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Thursday, June 17, 2021

It's Only a Pop Song - Pragmatists Analysis of "Imagine" by John Lennon.

So much of the present-day woke mentality is steeped in the brew of a Popular song by written by John Lennon, plus a rather uninformed view of the Summer of Love and the philosophy of the Hippies of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

But it is most important to understand that "Imagine" is a Pop Song, not a viable world-view.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Commentary: Fluffy words... Heaven, Hell, sky... nothing particularly seditious here, but if you want to try communism because John Lennon said that it's easy if you try, don't believe it for a minute.  Communism and Socialism have failed miserably the world over.  It's history is marred by human rights violations that persist to this day in Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela and everywhere that it's been attempted. Socialism is utter nonsense. My naive 16 year-old step-son asked me why we need to have money in the world?  He also wanted to know why a house isn't free.  He finds these concepts easy to imagine. Well, I explained to him that no one is going to build a nice house for you if there is no financial incentive why would they do that.  You would have to build the house yourself. You'd have to be expert in all of the trades that are necessary to build your house: structural architecture, procurement planning, design, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Framing, Drywall, Painting and the like.  Most people in the United states live in very nice homes and apartments that would not be available if everything was free.  Furthermore, who would manufacture automobiles, build roads, highways street signs and street lights without the exchange of currency?  Finally, who is going to grow your food.  In short Capitalism enables specialization, so that one person doesn't have to do everything under the sun in order to achieve a good life.  If there was no currency, who will operate the government and what is the benefit of being a public servant?
Imagine all the people
Livin' for today
Commentary In the original recording, John Lennon sings, "Ahaaaa..."  This is an Aha moment all right! If you live only for today, then you are not striving to better yourself for tomorrow.
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Commentary: This is what Christians and Jews alike ought to fear!  "... and no religion, too" If there were no countries, then who is going to decide which side of the road that you should drive on?  who decides where the highway ends.  How would you even travel from one place to another if you wanted to visit:
1) Your cousin in the old country
2)  Your parents
3)  Your high school pals.
4)  Mount Everest.
5) Etc.
This is not to infer that killing or dying for a cause is a good thing.
Imagine all the people
Livin' life in peace
Commentary:  This is an inverted predicate.  You should live your life in peace!  All must strive to live your life in peace.
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Commentary: "One world is enough for all of us" - with apologies to The Police (the band).  That is until the population exceeds the capacity of the planet....
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Commentary: Another plug for socialism.  I repeat.  who will build your house if there are no possessions?  Will you even own or have control over your house when you live in it? Nuff said.  Imagine that there is no house.  No streets, highways, bridges, no clothes, no food.  We'd be living life just like our Cro-Magnon ancestors. In caves.  Everyone would be hungry.  As for "A brotherhood of man" - This is utterly chauvanistic!  Why not a sisterhood?
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
Commentary: Well, if we have no houses, no possessions, no food, we would indeed be sharing all the world, but much like Cro-Magnon did.
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Commentary:  ... And the world will live as one... what? One society... no.  One anarchy...Precisely!

The history of nations is that we engaged in discourse about the purpose of society and social change.  The problem that we have today is a minority of the people are dictating what changes will be implemented, and I don't care for this nonsense.  People less educated than I are dictating what is right and what is wrong.  That is a problem... a big problem, because I don't consider myself especially well educated.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

The insanity of Marxists in Americal


Here's an hysterical post from one of my Marxist, former high school classmates. I thought to break it down. 

The following explains why this is utterly pie-in the-sky:
1) This Marxist propaganda piece commences, "No one wants to work anymore" As if this is a wholly new idea?  Unreal! These are the musings of a 16 year old, not of a grown adult.
2) It Continues:
"Nobody ever wanted to work. We wanted to be productive, be creative, be part of a community, be supported, be validated, and have the time and space to truly rest. Nobody actually wants to trade in hours of their life to "earn" necessities."
This quote reflects a naïve lack of understanding of sociology and of the formation of social groups from the early and ancient beginnings of human societies and through the present, not to mention a tremendous ignorance of the literature of social science and the notion of the Social Contract as written about by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Why did humans form social groups in the first place? Self-preservation had a lot to do with it! There was the importance of defending oneself and one's offspring from predators. Social groups formed essentially as small protection syndicates. Rules quickly followed.
It is a simple fact that I don't form a group with you to provide protection for you and get nothing in return. Each party to such partnership has a value that they receive for their contribution to the partnership. Perhaps it is a mutual protection-syndicate: You watch my back - I've got yours? 

From these rather individual social contracts, societies grew by sharing work whether it be joining a collective hunt for food, tending crops, gathering nuts and berries, teaching children the skills that the community had honed over many years, etc.

Further on down the road, people learned that there must be some contribution by all in the community to ensure that no one was slacking in their obligations to the community. The early notions of work were established. This provided an accounting of what each member of the tribe contributed to the collective in exchange for the benefits that the collective provided. In part this was to ensure that the collective might survive in both good times and bad times. Slackers were also bad for the morale of the collective, and they would often be turned away from the collective.

In fact, it turns out that the church bell came into being as European agrarian villages evolved and a single timekeeper was needed to alert the community when it was time to tend crops and cattle. The church found an opportunity to integrate into existing social structures by building churches with a church bell to be tolled hourly throughout the day a number of tolls to alert the villagers as to the hour of the day, this allowed the community to coordinate time to commence work in the fields, and the proper time when villagers were permitted to conclude their workday. In short, human history clearly contradicts this notion that people don't want to trade their time for necessities.

Rousseau's social contract was an effort to maximize the notion of human freedom. In doing so, he arrived at the recognition that people do sacrifice some independence and freedom in exchange for the benefits they realize from the society, and furthermore, in this desired social contract, everyone will be free because they all forfeit the same number of rights and impose the same duties on all. Rousseau argues that it is absurd for a man to surrender his freedom for slavery, and this is quite true. The challenge with Marxism is that far too much is surrendered to the collective and only the elitists of the collective flourish.

The notion that we don't want to exchange our time for necessities is totally ignorant. Long before any of us were born, brilliant people grappled with this very question, and concluded that indeed we do enter into this social contract willingly, specifically due to the benefits that we all realize.

Another question that deserves some mindshare is what exactly are necessities? Clearly Marxists will pursue a strategy of maximizing the list of items that are necessities. Society provides for the necessities of protection, safety and security, without which there is no foundation for the other things that we may perceive as necessities. Eastern philosophies have a simple measure of necessities:

- Earth
- Sun
- Shelter 
- Water 
- Food

Tell me what is this Marxist definition of necessities, and what exactly are we content to trade our time for? How exactly do we distinguish necessities from luxuries? Ultimately, if no one is willing to work for necessities, how, pray tell do the rest of us obtain the necessities of life? Imagine, no Toilet paper, no bread, no salt, no sugar, no butter and no meat, not to mention, no vitamins, no kitchenware and no running water. If you think this is fiction, just go to one of several thousand cities and towns throughout the globe where running water is considered a luxury.  A few of these are as follows:

1) The Northeast ghetto of Bangkok, Thailand,
2) Tolyatti in the Russian Federation Province of Samara.
3) Many parts of the Republic of the Philippines.
4) Many parts of India and Malaysia
5) Many places in Africa, including: Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana, Somalia and Congo.

There are parts of the planet where prostitution remains the only reliable source of income for a woman.

So, I repeat, where do we draw the line between what is a necessity and what is a little more. Clearly progressives in the USA have designated medical care as a necessity. While I do not reject that medical care is a necessity in the present day, I simply don't understand who determines what is medically necessary and what is not in a socialized medicine model.

That's just for starters. Compound the question by taking away the incentives that people have to pursue medicine as a profession and what are you left with? Fewer options for medical care and a lower quality of care. What is the incentive to work as a nurse, a janitor or an executive of a hospital if we've socialized all necessities? Quick answer is that there is no incentive for doing this work!

I am an Arizona Walkaway

 I have posted my WalkAway Story on the now-defunct National Walk-Away Facebook Pages.  It is not my interest to post any more historical explanations for why I Walked Away from the Democrat Party.  What I am concerned about is where I'm going rather than where I have been.  With this context, I am sharing my personal manifesto of what it means to me to be a #WalkAwayAZ:

#WalkAwayAZ.  - What it means to me

We are #Walkaway.

We are Patriots who love this country.  We believe in the melting pot that made this country great.  We pledge allegiance to the Flag and our hearts beat strongly for our national Anthem. We are either immigrants, or the descendants of immigrants, but we are all Americans.

A) We do not condone racism, but neither do we divide the people of this country by the color or texture of their skin, their ancestry or their religion.  We hold these truths self-evident that all human beings are created equal.  This does not mean that they are equal in every way or even that they must be made to be equal.  This equality is embodied in the core freedoms that our founding fathers prized:

1) Freedom of religion

2) Freedom of peaceful assembly

3) Freedom for the pursuit of happiness

4) Freedom from taxation without representation.

B) Because we love our country, we also love our planet.  We are not ignorant of the threat that global warming represents, but we do not fear global warming.  Rather we have faith in human ingenuity and we believe that through science and diplomacy we can achieve a global solution to this global problem; however, we do not buy into the doom and gloom notions that life on earth will cease to exist in 12 years.  

We are not living in some fictional apocalyptic movie.  We don't live our lives running from our fears and we do not allow fear to influence our decisions. We do what we can to reduce the damage that we do to the earth, and our conservation should be rewarded, not used as a whipping post to further erode our country and our society.

C) We hold dear the notion of the free-market economy.  It's rules are rather simple and everyone has the opportunity to succeed within the free market if they participate.  Those who take life seriously, and who utilize their God-given talents to earn a wage  will benefit form their labors.  We are objective and understand that Capitalism is not perfect, but it is the only system that provides any semblance of giving the workers control over the means of production.  In fact it manages to do this far better than any form of socialism or Communism has ever achieved.  Just ask Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg how Capitalism has worked out for them!

D) Despite it's challenges, The American experiment still stands as a shining gem and an example to the rest of the world of the importance of rugged individualism and free markets as a means of creating a high standard of living for all of our citizens.  So much are we admired, that people from all over the world would gladly risk life and limb to live here!

E) We believe in securing our borders, because we learned on 9/11/2001 that there are those who wish to destroy our way of life. We also understand that it is wrong to syphon the talent from the nations in central and South America.  It is far easier to develop policies that contribute to the economic development of those countries so that they may benefit from their own experience with capitalism.  We also understand that the alternative is to push those countries towards communism which is not in the interest of a strong United States of America.

F) As proud #WalkAway Arizonans, we know that there is indeed a Crisis at the southern border.  It is a humanitarian crisis, a public safety crisis and a public health crisis.  It is a crisis that arises from the instability of the governments south of our border, and from reckless policies of the Biden/Harris administration which led to tens of thousands of migrants arriving at the border wearing "Joe Biden" T-Shirts! You simply cannot make this stuff up.

G) We recognize that China is a totalitarian regime and they are willing to attack their own citizens as they have done to the Uighurs, as they have done in Hong Kong, and as they have done in Tianamen square.  We also recognize China as a dangerous regime that released a biological weapon from the Wuhan Institute of Virology killing nearly 3.5 million people throughout the world and more than 1/2 million fatalities in the USA. We also have legitimate concerns that this was done intentionally and we are distraught that the Biden Administration doesn't care to investigate the root cause of the pandemic or the ties that Dr. Anthony Fauci has to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the illegal funding of gain-of-function research, which likely is responsible for the extermination of millions of people throughout the World.  We are baffled why the Woke party, with their abundance of outrage has no outrage over the global human toll of this virus, but is aghast at the mere 600,000 who died within our borders. 

On a personal note, I have my own COVID-19 experience to share: On March 31, 2021, my youngest sister died - not from COVID, but from Cancer. I still remember when Denise called me to share her diagnosis On April 20th, 2020.  I remember my emotions as I asked her how she would navigate cancer treatment during COVID, she just sighed and vowed to fight with all hear might.  Although  she didn't die from COVID, COVID was certainly culpable for her death.  Denise was hospitalized at least 9 times during her battle with stage 4 cancer.  The COVID restrictions in the hospitals were utterly ridiculous.  Hospitals are thoroughly expert in reducing the transmissions of contagions within their facilities.  They've been doing it for decades with nearly non-existant contagion transmission in hostpitals. But the COVID restrictions barred any visitors from being with my sister when she was recovering from Chemo-therapy or during the various emergency hospitalizations that she endured during the months prior to her passing. 

Every opportunity that I had to speak with her by telephone, I took!  I tried to distract her from her own struggles and steered her away from any topics that would cause her stress or sadness.  My sister passed away at the far too young age of 48, leaving behind her loving siblings, her devoted husband and a 9-year old son, Dwayne.  Through the experience with my sister, my family experienced a very profound relationship with COVID.  There are two situations that highlight this:

1) COVID in my home.  Unbeknownst to me, my wife, or my step-son , we all came down with COVID following a December trip to visit the second of my three younger sisters in Las Vegas.  We each recovered from COVID in early January of 2020, long before anyone had ever heard of COVID we recovered at home without an emergency-room visit and without an urgent care visit.  An antibody test conducted by my family Physician confirmed what I knew was true.  This was a blessing, because we were able to visit my sister at her home when she was between hospitalizations.  We visited nearly every weekend.  We visited her with confidence that we would not place her at risk even with her weakened immune system, because there was no possibility of us exposing her to COVID in the months after we had recovered.

2) Denise's first Chemotherapy treatment.  Denise went to the hospital on May 28th, 2020 for her first Chemotherapy. Denise had been upbeat prior to the treatment knowing that it was her best and perhaps only hope for a recovery. we spoke with her by telephone prior to the treatment and even for the first 12 hours of her treatment.  During the course of her treatment, she became comatose - her body unable to handle the strong does of medicine that she had been prescribed.  Further compounding the issue was the fact that it was the Memorial Day weekend and the hospital was short-staffed. Our calls to Denise and to the hospital went unanswered for 2 days.   On the 3rd day we were informed that she was comatose and that the Doctors had decided to stop her treatment early hoping that she would revive from this inadvertantly medically induced coma.  Fortunately, she did revive and recovered, but the heartache that we all experience not knowing was truly unbearable.  Furthermore, my dear sister's isolation from family and friends made her hospitalizations most painful.  I am angry about COVID, very angry and I want answers.  I think that we are entitled to know:

1) Exactly how it escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

2) Why they were conducting gain-of-function research there, and 

3) Why the CDC and NIAID  were routing research funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology through a third-party firm on the authority of Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The world deserves answers to these questions.

#WalkAway Arizona!!!

We Simply cannot let the Democratic party sabotage this country.  They are insidious, but they are not invincible.  We need to urge others to walk away as we have, but not only to walk away but to walk beside us towards a better future for our country.

Friday, May 7, 2021

On Complexity

Complexity is the single greatest evil in society.  Although complexity is not often present in physical forms, it is a real issue that confronts us all. rooting out complexity in all of it's forms is at the center of what is needed to wholly advance the human condition.

    Complexity manifests in human life both organically, and  inorganically  It is not so easy to root out organic sources of complexity in human life, but inorganic complexity need not exist in society.  In one sense, complexity is a regressive tax that most adversely impacts the poorest amongst us, but complexity adversely impacts everyone on the planet in one form or another. It is found in the complexities of  commerce, of employment and other barriers to freely engage in the pursuit of happiness.

    Complexity can be found within the social contract of every society, but is most tangible in convoluted laws and social mandates that truly have no legitimate purpose.  Complexity is often a side effect of human innovation, but is generally found in systems that are poorly engineered, or are engineered based on flawed assunmptions.

    There is a moral obligation to root out complexity whereever it is found.  One of the most common sources of complexity in the modern era is software complexity.   Software complexity produces a vast number of social problems.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Agile is unforgiving - The evils of software complexity.

"People won't self-organise around systems they don't understand.  People won't make experiments if they are afraid of breaking invisible things." - Kenny Baas-Schwegler (Agile 2019)


The Agile Alliance never specified a one-size-fits-all methodology for "doing Agile".  Isn't this just a technology story that mirrors the old fable, "The Emporer's New Clothes"? What is the purpose of the Agile Alliance and it's principles and values if there is no underlying methodology?  It was not the intent of the Agile Alliance to dictate a specific methodology.  Every methodology is unto itself an exercise in planned obsolescence. Waterfall methods supplanted more earlier structured methods and Agile has mostly supplanted Waterfall methods throughout organizations across the globe.  It is clear that the agile alliance's goal was to create something that would transcend methodologies and never yield to the next thing, and perhaps even avoid the pitfalls of someone coming along to broadcast to the world, "I have something better:  Agile 2.0!"  After all, a philosophical school of thought doesn't get replaced or updated any more than a library is updated.  The library houses a set of books -- Some good, some not so good -- regardless, a compendium of knowledge is found in the library.  Similarly, Agile is rather like a library. It contains ideas, principles, values and some facts, but no specific methods.  The methods may come and go, ebb and flow, but the philosophy and mindset of agile is intended to remain constant.

Since Agile is not a methodology, one may want to know what is the value of agile? Can an organization truly change it's value proposition and improve productivity and results by adopting agile methods, by adopting Scrum, Kanban, XP or Lean?  Let's decompose and examine the introductory quote of this paper:  

1) "People won't self-organize around systems that they don't understand."

2) "People won't make experiments if they're afraid of breaking invisible things."

This is a sage wisdom that many fail to understand. Why is this important?  Clearly the statement is intended to emphasize the importance of understanding the subject product or system.   There are a few corollaries here:

1) A team is unlikely to succeed with agile methods if they were failing with a prior methodology.  

Allowing expert software engineers to self-organize and thereby succeed in their endeavors requires that there is a foundational understanding of the product(s) or system(s) that they build, support and maintain. To succeed with agile, the team must grapple with the underlying and structural challenges that they experienced before transitioning to an agile practice.  Failing that the team is rather destined to fail with agile.

2) Simplifying relentlessly is crucial for success in any software engineering endeavor. 

Overly-Complex systems are difficult to understand, difficult to build, difficult to maintain and difficult to support in a production sense, thus relentlessly Simplification is crucial for success in any software engineering endeavor.  The same is true for agile efforts.  There are far too many software organizations that have built needlessly complex software products, simply because the customers have driven the product's complexity over time, and the engineering team has failed to pay attention to the increasing complexity.  

As this complexity increases, the product becomes progressively less supportable and ultimately trends toward an inevitable obsolescence.

The above is crucial knowledge for those who would like to adopt Agile methods. Keep in mind that Agile is a philosophy, the characteristics of the Agile philosophy are flexibility, adaptability, and yes, agility.  The questions that must be answered are:

1)  How can we achieve agility within our team and our project?

2) Are we succeeding with our current approach?

3) If not, what can we do differently?

4) Have we simplified relentlessly?

5) If not, what can be simplified?

In conclusion, it is clear from studying many organizations efforts in adopting agile practices that one of the most significant challenges that organizations face in agile adoption is application complexity.  In fact, application complexity is a crucial problem if it appears within any software engineering team. Software Complexity kills team performance, team morale and invariably leads to a myriad of software quality challenges.

If the complexity of applications is a problem within an organization, the enterprise will likely fail with agile adoption.

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Agile Dichotomy

WARNING: There is an immense dichotomy in agile, and it is infiltrating companies throughout the world! C-Suite executives perceive agile adoption as a means of delivering quality software solutions faster for customers and business partners. Whereas, engineering teams point to the cornerstone principles of the agile manifesto, especially, the emphasis on delivering working software.  The obvious problem here is that delivering working software in no way means that software solutions will be produced faster.  Hence, the dichotomy is between corporate executives who interpret the Agile Manifesto as promising something for nothing, whereas the engineering organization is focused on strategies that mitigate risk, reduce project failures and ultimately benefit the engineers.  The fundamental problem is that C-Suite executives need to justify the cost of their agile initiatives to their investors.  There is a significant bottom-line cost to transition to agile and stakeholders are interested in the return on investment for the "Agile Adoption" thingy that the company is spending so massively to adopt.  

In concept, Agile adoption may lead to greater velocity; however, it is noteworthy that the word "velocity" appears nowhere in the agile manifesto.  There are also 12 principles that the Agile Alliance adopted and  "velocity" is not found amongst those principles.  The principle that most closely suggests anything that may be interpreted as "velocity" is the following principle:

Simplicity--the art maximizing the amount
of work not done--is essential.

This notion of simplicity is anything but simple.  There is tremendous art in simplicity. By analogy, simplicity cannot be achieved by simply speeding up a conveyor belt.  Each of the tooling stations in the assembly line must be capable of adapting to the underlying velocity.  Perhaps we can eliminate or combine assembly operations to improve the efficiency of the product assembly?  In some cases this is feasible, but in software engineering, removing steps from the process can be catastrophic.

There is an underlying premise that much of the assembly-line process can be automated to ensure that the software is produced more efficiently and that less work is done to achieve quality software.  But will this result in greater velocity, and is that velocity improvement quantifiable?  This is an important question!  

Thus the dichotomy between Executives or managers and software engineers may persist for a very long time, thus undermining the agile adoption.  This dichotomy is insidious and even dangerous to the adoption of agile. In fact, all of the questions that surround agile adoption must be vetted within the teams within an organization that have decided to adopt agile.  We must ask the following questions as well:

1) What operational processes within our organization tend to derail agile adoption?

2) What organizations have successfully adopted agile and what choices helped  in their adoption?

Finally, we need to consider this question: 

Does agile actually produce velocity, or higher quality software or both or neither? 

If it doesn't produce velocity, is there still a value proposition for agile adoption? If it doesn't produce higher quality software is there still a value proposition for agile adoption? If this analysis appears as syllogism, it is not trivial or wasteful.  Agile adoption must be done with stated objectives and the adoption must adhere to the identified set of objectives.  Otherwise, what priorities shall we use to guide us in determining how exactly to maximize the work not done? A bottom-line question is: How can we measure if agile adoption is successful? Only if we have a specific criteria for success can we tune agile adoption to meet the success criteria.