Thursday, November 28, 2013

Asimov's Poison ~ Storytelling 5

Among Isaac Asimov's tiredest, preachiest "science fiction" stories, The Fun They Had is nothing but a little girl named Margie complaining about her robotic teacher. Here's the link. So much about The Fun They Had is historically and socially instructive that it hurts as much as the story itself. At least it's short--like ripping a misapplied bandage off an open wound.

Asimov was from a wealthy, white, secular Jewish background, and obtained prominence through work in east-coast biochemistry during the Great Chemical War. He was the old kind of tenured academic that justifies modern working class outrage against universities: though he did not teach, research, or even show up at campus very often, he drew a large paycheck and got benefits because he had tenure, and was considered brilliant because of his degree and social circle. The trajectory of his life matches the grossly egregious way that "universities" and "ivory tower academics" purloined public resources while not accomplishing anything except being haughty, giving interviews, and grooming a dozen choice family-friend students over the course of a lengthy career of receiving awards and being honored for vague association with a lab where lesser men conducted experiments--and occasionally (and most memorably, for Asimov) writing speculative fiction for sale through elite entertainment corporations.

In The Fun They Had, Asimov takes a shot at K-12 pedagogy. Although Asimov's stuttering, pointless non-career on the academic dole is meretricious enough to deserve its own set of exposé books from university insiders challenging diploma mills, tenure flaws, and administrative bloat, his stories themselves are just as interesting. To modern American speculative fiction, Asimov is as foundation-al (sic) as you can get; he was an integral part of laying the groundwork for:

(1) Modern narrative adulation of military technology;

(2) Bodiless, history-less, detached lala takes on the real world; stories where the past is vacuous, and elite narratives on how human history should have been replace the experiences or evidence of actual human beings, texts, and remains;

(3) Scientific and nationalistic jingoism; the selfish, destructive, scientistic pursuit of technology;

(4) Pairing technical people's scientific discoveries/theories with creative people's imaginative creations, then using token university credentials and publisher access to gain "creator" fame for the cobbled-together end result that bears your name;

(5) Disguising a complete and utter lack of prosaic skill by crafting "stories" consisting of nothing but the narrator telling you exactly what the world of the future is like, who the characters are, what they're all thinking, and what their problems and solutions are.

The Fun They Had's staggeringly ignorant take on education is its own fatal flaw, and from a literary perspective, it is written like the rest of Asimov's banal prose, reciting occurrences in the manner of a history book, rather than an actual narrative. (The similarity is not coincidental: it is by elites attempting to create false historical images that so many bad stories are created in the drab fashion of a high school textbook's description of Hitler's rise to power.) At a higher level of analysis, the short story is such a valuable resource because it demonstrates an early form of the psychocryptic take on reality, perception, and resistance offered by elites for popular consumption.

In Asimov's story, Margie is presented with an old (physical) book found by her friend Tommy. She writes about it in her diary, to which we are privy, then launches into a discussion of the merits of real books compared to those of "telebooks," the kind which she now has to use in school. She reflects on how much she hates school, and hates her robotic teacher, and on how a repairman had to come to the house to fix the robotic teacher, and how she turns in her assignments in a slot in the front of the robotic teacher, and many other details of interacting with the robot.

The offense against literature there is that years of Margie's experience is condensed into a single-serving pill, then thrust into the reader's face. In third-person omniscient, we know the main character's thoughts; how likely is it, though, that Margie would actually actively reflect on all of those things in that short of a period of time? Margie is familiar with the robotic teacher, and has been for years. The way Asimov shoves information onto the page would be akin to a modern day character staring at his tablet and thinking:

Steve stared at his iPad. The screen was showing him letters. He stared at the screen and thought about how it connected to the wireless network in his house, and how that wireless network was connected to a much larger network held together by the cable company. He didn't like the cable company but he had to put up with them to have the wireless network. The cable company was based in a nearby city and they had large warehouses, one of which he had once visited on a day when he had worn his blue coveralls, the only clothes that workers were now supposed to wear ever since his boss had come up with a new dress code a few years ago before his mother had died of ovarian cancer. He thought about the aluminum and plastic in his iPad and how both had been made in a factory far away by large companies that designed plastic and aluminum shapes to use for different kinds of products other than iPads...

E.g., not a realistic train of thought, however informative such a train of thought might have been to a medieval reader unfamiliar with wireless networks and Apple factories. In order for the reader to become properly familiar with the robotic teacher, we would've had to spend more time with Margie, allowing the traits of the robotic teacher to come out at a realistic pace. During that process, we'd really get to know Margie and Margie's world--something that the authority-based narrators of bad storytelling do not like to foster, nor tend to have the narrative skill to accomplish. Ergo it gets info-dumped right away, so that Asimov can make the point he really wants to make without having to worry about characters, plot, setting, syntax, etc.

The psychocryptic seed planted by the story is the truly insidious gem, and the main theme of many of Asimov's tales: Margie's ruminations on the robotic teacher lead to Tommy informing her that, in the old days, school was better because the teacher was a real person (a man, nach), and all the students learned together in one room. At the conclusion of The Fun They Had, Margie concludes that students of the past had such great fun because of those factors; because they learned together rather than from individual robot teachers.

Margie's ignorance achieves the true end, here. In Asimov's world, Margie is the everyday, conformist citizen, and Tommy is the rebel. When Margie learns a fact about the past (the way school was in the past) she encounters this fact as an intellectual virgin, learning it in complete isolation from other things she knows about the past, things she hopes for the future, or her own understanding of the present and her everyday life. The power of the fact about the past is able to instantly grip, move, and motivate her, such that by the end of a two page story, she's already dreaming about what fun the children of the past had, and how wonderful it would have been to go to school in that way.

See the genius of what Asimov did, yet? The secret message conveyed by his story is that: "If a different way of doing something is better, then people will respond to it as soon as they learn about it." It is the ultimate encouragement of naïveté; it is a retelling of Oceania where every single prole rebels against Big Brother as soon as Winston says, "In the past, people could choose what job they wanted for themselves." By sending this message with his story, Asimov reinforces authority, because if people haven't overthrown established authority, that proves that there are no better ideas out there.

Of course, that claim is wrong. If you go up to a person on the street and say, "In the past, Presidents did not assassinate people with robotic drones," or, "In the future, we can achieve a world where every person has enough clean food to eat," the person merely shrugs and moves on. Unlike Margie confronted by Tommy's depiction of earlier scholastic environments, real people come pre-loaded with objections to controversial material. Real people take more than "good ideas" to be motivated--in fact, the elite stranglehold on the dissemination of mass information, and the establishment of powerful cultural mores (in no small part through tools like Asimov), is the very thing that prevents simple "good ideas" or "stories of old" from moving them to wishing for, or enacting, change.

A real Margie would have been raised, not on ignorance of the past, but in opposition to it. A real Margie would've, for example, responded to Tommy's description of schoolchildren of old with, "Yes, they had real teachers, but the teachers hit children with rulers, and the children bullied and shamed one another, and the schoolrooms were overcrowded, and students never got individualized attention, and teachers weren't paid enough so they didn't care about their job, and the real teachers didn't know many things that they should've been teaching children; well, the robot teacher knows everything, is completely motivated, and always gives me individual attention." A real, good-character Margie might've had a real discussion with Tommy about the mistakes of the past. They might've investigated the history of western pedagogy, and discovered that, contrary to what they'd been spoon-fed about teachers of earlier eras, many of the elements of human interaction were valuable to students--even though many of the rumors were based on truth, and true in many times and places in the past.

The vacuous, detached Margie is a farce of a real person, and of a real society. Asimov's work, and that of countless others like him, have prepped western citizen-audiences to be just that naive: Americans believe themselves informed while not actually being so, because they've been told by cultural narratives like The Fun They Had that, if they ever had heard a better idea, they would have voted for it. Because they have a robot teacher now, it must be the best of all possible worlds. "Democracy," they say, "is a terrible system of government, but it's the best one we have." And they feel the same way about capitalism, drone murder, resource wars, Transformers movies, and Senate confirmation hearings--they honestly believe that if they were presented with something better, they would choose it.

...and they would choose it, if they knew how to recognize it. But, like a real Margie, that sort of thing takes time, and it has to begin in the most fundamental battleground: the fictional realm. The work of cultural narrators is of such great significance because it deadens the ability to perceive. People unable to recognize good stories in the fictional realm cannot recognize them in the physical, ergo choose your own State of the Union. When a "Tommy" comes to an American and says, "Something is wrong with your world," they respond not with curiosity, but with preplanned outrage at someone trotting out that tired old trope about how immoral it is to kill Arabs, even though everyone knows it is a regrettable but necessary consequence of realpolitik in the world of scarcity in which we live.

Asimov's brilliance is in indirectly stroking the American ego; is in saying, "You are better informed than Margie." His take on the fun, pleasant 1940s mandatory public school system is, of course, an ignorant, pigheaded travesty--the robotic teacher's blandness might be preferable to the real thing. Like Gene Roddenberry, Asimov wrote descriptions of the future that made his present--and his preferred rulers and institutions--look like bastions of advanced kindness and tolerance as they beat children, dropped nuclear bombs, ghettoed blacks, and Cold Warred the world toward oblivion while blaming it on the Russians.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Nuclear Iran

The Western Powers have reached a deal with Iran over its nuclear program. The official debate over Iran's nuclear program is like a delicate waltz between two expert ballroom dancers who've each been surgically grafted to multiple epileptic porcupines, because everyone has to lie while not lying. The Americans, of course, know they're being watched by foreigners, so they have to pretend they're interested in world peace, but they can't pretend too hard, or they might accidentally start to believe it, and then there would be no need for negotiations, except over how long of a sentence to give John Kerry after he has broken down in tears and asked to be committed. At the same time, they know they're being watched by Americans, so they have to pretend Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and that they're very firm about putting a stop to this program, and that being in Geneva at $8.4 million a day discussing the nonexistent program will somehow make the program come into existence so that the colossal American spy machine can be wrong in order that the program can be shut down so that the Americans can demonstrate accomplishment to the approximately seventeen voters in rural Kentucky who believe that the program does in fact exist. Meanwhile, they have to convey to Iran that they know that Iran knows that they know that Iran knows that the program does not exist, so that they can communicate the real message being sent, namely that if Iran doesn't keep turning in its oil tickets for dollars, America will pretend there are nuclear weapons and attack several nonexistent yet highly populated areas inside Iran, force its head of state to camp underground, like a rat (like a rat), and throw enough money at Russia and China to make them look the other way and not mutually destroy themselves and America to finally have to put a stop to the indignity of paying part of Bernanke's salary.

Iran has an even trickier job, having to insist that it does not want a nuclear weapon even though everyone sane wants a nuclear weapon because a nuclear weapon is the only way to keep from being invaded and colonized by the Western Powers. Iran has to appear confident that Russia and China would defend it if it were attacked, because to admit that it is relatively isolated would be like inviting the Third Armored Division to every brunch for the next twenty years, yet Iran knows that Russia would be happy to sell it out for more imaginary dollars provided that enough imaginary dollars go to Russia as part of the terms of not interfering with the Western Powers' conquest of Iran, because then the imaginary dollars would continue to be real dollars, at least for a little while. And Iran knows that China would not defend it if Russia would not also defend it, so Russia's propensity to accept the right kind of gifts at the right time from the Western Powers is troublingly ironclad, to say the least. And hovering over Iran also is the knowledge, understood by everyone in the room, that the Western Powers might at any instant go batshit crazy and start invading Iran and New Guinea and fucking Greenland just because, so maybe all the window dressing about nuclear programs is really just window dressing and a prelude to the occurrence of what everyone sort of understands is going to be occurring anyway, sooner or later.

The Europeans have to pretend they're holding the Americans at bay while not letting on how gleeful they are at the prospect of watching another round of hide the guacamole between Uncle Sam and Mohammed. Provided that American nonsense keeps their own figureheads looking reasonable while stabilizing the Eurocentric flow of trade, the Europeans would be just delighted if America started another war to keep global energy and currency markets running the way they're supposed to, and at a cost of only a token few thousand soldiers from three or four E.U. countries, deployed after the invasion as generalized peacekeepers to give low-mortality-risk resume boosters to the Anglotrash merchant class. It's a tough job, pretending that the Americans aren't full of shit about nuclear weapons, but provided the Normans give all due respect now to a room full of frothing madmen, they can walk away later with clean hands and bulging purses.

(And as it all turned out, by offering enough cash to Russia and China, the Western Powers managed to buy them back to the dollar. It's expensive going, propping stuff like that up, and because Russia and China sold out Iran, and didn't break into hysterical laughter at the idea of John Kerry leading a delegation from Barack Obama to further world peace and end the spread of dangerous weapons, Iran loses its chance at economic independence, and continues to live under the western heel, which guarantees that it won't be invaded for at least a month. Agreeing to uranium controls on Iran's part means that it blinked. Everyone knew there wasn't a nuclear weapons program; the U.S. only kept talking about one as a metaphor for cooperation.)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Skill Set

Dear Patients: My Skill Set No Longer Matches Your Needs.

Poor Dr. Grumet; he actually thought that his special snowflake brain allowed him to develop a rare "skill set" behind all those curtains and all that security. He's shocked when he "discovers" that the businesses that owned his schools, legislatures, hospitals, and scrub-tailoring factories are exerting control over the level of care he can offer his patients.

It's just another medieval-style trade guild. You use police power and outrageous, hypocritical claims about "public health" to deny everyone access to studying their own bodies and producing and learning about their own drugs. If a woman in the end stages of cervical cancer smokes a joint or does a line, you smash her house and seize her 401(k). If an idealistic kid and his grandfather preserve and dissect grandma's corpse to learn about anatomy, they do hard time, get their memories destroyed in a "mental health institution" and are barred from ever becoming licensed members of a "professional association." Your smoke and mirror bullshit cost America decades of work with physical therapists, chiropractors, and midwives, until you eventually and expensively lumbered across the finish line and set up exploitative finishing schools and licensing processes to put them, too, under your control.

In order to maintain an artificially low doctor/patient ratio, and pay temporary nurses $17 an hour and unskilled residents around $12.50 an hour to monitor critical patients, your filthy cartel locks up the life plans of tens of thousands of overqualified kids, jumps them through fiendishly expensive hoops, then churns the better part of them back into teaching high school biology or settling for the RN.

Thug in, thug out. The hallowed exclusivity of the medical profession is a ruse; the whole veneer of specially educated people in white coats who care about you exists because, and only because, of the criminal cartels that control the study and use of organic and synthetic research material and patient care provisioning, be they cadavers, drugs, scanning machines, surgery, or lecture halls. Physicians will never "regain control" over their profession, because they never had control over it to begin with, and even if they did wrest control from the "health networks," it would be to replace them in the chair of the deadly, violent regulations that allow those networks to monopolize drugs, education, and surgery.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Marketing the Apocalypse

From the 1950s billiards parlor owner selling overpriced "shelter pool tables" to guys who wanted to keep their minds fresh while living for twenty years inside cemented-over basements, all the way forward to Costco selling tubs of freeze-dried produce to those upper class families who want to survive global food chain disruption in their panic rooms, it doesn't take that long for glib doomsayers to reveal themselves as the cheap shills they really are. There will always be someone willing to feed your pet in the event Christ takes you to Heaven, leaving you unable--provided you pay up before the Rapture.

The point being, Dmitry Orlov, the great deathluster who makes a career scolding other wealthy white people about the end of the Obama/Mayan Calendar, promises us that the end is nigh. Soon, he says, civilization will collapse under its own weight, billions will die, and if we want to be among the few who are saved from the five stages of collapse, we'll act now and buy his book before it's too late (and click on his on-page ads, etc.).

...but selling books and getting paid per-click to encourage people to Incorporate Now, and preserve their IRA by Buying Gold, doesn't make one as much money as one would prefer. So, the anti-civilization, back-to-nature, Second Coming, "I hope the collapse wipes out evil, extractive modern civilization so we can all return to organic farming and small communal living" paladin starts begging the internet to send him money through the international financial system to capitalize his software startup.

As my good friend Internet would say, LMFAO. In comparative terms, Jesse Helms has just admitted to sleeping with a black woman; Fred Phelps was filmed on a date with Jeff Gannon; Henry Kissinger is wearing his Nobel Peace Prize on a necklace of spring daisies; and, I just heard that Rush Limbaugh bought a seat at a fundraising dinner for Hillary 2016. In the same vein, Dmitry Orlov wants money for his software business. It's a great business, though; it will help less educated people read and understand his books, so that they can buy them and tell their friends about them.

This is what it feels like to get played. In case you're not up on "apocalypse," it means "a thing that causes software and currency and international trade to no longer work." A person who says the collapse of the global financial system is coming, but who wants your currency to develop software for international trade, is lying to you. No, Virginia, there aren't any wallet inspectors in this city. That man you gave your purse to just wanted to take your cash. No, dear, it's not coming back. Welcome to the adult world. Liars say things you want to hear--like, "Elites are wrong, the world is ending, therefore give me money"--because they're trying to get your money. (They want to be elites, too. That's how elites get made: by lying to impressionable fools and keeping the money.)

At least with the religious Second Coming, you get horsemen and special numbers and trumpets, and guys marching around in robes burning incense and chanting Latin. This secular Chicken-Little crap has even less to offer than the pudding at Heaven's Gate Mansion.

ACA Argument Flaws

(By request to explain Obamacare more~our extreme apologies.)

Is the Affordable Care Act good or bad, right or wrong, et cetera? Since this colossal new set of government regulations appears to be the One Law Americans Noticed This Decade for years 2010-2019, it's given us a glimpse of the rhetorical methodology of many people who are otherwise quiet, or at least quieter, when it comes to what they think of as "politics." Whether or not the law is good or evil, the attempts of its supporters to support it are as incomplete, internally inconsistent, and embarrassingly flubbed as they think the Obama administration's job of "explaining it properly to ignorant Republicans" was.

What we'll do here is help out the ACA's supporters by listing their arguments, detailing the flaws, and encouraging them to develop better arguments in lieu of the old ones. Given the staggering depths of intellectual failure which the debate has brought to light, we will provide an explanation and three examples for each instance--a standard example, a Nazi-related example, and a dog-related example. Taken together, these should help even the most committed partisans get either smarter or angrier.

Argument #1: Many Republicans are stupid, and they object to the ACA, so the ACA is good because stupid people do not like it, and from that we can infer that smart people do like it. Many Republicans are complaining about the ACA even though they don't understand it, therefore the ACA is good, because its opposition does not oppose it, but merely misunderstands it.

Reason it's invalid: Making stupid American Republicans upset may be a good thing, but a law's positive or negative aspects are unaffected by whether or not someone unpopular or unintelligent likes or does not like it.

Standard example: You don't like your neighbor across the hall, a man named Jim Robinson. Over the years, Jim has become your worst enemy. When the Condo Association fails to fix a gas leak in the hallway, exposing both you and Jim to deadly fumes, Jim gets upset about it. However, even though your worst enemy is upset, the gas leak is not a good thing for you.

Nazi example: Baron Von Astberg is a crusty Prussian nobleman who habitually abuses his servants. When Chancellor Hitler comes to power, Baron Von Astberg lets all his servants know that he does not like Hitler because of Hitler's mustache. Then, upset about the state of the west lawn, he beats his gardener to death with a riding crop, puts on a pointed helmet, and rapes the downstairs maid. The disapproval of this disreputable character, however, does not mean that Chancellor Hitler is a good person.

Dog example: An ugly bulldog, failing to understand the warning signs, waddles into the new Army Sniper School training course set up across the street from the local playground, and is targeted and shot. The dog's ignorance of English does not make the warning sign a sufficient and appropriate precaution for the sniping range, nor do the dog's comparatively low cognitive abilities prove that the Sniper School's location was well-chosen.

Conclusion: It is abysmally stupid, shamefully jingoistic, ad hominem style, and utterly irrelevant to bring an enemy's ignorance or frustration into a discussion about the merits of a law.

Argument #2: Many rich people do not like Obamacare, because they say their companies can't afford to pay for employee healthcare, even though they have so much money they could actually afford to give their employees healthcare. They are hypocritical, and an example of all that is wrong with America, and since they are against the ACA, the ACA must be good.

Reason it's invalid: Whether rich or Republican, the hypocrisy or stupidity of an idea's opponent(s) is unrelated to that idea's merits.

Standard example: At the PTA meeting one night, the School Board proposes spending next year's elementary school art & PE budget on iPads and Segways for all Board members. An obnoxious woman in a mink coat and a diamond necklace stands up and says that she feels it would be wasteful and extravagant to spend school funds on self-serving gifts for the Board.

Even though the woman is obnoxious, and spends her money extravagantly, it still may be inappropriate to blow the art & PE budget on goodies for the Board.

Nazi example: Commandant Hurtbert is in charge of several occupied villages in eastern Poland. Every month, he sells on the black market valuables stolen from the Polish people, and uses the proceeds to pay for lavish dinner parties for himself, his senior officers, and local girls. One of his junior officers is upset at not being invited to the latest party, and insists that Commandant Hurtbert host a second set of parties for junior officers. Commandant Hurtbert refuses, claiming that he does not have the resources for such extravagance.

Although the Commandant appears hypocritical, and is himself selfish and vile, the junior Nazi officers still don't deserve monthly parties at the expense of the local Poles.

Dog example: The Mayor of Joe's small town regularly lectures his citizens about civic responsibility, but everyone knows the Mayor's wife lets her dog defecate at the park, and doesn't pick up after it. So, Joe decides to let his dog poop on the sidewalk outside the grocery store. When the store manager tells him to clean it up, and Joe begins shouting about the Mayor's wife, Joe is still asked to leave the premises and not return.

Conclusion: "But Papa John is a stoopid-head and has a really bigger house than he needs!" is irrelevant to the merits or demerits of the ACA.

Argument #3: People have to buy car insurance, so making them buy health insurance, too, is not that different. Aaaand, if you say that driving is a choice, you're wrong, because seriously, everyone has to drive.

Reason #1 it's invalid: It is flagrantly ignorant and classist to say that everyone has to drive. Many, many millions of people do not have to buy car insurance, because they are not able to drive. Millions of disabled people and elders are unable to ever drive, and millions of people in urban and suburban settings get by on public transportation, walking, biking, carpooling, working from home, being sick or retired, or occasionally driving someone else's car while being covered under that party's "additional drivers" insurance. Many other people simply can't afford a car, so they're forced to make do. Everyone doesn't "have" to drive. To say that everyone has to drive is an attitude revealing a sheltered situation and an elitist attitude similar to Papa John's when he claims that he can't afford to pay his pizza-makers enough to get health insurance.

Reason #2 it's invalid: People who do drive are required to buy car liability insurance coverage, but not comprehensive coverage. Liability insurance is much, much cheaper, and covers damage that a driver might do to other people, making it almost make sense to require it--it ensures you can pay for wrecking someone else's car and/or health. Comprehensive coverage, by contrast, is much more expensive, and is optional, because it covers damage to your own car. When you buy comprehensive coverage, you're covering yourself in the event of theft, crumpled front quarter panels, broken windshields, etc. Forcing people to buy health insurance is like forcing them to buy total insurance and warranty coverage for their cars, charging them thousands of dollars extra per year to ensure that they are pre-paying in case they need to replace the door handle on their Mazda.

Reason #3 it's invalid: A precedent might make something legal, but it doesn't make it right or wrong. If a law is bad, it's bad even if other laws are equally bad, and if a law is good, it's good even if other laws are bad.

Standard example: the Affordable Driving Act, or "ADA," requires that consumers protect themselves against the high costs of travel by maintaining travel insurance. In exchange for a few thousand dollars of premium payments per year, every citizen will receive the right to buy a new car at discounted rates from a dealer "marketplace" regulated by a commission of dealership owners. Citizens who have been previously unable to get a car because of poor credit will be guaranteed the right to buy a car. However, citizens who have a good relationship with a car dealer will be able to continue buying their vehicles from that dealer as they have before.

However practical this arrangement seems, it is only a twisted ploy to use government power to require people to buy something from a bunch of corrupt car dealers.

Nazi example: In October, all Gypsies in the village of Bratschiewgen are required to register their names, and their children's names, with the Head of Gypsy Affairs. Simza goes to the proper office and registers. Then, in November, the office releases a mandate that all gypsies register their height, weight, measurements, hair and eye color, and food preferences. Simza tells her friend Harman that she does not want to give away this information. Harman calls her a hypocrite, saying, "But you already had to give them information in October--this is the same thing!"

Whether or not Simza had to do something similar before, though, is irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is right to have to do something now.

Dog example: Veronica visits her best friend Trudy's house. While there, Trudy's mastiff bites Veronica's hand. Frightened, Veronica goes home. When Trudy invites her over the next day, Veronica refuses, citing her fear of the dog. "Oh, he already bit you," laughs Trudy. "It's nothing you haven't lived through!"

However, Veronica's previous bite does not make a future bite right. It may justifiably make her more cautious about trusting Trudy, but not less.

Argument #4: Whatever the flaws of the ACA, it helps some people get insurance who wouldn't be able to otherwise.

Reason it's invalid: one good characteristic of a thing does not make the thing as a whole good.

Standard example: For lunch one day, Becky serves Stu a shit sandwich, a slice of handmade key lime pie, and a can of whoop-ass. No matter how good the pie was, though, it cannot make up for the rest of the lunch. A single aspect of a law, or even many aspects, cannot by themselves explain or justify the full law.

Nazi example: When a woman in Nazi Germany got pregnant with an Aryan baby, she was immediately provided with full maternity leave during the pregnancy and for a long time after the birth, and provided with extra food rations and a quite generous government stipend. The Reich was eons ahead of America in caring for its vulnerable female citizens, pregnant women, and mothers. The Reich's actions in this regard, though, no matter how much they are discussed, do not justify the rest of the Reich's actions. In fact, focusing heavily on the positive aspects of Third Reich maternal leave may indicate a callous disregard for the victims of the Reich's other policies.

Dog example: Herb's dog bit the priest, the nun, and six choirboys, urinated on the confessional, squatted in the pews, then sweetly dropped last night's T-bone in the collection basket on the way out of the cathedral. Despite the very kind gift of its only snack that morning, Herb's dog is considered an unwelcome guest next Sunday.

Argument #5: Although the ACA was written and lobbied for by the immensely powerful, money-swollen healthcare profiteers, it's a positive step closer to the public good of a single-payer system, because at least everyone will have insurance.

Reason #1 it's invalid: Everyone won't have insurance; everyone will just be required to have insurance. Those who cannot afford insurance will be fined, rather than be given insurance. It achieves a Papa-John-level of smug, ignorant middle class detachment to claim that requiring poor people to buy insurance will magically give them the money to buy that insurance.

Reason #2 it's invalid: Mindful of its own call center employees and subcontractors, the health insurance industry wrote the ACA to require that businesses provide insurance only to their full time employees, so by reducing hours and making employees "part time," or just only hiring "independent contractors," businesses will continue to not provide health insurance to employees.

Reason #3 it's invalid: using the IRS and the police to require every citizen to pay for services from a small group of greedy megacorporations further empowers those corporations, making it even less likely that future Americans will be able to save themselves from the ever-larger, money-glutted administrative bloat that controls their access to medical care.

Standard example: Billy is afraid of Tyrone, the biggest boy in school. All winter semester, Tyrone has spent recess pushing the other boys into the mud, taking their swings, eating the desserts out of their lunches, and punching them in the arms. One day, Billy decides to put an end to Tyrone's bullying. He meets with Tyrone in private, and they draw up a contract guaranteeing that Tyrone will be entitled to take half of each boy's dessert each day; to use a swing whenever he wants to, regardless of whether or not it is occupied, and to push no more than three boys into the mud each recess. Billy and Tyrone announce their new system to the other boys, many of whom seem upset--but Billy reassures them that it is "one step closer" to Tyrone being nice to everyone.

Nazi example: In Czechoslovakia in 1940, David tells Adam that he plans to escape to the underground, and travel to Switzerland, before the Final Solution is implemented. Adam talks him out of it, reassuring him that, although the Nazis are not perfect, making sure that every Jew is registered with them will be one step closer to equal treatment for all. "But they have treated people so cruelly in the past," David argues. "It's the law," Adam retorts in a firm voice. "It's the law. It's the law," he repeats in robotic monotone.

David realizes that something is wrong, refuses to sign up, and escapes to the underground. A month later, Adam is summoned to the train station. He tells the first Nazi officer he meets, "I cooperated; here are my papers. You will see that everything is perfectly in order." Amazingly, though, the officer does not grant him any special privileges for playing along, and he is shipped away with everyone else. Cooperating with evil people, it turns out, only makes their jobs easier.

Dog example: Susan's dog won't stop barking loudly every time it hears someone in the hallway outside. After several complaints have gotten Susan summoned before the Tenant Association, Susan makes a deal with her dog: "Fido," she says earnestly, "from now on, whenever you bark at the door, I'll give you a doggie treat, and then you stop, okay?" Fido agreeably accepts all the treats, but continues barking at the door. Susan is evicted from the building, and in her next building, receives the same complaints. After she's been summoned before the new Tenant Association, Susan makes a new deal with her dog: "Fido," she says sweetly, "from now on, whenever you bark at the door, I'll give you two doggie treats, and then you'll stop, all right?" Fido nods happily.

After Susan is evicted from the second building, she makes a new deal with Fido: "Fido," she pleads, chin shaking, "stop growling at the shelter staff, and I'll give you my soup, all right?" Fido takes three big laps at her soup, knocks the bowl over, knocks the table over, and attacks the elderly volunteers behind the soup counter. "Give him something to chew on!" shouts Susan, waving her hands at the bleeding seniors. "Just give him something to chew on! He's harmless!"

Argument #6: The ACA would have been better, but the meanie Republicans tried to block it at every turn, so this compromise was the best Obama could come up with.

Reason #1 it's invalid: Obama is the most powerful human being on the planet, able to make anyone vanish forever based on his own private hunch that the person may be connected to what he defines as terrorism. During formal negotiations over the ACA, he was not only the President, but his political party controlled both houses of the American Congress. Over massive public opposition and the most strenuous debating, voting, redebating, revoting, and blocking tactics the Republican Party could come up with, Obama still managed to get the ACA passed.

Reason #2 it's invalid: Even before the debate began, Obama worked with the health insurance industry to insure (sic; ha, now that's real insurance) that a single-payer system would not be implemented.

Standard example: A grizzly bear steps on a Chihuahua, walks into an open tent, and eats two backpackers. "It was the Chihuahua's fault!" squeals the first park ranger to discover the bodies. However, the park ranger is completely and objectively insane: there was no stopping that grizzly bear, even though the Chihuahua tried its best, and more importantly, it was abundantly clear from the beginning that the grizzly bear wanted to eat the campers.

Nazi example: In 1939, the Third Reich invades Poland. Cities are burned and men and women shot in the street. "The Führer didn't want war," says old Mrs. Keller, "but it was forced upon him by those dirty Poles." Like the Park Ranger and the American Democrat, Mrs. Keller was diagnosed by the Extra-Terrestrial Review Board as having an extreme disconnect from reality.

Dog example: Frank and Thomas train mutts for dogfighting. Frank is a large, fat, balding white man who always wears light gray suits and red ties; Thomas is a trim black man who wears dark blue suits and red ties. At the dogfight this Friday, their favorite dog, Killer, gets loose, hops out of the ring, and begins mauling a woman who had stopped into the bar to ask for directions. While Killer tears chunks of flesh out of the woman's torso, Frank and Thomas laugh, rub their hands in delight, make smart comments, and collect stacks of cash from the betting audience. After a few minutes of gore, Frank shrugs and says, "Maybe this is too much...I'm outta here," to which Thomas replies simply, "It's happened; deal with it."

Later, when the police are investigating the remaining pieces of the woman, Thomas claims, "I would've saved her, but I had to deal with Frank the whole time," while Frank claims, "I did my best to stop Thomas from being such a sissy; if he'd only told the damn dog to go for the throat, Killer could've finished her off a lot quicker."

To the amazement of all the onlookers, the police arrested both Frank and Thomas and had them confined for lengthy mental health treatment.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lower Realities

"People can be fooled," whisper the soothsayers, "therefore they are fools." Or, "Our neurological functions can be recorded and analyzed so as to prove we have thought something incorrect, therefore we are derivatively mechanistic illusions of no real importance," which is to say that we can be fooled and are therefore fools. Con men are as boring as they are interesting, because their methods, while always different, never change, so you're always figuring them out one step ahead of the shadow of the person behind them in a helicopter, meaning you can predict them but not with enough precision to see quite what it is they're actually going to do next, even though it will always be the same thing as the last time.



Puns are the hallmark of undeveloped comedians and the nitrous-oxide-laced province of giggling small minds, because they play off the non-revelatory revelation that artificially isolating a component of communication leads to justifiable confusion. So, when the duck says to the bartender, "Put it on my bill," it's funny that the duck has both a "bill" in the sense of the physical bill upon its face, and a "bill" in the sense of his debt to the bar, but our humor at imagining the bartender setting the drink upon the duck's mouth is not proof that the world need be a miasma of endless misunderstandings and grief. We can perceive the difference between "bill" and "bill" so easily because we have a higher vantage point: we interpret the meaning of others not only by the grunts they produce (or the pixels they type), but by a larger array of factors, many of which humanity is not currently tracking. The snickering we elicit with puns derives explicitly from our ability to understand them at a higher level; by "getting" the pun, we recognize how ludicrous it would be to approach the world with blinders on.

But who would try to claim that puns necessitate suffering? Unless you've already heard this one, give this picture a click:



The standard question here is, "Which square is darker in color, Square A or Square B?" Look at the picture again; which one is darker and which is lighter?



...the joke, of course, is that the lettered squares are the same color. The green column draws the eye, the shadow it casts muddles the issue, all the other squares are subtly altered to create the illusion of a checkerboard-style pattern, and the right side of the brain carries out its pattern-recognition function by making you see Square B as lighter in hue than Square A. See it?

You can have all sorts of fun tricking your brain by looking at the picture sideways, or frowning hard at it. If you close your eyes, then open just your right eye, and try to see the squares as the same color, your right eye (left brain) can often accept the similarity for several seconds, before the right brain overlays the pattern, because the left brain is giving the gritty, realistic, logical report of the truth in color. Here's another version with some messy lines across it, showing the identical color of the lettered squares as they relate to each other and the others:



There are as many illusions like this one out there as there are schmucks with photoshop and a vendetta, playing on blind spots and mocking the right brain for seeing things that aren't true. The conclusions to such exercises become, ultimately, "We are sad little evolutionary machines who get it wrong all the time and can't trust ourselves, therefore we are condemned to an existence of confusion and misery." A more sophisticated version goes, "We are sad little evolutionary machines who can heroically discover our own weaknesses and accept our lot as derivative tools while having some fun and programming some cool A.I. cyberbuddies before we die."

Either conclusion, however fun or sad, is equally terrible. More importantly as always, though, is their wrongness: when we allow the foundations of our consciousness to be shaken by Monte dealers, we've not yielded to an inexorable truth, but rather, participated in a base, normative, biased judgment as to the "true" nature of reality; we have struck a blow "on behalf of" the supposedly-logical left brain, declaring its conclusion to be "more valid" than that of the supposedly-effeminate, wrongheaded right brain. Neither victory nor defeat is admirable in this fake contest, though, as both miss the forest for the trees.

What makes the left brain's conclusion about the lettered squares "more" accurate? It's accurate, but not comprehensively so. The left brain can better identify and log html color codes, while the right brain can use those codes to assemble a model of the relative relationships between/among any code and its surrounding environment(s), allowing for dynamic interactivity in a streaming environment. Even that is mechanistic, though. At a higher level, the synthesized conclusion about the checkerboard squares is accurate, while the "Haha, we tricked you!" conclusion about Square A and Square B being the same is inaccurate. Yes, the squares are of the same color; that's a comparatively small truth, viewed in isolation from the squares' own surroundings, as well as the actions and intents of the creators of the squares. More importantly, each square, and the image that contains them, was crafted specifically for the purpose of evoking a "checkerboard" pattern of relativity in the viewer. Looking at the picture and seeing that set of interrelationships is seeing more of the truth. E.g., a kitten is a kitten, but it allows for the intelligent presumption of two mature cats or a cloning lab having been involved in its creation. Seeing just the kitten is a sign of limited perception, not some grittily realistic wisdom. Seeing the checkerboard is hearing the voice of the creator, e.g., understanding the actual message that the psychology department was trying create when it came up with an illusion to prove that humans are broken.

A mind that can simultaneously see both the identical nature of the trick squares, and the pattern thereof--which you can, if you know the trick and have some time to think about it--doesn't need to be frightened by the humble cellular tools through which the truth was obtained, nor led by confidence artists to believe that the presence of mechanics means that the conscious self is a derivative hell machine. Puns are funny because they're puns, but also because the joke is on the teller--the seeming contradiction disproves itself as soon as the audience gets it. The laugh, smirk, roll of the eyes, or silent understanding means the audience has gotten both meanings and understood the process that brought the artist to each. The good jester understands the veritable blessing of our ability to use rough grunts and incomplete images to convey concepts on which our minds can meet; the vile jester uses the incompleteness of the tool to crush aspiration.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blighted Futures - The Dwelling Potentate

Imagine a dark future for humanity. Say, 2,500 A.D. After a big war, maybe, and a totalitarian government has seized control and become entrenched.

Now, imagine one of the awful nuances of this government. Something day-to-day, maybe. Something annoying and horrific, in its own way, but not something so glamorous that it belongs in a science fiction novel.

Just a mundane detail of this bleak future is what we'll talk about today, then. Ready? Okay, let's say that, in this blighted future, the Supreme Potentate has established a number of "Authority Zones," dozens and dozens, and within each and every one of these Zones, innumerable smaller divisions exist, called "Protectorates." Each Protectorate is headed by a Minor Potentate, who reports to the Medias Potentate (who runs the Authority Zone). Now, within that Protectorate, each Minor Potentate has established a number of Lesser Potentates, each of whom administers a staff of underlings performing different, more specialized functions.

Let's say, though, that all these Protectorates have one thing in common: a certain class of Minor Potentates within them have developed the practice of controlling dwellings. These are the Dwelling Potentates. Without fail, in every single one of the hundreds upon hundreds of Protectorates, the Dwelling Potentate maintains control over all citizen homes across the entire land--houses, apartments, trailers, etc. For every single one of these places that any person can possibly live in, the Dwelling Potentate (and her or his staff) has a piece of the action. In order to buy, sell, or rent a living space, a citizen has to report to the Dwelling Potentate, register that the trade has occurred, divulge some minor personal and business details to the Potentate, and pay a fee.

Citizens are prohibited from trading homes without paying a cut to the Dwelling Potentate, but more than that, citizen transactions are not private at all. The details of any trade or sale have to be registered with the Dwelling Potentate of each Protectorate, using a complicated set of information-analysis programs that differ in every Protectorate. Those who attempt to informally trade or sell homes are soon levied with stiff fines. Those who are found to have incorrectly reported the details of a transaction are fined, and may have the transaction voided and be required to do it afresh.

The Dwelling Potentates gain great power within each Protectorate, of course. Without fail, every single Dwelling Potentate in the empire has used her or his authority to steadily increase the fees required to deal with the Potentate's office. In competition with the other Potentates for amassing bureaucratic wealth and power, the Dwelling Potentates work each year to produce new mandates, different disclosures, and ever-increasing fees for those citizens who dare to live under their rule.

Even more profitably, by collecting fees every time the masses try to trade anything, and by gaining control of all financial records pertaining to any trades of homes between citizens, the Dwelling Potentate is able to act as an information broker to other Potentates within each Protectorate. Dwelling Potentates act like data-mining and marketing companies, using the data they have gathered on decades of citizen housing-trades to turn a profit. These Potentates sell their information to other Minor Potentates, who use the numbers to extract additional punishing fees from citizens. Almost always, then, the Dwelling Potentate's greatest ally is the Tariff Potentate: by working together, they are able to use the Dwelling Potentate's records to justify massive yearly tariffs for the Tariff Potentate's office.

Once you have come of age and appear in the Dwelling Potentate's records, your home is forever logged and constantly updated by the Dwelling Potentate, who sells everything about you to his friend the Tariff Potentate. In return, the Tariff Potentate provides a yearly payment to the Dwelling Potentate--as does a legion of private dwellings offices, who are authorized to mine the Potentate's data for any information that might give them an insight into how to market specially-designed products to those who have reported their financial business to the Dwelling Potentate's office.

No citizen, except those who wander the starports and never rest, is free of the joint reach of the Dwelling and Tariff Potentates. Everywhere you go in the empire, every square inch of sea-platform or dry land is under the dominion of one Dwelling Potentate or other.

Like all Potentates in each Imperial Protectorate, the Dwelling Potentate has access to the empire's military might to enforce its rule. The Security Potentate of each Protectorate sells its services to the Dwelling Potentate, offering muscle to back up the Dwelling Potentate's fees and decrees. An armed force of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of troopers is on constant patrol across each Protectorate. The Security Potentate has his own private means of raising revenue, but his main function is to serve the other Potentates within each Protectorate. And serve he does.

If a citizen fails to report a transaction to the Dwelling Potentate, it may go unnoticed--for a short time. If a citizen omits private information from a report, the Dwelling Potentate will usually offer a chance to remedy the mistake.

If, however, a citizen fails to pay her or his fees to the Dwelling Potentate, all it takes is a few carefully-worded messages from the Dwelling Potentate to the Security Potentate, and a legion of troopers will swarm into action. Security Potentates across the empire maintain heavily armed and armored forces who specialize in "Dwelling Rehabilitation": the empire's innocuous name for invasion and conquest. Armed helicopters and assault vehicles descend upon the citizen who foolishly dared to challenge the Dwelling Potentate's authority. Troopers shatter doors and windows, entering homes to attack and detain the defiant citizens. Under the authority of the Security Potentate, troopers seize whatever they can until the citizen's "debt" to the Dwelling Potentate is paid--for that year. Additional property is taken to punish the recalcitrant citizen for not paying up, while those who try to resist are beaten or shot to death to set an example.

The Security Potentate then gains an additional boon--the power to sell the seized home to one of its own business partners at an outlandishly low rate, after which the well-connected businessperson will pass it off, at profit, to another hapless citizen. And it will all be on the record. The Dwelling Potentate will rest easy, knowing that her connections will provide, year after year, a massive income and increased power. Dwelling Potentates are lavish spenders, sharing their wealth with other Potentates, and always maintain their posts through widely-publicized acts of charity and grandiosity. After a long record overseeing citizens' dwellings, a successful Dwelling Potentate may have the chance to be appointed Head Minor Potentate, and oversee the work of the other specialized potentates within that Protectorate; or, even to be appointed Medias Potentate, or fly to one of the empire's central planets to vie for a coveted spot serving the Supreme Potentate more directly.

...and, yeah.

2,500 2013. Get it?

Newer Post

Don't ever value me for the truth I tell, because any source can be compromised. Value the truth itself, inchoate and bodiless. Every time we do this, some asshole gets hold of it afterwards and bends it around, so, as some argue, it's more trouble than it's worth. It's not, really, but I can understand the perspective, having made that argument myself only this morning. But there's really nothing else to be done except to try another time.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

If you really were a rebel

...you wouldn't insist that the State's highway fund pave, tar, clear, police, and maintain special paths for your bike. You'd have a mountain bike (or just a pair of shoes) and you'd ride it over the ground. The highway money comes from the dumbass industrial theft of all of our money to pave the country in order to justify cars as a consumer product. Forget about your smoother ride, and get a bike that can ride in the dirt.

...you wouldn't shout "behind ya!" and expect walkers and runners and baby carriages to get out of your way. If you were really that fast, you'd be out on a highway somewhere. If you believed in equality, you'd share the path, and give five feet to baby carriages, putting your precious racing wheels in the mud, because that's what you'd want a car to do for you.

...you'd expect to get treated like the other vehicles whose space you were using. Which means that if you were going 13 miles an hour in a "40" zone, you'd get pulled over. You'd sit on your crossbar for five minutes while the cop adjusted his rearview mirrors. You'd answer questions about why you were driving so slow, take a ten minute test for being drunk, then finally get released back into traffic with an admonition to "not obstruct other drivers."

...you wouldn't sniff at the elitist hog driving a 1987 Toyota to his 12 hour shift at day labor, because his little car was in a hurry, and offended you on your relaxing 45 minute coast downhill to the local coffee bar--which you took on your $2,000 Cannondale. And when you got into the coffee shop, you wouldn't sling your sweaty helmet over a chairback, leave your grimy gloves on the table, and stand in the center of the place talking loudly about how annoying and oppressive cars are.

...you wouldn't hang your left elbow two inches over a lane divider without expecting to get just as sideswiped as a car hanging two inches over the lane divider--and being just as responsible for the resulting damage to each vehicle.

But yeah, cars suck (excellently fun page, btw). So do jobs, taxes, and politicians. But we all have to deal with them. The problem is, in a clusterfuckedly stupid car-based system like we have now, trying to hold a halfhearted revolution of convenience by insisting that all the other people trying to scrape together survival using the stupid automobile have to share in the antisystematic concession of space and time required by bicycle is not fair.

The wretched irony pointed out by this one long ago is that everything bicycles are today is what cars were the last time around--replacements for horses. A bunch of rich jerks felt they were progressively addressing the problem of horses (manure clogged streets, nipped ears, people kicked to death) by buying cleaner, safer motorcars...and then imposing those motor vehicles on all of the "polluting buffoons" who were still walking or riding horses.

What're you going to do with the bike? Force everyone to pay to pave a second national network of roads for cyclists? Project already underway in the Anglofantasy Westerlands, and of course, the people using them are, with the exception of a comparatively very few urban dwellers, the people who have the time and the money to use them. The less pressure and more money in your life, the easier to buy and use a slower machine. God knows, there are jerks on both sides, but the least we can do is not expand the hideous car problem such that it becomes the bike problem. People desperate to get to work, not get fired immediately for appearing like they've just been exercising, and carry around kids, groceries, elders, violable orifices--mass transportation can (maybe) save them, but not bicycles and the inefficient use of space and metals that they require.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Food Friggers and Costs of Living

I know a guy who used to write a weekly food column for the local paper, featuring simple, artisanal recipes that were simultaneously exotic and down-home, peppered with cute but arch commentary about his ingredient choices. At the same time, he wrote a bi-weekly column about the plight of the poor and downtrodden, and of course, the positive aspects of anarchy.

Upscale living, high cuisine, and the plight of the poor managed to not come into conflict in his head for a number of years, and he pretty effectively sheltered himself from any of the disassociative aspects of his words and actions for years, without being aware that he was doing it. His left hand quite breezily ignored the right, and so forth, and he was great at ignoring feedback that he didn't want to hear, so, party on. Eventually, one of his longtime readers and fans, being so moved by the plight of the poor the guy so often championed, pointed out the obvious, saying in a very nice way, "Your food column seems elitist. All the ingredients are costly, so the poor will not be able to afford them."

The guy had a great response, from an economics perspective: he returned, essentially, "The cost of the initial ingredients is high, but when you consider how many people the final dishes serve, the cost per-person, per-meal, is equivalent to, or lower than, the cost to each person of buying a six-inch sandwich from Subway. Therefore, the recipes are actually a bargain."

Which answer is a really good answer, but reveals two important tidbits. Firstly, the "stunning ignorance" angle, and secondly, the "sly and evil" angle. Either one is based off the fact that "cost per-person" is not the deciding factor in making the food. It's a simplified, atrociously stupid way of looking at things. The actual cost of swordfish souffle is not only the $3.50 that fifteen people would need to pitch in, making it comparable to Subway; the cost is driving to the right part of town to the store that carries swordfish (and the right kind of capers and the right kind of oil and the right kind of bread etc.), but also having the right kind of kitchen and supplies to store, then cook the swordfish while simmering the sauce and mixing the garnish and crisping the bread...and the 94 minute preparation time, the aforementioned 35 minute driving time, the storing and setting out and cleaning of the dishes and utensils, and the coordination of schedules in getting together enough people to take advantage of the CPP. Poor people eat unhealthy crap not because they're ignorant of the (associated deleterious health effects of the same, or the) budgetary savings incumbent upon those who have the time to plan, store, and prepare such food, but because they are poor.

This particular columnist I'm writing about was an operative who, like Glenn Greenwald was for a while, is in a cocoon pretending to be an advocate of the little guy while awaiting more advanced age to be released on the populace as an influential radical conformist. Math is a useful trick for these agents, though it can be any discipline. By viewing the factors of life in isolation from one another, we can make very convincing, sound, rational, yet wholly incomplete and deceptive arguments.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Jake's Guns

It's always the right time to buy one.

If you're elderly, you're in a particularly vulnerable state. Burglars and other invaders look upon you as an easy target. You might die soon and miss your chance to get one. If you're elderly, you definitely need to be among the groups that buy. It's particularly irresponsible not to buy, if you're elderly. It's a definite risk. You will regret it, later.

The young are also vulnerable. Because of their natural weakness, the young are particularly vulnerable to crime, and need to be protected. Just starting out in life, the young have a great chance here to do things right and start off on the right foot and make sure they're protected. It's particularly irresponsible not to buy, if you're young.

If you've been out in public, or cooped up in one place, it's even more important that you buy. Going out into public makes you quite vulnerable because you may interact with dangerous people, while staying at home also makes you notably vulnerable, because you won't have the experience interacting with dangerous people that people in public will have, so you won't be as well defended and you will be particularly in danger.

If you don't buy one, you're not only cheating yourself, you're also cheating everyone else who has done their part by being prepared and being equipped and being ready to take on the challenges that await them outside and inside. They are protected because they have made responsible choices. However, if you do not protect yourself, you are putting them in danger because your lack of protection could pierce their protection and make them as vulnerable as you. You need to buy one, but so does everyone you know. Then you will be protected, unless someone doesn't buy one, which could result in you becoming less protected, so it is absolutely necessary that you get protected as soon as possible, particularly if you are at risk of coming into contact with a burglar or other invader, in which case you are in a particularly vulnerable state because your protection could be pierced by these irresponsible criminals who have not heard this message and so you need to protect yourself as soon as possible in case you come into contact with a burglar or other invader.

If you have a lot of experience with firearms, it is particularly important that you buy one. Being around firearms means that you are more likely to come into contact with firearms which are shooting and recoiling, so you will definitely need one to be safe.

It's always the right time to buy one. Not buying now will only cause the price to go up later. In fact, you're saving money by buying ahead of time. If you don't buy, don't come crawling back to me later on, asking to buy, because it won't be possible. The whole reason we do this is that we're trying to save you money, actually. We don't get anything out of it. Yes, we have to make our business, but be serious here, we're looking out for you and trying to keep you and everyone else you know and might come into contact with protected from those who may have not heard this message or properly understood it. All we're asking is that you buy one, just one, for yourself and another one for everyone you know. Act now and save. It might seem as though money has been debited from your account, but in fact this seeming subtraction is in fact addition because it is a fact that the subtraction is going to save you from later having greater subtractions which would be assessed if you were to not buy, so it is safe to say that what appears to be a subtraction is really an addition. We have nothing to gain from this, and we are acting only to help you, which you can be assured of due to our longstanding record of acting only to help others as well as acting only to help you in particular, by means of improving your life and helping you to be safer and healthier.

If you do not have a lot of experience with firearms, it is particularly important that you buy one. Your inexperience makes you vulnerable which means that you are more likely to be the subject of an attack from firearms which are shooting and recoiling, so you will definitely need one to be safe. If you refuse to get one, you are enabling the criminals, such as burglars and invaders. The only reason they keep coming back is that they have heard that there may be people who are not planning to buy one. You are giving aid and comfort to our enemies and putting all of us who were responsible and protected ourselves in a particular state of danger if you do not buy one so it is imperative that you do so and would you please if you can find the time we will help you make sure it works with your schedule to buy one and ensure that you are protected in case anyone else doesn't because if they don't it will leave you particularly vulnerable so you need to act now and save money and buy yours before it's too late. I don't mean to alarm you but there may be people in your community who have not protected themselves and also there may be travelers traveling through your area who have not protected themselves, meaning that it is of particular importance that if you would please just buy one now you would have nothing to worry about because more people than ever are buying them although certain circumstances can make it more likely that you will encounter more criminals than other people who are not subject to the circumstances I just mentioned. Which is all the more reason to buy one now and be prepared ahead of time.

It's always the right time to buy one. Get yours early before they're all gone. We're worried that if too many people give us too much money to get their own we might not be able to sell one to you so it is important that you get yours before anyone else gets the one that would've been yours if you had acted with time to spare. If you had been more responsible and more thoughtful you would have already been the person to have gotten the one that would've gone to someone else if they had been responsible enough to act before you and get the one that you got in their place. Supplies in your area are going fast, which proves how particularly vulnerable people in your area are and how much they need the protection that we can offer, because if our supplies were to be used up it would mean that many people in your area were unable to obtain needed protection, which would make you particularly vulnerable because their vulnerability would attract the wrong element to your area thereby putting you in danger.

If supplies in your area are holding steady then it is particularly important that you buy one as soon as possible, because the fact that supplies are not diminishing indicates how many people are not buying their own, which means they are vulnerable and this vulnerability could put you and your entire area at an unacceptable risk if you do not buy one now. It's always the right time to buy one.