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I'm JM Fisher, Writer & Host Of The Weekly Cynic Podcast.

I'm Currently Available For All Projects Relating To Blogging, Articles & Editing.

Sunday, Scoffs And Smirks: Edition 12

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A Scoffing, Smirking Review Of The Week

Down The Rabbit Hole Of Connections, Convolutions & Conspiracies

Notice: This Newsletter Is FREE For A Limited Time. It’s Part Of A Goodies Package For Those Who Wish To Support My Creative Endeavors. Visit My Support Page For More Information.

(Also, I Apologize For A Day Late And Article Short Version This Week… The Smog Is Lifting. Also, If You’re Looking For Me On Twitter, I’ve Disabled My Account.)


Equality Vs. Your Private Data…Okay, The Private Data You Voluntarily Waive To Silicon Valley

Hello, Fellow, Millennial. I’m From The California Government And I’m Here To Collect Your Privacy Data For Equality…

“Cool, Government, Brah…I Live With My Parents In Beverly Hills, So Of Course I’m For Equality.”

Yes, according to Politico, the latest skirmish between the Libertarian minded renegades at Uber and the stern, but affable servants of California Government—who selflessly serve their Voting Populace—is not about Uber’s Scooters and their “granular location information” but to “ensure people are being served equitably.”

Of course this article bla-bla-blathers on for innumerable paragraphs until quoting the requisite Leader Of Diversity And Inclusion, oh, excuse me, chief sustainability officer, Marcel Porras, who on his third quote finally mentions something relating to diversity and inclusion.

“City officials also want that data so they can ensure companies are abiding by promises to make the technology available to lower-income residents ‘in areas of the city where these types of private sector investments may not normally go to first,’ Porras said.”

Before that Mr. Porass, as one of those humble servants of The Voting Populace, was altruistically concerned with Uber’s Scooters being discarded “in the LA River.”

And, the winner of this article, “We were looking to respond quickly to a new mobility that kind of landed on our streets without permission," he said.”

Brah, you didn’t get a Peoples Republic Of California License for this racket of yours.

Wait, that’s not the reason…

“We’re telling companies that if they want to expand their fleet, you have to put more of these units in disadvantaged communities.”

Duh. I mean, this has nothing, nothing to do with a company already vulnerable from the expensive debacle of a previous data breach… I’m perfectly sure the California or Los Angeles Government would never borrow the tactics of Eric Holder and strong arm them into compliance.

Uber, think of all the Twitter Outrage!

And, remember, who better to entrust your private data with then The Government?

So, like, why wouldn’t you want your private data held by those of the free market? I mean, Silicon Valley would ever disabuse that privilege, right? They would never commodify it, correct?

The dopamine joys of Candy Crush outweigh these modern nuisances, I know, I know…

“Scooter location is tracked in a transparent way that protects user privacy, and the city has a strong track record of improving systems through data while being sensitive to privacy concerns,” spokeswoman Anna Bahr said in a release.”

Sure. Sure.

Ah, but get this:

Seleta Reynolds, Los Angeles Department of Transportation manager, is also “an official in the National Association of City Transportation Officials. Reynolds has been sharing LA’s data collection method as a possible model for other cities — an effort that transit experts said was gaining traction far beyond California.”

I betcha ya didn’t know an organization like The National Association Of City Transportation Officials or NACTO, exists, eh?

From that Wikipedia entry,

“…Raising the state of the practice for street design and transportation by building a common vision, sharing data, peer-to-peer exchange in workshops and conferences, and regular communication among member cities.”

Ah, yes, common, vision, sharing, peer-to-peer, workshops, conferences and communication. Sounds like your typical fraternal, industry leadership group, eh? All about networking and climbing the ladder.

Don’t forget, the prerogative of such a group is accessibility into the upper echelons of other orders such as Think Tanks, NGOs and Ivy League Institutions guaranteeing six-figure positions.

Continuing from The Politico article,

“She (Seleta Reynolds) was among the NACTO officials last year touting a project called Shared Streets that lets private companies and public agencies share transit data. A NACTO representative declined to speak on the record, but the Shared Streets website has a section devoted to assuring that “incredibly sensitive” data would be anonymized.”

And this one,

“Last December, a collection of chief data officers of American cities signed an open letter heralding the launch of dockless vehicles and arguing that cities getting their raw data was “essential for internal urban planning.” They argued for “block-level aggregation” that would safeguard privacy and against sharing individual routes.”

Oh, an open letter from the Transportation Officials Community who “declined to speak” for Politico’s article.

Nah, everything is just fine, kiddies, go back to playing Candy Crush.

“In LA, a city that’s long been emblematic of personal car culture, city officials are bracing for seismic changes brought on by the confluence of shared ridership, autonomous vehicle technology and big data. A LADOT (Los Angeles Department of Transportation) plan repeatedly underscores how the city will need to assert its authority.”

A Government agency asserting its authority…

(Wait, were you waiting for a Cartman YouTube clip?)

Ok…Ok…

Oh, about that LADOT plan from the previous quote?

“The word “privacy” does not appear in the document.”

HA!

So…what’s the future of this so-called Democracy? Will it slide into a full-blown Corporatocracy or a Technocracy?

Either way, money talks


All These Dying Days

Here in America, our lives, even those of Tom Brokaw’s lionized Greatest Generation, cling to the gospel of America’s new religion: Everything Is Political.

Reduced to shriveled flesh and their death beds, the remaining heroes of World War II, like Millennials and GenZ’ers whose thumbs tap out the latest hashtag of indignity, are “watching the current presidency with something bordering on obsession.”

Sigh…

Your last gasps, your last glimpses of this planet, of this life, are devoted to…Trump.

“Mitchell Tendler began to fade. He had outlived two implantable defibrillators and was on his third. The devices had kept him alive but now posed a problem for the medical imaging he needed in the hospital. Doctors gave him some painkillers, and then he had a final thought.

‘It just was quiet for a little while,’ Walter Tendler recounted, ‘and then he just sits up in bed halfway and looks at me and he goes, 'S***, I'm not going to see the Mueller report, am I?' And that was really the last coherent thing that he said."

You want another sad one?

“Richard Armstrong is 94 years old, currently in hospice care in Plainsboro, N.J., and identifies with Tendler's words.

‘I know exactly how he feels. I feel the same way. I've been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,’ he told NPR.

Armstrong is an independent who has voted for Republicans at times, including Richard Nixon in the '70s. But now he's watching Mueller with anticipation.

‘I was hoping to live to see the outcome of what I think it should be — justice. I'll be surprised and disappointed if it isn't,’ Armstrong said.”

YOLO, huh?

As a cynic, my reaction to these maudlin profiles is—

Wait.

Let me first mention this article’s blatant, vulgar and exploitive political intent.

Now, as I began to kinda-sorta say, when I’ve interacted with those of The Greatest Generation, I found them to be…quintessentially naive. A quaint relic of America. Figures who embody lustrous red fire trucks, American flags, small-town parades and careers bolstered by generous pensions.

Oh, pretty housewives strutting around their kitchens in floral dresses and high heels.

Oh, Oh…And, America’s Wars Liberate The Repressed To Instill Democracy.

Yes, it’s a Generation that didn’t seem to heed the words of General Smedley D. Butler

I admit, all of that was harsh.

It’s the influence of my now deceased Grandfathers. Two members of that forgotten Silent Generation.

Both of my Grandfathers were drafted to support the Korean War. One of them was a Parris Island trained Marine. The other, molded to be cannon fodder. Neither of them were deployed.

But, they both returned from their respective sojourns critical and skeptical of America. The Military Industrial Complex did indeed exist, and its foundations were indoctrination; producing obedient, violent slaves through humiliation and trauma based conditioning.

Shaving your head wasn’t to prevent lice infestations, it was a ceremonial dismantling of your individuality; unknowingly sacrificing yourself to conformity.

Politics, The President, Old Glory, all of it was a facade.

It was you Against A World Full Of Sheep.

(Get The Theme Of Sheep, Novice Soldiers, The Herd, Shaving The Fur…)

For their day, they were Free Thinkers.

Self-Employed Most Of Their Lives.

They were Complex Individuals, intimidating loners with moody, querulous personalities who seemingly despised humanity outside their own families, but could often be found engaged in boisterous conversations with strangers.

“Who was that Grandpa?” I would ask.

“Hell if I know!”

My one Grandather, the Parris Island trained Marine, once convulsed with red faced laughter watching an afternoon news report of World War II veterans participating in a remembrance day ceremony. As the bugle commenced its mourning, and the American flag was raised with those dignified men in navy jackets elevating their elderly, trembling hands to salute their fallen brethren, my Grandfather burst into contemptuous howls.

“They’re never gonna get it!” He choked on his hilarity. “They’re never gonna get it.”

My Grandmother, horrified, scolded him.

If my Grandfather’s were alive today, witnessing the overwrought secrecy and news media sensationalism of the Mueller Investigation, they would only laugh.

“My God! They’re never gonna get it!”

Like another one of my heroes said, “It’s A Big Club, And You Ain’t In It…”


Finally, The Loneliness Of The Millennialist Student…

Why study alone, when you can study with a bunch of strangers from all over the world?

Because, being alone is a fundamental part of human existence.

“This is gongbang, which translates to "study broadcast" in Korean. In Japan, it's known as benkyou douga, and in the US and other parts of the world, it's simply called "study with me." It's a type of video in which people prepare for an exam on camera, while other people watch and study as well. This might not sound like riveting entertainment, but these videos are racking up millions of views on YouTube. So why are they so popular? And is this just the latest example of lazy content creation, or is there something more going on here?”

Yes, this is the definition of content creation.

Filler. White Noise. Subliminal Distraction.

When I was a young insomniac, turning the dial of the television—I can still feel the mechanism clunk into its appointed channel—there was a period near the occult witching hour when the local television stations would go off air. Or, offline.

As filler, white noise and subliminal distraction and before the days of mind numbing, syndicated comedies being endlessly replayed and tedious Infomerials that preyed upon your pitiful, unfulfilled desires…television stations would broadcast a dull, black and white screen of geometric test patterns or color bands accompanied by an ominous wave tone. (I’m sure these symbols and sounds were decoded by MKA Ultra assassins and serial killers throughout the land.)

There was another, more recognizable station placeholder which was the majestic, flapping image of The American Flag being serenaded by The National Anthem.

My Grandfather, the Marine, was a night owl, and this early morning display of patriotism was his signal for bedtime.

What I’m trying to say is, that on Planet Earth, the human mind must be assailed at all times.

Silence is considered detrimental. At all times, stimuli must be introduced to keep us distracted or overwhelmed.

“This study video trend is a lot like mukbang, which has become more popular in recent years. It involves people eating food, often a whole lot of it, on camera.”

Why are people watching YouTube videos of other’s eating?

The sensual gratification of mustard slathered lips?

Generations who’ve grown up hyper-connected are unable to disconnect.

The most simplistic mechanisms of everyday life, like eating, must now be commodified into content to be shared for others to feel connection.

Participation in Life is becoming virtual.

Subconsciously, we understand how Technology is disconnecting us from our human self.

Which of course leads us from being disconnected from our inner self, that inner voice…

You know, introspection.

Or, even the soul.

Generations who’ve had their minds, thinking and concentration rewired by Twitter, must always be devouring content. Must always have their brains sizzling with stimuli.

Maybe, try mediation


Again, Thank You Reading…

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As Always, Stay Cynical, My Friends…

Sunday, Scoffs And Smirks: Edition 11