Friday, November 22, 2013

Here Come De Conservative Judges - 4

The graph to the left (click to enlarge) is so simple that Fifth Graders can easily see that in 2008 when President Obama was elected, that filibusters by the Republicans in the U.S. Senate skyrocketed.

The vertical red line on the right side of the graph marks the beginning of the surge, circa 2008, in filibusters of everything, which will change now that the Senate will no longer allow filibusters of federal court nominees of the President.

A majority vote, a.k.a. an "up or down vote", will now suffice, which is sorely needed to fill federal court vacancies:
There are currently 92 vacancies on the federal district and appellate courts. With over 850 authorized judicial seats, this represents an 11 percent vacancy rate. This alarmingly high vacancy rate has persisted for over four years; indeed, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service recently determined that we are in the longest period of historically high vacancy rates in 35 years. In addition, over 41 percent of the existing vacancies (38) are in courts so overburdened that they have been designated "judicial emergencies" by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
(The Vacancy Crisis in the Federal Judiciary, emphasis in original). The GOP had subverted the process, damaging the Judicial Branch of the federal government severely.

The power-mad Senate conservatives already have a conservative majority in the federal courts.

Conservative federal judges are at the highest percentage since the 1930's (e.g. Here Come De Conservative Judges, Conservative Judiciary vs Obama?, Foreign Citizens United v FEC).

Their bad-faith obstructionism had to be stopped, so the Senate's stopping it yesterday was way past due and was the appropriate thing to do.

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Tale of Coup Cities - 6

What is up with the new wardrobe?
Regular readers will recall that one of the considerations taken up in this series is that there are two types of subjects being considered, one of which is a generic "coup," while the other is a more sinister "coup d' état" (A Tale of Coup Cities - 3).

Regular readers will also recall that another issue we have considered in this series is when the coup took place, if it did in fact take place.

In today's post I will mention three candidates for "when" the alleged coup or coups took place, as well as an argument that this specific coup business is akin, in some ways, to the dynamics of decline of empire.

That is, this is a "coup" or "coup d' état" that took place in increments a la "a decline" after "a decline", rather than all at once as in "the decline" (A Decline Of The American Republic).

That said, the first candidate for consideration is that it happened during World War Two (Wee The People - 2, quoting Eisenhower), the second is that it happened with the JFK assassination:
On November 22nd, 1963, my uncle, president John F. Kennedy, went to Dallas intending to condemn as "nonsense" the right-wing notion that "peace is a sign of weakness." He meant to argue that the best way to demonstrate American strength was not by using destructive weapons and threats but by being a nation that "practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice," striving toward peace instead of "aggressive ambitions." Despite the Cold War rhetoric of his campaign, JFK's greatest ambition as president was to break the militaristic ideology that has dominated our country since World War II. He told his close friend Ben Bradlee that he wanted the epitaph "He kept the peace," and said to another friend, William Walton, "I am almost a 'peace at any price' president." Hugh Sidey, a journalist and friend, wrote that the governing aspect of JFK's leadership was "a total revulsion" of war.
In a secret meeting with Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, my father [RFK] told him, "If the situation continues much longer, the president [JFK] is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power."
(JFK's Vision of Peace, emphasis added; cf. Who Really Killed JFK). Soon after the Kennedy assassination the Vietnam War began writ large, and then continued until it had lasted longer than WW II.

The third candidate, for when the coups could have taken place, is that it happened at or near 9/11:
"What happened in 9/11 is we didn't have a strategy. We didn't have bipartisan agreement. We didn't have American understanding of it. And we had instead a policy coup in this country, a coup, a policy coup.

Some hard nosed people took over American policy and they never bothered to inform the rest of us."
(A Tale of Coup Cities - 3, quoting Gen. Wesley Clark). These coup thingys are generally done in secret, so it is difficult to be as precise as one would want to be.

One thing is for sure, the things of peace take a long time when the dynamics of military empire are involved, and if we take history as our mentor, military empires do not end peacefully (cf. End To Monroe Doctrine and America's Genocidal Logic at Work Again).

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Agnotology: The Surge - 7

Modified graph from Skeptical Science
This series discusses Agnotology, which is the discipline of studying "ignorance generators" within society.

What is an ignorance generator?

Generically it is anything that originates and/or spreads ignorance within society.

More specifically, since information media such as news corporations, movie corporations, magazines, TV, the Internet, book publishers, and anything else that communicates or spreads information, can be a subject of study in the discipline of Agnotology.

As long as that subject of study originates and/or spreads ignorance in our society.

What Agnotology is not concerned with is IQ of individuals, naturally debilitating cognitive impairment in individuals, that is, Agnotology primarily concerns organs of society that convey information --rather than primarily concerning individuals who convey information (e.g. The Deceit Business, The Ways of Bernays, Blind Willie McTell News, and In the Fog of The Presstitutes).

Regular Readers know that Dredd Blog is of the opinion that once ignorance generators become institutionalized in a society, that society loses the ability to correct its flaws on issues related to that particular ignorance, because it loses touch with the reality of those flaws (e.g. A Decline Of The American Republic - 3).

Some examples of ignorance generators would be The Marshall Institute and The Heartland Institute, which are studied carefully by Agnotologists (cf. The Exceptional American Denial).

Those two Oil-Qaeda funded institutions have worked feverishly to infect, and have infected, substantial portions of the government and the general public with ignorance.

They have done so to the point that currently there can be no recovery from the ignorance they have generated about global warming induced climate change (e.g. How Fifth Graders Calculate Ice Volume - 2).

One of many examples is their generation of ignorance, and corporate media's echoing of that ignorance about whether global warming has slowed down:
After hyping an alleged "pause" in global warming, mainstream media have entirely ignored a groundbreaking study finding that warming over the last 16 years has actually proceeded at the same rate as it has since 1951 with no "pause" compared to that time period.
(Faux Pause: Media Ignore Study ... Twice As Fast As Thought). Another way of putting it is:
A new study by British and Canadian researchers shows that the global temperature rise of the past 15 years has been greatly underestimated. The reason is the data gaps in the weather station network, especially in the Arctic. 
(Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half, bold in original). The dangerous impact of this ignorance is that nothing will be done about the pollution of the Earth and the catastrophes which that severe pollution is causing.

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

ObamaCare: Good Foreign Policy - 2

Software Dinosaurs Aplenty
There is some good news on the home front.

Daily Kos Blog has collected some information which indicates that the HealthCare . gov website is on the mend, and so are applications around the nation.

I know that a lot of neoCons are illiterate when it comes to The Inner Tubes and The Google, so they may not remember Windows 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and on and on.

It was common wisdom in the early days of personal computers (PC's) that "you don't buy" version 2.0 or x.0 (ex dot oh) of any software package.

Those were the hoarse and buggy dayz when managers of software development teams were heavily driven by the myth of the mythical man-month, impaired by computer operating system bugs, and flabbergasted by new and regularly released better software development languages (e.g. COBOL, BASIC, PASCAL, C, HTML, C++, JAVA):
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering is a book on software engineering and project management by Fred Brooks, whose central theme is that "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later". This idea is known as Brooks' law, and is presented along with the second-system effect and advocacy of prototyping.

Brooks' observations are based on his experiences at IBM while managing the development of OS/360. He had added more programmers to a project falling behind schedule, a decision that he would later conclude had, counter-intuitively, delayed the project even further. He also made the mistake of asserting that one project — writing an ALGOL compiler — would require six months, regardless of the number of workers involved (it required longer). The tendency for managers to repeat such errors in project development led Brooks to quip that his book is called "The Bible of Software Engineering", because "everybody quotes it, some people read it, and a few people go by it."[1] The book is widely regarded as a classic on the human elements of software engineering.[2]
(Wikipedia, "The Mythical Man-Month"). What, there was a time when even the great IBM was fallible with software engineering projects?

Yes, and there was also a time, according to government Republicans in charge of The Mythical Inner Tubes, when that software had to run impaired by a series of tubes:
"A Series of tubes" is a phrase coined originally as an analogy by then-United States Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to describe the Internet in the context of opposing network neutrality.[1] On June 28, 2006, he used this metaphor to criticize a proposed amendment to a committee bill. The amendment would have prohibited Internet Access providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon Communications from charging fees to give some companies' data a higher priority in relation to other traffic. This metaphor has been widely ridiculed, despite the fact that he was in charge of regulating the internet.
Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet [that was] sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.
They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet.

And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.[5]
On June 28, 2006, Public Knowledge government affairs manager Alex Curtis wrote a brief blog entry introducing the senator's speech and posted an MP3 recording.[1] The next day, the Wired magazine blog 27B Stroke 6 featured a much longer post[5] by Ryan Singel, which included Singel's transcriptions of some parts of Stevens's speech considered the most humorous. Within days, thousands of other blogs and message boards posted the story
(Wikipedia, "Series of Tubes"). So, it is clear that Time Is Odd, because "June 28, 2006" does not seem like that long ago until we remember:
Moore's law is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. The law is named after Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore, who described the trend in his 1965 paper.[1][2][3] His prediction has proven to be accurate, in part because the law is now used in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and to set targets for research and development.[4]
(Wikipedia, "Moore's Law"). Remember that the Internet description "a series of tubes", in 2006, was 5.3 Moore's Law cycles ago, that is, 5.3 transistor time-cycles-of-doubling ago (~8 years ago).

So probably we have been reliving that technological-new-age past recently with the Health Care For All 1.0 website, but it may be that the eureka version 1.1 is here or near:
This should be the day's leading Obamacare news: enrollements across the country are surging, coming in ahead of projections in states across the country.
"What we are seeing is incredible momentum," said Peter Lee, director of Covered California, the nation's largest state insurance marketplace, which accounted for a third of all enrollments nationally in October. California—which enrolled about 31,000 people in health plans last month—nearly doubled that in the first two weeks of this month.

Several other states, including Connecticut and Kentucky, are outpacing their enrollment estimates, even as states that depend on the federal website lag far behind. In Minnesota, enrollment in the second half of October ran at triple the rate of the first half, officials said. Washington state is also on track to easily exceed its October enrollment figure, officials said.
Enrollments are moving at a faster clip than during October in these, despite the fact that some people are confused by the problems the federal site has had, not sure if the sites in their own states are working. Covered California's director said that the state has had to change its marketing to remind people that the state site wasn't the same as the federal site, and was working just fine.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updated reporters Monday with the news that the site was functioning better, and that it had sent out 275,000 emails to people who had started to create accounts, but couldn't get through the process. CMS says that 90 percent of those people who tried again got all the way through the process. So far in November, 50,000 people have selected a plan in the federal site, up from 27,000 for the entire month of October.
(Daily Kos, "Obamacare enrollments surging, HealthCare . gov working better"). I have been in on a lot of these computer and software revolutions.

So, while the abundance of Climate Change Deniers now In Government is perplexing to me, why they are also Luddites in our modern nation is a bit more perplexing:
The Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817. The stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the artisans with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work.

Although the origin of the name Luddite ... is uncertain, a popular theory is that the movement was named after Ned Ludd, a youth who allegedly smashed two stocking frames in 1779, and whose name had become emblematic of machine destroyers.[1][2][3] The name evolved into the imaginary General Ludd or King Ludd, a figure who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.[4][a]
(Wikipedia, "Luddites"). The ancient order of Luddites or "machine destroyers" have become our modern day health care destroyers.

Regular readers know that the original source of these Luddites is the "health care is our number one enemy" movement within the military:
The U.S. military keeps searching the horizon for a peer competitor, the challenger that must be taken seriously. Is it China? What about an oil rich and resurgent Russia?

But the threat that is most likely to hobble U.S. military capabilities is not a peer competitor, rather it is health care.
(Your Health Is Their Number 1 Enemy?! - 2). So, the world of mature nations think that health care for its citizens is good, while our military does not.

But the main issue and question for today's post is: "Did they happen to get to you this time?"

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Etiology of Social Dementia - 11

This series is about the paranoia that begins with the official propaganda of fear, then spreads through the entire society.

With damaging results.

Today we take a look at the impact of paranoia on our national government.

The case we look at is one where the minds of officials become so warped and blinded they act as if they were carelessly firing into a crowd of innocent people.

For some background:
Six days after 9/11, the FBI’s raid on a Detroit sleeper cell signaled America’s resolve to fight terrorism. But, despite a celebrated conviction, there was one problem — they’d gotten it wrong.
(Paranoid Prosecution, emphasis in original). Check out the following short video for the gist of the matter.

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