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Comment Re:Natural effects of a maturing field? (Score 1) 340

That actually didn't happen with union organization before the government stepped in. You did get strikers who stayed on strike even when they lost their jobs or scabs were brought in.

And here I should also point out that there are enough well-off IT workers that a strike fund could fairly easily be raised. Certainly if miners are intelligent enough to figure out that they could force changes if they held out long enough, IT workers might as well.

What happened during union organization of mines and factories was that the government (or at least local government) sided with the mine owners. They then shot or dealt with organizers by throwing them in jail.

Certainly, that sort of thing would not be permissible even under a more libertarian view of unionization. The government would not be allowed to intervene on either side. They would be there to keep the peace and enforce legal contracts, freely entered into.

What the real problem is, from this perspective, is that most IT workers do not feel like they *need* to organize. For the most part, we're well paid, our job is not particularly dangerous, and even laid off workers find other jobs relatively readily.

So that does bring us to the question: Are we really as bad off as we think we are?

Comment Re:More like "lack of clue" instead? (Score 1) 203

Most likely because they didn't actually suspect real malfeasance. Their efforts were probably either taken up trying to *replicate* the VW results, or more likely, towards developing and operating their electric/hybrid car strategy.

Sure, they probably had the money lying around, but I know I don't spend my time proving that my competitor's system is shit, if there is room for improvement in mine, I always prefer to make the improvement. That way, if they end up not being shitty, I haven't fallen even farther behind while I wasted time worrying about their product instead of mine.

After all, if my competitor is a lying bastard, they'll get theirs eventually, but I need to remain competitive long enough to take advantage of it.

Oh, and there may well be fear of a tattle-tale cascade as well. Everyone is probably cheating on *something*.

Comment Re:On par with 2002 budget (Score 1) 203

Yes, but I'd prefer that we freeze budget increases as a percentage of GDP.

In other words, you can have more money, if that money is just inflationary increases. What the government cannot have is a bigger slice of the total pie.

If I am now making four times what I made last year, I don't care as much if the government still takes 25% of the total. I do care if they think they're permitted to now take and use 27% of it.

This is not the same thing as the progressive income tax. If everyone makes more, but the government takes a bigger silce of the pie, then everyone makes less money no matter what tier they are in.

Of course, in income redistribution scenarios like we have, the income tiers remain the same, the government takes more from everyone, but gives rebates to the poor, which means that they force everyone above a certain watermark to pay even more as the government expands. It would be different if that only affected the so-called 1%'ers, but that line is actually somewhere in the midst of the middle class.

So the rich get richer a little more slowly, the poor get rebated so they're still poor, but at least they don't lose any ground, but the middle class gets eaten away because they get no rebates and have insufficient capital to invest.

It isn't just the corporations who are pushing the erosion of a middle class.

Comment Re:Endlessly Increasing Budgets (Score 1) 203

Is the federal budget just growing at an inflationary rate? It is not.

Since about 2002, Federal outlays have been growing as a percentage of GDP pretty steadily. I'm not talking about the deficit or absolute dollar amounts. Percentage of GDP takes into account inflation automatically.

Comment Re:Endlessly Increasing Budgets (Score 2) 203

True enough. Although, to be honest, it can be difficult to make that work due to government regulations on things like investment and ownership of things.

The government makes it very difficult on itself to make money on anything that doesn't come from some sort of tax or fee.

Of course, on the other hand, do you want agencies having sources of cash outside what Congress gives them? While much more efficient, it would also make the agency effectively independent of Congressional control.

Comment Re:People like you are the problem (Score 1) 1139

Insurgencies use both. Obtaining explosives is often done via raids which use small arms.

In any event explosives are certainly more dangerous, but a little harder to issue to everyone and a lot more dangerous in a society which is trying to strike a balance between the ability to oppose a government, self-defense, and public safety.

Comment Re:Natural effects of a maturing field? (Score 1) 340

Presumably because they represent a workforce that the company needs in order to survive.

Fire one person, that's livable.

Deal without all of them, all at once. You're going to have executives jumping out windows.

I don't agree that government has zero role to play. Their job would be to make sure that there was no force or means used which are classically illegal (like fraud or breaking contracts) to cause the workers to give in.

It is harder for this to work for groups with already high unemployment and low skills, but as long as the guild organization both was moderate in its demands, and also offered a carrot (like ensuring that members were qualified), the IT workers as a group have a huge amount of power without bringing in the bureaucracy.

However, let's get a better plan than "Occupy Silicon Valley", please.

Comment Re:Ethics (Score 1) 340

The problem is that we expect corporations to see to our well-being when that isn't their primary motivator, and they won't succeed if they suddenly care more about employees than profits.

If we're going to organize, why don't we set aside trying to get corporations and governments to do it for us and form organizations that instead negotiate group rates based on voluntary participation? There are some groups like this, AARP would be one example.

Additionally, organizations which voluntarily represent skilled workers would also have value, both to the members and even corporations. If you maintained standards bodies like professional organizations, corporations would know they are getting good value from members, and members would be able to not have to deal with the issues of closed shops and bureaucratic one-size-fits-all contract negotiations.

Also, if there is a roll of registered and tested professionals, it is harder to state that there are not qualified applicants available for a position. The organization can simply raise its hand and point to the list of registered and certified members in its area who happen to be unemployed.

Comment Re:Unionize (Score 1) 340

Organize, perhaps. Unionize as in Teamsters or CWA? No fucking way.

There is some discussion of guild-type or professional groups. That could work.

However, it should be noted that there is a balance to be struck. Although we may be the aggrieved party now, additional power through organization can be misused, rendering everyone less capable of competition, and even the members at the mercy of their "benefactors".

One of the reasons that I'm in this field is because I actually like it, and I like getting shit done. I used to interface with unionized workers all the time. I'm sure some of them were probably okay, but mostly, it was the most painful experience of my life. It's like they start their semi-retirement at age 25.

While I am not against organization, never say "unionize" as your solution. I don't want union organizers even *thinking* that they should get their hooks into any place I work. *shudder* Start off by calling it something else. Please.

Comment Re:People like you are the problem (Score 1) 1139

I am not as certain as you are the civilians would stand no chance against a military. Especially if that military was completely outnumbered and faced with a number of insurgents that were trained by the US military itself on the very tactics and equipment that the US military uses.

In any event, insurgencies successfully oppose militaries all the time. The ones who are more successful are the ones with ample armaments.

Note I am not advocating that sort of thing, but history shows that your assertion is not borne out by actual experience.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1139

However, I will point out that there may well be a driving test, but there's no mental competency test for driving either.

Our problem with guns and mass shootings isn't that people don't know to use and own them safely, the problem is that they're insane and shooting people.

A driver's test is a skills test. All you're making someone do with a gun skills test is to ensure that they can hit the elementary kid they were aiming at when they go to do so.

I'm not really in favor of people who are out aggressively showing off their weapons, but I should point out that weapons in public isn't something that was unheard of in this country. Kids used to carry guns to school and show them off to their class. No one was getting shot in those schools when that happened.

Our problem is insane people who are seeing the massive publicity that shooters have, and then having the idea to also go nuts on populace that is less prepared than ever to deal with the threat that they represent.

You want to know the real reason for the plague of mass shootings and terrorism? Mass media. You stop reporting on terrorists and mass shootings, you WILL see those instances go down because the crazies don't get what they want, which is attention. .

Seriously. Even with the "plague" of mass shootings and terrorism lately, you're still more likely *by far* to die in a car accident on your morning commute than you are to die in a mass shooting or terrorist event. So why do they seem to be everywhere now? Media reporting. And why are they increasing? Media reporting and sensationalism is making that exit attractive for the insane and attention starved losers out there. The shooters know that they're going to be on the news. They know the weaknesses of the target locations like schools and public places.

If every media outlet put a ban on reporting the names of perpetrators and specifics of mass shootings, in a few years you'd start seeing downward trends. They wouldn't go away, of course, but what is already an extremely unlikely event will become even more unlikely.

You want to see if you can stop shootings by taking a closer look at the Second Amendment? Take a closer look at the First Amendment too.

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL." -- Dave Bowman, 2001