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Pholus

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 3,803

Journal Archives

"Reality" check -- This week "-bo" whipped the GOP! Why now and not 18 months ago?

We got some really flawed "deals" because of bipartisanship, "the art of the possible," starting negotiations by ceding large amounts of ground to the GOP and general meekness. This week the President did EXACTLY what I was asking for 18 months ago and oh look the GOP rolls over in less than a week. It was always possible but for some reason the President was pulling his punches.

Too bad that wasn't on the "hostage situation" that extended the Bush cuts on the wealthy.

Too bad that wasn't on HCR.

Too bad that wasn't on Wall Street regulation.

But I'm reasonable. If the President has started coming to work with the attitude that he needs to win for the American people and that means making the GOP LOSE then I'm fully on board with him and yesterday's failures don't matter anymore.

It's good to see him back. Too bad that "holding his feet to the fire" is seen as disloyalty by some here.

It seems like both sides in this little internecine spat feel like they are the only aggrieved ones.

Consider for a moment that most of the folks here who you're arguing with are rank-and-file Dems just like you. Also consider that these two factions here were CREATED and ask yourself how that could happen. After all, it is a strange situation -- I find myself simultaneously a Democrat by principle and a President Obama skeptic by circumstance despite my general approval of what he has accomplished.

For me personally, it was the TSA nudie scopes. Sorry, that one crosses my personal line. I teach radiation physics and I am familiar with computer imaging. I also am quite familiar with our govt's fascination with collecting all the biometrics they can on their own population and I find that a tad unwholesome. I paid attention to Chertoff's lobbying and how other similar and obviously safer radiation choices (millimeter wave) were ignored in favor of x-ray backscatter simply because an IMAGE was created. I found several instances where promises were made about how the data was handled which were demonstrable lies. I watched the safety exceptions granted for TSA employees so that they didn't have to wear a radiation badge -- exempting them from the workplace safety rules the rest of us follow for good reason. I watched that one engineer from Livermore suggest a software fix that would alleviate most of the privacy concerns IN SOFTWARE. The fix took 45 minutes and no additional hardware. It took THREE YEARS of continual complaints for that fix to finally be accepted. For amusement, I read the doublespeak over on the TSA blog from "Blogger Bob" and the rest of the crew as they attempt to justify all this BS and manage public concerns about the outrage du jour that they've typically brought down upon themselves. I have read Schneier's "Beyond Fear" and realize that many of the things being done to make us safer actually don't work but are done to give us the PERCEPTION of being safer. That seems a bit intolerable.

For my concerns, on for some on DU I instantly became:

1) A republican plant
2) A PAID republican plant
3) A useful idiot for the Tea Party
4) A useful idiot for the Koch Brothers
5) An Obama hater

Kind of like the names you're worried about. Number 5 actually kind of shocked me. I thought I was complaining about Bush-era policies that could be changed by the new (at the time) administration. But oh, no, apparently this was just as the honeymoon was ending and the poll numbers were not looking up so the opinion of some here was that I should just take a heaping bit of STFU for the team. "The art of the possible" I was told along with indications that I had some kind of personal problem for even feeling bad about needless radiation exposure or the "freedom gropes."

Look, just because the possession of the ball has changed doesn't mean that up became down. My values mean more than that.

Now I am not going to name names, but several of the posters on this very thread who are currently tut-tutting about all those nasty name-calling O haters were among the very people happy to fling little bon mots at me for having a non-approved opinion on an issue. Fine, I'm an apostate -- it actually has its positives you know. One of them is that your eyes become open to a lot of things around you that you'd kind of happily accept in better circumstances. It made me generally skeptical of any thread where these same people came down with their same kind of dissent smashing tactics -- after all I know what happened on the one issue where frankly I KNEW what I am talking about.

Now you personally, ProSense, seem to wear very very very thick rose colored glasses but you've generally refrained from some of the more childish name calling and so I can respect that even as I find flaws in some of your arguments. However, as you seem shocked that this name calling can occur I decided to take some time to explain it to you. The entire situation is unhealthy. In the end, I forced myself to take a break from DU for a couple months when I realized that I was not as upset with the President's behavior NEARLY as much as I was with his DU proponents. I'm back, but my core beliefs have not changed, and the same people are behaving in the same fashion so we'll see how long my new found sense of balance lasts.

So in the end, I hope you realize the moral: as you fight all these monsters you have to realize that sometimes you've created them. To end it, *everyone* has to change. Good luck with that.

Okay. Let's put this "everybody does it" thing to bed here. It's simply morally repugnant.


What would you prefer? The status quo? For this all to go away? For the "haters" to just STFU? Yeah, that's easier but that's because it's the wrong decision.

By adopting this weak "everybody does it" position you are in effect admitting that there are two Apple Computer Companies:

1) the Apple of all the marketing hype -- wonderful caring creative throughful people. You know, all the stuff you'd like to be.
2) the Apple of reality -- a relatively ruthless business fixated on the bottom line just like every company.

They are sitting on gobs of cash -- more than they can apparently spend or invest -- and they can't see fit to improve the conditions for the people who made this money for them?

Really?

Oh yes, I'm sure the chocolate ration is quite generous for these workers COMPARED TO OTHERS. But these are still working like dogs for no reason other than someone can force them to in circumstances that seem quite unpleasant. I certainly wouldn't want to labor in those conditions for those hours for that pay, even if you rescaled it to US wages. The quality of life is simply appalling. I want to SEE my family more than 1 day out of every two weeks. Of course, that's why our jobs are over there now. Because somebody figured out you COULD treat these people like dogs and pay them like crap. What a WONDERFUL achievement. Bonuses for everyone! Apple stock splits again! Woohoo!

And yet you're seeking a pass for this behavior on the grounds that these complaints unfairly single out your favorite company? Why? Isn't the fact that it's occuring most of the problem instead of who gets the negative PR?

Apple is being paid a compliment here. They spend a lot of time bragging about how great they are and how successful they are. You should be HAPPY that your company, who is in the most logical position to DO something about this problem is being asked to step up to the plate. They should, and if they did others would follow merely to emulate their success.

Unless you recognize the reality of this -- which is that Apple doesn't give a crap as long as their bonus checks roll in on time and the people buying their products can be pacified or kept ignorant. If that's true, you're more cynical than even I am.

As long as the Chinese workers are all happy I guess. Again, I point to Scheer.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/apples_china_comes_home_to_haunt_us_20120216/

As far as the Forbes article:

1) If I trusted everything Forbes wrote, I'd believe the 1% are the "Job Creators who should not be taxed."

2) The Forbes article merely uses as a source your original reference, convieniently filing off the references to the Fair Labor Association. Oh wait, they left the acronym FLA in a quote at the end. I have raised my issues with FLA in several threads and have yet to see them disputed. FLA has some image problems of their own.

3) I dispute the assertion in the article that it is necessary to go through sweatshops to get from "feudal peasantry to the sunlit uplands of 21 st century." That's merely the best rationalization the author could find.

4) Put this all in context ala Scheer. China, in the end, is appealing to US companies because it is the perfect blend of authoritarianism and capitalism. Poverty to motivate a workforce and rules to keep them compliant and productive. The people working these factories make a good wage but live like dogs because they love and support their families and it's the best opportunity they have. All so we get 10% off at the Best Buy or the Apple store. If you think for a moment that the assault on our lives that comes both economically and politically right now is not part of a process to make us more like China rather than making China more like us, you have not been looking past the elegant, sleek screen and nifty interface of your latest foxconn produced doo-dad. Once the social safety net is removed, we'll be in the same situation as the Chinese workers and making the same choices for the same desperate reasons.

5) And as far worrying about Apple being treated unfairly compared to other companies, it's for a pretty good reason (coming from Mike Daisey): In the tech market, only Apple generates so much hype and sales that their factory lines are forced into crisis modes for a good part of each year. Every new i-gadget is the result of a factory line having to CRACK DOWN to meet the incredibly high demand. That makes them a bit more motivated to ask for exceptionally long shifts compared to other companies rather than expand a workforce and provide MORE opportunity for the Chinese workers.

I guess there is more than one way to look at your data point.

The last time I had such a discussion, it was with a conservative friend. Nice to see we're coming together as a country ideologically.

First off, as far as beating down the doors to get a job you're right. People are beating down doors looking for these jobs. It beats starvation or a life of ABJECT poverty. When you're "over a barrel" any job will do and if it pays better, the more you'll want it no matter how crappy you have to live or how much it shortens your lifespan. You just have to see your children's or your parent's or your spouse's face to understand that you'll do whatever it takes.

Look, For every article praising the foxconn employment lines:

http://micgadget.com/21420/thousands-line-up-for-foxconns-jobs-in-zhengzhou/

(The money quote is empathically PRICELESS BTW: "No matter how poor the working conditions are, we can still see lots of Chinese willing to work at the hell factory to assemble the tech gadgets we’re using today. God bless them.")

We find another couple showing how great the opportunities are in this country too:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2011/08/30/20110830talking-stick-resort-job-seekers-brave-long-lines.html

http://www.heraldonline.com/2011/10/02/3414218/long-lines-for-jobs.html

Or in Europe as well.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/15/false-optimism-jobs?newsfeed=true

Punchline: In the UK -- approximately six job seekers for every job.

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Anyway, I could spend a few hours on that one. Where am I going? The fundamental tenant of cheap-labor conservativism is that people over-a-barrel will work for cheap. So, to get cheap labor simply make life hell, remove alternatives and the desperate people will beat down your doors trying to get work. You even get to be an asshole towards them by treating them like crap and then offering them the choice to either take it or leave. If you don't get the humor in particular joke, you're simply not management material.

Again, I'm hardly being original here. See for example:

http://www.conceptualguerilla.com/?q=node/55

So pardon me for not seeing your point -- I see nothing in your line of reasoning that indicates that it's a good thing that thousands of people want these jobs. If anything, it's simply the institutional rationalization behind harsh conditions. So the FLA says the conditions are much better at foxconn than a garment factory? Has to be -- electronics shops must remain clean or that sh*t gets in the product and it could cause internal faults. That has ZIPPO to do with worries about working conditions. Same with sanitary conditions in dorms and cafeterias. Dirt encrusted workers will built dirt encrusted ipads. Duh. Chinese workers are currently cheaper than robots or they'd use robots. End of story, worker "opportunities" notwithstanding.

If this was all about opportunities for workers why not hire two workers instead of working one for sixteen hours straight? At $300 bucks a month per worker I cannot imagine that the per unit cost goes up THAT much but the stress would go down considerably. Oh yeah, then Apple stock might be at $495/share instead of $500/share.

But then again, my degree is not in Business management. Fortunately.

Ah yes, it is the fault of the "Murcan" so the onus is on him.

Let me continue to demean him, but I'll do it more substantially this time.

His main comparison in the interview was about the factory floor. That comparison is BULLLLLLLLSHIT and that is a quintessential "Murcan" term if you're keeping score. What is he comparing to? Nike Sweatshops? Textile mills? He mused about that a LOT and by how impressed he was at the difference on the sound and cleanliness on the floors.

WONDERFUL, but it is completely MEANINGLESS!

As I have explained excessively above, the product wouldn't work unless it was built in a clean room by people who themselves are not dirty. I am COMPLETELY UNIMPRESSED by that comparison of the factory floors OR the living space. The PRODUCT needs that environment, not the workers, so NO GENEROSITY on the part of the employer can be implied from the condition of the factory floor. How about working hours? 16 hours of repeately screwing in the same microscopic screw is inhumane. Did he study if the factory managers moved workers around? What about breaks? Do they exist? Those parts of the story will be told with all the data being collected by the investigators using their IPADS.

Oh yes, IPADS. Man, if I were an INDEPENDENT fact finder I'd use anything other than the product of the factory I was investigating. Unless of course it was part of the message I was trying to send to the people I was talking to. Then I'd carry one with a big fat Apple logo and a sticker of someone being kicked out the door taped to it as well.

Of course, the onus is on the "Murcan" by your last post. I'm trying to figure out who sits on the other side of the line. "Murcan" versus what exactly? Elitist snob comes to mind but I will withold a final conclusion.

I've got to call my name now too so we're square. Debate me on the points.

When you're an image-centered brand, "everybody else does it" does NOT cut it.


In fact, pressure on a major player like Apple is probably the only way positive change can be effected. Until the number one player honestly does a good job, none of the tier 2 manufacturers are going to even try.

Man, the whiplash in the required party line is pretty bad...


In college: Fair Labor Association = PR Stunt of the garment sweatshops

with respect to Apple: Fair Labor Association = Arbiter of the truth and impartial referee

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/technology/critics-question-record-of-fair-labor-association-apples-monitor.html


Bwahahahaha...CHECKMATE! I actually PASS your purity test as you stated it.

So if your metric is "purity" why don't you research the Tyan Tiger mainboard, a Silicon Graphics Visual PC Case/DVD, Intel Pentium 4 CPU, Corsair RAM (vintage 2004). Oh yes, a Matrox Millenium II graphics card and a Vortex Boomerang ethernet card. My mouse AND keyboard are salvaged from an SGI Indigo, my hard drives are 2004-2006 vintage Hitachi and my Monitor a Hitachi Superscan 814. I run linux. When you get back to me, we'll talk. Until then, I can tell you I don't give a rat's ass about the heritage of my parts other than they work and they will keep working as long as I don't let consumerism get in the way.

Actually, I just re-read your question.. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY COMPONENTS except half my RAM are other people's discards. I PAID NOTHING as they were replacing their computers with new shiny stuff.

CHECKMATE and neener neener to you!

So I sent $49 of my own money to China for PC hardware in the last decade. I've spent more money travelling there as a TOURIST!

Stuff your sanctimony where the Sun don't shine! And I'm not talking SunOS there dearie.

All of my stuff was thrown away because Apple marketing has been successful in persuading people to buy crap they don't need this perpetuating the poor working conditions and rampant pollution you won't discuss. For the record, all of my stuff works. All of it would have went to the landfill in working condition. As long as I don't waste my CPU power on needless flashy graphics like iOS provides I find more than enough computational power to even do my research and image processing on my 8 year old computer.

If we want to assign blame for sending money to China, you just pointed three fingers back at yourself as you unsuccessfully pointed one to me. Your precious company ACCELERATES the problem through their marketing saturation campaigns that cause needless waste as people buy for emotional, rather than practical reasons. Irresponsibility again!

Until then, I find it HILARIOUS that you're trying to smack me down on "taking the 5th" because frankly I've slammed you hard several times and you just kind of fold like origami and scurry back down your rat hole.

Yes. I imagine you thought this comeback was a real winner. THEN YOU RAN ACROSS ME...

Basic cable. 30+ year old GE television. No mobile phone and still using my ancient land-line phone. DSL box owned by the phone company. My PC does anything electronic I need. I read paper books checked out from the local library or hike for fun as well as try to rehabilitate machinery and equipment because I grew up with Depression-era parents and learned wisdom behind "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." I hate seeing things discarded needlessly, especially when it is for merely a slightly more capable version at an extortionist prices.

So as far as your "we're all consumers" assumption goes my lifestyle has "...not a single luxury. Just like like Robinson Crusoe, as primative as can be." At least if fancy consumer electronics is your metric, as it appears to be.

I'm pretty sure I have mentioned I'm fairly anti-consumerist. WHY you would double down instead of ignore this point like all the other ones you've lost is simply amazing. Wow, who'd have thought that being an academic scientist who works most of the time was a moral advantage. But it is.... on YOUR issue at least.

Anyway, you hit your Kryptonite on this one. Your perfect little comeback IS A BIG OLD LOOOOOOOOOSER in my case. Eat it.

So go on and think of a new one. I benefit very little from exploitative "cheap labor" basically because I find it like disgusting.

Much as I find it's apologists disgusting as well.

The "Murcan" FTW!
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