Sunday, October 30, 2016

Editorial: US Coast Guard Continues Oppression of Innocent Civilian Submersibles

Global Wahrman wishes to protest yet another example of the US Coast Guard oppressing the innocent and civilian use of submersibles and semi-submersibles.

Yes, this unfortunate oppression by our out of control, drug-obsessed Coast Guard, eager as always to restrict the use of the oceans by the people of the world has seized what they say is a SPSS, self-propelled semi-submersible, minding its own business in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America with what they say is an 8 foot hold filled with tons of cocaine. Of course we have to take their word for it as the SPSS sank before they could remove the so-called evidence.  Before it sank, the USCG removed a mere 2.8 tons of cocaine.

“Cocaine? What cocaine?” said Raul Rodriguez of Columbia. “We thought we were bringing talcum powder to our relatives in Guatemala. This is clearly unwarrented oppressiion by the US Coast Guard attacking innocent native peoples”.

The private use of semi-submersibles, something we want to encourage, is being held back by this outrageous behavior on the part of our Coast Guard and we hope that the Government will take note of our protests and restrain this kind of attacks on innocent neighborly talcum-haulers in the future.

See here for more information.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Rumors of War October 2016

Lets now move beyond the grim reality of the collapse of our political system, and lighten things up around here by considering whether or not we are on the brink of another serious regional or world war. Not only is this a very reasonable time to ask such questions, it also leads into the larger blog theme of “predicting the future”. In this case, no esoteric knowledge is necessary, we can rely on our own knowledge of history and what we can see of world events.

Whenever a war happens, there are always people who say that there were clear signs that the war was obviously going to happen and that either we should have been better prepared, or should have avoided it, or that the government knew it was going to happen and wanted it to happen, or any of a number of other opinions, some of them interesting, many of them completely out-of-their-mind crazy.

Hindsight is 20/20 but in the real world there are always tensions and conflicts that could explode into a major war. But it also the case that there are a variety of “indicators” that a war may be on the horizon. Here are a few drawn from recent history: (a) a nation is pursuing what it sees to be a goal of critical national importance and another nation executes economic sanctions (war) against it, (b) a nation is executing a rearmament of their armed forces as fast as they possibly can, (c) a nation executes an intense intelligence attack on another nation with whom they are at peace of a size that is unparalled in peacetime, (d) a nation insists that it controls another nation's territory or that a formerly public right-of-way is declared to be their sovereign territory, and always has been.

Do we see any of these four situations in the world today? In fact, we see all four of these.

Russia has a centuries long relationship with Ukraine and Crimea. They see that relationship differently than we do. For them, Crimea is the ice-free port that Russia strategically requires. For them, Ukraine is a slavic territory that has been part of Russia for centuries. The very origins of Moscow and Russia can be traced to Kievan Rus in what we might now call Ukraine. The west has imposed sanctions on Russia for the events in that part of the world. Right or wrong, these sanctions are certainly hurting Russia.

Both Russia and China are extensively rearming and reconfiguring their armed forces. The Russian army, navy and air force seem to be rebuilding at a vastly increased rate. China is doing something similar.

For the last decade, China has executed a cyber-attack against the United States of unprecedented scope. The only people who do not know it at this point are people who are really not paying attention (or don't want to know). The US Government has given every indication that it knows and that it wants it to stop. We know that something has been going on in part because our country has begun an immense investment in offensive and defensive cyberwar.

China's actions in the South China Sea are about as aggressive as a nation can be in times of peace. It is a setup for a hot war, and they are arming for it. They want it, they need it, they have to have it. And if we don't like it, we have to fight for it. The problem is not what we want, the problem is what all China's neighbors want and we are in a mutual defense alliance with those neighbors. Probability of war? High, about as high as war between India and Pakistan, for example.

Oh, did I forget to mention India and Pakistan?  Or India and China?  Or Vietnam and China? Or Pakistan's financing of terrorist groups? The war in Syria and the refugee crisis? Russia's blatant cyberwar against America? N. Korea and its nuclear weapons? Russia and Chechnya (what's left of it)? Or the Congo? Or Somalia? Or Sudan? Or Libya?

So are we headed to world war? Not necessarily. After all, even a hot regional war does not imply a world war.  But if we do end up in a major world war, there will be people who say that there was plenty of evidence that it was on the horizon.

This topic continues here.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Three Cold War Intelligence Stories

When the Cold War ended, or at least morphed into another form, many people claimed to expect a peace dividend. I never did, I thought that was the most egregious wishful thinking as clearly the world was leaving one set of perils and diving right into another. (To be fair, the people calling for a "peace dividend" knew this very well, they were merely arguing for more money for such things as education after years of being told there was no money for it, we had to spend the money on the Cold War). 

On the other hand, I did expect and we are slowly receiving an “intelligence voyeur dividend” as events that happened during the Cold War became explained, or partially explained, or revealed, or whatever. What is the value of such exposure? I think that there is value in telling the history of that time, or at least some of that history, and there is also value in having a better educated citizenry, one which will have some understanding of the way the world works and what has been happening around them in the recent historical past. 

We have here three essays, all published in The Guardian in the UK about three different people who were involved in intelligence matters in the Cold War and whose story, what is known about them at least, is worth reading if you care about this sort of stuff.

The first is an article on Ashraf Marwan who was killed in London in 2007. He died a very rich man. He may have been assassinated, he may have committed suicide. He was certainly a spy for Israel, or was he a double agent under the control of Egypt? Its a wonderful story that suggests an answer to one of the mysteries, but by no means all.

The second is about a Czech / Soviet spy who penetrated the CIA and was the last prisoner traded to the Soviet Union in the cold war. 

The final story is about a dyslexic member of the US Intelligence community (possibly the National Reconnaissance Office) who collected material and tried to sell it to interested parties and how they caught him.

Spy vs Spy from Mad Magazine

Friday, October 21, 2016

Are Young People Too Impatient With the Political Process?

I have often heard it said that youth, callow youth, are too impatient with our political process. That they expect the great ship of state to change direction on a dime, not realizing the immense momentum that must be overcome and that many parties must be appeased in our collaborative political process before change can occur.

I have also heard it said that people with experience know how hard it is to change the system and are here for the long haul. They know its a marathon not a sprint, and that only by applying steady pressure over a long period of time and building coalitions can we achieve a more worthwhile polity.

Well, as some wit said, “all generalizations are wrong”. In my case, at least, the exact opposite is true. I used to be patient with the process until I realized how cynical and disingenuous the process was. How often the political process simply lied to steal the money, or to get their way.

And in the last 30 years I have seen our government fail to implement the voting rights laws, even go backwards on this critical issue.  I have seen public education continue to get low priority. I have seen the Dept of Justice fail to implement the law when it involved the murder of citizens for their political beliefs and even straightforward racism.  I have seen the worst criminal abuses of corporations and the rich go unpunished and worse, the hypocrisy of a congress that pretends to disapprove but does not actually enact the legislation that would permit criminal penalties to be applied (assuming the Dept of Justice would act against the rich which is not likely).

I have seen the lip service paid to the poor and disenfranchised which is not backed up by legislation and positive action.  I have seen the tax burden shifted to the middle class and the reality of the corporate tax code. I have seen the appalling "war on drugs" and the lives it has destroyed, every bit as destructive as the drug use it so hypocritically fails to prevent.  Leonard Peltier is still in jail and the FBI goes nuts whenever they think that a president might pardon him and therefore permit justice to exist in the land.

Henceforth, dear political leaders, the new rule is as follows. Fix it now, or we will assume that you are just lying or ineffective.

No more patience, no more slack.

Fix it now or go away.

Monday, October 17, 2016

HRC On the Issues Part 1

In a recent Facebook (FB) brouhaha, I started a shitstorm by (a) advocating that Donald Trump must not be allowed to have the nuclear codes but at the same time stating that (b) I find HRC to be at best a middle-of-the-road American politician whose stated policies, designed to be non-controversial, seem far too tame to me and insufficient for the situation that 30 years of "kicking the can down the road" has caused.. Because of the controversy this caused, I recommended two things.

The first was that we adjourn the discussion from FB which is more appropriate for slinging insults and take the discussion to my blog where I can actually have a paragraph without being offensive to someone's bad reading skills. And second was that I would examine HRCs positions based on what I believe, not what you believe, but what I believe and give her a score.

What would that achieve? Not much beyond a better statement about whether HRC holds positions that I support, or not. You are perfectly welcome to have your own beliefs, I mean, like, WTF. Duh.

In the following scores, a positive score means that it is a good thing, a negative score means that it is a bad thing, and a zero means that it is neither good nor bad overall. At worst we would hope that a candidate for political office that we supported would have a positive score, even if only a tiny positive score. A zero would be disappointing of course. But a negative score would be a very bad idea. Values range from -1 to 1. 

HRC's positions were found by searching for "Hillarys position on <x>" where "<x>" might be "health care reform" or what have you.  Then from the results, I picked those that looked official and tried to avoid political third parties whenever possible.

1. Health Care Reform

"Defend the Affordable Care Act and fix it."  No thanks, what we need is for the US Government to cover health care costs for everyone, and control the greed of the doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies with legislation. We need to criminalize price gouging in drug costs. Score 0. What she advocates is not bad, but neither is it likely to make a significant difference.

2. Education Loan Reform

Some of the reform ideas are pretty good. Of course, they should have been there to begin with if this country was serious about helping people get an education, which it isn't. I do not see anything here on increasing the total amount one can get for education and the issue (which may be a non-issue, it is just impossible to tell) of to what extent these loans can pay for living expenses while attending college/grad school. Without this ability, it is all just pretentious bullshit. The poor have to live you know. Score 1/2. What she advocates is good and will make a difference. Not enough of a difference IMHO, but a difference nevertheless.

3. Welfare Reform

HRC was a force in favor of the destruction of the welfare system under the Clinton administration. This reform was a complete disaster and you can read more about that on this blog, if you care. She has never disavowed her role in this egregious republican attack on the poor. I can expect no improvement in that area under Hillary. I have been reminded since I first wrote this that HRC and Bill Clinton were not exactly responsible for this reform, the Republicans were.  Bill did sign it however.  Ok, I am going from a -1 to a -.5.  Score -.5. 

4. Visa Reform

HRC supports increasing the H1B, H2B visas in order to help corporations destroy American employment. Score -1. 

5. TTP

HRC backed off of her support of the TTP after assessing the rage that egregious trade treaty provoked. But what does she really believe. I have no doubt that she supports the TTP in her heart and will see to it that the important provisions are put into law one way or another. To an extent this ties in to the HRC credibility problem. Do I believe her or not? In general, no I don't. Furthermore, we know her inclinations based on her initial support and role as Secretary of State in creating this abomination. Score -1/2 

6. Globalization

HRC supports it of course. Anything to destroy American jobs and impoverish as many Americans as possible. Score -1. 


Our subtotal comes to 0 + .5 - .5 -1 - .5 -1 = -2.5.

Oh a score of -2.5 is terrible. Well, we will just have to examine more issues and see if we can not make this more positive. What shall we examine? How about where HRC stands on criminalizing corporate crime, on eliminating statute of limitations on corporate crime, on civic asset forfeiture for the poor and middle class, on civic asset forfeiture for rich and corporate criminals, on having the DOJ enforce the law even as it applies to local police departments.

Whatever this means, and I do not think it means much, we have a clear responsibility to vote for the candidate most capable of defeating Donald Trump at the polls. This is not my favorite approach to a political process, but we do not seem to have any choice.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Superiority of the Marvel Universe over the DC Universe Explained

Any all-encompassing theory that attempts to explain why the Marvel CInematic Universe is in fact a valid metaphor and framework for expressing the nuances of our civilization must also explain why the MCU appears to be so much better than the DC Extended Universe. I believe that there are three fundamental reasons why this is so and will expound on this today.

But first lets discuss where the differences do not lie. Films in both universes have to contend with world-threatening villains who plan to destroy all humanity, that goes without saying. Films in both universes also have to balance these terrifying cataclysms with threats that are closer to home, thus we see cruel intergalactic forces threatening school buses filled with innocent children or civilians in both movies, in which the occupants are saved in the nick of time. No cheap exploitation of the emotions of the audience here.

Nor does the difference lie in a sometimes bewildering network of plotlines of various meta-human, mutated and/or intergalactic good or bad guys or gals. This sort of thing naturally comes with the territory and both of these universes deal with the narrative implications in an adequate fashion.

And it is not in the quantity or quality of the visual effects per se that we see our major differences. Both of these universes have their share of chair gripping, physics defying, perfectly conceived and choreographed disasters that involve entire cities and thousands of innocents in a narrative of alien hatred or world dominating conspiracy.

Wherein lies the differences between the two cinematic universes?

1. The DC Universe is grim and the Marvel Universe is not.

In the latest Superman and Superman vs Batman films, I counted exactly two jokes in both films. Let me go over that again in case I was vague. There were only two jokes in the entire second film and none in the first, although it is possible that there was a 1/2 joke in the first film. Whereas in the Marvel films, there actually is some humor in the dialogue, and some of it is actually quite funny. For example, doing this from memory.

Dr. Banner: (referring to Loki) You can smell crazy on him.
Thor: Be careful how you speak, he is my brother.
Natasha: He killed 80 people in two days.
Thor: He is adopted.

2. The sheer mayhem of the visual effects in the Marvel Universe is without equal.

Sure DC has a huge quantity of stupid visual effects, like everyone does today. But I felt that these effects, although well designed, and sometimes even innovative (see for example the krypton / machine interface in the first Superman movie) they lacked the sheer exuberant madness of the visual effects of the Marvel films, or at least some of them. Consider these frames from one of the fight climaxes of the Age of Ultron monstrosity. I bet you can not even figure out how many good or bad characters are fighting, let alone who is decapitating whom. I think that it is this out of control mayhem combined with the humor mentioned above that lends a certain quality to the Marvel films.

3. We have seen the DC films before and we will see them again.

The greed obsessed studios behind the DC films have made it clear that sequels and reboots of previously examined properties will continue into the future over and over again. How many times will we see a reboot of Batman and Superman? They will be endless, they will be infinite. We will see Superman's father explain to Superman that he is not from Earth again. We will see the young Bruce Wayne witness his parents getting murdered and be horrified, again.

Whereas the Marvel films give the impression that they are actually going somewhere with their different phases and do not plan to revisit the same old material repeatedly.  At least not yet.



1. In Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice (2016) there may be two jokes.  One, when Batman rescues "Martha", Superman's mom, he says "I'm a friend of your son".  She says: "I could tell by the cape.". Not too bad. Better still is when Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are preparing to take on the horrible monster at the end, there is some references to this critter being from another world. Wonder Woman says, "I have killed creatures from other worlds". Batman looks at Superman and says, "Is she with you?" Superman says, "I thought she was with you." I may have this backwards, I am doing this from memory.  These are both pretty reasonable moments of humor but that is it, that is all there is.  Its not enough, IMHO, to alleviate the endless grimness. Yes, comic book superhero movies are important, God knows, but important does not have to mean unrelieved grimness. We are not talking about genocide here, you know.

Oh wait, in the first movie, Man of Steel (2013), we are talking about genocide.  Ok, maybe they should be grim.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Standard Disclaimer

At various times when I write about topics far outside my recognized areas of expertise, such as the decline of the American Republic, I will make reference to this post, the idea being that it is a "standard disclaimer". Your mileage may differ.  CAVEAT EMPTOR.  That sort of thing.

One of the purposes of this blog is to express my opinion on a variety of topics, many of which are outside my formal areas of expertise. I recommend that you see these comments as the sincere, if sarcastic, statements either of belief, or disbelief, or anger, or dismay, and consider it warmup for a standup comedy routine that will probably never exist. Standup comedy, it would seem, is one profession where a layperson can express their rage about events in the world far beyond their ability to control or influence and far outside their recognized area of formal expertise.

Readers may notice that I fail to adhere to the rules of Standard Marketing and Self-Promotion in early twenty-first century America. I am somewhat self-deprecating on occasion. What I say about myself, my self-deprecating sense of humor, is certain to be used against me by some friends and acquaintances. It is a nasty world we live in.

I am a college educated (BS and some graduate work) American from the South, a third-generation agnostic Reform Jewish Democrat from Virginia, who has a (some will think) inflated opinion of himself. I have some credibility in the areas of visualization, synthetic imagery, computer animation both real time and otherwise, digital production, photography (computational or analog), simulation, visual effects, the history of computing and the Internet, and certain aspects about the history and circumstances of the Southern United States. I worked at the RAND Corporation when I was too young to know any better. I started using computers when I was very young long before that was common. I also come from that period when people did not have formal training in their field because very often the field was still being invented.

I had something to do with the invention of computer animation and its applications in the motion picture industry.  I have a technical achievement award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. There will be some primary source material scattered in these pages for those who are interested in the history of computer animation and the history of Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s.

This is my standard disclaimer, or one of them. I hope you find whatever I write here to be entertaining, humorous, whatever.

Thank you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Is the US Government Stupid, Corrupt or Incompetent?


When I review my own thinking about Globalization, using that term very loosely, and the various issues that it raises, I keep coming back to the same question.

It goes something like this. There is no doubt to anyone who has studied economics that many of the negative issues of Globalization, as discussed in other posts on this blog, were predictable in broad outline. And there is no doubt to anyone who examines the evidence that our government enabled Globalization but did not put in place any of the sorts of programs that would help Americans who were likely to be impoverished by these policies find a new way to make a living. Nor was there any attempt by our government to address the increasing income inequality that would be the natural result of their policies. Furthermore, the record is clear that while many economists went public with the likely implications of these policies, they were apparently ignored, but even more important, our leaders did not discuss these implications with the American people. We also have to contend with the evidence that Washington is (maybe was) completely unaware of the vast anger and distress that these policies caused until it was shoved in their face, and even then I think they were blindsided and do not really acknowledge the issues even today. (See for example the incredibly stupid and egregious defense of the deceptive undemployment index in the New Yorker, reference to be provided eventually).

So I propose to you that this leads us to ask the following questions.

Was our government completely stupid, incompetent, and unaware of the implications of their policies? Or were they deliberately following a policy that was going to destroy the lives of millions of Americans to increase the profits of the rich? A third possibility might be that they were aware of the implications, but simply failed to take the corrective actions that would be necessary to attempt to ameliorate the distress caused.

The reason I keep coming back to this question is as follows. If they were merely stupid, then they are not competent to be running our government, and we should have no hope for the future. If they were cavalier about the well-being of so many Americans, then we should not expect that to change and should have no hope for the future.

Either way, the conclusion is that our government is fucked, is dangerous to the people, and that there is no hope for the future.

None of this will make the least bit of sense to you unless you understand how well understood the issues and controversies of “free trade” aka “globalization” are. None of this is new. It goes back to the 19th century and the dawn of modern economics as we know it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the Welfare Reform Disaster

My little personal review of the systems of support for the poor in America (really in California) has been unexpectedly interesting.

It turns out that if you are poor, you can be quite sure that the US and California State governments will not help you have shelter or keep the power on. It will help you eat and get medical care, as long as you dont mind being homeless and completely impoverished.

Furthermore, it may be that there was never really any support except for women with children, anyway. I am not sure about that, but whatever there may have been, was destroyed by the Republicans with the help of none other than Pres. Bill Clinton with the so called Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which you can read about at the link below.

One of the worst aspects of this so-called "reform" is that welfare is now run by the states, which allows the Republicans to further demean and attack the poor.  In many states, drug tests are required and only counseling is provided, when what is needed is money, pure and simple. What arrogant swine the politicians of America are.

And how little respect I have for the Democratic party for their role in this abomination. When I refer to the Democrats as being "compromised", their participation in this sort of thing is what I am referring to.

What this means is that if you are poor in America, you are fucked. Thats the way people seem to want it, but it is not the way I want it. The government has gone out of its way to destroy employment in this country, and to see that their rich friends do well. They can damn well provide a basic subsistance amount without limitation to those of us who did not happen to benefit from their corrupt and egregious economic policies.

Oh yes, not only did Hillary round up votes for this offensive bill in Congress, but she also allegedly encouraged her husband to vote for it. And she has never disavowed her support for this so-called "reform".

Remind me again why the presidency of  Hillary Clinton is going to be heaven on earth?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Insanity of Software in 2016


Whether or not I was having a fabulous career today, I would still have to work hard, like everyone else, to keep up to date and learn new skills.

Since it is a part of my self-image to be very knowledgable about the nuts and bolts of doing things with computers, then that certainly means being up to date on how we implement things on the Internet, and that means learning how to write Javascript for various browsers (and in some language, possibly Javascript, for the server side).

Some of this technology is good, some of it is lousy, some of it is very good, it is all over the map. But the real problem is that it is total chaos, total insanity, and there is no rhyme or reason.

I am going to let someone else make this argument for me, and you are directed to a wonderful little article called How it Feels to Learn Javascript in 2016.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Uncle Abner and the Palestinians

Warning: The following post is very political and not for everyone.

This post is a response to certain friends of mine who have taken it upon themselves to have very strong opinions on a topic that is very complicated, very controversial, and probably has no easy answers. And it happens to be a topic that I know a lot about. I may not know as much as some people do, because that would require a lifetime of study. But I know enough to have some opinions on the topic and to defend myself when various friends make their very strong opinions known to me, insist they are right, and insist that I am wrong and know nothing.

If you are not someone of this cult who thinks they know all about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and know exactly what has to happen, then you may not want to read this post. You are welcome to if you want, but I would dodge it if I were you.

I once had an uncle who had converted to a form of evangelical Christianity, I am not sure what the details are, but he lived with his wife in Idaho, and my mother, who loved her brothers, took us kids to visit them one year. As predicted, he and his wife took out their bibles and explained to us that we were sinners and we had better embrace Jesus Christ into our hearts as our personal savior or we were going to Hell.

My parents were very offended but I was just puzzled. What did they hope to achieve? Did they expect my mom and us kids to say “Hallelujah! I have come home to Jesus!” Why were they being so rude?  Didn't they know how they sounded to people outside of their little cult?

I now realize that from their point of view they were not being rude, from their point of view they were acting with the best of intentions and out of the highest motives.  They were trying to save our immortal souls. You see from the beginning of the world to now, no one else has ever had the true knowledge about life and death and heaven and hell. Nobody but them, of course.

Some people would see my relatives as members of an extreme and intolerant religious cult. Others might see them as believers in one of the many great traditions of the history of religion, and more specifically, in the history of religion in this country. But the biggest problem that I had with them is their intolerance of different points of view, their arrogant certainty that they knew the truth and no one else did, and their dismissive rudeness when dealing with people who had other beliefs.

Praise the Lord! 

Today, I have a few friends who I love dearly but who have become evangelical members of a different cult, and this cult believes that they know the truth about a very complicated set of issues which ironically also has its origins in what we might in the West call "the Holy Land". Although I have spent years studying the issues that exist in that area, I am told by these friends that in fact I know nothing, but they do. They know everything, and I had better open my eyes and see the truth. 

And yet, when I talk to my friends it is clear that they know very little about the history of the issues they so confidently and inaccurately represent. but they are blissfully ignorant of this. Or maybe they just don't care.

And these self-appointed keepers of the Truth of the Universe know that Israelis are bad and "Palestinians" are good.  It doesnt matter how we got here, or who did what, or why.  Israelis bad, Palestinians good. And if you do not agree with this, then you must be wrong.

Praise Jesus!

The arrogance of this left-wing cult has to be experienced to be believed. And they are perfectly OK with telling someone like me, someone who has spent years studying this topic, the various conflicts, and the history behind it, that I know nothing.

Really? Thats interesting. Actually no, because when you discuss it with them, it is clear that they know very little of the history and issues they discuss, and are even less capable or willing to discuss those issues. In other words, unless you are a member of their cult, it is not very interesting to discuss any of these topics with them.

Well, that is their right, and their choice. But I find their beliefs both ignorant and offensive, and I don't like being treated with contempt.

But since my friends are so intent on telling me their view of the situation, but are completely dismissive of what I believe, I thought I would return the favor and let them know what I think on some of the issues that they so cavalierly expound upon.

They are not going to like what I think, but then that never stopped them from telling me with total certainty what they believe, now did it?

I think that my friends in this left-wing cult are being cynically used by one side in a conflict and that they are what Lenin called "useful idiots". I believe that Israel has a right to exist. I believe that Israel has a right to defend itself and its people from attack. I believe that the so called occupied territories were occupied as a result of wars that Israel did not start, and that Israel needs to look at its own security first.  I believe that my friends in this cult have a double standard and accuse Israel of crimes that they themselves, or rather their countries, are guilty of. And that my friends in this cult support people and organizations that are guilty of far more offensive and "non-progressive" behavior and policies than Israel ever has.  I believe that my friends are trying to hold Israel to standards that no other country in the world would be capable of fulfilling, or even try to fulfill.  I think my friends are about as hypocritical as it is possible for a person to be.

But oddly enough, these beliefs are not the point of this post. The point goes something like this. I could write for a year describing and defending the points of view that I espouse above. At the end of that time, you might not agree with me, or argue a different approach, or any of a number of things. But only someone who is not of good faith or is part of an all-knowing cult could possibly believe that they have all the answers to this situation, and that is my point.

And that is what I think about my friends in this left-wing "Israelis bad, Palestinians good" cult. They are outside the bounds of reasonable and rational discussion.  Just like my relatives who believed that the blood of Jesus was going to save me from Eternal Hellfire. They may or may not be right, but since I do not subscribe to their religion there is not a lot of point in discussing it.

That said I am going to bore you with three more issues on this nasty topic, and I submit them to my friends in their cult even though I doubt they can hear me.

1. Many people believe that negotiating peace with the Palestinians is pointless until the Palestinians convince people that they sincerely want peace. They would have to convince the Israelis that this time peace is not just a tactic in preparation for the next war of annihilation.

2. If you would like a country to return the "occupied territories", start with your own country first before you lecture others. Let he who is without sin throw the first stone, so to speak.

3. If you want to make the world a better place, may I suggest that you start here, and work to end racism, poverty, and inequity in this country, before taking sides in a situation about which you know almost nothing.

That said, these are still my friends, and just like my uncle and his family, I sincerely wish my friends all the best in areas outside of these issues.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Three Down, Four to Go (DRAFT)


This post is being rewritten, I would wait for this notice to go away before reading.

I applied for seven jobs at a large very successful animation company where I have lots of friends. Each of these jobs was what I call lower-middle-class technical jobs. Two were in production and five were in R&D.  I could probably do any of these jobs with skill and style. So far I have been rejected from three of them and I expect to be rejected from the other four. 

I have assurances from friends inside that I am not lost in the HR maze, but that the real hiring managers have seen my paperwork.

What I find outstanding, and discouraging, is that this company has not contacted me once on any of these jobs to clarify any points, or ask any questions, or schedule some sort of telephone interview.  In other words, I am not really being considered for any of these jobs because if I was, there would have been some sort of contact (even if, ultimately, I did not get the job).

Let us all remember that this animation company is overwhelmed with suitable and qualified candidates and that no doubt they will have no trouble filling all the positions without my contribution.

Nevertheless, I find this disturbing.  All fields are competitive today, from web programming to cyber security. There are no non-competitive fields to the best of my knowledge.  But the only field I really have credibility in, that is that I have a real history with, is related to computer animation (could be VR, AR, games, traditional CG animation, etc).  If I can not get to first base in that area, what makes me think I will be considered in any field?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

More Blogging, Less Thinking


This post has an uncertain lifespan. It is not clear if I will keep it online for the long term. I might just let it go out there for a few days, and then pull it back. We will see.

There are a variety of changes around here and they will be reflected in my blog. Those of you who seem to track this blog will notice a difference, and I wanted to both forewarn you and explain things.

The big idea goes something like this.

This blog was created and written in one stage of my life in order to achieve certain goals. For the most part, these goals have been achieved although of course there is much more to do. Although I did not write enough of the two books that are planned, I have certainly written enough to have valid writing samples. With a little luck, these longer term goals, for example, describing the early computer animation community of the 1980s in Los Angeles, will be expanded upon and will eventually make it into print. And hopefully several other themes will also get written, some of them may even get a lot of attention.

But in other ways, the blog has to change. First, the illusion of being self-supporting is not tenable. And it was this illusion that allowed me the freedom to write on certain topics at length. I will still do that from time to time, but not as much as before. Probably, I will be working under even more constrained circumstances. And these circumstances are fair. This is how the government and my peers treat people like me, and only the stupid or the criminally naive do not know it. Second, as time has passed, it has become clear to me that certain things that I took for granted, such as that our government was operating in good faith, or that people were my peers when it came to certain matters, have not turned out to be true.  Third, it is very clear that many people, even friends of mine, do not take me all that seriously, even though they may think that I am amusing from time to time.

The results as it applies to this blog is as follows. The posts will probably be shorter, more diverse in topic, less “reasonable” when it comes to strong assertions. It has been said about me that “I do not pull my punches”. What is odd about this is that in fact I do pull my punches, or at least I have in the past. Now, I am more likely to just tell you what I think if I believe that the evidence is obvious, and hope you can follow along.

There is a joke that goes something like “if you are going to tell the truth, you had better be funny, otherwise people will kill you”. I will try to remember this.

Also, when you have nothing to lose, why be tactful? The fact is, there are a lot of things about our society that annoys me. Why not discuss them? The fact is that I have been treated like garbage by my field, and it annoys me. Why not talk about it? What is the downside? Are people going to like me less? I doubt it. My friends already know (mostly) what I think, and the people who are not friends might be surprised by my reality, even in one case shocked, but that is actually something of a compliment for a blog writer.

At one point, I thought that through good work and patience, learning new skills, being polite, etc, I would eventually get some recognition, get some projects, demonstrate my more mature talents and so forth, but that did not work out. Today most of my friends who are successful play the corporate game (probably, in their estimation, to be allowed to keep being successful), so they are not going to help. If, then, as it appears, that whatever I do to fix this will not rely on the good will of my peers, or at least my colleagues if they are not peers, why not tell them what I think?

Hey, maybe it will even help. You never know.