Everybody knows the dice is loaded, 13

12 11 2014

Yet more dispatches from the long dissolve:

1. You  there, with the $15/hour janitorial job—what makes you think you’re free to leave to take an $18/hour janitorial job?

Don’t you know “free labor” is about the freedom to hire labor, not of the laborers themselves?

The workers at Jimmy John’s know the score.

2. Yet more wisdom from a mineworker—or, in this case, Mary Middleton, widowed by a mine:

“You get a speeding ticket … and you don’t pay and they’ll want to put you in jail,” Middleton added. “But this man — it’s people’s lives and injuries, and then they just keep letting him keep doing it and doing it.”

Her husband was one of five men killed in an explosion at Kentucky Darby Mine in Harlan County, Ky in 2006. The co-owner of the company, Ralph Napier, Jr., “still owes $500,000 in penalties for the Kentucky Darby disaster. Napier also controls eight other mines that have $2.4 million in delinquent fines.”

3. And tank the world economy, and you get a chance to pay a fine for corrupting the currency.

No jail for anyone, of course.

4. Any halfway-decent Marxist (or Marxisch, as it were), could tell you of the state’s centrality in the development and protection of capitalism; any disputes have centered on to what extent the state retains some autonomy from the relations of production.

The welfare state, which has improved the lives of tens—hundreds—of million of people, nonetheless serves to blunt attacks on the state, and thus on capital itself, by insulating workers from the remorseless machinery of capitalism.

There is a logic for both labor and capital to sign on to this agreement: the state will skim off some of the profit it insures for capital and redistributes it to labor, leaving capitalists their profits and laborers some level of decent living.

This agreement has worked more (Scandinavia) and less (US, UK) well for decades, but the pact has long been unraveling.

And what should no longer astonish me, but nonetheless still does, some people like it that way.

(h/t: Erik Loomis, Lawyers, Guns & Money)


Just slip out the back, Jack

28 10 2014

There oughtta be an app for that.

That’s never a sentence I thought I’d write, given that a) I don’t have a smart phone or tablet, and thus b) don’t use apps.

Still, after reading about California cops who nicked nude photos from women’s phones, I thought, well, wouldn’t it be possible to create an app which, when you entered a particular password, would present a Potemkin version of your phone?

I mean, this already must exist, right? Somebody who was upset by TSA or border patrol or law enforcement snooping of laptops must have figured out a way to get around directives to lay bare their files by coming up with looks-so-real dummy drives, a kind of fronting which makes it seem as if some (real) files represent all files.

I know fuck-all about either hardware or software, but I have heard of mirror disks and disk partitioning, so shouldn’t it be possible to fake out a snooper by calling up a bland version of a phone or table in place of the real one? Or by asking that question am I just demonstrating that I know fuck-all about hardware and software?

In any case, a decent Potemkin app would also have to dummy up the data on storage space, and, unlike the infamous villages, appear from all angles to be real. Users, too, would have to include enough info in the bland version to make it seem real, so the app would have to make it easy to assign anodyne status to photos, messages, and whatnot. And given that many people don’t lock their devices between active use, perhaps the app could be have a default version, such that the bland drive is what appears after the phone is aroused from sleep.

It wouldn’t be foolproof, regardless, especially in cases when one’s device is confiscated: with enough time, techs could presumably figure out how to get around the false front.

But sometimes fronting is all you need to get past the nosy cop with your privacy intact.

So, app-people, if you haven’t already done this, get right on it!

And if you already have, well, never mind.