This bit happened because I have this habit of hanging out at a place called The Blogmocracy and the head honcho over there has this occasional Net Radio Show which I have been known to call into. So in the last show the subject of OFA and Data Mining came up! Seems a bunch of the people listening did not know how it worked and guess who got asked to write on it!
I mean the core of what it is just happens to be what I do for a living! So to keep the space down the Screed is below the fold!
A discussion occurred on the last BlogMocRadio about Data Mining, what is it and how is it used.
Let me start with the side that my Paycheck Continuation Program (PCP) is involved with on a daily basis, Just In Time Inventory or JITI. This is Data Mining at its’ finest!
Ever walked into almost any commercial enterprise and seen employees running around with hand held Bar Code Scanners, ever had you purchase rang up by passing over or under a scanner and then paid for said purchase with a Credit or Debit Card! Answer yes to any of those and you have been data mined! Mind you that most US commercial enterprises (Notable exceptions for Google, Microshaft and anything associated with GE) use this data to tailor what they carry in a given region, when and how much they order and what demographics (remember the cards) are buying their goods.
Each store involved has what most call an In Store Processor (ISP). Now the ISP could be called an Idiot Savant of computers as it includes a full Commercial Transactions Node (think ATM at your Bank) and a continuous communications node to wherever the company’s Master Inventory Control Point (MICP) is. I know where most of them are but have this little thing called Confidentiality Agreements (CA) in place here.
All decisions with the (sometimes) exception of Local Hiring and Firing are made at the MICP. The individual stores do what they are told! Ever walked into a chain store and found something on sale, unadvertised over night? That item is not selling well in your region and the MICP projects a need for that shelf space! Better to sell it at reduced price or even a small loss compared to having to dispose of it or ship it back! Many chains have associated chains where the High Dollar but popular items that are fixing to go “Out of Style” are cross-shipped to and sold as Discount! Don’t ask me to name names, see CA above.
All of these methods as well as regional and demographic patterns are used to determine what to purchase, when to purchase, when to ship and get it to the store just as it will sell! Important here also is how much an individual store can be expected to sell!
This Boys and Girls is how beneficial Commercial Data Mining works. Now let us translate this to the Political Realm!
First you need a Sugar Daddy to buy you a Master Control Point (MCP) and all the Internet bandwidth you need. Enter George Soros and his endless bag of money in cooperation with an outfit not legally associated with a Political Party, let’s call it Organizing for America (OFA) just as something to use OK?
Now your MCP does not need a huge investment (Hell, I have four machines in my house that could host it) mostly a good sized Server Grade machine and lots of Network Storage (NS). NS is desired as we are going to store and transmit lots of data and NS can be expanded as needed cheaply and with a minimum of fuss! What it really must have is damn good data management software and a rock solid communications link! Who are we going to talk to?
How about the community leaders in every local group who is going to agree with what we want to do. Here is where legally a Political party can become involved as they are just one little communications node in our dispersed network. What do these nodes need to function? A cheap piece of secure communications software, that’s it. With a computer that they probably already have and the cheap ass software they are now a functional node in our huge data mining operation!
Next we send from the MCP what information we want like say names and voting patterns! We could also ask for anything any prominent person has ever done stupid. Or even better how about anything that person has ever said or done that could be twisted out of context to make them LOOK stupid or evil.
Next set of marching orders from the MCP is “What to Say and When!” Thus at say 1:00 PM all nodes start saying the exact same thing at the exact same time! Who the hell cares if it is true or accurate!
What then occurs in large portions of our modern society is called Information Waterfall. Many, many people will hear it and the assumption becomes that because everyone and everybody is saying the same thing “It Must Be True!”
This is the danger of the Distributed Network more so that Inbound Data Mining, the phenomenon of Outbound Data Mining (ODM)!
ODM is the weapon that OFA is trying to use! Any piece of dirt or innuendo that can be found or developed against a political enemy is brought in processed and distributed to all the nodes in a matter of minutes and no one on our side has the damn brains to start using this power!
The problem with this model is that much of the control of information and efforts is shifted away from the personalities running the operation to the troops running the nodes. On the Progressive left that is no problem as they are united in thought and deed! Not so on the Right!
Neocons, Socons, Fiscons, PaulBots and just plain “Do It My Way” country club Republicans divide the Right better than Odumbbutt ever could. Each and everyone of these groups that launches and kind of effort wants to Keep Control!
If only we could get together and find the points we agree on build that into our MCP software as Priority’s and build our own Bi-Directional Data Mining effort because until we do we will always be one step behind OFA!