The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

obama is playing world poker with the race card

February14

I’m reasonably convinced Barack Obama is a lousy businessman. I doubt he’s ever written a business plan, or had to submit a budget, let alone manage and be held accountable for one. but, he’s proven to be an able politician. and, I’m certain he’s looking for a job amidst the shenanigans realized through the United Nations. if you read this blog consistently, that’s not new information.

saying things like that requires qualification. I always have an opinion. and, I have a great deal of experience. Barack Obama does not have any real experience, other than aligning himself to become President as a stepping-stone for something else, sinister, or otherwise. and, I’ll throw out the controversial ideal of the “race card”. people seem to want to focus on the fact that Obama is black. somehow his being black was going to help ignite “change” in this country. that’s oversimplifying things, here. but, I have you nodding (caught you), so let’s keep moving.

there is a dude here in Georgia named Herman Cain. he is an accomplished and well-spoken businessman that happens to be black. as it turns out, he does not like Obama. he does like, appreciate, and promote the free market, it’s potential, and credibility. Cain is like Newt Gingrich in many ways. this includes they both talk about running for President, themselves. although I’ll remind you that Gingrich isn’t black, like Cain. but, they are both great students of history, and capable of drawing astonishing parallels with current events that help them make excellent points for us to focus on as a nation. as I’ve mentioned in this post recently with history is always in the making but understanding makes it meaningful, Obama only came to the United States in time to attend college (kind of like a sleeper agent for a hostile organization). that means he missed growing up here and may be oblivious to a great many “credibility markers” (I’ve made that term up, what do you think of it?) that include perspective.

so… I’d likely support Herman Cain if and when he runs for President. I hope your learning this does not hurt his chances! Cain understands business, best practices, the free market, economics in general, and appears to have a limited agenda outside of being a genuine public servant (which history teaches us is what Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers had in mind when it came to the House and then the Senate). with those credentials in mind, he is completely opposite to Obama (aside from being black). and, the best part is that if he ascended to the White House he would virtually eliminate any further discussion around the race card.

…oh, I dropped Gingrich into this post mostly for the sake of comparison and contrast. that’s another credibility marker. like history, if you can’t cite relevant examples for reasonable application, it shouldn’t count. that’s part of being both Jeffersonian and heterodox.

by the way… it’s late, but my Google (and Larry Page) infomercial expose should makes it’s appearance later this week. next week at the latest.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

jeffersonian expectations against Realities. Or, the predicted triumph of the few over the fewer

December1

It’s been a rather long, tumultuous, and educational experiential journey refamiliarizing myself with the PC (as opposed to Apples), Windows – by way of the Android Operating System – and technology in the form of upheaval; the kind that requires and creates change. “Experiential” is an interesting word for the purposes of this post. The word derives it’s meaning from a learning process at the feet of old philosophers, yet it’s also apropos to a dedicated process of learning something new by, essentially, immersion. And, here we are…

Along the way, I find myself constantly reminded that we’ve become terribly reliant upon the internet for information with it being the uncertain arbiter of truth.

So… It’s become my view that the Internet, or any technology can not, will not, and should not act as a proxy to achieve the dreams and social goals we lack the courage to propose, debate, and legislate.

Thusly, I stand firm the Jeffersonian and Heterodox.

And, not often enough, we’ve discussed what being Jeffersonian means, on this Blog. However, today I’ll add some thought around what it does not mean. There will most certainly be the shaking of fists – and, furiously, that. Possibly the gnashing of teeth. Heated words, to be sure. The portent of change, inevitable.

NOTE: Don’t be overly concerned if you are reading this and come to a bound conclusion that you’ve waded, possibly unsuspecting, into my thinking mid-stream. We must all begin somewhere, and it’s how we finish, and that likely, counts for the most.

In any event, I’ll offer this abstract to maneuver you along:

It is often claimed that Internet technology will revolutionize society by privileging the small and benefiting the individual. We term the utopian tendency to hail a new communication technology as an inherently positive, decentralizing, and democratic force. In a manner of speaking this might be referred to as an example of the: “the Jeffersonian syndrome (named in honor of my hero so often appropriated to identify the decentralized, democratic outcome – the predicted triumph of the many over the few).”

It’s not just me, mind you. Others started it…

“Life in cyberspace seems to be shaping up exactly like Thomas Jefferson would have wanted: founded on the primacy of individual liberty and a commitment to pluralism, diversity, and community” (Kapor, 1993).

And,

“…the social liberalism of New Left and the economic liberalism of New Right have converged into an ambiguous dream of a hi-tech ‘Jeffersonian democracy’. Interpreted generously, this retro-futurism could be a vision of a cybernetic frontier where hi-tech artisans discover their individual self-fulfillment in either the electronic agora or the electronic marketplace” (Barbrook & Cameron, 1998).

Huh? “agora”?

Social critics dislike paucity. For example, society (that collective you), they (the social critics) complain, suffers when there are too few firms in a market, too few political choices, or too little communication. Small numbers of firms coordinate actions to stifle entry and innovation, largely at the expense of consumers. Concentration at the most extreme results in rapacious monopolies that produce inferior products at high prices. Likewise, a small number of political parties limit voter choice, stifle policy change, and produce voter apathy and special interest politics. Society would clearly be better served, so the critics argue, by greater political choice and the accompanying increased voter participation. Too little communication is also bad for society, as limited communication precludes understanding, diversity, and community.

Weep not for the minority, although, it is that collective “they” that hold most of the power, and the wealth, under many definitions, that is part of it.

Social critics often place their hopes in technology to erode the dominance of the few and foster diversity. Many view the internet as a liberating technology. Indeed, they embrace the internet as subversive, a technology that will pry power away from the few – tyrants, censors, robber barons and phone monopolies (let’s not forget Obama, Obamacrats, and that insidious media) and return it to the people. The internet, so the critics claim, will usher in a new era of perfect market competition, more direct democracy, and greater community-building (cf. Dyson, 1997). Ultimately, it will undermine the dominant few in many segments of society, and usher in a more democratic and heterogeneous political and economic system.  A system that will produce infinite consumer choice in the marketplace, deliver true democracy in the political realm, and provide unlimited and enhanced communication in the cultural realm.

This view leads to fallacious expectations about the impact of technology. And, these misguided expectations are cyclic and predictable. Corollary to this might be  a brief historical discussion of earlier communication technologies. Jeffersonian claims about the Internet are rebutted by the three propositions:

1.  New technologies do not operate in isolation from existing organizations and systems;

2.  Valuable information is never cheap; and,

3.  The economics of information markets imply concentrated structures.

And, so… The Internets non-Jeffersonian impact on economic, political, and community structures is discussed using three cases:

1.  The online market for books;

2.  The claims made about direct democracy; and,

3.  And, political parties, and the hopes for computer- mediated communities.

It’s not that I wish to promote an opposite, dystopian perspective, nor do I consider the Internet impotent in terms of societal change.

Instead, I wish to call attention to the Jeffersonian-esque view of technology as a very predictable mis-perception that is a waste of our energies.

First, as a society we must, in reasoned deliberation, conclude that we are in need of one or more of the goals we have discussed here; be it less concentrated markets, greater economic efficiency, more direct democracy, a more decentralized political system, or more participatory and emancipatory communities.

Second, after a rational analysis of our goal and the changes needed in the social, political, and economic domains to approach it (addressing also the question of if and how “the” internet has the potential to aid us in these ends).

Third, and perhaps finally, we need to advance that goal through policy.

The hype surrounding technology is also predictably old: the introduction of the PC ushered in the “PC revolution” quite simply because many analysts expected the technology to usher in just that – a revolution (a revolution of what and how the revolution was to happen was never quite specified). The hype and bluster of the internet and in particular electronic markets is thus just yet another round of new technologies and anticipated revolutions.

Think in terms of what the catapult meant to war nine hundred years ago.

These technologies have had, and may yet have, a broad range of important and far-reaching implications. The question on the table is whether these technologies will deliver on the promised Jeffersonian expectations of decentralization and democratization, or whether this revolution will yet again fail to materialize. As I’ll struggle, here, in my own inarticulate manner, to have made clear, the weight of history leads us to doubt, the present conditions in electronic commerce lead us to doubt, the claims made about direct democracy lead us to doubt, and the idolatry of the computer-mediated community lead us to doubt.

This makes me perhaps not fearful, but certainly watchful of the idyllic, sophomoric generation that sees computers and the internet as the “easy button”.

While this post has approached these domains largely using an economic perspective, I’ll grimly suspect that judicious analysis from other perspectives would also cast the Jeffersonian expectation in an unflattering light. But, stay focused on me. But, as my own Mother expounded: Question everything, and accept nothing until the truth of the day is best known.

Where the drive of the heterodox crosses paths with the passion and intellectual nuance of the Jeffersonian, you’ll find that truth in the light of the seeking heart.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

dream on an economy of physics and faith

May19

Why things will change, you ask?

Apparently, at some point in 1980, Herbert Stein had stated that:

“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”.

I can’t argue against that. And, I’ve both pondered it, and tried. However, I’m not convinced. This proposition, arising first in a discussion of the balance-of-payments deficit, is a response to those who think that if something cannot go on forever, steps must be taken to stop it – even to stop it at once.

But, what if, economics aside, gravity is some how involved, and other elements of physics? Faith, of one kind or another, must certainly be a factor.

Meanwhile, physics aside, I think being referred to as a “Chief Economist” would be cool.

Oh… And, by the way… I’m listening to: Dream On – Glee Cast Version) – and, a worthwhile comparison to Aerosmith’s venerable rendition.

“You have to lose to know how to win… Sing with me. Just for the day. Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away.

For what it’s worth, I’m also reading: The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde on my iPad. It’s an absolute and iconic piece of work.

We, after all, have our scandals. But, we must have faith in ourselves, and one another that we can defy gravity, on no economy of scale, and pull through.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

quote-able road rage

May26

honda insightThe Honda Insight is now crawling (literally) into the North American market.

I am not going to review it because I won’t ever drive it. But, based on what I (think) know it’s tinny, the suspension feels like a bobsled, you can’t call the engine a power-plant because every legitimate technical review of the toy vehicle describes the sound the engines makes as a “whine”.

In the United States, only three four-seat cars; and, all of them hybrids, get thirty five (35) miles per gallon (mpg), or better:

The Toyota Prius which starts at $21,000; the Honda Insight which starts at $19,800; and, the Ford Fusion hybrid which starts at $27,995

Somewhere, Honda and Toyota lobbyists are certainly smiling.

And, it can be argued this is where terrorism has actually claimed a victory. In case you had any glimmer of doubt, you can now be certain that Ford, GM and Chrysler will not likely exist as truly independent companies by 2016.

We need to be angry about this. The sound of my heart breaking with the loss of such a national legacy makes a noise worse than someone else’s crying baby on an airliner. It’s worse than the sound of your parachute failing to open. Really, to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer (just not Rowdy, to be sure).

There is currently a lot of hand-wringing in-and-amongst the House and Senate over what to do with suspected terrorists at (Guantanamo Bay Prison (“Gitmo”). Why not make them drive Honda Insight taxi cabs in New York City? There is your “eye for an eye” baby.

By the way… How many people really understand the meaning of “Gitmo”?

Brian Corks Porsche CaymanMeanwhile… I am not meaning to come across as arrogant, and I am always and reasonably thinking “green“. But, bet on me strapping on my unbadged Porsche Cayman and making a run for the real money so’s my hair catches fire (although, mind you, have shaved my head for summer training). With it’s unique chip-set, it flys, and is reasonably efficient – mostly because of pilot skill and training.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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