Tag Archives: Google

ISIS Camp found near Texas border, possible attack plot on Fort Bliss

Terrorists taking advantage of the porous border between the U.S. and Mexico has always been of great concern.  Yesterday, this fear became more real when the Mexican Army discovered an ISIS compound just a few miles from El Paso, Texas.

According to a report by Judicial Watch, the terrorist base was discovered in an area known as “Anapra,” which is only eight miles from the United States border.  This area has been long associated with Cartel activity and it is believed they could have established some sort of relationship with them.

During the joint raid last week, Mexican Army and law enforcement discovered plans/maps of Fort Bliss, documents in Arabic, and prayer rugs.  According to Mexican law enforcement, the Anapra area is controlled by the Juárez Cartel which has made patrolling and monitoring the area difficult and almost impossible.

According to the report:

“According to these same sources, “coyotes” engaged in human smuggling – and working for Juárez Cartel – help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” are also smuggling ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. These specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces, and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.”

Mexican intelligence agencies believe that ISIS intends to use railways and airports around Santa Teresa, NM (a US port) to penetrate the United States.  Supposedly ISIS has been conducting reconnaissance of many U.S. targets such as the White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss, nearby universities, power plants, and other government facilities near Alamogordo, NM.

Despite Judicial Watch sourcing their information from a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector, the Mexican authorities have disputed the findings.

“The government of Mexico dismisses and categorically denies each of the statements made today by the organization Judicial Watch on the alleged presence of ISIS’s operating cells throughout the border region, particularly at Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua – El Paso, Texas,” Ariel Moutsatsos-Morales, Mexico’s minister for press and public affairs, told The Washington Times.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Iranian president says no nuclear agreement without end to all sanctions

Hassan Rouhani statement comes as Barack Obama agrees that US Congress should have power to review any deal with Iran

Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech: ‘If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement.’
Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech: ‘If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement.’ Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP

The Iranian president has said Tehran would not accept a comprehensive nuclear deal with major powers if all sanctions imposed on Tehran were not lifted, state television has reported.

“If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement,” Hassan Rouhanisaid in a televised speech on Wednesday. “The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran.”

Iran wants sanctions that include nuclear-related UN resolutions as well as US and EU nuclear-related economic sanctions to be lifted immediately. The US says sanctions against Iran will be removed gradually.

In what was seen as a setback for Barack Obama, the US president agreed on Tuesday that Congress should have the power to review any deal with Iran, backing down to pressure from Republicans and some in his own party.

The move blocks Obama’s ability to waive many US sanctions on Tehran while Congress reviews the deal. It also allows Congress a final vote on whether to lift sanctions imposed by US legislators.

Rouhani said this was an internal issue for Washington. “What the US Senate, Congress and others say is not our problem. We want mutual respect … We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress,” Rouhani said, adding that Iran wanted to end its isolation by having “constructive interaction with the world and not confrontation”.

The Israeli intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, said on Wednesday that his country was pleased with the Congress deal. Israel was critical of a preliminary accord reached between Iran and world powers on 2 April, saying it would not prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but it has never welcomed intrusive inspections and has in the past kept some sites secret.

A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for scheduled technical talks, Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Talks with the IAEA are parallel to Iran’s nuclear negotiations, with the powers seeking a permanent agreement on curbing the country’s nuclear activities by 30 June. Iran and major powers will resume talks on 21 April.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Years of Clinton Presidents? 16 years after his impeachment trial, SHE’S BACK!

Hillary Clinton launches second presidential bid

Hillary Clinton put an end to months of speculation on Sunday by officially announcing her candidacy for president, giving the former secretary of state another shot at cracking the highest glass ceiling in American politics.

The initial word came in an email to supporters from John Podesta, a longtime Clinton ally, thena video launched on YouTube and a newly minted Facebook page.

“I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president,” Clinton said in the video. “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion — so you can do more than just get by — you can get ahead. And stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong. So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

The video was shot last week, a campaign official told CNN. Clinton’s part was shot in New York with the rest of the video shot in places including Iowa and New Hampshire, a campaign official told CNN.

Clinton was at her home in New York for the launch of her campaign. She will be making some calls to top Democrats Sunday, as will her senior staff, according to a campaign official.

Who is Hillary Clinton?

Who is Hillary Clinton?

INTERACTIVE: Hillary Clinton tries again

Following the video release, the Clinton campaign sent our a press release detailing her next steps.

“She’s committed to spending the next six to eight weeks in a ‘ramp up’ period where her team will start to build a nation-wide grassroots organization, and she will spend her time engaging directly with voters,” according to the release. “In May, once her supporters in all 50 states are organized for house parties or to watch over live streams, Hillary will hold her first rally and deliver the speech to kick off her campaign.”

She’ll travel to Monticello, Iowa on Tuesday before heading to Norwalk on Wednesday, according to a campaign aide.

Clinton’s second presidential run is another chapter in a life that has seen the former first lady go from a child raised in a conservative home outside Chicago to one of the most recognizable women in the world. Clinton became a household name in 1992 when her husband, Bill Clinton, won the presidency.

Since then, Hillary Clinton has become a force in her own right, serving in the Senate for eight years, unsuccessfully running for president in 2008 and leading the State Department from 2009 to 2013.

Over the coming months, Clinton’s campaign will plot how to reintroduce the former first lady — on her own terms — to the American people. Democrats close to Clinton have started to call her the most unknown famous person in the world. Their argument is that people know of Clinton — she has near 100% name recognition in most polls — but they don’t know her story.

A Mr. and Mrs. President?

A Mr. and Mrs. President?

Using small, controlled events with everyday people, the campaign will hone in on Clinton’s personal story, using themes such as her Midwestern upbringing, her mother’s perseverance in the face of neglectful parents and Clinton’s own time raising a daughter to cast the presidential hopeful in a more favorable, softer light than she was seen during much of her 2008 presidential run.

Clinton’s candidacy has been widely anticipated. Even since before Clinton left the State Department in early 2013, speculation that she would take another shot at the White House has followed her.

For her part, Clinton willingly teased those expectations for the better part of the last two years as she crisscrossed the country delivering paid speeches, selling her new memoir and stumping for Democrats during the 2014 midterm elections. Throughout all of it, Clinton was consistently peppered with questions about her presidential ambitions and plans for the future. She was reluctant to tease a bid in early 2014 — telling an audience in New Orleans that she wasn’t even thinking about a run — but grew less coy this year when she began to embrace the expectations around her.

Social media reacts to Clinton’s announcement (and that new logo)

Prohibitive favorite

Clinton, the first to enter the Democratic presidential field, enters the race as the prohibitive favorite for the nomination, even though some of her poll numbers have slipped of late, likely because of a nagging email controversy.

A CNN/ORC International poll in March found that Clinton held a 50-point lead over her closest competitor, Vice President Joe Biden. What’s more, the three Democrats most actively teasing a presidential run — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — all received no more than 3% support among Democrats and independents that lean Democratic.

Clinton’s dominance in the polls — along with the work of a number of outside pro-Clinton organizations — has helped freeze the Democratic field. But a dozen or so Republicans may ultimately line up for the chance to take Clinton on.

Ahead of her expected announcement, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released a YouTube video Sunday attempting to connect Clinton to the “failed big government policies” of President Barack Obama.

Though she just announced her candidacy on Sunday, she is already surrounded by a sizable Democratic operation; Clinton has had around 30 people “volunteering” on her behalf in recent weeks.

Podesta, her anticipated campaign chairman, and Robby Mook, her expected campaign manager, began assembling a campaign apparatus this year, and a number of political operatives moved to New York in March and April to work for the nascent campaign. All of the new hires, however, have been considered volunteers until this point, meaning they have not been paid for weeks of work.

The road to Clinton’s second presidential run has been far from flawless.

Democrats close to Clinton say the former first lady had preferred waiting until summer to make her presidential ambitions official and had a number of top aides discouraging her from getting into the race at all. But once Clinton decided to run, the start of 2015 — a period defined by multiple controversies around the former first family — crystallized for Clinton and her team why a campaign apparatus was critically needed.

Her family’s foundation, the Clinton Foundation, came under fire this year for not properly vetting foreign donations while Clinton was secretary of state. The controversy was a headache for Clinton aides and supporters who were caught somewhat flat-footed, and provided Republicans a tailor-made opportunity to charge the former first family with cronyism and selling access.

Clinton resigned from the foundation’s board on Sunday.


March found Clinton at the center of her own controversy over her exclusive use of private — rather than official — email during her time running the State Department. Republicans seized on the news and Clinton was forced to respond in a quickly organized press conference at the United Nations.

“With respect to any sort of future issues, I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters,” Clinton said in response to a question about her presidential aspiration at the press conference. “I look forward to having a discussion about that.”

Republicans are near certain that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. On a surrogate call preparing Republicans for her announcement, Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee communications director, said that he felt Clinton losing the nomination was as likely as him “getting struck by lightning riding a unicorn.”

Republicans have been near solely focused on Clinton for more than a year, knocking the former secretary of state on different controversies and looking to cast her as an out-of-touch plutocrat unable to connect with the needs of everyday Americans.

Clinton’s recent controversies over the foundation and her emails have already featured prominently in attacks against her. After news broke on Friday that Clinton was announcing, the Republican National Committee spent more than $100,000 on a web ad that hits Clinton for her recent controversies. The ad is targeted at independent voters in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa.

Our attacks “ultimately have to lead to questions that Hillary can’t answer,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a longtime Clinton foil. “I think if we keep her in a situation where she can never do a press conference and she can never take questions, she shrinks. … I am pretty optimistic that she will shrink steadily throughout the next year.”


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Building Online Presence – a Guide for Authors

By Corrin Foster, Greenleaf Book Group

Nearly 1.47 billion people utilize social media worldwide. Authors now have the unique opportunity to create a platform and generate buzz for their book by tapping into an engaged and passionate demographic of readers. As social media continues to evolve and new platforms are introduced, it can be daunting to identify which social networks an author should use to promote their brand and how best to engage with the community active on those channels.

By taking the time to identify, build, and engage with a community through blogging and social media, authors can discover where the conversation is happening, become an integral part of the conversation, and generate a loyal and engaged following all their own.

Authors should think of their online presence as a wheel. Their blog is the hub of the wheel and their social networks form the spokes radiating out from the center.

As the hub of an author’s online presence, a blog should include original and timely content to establish their expertise, highlight links to all social media channels, feature prominently a way for readers to subscribe to a feed or newsletter, and include a call to action welcoming comments and opinions for each post.

Blogging is no easy task, but the most important thing to remember when creating blog content is consistency. When readers know what to expect (expert content organized around a central theme) and when to expect it (posting on a regular schedule), they begin to seek out that expert content and share it with their community.

Social Media
Once an author has established their blog as content hub and has been blogging consistently, it’s time to get the wheel moving with social media.

Before becoming overwhelmed by the number of social networks and their intricacies, know that authors don’t need to be everywhere—they just need to be where the conversation is happening.

Begin by evaluating each social network; Pew’s Social Networking Fact Sheet is an invaluable resource for evaluating social media usage trends and user demographics. Here is a snapshot of the basic demographics:

  • Facebook skews female at 76 percent of users; fastest growing demographic is adults aged 65+; 77 percent of users earn less than $30,000/year
  • Twitter skews primarily male; 36 percent of users engage multiple times daily; and 27 percent of users earn more than $50,000/year
  • LinkedIn is more popular than Twitter among adults; accounts for 50 percent of college-educated internet users; only 13 percent of users engage daily and those users tend to be executive level
  • Pinterest is dominated by women; most active users are aged 18–29; income levels are split between limited and affluent

Based on those statistics, LinkedIn is a natural fit for a leadership expert because of the direct access to managers and C-suite executives. Those same managers and executives probably aren’t browsing Pinterest, so spending valuable time and resources developing that platform may not be necessary.

Authors can also harness the power of the hashtag to review conversations on various social networks. Verify that the conversations you wish to be part of are truly happening and determine how you can add value to those conversations.

Connect with Your Core Audience
Once an author has identified which social networks they should utilize to reach their core audience, it’s time to build more momentum in the wheel by optimizing profiles, connecting with relevant influencers, and starting to share content.

It’s critical that authors familiarize themselves with the best practices of their social network(s) of choice. Use great resources, such as The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, and Friends with Benefits by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo, to help you navigate.

Above all, remember the 80/20 rule of sharing—80 percent of what is shared should be promoting others and 20 percent should be self-promotional. Social media at its best exists to foster conversation and engage new people and audiences, not to toot horns.

Engage Your Community
At this point, an author should have a firm grasp of where their core audience is engaging, how to establish a robust and consistent presence on those networks, and how to be comfortable sharing content. Now it’s time for others to hop on that wheel. Here are some things to remember about engagement:

  • Follow back and interact. If someone makes the first move to connect, be responsive and reciprocate. This is how relationships are formed.
  • Be proactive. Monitor conversations and don’t be afraid to make the first move. When establishing a social media presence, remember that the conversation won’t just come to you—you must go to the conversation.
  • Offer help. Answering a question or providing a resource is the quickest and easiest way to establish expertise. Everyone loves a content concierge.

The Golden Takeaway
There’s a community out there for every author and expert. By establishing a consistent and content-rich blog as your hub and giving that content and messaging momentum through the spokes of thoughtfully selected social media networks, you’ll be able to take your brand where you want to go.

Corrin Foster is Marketing Manager at Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor specializing in the growth of independent authors and small presses. Learn more at


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rand Paul seeks an awkward balance as he prepares to launch presidential bid

Who will lead the right? New breed of Republicans compete to take on Clinton.


Republican senator Rand Paul will formally launch his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, hoping an unorthodox and somewhat diluted libertarian campaign will lure a new generation of GOP voters without repelling the party’s conservative base.

Paul will launch his campaign for the White House in Louisville, the largest city in his home state of Kentucky, in front of thousands of activists and reporters in an opulent, 23,000-sq-ft ballroom.

The senator is attempting the kind of dance rarely attempted in American politics: reassuring Republican primary voters of his conservative credentials while appealing to some on the left who are drawn to his stances on criminal justice, privacy and foreign policy.

Paul wants to be the candidate that wins Christian evangelicals one day and college students who want to liberalise drug laws the next. Many party insiders believe that may be an impossibly complex path to the White House.

But no one is yet ruling out the former ophthalmologist, who has done more than any other senior figure in his party to build legislative alliances with Democrats and has even attempted to court some of their voters, from African Americans to the denizens of Silicon Valley.

Paul topped the presidential straw poll of the Conservative Action Action Conference (CPAC) for the third time this year, and polling puts him among the early frontrunners in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

After the launch in Kentucky, Paul is scheduled to begin an expensive and ambitious tour across the early primary states: New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada. He will later head to California, for private meetings with west coast donors.

Each stop will involve a different speech based around a key political theme, carefully orchestrated to either exploit Paul’s strengths or address his perceived weaknesses as he lays down a marker as a serious contender for his party’s nomination.

Analysis from Republican insiders in the early nomination states suggests Paul is already viewed among the top tier of Republican presidential aspirants such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and Florida senator Marco Rubio.

He is especially well-placed to make a mark in New Hampshire, a state with strong libertarian tendencies where the rules permit voters outside the GOP to cast a ballot in the primary. He is not expected to do as well in socially conservative South Carolina, which he visits on Thursday.

That stop will be about addressing Paul’s achilles heel: the perception among Republicans that the senator’s libertarian political ideals would render him a weak commander-in-chief. Aides believe the reputation is an unwarranted inheritance from his father, Ron Paul.

The former congressman, who twice sought the Republican presidential nomination, is loathed by Republican military hawks for his anti-war, non-interventionist approach to American nation-building. Rand Paul therefore needs to distance himself from this father’s radical foreign policy, without alienating the large and committed base of libertarian activists Ron Paul cultivated during a lifetime in politics.

In South Carolina, Paul will talk about national security in front of the USS Yorktown, a giant decommissioned warship from the second world war. It is the kind of militaristic backdrop that would make some of his father’s more trenchant supporters squeal, but Paul’s campaign team evidently believes the caricature of the Kentucky senator as a dove on foreign policy warrants some unambiguous messaging.

The recent spate of national security crises, from the Russia-Ukraine conflict to the sudden rise of the Islamic State, have elevated foreign policy discussions among the Republican base and increased its thirst for a president willing to flex America’s military muscle.

Texas senator Ted Cruz, who last month became the first Republican to formally enter the race for the party’s presidential nomination, and is competing for some of Paul’s traditional base support, is positioning himself as a Tea Party hawk.

For Paul, looking to chart an untested path to the Republican nomination – and, later, the White House – success may rely on his own discipline. He will need to sidestep the kind of awkward questions that could repel either the GOP base or the younger, less partisan voters he is trying to bring under his wing.

The last week has been a case in point. When controversy broke out over the Indiana law that critics said would be used to discriminate against LGBT people, Bush, Cruz, Rubio and Walker all backed the state’s Republican governor, Mike Pence.

Two days later, when the historic nuclear deal with Iran was unveiled in Switzerland, the same four presidential hopefuls were quick to condemn the agreement.

Paul, who has supposedly vacationing in in Kentucky, avoided taking a stance on either issue, thereby avoiding the kind of base-pandering remarks that would have alienated supporters who are not hardcore GOP activists. That kind of strategic tap dance is what could make him the most interesting Republican to watch.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did the right thing in demanding water conservation

by RD Sollars

Screen-Shot-2012-09-18-at-1.32.03-PM            This week Governor Jerry Brown announced that people would be fined and ticketed if they didn’t follow the new water restrictions in California. There ae far too many restrictions to talk about here, including on the produce the rest of the world consumes.

But there is a solution that California can implement a couple actually that could keep the consumption of water virtually at a standstill. At least until the rains reappear and replenish the supply – sometime in the next 10 years (if it’s on time next year).

Some of these will be scoffed at and I can hear guffaws already. But I can guarantee you they will work and save that state from becoming like Sonora Mexico.

#1 stop enticing companies to move to California. If businesses stop moving to California then there will be less water consumed by a business and more left to the people who need it. And yes this does mean ALL new businesses. The expansion of existing businesses should be allowed, but new ones no.

#2 stop trying to entice new sports franchises to come to California. Think about how much water a major franchise would use in their games. From an NFL team with 8-10 games a year to baseball, basketball, or hockey teams using water in 42-55 games a year! Each with 30,000 to 80,000 fans per game! That would be a major savings.
#3 is not allowing new restaurants to open up, unless one closes. This would save a ton of water on the washing of pots, pans, and dishes. While most sit down restaurants use regulars dishes and flatware as well as the pots and pans necessary to cook the food, likewise fast food places utilize cookie sheets as well as pots and pans. They all have to be to be scrubbed and washed. Make them use paper plates and plastic flatware that be recycled for dishes and such. But the idea is to not overload the system with innumerable new restaurants.

#4 close all new entertainment parks and expansions of parks. Sea World, Disney land, and so on consume millions of gallons of water a year. If we limit them to no more expansions of construction until the shortage is over…

#5 prevent new people from moving into the state unless they are accepting a new job. And those who have lost their jobs? Then encourage them to leave the state if they haven’t found a job within 6-12 months. This would decrease the population in a humane manner and save the state money in the long run.

#6 this also goes along with not allowing the colleges and universities to recruit more students than the current graduating classes. This would keep current enrollments at a standard level rate until the shortage is confirmed to be over.

These steps may seem extreme, but they will work. Yes they will drive business out of California, but that will just make the air cleaner in the long run. Yes the tax base will decrease, but then there will be less people to waste money on and other projects won’t be needed. It’ll keep businesses out that want to come in, on the other hand they won’t be using the resources the current businesses and citizens need to survive on a daily basis.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Horror of Amazon’s New Dash Button


Amazon’s new Dash Button, which will allow shoppers to reorder frequently used domestic products like laundry detergent or paper towels with the click of a real-life button, is not a joke. Many people assumed it was, mostly because the announcement came the day before April Fool’s, but also because the idea seemed to poke fun at Amazon’s omnipresence, making it visibly manifest with little plastic one-click shopping buttons adhered to surfaces all over your home.

There was also something slightly off about the promotional video. It opens with a montage of repeated household tasks—squeezing a tube of moisturizer, running a coffee maker, microwaving a container of Easy Mac, starting a washing machine—that gets interrupted when a woman reaches for a coffee pod, only to discover that there are none left. She leans forward and exhales, resigned. It’s going to be a long day. But then, thanks to Dash, the montage starts up again, with those familiar Amazon boxes arriving continuously in the mail—and in them a supply of coffee, lotion, and macaroni and cheese for as many days as we may live to need them. “Don’t let running out ruin your rhythm,” a voiceover tells us.

As propaganda, the video seems more like a condemnation of consumption than a celebration it. All that stuff, the same stuff, used and discarded day after day. It’s the kind of montage that a movie director would use to show just how sad and soulless a character’s life was. And the idea of shopping buttons placed just within our reach conjures an uneasy image of our homes as giant Skinner boxes, and of us as rats pressing pleasure levers until we pass out from exhaustion. But according to Amazon, these products represent the actual rhythm of life, any interruption of which might lead not only to inconvenience but to the kind of coffee-deprived despair that we see when the woman realizes that she has run out of K-cups. That’s the real dystopia: not that our daily lives could be reduced to a state of constant shopping but that we might ever have to, even for a moment, stop shopping.

But what do I know? I don’t have kids. I’ve never bought thousands of diapers and yet still constantly needed more. Now there’s a Huggies button, and if it takes a drone army to get them where they need to go, then maybe that’s worth it, too. So far, other than coffee, Amazon appears to be steering clear of offering addictive products with the service. There is no Cheetos button. No Oreos button. No Knausgaard button. And the buttons are set up to place only one order at a time, no matter how many times you press them, which means that Fido or your five-year-old can’t order ten thousand rolls of paper towels when you’re not paying attention.

Dash fits squarely into the current age of smart-home technology, where you can tweet from your refrigerator and your sentient thermostat can help save the world. It is not simply a matter of practical efficiency but of a proactive, preëmptive way of living, in which inefficiency is the worst kind of waste. The way we manage our chores is a measure of our worthiness. No one wants to live in a stupid home. No one should have to fight with his spouse over who drank the last grapefruit soda. And only a chump would ever run out of toilet paper.

But what if there is actual value in running out of things? The sinking feeling that comes as you yank a garbage bag out of the box and meet no resistance from further reinforcements is also an opportunity to ask yourself all kinds of questions, from “Do I want to continue using this brand of bag?” to “Why in the hell am I producing so much trash?” The act of shopping—of leaving the house and going to a store, or, at the very least, of one-click ordering on the Amazon Web site—is a check against the inertia of consumption, not only in personal economic terms but in ethical ones as well. It is the chance to make a decision, a choice—even if that choice is simply to continue consuming. Look, we’re all going to keep using toothpaste, and the smarter consumer is the person who has a ten-pack of tubes from Costco in the closet. But shopping should make you feel bad, if only for a second. Pressing a little plastic button is too much fun.

Soon we won’t even have to hit a button. Amazon is also working with companies on devices that will be able to restock themselves. As the Wall Street Journal explained, “Whirlpool is working on a washer and dryer that anticipate when laundry supplies are running low so they can automatically order more detergent and dryer sheets.” Water purifiers could reorder their own filters; printers reorder their own ink. This is the dream of domestic life as a perfectly calibrated, largely automated system. But the doomsayer in me likes to imagine some coffee maker gone HAL 9000, making its own decisions about what kinds of coffee it thinks it should be brewing. Or a washing machine, haywire and alone in a basement somewhere, constantly reordering supplies for itself long after we’ve all been wiped off the Earth.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,060 other followers

%d bloggers like this: