Vol. 4 No. 2

September, 2004


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Digital Slavery

In less than a decade, the average American worker has been chained to a pixel screen toiling away at keystrokes and wrist clicks. The dusty fields and old cotton gins have been replaced by bandwidth and software programs. Jobs have been connected to the machines. We are being enslaved by the promises of technology in the computer age.

A client comes into my office and remarks at the dozen banker boxes filled with files across one wall of the room. “I thought computers were supposed to make us a paperless society,” he remarked. Computers, I replied, have only tripled the output of paper. So much for a paperless society.

Every office has one. An employee who has been dumped upon to become the de facto system administrator. It is not part of his duties. He is the one where the rest of the staff comes to with basic problems, crashed hard disks or unopenable email attachments. The guy has no choice--- co-workers, you know. But he is really running a second job without pay.

In smaller operations, the person may be devoting more and more of his regular hours maintaining the system, checking the general mailbox, deleting files, updating spam filters, checking network connections, or spending hours on hold waiting for the DSL provider to reboot its system.

The transformation to the service economy is nearly complete. One hundred fifty years ago, the average worker toiled in the fields in a subsistent agricultural economy. The prospect of land owner, unheard of in central feudal Europe, led to a boom of immigrating farmers who believed that the land could provide stability, health and wealth to their family. The main machine they had to coerce the land to cultivation was their own human muscles.


Throughout history, the domestication of humanity to feed, power and create empires lead to the enslavement of a serf class of workers, mostly farmers, who toiled in the soils in exchange for some promise of protection against invading savages. This dependence was either by volunteer participation or by forced labor. Throughout most of the world today, human life is viewed not as a special, unique or spiritual being but as a commodity, a replaceable gear in a local economic engine.

With the Industrial Revolution, the human machine was taken from the dusty, sun soaked fields, into hot, dirty and smokey factories and assembly lines. Man had begun to harness the power of nature, steam, to create mechanized machines to replace men in the fields -- the tractor, the cotton gin, steam engines on the production side to slaughterhouses and packing lines on the distribution side. The early labor movement began as working conditions in the factories made the men feel that they were viewed no better than the animals being slaughtered at their feet. The classic struggle of capital (the business/factory/product) verus labor (workers) was born in the valuation of a business owner's mental-competitive edge toward profit making and the worker's valuation of their skills as it related to their own poverty-level existence.

A rapid population boom followed the birth of the industrialized nation. Then cycles of boom and bust, high unemployment, public disease epidemics, and the despair that one had to take any job, even one that was deadly, in order to survive. The modern worker was no different than a mediaeval serf who hauled most of his harvest to the baron's castle season after season as tribute for the protection the stone walls would provide him. (The best images of the feudal existence are those in time-period scenes of a Monty Python movie.)

Man was yoked not to a oxen cart in the factory world, but he was integrated into a machine, a portion of an assembly line where he robotically affixed parts to a structure as it moved by his station every few seconds. His eye and hand coordination, the rapid recognition and response of his brain function, was the key to productivity. He was chained to this eye-hand-coordination for eight to ten hour days. It must have been like putting your forehead on a spinning mental grindstone day after day after day.

The American economy as evolved; some say matured into a financial and service center. But what does that mean? Instead of relying on the brute strength of human musclepower, America relies upon its mental capacity to invent, to sell and to distribute valuable ideas to the country and the world.

The average American office worker comes to their office each morning with a cup of caffeine, a day planner or PDA, and callous index finger. The first movement of the worker each day is to press the ON button for their computer terminal. From that moment forward, the worker is now chained to a pixel screen or ancillary piece of technology for the next eight to ten hours. he or she is tethered to the corporate mothership like generations before planted in a feudal castle's fields tending to the needs of their nobles.

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Let the Battles Begin!


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Kerry on Wayward Sons

John Kerry stated in his acceptance speech that he was going to say something that FDR could never had said: if you want more go to “”

If you want to know what John Kerry stands for, a summary of his web site posting will lead you to the conclusion that Kerry only stands for the proposition “I will do better than Bush.” The web site is devoid of specifics. It is a classic diversion. The stump speeches are how great I am. If you want to know about my programs, go to my web site for the answers. Those answers are merely more stump speech foam and froth.

Modern politicians are not about talking about specifics. It is about getting elected. You used to be able to tell every different audience that they will get their program through if they elected you to office. Because the country had no real national daily media, a politicians could go from train station to train station and change his message ten times a day and never get caught in the apparent lie.

But in an age of single issue special interest groups, no one politician can promise everything to everyone. The only way to attempt to do it is to smile, shake hands, tell them you understand, and say you will do something the incumbent has not done for them. The non-committed commitment promise.

Politicians view the electorate as dumb sheep. They just need enough herders to get them to punch the right name on the ballot on election day. If it takes a push, a threat, a street bribe, it is called a voter educational program supplement (funded by taxpayer dollars).

The national cable media have the opportunity to dissect a candidate's inconsistent promises on a daily basis. But the program hosts are not objective journalists, but career political insiders who steer the conversation and debate to their own point of view (which benefits one candidate over another). So the debate is not a on specifics to solve an issue, but on the style, the passion or the presentation by a candidate. It is like spinning ice cream into a warm soup and calling it “smooth” soft serve.

The internet would be the last pure political speech forum. However, most of the pure politics sites, like, are the basement racks of the national media conglomerates with the same bias and prejudices. National media conglomerates do not rock the boat when they have broadcast license issues pending in Washington.

With the prospect of 24/7, informative, detailed news and coverage of elections possible with the internet, we fear that the American voting public is less informed about the issues than ever before. . . the system has boiled down to a 15 second soundbite position and election laws that favor incumbent-career politicians over new parties-ideas, or change.

While Americans are slaving over their hot computer monitors each day, very few have the time or desire to research the important issues of the day. At best, they hit a news portal like Drudge and read the headlines, gossip or latest poll results and move on to another less important infotainment link like a Texas hold 'em tournament. Some have been branded with the phrase, YOU CAN'T BEAT CITY HALL. Your vote cannot change the system. Instead of serving the public, the career politician are serving taxpayers with an apple in their mouth as taxation continues to grow at all levels of government while elected officials are retiring from office as multi-millionaires.

But the 2000 Florida election showed, every vote does count. In the myth of a two-party system, there is no real difference between a Democrat or a Republican. Both are big spending federal program advocates. Both are Big Brother government control over private association and private contracts. Both are the members of the privileged, elitist baron class of American society, the career elected official. This elitist syndrome from Washington has soaked its way down to the local level where elected city officials command their own corrupt little fiefdoms. No one cares to object. People are too busy trying to hang on to what they have then to rock the boat.

Instead of Rocking the Vote, a segment of society should Rock the Boat. It could happen. Jesse Ventura, as an independent, won the Minnesota governorship after voters were repelled by the Democrat and Republican candidates orgy of spending the state's share of the tobacco settlement. But the national media slowly put Ventura into the comic/clown/freak classification and his status quickly faded like his wrestling persona to the point where he could not govern, could not lead, could not seek re-election. he had upset the Family (the Republicrats) and the Family returned to power.

The only issue central to the Kerry campaign is getting Kerry elected. Victory at any cost. The only issue central to the Bush campaign is getting Bush elected. Victory at any cost. The data bases have been culled and voting patterns among the electoral states have been completed. The Family has decided that its wayward sons will battle in 18 key states, the ones with the closest-to-call polling margins. The rest of the states have been set aside in the “so what” or “who cares” chum bucket.


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Bends & Trends

Instead of attaching a graphic image, emailers are now imbedding multimedia content in the email itself. This insertion usually shows up after a long download as a small thin horizontal strip. It may save the sender time, but the receiver is caught in a time trap until the entire file downloads. has decided to drop the capital I from the term Internet in its stylebook. The net is no longer a thing, it is a basic utility, so the editors have concluded last month. If you have a spellchecker, it will continue to spell it the old way (Internet).



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