Dance Partners                                          
                                                            A HuMan Interest Series                     

Part I

                                                         Off and Running
Printable Version                                                                                                                                         August 2012
                                                                                                                                                                   Endless Revisions; 2013 -  2019

         Millions of us are fully aware that we must better engage in order to navigate our great democratic ship more responsibly through these techno-challenged times. I believe that anyway.  So, once a bit of conviction gelled to this belief, I then spent months agonizing over how to write a puny, 3-page mass summons from us—to us. Somehow, those pages morphed into a few mega-installments but it didn’t matter—I was off and running! Well, right up until I asked some friends to edit my efforts. Yeah, they tiptoed around what by now I’d decided was my writing style, but their assessment about us was so disheartening, I skulked for over a year. And as my pen lay idle—their words did not. They simply didn’t believe enough of us truly cared about how our watch was going down; enough who would actually band together to rally an effective redirect. Certain political division was too deeply rooted, they believed the kind of unity necessary to overcome all that was unstoppable—was hopeless. The final hit, they really didn’t think average us bothers to read much anymore; especially lengthy material jam-packed with such heavy topics.  
        When I look back on those first years of mind-numbing durations; struggling to find words to paste to thoughts, struggling to navigate through the disseminating maze only to fail, and struggling to squirrel time enough away to even take a stab at actually doing it—a smile of irony creases my face. When I finally did reach for that pen, I then spent the next few years piling on even more heaviness! Still, those challenges shrivel in comparison to the one that rode in on the wings of that long ago, simple belief. A belief that has since become—one unshakable conviction. Sure, it’s easy to believe we must better engage because we must. Honestly, who doesn’t know this? But for someone so adept at building sentences backwards, someone saddled with a fickle ego constantly reminding me of all that I lack, it damn sure wasn’t easy to believe my efforts could possibly help make a difference. Indeed, picking up a pen to even begin, was one of the biggest, nearly insurmountable challenges—I’ve ever tackled.

Didactic Finesse.
        The Ageless Power Dance now has a 4th partner. It is a formidable entity unto itself. It now commands the floor of our Human Experiment. This non-living it already controls nearly every human infrastructure; controls nearly every aspect of human living. Eager to have partnered with this new kid on the block, our ruling guides have us in a head-on straight into one firmly entrenched—monitored wall of existence. On this trek, they are feeding this new intelligence—our very lifelines. Up ahead, lies one irreversible, never to come back from—transcending abyss. So yes, before all humanity lands on that brink, now’s a real good time to reach for some prevention resolve because as it stands—we are currently bequeathing to our own kids one helluva nightmare.
        This series could be shortened—allot. A skilled writer could serve these all-encompassing topics up with didactic soundbite finesse; like the above paragraph even! It’s not that my writing skills haven’t improved, it’s that I’m on a mission. We all know what’s looming on the horizon, even catch the imminence in the soundbites tossed to us about what’s looming. But then, we typically go on with our busy lives, hardly compelled to wonder aloud, hardly compelled to engage. So, for this mission to even chance success, you may as well pop a cool one and settle in cuz this is gonna take a while.

Monitoring. It’s a One Stop Shop. 
        An Olympic gold medalist, rock star or writer, these were the visions I’d occasionally pull on to ease my blue collar doldrums. As a writer, historical fiction glossed those visions so I’m not really sure how my first writing stab ended up being chocked full of such drags. Well, cést la vie. I do know good writers come out of the starting gate with something other than drag-chocked pages which is why I’ve tried to shuffle this installment to the rear plenty of times but, it belongs here. 
        Monitoring. That’s what newday technology feasts on. We need to start where the feast is set before delving into how AI grows so please stick out the long haul—including this installment, as I’m not sure I’d be able to recover the heart I’d lose if my editing friends end up being right.
        Today’s technology is set to monitor and chart absolutely anything someone wants to track including competent workforces—the primo grub source. Sugar-plum thoughts dancing in our heads about workers being monitored purely for safety, attaboys and raises—needs erased. Workforce monitoring technologies are the all-in-one super deal of the day! Its not only gather the data needed to improve techno-patterns for our replacement, Its then provide the necessary targeting-data to help rid elites of those human headaches but that’s not all! Its then scooch right in and gobble up our very lifelines! Corporate elites intent on replacing human workers, paint us comparatively inept against technologies designed to replace us. How? By using a concept called quantifiable measureable attributes. You see, machines can only tally calculated values, hence measurable attributes then quantified. Meaning: every intuitive, ethical or common sense decision, along with every reactionary or creative capability, are not a part of this measured picture either because these attributes can’t easily be value-assigned, or, they are intentionally omitted. Consequently, replacement machines will continue to look exceedingly attractive and we’ll continue to look comparatively inept so long as this pathetically skewed way of measuring continues. Industry elites know this—but! They’ve already invested billions into re-cogging industrial wheels from human to techno so I’m certain they intend to reap their projected rewards. I’m also certain it’s become apparent to them, just as it’s become apparent to many of us—they should have thought their reckless replacement road out a bit more. A real good time to have seriously considered: just because we can—should we? Now, it’s a done deal.
        I liken today’s monitoring agendas to an oxen’s tightly wrapped compress on one wounded leg. A guaranteed case of rot will surely set in if the temporary fix gets any tighter, or stays permanently. And I liken our industry/governing elites who are eagerly monitoring us for control and/or replacement, to the oxen’s master who didn’t pause much to rationally think about mending the leg before whacking it off. All of us need to slow these technologies down and devise better fixes. As to the oxen’s master: he can monitor the damn cart all he wants but the wheels to a democratic-commerce cart—aint gonna turn without a healthy, four legged oxen.

It’s a Numbers Game.
        The concept of quantified measurable attributes has been around for some time but its uses on society and workers are relatively new. Stephen Baker writes in laymen language about this concept and many others in his book The Numerati. About 30 years ago: “The use of computer chips invented in the 1980’s started it all. Tiny bits of silicon, bristling with millions of microscopic transistors, have grown cheaper and more powerful ever since. Now, virtually anything that can benefit from a dab of smarts gets chips. These chips are fastidious note-takers and record the minutiae of our lives. Taken alone, each bit of information is nearly meaningless but put together, patterns are then made. Patterns for everything are basically useless unless their values can be measured—quantified for human’s to use.”
        As to the zillions of bits of recorded data flung out on the Big www, Baker likens this to a vast information stream constantly circling the globe. “Send a smiley face from your cellphone J and that tiny bit of your behavior (not just words), instantly rushes with billions of others through fiber-optic cables soaring up to a satellite and back down, checking in at a server farm in Singapore even before you put your phone back into your pocket. The air teems with motes of information about us.”
        Baker explains: “These gathered bits of information about us are used by marketers for the goods we purchase, by politicians for how we vote—by corporate/industry for how we work. These zillion-bits of information are called unstructured data until someone tells the whiz-kid computers to structure it all. As the data we produce continues to explode and computers grow relentlessly stronger, these maestros gain in power. Human data-whizzes, armed with their whiz-kid computer sidekicks, are pouring into biology, medicine, advertising, sports, politics and work arenas. They are adding us up. We are being quantified.” Baker calls these people The Numerati. I label anyone who can scrawl a chalkboard full of integrated symbols; letters, numbers and divisors, those who easily know the difference or can make radio-waves, silicon transmitters, analogs or algorithms—brainiacs.
         Numerati brainiacs armed with computers, rule our days—almost. For all of their brainiac capabilities, their efforts still won’t materialize into much without backing. Political and corporate elites may not know how any of this works any more than we do, but they sure know what end product they want and they have the bucks to see it through. For industry, Baker’s connection to this begins with the timeless barter system that finally got replaced with the original Numerati idea of cold hard cash. “Automation and factories then ushered in mass production but of limited varieties. For instance, blue jeans vied for the consumer dollar within a limited realm of other blue jean types. But as technology and globalization advanced, so did consumer variety options. In 50 years, we’ve gone from a demand-and-control economy to one driven by consumers.” And it’s because of this; because we’re no longer forced to shop at the company store, industries must now spend billions to figure out how to corral our free-to-choose, wherever we want to spend ‘em—dollars. The stuff that rules capitalistic societies—is in our very hands. In this full-circle reality, corp/industries must try and figure out how we will spend our dollars at the end of the product line and—keep the cost of goods competitive at the front of the line. The Numerati is here to help on both counts.
        On the consumer end, we are being quantified to figure out how to get our purchasing attention; to profile what kinds of people will buy what. Earlier, I’d mentioned a technology used to track our P300 brainwave—to monitor what snags our focus. I envision this kind of monitoring will soon lurk, if not already, behind those pesky little ads that float by on our screens and as we peer at them, they will peer back and—that’s just plumass creepy.
        Baker explains how information gets gleaned from us by all these sparks we shoot; mouse clicks and words via the web, but that’s not all. “Even more gleaned data found in old-fashioned caches of every bit of list ever made about us horded in file drawers, is then fed into computers for more quantifying. Then, much of our own personal data from cellphones to emails, text messages, twitters, chat lines or blogs can also be extracted. All these motes of information about us are referred to as static data or chaotic waves; it’s all somewhat useless until someone mines it to then quantify it.” And boy are we mined.

        Data-miners and technologists then begin to sort us. We are broken into buckets and tribes. “To retailers looking to better understand the consuming mass, we are further refined. You may land in the true friend bucket as a loyal shopper, butterfly bucket if you’re a sporadic shopper, or barnacle bucket if you’re a coupon clipper.” In this chapter, I found another important tidbit worth mentioning: “In Europe, this bucket sorting is meant to provide shoppers with enhanced service but not to compile shopping-related data to profile them. Data privacy is a far more explosive issue in Europe than in the US.” Go Europe! Hopefully—we’ll catch up.
        To politicians, the bucket sorting of us becomes a bit more complex since our vote-casting is secret whereas our dollar-casting is not. Profiling us then, goes deeper than just sales receipts and for this—we are put into tribes. “For politicians, computer enhanced quantifiable profiling began in earnest in 2004 to ferry-out potential voters.  Potential voters, and potential is key, because die-hard republican and democrats will face blizzards to cast their vote whereas the rest of us are thrown into other tribes. Barn Raisers and Hearth Keepers both ascribe to faith-based living. The Inner Compass tribe insists on fitness both in body and balance sheet. The Right Clickers know the value of the right side of the mouse versus the left.” On it goes. Guess we’re plopped into one of ten tribes. This has been happening to us for over 14 years now, probably unbeknownst to most of us and again—it’s only just beginning.

Bad Guys. 
        Baker interviewed Jeff Jonas, a technologist who initially made his millions building a surveillance business. Jonas is now “vehemently opposed to the use of statistical data-mining to predict the next terrorist. He fears its intrusions and false alerts. Yet, he trusts that data and surveillance can protect our freedoms without sacrificing our privacy.” However, Jonas concludes: “We technologists had better spend a little more time thinking about what we’re creating. I hope we will create technology to protect our identities and policies to safeguard our rights and smart people to make policy. Without sound oversight: we’re liable to get the worst of both worlds—a surveillance society that still fails to make us safe.”
 For me, these statements are potent. First—vigilant wariness can’t include lots of hoping. Already, the line between mining to profiling us is quickly being breached. Our words, behaviors and location have already landed in the monitoring lineup of us so I’d guess brain-fingerprinting our fleeting thoughts just about cinches the deal. While web-searching about this incredibly insane scheme, I discovered the primary hype gently sliding this tool ever-so subversively into our free society—springs from the anti-terrorist well that doesn’t look to run dry anytime soon. I also noticed another push for this wholly invasive technology is to provide paralyzed people the opportunity to surf online. Tapping our fears, and also our compassion—works.
        Next, every data-mined cache can be harnessed by governments and moneyed-ilk and who knows what really lurks behind any powerhouse scheme. This wouldn’t be a grave concern since most of us are law-abiding and have little to hide other than how invasive it all is, who’s got their hands on it and for hell’s sake why? There are motives behind big bucks monitoring us. Ask loudly why—always!     
        These concerns become even graver as emphasized in Jonas’s comment; “he fears its intrusions and false alerts.” You see, compiled data innocently profiling us or not, is not only intrusive—it can easily get it wrong and/or manipulated. Regardless of trusty government assurances, these just beginning, ever-expanding confidential caches about each one of us are growing precariously unsafe. The news already delivers a daily diet of leaked confidential information, computer hacking, viruses and credit card fraud. Any victim of identity theft can tell anyone who will listen that once wrong data puts us into the Big www metasystem—years of a prolonged nightmare ensue. 

Fear Grease. 
         It’s one timeworn drag. Alexander Hamilton quote: “to be more safe, society at length, become more willing to run the risk of being less free.” Fear-based control is a well-practiced conditioning ploy. Period. It has been used on masses ever since the inception of this power dance so we certainly aren’t experiencing any new concept. Today’s masses are being conditioned still—to believe monitoring is necessary because there’s lots of bad guys out there. So, is there? I’d bet the farm—we do not have any more bad guys on the loose than any other past era! Rather, fear-greased control has finally become airtight effective—never to slink awaycompliments of our new dance partner. 
        Jonas aptly sums up what lurks behind using fear-based justifications. “We need sound oversight and smart people or else we’re liable to get the worst of both—a surveillance society that still fails to make us safe.” So! Is sound oversight what we have? Currently, our ruling elite have rushed headlong into monitoring the all of us—the good, the bad, the ugly. Every scrap of data about us flowing through any techno-door that opens, can then be funneled into IT—the cat’s meow for total control. This is not what free democracies pay their governing elites to do!  
        Our pendulum process of change swings slowly so our wariness should take note of how quickly the agendas to install cameras on Our Highways was implemented. Maryland and Arizona were the 1st states to use highway monitoring; originally intended to merely catch bad-guy speeders, but then, without much ado and nearly overnight, The Department of Transportation required every state to implement real-time highway monitoring by 2016—purely for safety. The DOT wanted to keep us apprised of current traffic and weather conditions. 
        And so begins—Societal Conditioning. Of course reckless speeders can leave devastation in their wake as can traffic jams and inclement weather so we will find rationality in these measures. Fear conditioning works so it’s just a matter of what lubricant to use. Control agendas now slide every edict imagined—under the banner of safety. It’s getting fairly crowded under there. Everywhere, within industry and society; especially transportation which has become a prime candidate to advance societal monitoring, every control decree is now shoved under this banner. Yeah, there’s bad guys out there alright but evidently, cellphone users and smokers are also bad guys. Daily edicts are being hatched dictating how, when and where these people must behave. These people are us and the overwhelming majority of us are not bad guys! Audio and GPS monitoring is already established. Video use is popping up everywhere and will easily enforce every edict envisioned just as soon as controllers figure out where to mount all the damn cameras! The Internet is taking on heat. Those making Drones, Sensors and Online Brain Monitoring all want in on the free-for-all. Was our consensus garnered to usher in total control surveillance and I missed it? 
        Fact: video monitoring monitors everything and—transportation is how free societies move about. Touting fear-based justifications in an era blessed with an overwhelming law-abiding mass, stems solely from a ruling cadres ever-growing disregard of us! Obviously, they are not concerned that we are losing our freedoms and being replaced with machines or this wouldn’t be our reality! However, they do seem concerned about which perks, pork and stocks they vote for themselves. All of this as our debt of trillions and unemployment mount. None of this spells sound oversight, benevolent or even wise. But, before concluding that all powerhouse governing elites are negligent of their responsibilities and oaths, it would be more prudent to realize it’s our system currently at work, a system that’s somehow become vulnerable to self-serving manipulators, that is no longer working very well—at least for us. 
        I’m guessing these statements will need some patriotic affirmations. Please, before condemning any American audacious enough to question our governed/corporate ways, I’d like you to know I think this is a fantastic country. It’s in every patriotic bone I have that aches for responsible questioning of what any of us are doing. Are we helping propel this great country forwards—or backwards?  
        Everyone; numerati brainiacs, our ruling cadre, experts and this massall of us must awaken to the stark realities newday technology dictates. Monitoring and replacement technologies left to spiral in any direction they get fed is sheer recklessness. Once implemented, real-time surveillance becomes firmly entrenched and the data reaped then sits ripe and ready for that which history dictates the eventual certainty of: the rendering of a masses preventive power to stave off the irresistible carrot to dominate them—utterly useless.  
        Baker explains that right now: “Acxiom of Conway Arkansas has begun keeping shopping and lifestyle data on some 200 million of us—nearly every adult in this country. IBM is building replicable skill-data extracted from their 300,000 employee database.” Other companies program computers to draw correlations from the words we use, our inflections, eye movements, emotions—nearly every spec of data that can be gleaned from human tendencies are then sold to others for whatever agenda they are running. Governments, corporations or crazed-egomaniacs, whoever’s got the bucks and wants to get to know us quite intimately—currently has a green light to do so.
        Baker aptly concludes: “As The Numerati advance, they’re going to be measuring and profiling countless aspects of human behavior. This is going to raise torturous moral questions, ones that until now—we never knew to ask.” Well now’s a real good time to start asking—loudly! Again, I’m basing what needs full-on exposure from my own average awareness. Stephen Baker writes a book that’s well-worth reading. While the circles of Numerati, brainiacs, programmers, marketers, technologists, e-tailers and data-miners may find all of this familiar ground, I don’t—but I’m learning.

Back to the Grind.  
        Of course we can choose to veer away from some of these intrusions, at least today—by keeping our eyes and our very being away from peering pixels. By staying caged in our own home, offline and with curtains drawn. However, work arenas are a different matter. Corp/industries fund wholly invasive schemes at the front of the production line as well. 
        Corporate elites know many of today’s replacement technologies don’t yet work proficiently, so in order for them to get better—they must get smarter. Monitoring human workers builds smarter replacement patterns. Saddling a human workforce with incompetent technology or RCO’s (radio controlled equipment), which may work some of the time, inefficiently controlling other equipment the rest of the time—is how replacement technology grows to get smarter. So if you are an exasperated worker, wondering when your bosses are gonna wake up to see how costly and inefficient replacement machines are—they aren’t asleep. Elites already know the transition from human to machine is expensive and will begin inefficiently but seem to believe it’s worth the bucks. Remember
—human workers have been relegated to headache status. 
        Today’s expensive replacement agendas are for tomorrow’s gains simply to boost productivity with or without us. Inefficient machines will become faster, better, and will devour more and more lifelines. We are not just an obscure number anymore but rather: we are the very test groups being used; just the same as IBM’s 300,000 monitored test-group, it’s getting cheaper and cheaper to replace us and—all of this is just getting warmed up. 
        One big overlooked puzzle-piece to this fevered replacement transition is: just who is  supposed to spend end-of-the-line product dollars without an end-of-the-line paycheck?  Machines sure won’t. Machines will never be compelled to do one damn thing.

Power Brokering 101.  
        I’d have titled this series Invasive Technologies; Monitoring to Replace Us instead of Dance Partners ifinvasive technology was doing this to us all by itself. And I’m guessing one big reason why there’s not much being written about how these technologies are advancing, is simply because the all of it is fully ensnared in this ageless power dance. Hardly could any writing effectively address invasive technologies but skirt around all that’s convoluted. It’s an all-encompassing nightmare of a mess and if I were smarter—I wouldn’t try either. 
        This series evolved largely during 2010-12 but before I knew it, another spring was upon me and I was still trying to get this sent off yet current events kept squawking at me to include them. Rather than going back through each installment to replace yesterday’s current events with hotly pressed ones, I began to see it would serve a better purpose to leave them. A refresher of what happened only yesterday just might help remind us about the few constants in the power dance that remain. That really—only the dates, the names of places, and the people change. 
        There are approximately 200 countries in today’s world; a number that frequently changes. Exactly how many of these countries are currently embroiled in civil unrest is also an ever-changing number. As I sit here refreshing this installment with an updated 2014 take, Palestine and Israel are coming unhinged—again. By 2015, the Ukraine nightmare is still just that. ISIS is the newest catchy acronym; we just delivered airstrike round #1 and I’m wondering what resets the count to what’s become countless—the year or latest catchphrase? 
        Here’s a 2011 flashback to help remind us about what we must stop forgetting. The year began with Facebook cleverly helping Iranian masses loosen their oppressive reins. Then, the mass in Tunisia finally raged against their heavy-handler to oust the first Arab despot; their 14% unemployment helped them push to say enough. And so began—The Arab Spring. Meanwhile, Sudan was trying to break ties from the rest of war-ridden Africa and strike out on their own. Newsweek’s Bloody Barcelona story covered Spain’s disaffected masses erupting over there. South American countries were and still are finding their blossoming democracies precariously unsafe from despotic ambitions which continue to plague them. By spring and finally—Bin Laden faced the grim reaper. By fall, Egypt’s dictator, the one that fled with billions milked from those people—stood trial. Also with hidden hordes extracted from yet another mass, Libya’s nutcase remained on the lam for most of the summer until October when he too—faced the grim reaper. 
        Our world is a global society now. The power dance may not be oppressively obvious in freer countries but it still goes on—always. On our own home turf, fed up with corporate greed and     high unemployment, our own disaffected rolled down Wall Street. Rolled then across our great land; rippled across the entire planet. Historically and currently, gory messes will continue to cycle back again and again until some mass finally comes along to change this dance up. Springsteen sings; one step up ~ two steps back. This song can be likened to the entire human jig. And for the cynic who is certain this timeworn jig will remain forever gory, please remember: status-quo obviously never changes until finally—it does. 
        To effect change—belief comes first. I believe the key to minimizing tragic domination cycles rests in the hands of freer and educated masses. I’m not alone in this belief. However, change is sometimes hard to see so consider this: we are the first generations ever, to finally witness democracy-types tip the customary, totalitarian overlord scale. Also within our time, we’ve witnessed communistic experiments dwindle while democracies flourished. Democracy-types have become the best forward-ho governing option to ensure mass-freedoms but in order to effectively work—masses must stay engaged. Right now, Mid-East masses are struggling to find their way to what we already enjoy—a less oppressive life experience. If they succeed, world tolerance moves forward and we all win but if they don’t; if they trade one brand of oppression for another, humanity’s progression trudges two steps back, once again.
But Money is Power.
        America is not the only country experiencing an ever-widening gap between the ultra-rich and the ultra-poor and this is not happening just because our middle is shrinking. As the entire world feels the lasting effects of a recession, ultra-rich people continue to gain even more staggering amounts of wealth. Forbes 2011 list of world billionaires tapped-in at 1,210. Three years later, after the recession, that list escalated to 1,645 billionaires. When Forbes 2018 list tapped in with 2,208 billionaires, they stated: “this elite group is worth $9.1 trillion, up 18% since last year.”   
        Sam Pizzigati, editor for the online weekly Too Much, wrote a great clip to help put this in perspective. Pizzigati cites statistics from the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development to confirm: “billionaires likely hold more wealth than half of the world’s adult mankind.” So, less than one drop of this world’s population, clutches a combined wealth of more than 3½ billion of us, and every one of our own—scratched together pennies. This is why we keep hearing the word Oligarchy being tossed around. Oligarchy: “Government by the few; a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small faction of persons or families; power exercised by a small and privileged group usually for corrupt or selfish purposes.” 
       Pizzigati quotes retiring International Monetary Fund Managing Director Camdessus, who stated to a room full of world leaders less than 10 years ago: “A world that lets the wealth concentrate in a precious few hands is asking for colossal trouble. The widening gap between rich and poor within nations is morally outrageous, economically wasteful and potentially—socially explosive.” This worldly monetary director concluded: “Ignore the obligation to share and the world will surely witness confrontation, violence and civil disorder.”  
        I don’t begrudge billionaires their fortunes; many billionaires share philanthropically anyway. It’s not about how rich the rich are but rather—the disparity which gauges the overall health of entire societies. Something insidiously crippling occurs when moneyed-power overshadows this health. Pizzigati goes onto say; “These powerful then flex their political might. They play ego-games leaving society in a lurch. In China, they are trying to undo recent worker-protection laws. In India, they squabble amongst themselves creating huge blackouts. 
        We may feel far removed from the troubles of other masses but we aren’t. Today’s global connecting-rods now link us all. The price tags of world unrest, even geological upheavals like Japan’s quake, extract a huge toll that hits everyone. Another global connecting-link: the kinds of labor-protection laws industrialized nations are required to provide come with a price tag China does not incur. Thereby, everything stamped—Made in China—comes affordably packaged to the rest of the world so we purchase a great deal of their wares. China then ends up with money to spare; financing our freer-than-ever experience.
        Freer societies are not immune to power-brokering maneuvers. Some triggering factors in today’s Europe which has mass-angst simmering over there, can be connected to what’s fermenting in that underbelly of moneyed-power. Newsweek’s 2011 article by Niall Ferguson titled Connecting the Dots helps connect this dot. “With regard to Euroland, the economic crisis has revealed the reluctance of those least affected to bail out the hardest hit. Equally culpable are Euroland’s core banks as are peripheral ones. The dirty little secret of euro-zone finances is that if one of the periphery countries were to default, German banks would be among the biggest losers. They are all in this banking crisis together.”
        Globalization means taxes as well. Multinational GE Corporation made the headlines back in 2010 when it was discovered they didn’t pay taxes but they aren’t lone rangers. Robert Samuelson writes for Newsweek about The Real GE Scandal: “It’s not that GE didn’t pay 2010 taxes or that other mega-corps didn’t either but rather, it’s that we don’t know how to tax global business. Love them or hate them—global multinationals are here to stay.” 
        Today’s world masses—our very livelihoods—are directly connected to multinational corporations now. They fuse us together with moneyed-power: banking, jobs, goods, taxes—the precise drive-train consortium which provides the existence for every consuming human society. 

America’s Health Barometer.  
        Here, our debt and our wealth disparity are also very real. Our debt grew in just 30 flyby years from $1 trillion to the ever-expanding by the second—runaway. When I began this project about 10 years ago, US debt hovered around $10 trillion. Interest on this debt was around $454B; China, the primary foreign recipient of our hard-earned efforts. But back then, The Debt Clock had us coming in at a sobering thud somewhere around $21 trillion by 2018 and I became skeptical; such a faraway prediction of such magnitude couldn’t possibly be realistic. Well, they hit the nail on the head. In 4 more years, they predict our debt will thump in somewhere around $26 trillion. 30 years ago, we were having a hard time trying to imagine a debt of $1 whole trillion. Now, how many of us still try. Worse, have we slid this ever-spiraling debt of such unimaginable magnitude to a back burner; pushed aside as just another acceptable new norm? 
        Barometer #2: American unemployment topped an all-time 10% low even after the recession. When the summer of 2011 rolled in—a full year after the recession and the time of year when things should be looking up—they didn’t. Newsweek ran a June article titled Mad as Hell by Tony Dokoupil. “One in five American men from between ages 25 to 54 are without jobs right now—a bulge of disaffected wall-leaners.” Dokoupil addresses American, as well as Mid-East and European unemployment, with wariness tuned-into just how volatile males without jobs can so easily become. By March of 2012, our unemployment continued to hover at 9%. Two years later, employment figures finally started looking hopeful—on the surface. Footnote: our past 30 year unemployment average hovered around 4%. 
        These two barometer facts are worth remembering, like letters on a report card, to help remind ourselves that ruling elites don’t always get it right, that obviously their grip on our great ships’ helm has slipped and they could seriously use our unified help. In the great land of plenty, somewhere—there’s was about 13 million of us living in poverty when I began this writing. As 2019 opens, there's about 46 million Americans living in poverty and about 95 million living near poverty. This reality stems from reasons far beyond 141 million cases of laziness. 
        Regardless of how rosy things are looking as of 2018: it’s critical we don’t relax our wariness. Clearly, stormy weather still looms on Americas’ horizon too. But since most of us are neither rich nor poor; rather simply trying to make ends meet, these sobering drags don’t have a personal and dire, direct-connect feel for us but are critical markers just the same. World-wide or localized, when gaping disparity knows no bounds, when large masses stand unemployed for any length of time, and when world debt continues to escalate—now around $63 trillion—the health of all humanity becomes everyone’s concern. We are all in this together. Civil unrest no longer makes distinctions within boundary and people. 9/11 taught us that. All worldly indicators are grave warnings: a forecasting for The Entire Human Experiment to start shoring-up some serious unraveling going on. Camdessus is right. To remain non-pulsed by what Oligarchy utterly represents means global societies will indeed witness colossal mayhem—yet again. 

Who are we?
        We are more than just a number. There’s some great reasons why quantifying us; workers, consumers and voters, is completely offensive and it has everything to do with such aggressive, invasive tactics raining down on us while adding us up. These irresponsible schemes are completely remiss of decency; valuing the individuals we are, the qualities we come with—the parts of us that can’t be quantified. That’s a whole lot of the human picture not getting painted. This pathetic skewing enrages me every time I actually witness it happening. In this showdown with machines, I’ve come to see this stand-alone insult as the most covered-up pitfall to be found on this techno-road we’ve suddenly been flung on. 
        Currently, we are being told that technology advances job movement by freeing workers up for lots of other things. This was true—once. However, unemployment lines now include educated and skilled workers; a reality attesting to a maxing-out of technology creating job advancement versus the rate it’s replacing us. Newday technology is no longer Simple Simon automation. AI is now gorging on skilled jobs. Our middle is indisputably shrinking. Already, low-pay job markets dominate our employment scene. 
I’m certain most of us consider the entire spectrum of actual human replacement absurd. However, since full robotic capabilities are predicted to be here within the next 20 years, it’s critical to start considering that nearly-here existence now before grabbing for a menial lifeline becomes a frenetic scramble. We are the right-now-mass, who must make the dire connection to what decent paychecks mean to even exist in a freer state-of-being. Yes, there are other options but those options are bleak. Real bleak. 

Here’s one Problem.  
        I’m merely trying to cover two invasive techno-transgressions; monitoring and replacement ones. However, brainiacs in just one field of monitoring, such as monitoring the growth of bone cancer, then share their advancements with a cadre in another field, such as a replacement-type which gives a young leukemia victim a walking chance and I’m well-aware of how the spin to support these advancements will go—should go. The problem becomes: how to stall shared advancements which then open the doors for every other monitoring and replacement agenda—like those monitoring entire law-abiding free societies and replacing entire competent workforces. However these invasive uses get spun, I sincerely hope this series helps provide aggressive, rational and ethical opposition to them now! It’s called humanity not machinity dammit!
        Many of today’s Numerati, brainiac, political and corporate elites, have rushed headlong into every techno-advancement out there. Powerheads who are irresponsibly manipulating the human experience with such blatant—just because we can mindsets—are transgressing the very decencies our predecessors struggled to ensure for us. And, they will continue to do so as long as we let them. We must remember and so must they: The Human Experiment is not their exclusive ride. We—are not their insignificant passengers.

Misplaced Emotions. 
Monitoring. That’s what our new partner is damn good at. Satellites, audio, video, drones, sensors, internet surveillance and phone-tracking GPS is the must-have arsenal for a heavily monitored existence and all of this is just warming up—all on our watch. By remaining non-pulsed: firmly entrenched and irreversible is what we are bequeathing to our own. I can’t believe this is what we want to gift them so why are we? Where is our united outrage? Is this spy-on-us and techno-replace-us existence truly that unstoppable or, have we simply become so cynically-calloused and crippled by fear we’ve lost our spine? Maybe you think it’s only Corporations and Congress who roll over us like a mere afterthought but it was our very own Supreme Court who gave the green light for Drone-hovering by declaring: “individuals have no expectation of privacy in public places and—our own private property resides below public airspace.” Was our consensus garnered for this monumentally invasive, hover in our very face ploy? Maybe they deemed we weren’t smart enough to weigh-in on this decision. Maybe they deemed we wouldn’t bother to counter such invasiveness and if so—they’ve been right. C’mon! We pay for governing respectful of a free society but instead, we are getting police-state regressions! It’s like watchin’ freedom bein’ sucked straight out to sea and the delusion is feelin’ dangerous to me ~PJ.  
        When monitoring becomes so Firmly Entrenched in the freest of countries—what example are we leaving behind? Do we only say freedom measures the travel of human progression but don’t actually believe it? Do we remain unmoved by it all because we’ve become smugly lax in some empty belief that America epitomizes the full extent of humanity’s freedom trudge; believe we’ve maxed-out towards evolving into a more tolerant civilization and all that’s left to do is stall a bit before backsliding? What do you—the you reading this believe? Honestly, if we let our own democratic example implode because we are so awash in such a faithless mass-mindset, then consider the empty hope we offer for the rest of this world’s oppressed masses. Hell, if we falter now—what hope does this leave for our own kids’ tomorrow? 
        Countless are the times masses have been forced to remind ruling elites they matter. Historically, it’s called a revolution and happens whenever rulers treat a mass like some inconsequential entity long enough—the mass finally unites to remind them otherwise. The Ageless Power Dance is one of Replacement. However benign technology appears—it’s replacing us. And, machines don’t eat. Full blown civil unrest will become this world’s reality before we starve and that is—talkin’ bout a revolution ~TC.  
        There’s but one goreless revolutionary option potent enough to prevent another horrific cycle and it begins with us. We must first, come to believe we have evolved. It’s a now or never juncture. Finally, masses can deter mayhem. Two recent anomalies in The Human Experiment—freer and educated—means we are ripe for the next forward adaptation bounce and at some point, like right now—we’ve got to cash in on this! This isn’t a hopeless endeavor. Better mass-awareness initiates better mass-unity equating to the next logical step towards mass purpose. This is the choice each of us will make for tomorrow’s human future. Each of us.

        Obviously, activating ourselves is a bit tricky. I made the choice to write this series. So far, you’ve made the choice to read it. And since this story didn’t unfold for me overnight, I want to afford you the benefit of a slow-unfolding as well. There’s now proof of what commercials picked-up on long ago. Actually, this knowing was picked up on long before commercial-makers came to capitalize on it.
Humans need regularly infused messages in order for our brains to better retain information. Wow! So I figured since Reality-TV is such a hit right now, a written reality-series couldn’t hurt. Maybe we just need some time together, to digest and chat about the surfaces I’m scratching—the ones we find comfort in overlooking. Undeniably, something’s not working. Undeniably, we are up against some really messed-up quandaries. Maybe we just need a new approach. 
        Most of us hail from the blue/white collar sectors so we’re a colorful lot! There’s no sense pretending we’re always all-about business so I borrowed some entertainment with a trivia twist for relief. These installments are long and heavy so take your time; there’s only a baker’s dozen and they aren’t going anywhere. Just know that it’s our priceless emotions which congeal for us all that we learn and by tapping hopeful ones, we enhance a more gratifying meaning to living our lives. Music is one example which amplifies this. We enjoy music because a lyric, song, or even an entire album, gives a pulse to our wonderments, a feel to reflect our thoughts, and a rhythm to embrace our passion. Basically, I can’t tell what I consider The Story of Our Timeswithout help. 
        A human isn’t a machine. We won’t get some auto-program upgrade in order to affect change. Please begin the old-fashioned bio-process by tapping into your own Faith and Belief. Believe the you’s and the me’s truly can make a difference because together we most surely can. Have faith that in order to do so, a dozen imperfect installments from us—to us, will give our unity a start and somehow it will all work out. So I am asking, please climb with me.

                                Help me get over this mountain - help me get over this hill ~CCRW.  

                                                                  Most Sincerely, Publius

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