RANGER AGAINST WAR: This is Only a Test <

Sunday, September 24, 2017

This is Only a Test

--Congratulations, you were a "participant"

I never took the smile away from anybody's face
And that's a desperate way to look
For someone who is still a child 
--In a Big Country,
Big Country

 And why should I call your name,
When you're to blame
For making me blue? 
--Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,
Freddy Fender 

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace 
--The Genius of the Crowd, 
Charles Bukowski
_________________________

[This is a prelude to our concluding segment on the stories we tell, "Circle Jerk III: The Frontier".]


I do not watch the news, as the mandatory agenda and relentless editorialization is onerous. But occasionally, it cannot be avoided.

Like Douglas Adams' holistic detective Dirk Gently, the gestalt does not escape my vision.  To that end, two segments in a recent BBC World News America broadcast neatly collided for me.

First was a story on the propriety of leaving graphic Syrian violence uploads on You Tube channels. The commentator suggested that discretion was the key as, "People live on their platforms." 

They live there, mind -- not just visit, not just type or read. Live. In a 5 x 8" screen. Even International Humanitarian Law would frown upon such living conditions.

 And the Band Played On

Second, catty anchorwoman Katty Kay was sputtering over the bipartisan meeting called by the President with Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Clearly, this move was in violation of the party line that Mr. Trump is untenable.

"But he's 'toxic'", said Mrs. Kay (her go-to descriptor for the President.) The horror accompanying her protestation had the desperate look of someone who has been gobsmacked: the gig was up. Nothing normal was supposed to happen, yet it did.

It sounded like the silence after the horrible scratch of an agly needle on a rare vinyl album; it will now never be the same.

Instead of what might have been interesting speculation regarding a meeting on healthcare that looked a bit like a convocation from the film, "Cocoon", we get Kay, beside herself, asking her guest for some understanding of this, to her, inexplicable event.

In an embarrassingly simple explanation, the guest explained to Kay that as the U.S. President is the head of the Executive branch, he is allowed to do this sort of thing. (In fact, he noted, this is exactly the sort of thing candidate Trump promised to do.)

In such moments one perceives that the vitriol against this "impossible" President is just so much night music, a nocturne designed to both palliate and arouse the insulted Clinton faithful. The media enabled them to feel a false sense of power by unceasingly feeding -- in fact, designing -- their corrosive hatred.

While the media story is that chaos reigns, the more banal reality is that the administration churns on, doing the work of government.

A responsible press would sift through the daily docket to find the boring but important news which merits coverage. Instead, you will hear about shoes, hands and the inappropriateness of Mr. Trump's every utterance because it is a cheap and easy way to entice the faithful to update their feeds without much thought.

These two stories explained why what should have been the story of the century -- analyzing and perhaps even celebrating the election by the people of a candidate far outside of the mainstream -- has gone missing. 

While this election could have spurred an honest and incisive discussion about why such a happening, that would require actually looking at the state of the American people. 

Instead, we have been trained to mock the President and all attendants, and have been offered no insight. Those who voted for him are stupid little puds worthy only of our derision (right?) Comedians like Jon Stewart may be proud of their legacy.

[Note: Mr. Stewart exited stage right, perhaps aware of the Roman circus - runaway train which he had ushered in. Because he could be sharp or funny, or because he had that elastic Buster Keaton face, it became o.k. to outrageously disrespect the news. But people began THINKING of that AS the news.

No one is funny today, however, though the disrespect continues. Both he and the now-retired David Letterman have left a much meaner world in their wake.]

Today, an inroads is always found to bring any disaster back home to Mr. Trump. We all know the drill: he is white and wealthy, therefore, he emboldens poor and marginalized people to crawl out of their hidey holes and disturb the rest of us.

At least, that is the media's story and they are sticking with it. It has incited their faithful to expulse untold reams of bilge over the last year.

(Addendum: The contrapositive of the story is that if we had a person of color or a woman President, the white men would not some out of their hidey holes, and their needs and concerns would be staunched. And of course, to the party line Democrat, this would be a Good Thing.)

But as with a hurricane, such passionate energy eventually dissipates. Perhaps some of the erstwhile livid and animated viewers are becoming like Sasha Baron Cohen's character Borat at the Texas rodeo, or maybe his rapt listeners. 

In the midst of Borat's impassioned diatribe about how the U.S. is going to win their "War of Terror" in increasingly contorted and ridiculously vicious ways, the supportive screams of the crowd begin to die down at his uttermost declaration (May you destroy their country so that for the next thousand years not even a single lizard will survive in their desert.)

At some point every dupe tires, and perhaps, realizes that he has been had.

And so it goes. All of the madness to which we have been exposed, causing us to to cry out against our duly-elected President, has probably been a proving grounds for the use of social media, like a test to see how wastewater permeates an unsaturated zone.

Meanwhile, some other people who know the score and see the futility, are reading Financial Times, The Economist or The Wall Street Journal, and are not spending too much breath on these things that obsess the lives of the hoi polloi.

The people who "live" on their smartphones and happily re-tweet endlessly unvetted "news" bits, have been played. They have proven to be someone's useful idiots, as they are pricked hither and thither, like hapless paramecium, whose thumbs cannot twitch fast enough (if paramecium had thumbs, that is.)

They were not even paid the $15 a Gallup Poll might have to pick their brains. By willingly surrendering their contacts and their wits, the angry re-Tweeters have proven quite useful to someone, as they dart under their Petri dish cover (i.e., smartphone screen).

Someone will use this enormous trove of free behavioral data you have provided. Count on it.

Cold comfort, but Big Brother loves you.


NEXT: Ranger on Vietnam

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37 Comments:

Anonymous David said...

"Someone" already does use all that data. How else do you suppose Facebook, Twitter, etc. generate their revenues? There is nothing so ironic about the devolution of Western society that we would spend the entire Cold War congratulating ourselves that our police never say, "Papers, please," the way those terrible commies do, and then cheerfully help the likes of Facebook generate databases that would leave the Stasi gobsmacked and in awe.

Perhaps a few decades from now, the military will catch up to the zeitgeist and instead of actually having to train and deploy overseas and all the rest, there will just be giant rooms full of 20-year-olds operating robots halfway across the world via their tablets. At the very least, I'm sure the defense department will pay some contract consultants a tidy sum to investigate the possibility.

I don't know if you're familiar with Fermi's paradox, but it's an old astronomy/science fiction problem about why, given how big the galaxy is, no aliens have contacted us yet. One solution to the lack of aliens was that any sufficiently advanced civilization invents virtual worlds, finds them more entertaining than the real world, and withers away while living the high life in their computer-generated fantasies.

When somebody explained this to me over beer at college years and years ago, I thought it was stupid, but I remembered it a while ago and I'm starting to think they were on to something.

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 2:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Nikolay Levin said...

Lisa. A question. If I may.

Since when does the corporate media and compromised public media have the responsibility to tell you the truth? When Bush and Obama forced PBS and NPR to rely on private "foundations" to stay afloat and the Tories slashed the budget and began transitioning the BBC into private hands, it was all over for these sources.

The biggest story is not that the American people had to choose between a more unusually flavored piece of shit and a shit sandwich (although a little worse than George Carlin, the South Park team are the last great satirists still around in America today), its the collapsing trust in both parites, the falling trust in American's media and the polarization of the country.

Any decent man pledges no allegiance to a system that's failing him, these men are beginning to make themselves heard, even to pollsters.

As for the Establishment Liberals? The only person I follow on Twitter (an Anarchist incidentally, not a Communist) tweeted thusly: "Love watching all these liberal patriots cry about how Trump is tarnishing the American brand. It's a beautiful thing to see. And the kicker? Tear-stained hanky waves at Ronald Reagan's ghost. Liberals are the most sincere reactionaries." Couldn't have said it better. They'll take someone who bombs kids if hes "cultured", has an Ivy League degree and says nice enough things. These people shouldn't even be acknowledged.

I respect the New York Occupy Wall Street activist who voted for Trump because America "deserved him" a lot more, but even that shouldn't be the motivation (poor us). When it comes down to it, while its the case, I prefer that America be outwardly governed by the sexist, arrogant, and dogwhistling race-baiting bastards that actually rule the country and not by their PR agant whores (although they have been mostly giggolos historically). If one of their kind is vain enough to break that trend, I'm doing everything possible to help them. At least the Bourgeois Liberals occasionally join the barricades when the 1% make their rule official. Alas, Trump is a Ross Perot whos a lot more clever.

If news is unavoidable, theres always Russia Today (its still carried by some cable), Telesur English; even Iran's Press TV is more palatable. Funny when a public news service is embraced and not undermined by a government, it can be informative... and retain your sanity.

Some suggestions: https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/, https://videosenglish.telesurtv.net/shows/the-empire-files/, http://www.presstv.com/Default/Section/15057/

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 2:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Nikolay Levin said...

David, you should know that America historically had the biggest police presence per capita on the planet in the 20th century to today, mostly to crush unions, suppress activist movements and keep the darkies scared. Theres a reason why something thats anathema in Germany is common in the U.S., a guy who knows someone becoming a cop after he knocked his girl up. The more meatheads are under arms the less likely they'll question orders. Historical economic prosperity has prevented widespread violence... against white people. Clearly America's death squads, historically descended from slave patrols have to earn their pay these days what with the economy and all.

http://www.theroot.com/police-training-should-start-with-a-history-lesson-on-s-1795970036

Declining American Imperial sphere-of-influence (hint, hint, sticks to keep the world in line) means that the U.N. Human Rights Council can be more honest these days, and 117 (most) of the countries in the U.N. can thus condemn police brutality, something too unsettling to be reported by NPR or the BBC- let alone private media.

http://www.mintpressnews.com/117-countries-slam-american-police-brutality-at-un-human-rights-council/205588/

As for surveillance? Unneeded when the useless eaters were fat and complacent. But I always knew that the NSA would make the KGB and Statsi look like child's play when the time was right. Declining fortunes to throw as crumbs to the proles and God forbid, their growing awareness is a better motivator for the Imperialists than any.

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 2:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

David,


I cannot thank you enough for your prescient comment.


1) I had just now added "gobsmacked" to the post, and then read your:

"databases that would leave the Stasi gobsmacked and in awe."



2) Ranger has been developing his ideas post-Burns' VN docu re. the evolution of the remoteness of battlefield leadership. He has a few observation on Burn's series, his from an actual participant's p.o.v.


3) Per "Fermi's Paradox", what can we say? We will go down as Huxley envisioned, and not as Orwell.


Orgy-porgies and centrifugal Bumble Puppies all round.

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 4:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Nikolay,


Yes, corporate funded compromised any integrity.

Your highlighted Big Stories are the umbrella. I am choosing the situation of the day, and trying to keep a broad view of that.

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 4:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

David,
usu i pay cash for most transactions of a daily nature.
i do so b/c i've had my only credit card compromised a number of times.
so yesterday i bought a appliance from Lowes. i used the credit card b/c i anticipate the item will die and i'll have to fight for a replacement, but this is not my point,but simple background.
so this morn i have a few Lowes advertisements popping up.
is this what u mean by exploiting the data that we provide.
whichever way i run the play i will still lose.
its a whole lot like voting.
jim

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 9:35:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Jim

Ever notice the ads on one website are related to the site you left a few minutes ago?

Everything we do is monitored. It's just done by machines instead of people.

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 10:37:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,
Very much looking forward to your VN piece.

All,
Re; personal info/data capture - I can tell you, with informed authority, that EVERYTHING you do online and with a credit card (+ other methods) is captured, tracked and sold on the information market and then used for a variety purposes, some against your own best interests.

For example, you all know I work in insurance for a major US corp. I am NOT a salesman. I am a data guy. I analyze cost drivers and participate in the development of models to help the corp understand what it might do to lower costs, which in turn allow for both lower premiums/enhanced competitiveness and greater profitability.

Obviously we use claims data to understand what conditions and treatments are driving costs? Which providers are involved? Who/what is cost effective and who/what is not. What is the trend? What should we expect in coming years? Do we address via contracting? Medical benefits policy? What membership will be selected? etc, etc.We also look at member (that's the insured people) demographics. Who are these members? Why are they costly? We set rates (premiums) and benefit policies based on zip code level demographics combined with the other variables I mentioned.

We have massive databases and powerful software to mine that data and analyze it. I manage a team that does that work.

Recently we have enhanced our demographics data with some files that would blow your mind. We know what you purchased with your credit card. Everything. One obvious use of that data for laymen such as yourselves is how heavily is a risk pool populated by people with unhealthy habits (smoking, drinking, fatty foods). Magaize and online subscriptions are also very telling in ways that would surprise you. We know your political affiliations - the software builds these inferences and associations quite well. Sure, there are odd ball individuals that don't fit the pattern, but we don't care. It's the overall trend in a zip code level demographic that counts. national census data adds race, income level, voting tendencies to the mix. We test our algorithms against census data.

But I could look up an individual person and run that data through the processes and tell you all about the person quite accurately. BTW, some of the file feeds come from social media. I attended a conference in which a purveyor of this data said that the ability to read text - like a FB post - has improved to the point where profiles are being built and sold based on that info. We have some of those files too. I just don't know how to use them....yet. It appears that comments and posts are packaged with flags...angry person, depressed person, person experiencing chronic illness, etc, etc, etc, etc......

Now, that is me in private industry trying to use the data to improve our business for our and your benefit, not to attack or control citizens, political opponents, etc. IMAGINE WHAT THE GOVT IS DOING WITH THIS SAME INFO AND CAPABILITY!

avedis

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 11:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,
Your refusal to use credit cards is, in itself, a valuable bit of profiling data. Sometimes it's not what you do, but what you don't do that helps us understand you.

avedis

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 11:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S.

Given what little ole me has available, I think the only reason we miss terrorists is that there are purely political barriers to wrapping these people up before they do something. In fact, that seems to be the case. We always hear that these maniacs have been on a watch list.

avedis

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 11:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more...Jim, yes. You got the Lowes ads b/c your info is sold to Lowes by the credit card company. The industry term for what was done to you is "enhancing the user experience". You are supposed to be grateful that Lowes is assisting you by showing you deals you may be interested in, but unaware of. I don't know how sophisticated that program is. A solid program would join your recent purchase with the kind of data I spoke to above. That would refine the search. If you had a FB profile and online activity indicated that you're a twisted psycho, you would get Lowes ads specific to chain saws of the right blade size to pull off a real life chain saw massacre. Or - if Lowes is socially responsible - sell you the saw and then alert law enforcement before you use it.

avedis

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 11:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, re; social media. One reason that FB is always asking for phone numbers, facial recognition, birth dates, etc is so they can join you (and your activity) to a known distinct individual.

We know who you are with the credit card because social security number is required to have a credit card. This ties back to other financials....car loans, bank accounts. It also ties back to phone accounts and utilities. We, in insurance have your SS#. All good. We can join the data and start on your profile development.

Now on FB, we aren't sure who you are exactly. But if you submit a valid phone number to FB (FB keeps asking to do it), the phone is tied to SS# and, voila! Gotcha!!

You could withhold phone number but use your real name and birthdate (which FB also asks for). Name + DOB matches pretty darn well to SS# as a distinct individual. Gotcha again!

But there's also facial recognition that is getting better all the time. You might withhold phone number from FB, use a fake name and fake DOB. But your face is mined from the photos you post and that can be matched to drivers license databases. Gotcha again! you clever non-conformist you.

This is happening. I know it for a fact. It is not paranoid conspiracy theory.

here's another one I have straight from the horse's mouth. those game apps you buy to fiddle with on your smart phone....well the difficulty level is manipulated, deliberately. One reason is so they can sell you more stuff. Ex; make it harder to get to the next level. You get frustrated and buy clues (or whatever. I don't have a smart phone or play these games). However, your reaction to the manipulations is logged and sold as psychological profile data. This gets collated with all the other psych profiles built from all of the other data I have mentioned (and then some I haven't)

ARE YOU CONCERNED YET?

avedis

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 11:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Avedis

Part of the reason the government is hamstrung is because it is government, obviously.

But the other part is ironically that it would probably be illegal for government intelligence or law enforcement agencies to compile all this data.

We don't mind when massive global corporations do the same thing, though, because they would never use that information to hurt us... right?

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 12:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis,


Thank you for this bit of homeland terror (i.e., "fright") you have shared. It amazes me how terrifically easy it is to exploit the human ego to give it up -- all -- to this great vacuum (double entre intended).

We saw a girl at dinner last night craning her head below her camera-on-a-stick, practicing the perfect beer-commercial smile before she shot the photo which would be instantaneously uploaded for the admiration of the hoped-for virtual crowd.

All for the sake of being famous on one's own feed, for the possibility of being "liked". How pathetic it seems.

There is no "now", now. As Malcolm said in A Clockwork Orange, it's amazing how much more real the thing is once you viddy them.

I had an intimation of the thing one night about 10 years ago after sending an email to a friend. Adverts for canoes started popping up in the sidebar. "How peculiar", I thought.

Then I realized why: I had used the word in the email, not even apropos of the thing, but simply using it in a metaphorical sense.

I'm sure the analytics have grown more sophisticated since then. I'm reminded of a line from a program years ago called "Person of Interest".

A man had invented a program to spy on everyone, and he wished to use it for good, though bad end up co-oopting the project. He said knowingly, "anonymity is power".

I thought it a good line. Of course one would need to avoid the internet, using it anonymously only at a library. Even then ...

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 12:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Per police agencies and terrorism, I cannot understand why an exception is not granted for full sharing of movement within known terrorist cells.

I mean, if we are using this much money and manpower to address the problem, wouldn't it be nice if we a strategy for networking and thus employing it?

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 12:54:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Promise this is the last, but at least these are all on topic.

There is an inter-insurance cooperative data system (yes! private industry indulging in a truly communist activity). All companies chip in and share the data. This is how we know if you have a pre-existing condition. Any diagnosis you have ever had, if the claim was covered by any insurance company, is in the system (again by SS#). This includes the VA which also participates. I have access to this data. Therefore someone like me can know anyone's entire medical history. The VA could access this too, though I think the system doesn't bother to use it. But other agencies in the govt could. Think of the blackmail opportunities (e.g. candidates, senators) if there was something embarrassing (VD?) or critical to functioning (early Alzheimer's?).

Something else, we often hire foreign IT workers. Think of the opportunity for a foreign agent to access this data and report it back to their country's intelligence services. Most - but not all - of these foreign national aren't supposed to have access to personal identifier info; "supposed to" being the operative words. Yet some are supposed to. Actually anyone could capture and sell the info. If I was a shady guy, I could sell it to a foreign govt, political opponents, the media, etc. Could probably retire on it. That's without needing to resort to hacking.

Anyone who tells you "don't worry. the data is secure" is full of it.

Our capabilities have grown to exceed our ethics and ability to control.

avedis

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 12:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

As Uncle Ronnie said,

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."


As MLK said,

"We have guided missiles, and misguided men."


We have moved quickly, and have no ability to see the ramifications of our behavior. This is the topic of my final upcoming post on media.

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 1:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Avedis

"Our capabilities have grown to exceed our ethics and ability to control."

I reached this conclusion in general a while ago and hence my very dismal outlook for the human species in the long run.

However I did not realize quite how sophisticated private databases already were. Thank you for this information.

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 8:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Nikolay Levin said...

Aha! Trying to sneak yourself out of Xenia there?? A valiant upholding of Western civilization there, Avedis.

I will bring up one thing and then (finally) return to my own work up in meatspace myself. Karl Marx talked about a concept called commodity fetishism (although I'm not at that part in Das Kapital myself), its basically the observation that if capitalism is allowed to take its natural course of infinitely rising profit; nothing will be safe from commodification. It'll commodify mail, it'll commodify childhood, and it'll even commodify water itself. All of these things are happening or will happen in the future. Naturally, with no objects left, it'll commodify and objectify human beings.

We're not customers for Facebook's stupid apps. We've become they're product. To harvest, buy and sell to third parties. That's whats happening today and its a small taste of what'll happen tomorrow if we deign it to continue.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 12:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nikolay,
At the risk of going way off topic - if Marx said that, then he didn't understand capitalism or free markets at all; which doesn't surprise me.

Remember, I studied economics and although I specialize in healthcare and have become even more specialized within that field, I could still be referred to as being an "economist". In a free market economy, the biggest profits are made initially, when the recipient of capital/innovator is the first player in the market (assuming what they are selling has relatively inelastic price, demand, etc). As competition enters the market, assuming equal quality of product and efficiencies of production, profits begin to fall because the producers compete on price. In fact profits fall to the point where they = the normal rate of return (which is what you'd get in you simply put your money in a solid interest bearing account instead of running the factory or whatever).

That is a law of free markets. I don't care what Marx - a guy who never worked let alone ran a production line - says.

Tying this back more to recent posts, the reason we don't always see that law functioning is that there is a cancerous mutation of free markets known as "crony capitalism". The mutation is that some people with the capability have rigged the game such that competition is stifled. This seems to be the primary role of politicians; to play the role of rigger.

Zuckerberg, et al, with their AI tools are promising to make markets more efficient. Using the tech, you can identify all people wanting your product. You can target your sales pitch to them in a way that makes a purchase irresistible. Maybe you can sway people that ordinarily would be interested in your product to become interested. Getting leverage on politicians via secret knowledge might be a bonus too.

Incidentally, Zuckerberg is rumored to be considering a run for President. God help us.

avedis

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 7:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Per Nikolay's:


We're not customers for Facebook's stupid apps. We've become they're product. To harvest, buy and sell to third parties.

I would say we are both, having morphed into a data-generating property. Owned, but without knowing they are being led by a nose ring to perform these self-imprisoning tasks. Feeling quite "clever, classless and free", but really "f*cking peasants", as Lennon sang.


avedis,


Yes per Z.: Just look at how easily FB's "news" feeds get our fellows fired up.

They wake up their machines and shut down their minds, performing Huxley's "Two Minutes Hate" with all the gusto of one doing the Thorazine Shuffle:


fr. 1984:

"The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp"


To me, it is all quite terrifying.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 9:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa,
I read a theory that made sense.

We are conditioned - in both conscious and subconscious ways - to need to be part of a group. Way way back being a loner meant death. I would say that death, or at least a very tough existence - was the consequence of being alone even recently. The drive to be a member of a group is especially strong during times of change and uncertainty. It's a largely unexamined instinct.

I am naturally a loner. I have always been suspicious of, and uncomfortable with, group mindsets. I don't trust people as individuals and I trust them even less as a group. Moreover, I simply don't understand them, their motivations, their needs. The lack of discipline offends me as does the lack of foresight. Lack of agape bothers me too, a lot.

Always been that way and some of my life experiences have reinforced it. So I don't fully understand the instinct.

That said, I did find myself getting caught up in the two minutes of hate during the last election cycle. It felt just as you quote from "1984". It was cathartic. Hey! There's a bunch of people that think and feel just like I do about all of this political stuff and there's a bunch of degenerate imbecile weaklings that oppose us! A military friend began making posts about giving the leftist idiots "Pinochet helicopter rides". Some of these posts brought forth a full belly laugh. Why we could call these rides "Free public transportation for all - it will just be a one way transport during the trial phase - which should appeal to their socialist views!" Hilarious! Then...I stopped and checked myself out....what was I thinking? What was I turning into? Why was I trading my mind and soul for some mean spirited camaraderie?

But my brief experience is what makes me certain that movements like global warming are just cults with mantras repeated until they are believed. People suspend reason just to be a member. Ditto social justice warriors, hard right Christians...any of these groups. You can't discuss with such people b/c your not really debating the issue. Rather you're attacking the group, the life line, the opiate, the anxiety reducer.

Zuckerberg is truly an evil genius

avedis



Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 10:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis,


This absolutely resonates with me. Per the group:


"I simply don't understand them, their motivations, their needs. The lack of discipline offends me as does the lack of foresight. Lack of agape bothers me too, a lot."


Ostracism was, perhaps still is, a death sentence. That is a powerful motivator to join in, somewhere. To belong.

Like Gertrude Stein wrote, "I am I because my little dog knows me." Ergo, if I am alone and no one knows (=accepts) me, I am adrift and unknown. Since I am thrown into the world (per existentialism), that can be an unbearable life sentence, for some.

Like the poet Bukowski wrote, since they (the group) burnish their hate, it will be perfect, and it will far surpass your love. They will disdain your love, and in their unison voice, you may even begin to feel as one being gaslighted for your sincerity.

I don't bandy the word "evil" around often, but Z., et al., have undertaken an evil project. Living a life in a black hole is evil, and not life-affirming.

Ironic that "Don't Be Evil" is Google's motto. They know something we do not.

Methinks they protest too much.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 11:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Lisa and Nikolay on property

I'm sure Avedis could explain this using the proper words since he's an economist, but we were ALWAYS the product for Facebook, Google, etc. It's not like this just happened unexpectedly.

A hint about for-profit companies: if they're giving you something for free, then you're not their customer. Google technically isn't a search engine company, it's an advertising company. The only difference between them and the guy who owns the billboards on the side of the highway are the method they assemble an audience for their real customers, the advertisers.

Google doesn't want you to be satisfied with their service because you're a valued client any more than a clothing store wants shirts to feel happy and respected while they're hanging on the racks waiting for a buyer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 3:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David,
I strongly suspect that, in addition to what you say about Google, FB, etc, these companies are in cahoots with the NSA and other alphabet agencies. IMO, that is another original purpose as opposed to a secondary offshoot; at least in Google's case. I have no evidence, though.

It is known for a fact that the NSA was involved in the building of the internet infrastructure and critical processes. I can't believe that given that, they didn't horn in the potential of the search engines. I wouldn't be in the least surprised if Z wasn't approached at some point as well.

There is a history of the CIA and Hollywood collaborating.

avedis

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 4:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Scanning the piece, I wrote an addendum:


(The contrapositive of the story is that if we had a person of color or a woman President, the white men would not some out of their hidey holes, and their needs and concerns would be staunched. And of course, to the party line Democrat, this would be a Good Thing.)


I had just read a typical op-ed in the NYT on the footballers taking the knee which stated,

"Clearly, racism plays a role, at least in Trump’s case." While absurd, via repetition, it has become fact for many.

My associates will counter my protestation that this is far from clear with, "But he's sexist ..." Whatever else he may be, this does not counter the simple fact that the President is not racist.

There is nothing in Mr. Trump's behavior to indicate racism, though there IS much in the typical liberal's behavior to indicate racism. But apparently their racism is a good sort of racism.

In truth, if racism is unsavory, it must be so in every iteration.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 7:21:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa,
I was looking at some data related to the taking of the knee and the meme behind it.

Last year 16 African Americans were shot and killed by law enforcement while unarmed. That's it. Keep in mind that being unarmed does not = unjustified shooting. Indeed, of the 16 cases, the majority were Michael Brown type situations wherein the citizen who got killed by LEOs was fighting, going for the LEOs weapon, pretty clearly indulged in "suicide by cop". The there are honest mistakes. The LEO demands that the citizen ceases activity, puts hands up, get on the ground, etc and the citizen makes a quick move, LEO shoots.

So maybe - maybe - 5 or 6 of the cases indicate sub-par performance by LEOs.

Some of the LEOs involved in the cases are, themselves, African Americans.

This is hardly the genocidal racist epidemic that the football players and BLM want us to believe is occurring. 5 or 6 incidents out of countless interactions with LEOs.

To say it is racism at work is either a massive delusion or a degenerate tactic in the left's drive to undermine the country as we know it.

Even if you believe that the 5 or 6 questionable shootings are pure evil that need to be addressed by the country, there is no need to disrespect the flag, anthem and country generally. 5 or 6 cases could be directly addressed via lawyers and other professional groups, the media, etc.

It's only when you accept the delusion of massive systemic racism that the need to undermine the entire system becomes relevant. Hence the fueling of the delusion.

Black males age 18- 35 make up %4 or so of the population of the country, yet they commit something like 50% of all violent crime. This needs to be taken into account when considering police stop rates, arrest rates, etc. To fail to do so is also a delusion. Yes, there is reason to be nervous when you see a group of black youths shuffling along an inner city street. If anyone is likely to assault, it's them. Those are the odds. Yes, that is ugly. Sometimes the truth is. For blacks to not face that their own people are driving the issue, is irresponsible.

Sometimes I get the sense that blacks think that LEOs should never shoot any of them no matter what they are doing. Such an attitude is not compatible with civil society. We have a huge problem here and the leftist media meme is making it worse.

16. There are more blacks shot by each other every weekend. Why is that not protested? Because it doesn't fit the degenerate left's strategy.

Go to link, then click some internal links to get to the database to which I refer.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2016/

avedis

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 9:38:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an example of a case of an unarmed black man getting shot and killed by police. The family is upset (usual "he dinnit do nuffif").

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/12/14/doj-will-investigate-july-death-of-darrius-stewart-an-unarmed-black-19-year-old-shot-by-police-in-memphis/?utm_term=.ba3dac7f9fae

It is troubling that - as in the Michael Brown case - they can't seem to understand why the guy was shot.

Two warrants for his arrest. Put in back of police car. Kicks door open, attacks police officer....

....I hear a lot of whining from liberals about, "why did they have to shoot him? They could have used a taser, or just shoot him in the leg... or just let him go...etc, etc"

Tasers don't always put people (you can see dash and body cam clips on youtube showing this). Pistol shots often don't drop the target even when in center of mass. Bad guys who are simply let go, often go on to harm citizens. An unarmed man can get control of a LEO in a fight and strangle him, bash his head into the ground or gain control of his weapon and shoot him and maybe some other people. These are all piss poor arguments from liberals.

In the case of the white enabler type of liberal, I think they are just too isolated to have the basic understanding to get it. In the case of blacks, I think there is something far more sinister happening. It's like they really believe they should be exempt from societies rules. Or they haven't absorbed enough society to know better. Scary.

avedis

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 11:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis,


While tangential to the post it is absolutely related. More hate, more falsehood, disproved vis-a-vis stats.

Who produces and proliferates them, and and why this "tactic in the left's drive to undermine the country as we know it"?

Per my contention, the vast bulk of the proliferators are not Nation of Islam members, but rather, people much like you and me. For some reason, they can not or will not see the reality, for the "meme" is so much more glamorous, more seductive.

And yet, the reality for the majority of us is, we do not want the Civil War statues down; do not want political grandstanding at football games. Seeing the photo in this AM's news feed just bothered me, not only for the reasons you mention, but also the very clear UN-ethical basis of these multi-million dollar athletes crouching in solidarity with Kaepernick.

What exactly relevant to his life is he kneeling for? His black father left his indigent mother before he was born, and he had the good fortune to be adopted by a caring white family.

As someone now working with black kids in a 98% black town, I can say the tragedy is that there is help available to help them succeed, but neither the money nor inclination from the powers that be.

I know two non-profits who would step into this F-school area, given proper support.

For me, the kneel grates cos it's the cheap shot at a nation that's rewarding them handsomely. If they want to make a difference, they could pull out their wallets and for the smallest relative change, make an actual difference. I could hook 'em up.

I may write a small post on the topic. Sensible readers I guess would get it. The rest would be up in arms the moment they saw the subject.

ISTM today one is silenced before one is even heard. One must follow the herd.

Even --and especially-- if it is to one's detriment. We may be secular nation, but playing the martyr seems to fit many well.

It supports my belief that if we will not humble ourselves via some sort of worship, we will replace that impulse by becoming the martyr, ourselves.

Of course, none of these faux-martyrs see that actuality.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 11:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa,
"For me, the kneel grates cos it's the cheap shot at a nation that's rewarding them handsomely. If they want to make a difference, they could pull out their wallets and for the smallest relative change, make an actual difference. I could hook 'em up"

Exactly.

If there really was some ignored (by power centers) campaign on the part of police to kill blacks, I would totally support the kneeling and probably even BLM. That's why I looked into the data. I wanted to know the truth.

yes, a little tangential, but related due to belief in the meme becoming one of those in-group requirements. Sad. It's so counter-productive, as you note.

avedis

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 11:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

We're all so primitive, really. We expect the sabre-toothed tiger will consumed a relative, so we're primed to cry crocodile tears at any moment.

If Mr. Kaepernick wants to make a difference he can open his wallet. Charity is justice.

Then he wouldn't have to bow and scrape (for a minute), nor would any of the poor black kids I work with.

With a little actual help by their "own" and not just by others, vs. a feely meme, they could hold their heads up by dint of their own energy and creativity.

Hypocrisy is at the root, as usual, and it reigns all 'round.

[BTB: a story a few years back on a black abortionist, Dr. Gosnell, woke me up to the game. I intend to write on it one day.]

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 1:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

This protest is designed to garner attention. You're giving it to them.

You're not paying their salary. Their employers are. Their employers are no doubt gambling that people won't actually stop watching and paying for football because of this.

In the meantime I would say there are probably bigger problems to worry about. The flag will survive if not everybody stands in its presence during the anthem.

I actually tested this by going to elementary school with a Jehovah's Witness kid who never stood up for the anthem. Not once in any of those years did the school get burned down or smote by lightning.

However, by the same token, if these athletes want us to actually respect their cause and not just notice it, they could probably actually do something about their concerns that actually means something.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 3:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David,

The flag is just a symbol. However, the symbol stands for something, ideals, values and a coherent people. The protest is saying that players are not part of us. That the ideals are fraudulent or corrupt.

Like I said. If I thought there was truth to what they claim to be protesting, I would be with there with them. But this is a stark reminder that some portion of the country doesn't want to be a part of it and that there is nothing we can do to help them feel like they can be. It's the prelude to a civil war, IMO. I know you'll say that's hyperbolic, but I don't see what else can result. You've got the owner of a team locking arms with the kneelers. This is a dark skinned guy from Pakistan, He attended college, started a business and then got lots of lucrative contracts to produce parts for the big three automakers. He's a billionaire now. Some insiders say he got preferential treatment b/c of his immigrant status. The players are millionaires. The one who started this was raised by kind white people. The statistics don't support their cause. WHAT MORE CAN SOCIETY DO? HOW CAN THEY EVER BE SATISFIED? Where was the media when a black immigrant walked into a church over the weekend and starting shooting people? This is a revolution to take the country and re-apportion it on race based lines. How long do you think the white people will remain asleep and let it happen?

I know for a fact that the University of Arizona Law School splits its admissions on 50/50 male/female, then 50/50 Caucasian minority. I know this b/c I had a convo with the dean of Admissions once upon a time. I suspect most others are the same. Again I ask, what more can we do?

Lisa,
I sincerely wish you the best in your work. It's a good thing you do. I criticize the current state of race relations in the US b/c I think MLK was one of the greatest and his words and dream are righteous - what is happening is not something he'd approve of, I'm certain. I critique AA culture b/c I think they can do better if they allow themselves and stop being so race conscious. Many have proven that.

avedis

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 7:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Avedis

You've hit it on your head in that second paragraph. These are comparatively rich men holding a protest and trying to capitalize on their celebrity status to make a political point.

I try to make it a point never to give any credence or attention whatsoever to celebrities who want to lecture me on politics, or anything else really.

Celebrities seem to feed on the controversy it generates. Later they can write a bestselling book about "My Time as a Revolutionary Critic of Institutional Racism and Everything I Had to Suffer."

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 10:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David,
I don't pay attention to celebrities either. Conservative Fox News plays this game too. They trot our some former Navy SEAL to talk about an economic policy, or education.....what does some super squid know about any of that? Respect to the SEAL teams, but I'm pretty sure that none of their specialty schools included economics. The audience eats it up because a SEAL is a celeb to them. They worship the troops.

To drive my wider point home, BLM states in their manifesto - " Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise” and that “[e]very 28 hours a Black man, woman, or child is murdered by police or vigilante law enforcement"

Do the math. That comes out to 313 black people killed each year. That happens to be exactly the number of blacks killed by police a couple years ago.

So what is being said is that ANY black killed by police is a crime; even if the guy who was shot was shooting at police and had murdered people.

I read that as a declaration of war. Us against you.

This is what the idiot celebs are kneeling for.

Degeneracy of the highest order. It doesn't end well.

avedis

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 12:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

David,


On the precise issue, you are correct: it matters not a whit.

Neither Ranger or myself are ones to rush to put out the latest fire. To that endeavor, there would be no end.

This particular demonstration, "to make a political point", in your opinion (I'd like to know what the point is, tho') grates due to its proximity to my interests.

Like you say, it's a cheap ploy to run a book deal one day, or somesuch. I certainly won't go at it from the perspective of being anti-protest, as I've just defended the pro-Civil War marchers right to advocate for their beliefs; everyone has that right.

I will have a different avenue of approach, and be making a small but concrete point on the behavior. Asavedis says, proceeding down this avenue does not bode well for a nation.

It feeds the corrosion all 'round; it is not life-affirming. Part of me says, "Just damn fool herd behavior," but it affects the watchers, and it is that I wish to address.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 3:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Avedis

Although you are right about Fox News it doesn't stop there.

As you may have noticed, warmed-over Bush administration leftovers who couldn't get a job in the Trump administration have been making the rounds of all kinds of liberal news outlets to bash Trump. Eight years ago these people were at each other's throats. Now they're all good friends.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 11:21:00 PM GMT-5  

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