Friday, December 14, 2012

Agnotology: The Surge - 3

So say two conservatives
In this series we are looking at the social science called Agnotology, which looks for then studies "ignorance generators" within American culture.

That discipline is focused on "particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data", which implicates the right wing Republican Party.

Today's Dredd Blog post is timely because in the aftermath of the 2012 election one consistently hears news reports about the "dumbing down" of the Republican party.

For example the book "It's Even Worse Than It Looks", written by two conservatives.

Whether they knew it or not, those authors practised Agnotology when they focused on neoCon extremists as if they were aliens to the traditional American government.

Their work clearly indicates that Republicans are "an insurgent outlier -- ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."

They also criticized McTell News for false equivalence, false framing, and a general gloss over of those extremist views.

We discussed a somewhat similar book "The Party Is Over", written by Republican Mike Lofgren, in the Dredd Blog post NeoCon Planet: Magic Teflon Vagina Juice, which focused on The Akinoids.

The previous post in this series discussed the notion of "the cultural Amygdala" and how it can be formed as we become biased one way or another, or how it can be better formed when we are objective and open minded (see e.g. Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 12).

Another book source involving Agnotology, which generated a lot of "interest," was the book "The Republican Brain" by Chris Mooney.

A lot of paper and ink in the media concerning that book, both pro and con, is reflected in the following list:
Pro:

A Chat With Chris Mooney, Diagnosing the Republican Brain, The Republican Brain by Chris Mooney, The Republican Brain on the Republican Brain, Inside the Political Brain, David's Book Club: The Republican Brain

Contra:

Republicans Have Bad Brains?, The Beaker And the Ballot, The New Phrenology, Science and the Republican Brain
A more general article by Eugene Robinson is Republicans must Wise Up.

A wising-up should not be impossible because even though "A conservative believes nothing should be done for the first time" - Thomas Fuller, one can argue that they have wised up in the past, so it won't be the first time.

Furthermore, they may soon see that U.S. extremism is damaging our reputation in the world (The UN voted against Israel and the U.S., America's Worst Enemy).

As long as they stay away from the influences of the criminally minded Oil-Qaeda in the epigovernment, they have some chance of a homecoming.


The previous post in this series is here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

If I Die Before They Wake

The following lyrics, sung by by The Fugs in the video at the bottom of this post, were written by Tuli Kupferberg in 1966 on Bleeker Street in New York City, U.S.A.

My interpretation is that these are the lyrics in a song sung by the dying Earth --- sung while visiting the grave of Venus, a long lost friend.


Morning, Morning

Morning morning
Feel so lonesome in the morning
Morning morning
Morning brings me grief

Sunshine and the sunshine
Sunshine laughs upon my face
and the glory of the growing
Puts me in my rotting place

Evening evening
Feel so lonesome in the evening
Evening evening
Evening brings me grief

Moon shine moon shine
Moon shine drugs the hills with grace
and the secret of the shining
Seeks to break my simple face

Nighttime nighttime
Kills the blood upon my cheek
Nighttime nighttime
Does not bring me to relief

Starshine and the starshine
Feel so loving in the starshine
Starshine starshine
Darling kiss me as I weep



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Warless Commander In Chief, President - 2

Military suicides @all time high
This is supposed to be a season of peace, so today we review an issue we talked about in a Dredd Blog post on this date in 2009.

One of our presidents warned us that war was an illness, yet in our War Colleges we are taught that war is an art.

Since that warning from President Madison and a later one from President Eisenhower, we have gone from having no standing army to having a military that has war bases in 191 countries around the world.

We were the number one arms dealer last year, and the longest war in U.S. history continues even in the face of it being very unpopular.

Anyway, here is that post from December 2009:

It may be hard to believe, but some of the Presidents of the United States did not partake in wars during their time in office.

Here is a list of non-wartime Commanders In Chief whose military was at-ease, yes, U.S. Presidents who could focus on helping their own people, their own nation, at home:
* John Adams (2nd)
* John Quincy Adams (6th)
* Zachary Taylor (12th)
* Millard Fillmore (13th)
* Franklin Pierce (14th)
* Andrew Johnson (17th)
* Ulysses Grant (18th)
* James Garfield (20th)
* Chester Arthur (21st)
* Grover Cleveland (22nd)
* Benjamin Harrison (23rd)
* Grover Cleveland (24th)
* Theodore Roosevelt (26th)
* William Taft (27th)
* Calvin Coolidge (30th)
* Herbert Hoover (31st)
* Jimmy Carter (39th)
(Wikipedia). This is roughly 39% of those holding that office.

Which means that roughly 61% of the time U.S. Presidents are influenced by war, which James Madison (2 yr War of 1812, 4th President) called our greatest enemy.

Equally of note is that since Jimmy Carter left office, on January 20, 1981, we have been involved in wars.

That is about 28 years in a row with presidents involved in war and the war ideology, our worst enemy.

As we proclaim to the world that we are the exceptional nation of peace, our war budgets involve more war money than all of the rest of the nations of the earth combined.

Is it any wonder that we have a serious credibility problem?

In addition to that 2009 post above, also consider the following video which discusses why we're now a nation of continual warfare:


Meanwhile a U.S. Naval attack force has moved off the coast of Syria, which has a mutual defense pact with Iran.

Both Russia and China are on the side of Syria and Iran, and have warned of serious consequences should current U.S. intervention become an invasion.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Epigovernment: The New Model

An earlier Dredd Blog post had a graphic to show the structure of the U.S. Federal Government.

That graphic has been modified for this post so as to illustrate the concept of "epigovernment."

Before we get into to the post completely let's first review some definitions and set some definitions within a useful context.

For the purposes of this post "government" means the realm of officials who are elected into office, as well as those they then hire or appoint to non-elected offices.

It also means what those government officials do while on official business.

And finally, for the purposes of this post, "epigovernment" means the layer above government that actually sets the policy and direction of government.

Thus, epigovernment is a concept like epigenetics in the sense that epigenetics is "above genetics," because epi means "above" or "over" in this context, which is a context declaring that genes are no more controlling (see The "It's In Your Genes Myth) than government is (see MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 4).

Thus, epigovernment is to government what epigenetics is to genetics.

The premier American propagandist Edward Bernays described the concept of the epigovernment quite well:
THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons — a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty [now 320] million — who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
...
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
(A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4, quoting Bernays). In this concept the tentacles of the epigovernment reach the people through the mechanism of the media:
One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control
"...
(The Deceit Business, quoting Chomsky). The way the epigovernment is able to direct government is also known, which is control through the use of the power of wealth, i.e. through money.

That money is controlled by known international corporations that own stock in each other so as to "keep it in the family":
A University of Zurich study 'proves' that a small group of companies - mainly banks - wields huge power over the global economy.

The study is the first to look at all 43,060 transnational corporations and the web of ownership between them - and created a 'map' of 1,318 companies at the heart of the global economy.

The study found that 147 companies formed a 'super entity' within this, controlling 40 per cent of its wealth. All own part or all of one another. Most are banks - the top 20 includes Barclays and Goldman Sachs. [Bank of America is in the top 25]
(MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 3, quoting Daily Mail & report, emphasis added). This concept of epigovernment should probably be a required chapter in Civics Textbooks, because the physical dynamics can be observed, measured, studied, and discussed in pre-college classes as well as in university level classes.

Terms like "global economy" can be explained to civics and economics students via the concept of a plutocracy, which is the essence of the global epigovernment.

Another good thing about the concept of epigovernment is that it can be taught without getting into boogie man "conspiracy theories" that tend to scare properly trained citizens away.

The next post in this series is here.

Maybe not as American as you think ...


Monday, December 10, 2012

New Climate Catastrophe Criminality Policy

The Oil Barons
Some events of "civilization" take place over a wide area, even the entire globe.

That is why some of them are called World War this and World War that --- the event happens over the entire globe.

The global climate system is that way, it is happening everywhere all the time, so, all nations try to get together from time to time to address the issue of the damage that has been done and is being done to the global climate system.

The meetings in Doha that just ended were one such gathering, a global conference whereby nations around the world could take part in forging policy for the future.

Those meetings were about new climate catastrophe policy, and took place as a typhoon was devastating several nations, including doing a u-turn and hitting one nation twice.

For years now, as regular readers know, Dredd Blog has observed what we think is the obvious in a ten part series (see New Climate Catastrophe Policy: Triage, 9/28/09, through New Climate Catastrophe Policy: Triage - 10, 10/30/12).

We repeated that the "governments" (the warlords of civilization) only want to pick up the broken pieces, bury the bodies, pat everyone on the head and encourage victims to "hang in there, be tough."

But they do not want to stop the killing, maiming, and destroying, which adds up to one holocaust a year:
More than 100 million people will die ... by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.

As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organisation DARA.

It calculated that five million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to six million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.

More than 90 percent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, said the report that calculated the human and economic impact of climate change on 184 countries in 2010 and 2030. It was commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a partnership of 20 developing countries threatened by climate change.

"A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade," the report said.
(Reuters, emphasis added). The arithmetic is easy, 2030 is ~17 years from now, so dividing ~100 million by 17 is about the number of Jews the NAZI machine burned in furnaces during the last World War.

Nevertheless this is how the Doha conference ended this year:
Poor countries have won historic recognition of the plight they face from the ravages of climate change, wringing a pledge from rich nations that they will receive funds to repair the "loss and damage" incurred.

This is the first time developing countries have received such assurances, and the first time the phrase "loss and damage from climate change" has been enshrined in an international legal document.

Developing countries had been fighting hard for the concession at the fortnight-long UN climate change talks among 195 nations in Qatar, which finished after a marathon 36-hour final session.

[one attendee pointed out the folly of this backward policy]

Ronald Jumeau, negotiating for the Seychelles, scolded the US negotiator: "If we had had more ambition [on emissions cuts from rich countries], we would not have to ask for so much [money] for adaptation. If there had been more money for adaptation [to climate change], we would not be looking for money for loss and damage. What's next? Loss of our islands?"
(Doha Climate Change Deal Clears Way For Damage Aid). That really is the point of today's post: this is a futile exercise because it treats the effect, not the cause.

How long are the billions of people on this planet going to stand by and watch their nations become more and more wrecked, watch more and more of their people killed and/or maimed, caused by the refusal of the plutocratic nations to stop using fossil fuels that are poisoning the planet?

The Jews were a feeble folk when they were put into the NAZI ovens, but to this very day they hunt down those who were responsible for 6 million deaths over about a 4 year period of history.

Will the feeble folk of the nations not do the same, especially when The Private International Empire is doing the equivalent of a holocaust every year now!?

It is quite indecent to kill someone's children, then with the utmost hubris give them the money required to bury those children, then walk away satisfied that the right thing has been done.

The NAZI rulers did not get away with putting people in their ovens, so why should the oil barons get away with turning the Earth into a killing oven thereby killing as many each year as the the NAZI rulers did in four years?

The people of Oil-Qaeda should start to think seriously about that development over the short run as well as over the long run.