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A Good Adrenaline Rush!

As I get out of my car at the parking lot of my bank, a guy comes in after me and takes a spot next to a car that was stopped right in the middle of the lot blocking the spot closest to the door. The car at issue could have had the spot if it had bother to just make one right turn instead of stopping ½ through the spot and blocking half of the walk to the door.

So, he pulls in, gets out and stoops down a bit to look into the wrecked car, bad light, mirror, dents, etc., sees a woman in the passenger seat and starts walking in. Another car comes and pulls into a handicap slot.

Two young punks come out of the door abruptly, a couple of steps away from the old guy. (He’s over six ft and over sixty, for sure in both instances, and pushing 225. ). As they take their first step (one is maybe 5’8”, the other less than 5’6”, maybe 140 each) and he asks them:

“I am curious what you were thinking when you left your car there.”

“What,”

“I am just curious as to what process you went through to come to the conclusion that leaving your car there was a good idea.”

“I was only in there for a little while” (Little guy and driver).

“What?” (from the bigger of the two ner do wells.)

Big guy turns to bigger punk and says, “I was just trying to figure out what was going through his head.”

“I don’t care.”

“Oh, I understand now”

“I don’t care” (again, and he backs up a step and squares a bit for for a right handed punch from down low headed up (based on his stance).

Old guys eyes flicker there, acknowledging the threat, he smiles but also veers eyes to the right to get a read on the little guy, who was just standing there. I am standing behind the punks and the car seeing the old guy front on from about 15 feet.

Old guy asks, “So, do you want to play fuck the rules with me?”

“What?

“Well, you don’t care, so I am asking if you want to play fuck the rules with me. There are cameras here and before I play fuck the rules I always ask.  Wait, if you have a gun, I won’t play fuck the rules, but otherwise, do you want to play?” (Yep, I flashed to The Warriors, “Come out and plaaay”)

That’s when the lady left sitting in the handicap car stands up on the far side of the car, on the floor board and, looking over, yells to have everybody to calm down, and her son comes out of the bank to yell at the two punks that that was his mom.

Well, the old guy was laughing and the punks got in their car and off they went.

Followed the old guy into the bank. He had his deposit all made out and handed it to the teller as if nothing was amiss (even though I am pretty sure they heard a lot of what went on). His hand was shaking. He looked at me and said, “Nothing much better than a good adrenaline rush.”

Ceding Decision Making

I have a good friend that has clued me into the big discussion about robots taking over for laborers. Clearly, such a takeover is a decision that is made “for” the people affected, not by the people affected. I have discovered, within my weird head, a situation in which the analogy is extended (a ceding of decision making from humans to circuits), in a sense.

With robots, industry gets a “being” that does what it is told. The robots ability to make a decision is limited to yes or no on a series of choices. The device can be programmed to decide specific issues and move its “arms” and “fingers” to a given place in three dimensions. Maybe, it can move those to a proximate location relative to the object of its attention, or the object is placed in such away so as to do away with the need for any proximal adjustment. In any event, the adjustment that a human might make when performing the task is removed from the equation. That removal assures that there is no grave mistake made, so long as the rules are followed. If however, a series of rules, for whatever reason, break down, then the move that might appear immediately to a human will not appear at all to the device because there is no room to anticipate the need by those in charge of generating the program by which the yes/no arise. It is a rare situation that a “new/unique” decision would need to be made, and the people currently in charge accept that anomaly at the expense of the alternative. That is probably ok in that manufacturing environment, but there is a place of diminishing returns in situations in which a slight adjustment recognized by a “pro” human observance saves a misstep. It can be a very minor misstep at the time taken, but the resultant path will show up as an error when it is too late to correct easily.

OK, so decision making is taken away in the above example. Here is something, though, that is happening and cannot most likely be stopped: the general public, including the lower 80% of decision makers, are ceding their decision making to the yes/no question by relying on devices. Heck, a self driven car? The people that pay attention when they drive will always be better than a self driven car, but the general population may well benefit because they are not paying attention such that they could make a valued decision. By so ceding the decision, they admit, on some level that the people that write the algorithms make the decisions better than them. They at least cede the choices involved to such people through reliance upon the device, without even knowing that they have ceded to the device, it is just accepted. As we move further down the path, the “trust” placed in the devices will become even more less thought out. (Not a double negative but an amplified negative.)

Here is where that path CAN lead: nefarious employment of the leverage owned by those that control the choices made. That nefariousness can happen either on purpose or by accident. The accidental “one” is perhaps the scariest, as good people involved in the chain of creation of the devices may be able to seek out the purposeful one. A nefarious misstep that leads to a path that is not recognized is the worst case scenario I can see.

Roller Ball?

It is axiomatic, at least to some, that history repeats itself. For instance, some people point to Rome as an example of what we have become here in the US. They also point to the rise of the Third Reich with respect to the people who are now running the US.

Here is a thought: It seems apparent to some that the people in power (read Bannon) are using the example of the English with respect to Northern Ireland in manipulating the general public in support of the last election and as we proceed down the road, all in support their quest to promote the ultra rich at the expense of two different segments of the “poor”. “What?”, you say. Though not generally acknowledged or recognized outside of academia, here is what the English did in Northern Ireland:

At one time, the working people of Northern Ireland were generally Scottish heritage Protestants and Irish heritage Catholics. (The Gaelic language or dialect, I believe, was embraced by both, but that is an aside.) The property was largely owned by English rich folks, and the Scotts and Irish, who were sometimes even referred to collectively as “Scotts Irish”, were the laborers, shopkeepers, etc. Well, they had employment/payment issues with the land owners and those land owners came up with the idea of starting a spat between the two different folks that collectively gave them indigestion and the “fight” that began between the two heritages/religions was on. By pitting these two groups against each other, who were otherwise economically aligned with each other, the English land owners were able to divert the attack against the rich to an attack back and forth between to subsets of the poor. The situation is beginning to abate, but how long has it taken? (Recall that the Irish joined the Scotts in fights against the English prior to the period in question, again solidifying the fact that those two groups had much common ground with each other.)

How does this apply to what is taking place in America? The people now in power promoted the distinction between the really, and perhaps not working, poor and the bottom of the economic ladder but still earning wages, poor. This second group is who was largely responsible for the last presidential election. They used to be “covered” by the Democrats, but the economy had cut deeply into their lifestyle and they were enticed by the possibility that the greatness of economic status they once had might be reborn. Never mind that the rich have gotten dramatically richer in a relative sense, let’s not look in their direction to level that monetary distribution, let’s focus on those needy people (below us) that are just taking from us. The Dems looked in the direction of the big money, the English land owners if you will, but the big money looked to the lower classes and ask, “What could we put in their left hand such that they would ignore what they held in the right hand?”. In the end, the fight is a diversion and the hope of the Rich is that they will proceed unimpeded. Here is one question that is begged: Will the advance of communication arising from the existence of the internet allow for the two poor groups to overcome the propaganda flowing from the ultra rich? Numbers are on the size of the poor, but can numbers outlast or quell money and the power that goes with it? (One other note of alignment relating back to the Northern Ireland example. In that case, there was a religious differential that was highlighted. In the current situation, there is the “entitlement” aspect as a divider, but also in many senses a race distinction that is added in, along with religous distinction as well. A whole bunch of possible “dislike” feeders!)

Oh, one last thought: Putin is an extremely rich person such that even if he is not promoting Russian interests may well be promoting the Ultra Rich Peoples’ Interest, also noting that there are more billionaires in Shanghai (or Beijing) than there are in New York. Perhaps we are moving to the world in which the original Roller Ball movie existed!

LIVING LIFE

Today started out to be as much of a drag as was yesterday, and others before it, because of what is taking place in Washington. The behavior exhibited, and the rationalizing of it afterwards in a manner that is totally superficial as to full logic extension of the answer, is just frustrating. I will tell you that the beauty of owning a knack at good cross examination in a courtroom breaks you from ever accepting BS that is clearly one step down, and not near the truth of, the path upon which the step is taken.

I will tell you that we should all hope that the new SC Justice is the guy from Western PA. Why, because the steel industry caused honesty to rule in the mill and that concept is the best we can hope for in any judge picked by the Trump Card. If he is from a steel mill town he may have gotten honesty while growing up – over the dinner table, on the playground and at school. If he is honest, then the Court will bring out the best in him whether he likes it or not.

This is what saved the day for me, a bit. I had a job at the house that needed to be addressed, replacing 100 year old brick mortar in a brick wall behind which I had run wire for a light, GFI and controlling switch. The job required me to think about it such that my brain moved away from the thinking devoted to bad behavior, as perceived by me. I sometimes fell like the Tommy Lee Jones Character in Lonesome Dove.

Anyway, the wall is on a porch, so not exposed to direct rain, but I am thinking that it needs to be done as if it is, why not? I filled the spaces with foam, then I cut back the foam giving myself about ½ inch of fill space. Mixing cement with some of the dust and pieces of the old stuff gave me a more particle appearance and a little bit better tint for matching. One thing learned, if you are coloring mortar/cement, put the color component in at the end. (By the way, this is a good metaphor for timing in an argument or negotiation.) My tools of choice turned out to be too big for the spaces and the viscosity of mix. I left the bucket sit in order to go find the other putty knife and it stiffened up while I was gone. Turned out to be good and when I came back, I found out that the best application tool was my finger(s). (Get those levels of metaphor?) Nice result, a sense of accomplishment, what a day.

Tomorrow, I go down to my local ACLU office and see if they could make use of a volunteer.

Lawyers Stopping Trump

Alright, I thought I could just sit tight and let others do the leg work of stopping the bus that the Trump Card is driving, but find that, perhaps, I should be more demonstrative in my objection and resistance.

I was introduced to people who didn’t look like me and weren’t raised in the same world in which I was raised working in a steel mill in Detroit. I learned that there were assholes of every ilk and good people of every ilk. One thing about the steel mill is that dishonesty was not allowed to flourish, since people died there if BS reined. The Trump card would have been a joke there.

Since then, I have been a tax lawyer, a commercial and criminal litigator, and more recently, international corporate counsel. I have negotiated at each stage, including in the steel mill and I have an observation about the Trump Card and what we are seeing in the early stages of his tenure. He knows only the “big dick” method of negotiation. In his private world, monetary leverage was his big dick. Now our country’s status gives him a big dick, at least he and his see it that way.

The truest thing about the big dick negotiation tactic is that it doesn’t really work except to the extent you have absolute leverage. Without the leverage, it has no play for very long. In his private world, the Trump Card used courts to leverage those with lesser assets, squeezing them in court until they couldn’t last anymore and they took less to go away. Sometimes he used the Bankruptcy laws to achieve the same end, killing off his entity to leave crediors holding a 10-30% bag.

Currently, he is using the power of the Presidency to leverage situations. The Lawyers will now have to get involved, stopping his unlawful efforts. Expect the US to spend a lot of money trying to defend his behavior. Watch for  injunctions and stays. The ACLU will need more lawyers and more money, but the fight will be taken on. The Trump Card will lose, but it is an issue of how much damage may be done before he is halted. Certainly, many individuals are immediately damaged.

About half the country thinks the Trump Card deserves to do what he is doing. However, they don’t all realize the breadth of disturbance he has started. Just wait, in 4-5 years this will be just like the decision to start a war in Iraq. Lots of people thought it was good to flop the US dick on the table for that decision, and they think screwing with refugees is no big deal as well. We will all see that it is really stupid to stop people in the process of coming here as is being done, and the Trump Card will see that his simple view of the world is just that – simple (and not well thought out). What does it say on the base of the Statue of Liberty?

The Constitution is perhaps the best man made thing ever. It is what makes the US different from every country in history. The Judicial branch is and will be the key to stopping Trump. The issue is that it will not move very swiftly. We need people within the government to do what they can, including the House and Senate. How long before people like McCain can stop the bad behavior. The Iraq situation provides a good analogy regarding a “good” idea that really wasn’t so in the big picture. Trump must be neutered ASAP. Good lawyers are needed now.

MLK et al, Musing

When you told about your dream, could you have conceived of the juxtaposition of the inauguration that is going to take place this week and the day upon which your country celebrates your contribution to the path it has walked?

Well, you labeled yourself as a possible dreamer as well, so I have to wonder if you had an inkling of this dimension in which we find ourselves, because you sure alluded to it. Now, here we are in the one world you imagined.

Fellows, as long as we are sharing, I will give you something that might touch on John’s first musing:  A person who doesn’t care if what he asserts is true or false, is guilty of falsehood. I am sure that Martin always cared about the veracity of what he asserted, not so sure that attribute applies to the President Elect.

Gentlemen, as with the three of you, I was brought to this place by a bullet. I shared certain aspects of Martin’s walk in that world in that I was in a struggle for a put upon people, and one of the religions of that world led me to the path. As with Abe, I struggled with a split amongst the people of my country, but unlike him I was never elected, merely acknowledged, a status that Martin attained. I will share this from that dimension: Action expresses priorities.

That’s exactly right!

Oh, Adolph, you get it once you got here.

I got it there, I just didn’t get all of it.

Can the new guy get a word in? I knew the answer then, and everyone here knows now, so here it is: There are no jokes, the truth is funniest joke of all.

Muhammad, that is why you were so great in the last dimension. What about that guy looking over your shoulder, another new arrival, you were always a man of the people, despite your rise.

Well, I am not as practiced as you guys, and the music to which I danced in the past dimension was strictly a game, but it seemed to be a game that laid bare the character of those that played it. My dad always advised that one should hit the ball hard, go find it, and hit it hard again. I am pretty sure that the President Elect who is the subject of this musing would hit any ball he stumbled upon, even if it wasn’t his (and it might well be a ball that his caddie dropped in a convenient place).

Hey, Arnie, nice to share a neighborhood with you again. I was different than most around me, as were all of you who have floated into this sharing. I focused on the youngest around me, as their innocence appealed to me. I have discovered that I was lucky so to do. Here was one of my realizations there: We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes. – All of you saw needs and responded in the other dimension, well one not so much in the right way, but you get it.

Excuse, me, I was always considered a little rough in the old dimension, so let me cut to the chase with this thought I had there: The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.

Ho, ho, ho, we have nothing but fun here, who knew. In working to create the country that is impacted here I once mused: He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.

Excuse me, excuse me, I have enjoyed this dimension for a long while. You don’t learn much here, because you get it all as soon as you arrive. I am not sure how or why, but even Albert has accepted that IT merely IS without having to dissect those aspects. Perhaps that acceptance is introduced upon the transition. Anyway, we are looking at the prior dimension, and some thoughts that were bestowed upon me, and my friend Confucius, come to mind: When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost, right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder. From my buddy: Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

Chipping in is what we do now, and I have been getting the vibe. As the first, and thinking about the newest President Elect, my aura wondered to this: However political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. Also: Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.

Guys, the two of us have combined in thought, in this dimension, and couldn’t agree more. We shared a lineage and an agreed concept of a higher authority in the past dimension, but still members of that dimension fight each other (and amongst themselves) in our names. Here, all paradigms are shared and understood such that we give you this joint thought: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Well, since this started with John’s question to me, let me close with a realization I had way back when and which applies: While perhaps not himself a racist, the President Elect articulates a philosophy which gives aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand.

Thanks, Martin, I have passed into this world, floating and not stinging anymore, but those in the other may not merely float, so would admonish them: All through my life, I have been tested. My will has been tested, my courage has been tested, my strength has been tested. Now my patience and endurance are being tested.

Oh, you know I can’t not say something: Only the extremely ignorant or the extremely intelligent can resist change. People too often accept the ignorant leader of change until he is exposed.

No Good Unless You Share It

I was walking down a sunny street, lunch break of a trial in Federal Court in Indianapolis, glanced across the street at a young woman who stood out, then heard from behind me, “I see you!”.  “What? “ “It’s no good unless you share it.”

The remark came from my main witness in the case, a man I was meeting as the case unfolded, with a first name of Forest. There is way more to him and what I learned from him, both in the trial and otherwise, but the lesson of his admonishment and the follow up has stayed with me to my benefit.

NeighborDave grew up not sharing a lot. He learned from an incident at an early age that there was a risk of sharing. A risk that the other person would not understand, or perhaps accept, that the facts or significance of the feeling associated with the facts, would not even be acknowledged by the recipient of the story. ND paid attention to a lot that went on around him, seemed to see more than most, because he had “time” on his hand because his attention span was so fast moving. He didn’t see it as a “deficit”, but others may well have. Sharing this right now is risky, but the anonymity of the internet allows for it, as ND can ignore the rejection of the sharing easier than in the face to face situation.

ND has found that sharing at least exposes the void that may exist. It also highlights the difference that ND has experienced his whole life, but which he never recognized because he was always moving forward faster than he was looking back such that the disbelief and skepticism that came of up, or may have come up in reaction to his actions, never caught up with him. As he has aged, and slowed down some, he has heard the rumblings from further back in the herd. It has not stopped him from running his own path, but he now understands that some can run with him and the sharing allows for the occasional appreciation and acceptance. Wow, what a cool thing.

So, share, but be aware that if you are smart and fast, not everyone will get it. When there is a “get” though, wow.