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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Menagerie, Part 2 (a), or, Dimensions of Perspective Revisited

The Menagerie, Part 2 (a),
Dimensions of Perspective Revisited,
by Liviana (Giovanna Laine)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

~ William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act I, Scene 5


In a previous post here, I discussed seven dimensions of a given person's perspective, or seven axes on which such perspective could be plotted.  In the end of the post, I presented a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional object with what might be seen as an "allegorical" explanation of the image expanded into seven dimensions.  I here reproduce the image from the previous post:

As I explained it in the previous post, I included seven dimensions or axes:

We see the blue triple intersection as our traditional three-dimensional axes, with X representing depth, Y representing width, and Z representing height.  The other letters here are shown at the corners of the cube.  A line from A to H would symbolize a fourth axis, another line from B to E would symbolize a fifth dimension, another from C to F a sixth dimension, and one more from D to G a seventh dimension.  We might then say that the the X axis represents Politics in the sense of Statism vs Anti-Statism, the Y axis represents Economics, and the the Z axis represents Civil Liberties, just as in Max Barry's ideocube.  But then we have A-H, B-E, C-F, and D-G as well.  I will arbitrarily assign these as follows:  A-H = Centralization/Decentralization, B-E = Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism, C-F = Social Views, and D-G = Cultural Views.


The previous post takes account of the standard three dimensions and the four space diagonals of the cube.  I would like to expand upon this, as the allegory can be extended to twelve more dimensions by adding the face diagonals of the cube.  For the cube, a Platonic solid, there are six faces, eight vertices, twelve edges, and sixteen diagonals (four space diagonals and twelve space diagonals).  The face diagonals would be represented by lines connecting A-C, A-E, A-G, B-D, B-F, B-H, C-E, C-G, D-F, D-H, E-G, and F-H.

I have already assigned the previous seven to: Politics (Statism vs Anti-Statism), Economics, Civil Liberties, Politics (Centralization/Decentralization), Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism, Society, and Culture.  In assigning the twelve additional dimensions, intersections with some of the others would be nice, but challenging by virtue of what I am suggesting as the twelve additional dimensions.  However, I will assign the twelve as follows, and some intersections will be seen, but not in each case (for example, in the case of A-E, Globalism vs Localism, which intersects with concepts represented by both A-H, Politics (Centralization/Decentralization), and B-E, Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism, in that Globalism involves Centralization and Imperialism, while Localism involves Decentralization and Non-Interventionism):

A-C = Epistemology
A-E = Globalism vs Localism
A-G = Aesthetics
B-D = Ecology/Equality vs Exploitation
B-F = Idealism vs Pessimism
B-H = Ontology and Metaphysics
C-E = Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity
C-G = Ethics
D-F = Romance and Sexuality
D-H = Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy)
E-G = Religion and Sacred Tradition
F-H = Mysticism

This, then, gives us a total of nineteen dimensions of perspective, as follows:

  1. X = Politics (Statism vs Anti-Statism)
  2. Y = Economics
  3. Z = Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  4. A-H = Politics (Centralization vs Decentralization)
  5. B-E = Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism
  6. C-F = Social Attitudes
  7. D-G = Cultural Attitudes
  8. A-C = Epistemology
  9. A-E = Globalism vs Localism
  10. A-G = Aesthetics
  11. B-D = Ecology vs Exploitation
  12. B-F = Idealism vs Pessimism
  13. B-H = Ontology and Metaphysics
  14. C-E = Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity
  15. C-G = Ethics
  16. D-F = Romance and Sexuality
  17. D-H = Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy)
  18. E-G = Religion and Sacred Tradition
  19. F-H = Mysticism

Of these nineteen, numbers 1 to 7 were explained in the previous post.  That means that I have to explain numbers 8 to 19 in this post.  Without further ado, then, I shall do so.  Please note that I will generally be referring to "one side" and "the other side," rather than "one end" and "the other end" or "one extreme" and "the other extreme."  However, in some instances, I shall put names the extremes.  I should also state from the outset that a full treatment of each of these dimensions is beyond the scope of this discussion (although I will say more about some than others), but I have discussed some of them in greater detail elsewhere in my writings, and am likely to discuss others in greater detail in future writings.

8. Epistemology
Epistemology is the branch of Philosophy which deals with several related questions.  One of those, the key question, is "What is knowledge?" (in the sense of ἐπιστήμη or "epistêmê," which is to say "propositional or intellectual knowledge," as distinct from "relational knowledge," or "knowing about a thing" as distinct from "knowing a person;"  epistêmê is also contrasted with δοξία or "doxia," which means "opinion").  The answer to this is, amazingly, something on which all philosophers agree:  "Knowledge is justified true belief."  What that means is that if a subject S know a proposition P, then S believes P, P is true, and S is justified in believing P.  This is where the agreement ends.  From this point, Epistemology proceeds to seek answers to the questions "What is truth?" and "What justifies a person in believing a proposition?"  On these questions, philosophers disagree and diverge into four main schools of thought:  Rationalism, Empiricism, Pragmatism, and Skepticism.  These would be ranged with Rationalism on one side and Skepticism on the other side, with Pragmatism between Rationalism and Empiricism, and Empiricism between Pragmatism and Skepticism.

9. Globalism vs Localism
Globalism vs Localism seems to me to be self-explanatory, but in case my meaning in these terms is not entirely clear, Globalism would be at one end and Localism at the other.  In between would be varying stages including Continentalism, Nationalism, Regionalism, and ... "Provincialism" (for want of a better term, and with a meaning distinct from the Fallacy of Provincialism).

10. Aesthetics
Aesthetics is the branch of Philosophy which deals with the questions "What is beauty?" and "What is Art?" and in this context, I extend this to include personal preferences and styles, and not merely the dictates of the Academies.  This also affects one's views on Social, Political, and Economic matters to some extent, as, for example, in the case of those Social Conservatives who oppose Homosexuality because they find it "gross" or "disgusting" not in an Ethical sense, but in a purely Aesthetic sense (which, however, Social Conservatives tend to associate with Ethics for reasons not immediately apparent).  This has been demonstrated in psychological and neurological studies, such as Yoel Inbar, David A. Pizarro & Paul Bloom (2009), "Conservatives are more easily disgusted than liberals," Cognition & Emotion, 23:4, 714-725;  John A. Terrizzi Jr., Natalie J. Shook, and W. Larry Ventis (October 2010), "Disgust: A predictor of social conservatism and prejudicial attitudes toward homosexuals," Personality and Individual Differences, 49:6, 587–592;  Jeanna Bryner (26 October 2011), "Conservatives Are More Squeamish than Liberals," Live Science;  and Jonah Queen (17 January 2012), "Disgust and a New Political Neuropsychology," The Neuroethics Blog (hosted by the Center for Ethics, Neuroethics Program at Emory University).

11. Ecology/Equality vs Exploitation
Ecology/Equality vs Exploitation refers to an idea which I see as one, but which could be separated into two distinct dimensions.  In each case, "Exploitation" is one side.  The other side in one idea is "Ecology," and in the other is "Equality."  What I mean here is (1) in terms of Nature and her resources (Ecology vs Exploitation, then, would refer to conservation of natural resources, sustainable and renewable approaches, and respect for Nature, as against Exploitation of Nature and her resources without concern for conservation, sustainability, renewability, and so on), or (2) in terms of People (as either Equal or as some lording over others, dehumanizing them, and treating them as mere exploitable "resources").  I personally include People within the category of Nature;  we are as much a part of our Ecosystem as any other lifeform in it.  Therefore, I see "both" of these as one, the exploitation of "Nature/Natural Resources" would include the exploitation of people, and the recognition of ecological concerns would also involve the recognition of equality of persons.  There will be some who will get their panties in a bunch, or their knickers in a twist, over my choice of the word "equality," and will insist that we are not all equal, because some are more capable than others inherently, and not due to any unfair advantages of wealth or the like.  I will suggest that they are committing the Fallacy of Equivocation, and attempting to use the term "Equality" in a sense other than what I intend.  Of course each person has his or her own talents or "gifts," as well as inclinations or interests or predispositions, and thus some will be extremely proficient in a given thing while deficient in some other given thing, and people will be arranged in hierarchies due to experience, greater training, and so on, but I am speaking of social, cultural, and political equality, of being treated as Human Beings no matter what one's status in a profession or vocation may be, and no matter how much or how little wealth a person may have.

12. Idealism vs Pessimism
Idealism vs Pessimism is an axis which I think is best explained thusly:

"People who are too optimistic seem annoying. This is an unfortunate misinterpretation of what an optimist really is.

"An optimist is neither naive, nor blind to the facts, nor in denial of grim reality. An optimist believes in the optimal usage of all options available, no matter how limited. As such, an optimist always sees the big picture. How else to keep track of all that’s out there? An optimist is simply a proactive realist.

"An idealist focuses only on the best aspects of all things (sometimes in detriment to reality); an optimist strives to find an effective solution. A pessimist sees limited or no choices in dark times; an optimist makes choices.

"When bobbing for apples, an idealist endlessly reaches for the best apple, a pessimist settles for the first one within reach, while an optimist drains the barrel, fishes out all the apples and makes pie.

"Annoying? Yes. But, oh-so tasty!"

~ Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration(italics in original)

What we see here is that Idealism and Pessimism are the two extremes, while Optimism lies somewhere in between the two.

13. Ontology and Metaphysics
Ontology and Metaphysics are also branches of Philosophy which are intertwined.  An ontological perspective will result in a certain metaphysical tendency.  Attempting to formulate a metaphysic without first considering Ontology will result in a metaphysic based on assumed and unexamined ontological views, which, however, will usually become apparent as the metaphysic becomes more developed.  Ontology deals with Essence and existence, with Being and is-ness.  Metaphysics deals with Reality and actuality, questions of "One or Two or Three or Many," and what Plato called "Ideas" or "Forms," which later, Scholastic philosophers in the Mediaeval era would often refer to as "Universals," contrasted with "particulars."

14. Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity
Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity has to do with one's place in society; namely, does one maintain diversity, or conform with society's predominant comportment?  This also has to do with society's perspective on any given member thereof;  namely, does society accept diversity, merely tolerate diversity, or attempt to impose uniformity?

15. Ethics
Ethics is the branch of Philosophy which seeks to apply the concept of Justice to individual conduct.  Ethics in the context of Philosophy as discipline is the systematic study of conduct with regard to the virtue of conduct on the individual level;  it is concerned with "internal justice," by which is meant conformity of the individual's will to an external standard of conduct (see link below for differentiation between Ethics and Scruples).  A variety of schools of thought exist within the field of Ethics:  Situationism, Intentionalism, Consequentialism, and Legalism represent the most well-known.
a. Legalism: affirms that acts in themselves are good or bad (or "evil").
b. Consequentialism: affirms that acts are not good or bad in themselves, but rather, that consequences of acts are good or bad. A well-known type of Consequentialism is Utilitarianism, which affirms that "the greatest good for the greatest number" is the aim of an ethically praiseworthy person.
c. Intentionalism: affirms that acts are not good or bad in themselves, and that consequences ignore motivations and so cannot be relied upon to determine good or bad, but that the intentions or motivations in which an act is done, or the attitudes behind the acts, are good or bad.
d. Situationism: affirms that context must be taken into account when judging good or bad.

Legalism insists on Laws (both positive injunctions as in "Do this," and negative prohibitions as in "Do not do this") as the standard of conduct, and tends to dualism of "good vs evil." Consequentialism, Intentionalism, and Situationism advocate Principles, rather than Laws, as the standard of conduct, and are less likely to accept a dualistic perspective, instead seeing "good and bad," or "good and an absence of good."

All of these have flaws:

Legalism is famous in the flaw of the Catch-22 situation, where one is in a situation in which no matter what choice he/she makes, she/he violates the ethical laws by which he/she seeks to live.

Consequentialism is famous in the flaw of expressing the notion that "the end justifies the means" (and Utilitarianism would rationalize harm to a minority based on its aim being fulfilled for the majority).  I will repeat another well-known critique of Consequentialism in two parts, which may perhaps help to convey more of the imperfection of Consequentialism:
1. If person S pointed a pistol at person P and pulled the trigger with the intention of murder, but the shell were a "dud," the consequentialist would say that person S had done no wrong. This is patently absurd.
2. If person S saw person P drowning and jumped into the water intending to save person P's life, but both drowned, the consequentialist would say that person S had done wrong. This is also patently absurd.
Obviously, therefore, consequences alone cannot be used to judge the rightness of behavior.

Intentionalism is flawed in that one may have entirely heroic motivations and still fail to accomplish good.

Situationism's flaw is that it tends to relativism, with extremely vague principles which fail to provide sufficient guidance for conduct.

I propose a fifth division, which should probably be called something like an "Holistic Ethic," which would not completely disregard the act itself, but which would subordinate the act to the consequences, and which would in turn subordinate the consequences to the motivation/intention/attitude and the context taken together, and which would advocate Principles as the standard of conduct.  Some might be tempted, based on a similar impetus in Epistemology which yields an epistemological school of thought named "Pragmatism," to refer to this as a "Pragmatic Ethic."  However, "pragmatic" is not a word that many would be comfortable using in the context of Ethics, as the very word in itself suggests ethical relativism (indeed, "Pragmatic Ethics" is a term already in use in the field of Ethics, and its use in the field is to name a particular type of relativistic ethic). To think in ethical questions "What is practical?" is to disregard "What is ideal?" and this turns Ethics in the sense of a standard on its head, for Ethics is concerned with the concept of "oughtness." Ethics asks "What ought to be?" and "What ought I to do?"

For some additional considerations related to Ethics, see my earlier discussion "Ethics, Morals, Scruples, and Folkways," here.

16. Romance and Sexuality
Romance and Sexuality (and no, I'm not going to separate this into two distinct dimensions, at least not here) both deal with intimacy, Romance dealing with emotional intimacy and Sexuality dealing with physical intimacy.  Some overlap exists, at least occasionally and/or for some persons, but the two are not coterminous.  Attitudes toward, and beliefs about, these types of intimacy have an effect on the individual's perspectives which may influence his or her views on social, political, and economic questions.  For example, if someone believe that Homosexuality is somehow ethically wrong, aesthetically repellent, socially harmful, etc, then she or he may favor efforts to legislate against Homosexual acts, public display of same sex affection, the legal recognition of same sex marriages, and/or efforts to prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, etc.  On the other hand, one whose beliefs include no ethical condemnation of Homosexuality, who recognizes same sex relations throughout nature, who understands that social harm often has more to do with ignorance and prejudice than any flaw inherent in those subjected to ignorant and prejudicial attitudes, etc, would tend to take the opposition positions on such legislative questions.  Attitudes and beliefs pertaining to these types of intimacy may also influence a person's views on the legality of divorce, or the conditions under which it may occur, or the legal question of "fault" in a divorce, and so on.

17. Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy)
Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy) is here concerned with who has a voice in making decisions.  I touched on this briefly in the previous post, but focused on Politics in two other dimensions, one pertaining to Centralization vs Decentralization, and the other pertaining to Statism vs Anti-Statism.  Here, however, I will address Politics in the sense of voice in decision-making.  Does one person dictate to the majority, or do all members of a society have an equal voice?  Those would be the extreme positions.  In between are various stages including Oligarchy and Polycracy.  Here too could be included the question of just how decisions are reached.  In the purest form of democracy, decisions would require either unanimity or consensus;  unanimity would mean that all members of a society have to agree, while consensus would be a general agreement among all.  In the latter case, the peril of mob rule or "tyranny of the majority" is a factor.  Polycracy (also called Polyarchy), which means rule by many, is a form of government in which all members of a society vote to elect representatives, who then vote on decisions on behalf of their constituents, but here again, the question of how those representatives vote arises.  Do they make up their own minds, do they consult their constituents before casting a vote, or do they employ some blend of the two methods?  Also in a Polycracy, the question of eligibility for the position of representative must be considered.  Are all members of the society eligible, or must they meet certain conditions in order to be eligible.  An example would be the original conception of a Senate, that is, a council of elders (Latin "senatus," which means "senate," derives from "senex," which means "old," just as Old Irish "senad," which means "senate," derives from "sen," which means "old," both derived from Proto-Italo-Celtic *sen-, and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root *sén-;  the concept of a council of "elders," therefore, is likely an ancient one, but is by no means restricted to Indo-European cultures;  also worth noting in this context, however, is the related word "senile," which might suggest that elder status ought not to be considered alone and apart from the concept of competence), who would presumably have to be the older folk in the society.  Oligarchy is rule by a few;  an example of this sort of polity would be an Aristocracy (a government by nobles, who generally inherit their position from a family member, although this is typically not a completely closed system in that non-nobles may be elevated to the position of nobility).  Again, the question of how these persons reach their decisions must be considered, as in Democracy or Polycracy.  Typically, however, an Oligarchy does not take much thought of what the members of society may desire, and thus is a "top-down" government, while Democracy is a "grassroots" government, and Polycracy tends to be likewise (at least in its beginnings).  Finally, Autocracy is rule by a single person, who makes all decisions for the entire society.

18. Religion and Sacred Tradition
Religion and Sacred Tradition may on the surface seem to be identical;  they are not.  "Religion" is purely religion, separated (allegedly) from its culture of origin, and typically imperialistic in the sense that its adherents seek to convert others.  A "Sacred Tradition" is culturally specific, and while it includes elements which would be considered "religious" by Sociologists, Cultural Anthropologists, and Philosophers, is itself inseparable from the wider culture and cannot be reduced to its "religious" aspects alone;  practioners of a Sacred Tradition do not typically seek to convert others, unless the culture itself be imperialistic in a wider sense (that is, if that culture be one which engages in other forms of imperialism, such as military and economic conquest, its Sacred Tradition will likely also be imposed on the conquered along with other aspects of culture such as language).  However, this is not the extent of this dimension;  it also reaches to Agnosticism and Atheism.  Both Religions and Sacred Traditions include both doctrines and ethical teachings.  Agnosticism and Atheism are not devoid of ethical concepts, contrary to the rhetoric of some ... religious imperialists.  Discussion of this particular dimension could go on indefinitely, and so I will cut it short here and say simply that one side of this dimension would include religions and sacred traditions, and the other side would include Atheism, with Agnosticism somewhere in between, and various shades of each, the extreme end of one being "Militant Atheism" or "Anti-Religious Atheism" and the extreme at the other end being "One True and Only Way Intolerant and Imperialistic Religion."

19. Mysticism
Mysticism is the belief that a deeper union is possible, and incorporates various techniques designed to facilitate such union.  The union in question may be monistic or dualistic, which is to say, it may be akin to the idea of a drop of water falling into the ocean and thereby becoming one with the ocean, or it may be more like the union of two individuals in a dance, a romance, and/or a sexual encounter, where the two may at times mingle, but yet remain separate.  The "object" (if you will) of the union may be the divine, nature, the universe, humanity, something more precise, or something more vague.  On this axis will also be the opposite perspective, which is a denial that such a deeper union is possible, and/or a lack of interest in such a state;  this may be due to non-belief, a materialistic metaphysic, ennui, Angst, and/or Weltschmerz, to name a few possibilities.  Mysticism can also extend into the dimension of Romance and Sexuality, as well as other dimensions.

(to be continued in next post)

The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 1, episode 12;  episode 12 overall;  production code 16.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Announcing "The Progressive Flame"

The Progressive Flame

by Liviana (Giovanna Laine)

I have begun a new project at Medium:  an "e-zine" which I have named "The Progressive Flame."  I aim to provide news and articles from a Progressive, Leftist, and Green perspective at the e-zine, and the first articles to be featured there have come from this blog.  I am the Owner and Editor-in-Chief of The Progressive Flame.  Please, have a look and maybe subscribe:

The Progressive Flame, an e-zine publication at Medium


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dagger of the Mind


Dagger of the Mind,
"The Only Thing We Have to Fear
Is Fear Itself,"

by Liviana

His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy;  never leave room for alternatives;  never accept blame;  concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong;  people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one;  and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

~ A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler:  His Life and Legend,
by Walter C. Langer,
Office of Strategic Services, Washington, D.C., 1943/1944
(emphasis added)

For some months now, the American people have been subjected to insinuations, implications, speculations, and even blatantly explicit declarations that Russia somehow "interfered" with the just-past election, most often involving claims of alleged "hacking" on the part of the Russian government or its assets or agents, sometimes accusing other Americans, especially those who run or work for independent media outlets, of having acted willfully or unwittingly as agents of this scheme.  Despite no evidence being provided in support of this narrative, certain venues of the main stream media have repeated these speculations, insinuations, and explicit allegations ad nauseam.  Worth remembering in considering these tales and whispers is the history of how a mere six corporations came to dominate most of American media.  Also extremely worthy of note is the history as well as the current connections of The Washington Post, which has been one of the main media outlets pushing this narrative.

The narrative in question began following publication, by WikiLeaks, of various emails of the Democratic National Committee (nobody seems to be even trying to pretend anymore that these emails are not authentic, so let's admit that they are in fact the genuine article), which exposed widespread corruption in the form of the DNC colluding with the Hillary Clinton for President campaign to promote said campaign and attempt to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders for the same office, a fact which many of Senator Sanders' supporters already suspected.  Whether the narrative originated with the Hillary campaign or the DNC, it was a transparent attempt at diversion and misdirection.  As the revelations continued, the main stream media was also implicated.  One of the main media outlets promoting Mrs Clinton's candidacy was, again, The Washington Post, but it was by no means acting alone in this.  The narrative was spread in an effort to shift attention from the content of the emails to the alleged theft of the emails by agents or assets of the Russian government's intelligence services, and possibly with the intention of frightening or enraging the American people so that the plans of certain geopolitical interests could be actualized, since such actualization would require activities with a great probability of provoking Russia's government and could lead to war with Russian forces.

To say that Russia alone was being scapegoated for the abysmal candidacy and pathetic strategies of the Hillary Clinton for President 2016 campaign, the corruption of the DNC, and the cooperation of much of the corporate media, however, would be to present only a part of the picture.  Indeed, Senator Sanders himself, his supporters, Doctor Jill Stein, third party voters, Director James Comey of the FBI, the spectres of racism and sexism, and assorted other persons, groups, and ideas, were all subjects of the attempt to shift blame away from Hillary herself, her campaign, the DNC, the corporate media, and the Democratic Party establishment.  Once the general election was over, though, the focus was quickly narrowed to "the Russian government."  The Office of the Director of National Intelligence got involved in promoting the narrative.  The FBI stated there was no evidence in support of this narrative.  The Geheim Staats ... um ... the Department of Homeland Security got involved in promoting the narrative.  CIA intel veterans scoffed.  The CIA itself got involved in promoting the narrative.  President Obama pushed the narrative.  Even with the alphabet soup and the President joining in, however, only roughly half of Hillary's supporters were willing to buy into the narrative, far fewer of President-elect Trump's supporters thought it possible, and (although no data is available for the views of third party voters on the narrative) most Green Party US members and supporters of my acquaintance seem to me to be unimpressed with the narrative.  Tied up in this mess is also a lot of hysteria over "Russian propaganda" and "fake news," which has prompted the critters in Congress, always eager to engage in kneejerk overreactions to hysteria, to pass a couple of laws which are, like the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act before them, attacks upon the Constitutional Rights of American citizens.  This is where we are on the final day of the year 2016.

I have been keeping up with this as it unfolded, and have collected a number of sources which cast significant doubt on the narrative that "the Russians" engaged in any "hacking" or other "interference" in the just-past election cycle.  I present them here for the consideration of the American people, in the interests of our Republic and with the hope that the people will come to the correct conclusion and demand that our government avoid the utter insanity which war between the USA and the Russian Federation would be, regardless of what some billionaires and their stooges might like.  Note that, rather than embed the videos as I generally do, I will be giving video sources as hyperlinks;  I made this choice to keep the presentation looking cleaner and more organized, because I wanted to present these sources in a chronological order (due to other responsibilities, I have not completely accomplished this, but only a few are out of place in the desired order).

DNC Hacker Denies Russian Link, Says Attack Was His ‘Personal Project' | Motherboard

Against Neo-McCarthyism | The Nation

Democrats’ Tactic of Accusing Critics of Kremlin Allegiance Has Long, Ugly History in U.S. | The Intercept

A New McCarthyism: Greenwald on Clinton Camp’s Attempts to Link Trump, Stein & WikiLeaks to Russia | Democracy Now! - YouTube

Follow the Money Trail For Source of 'Russian Threat' Paranoia | Russia Insider

Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Now Russia | Common Dreams

Corporate Media & Democrats Play Russia FEAR Card; Hide Hillary Clinton's Russian Record | Sane Progressive - YouTube

Russia responds to U.S. hacking allegations | CBS News

Background and Documents on Attempts to Frame Assange as a Pedophile and Russian spy | WikiLeaks

Jordan's NOT HAVING Donna Brazile's Russia Dodge! | TYT Politics - YouTube

Media Ignores Clinton's Wikileaks Emails, Focuses On Russian Hacks | The Young Turks - YouTube

Clinton Confirms That WikiLeaks Podesta Emails Are True, Still Blames Russia | Inquisitr

The "Fact" That 17 Intelligence Agencies Confirmed Russia is Behind the Email Hacks Isn’t Actually…A "Fact" | Zero Hedge

NSA Whistleblower: US Intelligence Worker Likely Behind DNC Leaks, Not Russia | Zero Hedge

John Podesta Wasn't Hacked by Russians—He Fell For a Phishing Scam | The Humanist Report - YouTube

Despite Clinton Conspiracy Theories, FBI Finds No Clear Link Between Trump And Russia | Liberal Values

Here’s the Problem With the Story Connecting Russia to Donald Trump’s Email Server | The Intercept

If You Question the Establishment You Are Guilty of Espionage, Says Corporate Media -- Because Russia | The Free Thought Project

Mainstream Media Recap: Who Colluded With the Clinton Campaign? | Observer

Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group | The Intercept

Russian Agents Are Not Behind Every Piece of Fake News You See | Fortune

'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful, Disgusting | Matt Taibbi - Rolling Stone

The CIA and the Press: When the Washington Post Ran the CIA’s Propaganda Network | CounterPunch

The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda | The New Yorker

CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear | CounterPunch

Neo-McCarthyism and the New Cold War | The Nation

When the jig is up, the mainstream media blames Russia | The Digital Firehose

Washington Post Appends Editor's Note to Russian Propaganda Story | Washingtonian

A New Wave Of Anti-Russia Hysteria Based Upon Questionable Information | Liberal Values

Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence | The Intercept

Here’s the Public Evidence Russia Hacked the DNC — It’s Not Enough | The Intercept

CIA Intelligence Vets Dispute Russia Hack Claims, Look at the Wider Picture | Sane Progressive - YouTube

Corporate Democrats Stir Up War Fever Against Russia to Turn Election | Black Agenda Report

Hillary Clinton Using "Fake News" as Excuse to Wage War on 1st Amendment | The Humanist Report - YouTube

Supposedly “Objective Reporters” Not So “Objective” When It Comes To The Scary Russian Menace | mtracey – Medium

WikiLeaks Got Clinton Emails From Disgusted Insiders, Not Russia | The Jimmy Dore Show - YouTube

WikiLeaks: Seth Rich Leaked Clinton Emails, Not Russia | BuzzfeedUSA

WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Hillary Clinton emails | Daily Mail Online

Under Amazon’s CIA Cloud: The Washington Post | Common Dreams

Glenn Greenwald Sets The Record Straight On The CIA & Russian Hacking | Secular Talk - YouTube

Obama Signs Ministry of Truth Into Law Two Days Before Christmas | Sane Progressive - YouTube

WikiLeaks ✔@wikileaks Obama's Russia sanctions: Comment & Link | Giovanna X - Google+

What Assange Actually Said:
Julian Assange: "Donald? It's a change anyway" |

What The Russian Hacking Report DOESN'T Say | Washington's Blog

Obama Sanctions Against Russia About War & Geopolitics NOT US Elections | Sane Progressive - YouTube

The American Public Should Be Thankful For Russian “Interference” | mtracey — Medium

Something About This Russia Story Stinks | Matt Taibbi - Rolling Stone

The Demand For Proof Of Russian Hacking Completely Misses The Point | Caitlin Johnstone - Newslogue Debate

White House fails to make case that Russian hackers tampered with election | Ars Technica

Exhibit A:  Narcissist, Megalomaniac, Pathological Liar, or Just Plain Batshit Crazy Warmonger?  Hillary Clinton, ladies and gentlemen.
Hillary Clinton Calls Out Vladimir Putin in Most Hypocritical Rant Ever | The Humanist Report - YouTube

Corporate Media Draws Opposite Conclusion from CIA Vets on Leaked Russia Document | Sane Progressive - YouTube

Russia Hysteria Infects WashPost Again: False Story About Hacking U.S. Electric Grid | The Intercept

No, Russia Did Not Hack Grid. Republican/Democrats Reveal the GAME with Latest Lie | Sane Progressive - YouTube

2016: How Truth was Destroyed So You'd Buy the Government's Propaganda | The Free Thought Project

US Govt Data Shows Russia Used Outdated Ukrainian PHP Malware | WordFence
From the article just linked:
Overall Conclusion

The IP addresses that DHS provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don’t appear to provide any association with Russia. They are probably used by a wide range of other malicious actors, especially the 15% of IP addresses that are Tor exit nodes.

The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be Ukrainian. It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website.

Republicans/Democrats Utilize Public Mistrust of Trump to Legitimize Russia Lies | Sane Progressive - YouTube

Democrats: You Should be Ashamed of Fueling a Cold War | Hans Alexander Razo – Medium

WikiLeaks: Obama kicking out diplomats breaches intl law, Moscow should wait till Trump in office | RT America

'Fake News' And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid | Forbes

The War Against Alternative Information | Consortiumnews


Obama’s Sanctions against Moscow “Intended to Box In Donald Trump”. Evidence that Hacking of DNC Accusations are Fake | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived | The Intercept

‘CNN covering its *ss with Assange 'pedophile' retraction’ - journalism prof - | RT America - YouTube

Bob Bites Back: The Russians are hacking! The Russians are hacking! | Bob Fitrakis -

Glenn Greenwald: Mainstream U.S. Media is Culpable for Disseminating Fake & Deceitful News on Russia | Democracy Now!

Clapper has ‘outright lied to Congress’ – former FBI agent | RT America - YouTube

Intelligence Community Assessment ICA 2017-01D 6 January 2017 “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” | ODNI
Note:  This contains no new evidence to corroborate the claims that Russia hacked diddly.

John McAfee On The Russian Hacking Says It's NOT Russia! | Larry King - YouTube

Russian Spies Behind Every Christmas Tree | OffGuardian

There Is Still No Hard Evidence For “Russian Hacking” | mtracey – Medium

Evaluating Russian Actions Based Upon Facts And Not Political Biases | Liberal Values

Allegations Against Russia Less Credible Every Day | Let's Try Democracy

Ex-CIA analyst says Russian hacking claims a 'smear on Donald Trump' | Sunday Express

Chris Hedges: The Real Purpose of the U.S. Government’s Report on Alleged Hacking by Russia | Truthdig

Glenn Greenwald Explains Why "We Don't Just Blindly Accept CLAIMS Of The Intelligence Community!" | CNN mirrored by wwwMOXIENEWScom - YouTube

The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer | The Intercept

Abby Martin Responds to New York Times Allegations | teleSUR English

‘They are the most scared of real reporting’: Abby Martin blasts US intel hacking report | RT - YouTube

'Insane to say critical reporting on Clinton led to Trump's victory' – Abby Martin on ODNI report | RT America - YouTube

William Binney: Cybersecurity and the New Cold War Are ‘Big Swindles’ - Live at Truthdig | Truthdig

Why Obama's Crackdown on "Fake News" is an Attack on the 1st Amendment | The Humanist Report - YouTube

Russia Hacking Absolutely NOT Confirmed By Intelligence Agencies | The Jimmy Dore Show - YouTube

Journo Asks Followers If They Trust Wikileaks Or CIA--Backfires! | The Jimmy Dore Show - YouTube

Democratic Progressives in Crises by Debbie of Sane Progressive January 2017 - YouTube

More Proof CIA Has Always Been Full Of Sh*t-- Church Committee Hearings of 1975 | The Jimmy Dore Show - YouTube

Cory Booker Hypocrisy, C-Span Russia Takeover Lie Goes Viral, Trump Cowed by Deep State | Sane Progressive - YouTube

CIA Officer: Clinton Lost Because She Defrauded Bernie Sanders | YourNewsWire

Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain | The Huffington Post

The Russia Story Reaches a Crisis Point | Matt Taibbi - Rolling Stone

Intel Vets Say Trump 'Dossier' Is A 'Complete Fraud' | The Daily Caller

Allegations of Russian Hacking Cover Up Larger Issue: Attacks on Independent Journalism | Truthdig

On Contact: Real purpose of intel report on Russian hacking with Abby Martin & Ben Norton | RT America - YouTube

Why Bernie Sanders Shouldn't Buy Into the Democratic Party's Hysteria Over Russia | The Humanist Report - YouTube

Chris Hedges on How the ‘Deep State’ Will Influence the Trump Presidency | Truthdig

Obama Makes Incredible Admission About WikiLeaks in Final Press Conference | Anti-Media

Empire Files: US-Russia Relations in "Most Dangerous Moment" | teleSUR English (Abby Martin) - YouTube

Protestors Hang "BETRAYAL" Banner At DNC Headquarters | The Jimmy Dore Show - YouTube

CNN CAUGHT Reporting Fake News On Russian Hack | The Jimmy Dore Show - YouTube

WTF!? DNC DENIED FBI Access To Its Servers In Russia Investigation!? | The Jimmy Dore Show - YouTube

Empire Files: Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A. | teleSUR English (Abby Martin) - YouTube

Remember, America, the United States Intelligence Community are the same incompetent twits (or lying jackasses) who brought us the "Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and mobile weapons labs" narrative which was used to justify war in Iraq against the only national leader in the entire Middle East who was NOT a religious fanatic, and the results of that were al-Qaeda in Iraq and the rise of Daesh, not to mention the cost in human misery for both Americans (and allies) and Iraqis.  And also remember:

Fear is the mind-killer.

~ Frank Herbert

Believe what you want, but please investigate with critical thinking skills first, and without allowing incompetent twits and lying jackasses to terrorize you into swallowing claims which are, at best, dubious.  War between the US and Russia would be devastation on a massive scale, and the goal of this would be, yet again, more profits for the already insanely and obscenely wealthy petroleum industry.  Follow the money from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and you'll know who's behind this current narrative and why (if you aren't already familiar with the players in the CNAS and their paper linked above, and haven't already read the Project for the New American Century's paper, "Rebuilding America's Defenses" ...).

I will continue to update these resources until shortly after Donald Trump has been inaugurated as President, after which time, the efforts of the establishment Democrats and their pals in the USIC to spin this "Russian interference in the election" narrative will become largely irrelevant.  And again, for anyone who still doesn't get it:  I'm not a supporter of Donald Trump (but do not mistake that disclaimer for any indication of support for Hillary Clinton;  I am a member of the Green Party of the United States, and I voted for Doctor Jill Stein, who was the only person in the race worthy of the office after July of 2016), but more than enough TRUE things about him exist to criticize without having to make up unbelievable fairy tales.

The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 1, episode 9;  episode 9 overall;  production code 11.

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This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
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If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Copyright notice
All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2017 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna L.). 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Omega Glory

The Omega Glory,
Down the Centuries,
You Have Slurred the Meaning of the Words,
by Liviana

Oh, the bad, bad, wicked, evil, undemocratic, bad, evil, wicked, anti-democratic, bad Electoral College!

Let's (again) look at why the Electoral College exists in the first damned place, and without the recent bullshit about how it was done for racist or pro-slavery reasons (it wasn't, and those who have said that it was are spinning a line because they want their damned queen to be installed in the White House).  I mean, after all, those who think they want to abolish the thing really ought to be aware of the reasons it exists in the first place.

And too often, those who have been calling for the abolition of the Electoral College are significantly less well-read in the fields of Political Philosophy and History than those who drafted the Constitution.   How many of you have read Locke, Rousseau,  Montesquieu, Cicero, Tacitus, Juvenal, Machiavelli, Genovesi, Voltaire, Hume, Hobbes, Bayle, Diderot, Kant, Seneca, and Plutarch?  Plato?  Aristotle?  Zeno?  How about Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton?  Paine?  Franklin?  How much do you know about the way the government of the Roman Republic was set up, how it worked, how it changed over time to the beginning of the Empire?  What do you know of the government of Classical Athens?  I'll wager that most of you are not familiar with even half of these things.  And you think you are better suited to decide on how our government should be set up than the Founders, who knew all of these authors and all of this history and political philosophy, rather thoroughly?  They were concerned and serious about trying to establish something better than anything which had existed before, but you guys FEEL like it's "bad," because poor little Hillary didn't get to be "the First Woman President" and you FEEL afraid of da big bad Twump.  Isn't thinking that you are better suited to do that than the Founders were (based on your FEELS instead of any actual STUDY of how governments have worked -- and failed -- in the past, how this government was set up and why, the thoughts of the Enlightenment thinkers and the Philosophers and Historians of the Classical World) a bit presumptuous?  Just a little bit, maybe?

Let's see here, then, ...  Ah, here we go, a bit of a summary.  Here's an excerpt:
The reason that the Constitution calls for this extra layer, rather than just providing for the direct election of the president, is that most of the nation’s founders were actually rather afraid of democracy. James Madison worried about what he called “factions,” which he defined as groups of citizens who have a common interest in some proposal that would either violate the rights of other citizens or would harm the nation as a whole. Madison’s fear – which Alexis de Tocqueville later dubbed “the tyranny of the majority” – was that a faction could grow to encompass more than 50 percent of the population, at which point it could “sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.” Madison has a solution for tyranny of the majority: “A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.”
You can read it all here:  The Reason for the Electoral College

What else do we have?  Oh, right.  Federalist Papers, Number 10, by James Madison, to which I have already referred some of you:
The Federalist Papers, No. 10

I think some of you didn't read it.  Perhaps you thought it too tedious, or maybe the language was too dated.  So here's a summary and analysis.

If that's still "too long" for you, then you really shouldn't even be trying to tell anyone else a damned thing about the Electoral College, but here's a Cliffs Notes version.

We also have Federalist Papers, Number 68, in which Alexander Hamilton gives his reasons for wanting the Electoral College:
The Federalist Papers, No. 68

Again, though, maybe you find that too tedious (it's considerably more brief than Number 10, however), or think the language is too dated, so here's another summary and analysis, for Number 68.

Cliffs Notes version?  Got that, too (although, really, wow).

Here's something else:
Federalist No.68 vs. Antifederalist No. 72: The Debate over How to Elect the President

And another tasty morsel:
Why the Electoral College Exists (and Isn't Going Anywhere Soon)

The abolition of the Electoral College would be disastrous; it would allow NYC, Houston, DFW, Chicago, LA, and San Francisco to elect the President of the US, without anyone else's votes counting for shit. Presidential candidates would no longer give a damn about campaigning in any other part of the country, and, once in office, would be free to totally ignore the majority of the nation and cater to those six high population centers. Democratic? Maybe. Good? Not even close.

Some of you have attempted to frame the Electoral College in terms of a "tyranny of the minority" in response to our talk of a "tyranny of the majority" (which comes from de Tocqueville, for those who seem to have never heard the expression before -- and I have to ask, did y'all not take US History or Civics in school, have you forgotten all you learned in those classes, or did you just not pay any fucking attention?).  You guys are falling into Bifurcation Fallacy again. It doesn't have to be a tyranny of anyone, so get your heads out of that box already. That's the point. In a democratic federal republic, the minority is protected from the whims of the majority. It's a rule of law, not a rule of the majority (nor of the minority).

Some of you have asserted that the Electoral College is "backwards."  It's not backwards, and here's why. The ecosystem of each region is different from that of other regions, and that affects the economy of each region.  That's even more true now than it was in 1787 when the final draft of the Constitution was finished, or 1789 when the Constitution was ratified.  What is useful for the economy of the Great Plains of DFW may not be useful for the swamps ("Coastal Plains") of Houston, or the Great Lakes North of Chicago, or the temperate rain-forest of the PNW, ... much less the breadbaskets of the nation, which, Comrades, are obviously rural.  The needs and concerns of the rural "minority" are no less important than the needs and concerns of the urban "majority."  It's not about Democracy. It's about seeing that the minority are not disenfranchised by the majority. That's why we have (or used to have) a democratic federal republic and not a democracy.

It's not about tradition, either.  Y'all have to come to terms with the reality that different regions have different economies due to their different ecosystems. Catering to nothing but the five or six highest population centers will deny any voice at all to the rest of the nation, and their needs and concerns will become irrelevant. You can call this "undemocratic." I don't care. It IS undemocratic. It denies the tyranny of the majority. Hillary knew how the elections work, and she had her chance to make her case to the rural voters, but she didn't give a shit about them, and she never has. She's an elitist. It's not hard to reach out to the people; you just have to show an authentic interest in their needs and concerns, but she has no interest in anything other than her own ambitions, and she's not particularly bright. So now we have her relative (by marriage) howling about the Electoral College, because Hillary didn't campaign in any sort of winning manner.

To win the presidency, a candidate must make his or her appeal to the people of the nation, and not merely to some areas in which they believe their support is strong. The Democratic Party establishment, being so out of touch as has been demonstrated often over the past few years, has even suggested that they could basically "write off" the South entirely, with the exception, perhaps, of two or three states. Here are a couple of several examples of such a call:

The Democrats have been advised against this several times:

In spite of this advice, however, the establishment Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, have stubbornly clung to this arrogant elitism (oh, and how they love to believe themselves to be elite, but they're NOT;  they're fucking STUPID, or we would right now be looking forward to President Bernie Sanders), and, as anyone who WAS in touch could have told them, the result was that they got bitten in the ass after shooting themselves in both feet:

Even had they undertaken a massive PR campaign in the South and other rural areas, however, it would not have helped Hillary, who is seen by a majority of such voters as inauthentic, untrustworthy, and corrupt, as well as elitist and condescending; in Arkansas especially, this reputation is predominant. Many Arkansas voters are much more familiar with Mrs Clinton than the rest of the nation.

Abolition of the Electoral College would solve nothing, and only make things worse. What we need is reform, not abolition. And the reform needed is more to do with the way the Electors are awarded, not in the Electoral College itself. Instead of First Past the Post and Winner Takes All, some kind of Proportional Representation and/or Ranked Choice Voting and/or Score Voting would resolve most of the issues, and I'm not presumptuous enough to say at this point in time that I know how to blend those types of elections to resolve most of the issues, but I am erudite enough to realize that it is by some combination of those ways of electing that the resolution will be found. You'll never make it perfect. That's not to say it can't be improved; it certainly can. But it's always going to be imperfect, no matter how much it is improved. The question to consider is whether allowing the majority of people in tiny territories to dominate the minority in vast territories, when all these territories have different needs and concerns, is an improvement, and the answer is no.

This push to abolish the Electoral College is as ridiculous as the bullshit the Federalists pulled with the Continental Convention; the Articles of Confederation did not need to be replaced, when they could as easily have been reformed, and in fact, under the Articles and even under the Constitution itself, the "ratification" of the Constitution did not follow the rules, but was pushed through as if it were a done deal in spite of that (but that's a story for another time).

To suggest that the needs and concerns of the very diverse ecosystems which make up this nation should be ignored in favor of urban interests, whims, and fads, is unsustainable, untenable, and indefensible.  It is also even, dare I say it?  Anti-democratic.

The title of the post (and the subtitle, this time) comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 2, episode 23;  episode 52 overall;  production code 54.

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This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
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If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Copyright notice
All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2016 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna L.). 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Errand of Mercy

Errand of Mercy,
Tomorrow Is "Giving Tuesday,"
by Liviana (Giovanna L.)

Tomorrow is "Giving Tuesday," a global day dedicated to giving back.  For those who can and would like to give to a charity on this Giving Tuesday, many worthy causes exist.  You may of course select one or more of your own ways of being charitable and compassionate on Giving Tuesday, but I would like to recommend the following (to my knowledge, none of these have ever endorsed any political candidate, unlike some in my list last year):

in memory of Leonard Nimoy (if you like, or in memory of someone in your life)

Thanks for giving, you who are willing and able to do so.

If you are not able to give, that's alright, too.  I've been there myself, and I understand.

The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 1, episode 26;  episode 26 overall;  production code 27.

Fair use notice
This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
For more information:
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.