Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Little Planet Without Humility

I live on a planet that was scheduled to be vaporized several billion years ago.

While it is uncertain when that vaporization will take place, that it will be vaporized is the consensus of astronomers, stellar scientists, and cosmologists in all nations across my planet.

One would think that the residents of my planet would take notice of that reality and make a planet-wide effort to properly react to the reality as mature beings.

It would be the humble thing to do.

I live on a planet where the ecosystem can be damaged or destroyed if it is not properly taken care of.

That environment is where the people of my planet attain their food, water, shelter, and security.

One would think that the residents of my planet would take notice of that reality and make a planet-wide effort to properly take the utmost good care of the planet's environment, as mature beings would be wont to do.

It would be the humble thing to do here on Earth.

We may have reached The Peak of Sanity, but we have not yet reached The Peak of Humility, one peak we really need to reach.

Friday, April 29, 2011

All Weather Is Local - 2

In the first post of this series we used a similar graphic to show places around the globe that had warmed and cooled, even as the overall temperature warmed.

The trend continues as the climate in various places changes.

Yes, as the climate change denier propagandists demand the birth certificate of global warming, and as storms begin to change the script:
Violent tornadoes throughout the southeastern U.S. must be a front-page reminder that no matter how successful climate deniers are in confusing the public or delaying action on climate change in Congress or globally, the science is clear: Our climate is worsening.

More extreme and violent climate is a direct consequence of human-caused climate change (whether or not we can determine if these particular tornado outbreaks were caused or worsened by climate change). There is a reason it isn't called global warming anymore. Higher temperatures are only one -- and not the most worrisome -- of the consequences of a changing climate.

Climate science tells us unambiguously that we are changing the climate and trapping more energy on the planet. Trapping more energy will cause more extreme events and worsen extreme events that would otherwise happen.
(Peter H. Gleick, emphasis added). The fact that neither scientists nor deniers can point to the specific local cause of tornado outbreaks in a particular case does not mean there are no other methods available for determining the prime suspect cause.

The better detective in a criminal case does not give up if there isn't an absolute clue that makes it easy, only the lazy detective does that.

Using the principle of Occam's Razor, the burden shifts to the deniers, because the evidence of global warming is convincing to reasonable people, people who have to put their money where their mouth is, those insurance companies who must know if they are to insure property and lives and stay in business at the same time:
There are at present insufficient data on many weather risks and regions to permit statistically backed assertions regarding the link with climate change. However, there is evidence that, as a result of warming, events associated with severe windstorms, such as thunderstorms, hail and cloudbursts, have become more frequent in parts of the USA, southwest Germany and other regions. The number of very severe tropical cyclones is also increasing. One direct result of warming is an increase in heat waves such as that experienced in Russia this summer. There are also indications of a higher incidence of atmospheric conditions causing air mass formation on the north side of the Alps and low-lying mountain ranges, a phenomenon which can result in floods. Heavy rain and flash floods are affecting not only people living close to rivers but also those who live well away from traditionally flood-prone areas. Although climate change can no longer be halted, even with the help of very ambitious schemes, it can still be curbed.
(Munich Re, emphasis added). I watched the warnings on the Weather Channel saying that there was a TOR:CON 100% chance of severe tornadoes in Alabama the day before, and on the day that actually happened.

They did not list which specific houses or even which specific towns would be hit, but they did say everyone should prepare, because the climate scientists were "expecting all hell to break loose" (Things Have Changed, Dylan).

The foolish deniers are like the guy who says "well if they can't tell me whether or not my house is going to be hit, I am not going to prepare".

There are more people like that than you would believe, and some of them, their pets, and their families are in the morgue today, because of the propaganda induced ignorance they loved to cling to.

If we "follow the money", that is, if we watch the insurance companies who have to know this stuff in order to survive, we can be sure that there will be more in short order.

Here is the history of a record "windy" April, 2011:
April 4-5: Massive wind damage

April 9: Iowa supercells

April 10: "Northwoods" tornadoes

April 14: Day 1 of three-day siege

April 15: Dixie Alley nightmare

April 16: Carolinas, Virginia crushed

April 19-20: Midwest, South outbreak

April 22: St. Louis tornado

April 25: Arkansas ambush

April 26: Deja Vu

April 27: Southeast Devastation
(Weather Channel). All the totals are not in since today is still in April ... will try to update when the full picture takes focus.

Also in April, floods are threatening Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, which will continue on into other states as well in May.

April of 2011 ended up being the all time record month for tornadoes, with a total of 679. The old record was 543 in May of 2003. The old record did not hold long, and it remains to be seen how long the new record will hold.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Ways of Bernays

"We create reality for you"
The "basic construct" for the politics that wraps around U.S. government is an obvious philosophy of propaganda, now affectionately called "spin."

To those who use propaganda, it seems to be invisible and not obvious at all.

That "basic construct" is: "If we convince enough people, until finally the majority of the people think that what we want to do is the right thing to do, that act of convincing the majority magically transforms any wrong-thing-to-do into the-right-thing-to-do."

We have quoted Dr. Noam Chomsky many times, where he fingers the ideological coup which originally brought it about:
"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). That post points out how a propaganda coup was germinated circa the time of World War One.

From that evolutionary point another post shows how that dynamic grew to become "public relations" (PR), or "spin", enhanced by the philosophy of Edward Bernays:
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 Edward Bernays). Yet another post, Corp Germ > Corp Seed > Corp Monster, details the continual germinating power that war has had on that fundamental, which Dylan describes as "breaking down the distance between right and wrong" (Ring Them Bells).

This changing of the brains [that page has been "lost" (wink, wink), so here is the Wayback Machine copy from that date] or changing of the guards, is not in accord with what is fast becoming our "quaint tradition" (the U.S. Constitution, still falsely said to be our "supreme law" of our land.)

That document had always sought to protect the few from the wrongs of the many, while at the same time protecting the many from the wrongs of the few.

The narrowing of the distance between right and wrong has contorted all that into "too big to jail", "too big to fail", and "the best justice money can buy".

In other words the propaganda engines of the nation are not fooling anyone who doesn't want to be fooled, because the obvious is just that.

The problem is that we can't help but "be fooled" because we can't handle the reality of our servitude:
We now continue this post with a quote used by blogger Randy in comments yesterday:
“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”
(Aldous Huxley, emphasis added). I doubt that Huxley really understood how that would happen, since he used a traditional pharmacological mechanism to articulate his vision.

Even though as it turns out he was correct in principle, it is just that he did not understand that the mega-drug would be oil.

Oil is the drug of choice that fits the bill for "a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude", it is just that the "pharmacological method", as it turns out, is not addiction to something you buy at the local traditional drug store.

Instead, we buy the big drug at the local gas station (the "service station" in 1950's parlance), the Quick Stop, the Seven Eleven, or "the convenience store" (in post-peak-of-sanity civilization's parlance).

And we love it, like Huxley said we would.
(Sickology v Penology). Since "we" have decided to fold instead of hold, our masters will decide our fate "for" us.

The next post in this series is here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama: The Republican Candidate in 2012? - 2

No doubt many thought Dredd Blog was over the top when we asked the question in the first post of this series, concerning whether or not Obama would run as a Republican candidate in 2012.

Now, some main stream newspapers and journalists are chiming in with what Dredd Blog was pointing out back before Obama officially declared as a Democrat recently.

Nevertheless, Dredd Blog is still unconvinced, so to bolster the case we refer to the words of the mainstream media:
Perhaps this is just the logical endpoint of two years spent arguing over what Barack Obama is — or isn’t. Muslim. Socialist. Marxist. Anti-colonialist. Racial healer. We’ve obsessed over every answer except the right one: President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican of the early 1990s.
(Washington Post, emphasis added). Thus, as Dredd Blog has pointed out in other posts, the democrats who are a kinder gentler nation have no candidate, because the new way of American politics is Government A La Carte.

In the U.S. anymore there is a two-party system in name only because the policies go in one direction, The W Direction, which is all down hill.

We have more wars, more debt, more recession, more propaganda, more robber barons, more plunder barons, and more grief now than we did when Obama took office.

He has bought into the Bush II fiasco by not rejecting the wrong direction, the W direction, of the right wing fanatics who are destroying this nation.

The loony tunes that are running against him have been planted there to keep Obama in power, so the elite 1% can continue to lower their taxes and steal from the public.

Presidential elections are a facade in the USA in this era of criminal insanity.

The changes in Cabinet and CIA personnel do nothing to dissuade me of my opinion that The W Direction will be our foreign and domestic policy all the way down.

Even some republicans would not vote for Obama because Obama is a warmonger who only "wants to look good":
However, a president does have broad powers over ... our military and the decisions that effect foreign policy. This is one reason, I think, that so many presidents end up playing toy soldier and rushing our young men and women off to one war after another. Obama was able to start a war in Libya without any US input at all. All it took the Bush administration to launch a massive invasion of Iraq was a bunch of propaganda about WMD’s and the congress critters followed along eagerly, while the radio talking heads and the majority of mainstream media outlets complacently parroted one untruth after another.
(Forbes, E.D. Kain). What is "funny" is that the ultimate destination for Obama's direction is to be compatible with the T-Party.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Phase Five Of The Currency Wars? - 2

In an interdependent world economy it is inevitable that the economic problems of the west push and pull on the economic problems of the east, and vice versa.

We have had a series on Dredd Blog which we have not touched upon much, if any, for over a year now.

The last post in this subject matter series "Phase Five Of The Currency Wars" touched upon the ongoing tidal ebb and flow in the oceans of national currency.

One of the concerns of US financial experts is the removal of the dollar as the "reserve currency" of the world:
The United States of America, if we didn't have the dollar as the de facto reserve currency of the world, we'd be Greece. I mean, we are broke, bankrupt. Really bankrupt.
(James Baker on GPS with F. Zakaria). James Baker was a former Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S.A. for Bush I.

Dredd Blog has been pointing out China's serious consideration of the problem and how their foreign policy has been forming like storm clouds on the horizon:
At least we should consider the words of some watch-dog types who have an ear to the economic ground and who say they hear thunder approaching:
China has ordered managers of its vast currency reserves to withdraw from risky dollar assets and retreat to core debt guaranteed by the US government, a clear sign that Beijing is battening down the hatches for fresh trouble on global markets.
(China Orders Retreat, bold added).
(Phase Five Of The Currency Wars?). Economic heavyweights in China continue to talk about dumping the dollar:
The amount of foreign exchange reserves should be restricted to between 800 billion to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, Tang told a forum in Beijing, saying that the current reserve amount is too high.

China's foreign exchange reserves increased by 197.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months of this year to 3.04 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of March.

Tang's remarks echoed the stance of Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China's central bank, who said on Monday that China's foreign exchange reserves "exceed our reasonable requirement" and that the government should upgrade and diversify its foreign exchange management using the excessive reserves.

Meanwhile, Xia Bin, a member of the monetary policy committee of the central bank, said on Tuesday that 1 trillion U.S. dollars would be sufficient. He added that China should invest its foreign exchange reserves more strategically, using them to acquire resources and technology needed for the real economy.
(Xinhuanet). The speculation of some U.S. commentators is that this policy is going to become a serious event:
Once the push for broad Chinese currency acceptance is in play, the CNY and the USD will be unpegged, promptly followed by China dumping the bulk of its USD exposure, and also sending the world a message that US debt is no longer a viable investment opportunity. In fact, we are confident that the reval is a likely a key preceding step to any strategic decision vis-a-vis US FX exposure (read bond purchasing/selling intentions). As such, all those Americans pushing China to revalue, may want to consider that such an action could well guarantee hyperinflation, once the Fed is stuck as being the only buyer of US debt.
(China Dumping Dollars). Is it just alarmist talk, or should James Baker's words be taken seriously at this time?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Open Thread


Can't win for losing: Keystone Kops Dude arrested for child porn; meanwhile innocent man arrested for child porn when a neighbor hijacks his wifi to download child porn
Some people see this Chinese activity as a serious financial matter for the USA economy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Penalty For Torture Can Be Death - 2

Once upon a time anyway.

Two years ago the post The Penalty For Torture Can Be Death pointed out the traditional view of the USA concerning torture.

Government officials since then have bragged in public about how they saved lives by torturing suspects (which is not true at all).

Has the political philosophy of the USA changed from night to day in such a short span of time?

Have we changed course so radically from the traditional destination of a "kinder and gentler nation" spoken of by Bush I, causing more Dylan lyrics to come alive all of a sudden once again:
People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
(Things Have Changed). The song was written on the eve of the Bush II presidency, which was a radical departure from "a kinder and gentler nation" into the exceptionalist, "God is on our side", religiously fanatical dogma "you are for us or you are against us".

That change is also when the torture began, which led to the incredulous "I Was Following Orders" debate in the US Media owned by the warster corps.

So how did this change come about?

It almost sounds silly to say "someone changed their mind" probably because it is obvious, but if we state it as "someone changed their brain" it sounds more peculiar than silly.

But deep brain scientists point out that this is exactly what has happened, something has changed our brains:
Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious - what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can't even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not dis­gust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your ac­tions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.

Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It's as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.
(The Toxic Bridge To Everywhere, quoting G. Lakoff). That post goes on to set forth a hypothesis based upon the traditional American concept that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

The penalty for torture passed away in the "night", the darkness that has engulfed the land (the same darkness that has engulfed way too many of the people of the land).