100 Rials is just over $3.00 USD) turning their lives around. Not everyone is so wise, but given the amount of economic value added to these people's lives and the amount of change it makes for them, it makes sense for the government to do small things to help people become financially independent. When people are able to work to their full capacity we have a greater economy. When the average consumer increases his/her income there is a larger demand for normal goods which incentivizes producers of these goods to increase their demand. In economics there is a concept called marginal utility. As someone buys more and more of a good there comes a point where the value added decreases. When we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on (primarily) military contracts for these large companies it makes a very small impact on the economy because the people who own the majority of these companies have everything they want and have no incentive to buy more goods when their income increases. If I already can afford all the electronics, books, vehicles, and trips I want in a year, increasing my income is not going to make a significant difference to my quality of living or spending, so I will put it in stocks.

Investment is important, but businesses need both investment and demand. If no one else is able to purchase goods the investment is worthless. If businesses don't see demand for their services rise they will not grow. Businesses have to pay back the money that is invested in them at a future date (sometimes specified in bonds, sometimes not in terms of stocks). The money that they make from income is theirs after expenses. As a small business owner, I would prefer customers over investment after I meet my expenses.

A better solution would be what the Basic Income people are proposing and seeing the impacts it makes to people in India. Instead of passing out food stamps and assistance that is dedicated to some things it would be better to just give them cash, which is actually what Milton Friedman argued for and why we have an alternative minimum tax. If the federal government gave small businesses grants and state governments ensured that licenses are processed in a timely and efficient manner, our economy will be much better off. If you take someone who was making $20,000 a year and double their income you will find that their consumer spending will change in a far more significant way than someone who is making $20,000,000 a year. A $10,000 grant to someone working minimum wage who wants to start a business makes a huge difference to someone , while it would take a hundred times that to make the same proportional difference to someone making 1000 times that, which means it is a far less expensive method to boost our GDP. If we provided free education to every American (as I have posted in other blog posts) and we had 10,000,000 students, it would cost roughly $20,000,000,000. Lockheed Martin alone received $31,000,000,000 last fiscal year, excluding the other big fish of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, GD, etc. People who say we can't afford this just haven't seen the facts.

The government already gives small business loans, we should shift these to be grants which will be an even bigger stimulus to our economy.

As a sidenote, I personally suspect that the amount of money the government grants to these companies is caused by the enormous sum of money they pay to politician's campaigns, which is why I still want to have Occupy's goal of publically funded campaigns. These companies need to diversify away from military, there are many other things they are manufacturing because it is just too expensive to support such a complex.

The European Proposal:

American spending by recipient:

Major campaign donaters:

President Eisenhower:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Peace in the Forgotten Continent

Today the M23 Rebellion in the Congo ended. It is the front page news story on Wikipedia, but it takes a good amount of scrolling to learn this on the BBC, Aljazeera, and doesn't even appear on the US Google News homepage. This is a major development for world peace and the development of Africa and is clear bias against Africa in the global news media. Hopefully the United States and EU will move to help Central Africa develop now so that it can stabilize and develop in sustainable ways.

The other part of this is even though this happened today, I can't find it anywhere but Wikipedia's front page without scrolling through to look at Africa or subscribing to news sources from across the world, and the front page of allafrica.com has the peace treaty, but most people won't look at such a region-focused website. I'm unusual in this way.

The global news media needs to be more aware of Africa, home of a billion people and a vast array of cultures. Most of future of global economic growth is in Africa because it is mostly undeveloped and a lot of millionaires and billionaires are going to be made when Africa develops and the people who invest in Africa really make a large difference. Estimates put the Democratic of the Congo with the largest potential GDP in the world given its untapped potential. There should be more reporting on Africa, given how it is the future.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 election and implications

So the 2013 election has just ended. The most important part was undoubtedly the governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia. Solid Republican Chris Christie led a gigantic victory in a deeply Democratic State. His campaign speech talked about showing how he can make sides work together. I find him undoubtedly the leader of the Republican Party's center wing, and the entire party. The other three wings are the Libertarians who are led by Rand Paul or Justin Amash who is the leader of their caucus, the Tea Party which is led by Marco Rubio, and the Far-right Christian Republicans is probably Bobby Jindal of Louisiana given his extreme social views, leader of the Republican Governors Association, and rising status in the party, but they have been less prominent since the rise of the Tea Party. Of these five people, the only candidate who has potential of winning over the hearts and minds of centrist voters is Chris Christie. The Libertarians are seen as outsiders as a bunch of crazy conspiracy theorists, the Tea Party is seen as anti-government, and the Far-Right Evangelicals are unable to appease to anyone outside their small group. In Congress John Boehner routinely gives his power to the Tea Party's wishes, so he is not an effective leader, and Mitch McConnell is not someone who routinely speaks out on issues on national TV and when he does is seen as extremely arrogant with his comment on making President Obama a one term President his number one goal. In short, no one comes close to Chris Christie in his leadership of the Republican Party today. He brilliantly toured New Jersey with Governor (R) Susana Martinez of New Mexico, a brilliant move to reach out to Hispanics which is exactly what the Republican Party needs to stay relevant in the future as America becomes a majority-minority nation and will help keep Texas Red in the future. This will make far-right conservatives angry but keep it relevant for the other 80-90% of Americans who don't see Hispanic immigration as a threat. His speeches yesterday and today are a very clear election pitch, and he will be the Republican nominee in two years. He is a coalition builder like Ronald Reagan was with the libertarians and Far-Right Christians which will keep the Republicans from splitting and becoming irrelevant, only centrist and not extremist while Reagan was divisive and Christie is becoming a potentially unifying figure. He will bring them back to the center. Tonight's election is an important shift in history. If he had lost today the Republicans would be completely leaderless but for the next three years at least Chris Christie will be the face and voice of the Republicans.
The Virginia Race has several very important lessons for the nation. The first is the rising face of the Libertarians as a political force taking over 6% of the vote. The Libertarians in this election stole from the Democrats as we can clearly see by comparing the numbers for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Virginia is a swing state and showing a 55.5% vote for a Democrat in a statewide election shows how it is still a swing state as it has been since the 1970s (where it has gone between Democrats and Republicans 5 times now) given how the last governor was a Republican. The Republicans need Virginia to win, and have won Virginia every time they have won since 1924. Virginia also has two Democrats in Congress. It is too early to say how Virginia will vote in the next Presidential election, but it is extremely important because there is no way a Republican can win the Presidency without Virginia, it hasn't happened for 89 years. There are only three true swing states in America that voted for the winner for the past four elections and the margin of victory in the last election was under 5% and they are Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. Even if Chris Christie takes all three of these three states in the next election the Democrats will have 272 electoral college votes unless if he takes at least one more state. This is going to be a large challenge for Christie.

The Democrats are going to need a candidate that can get their base to turn out in 2016 and capture the votes of people who don't usually vote and convince people that she is better than Chris Christie. Many people think Clinton will do that, but Clinton will not get the votes of people who lean close to center and no votes of people who lean slightly right, and she will be unable to get a lot of left leaning votes because she is very similar to Chris Christie's views in many ways, neither has a record of supporting gay marriage (Bill signed DOMA and Hillary is very similar to Bill in her views), and Chris Christie probably has the upper hand on economics. I actually might vote for Chris Christie over Hillary Clinton if she becomes the Democratic nominee given their similarities. I trust Christie more than Clinton. However, if the Democrats were to run Elizabeth Warren I would vote for her given her advocacy of consumer protection and Warren has the potential to defeat Christie heads down because when she gets on the stage with Christie in 2016 it is going to be a very interesting debate that will move America to the left. Looking at Christie's funding he got the majority of his money through public funds and has no incentive serve anyone but the people and it will be extremely interesting to see if he will be able to see how he will do on the national scale on campaign finance in comparison to the Democratic nominee and where his positions will be on more national problems over the next few years. I am certain he will be the Republican nominee, and he has real potential to win the Presidential election in 2016 if he stays true to his values. I have little doubt he will beat Clinton in 2016 since he will get most centrists, and neither candidate is getting over 50% when the two are matched up.

This doesn't mean he is a Keynesian though. His education policies are definitely right wing. The election will be very dependent on whether Christie keeps his more moderate positions or moves right like Romney and who the Democratic nominee is and how shall presents herself. The Democrats can use this to their advantage.

I am Progressive, and I actually have some respect for Chris Christie, in fact he is the only Republican politician that I have any respect for today. It is going to be a very interesting next three years. The Republican Party is about to irreversibly change significantly under Christie's leadership. The Tea Party will soon join the Know-Nothings in the history books. Christie (if elected) will become as important to the future Republican Party as President Franklin Roosevelt is to the Democratic Party today in how he redefined his party, there really is no other historical comparison to what Christie is becoming. I must say I like how the Republicans will become closer to center and we will be able to get real progress done.