Friday, April 5, 2013

The Common Good

The Common Bad
When nations can no longer define "the common good" they begin to decline.

Thereafter, it becomes increasingly difficult to get back on track, which is to decrease then reverse that national decline, returning to the business of the common good.

One reason that it becomes increasingly difficult to get back on track is that the definition of the common good becomes more and more unclear.

The consensus that had at an earlier time defined the common good begins to evaporate as the ethical social awareness within that nation continues to decline.

The inevitable national decline continues to feed on itself in what could be called a form of social or cultural cannibalism depicted and  indicated artfully by the photo of a sculpture, which for this post has been captioned "The Common Bad."

We can say, then, that national decline begins with a loss of vision about what the future holds for any nation that loosens its moorings to the understanding of the meaning of "the common good."

Thus, national decline can be defined as an increase in the common bad along with a concurrent decrease of the common good.

In the United States, for some time now, the health and well being of "the middle class and the poor" has been a measure of our understanding of the common good.

The online encyclopedia states:
The common good or common weal is a term that can refer to several different concepts. In the popular meaning, the common good describes a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all (or most) members of a given community. This is also how the common good is broadly defined in philosophy, ethics, and political science.
(Wikipedia, "Common Good", emphasis added). The "middle class and poor" is an obvious representative for the standard, because those are the common people, as shown by the history and definition of the phrase "the common weal" which is the old English form of "the common good":
com·mon·weal (kmn-wl)
n.
1. The public good or welfare.
2. Archaic A commonwealth or republic.
...
commonweal [ˈkɒmənˌwiːl]
n Archaic
1. the good of the community
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) another name for commonwealth
...
com′mon•weal` or com′mon weal`,
n.
1. the common welfare; public good.
2. Archaic. a commonwealth.
[1350–1400]
...
Thesaurus Legend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Noun 1. commonweal - the good of a community
(The Free Dictionary, emphasis added). A look at the synonymous term "Commonwealth" adds clarity:
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good.
...
The English noun commonwealth in the sense meaning "public welfare; general good or advantage" dates from the 15th century. The original phrase "the common-wealth" or "the common weal" (echoed in the modern synonym "public weal") comes from the old meaning of "wealth," which is "well-being"...
(Wikipedia, "Commonwealth", emphasis added). This was the purpose for the founding of the nation and The U.S. Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
(Wikipedia, "Preamble", emphasis added). The "general" or "common" issues, that establish the common good or the common weal, were the general foundational purposes of the Constitution (the "... preamble indicates the general purposes for which the people ordained and established the Constitution ...", Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 22 (1905); emphasis added).

Since this post is getting long, and the foundation for future posts in this series is now established, I will stop for today.

The next post in this series is here.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

MOMCOM 2.0

Two Is Better Than One
The subject matter of today's post is the new MOMCOM 2.0, the latest and greatest.

The "new" entity which is now slowly but surely appearing through the fog of war, the smog of Oil-Qaeda, and the blur of surprising, but quickly approaching, news automation.

More about that below, but first the background.

From the time Dredd Blog first laid "eyes" on MOMCOM several years ago, in MOMCOM - A Mean Welfare Queen, many have also been surprised when they first lay eyes on this ubiquitous, shadowy, and mysterious entity.

The main reason I add the "2.0" description today is because our learning is increasing, rather than it being exclusively because MOMCOM is going through an inordinate morph.

The "M" in MOMCOM is the military, which we know is an internationally placed entity with military, intelligence, and other bases and/or installations in hundreds of nations around the globe (The Virgin MOMCOM - 8).

Originally the "O" in MOMCOM was simply big oil companies, which we thought at first were American companies.

Since then we have learned that their machinations around the world are terroristic in nature, so now the "O" in MOMCOM 2.0 is "Oil-Qaeda" (see e.g. Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment and MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 4).

And now the second "M" in MOMCOM, McTell News (the media), is going into automation:
Had Narrative Science — a company that trains computers to write news stories—created this piece, it probably would not mention that the company’s Chicago headquarters lie only a long baseball toss from the Tribune newspaper building. Nor would it dwell on the fact that this potentially job-killing technology was incubated in
And Now For Some Breaking News
part at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Those ironies are obvious to a human. But not to a computer.
...
Every 30 seconds or so, the algorithmic bull pen of Narrative Science, a 30-person company occupying a large room on the fringes of the Chicago Loop, extrudes a story whose very byline is a question of philosophical inquiry. The computer-written product could be a pennant-waving second-half update of a Big Ten basketball contest, a sober preview of a corporate earnings statement, or a blithe summary of the presidential horse race drawn from Twitter posts. The articles run on the websites of respected publishers like Forbes, as well as other Internet media powers (many of which are keeping their identities private). Niche news services hire Narrative Science to write updates for their subscribers, be they sports fans, small-cap investors, or fast-food franchise owners.

And the articles don’t read like robots wrote them ...
(Automated News, Wired, emphasis added). The M's in MOMCOM are becoming automated via flying drones and via news writing computer software, even as Oil-Qaeda says it is going to be getting all its oil from "oil independent America", which is probably artificial intelligence created news too.

We took a nibble at that probability in the recent post (The Peak of The Oil Lies - 5) where we pointed out that the military portion of MOMCOM has, at various times, historically hidden from the public where it gets its oil.

Evidence for undercover shadowy dealings of that sort have been detailed recently by an apparently real, but not-for-profit, journalistic organization (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, "ICIJ").

ICIJ has uncovered a vast network of all kinds of secret dealings:
The leaked files provide facts and figures — cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies and individuals — that illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread aggressively around the globe, allowing the wealthy and the well-connected to dodge taxes and fueling corruption and economic woes in rich and poor nations alike.

The records detail the offshore holdings of people and companies in more than 170 countries and territories.

The hoard of documents represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization. The total size of the files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010.
(ICIJ, emphasis added). Thus, MOMCOM 2.0 appears to be every bit as "sagacious" as when we first noticed this entity.

Sagacious in the sense of The Matrix (The Matriarch of The Matrix, The Matriarch of The Matrix - 2, The Matriarch of the Matrix - 3, The Matrix of Plunder).

The next post in this series is here.

MOMCOM needs a little ... help her ...


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When Is Our Collective Mind Going To Return?

Denial is Immaturity Based
We often do magic mind tricks when it comes to the state of and fate of current civilization.

Some of us imagine a future civilization harmed by what we are doing now -- which is a mind trick that tells us that "it" is not here yet.

Utter and complete denial that "it" exists is another mind trick the big league deniers are playing on themselves.

The problem is that "it" is us and we are already here along with what we are doing.

Currently, about three million people die every year just from Oil-Qaeda sponsored air pollution, and about two hundred species become extinct each day.

About forty percent (~40%) of those human deaths, due to that air pollution, takes place in one nation:
Outdoor air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010, nearly 40 percent of the global total, according to a new summary of data from a scientific study on leading causes of death worldwide.
(Air Pollution Linked to ... Deaths, emphasis added). Another estimate adds other oil pollution caused deaths to make the totals substantially larger:
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.
...
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.
...
"A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade," the report said.
(Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment - 2). It is clear that it is not just air pollution that is killing us, because in the U.S. about fifty five percent (55%) of our rivers and streams are polluted (You're Doin' A Heckuva Job Browner - 5).

The foundation of propaganda induced magic thinking is based on a group addiction produced by Oil-Qaeda:
"The addiction to oil ... at least to the wealth and to the products made accessible to us by oil ... look at the negative consequences on the environment we are destroying the very Earth that we inhabit for the sake of that addiction. Now these addictions are far more devastating in the social consequences than the cocaine or heroin habits of my ... patients. Yet they are rewarded and considered to be respectable. The tobacco company executive that shows a higher profit will get a much bigger reward ... doesn't face any negative consequences legally or otherwise ... in fact is a respected member of the board of several other corporations ... but tobacco smoke related diseases kill 5.5 million people around the world every year. In the United States they kill 400,000 people a year".
...
"And these people are addicted to what? To profit, to such a degree are they addicted that they are actually in denial about the impact of their activities, which is typical for addicts, is denial. And that is the respectable one. It is respectable to be addicted to profit no matter what the cost. So what is acceptable and what is respectable is a highly arbitrary phenomenon in our society. And it seems like the greater the harm the more respectable the addiction" (Dr. Maté).
(A History of Oil Addiction - 4). We have had some of the best visionaries who have warned us for almost two centuries that our detachment from the reality of the planet we live on takes civilization in a fatal direction:
One would say that [man] is destined to exterminate himself after having rendered the globe uninhabitable.” - Lamarck (1817)
...
Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world." - Charles Darwin (1881)
...
The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Quotes). There is a video available here which details the history of climate science discoveries and ignored warnings that have been given to civilization for many generations.

So what is the "it" that we collectively are waiting for?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How Microbes Communicate In The Tiniest Language

Microbes
Video Index (time - subject)

00:21 - microbes are oldest life forms on Earth
01:03 - 10 times more microbes than human cells in us
01:31 - 100 times more microbial genes than human genes in us
02:00 - microbes are 99% of our make-up; they keep us alive
02:20 - microbes are vital for keeping us alive and healthy
04:20 - microbes talk with a molecular language
07:50 - quorum sensing (like a census) to know population count
08:20 - Intra species communication (shape of words) dialects
10:50 - microbes communicate with other microbes (multi-lingual)
11:20 - they take a census of all other microbes around them
12:30 - synthetic molecules-words interrupt communication
13:50 - synthetic molecules-words confuse the microbes
15:00 - they have collective, community behaviors
15:20 - microbes made the rules for multi-cellular development
16:00 - microbes invented multi-cellular behavior inside us
17:15 - the team

Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler, Princeton University:


Monday, April 1, 2013

Why is It The Busiest Tax Court? - 2

The Month of The Taxman
April 15 is tax day and April 1 is April Fool's day.

Some say that is a distinction without a difference.

As usual some things tend to stick more solidly to the pages of history than other things tend to, thus, from time to time here at Dredd Blog we review what was posted on Dredd Blog in some of the pages that make up a small part of the history of it all.

On this date in 2009 the following text was posted to history:

We recently pointed out that the landscape of US tax law is a murky place. Now we want to point out that the Federal District Court offers a jury trial by one's peers. But it is a place where only the wealthy, along with their expensive lawyers, tend to venture.

For the rest of us, the US Tax Court does from 85% to 95% of the tax cases, depending on the year.

The number of cases filed in The Tax Court, after 1999, has grown consistently:
# filed .......... year

31,450 .......... 2008
30,442 .......... 2007
26,993 .......... 2006
24,801 .......... 2005
24,931 .......... 2004
22,451 .......... 2003
20,291 .......... 2002
14,649 .......... 2001
13,545 .......... 2000
One wonders why, when a taxpayer's chances of winning in that court are extremely slim. Some reports show a 7 - 3, or even an 8 - 2 ratio (IRS wins 8 out of 10 cases, taxpayers win 2 out of 10 cases) in that court:
... an examination of raw numbers shows ... the taxpayer doing better in the general jurisdiction district court than in the specialized tax court. Some studies show that the taxpayer wins only 5% of the time in tax court as compared to 20% to 30% of taxpayers winning in the district court, with other studies acknowledging at least a 20% percent differential (Geier 1991. p. 998). The data used for this study show a 12% differential, with taxpayers winning 20% of the time in tax court and 32% of the time in the district court. These differential rates have led some scholars to argue that the tax court is ... biased in favor of the [IRS] ... Kroll 1996 ...
(Fed. Dist. Ct. vs Tax Court, PDF). My reading of the published cases over the past 10 years is not so promising, and I would say that it is more like 9 - 1. That is, IRS wins 9 out of 10 cases in the Tax Court.

But that ratio could be because the government needs money more at some times than it does at other times.

Which could mean that the pressure which deficits put on IRS and the Tax Court causes variation in decisions for taxpayers from time to time.

The US Tax Court is the court for the poor and middle class, and the US District Court is for the well to do:
Of course, litigating in the tax court is not the only option for the taxpayer. The major alternative to the tax court is the United States District Court, the court of general trial jurisdiction in the federal system. To sue in this court, the taxpayer must pay the disputed tax, and then sue for a refund in the United States Federal District Court ... The taxpayer files the claim, and the case is tried in the taxpayer’s local district. The taxpayer can, and usually does, request a jury trial. Decisions of these courts can be appealed to the circuit within which the court is located.
(ibid, emphasis added). The poor and middle class who can't afford a lawyer and who can't afford to pay the tax out front, then ask for it back in a District Court, must go to the tax court.

Once there most often they try to win pro se (representing themselves without a lawyer).

The middle class and the poor who go to the Tax Court can't have a jury decision. Instead they must rely on the Tax Court judges. The very Tax Court judges whom the scholars have said are biased in favour of the IRS:
These differential rates have led some scholars to argue that the tax court is ... biased in favor of the agency (Kroll 1996; but see Maule 1999). One scholar notes it is this potential for bias that has led Congress often to resist creating other specialized courts (Baum 1990). While most scholarship has failed to develop a coherent theory for why such bias exists, posited reasons include such factors as ideology, institutional design and structure, prior IRS work experience, the type of litigant, attorney representation, and even social and personal characteristics of the judge.
(ibid, emphasis added). Yesterday on the floor of the House of Representatives one of the Carolina representatives said that there was a surge in the increase of Boston Tea Party gatherings in his area.

He went on to say that taxpayers do not like it when their money, earned from hard work done before their shower, is taken from them and given to the banksters who work after their shower.

Why is that not surprising?

The answer to "why all the filings in the Tax Court?" is desperation. Both the government and the people are desperate for money.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the tripling of tax cases in the tax court happened in the same years (2000-2008) that the Bush II regime ruled the roost (wink, wink).

It appears, upon a cursory examination, that filings in the Tax Court have averaged in the neighborhood of 31,000 cases per year since 2008.

Beatles, The Tax Man: