the first parachuting nurses, changing technology and worshipping false gods

A nurse parachutist, having jumped, is about to open her parachute.

One of the first parachute nurses. WHO/Red Cross photo.

The first parachute nurses WHO/Red Cross photo.

The first parachute nurses WHO/Red Cross photo.

While it is great that the WHO/Red Cross makes these photos available, they do not supply dates. As best i can find out these nurses may have been part of the Emergency Flight Corps (1933) or the Aerial Nurse Corps of America (1936), both started by Lauretta M Schimmoler (1900-1981).

How Technology Is Destroying Jobs

Given his calm and reasoned academic demeanor, it is easy to miss just how provocative Erik Brynjolfsson’s contention really is. ­Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine.

That robots, automation, and software can replace people might seem obvious to anyone who’s worked in automotive manufacturing or as a travel agent. But Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s claim is more troubling and controversial. They believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States. And, they suspect, something similar is happening in other technologically advanced countries.

The issue addressed should be of concern, especially since economic policy and cultural attitudes about work in the U.S., Canada and western Europe is driven by right of center Chicago school of economics. Though one of the things that bothered me was the possibility this gives to the far Right to use as another excuse. As in oh well, no sense passing any Keynesian economic incentives because they are of no use in light of changing technology. Some basics still remain. If you start paying all  low wage workers at fast food places, Walmart, Target, Sears, etc a living wage they will spend more, thus drive more demand. Because of technology the multiplier effect might not be as great as the post WW II era, but fair wages would create jobs.

There are some good thoughtful comments. Some seeing the new age as an opportunity, if you get the education and training. The whole article and those comments are worth a click over.

And let me address this troll in the comments section, or the attitude and empty platitudes:

@kbillet The idea that reward is directly tied to how hard you work is definitely a mindset of a past generation. Compensation in today’s world is about your output, and the comparative cost of your labor. Also, many business owners have put their fortunes and lives on the line for a shot to make a business happen. As you mentioned yourself, not everyone has the skills, vision, and luck to pull that off. For those that make that leap, if they’re able to succeed (or at least successful be enough to employ a team of engineers and programmers), I have a hard time not justifying the return on the investment.

Isn’t that the essence of the American Dream? Or does fairness now mean that every one should be entitled to same pay regardless of contribution?

Since when is “how hard you work” not pretty much the same thing as “output”. Excepting those who run around appearing to keep very busy yet create little in terms of products or services, work is productivity. Why is it this guys never supply a modern example of some one who put their fortunes on the line. Would that be businessmen like George W. Bush who tanked three businesses and still came out OK because rich friends bailed him out. Would that be Mitt Romney who used other people’s money, including tax payers subsidies, drained businesses of profits then sold them off. After which which many went bankrupt. How about the Koch brothers who were born into wealth and just made some basic business moves that made them even more wealthy. They have not put their wealth on the line. If they wanted to they could live off the interests of their liquid assets for three lifetimes. Are all the CEOs who make millions a year regardless of profits, risk something? – what exactly, the cash to buy a third mansion. kbillet’s tunnel vision is all too common. Why isn’t a worker – say a skilled programmer, or sheet metal worker or fishing crew, risking everything by working for company B instead of company C. If that hero risk taker CEO at B screws up, he or she will still have millions ( most American workers are still recovering from the Great Recession, while corporate America is back to make per-recession profits).  The worker will have invested a year, five years or maybe twenty years with a company whose CEOs did not have the vision or the humanity to see how their decisions affected their workers. When we start thinking about inclusiveness, the connections and interdependence of people, that is the kind of fairness we should always be thoughtful of. He is implying some enforced socialistic dystopia, a corrupt ignorant hyperbole at the mere thought of economic justice incorporated into our economic system. Let’s not be mindful of how we conduct business in the world because there are these mythical John Galts who are doing everything, inventing everything, risking everything  – while the mindless lazy workers are hanging behind the shed smoking a doobie, instead of being down on their knees in gratitude for letting them ride the great man’s coattails.


modern family communication, the world tried libertarianism and it failed

all dressed up

all dressed up.

The mathematics of the modern British family revealed

The modern family keeps in touch via 1,768 texts, 520 emails and 68 hours on the phone every year, it has emerged.
Almost half of all Brits even text, email or phone their family members – when they are in the same house because they are too lazy to get up and go to talk to them in person.

…A spokesman for Toshiba, which commissioned the study said: ”As individuals, we are becoming busier than ever, but this means we aren’t always around to talk to our partner or children when we need to.

”And this means we are relying on other methods to keep in touch.

…’But it’s worrying to see so many are even communicating this way when their partner or children are in the same building or even in the next room.”

I’ve been thinking about these statistics for a couple of days. I should probably find them troubling, but I cannot find a good reason yet. Unless the family is truly dysfunctional, what difference does it make how they communicate. That study will probably show up shortly. Way back, say twelve years ago, before the explosion of texting and smart-phones, dysfunctional families – or where either the parents or the children were having some personal issues, they would either just not talk or when they did there was tension or outright hostility. Maybe because of hectic lives, or personal communication problems, some of these same families are at least trying to maintain a some kind of meaningful presence in each others lives.

The Empire Typewriter

The Empire Typewriter. According to this site The Empire or Wellington began production in 1892, in  Montreal , Canada.

If they ever reboot the Indiana Jones franchise this might be a good true story to use for inspiration, Andean Atlantis: Race, Science and the Nazi Occult in Bolivia.

Have you noticed all the countries in the world yearning to become libertarian states? No? The reason is that there are none. And there are none because humanity already experimented with libertarianism, We Already Tried Libertarianism – It Was Called Feudalism

For liberals, basic rights are fundamental, in the sense that they can’t be compromised or traded against other, non-basic rights. They are also inalienable; I can’t contractually transfer away or otherwise give up my basic rights. To the extent that I enter contracts that do this, I have an option of exit that restores those rights.

This is different from property rights in specific things. Picture yourself as a person with a basic right to association, who also owns a wooden stick. You can sell your stick, or break it, or set it on fire. Your rights over the stick are alienable – you don’t have the stick anymore once you’ve done those things. Your rights to the stick are also not fundamental. Given justification, the public could regulate its use (say if it were a big stick turned into a bridge, it may need to meet safety requirements), in a way that the liberal state couldn’t regulate freedom of association.

When libertarians say they are for basic rights, what they are really saying is that they are for treating what liberals consider basic rights as property rights. Basic rights receive no more, or less, protection than other property rights. You can easily give them up or bargain them away, and thus alienate yourself from them. (Meanwhile, all property rights are entirely fundamental – they can never be regulated.)

How is that possible? Let’s cut to the chase: Nozick argues you can sell yourself into slavery, a condition under which all basic liberties are extinguished. (“[Would] a free system… allow him to sell himself into slavery[?] I believe that it would.” ASU 331) The minimal libertarian state would be forced to acknowledge and enforce contracts that permanently alienate basic liberties, even if the person in question later wanted out, although the liberal state would not at any point acknowledge such a contract.

If the recession were so bad that millions of people started selling themselves into slavery, or entering contracts that required lifelong feudal oaths to employers and foregoing basic rights, in order to survive, this would raise no important liberty questions for the libertarian minimal state. If this new feudal order were set in such a way that it persisted across generations, again, no problem. As Freeman notes, “what is fundamentally important for libertarians is maintaining a system of historically generated property rights…no attention is given to maintaining the basic rights, liberties, and powers that (according to liberals) are needed to institutionally define a person’s freedom, independence, and status as an equal citizen.”

Government. Which brings us to feudalism. Feudalism, for Freeman, means “the elements of political authority are powers that are held personally by individuals, not by enduring political institutions… subjects’ political obligations and allegiances are voluntary and personal: They arise out of private contractual obligations and are owed to particular persons.”

What is the libertarian government? For Nozick, the minimal state is basically a protection racket (“protection services”) with a certain kind of returns to scale over an area and, after some mental cartwheels, a justification in forcing holdouts in their area to follow their rules.

As such, it is a network of private contracts, arising solely from protection and arbitration services, where political power also remains in private hands and privately exercised. The protection of rights is based on people’s ability to pay, bound through private authority and bilateral, individual contracts. “Protection and enforcement of people’s rights is treated as an economic good to be provided by the market,” (ASU 26) with governments as a for-profit corporate entities.

What doesn’t this have? There is no impartial, public power. There’s no legislative capacity that is answerable to the people in a non-market form. There’s no democracy and universal franchise with equal rights of participation. Political power isn’t to be acted on in a representative capacity toward public benefit, but instead toward private ends. Which is to say, it takes the features we associate with public, liberal government power and replaces them with feudal, private governance.

Opportunity. Liberals believe that positions should be open for all with talent, and that public power should be utilized to ensure disadvantaged groups have access to opportunities. Libertarianism believes that private, feudal systems of exclusion, hierarchy, and domination are perfectly fine, or at least that there is no legitimate public purpose in checking these private relationships. As mentioned above, private property rights are fundamental and cannot be balanced against other concerns like opportunity. Nozick is clear on this (“No one has a right to something whose realization requires certain uses of things and activities that other people have right and entitlements over.” ASU 238).

Procuring rights and passing those rights on, based on property is also specious in terms of inalienable basic rights since in many cases how that property was procured is up for debate. Was it gained under completely fair circumstances, was it truly earned – and in whose opinion. Much of U.S. foreign policy post WW II has been about protecting the financial interests of corporations. Workers did OK with this for a while, but for the last forty years wages have not kept pace with their productivity, yet we’ve had the massive accumulation of wealth by the top 1%. The average worker has no chance of catching up with the rent seekers.

escaping corporate social media, chinese observatory 1874

Social Networking for a Better World

The rise of corporate-owned social media raises many flags about our online security and the future of the digital commons. The solution, says theorist Michael Albert, is a different kind of network altogether.

[  ]…Which, when you think about it, is probably the exact opposite of what the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world thought social media would do. So much of what sites like Twitter or Facebook are designed for, how they’re organized and governed, and how they make money, could not be further from ideals like social justice or goals like ending student debt. Many sites, like Facebook, even have a history of giving private data over to government agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

But here’s the good news. It doesn’t have to be like this. There’s no law of nature that social media need to be run by giant corporations or that users need to put up with government spying and manipulative advertising. So, what’s the alternative?

Michael Albert, social theorist and co-editor of Z Magazine, has come up with one solution—and it’s worth taking a close look at. It’s called FaceLeft, and it embodies the very best of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, but emphatically without the spying, concision, and commercialization users have long put up with. Ad-free, substantive, and as open or private as users want to make it, FaceLeft is the first social network designed by and for activists—or anyone who feels uncomfortable with corporate-owned social media.

One, it is difficult to get people to get up and move in cyperspace. FaceBook has over a billion users. Activists have a tendency to want to get things rolling as quickly as possible. The situation – say some police brutality running rampant, a state legislature passing some crazy bill in the middle of the night…may demand urgent attention. So FaceLeft needs to get a massive influx of users. You could use FaceBook to announce your FaceLeft page. Two, is the privacy issue. FaceLeft can do some things that will easily surpass other social media sites, but ultimately, if you’re in the U.S. and the FBI shows up with a warrant, unless you’re ready to go to jail, you’ll be handing over whatever they want. Though with MySpace, FaceBook and Google+ some people had to be the pioneers. The negatives acknowledged it would be great if FaceBook lost a lot or, wishful thinking, most of their users. Every user is just a product to be marketed – to be a guinea pig for information, dots on spread sheets of big data to be harvested. From 2012, FaceBook: $5.32 in average revenue per user in 2012 , $1.58 billion in revenue for the last quarter. Zuckerberg has not proven to be as bright at social issues and social responsibility as he is at programming. Considering the good he could accomplish, that is a  tragedy.

A photograph of a Chinese Observatory with an armillary sphere, an azimuth theodolite and other astronomical Instruments taken by Adolf Erazmovich Boiarskii in 1874. Boiarskii was the official photographer on a Russian research and trading mission to China.

Three-Wheeled Wooden Vehicle with Chinese Dragon

Three-Wheeled Wooden Vehicle with Chinese Dragon Artillery (Longshen Pao). Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China, 1875. Also taken by Adolf Erazmovich Boiarskii.

View south from Manzanar to Alabama Hills

View south from Manzanar to Alabama Hills, Manzanar Japanese Relocation Center. 1943. By the great Ansel Adams. This was not a great print. Though considering that it was free and no royalties have to be paid, it is a great example of his work.

mustard field old oak wallpaper, how to profit from immigration reform, key of lifespan found in mouse brain

mustard field old oak wallpaper, spring meadow, country oak

mustard field old oak wallpaper


I enjoyed The Social Network (with the acknowledged factual flaws) and I’ve watched interviews with Mark Zuckerberg. He seems like a nice enough person. At least he does not come across as arrogant and self-absorbed as the Winklevoss twins.  One way of saying that in terms of surface appearance, Mark is someone whose public persona is not as obnoxious as so many others we see on the news. Substance matters, at least it still does to some people. In that regard Zuckerberg has some issues, Mark Zuckerberg’s Self-Serving Immigration Crusade

Zuckerberg wrote that “in a knowledge economy, the most important resources are the talented people we educate and attract to our country.” To that end, says on its website it aims to “establish a streamlined process for admitting future workers” and increase the number of H-1B visas that let companies hire high-skilled foreign workers to “continue to promote innovation and meet our workforce needs.”

The implicit argument behind is that the U.S. doesn’t have enough high-skilled domestic workers to meet tech companies’ needs. This is a myth, and Zuckerberg and are just the latest tech players to promote it. In fact there is no shortage of domestic IT workers, as shown in a new study from the Economic Policy Institute. While there is an unusually low unemployment rate among American tech workers (3%), they haven’t enjoyed the large salary increases that would signal a shortage. There is also little evidence that the foreign workers tech companies hire are any better than Americans. The real reason tech companies want to hire more high-skilled immigrants is that they can pay them less than Americans, since immigrants are in a more economically precarious position. More than 80 percent of workers hired under the H-1B program are paid less than their American counterparts, according to the EPI. This kind of outsourcing benefits tech companies while hurting domestic tech workers.

We might get the immigration reform that Zuckerberg wants. From what I have read so far, it is shaping up to be a fairly good, if imperfect bill. One that is especially humane in regards the kids of immigrants that are already here. It seems to be one of those bills that the malevolent minded, like Zuckerberg plan to exploit to their economic advantage. One assumes because having billions of dollars just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

There have been a few studies over the years warning about wonderful new findings in some basic research using mice. I’ve probably cited a few of those studies. Frequently studies using mice, say in which a new anti-cancer drug shows promise, frequently turns out to be a dead-end as far as human cancer cures. This is not always the fault of scientists per se. They publish their findings and by the time the evening news reports it, the report does not contain all the caveats the researchers stipulated in the original paper – usually something like more research and drug trials are needed to see if it works on humans. With that in mind, Age-defying: Master key of lifespan found in brain (in mice).

Tick tock, tick tock… A mechanism that controls ageing, counting down to inevitable death, has been identified in the hypothalamus?– a part of the brain that controls most of the basic functions of life.

By manipulating this mechanism, researchers have both shortened and lengthened the lifespan of mice. The discovery reveals several new drug targets that, if not quite an elixir of youth, may at least delay the onset of age-related disease.

I think the current world population is slightly below replacement levels – that is that more people die every year than are born. Though because world population is so massive – about 6.5 billion people, we’re likely to have between 8, maybe even 10 billion people before world population starts to decline. If the mouse findings do translate into prolonging life and mental alertness by 20%, are we ready for the repercussions of that.

 Vue de Paris prise de Montmartre

 Vue de Paris prise de Montmartre, 1886 by Van Gogh.

summer pool wallpaper, some fresh spring linkage

summer pool wallpaper

summer pool wallpaper 


The Fox News Propaganda Channel Disability Insurance Fraud “Shocker” Falls Flat

In fact the Utah attorney general’s finding proved that fraud is not a major problem with SSDI in Utah. According to the latest available data, there are 48,777 SSDI recipients in Utah. 157 cases of fraud only amounts to only .3 percent of all recipients.

If Fox News focused on the trillions of dollars corporate America squeezes out of the pockets of workers and consumers, they might provide an actual, one might even say patriotic, service to America.

Rand Paul (R-KY) Must Think Blacks Have Amnesia. What is worse than a serial lying buffoon? A clueless serial lying buffoon.

The Heartsick Story of Sarah Elizabeth Craft’s Easter bonnet, 1852

The intended owner of this bonnet was Sarah Elizabeth Craft (1841-1852), who lived in Ireland Parish (now Holyoke), Massachusetts. Purchased as a Christmas present to be worn the following spring for Easter services, the gift was never opened….

A wonderful slice of  history of an average American girl in mid 19th century America. There is a beautiful and almost eerie picture of her bonnet at the link.

I have ospreys that live near me. They’re incredible birds of prey – they don’t need bait or expensive rods to fish. So I especially enjoyed this post from one of the WordPress neighbors, The Osprey Get A New Home.

Social media fatigue has some New Yorkers cutting the cord

They note that the novelty of Facebook wanes once one has caught up with high school friends. They’re weary of being perceived as profit centers by marketers and of having their social relationships exploited. They’re leery of privacy invasions and increasingly unsatisfied by virtual kibitzing.

…Besides wearying of what had become a “non-stop stream of baby pictures and inspirational quotes,” Dubois found social media a poor substitute for actual socializing. “I’m going to see more friends and become a better cook,” clean her apartment and start reading books again, said DuBois

Facebook is not good for the internet or privacy. And the inspirational quotes; people are wearing them out and largely repeating things out of context. Not everyone of course, but so many of the likers, retweeters, rebloggers of those snips of thought are too busy doing said social media activity to be actually living the way many of the quotes advise. Moderation. Someone famous probably said something about it, but we all know what it means without a historical figure’s name tagged on.

old typewriter wallpaper, some reasons why google glasses are a nightmare

old typewriter wallpaper

old typewriter wallpaper

old typewriter wallpaper

old typewriter wallpaper

I could not decide so I posted the top with a soft ink wash, with some of the haze removed and the bottom with a color gradient overlay.

Thirty-Five Arguments Against Google Glass

It could destroy whatever shreds of privacy we have left.

This is the greatest criticism against Google Glass. So let’s look at this in terms of law. If present terms are not refashioned by Congress in the next year to meet the realities of 2014 digital life, Google may be helped by current law, which may not protect the American public from the “electronic communications” of video recorded from a pair of glasses and uploaded to Google. The Stored Communications Act, drafted and legislated in 1986, was put into place well before webmail, social media, and cloud computing were realities. And until the SCA is updated by legislators to reflect today’s world, it remains possible that a Google Glass video — if it is defined as an “electronic communication service” comparable to email — will remain unprotected because of how the SCA now defines “electronic storage.” (See these recent cases for the present state of affairs, including Jennings v. Jennings, in which the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that accessing another person’s email doesn’t count as a violation — even when the other person correctly guesses the email account’s security questions. But see also Viacom Int’l, Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., 253 F.R.D. 256, 258, 264 (S.D.N.Y. 2008), in which a court defined YouTube as “remote computing service” — the counterpart to “electronic communication service” — without supplying a reason.)

Metadata may create more headaches. As Mark Hurst has suggested, not only is it likely that the Glass videos will be uploaded to Google’s server, but “all of the indexing, tagging, and storage could happen without the Google Glass user even requesting it.”

It will hold more people needlessly accountable for easily pardonable activities.

According to a CareerBuilder survey last year, nearly two in five companies used social networking sites to screen potential employees. Drinking, using drugs, and posting “provocative” or “inappropriate” material were more serious reasons not to hire someone than clearly vocational concerns such as poor communication skills and badmouthing former employers. In 2011, a Georgia teacher was fired for posting a Facebook photo. The crime? Holding a glass of beer in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. So what will happen when Glass lathers up more videos offering more rabid opportunities for vengeful people to be offended? Will an entire subculture emerge in which creeps sift through a person’s Google Glass oeuvre looking for the one soundbyte that will go viral and destroy that person’s reputation? As more technology enters our lives, we have become more beholden to an unreasonable ideal. We’ve seen how employers humiliate prospective employees with endless interviews because they crave perfection, but a culture that does not allow people to make mistakes cannot possibly know and feel what it is to be alive.

To some this will all sound pretty shrill. To others there might be an understandable attitude of defeatism. At this point Monsanto has been able to say they own much of America’s food supply, and Congress. With that and other almost daily examples in mind of corporate power and runaway anything goes technology fever it looks like nothing can be done. Sometimes what the people want does win, The reasons to oppose technology defeatism are simple: It downplays the utility of resistance and conceals the avenues for seeking reform and change.

cherry blossoms wallpapers, pain fireworks, a telecom miracle and unbounded greed

cherry blossoms wallpapers

cherry blossoms wallpapers

Pain's Unrivalled Fireworks  James Pain and Sons Fireworks London

Pain’s Unrivalled[sic] Fireworks. James Pain and Sons Fireworks London. Pains’ seems to have started business in about 1850. It has gone through some mergers and it not a family owned business anymore, though some Pain descendants may still work there. There is a Pain Fireworks and Pyrotechnics still in business. They do not sell retail fireworks, they do major event fireworks and special effects. Below is one of their current promotional photos:

In other words if you were thinking of hiring them for your birthday party, it will cost a few dollars, or pounds.

While I still complain a little if someone else brings it up, I’ve given up on cellphone carriers and internet providers. They’re all terrible. Some are just worse than others so as a consumer your goal is not to find a good company, but one that does not give you the biggest shaft. So this is surprising news, Breaking Free of the Cellphone Carrier Conspiracy

When you buy a cellphone — an iPhone or Android phone, let’s say — you pay $200. Now, the real price for that sophisticated piece of electronics is around $600. But Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are very thoughtful. They subsidize the phone. Your $200 is a down payment. You pay off the remaining $400 over the course of your two-year contract.

The problem with this delusion as Mr Pogue points out is that even when you reach the point where your phone is paid for, your phone bill never goes down. You just keep paying for that phone. Pogue does under-generalize about the costs –  a top of the line smart phone with service can cost from just over a thousand to two thousand a year.

At the new T-Mobile, the Great Cellphone Subsidy Con is over. You can buy your phone outright, if you like — an iPhone 5 is $580, a Samsung Galaxy S III is $550. Or you can treat it like a car or a house: pay $100 for the phone now, and pay off the rest over time, $20 a month.

And if say you get ahead on your expenses and want to pay off your phone with extra payments in the first two months, your phone bill goes down $20. And you can cancel your phone plan at any time. Though if you keep the phone you’ll still have to pay for that of course.

Offshore tax havens rocked by bank account leaks $32 trillion

The offshore financial industry has been hit by the leak of 2.5 million secret bank accounts of companies and nationals in 170 countries to 86 journalists worldwide, under the leadership of the International Consortium of investigative journalism. Publication began this week.

The leak of two million emails and other documents, mostly from the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands is expected to cause global shockwaves.

An estimated $32 trillion (€25 trillion) is locked up in the accounts, which are used by plutocrats, heads of state, and celebrities to avoid paying income tax.

The revelations come shortly after the resignation of the French Finance Minister Jérôme Cahuzac on 19 March, apparently over a secret bank account he held in Switzerland. Jean-Jacques Augier, President François Hollande’s campaign co-treasurer and close friend, has also been forced to publicly identify a Chinese business partner.

Mongolia’s former finance minister and deputy speaker of its parliament has reportedly said that he may have to resign from politics as a result of the investigation.

In Belgium, a first batch of revelations is expected later today on the website of the daily Le Soir.

According to initial information, the leak has enabled investigators to trace the “disappeared” fortunes of dictators, such as Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

The Guardian, the BCC and other international media will jointly publish the results of their investigations over the course of the week. According to the Guardian newspaper, the investgative project could prove extremely damaging for confidence in tax havens, used by the world’s wealthiest people.

Activity by an extraordinary array of government officials and rich families across the world has been identified, from the UK, Canada, the US, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, China, Thailand and former communist states.

See kids, you don’t have to go out and buy a ski mask and a gun, your degree in business or finance allows you to steal with pretty much near impunity. And you get to call the people calling you a thief, communists. No one wants to be caught being on the side of communists so the politicians will slap your hands at most and you can go back to stealing more from the capital created by the naive working class. Yet I just finished reading yet another guest editorial in the NYT saying that countries just can’t afford any spending, we must have more austerity.