Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Rabbit Hole Isn't What It Used To Be

What a time to be looking for work. They won't call it a depression (or even a recession) because the Masters of the Universe (the thieves on Wall St, not the homoerotic toy line) are making money. I guess we need a new word to reflect the situation where the Kings of Capital are making money and everyone else is eating dirt and wandering around in a daze.

How about we call it The Great Oppression?

Look, it's obvious things are screwed up, bread and circuses on the TV notwithstanding. Bill O'Reilly thinks everything is fine, so I guess I should shut up and get a job, right?

Except I've been looking for work pretty much since I graduated (I did get a road trip vacation as a graduation gift from my parents, so I guess that makes me a dirty hippie), and there just isn't a whole lot of anything these days. Entry level jobs for college graduates simply don't exist anymore (unless you're a R.N. or an engineer). If you don't have your first year of experience, don't expect to ever get it in this climate. There are too many overqualified people flooding the market, no one wants to hire an unknown quantity.

It's funny to me, in a way. A lot of Baby Boomers like to complain that the young generation has a sense of entitlement, that they're a spoiled bunch of idiots. And yet these same people, when faced with hiring someone, expect that someone else somewhere else will hire the new people. They want good employees, but they want someone else to have taken the risk of hiring them on and vetting them (thus, minimum one year of experience).

Most of the ones who engage in this behavior are totally oblivious to their own hypocrisy. But then, isn't that always the way?

The legacy of the 80's was the idea of "greed is good." We all gave each other permission to be selfish and screw each other over. Civilization can't survive without cooperation, and we relegated cooperation to the kid table. Now, like all cancers, this meme has spread and mutated into its latest strain, "Not my problem."

You need a job but you don't have experience? Not my problem.

You need help paying for overpriced health care so you can get back to being productive? Not my problem.

You got screwed by a banker who walked away with the keys to the treasury? Not my problem.

I could go on, but you get the point.

Of course, the central problem with this is that it is wrong. We live together, in increasingly crowded and interdependent systems. When one of us falls, all of us suffer, even if it is a third, fourth, even fifth order effect. Being six degrees from Kevin Bacon means you're seven degrees from everyone in the world. Six and a half billion neighbors, and some of them didn't eat today.

Spider Robinson has a saying, "Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is magnified." This, at its core, is what civilization is all about. The writers on the TV show Lost said something similar, "Stand together, die alone."

As many problems as we have, the alternative is worse. I want a job where I can help us hold together as much of this civilization as we can, for as long as we can. I guess those jobs don't exist anymore.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Refining ideas

I look at history and see that many civilizations have declined and collapsed before. I see how complex systems based on certain assumptions fall apart when those assumptions are no longer true. I look at how dependent we are on certain types of energy and cheap, easy wealth and look at our mechanisms for coping with interruptions to those things and it leaves me with a sense of cynicism. This is heavily reflected all throughout this blog, and is pretty much the purpose for it's existence.

All of my frustration with the problems people needlessly create for themselves finds itself reflected in my writing here.

When I say things like "stockpile food, gas, and ammo" it's not because I think the world is going to truly collapse into Mad Max style anarchy overnight. It's because having something stored away makes it a lot easier and more comfortable during the inevitable hard times. All it takes is a nasty tornado or a bad hurricane or a relatively minor earthquake and you can end up without food and water for days, and depending on where you are and what time of year it is having something put away can literally save your life.

On top of that, with everything stretched to the breaking point right now due to the recession, all it would take is one nasty large scale disaster and you could end up like those people in New Orleans, unable to get food or water for more than a week and still underwater a month later.

When a nation gets to the point in its life cycle that it starts doing things like ignoring rule of law and brazenly defying its constitution (and, I'm sorry to say, Obama is still wiretapping without warrants) you can take it as a sign that things are not going to truly get better (though what gets reported in an increasingly entertainment-based media might not reflect this).

The fact that the people who have all the power in this country think that things are better now because the market has gone up, even though unemployment continues to get worse (and please don't give me economic voodoo about leading and trailing indicators, I understand how it works and if you think that is a reasonable response to what I am saying you're missing the point), shows you everything you need to see about why I feel pessimistic about the future here.

People so easily forget this nation's recent history. We need to be using what resources we have left to create a buffer between us and calamity, but instead we're eating our seed corn.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Past his naptime

So I recently got a rather hilarious comment that I felt compelled to share with my handful of readers, as it is a great example of why policy revolutions are so dangerous.

Lets just take it from the top:

Millicent...Walking Shark!!! Fucking morons...both!!! Pull your heads out of each others assholes, shut the fuck up for just a few minutes, put your bongs down and pay attention for those few minutes. You might be amazed at what you might learn, the clarity, the light, when ones head is extracted from his lovers ass!!!

Ah, so I'm foolish, ignorant, blinded, and drug addled. This attack, especially the references to pot smoking, is fresh, original, and brings a sense of enlightened discourse to the argument. This person is obviously someone we should all stop and pay attention to, as he is about to bring some serious, wise, and reasoned discourse to our previously childish and simplistic rantings.

Fucking communists.

Wait... when have I ever advocated for (as wikipedia puts it) "a socioeconomic structure and political ideology that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian, classless, stateless society based on common ownership and control of the means of production and property in general?"

Hmm. Maybe our friendly commentor meant to type a different word, and he was just thinking about communism, so it slipped out. Or maybe he doesn't know what the word means. Nah, there's no way someone this eloquent would use a word that he doesn't understand.

Serve our great republic and move to France or Venezuela, Spain or Denmark where bong toting pinheads are welcomed and admired! Oh yeah, not all socialists countries are open to fags, so you and Sean Penn might want to avoid Venezuela. But please get the fuck out fast nonethess!!!

Again, some strong semantic confusion here. Am I supposed to be a communist or a socialist? Additionally, I never knew I owned a bong, so if I've been toting one it must be invisible. This is actually pretty amazing, if I can discover the secret to this invisible bong technology I could manufacture and sell them and become rich.

Oh shit, I think I just broke my communosocialismonik vows. Now they're going to revoke my gay sex card for sure.

That reminds me, this colorful character seems to imply a sexual relationship between Millicent and myself (rightfully so), but then he implies we're both gay. Its important to note the amount of cognitive dissonance one of these cretins can sustain even over the course of a few sentences.

Ultimately, though, why would I want to leave the United States? My communosocialismonik brother Barack Obama has seized control of the executive branch through that ultimate anti-democratic, anti-constitutional, anti-moral trick of winning more electoral votes than the other guy.

Why would I leave when my guy is running the show?

Sorry friend, you and your ilk are well deserved losers. You had a chance to run the country and you did... right into the ground (or maybe off a cliff). It is people like you who make a moral revolution impossible at this point in history, you are simply incapable of true argument in the manner needed to operate a citizen government as envisioned by the founders of this country. If you ever hope to be worthy of the mantle you so greedily covet, you need to do a lot more reading and watch a lot less cable news. Stop listening to AM radio and learn to think for yourself. If your brain is even structured in such a way that you can, which I doubt.


Patriots United

Really? You're calling yourselves P.U.?

You people are so far over the top, its no wonder you ended up on bottom.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I just realized that I was getting comments, but they were being sent to an old and now defunct email address. I've updated it and should see when people comment from now on.

I appreciate the comments, its always nice to know that I'm not just shouting into the void here.

I'm currently trying to sort out my thoughts on the recent spate of right wing "we're out of power so lets have a revolution" writings. I can see how some people would draw a direct paralell between those and my writings here, but what I hope to address directly is the fact that they ask the same questions that I do, but come up with totally different answers using totally different lines of reasoning.

My central value has always been the preservation of civilization (and yes, I am motivated in this by selfish as well as altrusitic reasons: I like toilet paper, indoor plumbing, and video games). My conclusions when pondering the use of force as a political tool is that it is incredibly dangerous and has in almost all cases backfired. The trick, as always, is trying to sort out why it worked in the American and French revolutions, and failed in so many others.

I suspect it has a lot to do with the enlightenment.

I know this is, in retrospect, a rather content free post, so here's an archive link to an old article I wrote for the student paper at my University, Give the French a Break.

Amazon is down with the sickness

So apparently has decided that GLBT books are "adult" and has removed them from their rankings. Except, not all books having to deal with homosexuality. You can still see books about how horrible homosexuality is and books about what the bible says about the gays (spoiler alert: teh gay is teh bad acording to the sycophants of Jesus), but Heather Has Two Mommies is verbotten.

This is an easy one folks: Discrimination based on self selected traits (like, say, being a Nazi or a Catholic or a Bucks fan (sing along: one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other)) is generally ok, and even a good idea. If someone tells you they believe something, its usually best to believe them and make judgements based on their statements.

Discrimination based on born traits, like homosexuality or skin color or even, to an extent, nationality (in so much as nationality is a choice for the individual in question) is not ok.

Was that hard?

Here's an example sure to singe the eyebrows of most people:

If someone is a zionist radical, its ok to discriminate based on that information.
If someone is a Jew, its not ok to discriminate based on that information.

See the difference? One is an ideology, the other is just some category assigned by a third person (and often these categories we use, like skin color or whatever, have very loose boundaries).

To sum up: Fuck you, unless you recant your homophobia I'm done with you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Problem, A Solution

Too much power, not enough accountability, and too much fixation (from all quarters) on the superficial appearance of things over the actual substance of them.

Ultimately this is why democracy in its current form has failed. We should really be working hard to come up with a new form of democracy, with checks and balances that allow, as a small example, sufficiently large groups of concerned citizens to do something like appoint a special prosecutor to investigate corruption in the government.

Of course, something like that would be easily abusable.

I don't know. I guess the one thing that we could do right now with off the shelf technology would be to assign to each congressperson, supreme court justice, and high executive branch member (president, vp, cabinet secretaries, maybe undersecretaries) a team of people who would do nothing but record on video and audio with multiple redundancy everything those people do, including recording every bit of binary data they generate and getting photocopies of anything they generate in hardcopy. It would become part of truly serving the public, for the years you are in office you give up your right to privacy, much like the way that soldiers give up rights when they sign up for military service.

I think it would be well worth the expense if it would help prevent corruption. If these people want trust they can buy a fucking dog, we need to watch them carefully while they wield the kind of power we've given them.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Modification, Restoration, or Construction?

The rule of law is a myth in modern America. The Constitution has been abandoned, and in so doing the Government has gone from a lawful organ of the people to a group of thugs with guns pointed at our heads, making demands and cooercing our obedience.

Not an unusual state of affairs in human history.

So the question is, what form of government shall we establish to rule ourselves once the current regime collapses under the inevitable forces that tear such organizations apart?

Shall we modify our current constitution, perhaps adding more checks and balances, a new branch of government to oversee the others and ensure compliance? Or some other form of ammendment?

Shall we simply scrape out the current scum that inhabit the seats of power and maintain the current Constitution and body of law, and move on from there?

Or shall we build something new, another evolutionary leap drawing its memetic legacy from the Constitution, the Magna Carta, and the other documents and traditions that western liberal democracy have grown out of?

Those are the questions. We must use our logic and reason to discover the answers, or we face a descent into chaos and anarchy from which civilization will not soon recover.

Humans have the potential for greatness, the ability to turn our dreams into reality and live together with security and propserity for all. But there is no fate, no destiny, except that which we make for ourselves.

The time for choosing is upon us.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

You have to lie to play

I've been looking for a job lately, and so naturally I am once again coming into contact with one of the fundamental flaws of our society: the need to lie to get ahead.

This is a game I refuse to play.

I will not be an enabler for the system of deciet that is known as "job interviewing." This is where you put on your monkey suit and see if you can guess which tricks the interviewer wants you to do. If you guess right, you get the job. The entire charade is symbolic for everything that is wrong with this culture. Style over substance.

The person who will best benefit the organization can be passed over simply because they wore the wrong tie, or becuase their shoes weren't "businessy" enough. Pathetic.

And now, with the advent of google and my refusal to hide my online writings behind a veil of anonymity, I'm faced with a further conundrum: how many jobs will this blog cost me?

Shockingly for many people, I don't care. I will not hide who I am. I get along fine with people on a daily basis, I am considerate, and I attempt to do the right thing. I am not ashamed of these writings, and if someone who comes here and reads them does not understand the point I am trying to make, then the fault lies with them and not with me.

My name is Michael Leza, and this blog is but a facet of who I am. I will not hide it, I will not be shamed by it, and I will not back down.