Archive for July, 2020

Propaganda

29 July 2020

After supporting the U.S. war effort in the early 1900s, Edward Bernays wrote a short book in 1928 entitled Propaganda.

He opened the work with this declaration:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.

Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

Bernays, then, sees society – or at least a free and democratic society – as a kind of “chaos” into which the opinion leaders, named and unnamed, bring order and agreement. This is his explanation of why an “invisible government” is so necessary and why his advice on how to use propaganda is so important to heed.

Shocked?

If the reader is shocked by this seemingly ostentatious assertion that free markets, true and open information, and individual choice are insufficient for a “smoothly functioning society” to operate, join the club. Though Bernays’ book is still available in both hard copy and PDF form, no one in the mainstream is likely to let you in on this fact. Though it is studied in some colleges I am sure, you are already half way through the membership process for our modern ruling class, so it’s OK for you to know about it.

But our rulers are very unlikely to come right out and admit that they are practicing “psychological warfare” on a daily basis, even though Bernays did after the first World War according to one of his biographers.

And therefore, though I (and many others) can breezily say that at least 90% of the information you receive on public communication lines today (and probably some on your personal lines as well) is propaganda, we’d be hard-pressed to “prove” it to you. If you really want to believe that all the newscasters, all the politicians, all the activists – even “members of the public” that you see interviewed on the media – are sincere and only want you to know what the truth really is, go ahead.

Who can I believe?

Many many individuals and groups are clamoring to get your attention and put their message across. Some are sincere, while others are total criminals. People therefore are forced to make decisions about what they will pay attention to and who they will trust. Thus, this decision-making process is the first target for creators of propaganda.

There is no substitute for being a well-informed, widely-read, and discerning person. I can only share some of the basics that I think are important in your quest for true data. I have listed these before, but that list is lost somewhere in the archives of this blog. I don’t keep these written down anywhere. I sort of reinvent them as I see the need to apply them.

  • Cultivate a certainty that liars exist, including very bad and vicious ones. If this is not clear to you from history, then study some more history. This is part of being on watch for antisocial personalities. My church has a video on this subject, but it is widely covered elsewhere as well. This personality type has been extensively studied due to the amount of trouble it causes. Realize that no sector of society is immune from this. He could be a king or a coal heaver.
  • Learn to recognize emotional tones in speaking and writing. While people sometimes put on theatrics to get a point across, be much more cautious about the whiner, and about the person who chooses his words with overly-painful care. Those people aren’t in a good place and are prone to lie or have poor ability to see what’s really there. The one who is fearful or tells you to be afraid, the one who is angry or hateful or urges you to be so, are likewise in deep emotional trouble, and you trust them at your peril.
  • Favor those who invite you to consider the data they have presented and make up your own mind. This is a valuable and cultivated trait in the honest person, although if the situation is extreme enough, they may leave this out in the hopes you can tell that what they are describing is obviously true.
  • Favor those who invite you to participate in how they understand the world by attempting to provide educational materials and explain technical words you aren’t familiar with. If this is done with sincerity, it demonstrates their willingness for you to make your own decisions based on your own understandings.

What the hell is going on out there?

Everyone seems to have their own take on who is “good” and who is “bad.”

Your best bet is to attempt to rise above the immediate conflict – even though the outcome of that conflict might affect you personally – and see the broader picture.

How broad a view you get depends to a certain extent on how broad a view you expect to get.

For example, I assume that ET and past lives play a role in any major drama being played out on Earth, whether it be the current ones or any in the past. And if conflict is involved, particularly if it includes considerable violence and death, I assume the Third Party Law is in play. For me these are basic assumptions. Although this tends to leave a picture with lots of missing data, I assume that more limited views of what is happening are even more incomplete. This has to do with my training, but if you look for evidence of these factors you will find them. Witness the Bernays quote above. The purveyors of propaganda are purposely making themselves “invisible.” To me, this is tantamount to a confession of criminal intent. Why would an honest man hide? Only, perhaps, if he wishes to avoid being detected by a higher enemy he is trying to defeat. Still, if he thought it out better, he’d probably realize that it is saner to stay visible.

Oddly, as Bernays notes, “Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.” (Cabinet in this case referring to a ruling committee, such as the President uses to help operate the federal government.) This means we are not necessarily looking at a single unified criminal operation. There could be several at work, secretly at war with each other as they all try to keep us unaware of them by promoting conflicts. This has been pointed out by more astute commentators in the past. Most try to oversimplify in this regard. They assume that the “opposition,” to be effective, must be fully organized. This is not necessarily so. They just have to be better organized than we are.

I won’t go into great detail here, as much as I am tempted. The data on this are not that good, which leaves me guessing a lot more than I’d like.

The mainstream media seem most intent on their anti-Trump campaign. This is obviously more important to them than the pandemic, as they have lied about hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to make Trump look bad. HCQ is a valid anti-viral therapy, particularly when combined with zinc. The mainstream is so intent on destroying Trump that they are willing to see people die needlessly because doctors are not using HCQ when they should be. The mainstream has blood on their hands, but this is nothing new for them. “Conservative” or “right wing” media, led by Fox, mounts a constant barrage of counter-attacks against the “Left.” Though the “Right” occupies moral higher ground at the moment, they are not in fact well known for this, and their defiance is, for the most part, theater. The more careful thinkers on the Right are doing a better job of sorting this out, but not much.

Who wants Trump gone? The portion of the “invisible government” that runs the mainstream media do, that’s obvious. Some people think this is no more than idiotic partisanship. I think there is more to it. The “Left” is not what is poised to take over if Trump goes down. The Democrats as a political party have almost entirely destroyed themselves. This must be the work of the “invisibles” as well. Bernays says those in the background want smooth functioning. I think that’s propaganda! I think they want chaos.

Who benefits from chaos in the U.S. or on the planet? We have fingers pointing at some of the countries that have already gone totalitarian, or have always been. I don’t think that’s accurate. Governments have real work to do. The totalitarian ones are closer to the “ideal scene” for whoever is trying to muscle in, that’s all.

Some (Patrick Wood) think it’s the Technocrats. Are these the same people Bernays refers to? That’s very possible. Yet we see a deep insincerity in the Bernays vision, which is much less obvious in those who are stepping forward with Technocratic solutions, like “Sustainability” and Permaculture. So I believe the public Technocrats are often sincere. Poorly-informed but sincere. The hidden Technocrats are better-informed and so more deceptive. They are prepared to violate the “rules of Technocracy” to achieve short-term political ends. Psychiatry, as a guild, stands with the bad Technocrats. The others – of both persuasions – are scattered around in the corporate world, work as political activists, or occupy more harmless positions in society.

But we know (thoroughly confirmed by Farsight) that ET is also involved. The Reptilian faction has been heavily involved in genetic experimentation. Beyond these facts, the details are less clear. There are rumors that the Secret Space Program is assisting the Reptilians with soldiers and possibly scientists. There are also stories of an ET slave trade. Earth is already a prison planet, so it is little wonder that ET would have plans to exploit us for our resources and labor. “Reps” have a reputation for sucking planets dry then leaving them for dead. They are promising to spare various groups on Earth from this fate if they cooperate. So they are. That’s my guess about why the criminality has become so pervasive.

A person makes mistakes when under the influence of a suppressive person or group. That’s what we are seeing on Earth now. I hope it can be turned around.

Though these three look a bit other-worldly, I don’t think they are part of the problem…

Pretty girls riding on a fire truck in support of a WSU support group, Pullman, 2014.

How to Control Your Slaves

26 July 2020

The following essay is despicably plagiarized from one written by Christer Petley, professor of history at the University of Southampton in the UK. It was published in the online magazine Aeon on 1 Nov 2018 under the title How Slaveholders in the Caribbean Maintained Control. I presume the original essay to be an accurate portrayal of how white British slaveholders handled large slave populations imported from Africa onto sugar plantations on islands like Jamaica.

This rendition is severely edited and meant as a cautionary “dark satire.”

How to Control Your Slaves

While it is no surprise that the whip is synonymous with slavery: its continual crack an audible threat to remind slaves that their lives and bodies are not their own, and that they should maintain (outwardly at least) a demeanor of dutiful subordination to their overlords, this is by no means the only tool, nor perhaps even the best one, with which to control slave populations.

Though throughout the Americas, the right of masters to punish slaves through the “Mental Health System” is enshrined in law, the violence needed to sustain slavery may require additional measures. Punishments could include amputation, disfiguring, branding and more. Slaves could also be put to death – a penalty most often enforced during the aftermath of rebellions.

But physical abuse alone should not be assumed to be the only way to keep your various lucrative enterprises productive. It is impossible to get large groups of people to perform sustained labor effectively and consistently for years on end simply through doling out pain and raw terror. Even the most brutal of slaveholders are therefore compelled to develop a more sophisticated system of management that exploits the aspirations and fears of the people they dominate.

Creating divisions between slaves is essential to this. Enslaved people often outnumber “free whites” by a ratio higher than 10 to one, in some large enterprises it may be closer to 100 to one. Managers therefore need to divide slaves in order to rule over them. The importation of slaves from various different countries provides one excellent opportunity. As a manager of several large Jamaican sugar estates remarked in 1804, it was a general policy to have ‘a mixture of nations so as to balance one set against another, to be sure of having two-thirds join the whites’ (in the event of an uprising). The theory behind this is that slaves from one nation would refuse to join rebellions plotted by those from others, or by locally born slaves, choosing instead to serve their masters in the hope of rewards for loyal service.

Privileging some enslaved people above others is another effective means of sowing discord. Slaveholders should encourage complex social hierarchies amounting to something like a system of ‘class’. At the top of slave communities would be skilled men, trained up at the behest of managers to become process engineers, machinists, carpenters, welders, masons and drivers. Such men should be, in general, materially better-off than “field slaves” (most of whom may be women and children).

The most important members of this enslaved elite should be the middle managers, responsible for enforcing discipline and work routines among the other enslaved workers. These men are essential to effective enterprise management – a conduit for orders and, sometimes, for negotiations between overseers and the masses. But be warned: They are also among the strongest survivors!

The privileges conferred on the enslaved elite may take many forms: better food, more food, better clothing, more clothing, better and bigger housing, even the prospect (in some rare cases) that a master might use his last will and testament to free them. Conferring on enslaved people a full Christian name and surname – by baptism or some similar process, may help to distinguish them from the multitude. The Church is one of the pillars of our establishment, and so being baptized into it confers prestige.

As an owner you should understand its reinventive power. One owner reports that ‘many of the best slaves’ are christened in this manner, ‘whenever they deserve it; this makes them better slaves.’ (By which he means harder-working, more loyal.) None of this means that the more elite slaves should be invited to live as the equals of their masters. Far from it. But slaveholders know that things such as smarter clothes, superior nutrition, an occasional drink of ‘port’, or even initiation into the Church can help to diminish the prospect of successful open resistance. This, coupled with the inevitably grisly consequences of a failed rebellion, helps to persuade large numbers of enslaved people to attempt to survive their ordeal by negotiating within the system.

The various privileges extended to the more elite slaves help to create a conservative attitude among them – keen to protect what they have gained. They also produce an aspirational culture, of sorts, within the slave community – a bleak and tragic shadow of the ‘American dream’ of independence and riches that motivates most slaveholders. Those slaves who live long enough and are not physically or psychologically broken can aim to join the ranks of the skilled, privileged elite. And there is evidence that those who win the favor of their overlords, thus avoiding field work, will cherish those advantages. One slave in Barbados even killed his successor, and then committed suicide when a manager stripped him of his job as a security guard.


This advice may upset common assumptions about slavery – and about slaves. In the popular imagination there has been a tendency to perceive enslaved people either as downtrodden victims or as romantic rebels. It is a contradictory simplification. The bland confining categories of ‘victim’ or ‘rebel’ (or even ‘collaborator’) cannot properly capture the experiences or choices of enslaved people, including those of middle managers, of the clergy, or of security guards.

Those people show us, instead, that slavery is as complex as it is cruel. Negotiating its grim realities requires determination, skill, and selfishness. It is next to impossible to endure without making moral compromises. All enslaved people – from the newly trafficked to seasoned field workers; from children forced to work as soon as they could sit in a school chair, to experienced middle managers – respond to their predicaments in ordinary ways, albeit under extraordinary pressures. They do what they can to keep alive and, if possible, to capitalize on scant opportunities within the system in which they are trapped.

However complex and divided we make the slave community, however many people we allow to carve out precarious positions of relative comfort, make sure they are struggling to live within a system designed to promote disunity, anxiety and fear. Even the most valued of middle managers should be subject to arbitrary demotion. Some brave or desperate souls may choose to flee. But the fine-tuned system of divide and rule helps to deter all but the most determined of rebels.

With the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution in 1791 and the growing influence of humanitarian campaigning, we see a danger that the inner workings of the slave system will buckle and break. Don’t let them seize opportunities to undermine the world that the slaveholders have made! We must know that, in the end, we are doing the right thing!

Science and Slavery

24 July 2020

“What does the science tell us?”

This is one of the most ubiquitous phrases in modern rhetorical prose. For all intents a purposes, it did not exist as a phrase 30 years ago. What happened?

As the mask wars rage on on Facebook (and Twitter also, I imagine) I yearned for a better understanding of the underlying situation.

Human Rights

First up, the Draft Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights got published, with a request for comments. I wrote a response on this blog, and emailed a copy to the State Department. They published it! So I sat down and read all the comments. They were for the most part not salutary.

Quip about Facebook

Then I heard this. I can’t remember now who said it: “Facebook’s product is people using Facebook. What keeps people using Facebook? Arguments!”

The Codevilla article

Next, I ran across a long essay entitled America’s Ruling Class by Angelo M. Codevilla, originally published as an article in The American Spectator in 2010. Codevilla served as a U.S. Navy officer, a foreign service officer, and professional staff member of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate. He was working as a professor in international relations when he wrote the article. In the essay he posits the existence of a “Ruling Class” dedicated to the secular laws of science, and a “Country Class” desperately attempting to remain true to the higher laws of their faith.

The menace of Socialism

Most recently, I witnessed various exhortations and exchanges on the subject of Socialism and Marxism. We have the fact, for instance, that the original organizers of BLM are proud of their training in Marxist ideology. There are in fact many persons who think what this world really needs is more Marxism, or Socialism, and less Capitalism.

Talking past each other

And finally I realized that the “two sides” in most of these arguments were talking past each other. They had come to base their lives and world views on different sets of assumptions, and each saw the other’s assumptions as inferior.

The scientific/secular world view

I was brought up to value scientific and secular thought over “religious ideas.” I was never taught any explicit set of moral values. It took Ivan Illich, a Roman Catholic priest, to remind me (in his book Deschooling Society) that secular systems were experiencing possibly unintended negative outcomes in broad sectors of society. They had no moral compass.

At the time I was reading that book, we were also living through the Vietnam War. I had also read Hersey’s Hiroshima. While I learned of the civil rights struggle through magazine articles, I also sat on a high school “Biracial Committee” created as a response to racial violence at my school. I was very aware of negative outcomes!

The adults around me were oddly quiet about what was going on. I don’t think they had a clue what to say, and so remained silent.

And in this way a generation was spawned which lacked any moral education. Brought up without religion, we were taught to value empirical knowledge over faith, rational thought over belief. We thought we were right. But the “negative outcomes” raged on.

The faith-based world view

I was impressed by the convictions of the faithful, if not their behavior. Faith seemed to lead some to indulge in terrorist acts (Ireland, the Middle East). And I learned that even Nazi soldiers had believed that God was really on their side.

I had studied the history of India. It seemed their faith had not saved them from nearly endless warfare, either. Except, perhaps, for the legendary Ashoka, who had taken up Buddhism after witnessing first hand the appalling suffering caused by warfare. Ashoka had created a little bright bubble of peace and happiness on the Indian continent. It had lasted for, maybe, 50 years, yet is remembered to this day.

I also briefly studied the history of Indochina, with similar results. And I got a taste of what had been going on in the Islam world when I read a biography of T.E. Lawrence, and his own book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

I never really looked into the Enlightenment, the intellectual movement that set the stage for the “revolutions” of the late 1700s. But it seems that their emphasis on “freedom” came from the fact that the rational ideas that were being advanced by science were being opposed by a powerful and dominating church. When science finally won that battle, freedom no longer seemed that important.

Yet at the time of the Declaration of Independence, faith in God, as well as the freedom to believe as one wished, were both still important among thinking men. And we should recall that religion had always offered its own brand of freedom, the promise of a life in heaven, free of the cares and sufferings of earthly life.

And so the faithful continued to believe in the value of freedom, and placed it higher than the rationality of science and its technologies.

Fight to the death?

Codevilla saw a world almost hopelessly divided between an immoral minority who had gained power by gaining control over the production of many of the things people need and want, and an honest majority who kept the world running even as their resources were slowly diminished.

The Left – Right (Democrat – Republican) dichotomy was a falsehood, maintained for show, and based on a former struggle (over slavery!) that seemed distant and forgettable. The real dichotomy of freedom versus bondage went unrecognized, brushed off as an unimportant detail. In the world of the ruling class, slavery was inevitable. In the world of honest people, no means could be found to improve the situation. The fake dichotomy of left-versus-right was being constantly reasserted, burying the real dichotomy on a battlefield of vapid political discourse.

A synthesis

What I had learned about faith, morals, and intellectual freedom was both interesting and upsetting. And it would have remained that way if I hadn’t stumbled upon Hubbard’s synthesis offering a solution to the moral problems of science and the rational problems of religion. Hubbard had discovered, by rational means, the existence of immortal life in every human being, and by extension, in every living thing.

In so doing, he had become convinced that freedom and morality remained very important factors in life. And that we needed to apply those principles in all sectors of life, including the sciences and related secular endeavors.

Freedom, for the first time, became a rational idea. Not only could it be applied directly to the problem of spiritual liberation, but it could be seen as an essential factor in living, alongside barriers, and purposes. These were the three basic elements in all games. And play was at the core of human happiness. Freedom became a moral and ethical imperative because happy people were productive people. It explained why both slavery and total permissiveness are unworkable. They both result in no game, no happiness, and no production; death.

Exploring the intersection of science and spirit

Beyond the rarefied confines of Scientology (available for all to see on our own TV channel), lies the rest of the world, still struggling to make sense of it all. In exploring ways that I could connect with people to let them know that the problem has been solved, I have run into many different groups and individuals somehow making progress under their own steam. They are a proud and defiant lot, and most would rather die trying than admit they should have paid more attention to Hubbard.

Psychology and psychiatry

Meet the science-comes-first students and healers of the psyche! By ignoring the obvious (that the psyche isn’t physical) they have lost their place in the annals of history as a vanguard into a new age and ended up, instead, a pitiful footnote. But they are still trying.

The medical school at the University of Virginia has had a Division of Perceptual Studies since the 1960s, where Ian Stevenson did pioneering work in the field of past life recall in children. That work continues.

Jeffrey Mishlove has become a sort of intellectual overseer in the field of parapsychology, which has been widely studied for many years.

Kelly Brogan is a psychiatrist who leads the way into the brave new world of drugless health care. Watch out for her! Meanwhile, psychologist Linda Lagemann has defected to the world of Scientology where her work exposing the lack of morals in the “science” of mental health has been very valuable.

Remote viewing

Courtney Brown and his viewers at the Farsight Institute have managed to validate some of Hubbard’s most esoteric findings, though they have missed their chance, perhaps, at attaining true freedom. Maybe next life?

Experiencers and Consciousness

Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell saw fit to assist in the formation of a few different initiatives in this direction. His Institute of Noetic Sciences studies various aspects of consciousness and has a New Age feel to it. His Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Experiencers has collected and analyzed the stories of people who have been interacting with “higher levels of consciousness.” Their findings so far are very interesting. There are many who may wish they hadn’t overlooked this work while they still had time to get prepared.

Modern headlines – a loose application of basic principles

Here are a few recent stories from CalMatters, an independent news organization, with my comments.

California is burning through 46 million masks a month as hospital systems and frontline workers face shortages

Can you imagine how many masks hospitals and clinics go through? They have to dispose of them every few hours. No one ever figured out how to reuse hospital masks. Too late now. The biggest mask manufacturers are in China. That seems a little ironic to me.

Speaking of China: Lovers of freedom see China as a huge problem because of Communism. While lovers of science marvel at what China has been able to achieve – by hook or by crook – technology-wise. But now that U.S. multinationals are heavily invested in China (and Chinese are heavily invested in the U.S.), we are bound together like Siamese twins who can’t learn how to be friends.

Schools opening for child care raise questions — and lawsuits

Many lovers of freedom don’t want to send their kids back to school. If kids have to wear masks and can’t interact physically, those parents would rather home school. These people widely feel that the primary purpose of compulsory schooling is daycare so both parents can work, while their children get indoctrinated into the dogma of secular science.

Meanwhile, the lovers of science want their kids in school so they can learn to be good little scientists while both parents work so they can afford their nice house and car and maybe someday college….

California college students appeal for more financial aid

One of the most amazing things that happened in my lifetime was the dystopian nightmare of college loans. Loans were offered to less fortunate students in the rather cynical (I think) belief that with the higher-paying job they could get after finishing college, they’d be able to pay back the loan.

The loans helped tuition prices spiral out of control. Someone was getting rich – not sure who. And more kids than ever were getting exposed to the message that devotion to secular science beats a life based on fundamental moral values. The result has been an explosion of criminal behavior in the new ruling class. You can still start a business and be prosperous without going to college. But you can’t join the new ruling class without going to college.

More on Human Rights

21 July 2020

In my attempts to get better informed about the work of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, I looked at some of the videos of testimony which they received from experts in the field. One video I watched was a presentation (speech) made by Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF).

Perhaps Mr. Halvorssen’s defining experience in this regard is given here:

On February 1, 2005, our founder’s mother was shot by the Venezuelan government while she was protesting their corruption in the streets. But no matter what Thor Halvorssen did, no one would take action to hold the Venezuelan government accountable.

Human Rights Foundation website

Here we have a relatively recent example of a modern regime gone suppressive. It didn’t make this transformation as noisily as, say, Germany in the 1930s. But nevertheless, it did.

Venezuela was a developing democracy. But it was also rich in oil. And with those riches (or so it seems), temptations. In fact, the national government had never been very stable. Like all “third world” nations with valuable natural resources, its governments were under constant pressure to grant special deals and play favorites, both in the world arena and locally.

But I do not, in fact, know that much about Venezuela. It is just that this is one of many nations across the planet where basic human rights are no longer protected by legal institutions (if they ever were).

Governments attract criminals

The point I have always made about this is that the general population creates, or tolerates, governments in the expectation that a certain level of organized violence is necessary to protect the people from criminal organized violence so they can get on with life. Governments, then, are the people’s last line of defense against criminal incursions, and so a constant target for criminal infiltration.

If you do not “believe” that such a thing as a “criminal mind” exists, then we have a problem. All I can say is that when people who are able to look do look, they find it. The phenomenon has been reported by so many different observers (even psychiatrists!) that I see no good reason to challenge it.

The idea that the “line” between what is criminal and what is acceptable has been moving over the years in favor of human rights is persuasive, but in the end, hollow. What we say has never matched that well with what we do. And that pertains to criminals in particular. If a criminal thinks that verbal support for human rights will make him more popular or acceptable, he’ll say he supports human rights. But he assumes that all people lie about what they really think, and he knows he does.

Crime and business

Even criminals need some way to sustain themselves, so they either find ways to latch on to more legitimate human activities, or they die.

There are many mechanisms of attachment. Some criminals work to become licensed professionals, then use that license to protect their criminal practices. Others find ways to get rich, then find activities – legitimate or otherwise – to invest in so that they can live off profits without having to work. Some aspire to academic positions where they can have influence in government and industry while avoiding responsibility for the actions taken by others based on their false data. And, some seek to rule.

Though human trafficking was always considered morally repugnant, the fact is that this activity could be indulged in legally up until quite recently in history, in most places. Likewise, wars of conquest. Realize that India was “conquered” originally, not by the British Crown, but by a business operating under a crown charter. This business employed its own soldiers, its own negotiators, its own bureaucrats. This still happens.

But where a business, criminal or not, can work in concord with the government of the territory in which it is operating, such an arrangement can be mutually beneficial.

Business and government

In the end, many of us come to the realization that government is a kind of business. It’s “business practices” are a bit “odd” compared to ordinary commercial companies, but they share all the same basic elements and mechanisms. In such a wise, large governments and large businesses may often see eye-to-eye on many subjects.

It might seem that, considering the above, a culture that wants to do well should very adamantly demand that business and government should remain separated as much as possible. This may be a valid argument, yet most people, in practice, find it just too demanding.

Just as I, in helping my church to gather data about psychiatry – by long tradition an outlaw profession – learn more about its individual members and thus tend to feel more friendly to some of them, so it works in government, particularly where it is mandated to regulate businesses.

Under this same concept, any political philosophy that required government to operate commercial concerns, or cooperate very closely with them, would seem fundamentally flawed.

Socioeconomic “rights”

Scholars of the subject of human rights distinguish rights which are essentially political (such as freedom of speech) with rights that involve access to services that are often provided by the business sector. These are sometimes spoken of when referring to the ‘social safety net.”

The thing about these “rights” which Halvorssen points to is that they can be provided (or at least appear to be) by regimes that do not grant citizens the usual political rights. However, in this wise, the population loses its legal power and authority to correct any socioeconomic omissions. He assures us that this has actually happened in places like Cuba.

These “rights,” then can be held in front of a population like a carrot, tempting it to allow authoritarian rule in exchange for their basic freedoms. This is the dilemma of the slave. That the authoritarian usually lies in this regard is often overlooked by persons who wish to be charitable to authoritarian regimes, particularly ones that seem to embrace “socialism.”

The proof, however, is in the pudding. And if the population is not allowed to speak and report freely on what is occurring in the streets and towns of the nation, then how are we supposed to know if the pudding is worthy of praise, or a total disaster?

Full version of my featured image, a drawing done in high school.

Slavery

On July 27, 2018, the Human Rights Foundation released a report entitled Authoritarianism and Trafficking in Persons.

Modern slavery is an odd phenomenon. The planet now is more or less fully populated. Three are plenty of people in every region, country, of the world, to do the work needed to produce items for local consumption and for trade. Yet living conditions are so bad in some areas that many people would rather leave as slaves than stay. I don’t think this was true of the old African slave trade to the New World. My impression is that most Africans back then were forced into slavery on pain of death. Nowadays, slaves can be procured using advertising techniques.

Modern slavery, though illegal, is for the most part operated by business-like groups, just as it has always been. Suppressive regimes assist mostly by tolerating these activities, creating conditions that people wish to escape from, and providing labor pools in the form of detention camps or similar operations. This is not to say that authoritarians do not benefit financially from these activities. But if they are true criminals, this is not even their major purpose in life. They are afraid of other living beings, and wish them to suffer, which makes the suppressive person feel safer.

The report gives three examples and also discusses the U.S. role.

In modern China (though this may have been going on for centuries, since it also happens in Japan), refugees from North Korea are used as slaves. In North Korea, people who wish to leave and succeed, if later captured, are kept in prisons. They may later try to leave again. Meanwhile the prisons function more or less as slave camps, propping up the North Korean rulers. In China, enslaved people work as sex slaves or merely domestic workers, or factory workers.

In modern Cuba, Cubans are trafficked into the U.S. and other places for a variety of purposes. Cuba also serves as a relay point for some countries in Africa. Cuba presents itself as a “spiritual” country, materially poor, but happy. But it is deeply involved in the modern slave trade, and the HRF reports that its leaders personally benefit from that trade.

In Thailand, an authoritarian regime allows fishing businesses and others to enslave workers from its own country as well as people from other places. Some of those products I am sure end up in democratic countries like Japan and the United States.

This report gave these three examples. I can only imagine how difficult it is to extract true data from an authoritarian country. The people there are under constant threats of reprisal if they complain. But we know very well that many other countries have similar problems. Per an HRF analysis, which is updated every three months, over half of the population of earth lives under authoritarian regimes, and so are subject to impoverishment and slavery with no legal recourse locally.

"poverty"
Two color print from linoleum blocks, made in junior high art class.

Is the planet lost?

Things look really really bad to me. But that doesn’t mean that the situation can’t be turned around. After all, all those enslaved and suppressed people come back after they die, and perhaps some of them will end up in a place where they have more freedom and opportunity, will remember, and will be able to help all the activists already working on this issue to do something about it.

However, we are headed into a techno-machine world that has traditionally depended on slavery to operate. This is because life in such a place becomes so intolerable that people will only stay if they are forced to. Though experiments were made to see if a population, Matrix-like, could be lured into a sort of “happy slavery” using entertainment and other gimmicks, this does not seem to work that well, at least not on Earth.

How do we preserve sanity as our population expands and our space contracts? Though our current Secretary of State can proudly say that the United States still “leads the way” in the field of human rights, that’s not saying much. We stand today as a huge consumer of illegal drugs, slave labor, and other items and services produced by criminals. And it is not the State Department that can solve that problem.

List of rights

Though it seems like an afterthought, the rights in the Universal Declaration (see HumanRights.com), are listed below in a shortened form used with children:

1. We Are All Born Free & Equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way.
2. Don’t Discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.
3. The Right to Life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.
4. No Slavery. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave.
5. No Torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us.
6. You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go. I am a person just like you!
7. We’re All Equal Before the Law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly.
8. Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly.
9. No Unfair Detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country.
10. The Right to Trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do.
11. We’re Always Innocent Till Proven Guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have the right to show it is not true.
12. The Right to Privacy. Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or our family without a good reason.
13. Freedom to Move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish.
14. The Right to Seek a Safe Place to Live. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe.
15. Right to a Nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.
16. Marriage and Family. Every grown-up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Men and women have the same rights when they are married, and when they are separated.
17. The Right to Your Own Things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason.
18. Freedom of Thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want.
19. Freedom of Expression. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people.
20. The Right to Public Assembly. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don’t want to.
21. The Right to Democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Every grown-up should be allowed to choose their own leaders.
22. Social Security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and childcare, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old.
23. Workers’ Rights. Every grown-up has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union.
24. The Right to Play. We all have the right to rest from work and to relax.
25. Food and Shelter for All. We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for.
26. The Right to Education. Education is a right. Primary school should be free. Our parents can choose what we learn.
27. Copyright. Copyright is a special law that protects one’s own artistic creations and writings; others cannot make copies without permission. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that art, science and learning bring.
28. A Fair and Free World. There must be proper order so we can all enjoy rights and freedoms in our own country and all over the world.
29. Responsibility. We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.
30. No One Can Take Away Your Human Rights.

Understanding Human Rights

20 July 2020

On 16 July, 2020, the U.S. State Department released a report put together by a commission created by Secretary Pompeo for that purpose. The report is entitled “Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights.”

The State Department exists to assist our government in implementing foreign policy and to provide government representatives in countries around the world who act to protect U.S. citizens and interests in those countries, and to serve as liaisons to foreign governments. In recent years, dating back to the mid-1980s perhaps, our State Department has come to be known for its human rights monitoring activities. I am only aware of them becoming a major factor in diplomacy in the past 10 years or so. Previously, the byword of our foreign policy had always been “democracy,” not “human rights.” You can look at the founding documents of a nation and see whether it is a democracy or not. But how well it protects the rights of its citizens is more difficult to discern.

This report has been widely seen by Trump opponents as a sort of cynical way to reframe the issue of human rights in ways that support the viewpoints of the new administration. The whole gay rights question is de-emphasized, while religious freedom (or tolerance) is brought forward.

For me, those quibbles are not substantive. What this report does for me is give me an opportunity to repeat my view of the proper context for understanding the subject of human rights, note where the scholarly view has traditionally fallen short, and to see if I can find any evidence that this group of scholars has achieved a better understanding of the subject.

Spiritual background of the subject

It has been with considerable difficulty that any progress has been made in understanding the more basic truths that underlie our existence on this planet at this time. Search high and low, and we find minimal data on this subject that can be characterized as anything above the level of myth and speculation. I briefly summarize this data:

As individuals, as personalities, as beings, we began our journeys in this reality as non-material points of cause. We quickly assembled for ourselves a “playground” of sorts. Today that “playground” is known as the Physical Universe. As bodyless beings, we had no need for “rights.” We were, in our native forms, invincible and immortal. We could engage in games with each other of a most violent and furious form. But in our thirst for “experience,” we gradually added factors to these games that included concepts like “right/wrong” and “good/bad.” We chose to identify ourselves with objects we had created, and to accuse each other of “violations” whenever those objects became lost or damaged. Today, the primary object we identify with “me” is the body. Secondary objects include our possessions.

Out of what could easily be interpreted to be a decline in the level of game, we evolved sets of “rules” that seemed to be necessary to keep the game going at an acceptable level of play. One example of an early set of such rules is the Ten Commandments. Most human societies have such rules. Some of them are more severe and would be considered “less Christian.” The advantage of the more “Christian” rules seemed to be in the degree of security and happiness they secured for more players, the women and children in particular, but also many men who, not wanting or needing to be warriors, grew tired of being called on to fill that role.

The key roles in those traditional games of human society that most of us still value and seek to promote are reflected in our game of chess: king and queen, knight, rook, bishop and pawns. (Chess, by the way, seems to have arrived in Europe via Persia, and has several Asian variants.) We see in these roles: governance, military, the support structure for these (rook), religion or popular local management (bishop) and everyone else.

The need for a military role

The role of the “knight,” soldier or warrior, is to fight for the defense, or advancement, of some group, and be perfectly willing to die in that fight. Traditionally, the spiritual value of the soldier seems to rest in his ability to perfect his willingness to die, for in so doing, his courage is also perfected. As far as I know, these more spiritual concepts of soldiery are dead, but I could be wrong about that.

But what is it about modern games that continues to make this role so important? From my point of view, this devolves to the central and basic problem in any game but especially human games: Those who can’t or don’t want to play “by the rules.” And though for much of history “the rules” allowed for the pursuit of war, after our more recent experiences with this aspect of play (WWII in particular), humans began to get the feeling that we had taken this aspect of play too far, and it was time to outlaw it; to make it into a “bad” activity. Wanton violence had always been frowned upon, particularly when it was directed at the defenseless (anyone other than a “knight”). Now that officially includes the act of war itself. This is noted for its significance in history, though it has no particular bearing on the flow of this discussion.

What keeps the “warrior” role important today is crime and the violence that surrounds it. In my view, this has always been the more important role of the warrior. Though “crime” now technically includes war (making the soldier, oddly, into a kind of “criminal”) it can be more broadly defined as any action that violates the basic rules of the game. Crimes are compulsively committed by “criminals” but often by others out of desperation, greed, ignorance or other factors. When crime involves violence, a warrior is often called on to defend the victims, or to try to catch or stop the criminal. As the criminal often uses weapons, this explains why most “warriors” also prefer to be armed.

The basic rules of human games

Traditionally, human rules (or law) applied mostly to governance, management and warriors. These were considered the real players. But there has been constant pressure from the bishops and pawns to be included in these games as players, and so the rules, and their enforcement, have been gradually extended to include everyone. The traditional focus of law, however, remains.

The basic rules of play follow the basic needs of human groups to survive. These include some way to “own” and defend resources like land, food and shelter, the need to protect “innocents” (women and children and elders) so that the group can survive in body and in culture, and above these, some sense of justice, responsibility, beauty and virtue. These basic rules are “inalienable” in the sense that they go with the basic human game of life. If they aren’t followed, the game of human life could end.

In any attempt to list these rules, the notion of seeing them as “rights” appears as one way to frame them in language. But we could also list them out as a set of essential activities that require protection if the game is going to continue. There is also a sort of philosophical component to the list, which has to do with the level of society where these rules begin to be important. As social norms, they could be seen to apply most strongly at the group level, as that is where they must originate. But there has been a persistent urging to elevate the importance of the individual in the games of life. Historically, individuals (including great leaders like Christ and Gandhi) have suffered so often when the rules were applied to favor the interests of the group, that today it is seen proper to extend these rules to protect individuals and not groups only. In this sense, our current concepts of “rights” are anti-democratic!

Responsibilities of leaders

You cannot be a leader if no one is willing to follow you because you only look out for yourself at the expense of the interests of others. This has continued to be a huge problem with leaders. Yet most leaders, if questioned, would agree that they serve to forward the purpose of keeping the game going, and that means looking out for all the players and seeing that their ability to participate in the game is protected, and perhaps even enhanced.

In modern terms this means that leaders have a responsibility to their followers, their “people,” to protect the game and protect each one’s right to play. Beyond that, leaders may strive to enhance the ability of individuals to be players. But the traditional assumption is that this ability is not much in question; if given the right and opportunity, most people will do just fine as players.

The popular expectation of leaders, then, is embodied in the words of our Declaration of Independence (as a relatively modern example):

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

The popular expectation is, then, that government will act to secure the rights of the governed to life, liberty (freedom) and the pursuit of happiness. In this tradition, there is no expectation that government can ensure that happiness will result. In more modern traditions, this expectation sometimes plays a stronger role.

Most bluntly, though, what this reduces to in terms of the activities of government is to protect its population from criminals and criminal acts. Of course, if the government itself turns criminal “we have a problem.” But this was never the primary concern of the governed, from what I can tell. They needed the basic protections against theft, violence, famine and so forth that threatened their survival on a daily basis. They assumed that governments could be capable of this, and were not quickly persuaded that governments would lose that capability. At the local level, the police were seen as the protectors, and as long as there were a few police around, things should be okay. At the local level, the police held the warrior role.

Governments as criminals

The picture painted by the history of human rights is one that seems quite contrary to the above expectations. Governments and tyrants are seen as the great criminals of history. And so our “rights” are framed in the context of protecting us from government infringements. But this does not necessarily coincide with the experience of the people. The level of government where those battles over “rights” were fought was usually the national level. Yet the reach of national governments rarely extends to the daily lives of people. Most people deal first with local governments, local police, and local criminals. Their concerns are usually focused on crime and the police, and not on government or legal concepts.

This, then, I see as the proper and more understandable context of Human Rights. In this context, governance and warriors are assumed to be in a position of being able to protect the rights of the people against the encroachments of criminals. The big question is how successful they are.

To get all caught up in the problems of criminality in governance, while relevant, misses the point. The problem we have as we attempt to play the game of human life is crime, not government. The stress of any campaign to strengthen the protection of human rights should be aimed at the correct target: Crime. The correct target is not governance, or warriors. They only become targets if they go criminal. And though this is a very common problem, to dwell on it as if it were central is incorrect.

The report mentioned earlier – the supposed raison d’etre for this piece – contains but one paragraph that I could find that addresses this most important and central theme underlying the subject of human rights:

Rise of Human Rights Violations by Non-State Organizations.

Non-state actors have long posed a challenge for human rights, which paradigmatically apply only between nation-states and the individuals under their jurisdiction. Recent years, however, have seen an alarming multiplication of the number and diversity of non-state groups responsible for large-scale human rights violations including, for example, terrorist groups, transnational organized-crime networks, purveyors of child pornography, and organizations engaged in human trafficking. These non-state organizations are often based in fragile states that lack the capacity or political will to address the abuses originating within their territories. In such weak states, the relative power and autonomy of multinational corporations and other business enterprises can present complex challenges for the promotion and protection of human rights as well.

Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights

And there it is. The above paragraph succinctly states the core of our problem. It lists all the important criminal players, along with some (legitimate businesses) that can turn criminal. I believe it underestimates the problem of “weak states.” This has been a concern for centuries, even in “developed” countries. The main problem in the past was that the criminals were often able to persuade governments to legalize – and protect – their criminality. This remains a major concern to this day, in all nations.

Strategy for improved success

Laid out this way, I hope a way forward becomes more clear. It begins with naming the real target responsible for human rights abuses, the criminal. This target must be more fully understood. Its tactics must become well-known and counter-tactics must become more fully developed. In modern times, this means far more than “wars against…” This expression has been applied so variously to so many different activities, and with so little result! It means a revival of dialog that will result in the establishment of best practices in all sectors of society where crime might lurk. The distribution of criminals in society is perhaps the key to understanding why this viewpoint is not more widely used. Crime lurks in all sectors; none can claim total freedom from it. Thus the need for counter-balancing structures (such as those set up by the U.S. Constitution) that will assist to “keep everybody honest.” This understanding also frames the problem of gaining enthusiasm for a real crackdown on crime.

The basic strategy, then, would be to enable and strengthen the various elements in society that are expected to play key roles in the restraint or elimination of crime. This includes all individuals who wish to participate as players in the games of life. They need basic information to counter the disinformation they often receive from criminal interests trying to confuse them and their allegiances. But the focus of our more visible efforts would be aimed at the levels of management, up through the warrior classes and of course including the governing classes. I use this terminology because it matters not to me exactly what system any particular nation or culture uses to achieve human rights. It matters much more to me that human rights are actually achieved. Thus, the managers, the warriors, the leaders must have programs of education and training made available to them that will appeal to them, speak to the problems they face, and help them to successfully overcome those problems. What I am saying, then, is that they have been missing a technology. And that is the technology of how to protect the human rights of their people against criminal incursions. They will never have success in this if they cannot find a technology that works. We can talk about human rights until the end of time. If we don’t know the basics of how to achieve them, they will never be achieved.

Ann Arbor Townies!

19 July 2020

It all started with this graph…

It was posted in the Facebook group “Ann Arbor Townies” with the comment “Looking pretty good!”

Some “townies” didn’t know what the poster meant. Others asked why he didn’t look at the whole state, or number of cases…

On top of that, almost all “townies” are crazy about masks and think they are vital to saving lives. I had data to the contrary. I’d just gotten it from a Canadian physicist who volunteers at a civil rights organization in Ottawa. His name is Denis Rancourt. I was watching an interview with this guy on Mercola and answering various derisive comments on Facebook more or less at the same time.

Rancourt has a theory that this disease is transmitted mainly by “aerosols.” Aerosols are particles that remain airborne because of their small size. When inhaled, such particles are most likely to make it all the way into the lungs. Larger particles may not get that far, and are less likely to be inhaled at all, as they fall to the ground faster. He reached this conclusion after reading several studies that found that wearing masks in hospital settings does not protect caregivers from catching transmissible diseases. There is a significant body of literature on this, as flu and some more serious diseases are transmitted this way.

Because of his physics background, he sees several obvious conclusions that come from this. First, the disease will stay in aerosol form longer in a dry climate. Humid air tends to cause water-based aerosols to coalesce into larger particles. Second, masks are not effective because aerosols can get around them. This would explain the results of research studies, and the fact that caregivers in hospitals have been getting sick even though they are suited up. And third, “precautionary” actions taken after the pandemic was announced probably increased aerosol concentrations in spaces where a lot of vulnerable people were staying, such as nursing homes. Staying inside tends to increase the chance of being exposed to concentrated aerosols; they dissipate more quickly in the open air.

Looking pretty good

What is a “good” graph in relation to this disease?

It is a graph that peaks, then goes back down and stays that way. That’s what the graph he posted does, and it should mean that the disease has stopped spreading.

But you can’t easily measure disease spread directly. That’s because it would require the entire population to be tested every week or so. That hasn’t been done anywhere, although perhaps a few countries (South Korea? China?) came close. So, if you want a graph that represents what is actually happening in the population, you have to use some other measure that is easier to make, and assume it comes close. The posted graph showed daily number of patients admitted to hospitals who tested positive for COVID-19. But those statistics aren’t widely published. What is being widely published is COVID-19 deaths.

The Financial Times put up some web pages that give such figures. They were capable of this, perhaps, because economic data are gathered and displayed in a similar way. However, the graphs aren’t dated, instead they show “number of days since first significant number reported.” I don’t think they should have done it that way. But, they are pretty good graphs anyway.

The death proxy for disease spread

Here are some death curves for Michigan and some other states:

This is “deaths per million” so it is basically death rate. In this way you can compare different states regardless of total population. This graph is also logarithmic, which allows larger numbers to fit into less height.

I’m not ready to say “ahah!” based on these graphs. But you see how similar the shape of this Michigan graph is to the shape of the Michigan hospital graph. The peak takes about three weeks to develop, then gradually drops and stays lower.

Per the theory that drier climates, along with staying inside more, enhance transmission of the disease, we can possibly see why Michigan spiked early – it was still winter, cold and dry – then has stayed low more recently – summer is very humid in Michigan. California, Florida and Texas all have similar curves. Those states have milder winters, which means people are outside more in those months. Humidity is highly variable across these states, but all of them have areas that get much hotter – and sometimes drier – during the summer, pushing people back inside (if they have air conditioning). That could explain why their graphs aren’t staying down as well as Michigan’s.

Case graphs are a different shape

You can see that these case rates per million are all very similar for the states I chose. Some states are really different, but you can see where most states fall from all the gray lines. None of these are the bell shape you would expect. But testing is like the stock market. It can change based on emotional reactions. So this is more likely a graph of testing rates. In any case, useless to take numbers from because we know full well the data are incomplete.

What about improvements in treatment?

Could the death rates have anything to do with what treatments protocols are in use in different hospitals? I don’t have enough data to be certain. I know in the north and east, doctors have a reputation for being more entrenched and elitist. In the south and west, less so.

I know that on the MATH+ team, we have three southern doctors, three northern doctors, one from Ohio, one from the Bay Area, one from Norway and one from Guernsey (UK). The guy who was talking about hyperbaric oxygen was from Louisiana. The doc I saw talk about hydroxychloroquine was from New York City, but he sounded very lonely.

There is doctor resistance to many of these treatments. I agree with Kelly Brogan when it comes to that; they just haven’t really figured it out yet. Kelly thinks it should be possible for most people to get by without any medications throughout most of their life. And she’s right. The truth has power – may all doctors be warned!

Monkey See Monkey Do

15 July 2020

I have been on social media a lot lately. And many people I am connected to are caught up in the head games that get played on social media, mostly concerning politics. I was having difficulty seeing exactly what was going on. But after watching several longer videos posted by various persons, I think it’s becoming clearer.

Trump

The Trump game is highly visible. It’s been almost four years ago now that Trump came out on top of the Republican heap, then went on to narrowly defeat Hillary. I voted for the Libertarian in that election.

Election commentators noted that Trump was unwanted by both parties, but somehow garnered enough popular support to squeeze out his main opponent. It has since come to my attention that the Electoral College was put in place to give rural voters (farmers) a little more say in picking the President, as otherwise the cities would tend to dominate national politics. However that may be, this was the obvious situation in that particular election.

As most of us are aware, “the Left” currently dominate mainstream media. But there is at least one “Conservative” news outlet, which is Fox. Though it is a little surprising that there is not a more even split, since both sides are well-funded and can afford to support high-profile mouthpieces, what surprises me more is that so much of the news is so obviously partisan, as in the “old days” many news organizations saw their job as exposing corruption, regardless of its sources.

News outlets have always also served as propaganda mouthpieces. But when I was young, William F. Buckley (a famous conservative commentator) had his own TV show on PBS, and the news helped tear down the Vietnam War, even though it was started by a Democratic President.

I bring up the Trump game first because it is so well-known and obvious. The game seems to be that Trump asserts some belief, or policy or does something as President, and then the media tries to tear it apart. Then Trump supporters feel they have to prove the media assertions wrong or untruthful. And it goes round and round because the original objection was often based on obvious facts, as Trump, in his day-to-day activities, is obliged to make decisions and say things and do things in public regardless of how well-informed they are and in spite of the fact that they are almost sure to piss someone off. That is the nature of politics in a democracy. The best thing for his supporters to do would be to just laugh at the derision and move on. That’s what Trump does.

The Color Revolutions

The “color revolutions” were a series of events that resulted, basically, in the installation of political groups in several countries of the former U.S.S.R. that were more willing to cooperate with Western-controlled financial and political interests.

I saw a quite long discussion-type video that quite definitely, if inelegantly, tied Soros funding to the civil unrest that characterized these uprisings. Soros ostensibly operates in the interest of “free and open” societies. The commentator, however, found definite links between his work and the financial interests of “globalists” many of which currently are posing as Democrats or “Left.”

For example, in the Ukraine, the government there had been investigating an investment group called Burisma that was trying to establish energy companies in Ukraine that would compete against state-owned companies in the Ukraine and in Russia. However, Ukrainian politics were Russia-leaning, and Burisma was guilty of some corrupt practices that a Ukrainian prosecutor was investigating. Soros helped finance the violent overthrow of that government, which was arguably doing the right thing ethically, with a pro-West government that would be willing to call off the Burisma investigation in exchange for a billion dollars worth of loan guarantees backed by Western interests.

The “color revolutions” led to many countries having an increased reliance on Western sources of funding over Russian (or Chinese?) sources. They are characterized by Wikipedia as non-military or “popular” revolutions (though not necessarily non-violent) and the Soros tie (via NGOs that he funded) is mentioned in that article, and is notorious in “right wing” circles.

What Soros seems to have done is latch on to more-or-less legitimate political debates in various target countries and push the scene in a direction that favored Western financial interests. The groups he funded forced political changes that were financially advantageous to people who Soros was supposedly working with, while actually bypassing the normal democratic systems that were being put in place in those countries. The groups he funded often included media organizations that would generate favorable content (propaganda).

Systematic Racism

A huge issue in American politics has been one currently being called “systematic racism.” This has to do with a set of socio-economic outcomes that have been demonstrated in many studies to correlate with skin color. For all intents and purposes, this problem, as a sociological phenomenon, is a known fact in the U.S. and has been since Europeans arrived in the Americas roughly 400 years ago. Before slavery was outlawed in the Americas, slavery was the dominant issue, though since the slaves were largely dark-skinned, the component of racism was always implicit in those debates, if not talked about directly. After slavery was banned, the problems continued, but they had to be labeled “systematic racism” as now racism is technically illegal.

What we have seen more recently is several new political and media groups formed up around this issue. Traditionally racism had been the focus issue of groups line the NAACP, the ACLU and the Congress On Racial Equality (CORE). It had also been taken up by white liberals and usually neglected or dismissed by white conservatives. But now these new groups are on the scene. The most visible is BLM (no, not Bureau of Land Management – a common ploy is to come up with “new” acronyms that are already taken, and thus confusing). BLM started in 2013 after the Trayvon Martin shooting. This and similar groups get financial support from Soros through his Open Society Foundations. Group organizers often have ties to older disruptive movements in the U.S. like the SDS, Marxism, and Communism.

A key function of these groups is to generate propaganda. For all I know (though I have no particular proof), propaganda on both sides of the issue is being created by the same people, or system. One set of propaganda will state that an issue (such as racism) demands attention, usually with the implication that the situation is bad enough to justify extreme action. Another set of propaganda is put out denying the reality of the issue or accusing the other side of having ulterior or criminal motives.

Thus, while liberal outlets cover police killings of blacks and other more extreme evidences that racism is alive and well in America, conservative outlets carry interviews with black people (usually famous) who claim they have never experienced any discrimination or forward rumors that the rioters were members of AntiFa. These “opposing” stories just serve to inflame people, as the evidence of the problem exists, not only in history, but in the very efforts of the deniers. Thus, the propaganda used by “both sides” only makes the problem worse. This would indicate that the intention of most if not all of the propaganda is to create violence, not to make people “more aware” so that “solutions” can be worked out.

COVID

Here we have another issue where propaganda is being used. The dynamics of it are a little different than the race issue, as it arose suddenly as a new problem, but it is a problem that we have systems in place to handle, that have been more-or-less successful in the past.

Nevertheless, at the propaganda extremes we have the new virus represented on the one hand as a coldhearted killer of seniors, and even young people, that we must isolate ourselves against until it can be tracked down and totally eradicated. On the other hand, the virus is being represented as a total hoax.

The fact that many doctors have developed successful treatments that improve one’s chances of surviving a virus attack is oddly absent from most news coverage, indicating that the coverage is forwarding inflammatory propaganda and not really aimed at resolving anything.

All rational discussion of the more general public health problems on the planet that have contributed so much to patient deaths from COVID-19 have been almost entirely absent in the news.

The Pattern

So we see a similar pattern again. On the one hand, an obvious problem is amplified into a situation requiring an extreme response. Those who don’t like the response are invited to choose propaganda designed to make them look like idiots. The truth of the situation is approached as little as possible in the propaganda, as that would lead to more rational handlings that would not benefit the people behind the propaganda.

In simplest terms, criminals exist who wish to keep society in a turbulent state so that they can operate without too much restriction.

Not only will these criminals take advantage of any major issue that pops up in society, but they will work to create issues out of nothing, or keep the most convenient ones (like racism) going forever. And they do this through propaganda that they offer to various persons and groups who can be persuaded that using it will benefit their cause.

The purpose, however, is not to support any rational cause. The purpose is to create upset in society. The propaganda, even when subtly done and seemingly corresponding closely to fact, will nevertheless include twists or falsehoods that make the situation seem much more scary than it really is.

Though I can’t prove it, the same group may be creating propaganda for “both sides” of the issue. It is often designed to make one side look more sincere and the other side look like fools, thus reducing the chances of having a rational discussion.

This basic pattern aligns with LRH data on how Third Parties create conflict. This data has proven workability. We should not overlook it!

To Bee or Not to Bee

12 July 2020

The bees were really out in force during my last trip through the Parkway, so I decided to write about them

Bee on a berry, from my sister.

When I was a little kid, a big guy like this would have scared the crap out of me. We were never taught about pollination in school as far as I can remember. It wasn’t an issue back then. Bees just did their thing.

Bee on a blackberry flower.

I had some issues with bees when I was a kid. One time, a bee landed on my girlfriend’s leg and tried to sting her (or so it seemed) through her pants. Its stinger got stuck in the fabric and we had to brush it off.

Bee in Sumatra, from nephew.

In another incident, a bee, crazed after almost getting stuck in a spider’s web, flew into my shirt. As I was taking my shirt off, the bee flew back out.

Bees in lavender, Folsom.

Bees operate on a whole different level from humans. They are a study in how life can animate little physical bodies to behave collectively towards shared survival goals. Yet, bees die easily, as do most insects. They depend on their ability to reproduce to sustain their numbers. If other factors in their environments change too much, their numbers can drop sharply.

Bees in danger means agriculture in danger

Pollinators — including bees, butterflies, moths, bats, birds, beetles and other insects — contribute roughly $500 billion a year to global food production, said Reed Johnson, a researcher in Ohio State’s Department of Entomology.

Ohio State Insights website.

Honey bee colony losses have increased from an historical rate of 15% to twice that. That’s the percentage of commercial colonies that don’t recover after wintering over.

A lot has to do with declining bee habitats. This is related to the declining deer habitats that are forcing more wild deer into suburban areas. Both species prefer meadows next to forests. The meadows provide forage while the forests provide shelter.

Bee on wild fennel.

Agriculture isn’t helping

While orchards and fields of vegetables can provide ample nectar supplies, many agricultural fields do not function well as “meadows.” They are too large and harsh, and there may be no stand of trees nearby.

Last year, the planet saw its fourth-highest level of tropical tree loss since the early 2000s—about 30 million acres, according to a new analysis published Thursday.

24 April 2019 article, Inside Climate News website.

“Farmers” – now mostly agriculture companies – continue to clear land for growing food (including grazing land). Though we are seeing huge losses in tropical zones, it is still happening in temperate areas, such as the US state of Iowa.

The other big factor seems to be agricultural chemicals. Glyphosate, known to cause cancer in animals, is the least toxic of 42 agricultural chemicals, according to one study. But other studies show it causes bee death by other, slower means. Of course, pesticides are more likely to kill bees – and do – as they are designed to fight insects.

Profit today, or survival tomorrow?

Bee on St. John’s wort.

The classic problem caused by human activities that pollute is that they are so difficult to change even after it has been demonstrated that continuing those activities will only kill us in the long run.

It’s an ethics problem. And societies down through the millennia have demonstrated how difficult it is to get ethics in on groups that are providing products that people want. The producers can always threaten to stop production or raise prices, and so a standoff results. There is no known remedy to this situation outside of making the leaders (at least) on both sides more sane. Political solutions have never stood the test of time.

Permaculture advocates promote the myriad advantages of abandoning monoculture in favor of “polyculture.” Not only are diversely-planted spaces more sustainable, they also, it seems, provide higher and more resilient yields than do conventional methods. Seems amazing, but those are the reports. Of course, you get a different mix of crops from a food forest. Annuals become less favored, perennials more favored. Harvesting is more difficult to mechanize. But many smaller farmers are trying this, because their experience with monoculture turned out so poorly. Many areas also need the microclimate benefits that also come with more trees.

Do we need to return to “softer” agricultural methods to save the bees and save ourselves? Undoubtedly there will be a group that insists on the industrial approach and looks forward to a tech-centered future that perhaps takes us off planet. Many others like good food and this planet. Which group will prevail? Can the two co-exist?

The New Barbarians

8 July 2020

This began with the question, “What happened in the 1800s?” You can see a timeline of events on my other blog, if you wish to familiarize yourself with the period.

The featured image is of my 1980 girlfriend wearing an Indian costume for Halloween. Sorry, sweetheart, it was the best illustration I could come up with!

Themes

Certain themes stand out for the period, also known as the “19th century.”

  1. Empire
  2. Technology
  3. War
  4. Genocide
  5. Exploitation

If our only problems were Empire and Technology, I would be relatively happy. However, they always seem to be accompanied by the other three. Always…always.

Empire

While the concept of Empire was slowly dying out in Europe, it was slowly growing in the United States.

In Europe, the most notable players were the Germans, Austrians and Prussians. Britain (the “United Kingdom”) of course actually maintained the grandest empire throughout this period. But you could see that it had grown weary of the endless struggle that seemed to be involved in maintaining unquestioned domination.

Not so, the Americans! While Europe consumed itself in seemingly endless conflict, starting with the Napoleonic Wars, America looked westward with the utmost enthusiasm.

The concept of “manifest destiny” was concocted to convince the power-happy overseers and the power-hopeful underlings that they were all on exactly the right track. While the aboriginal peoples looked on, shook their heads, or fought against it, and died.

Technology

Though we like to think of our electronic age as the quintessence of technical innovation, it does not match the amount of pure force leveled against the environment by the inventors, industrialists and armies of the 19th century.

Ushered in by the Age of Steam, gasoline power was already well on its way to dominance by the end of the 1800s.

Dynamite was invented. The use of structural steel, replacing wrought iron (Eiffel Tower), became more and more common in civil engineering.

Several agricultural machines were invented and put into use during this period, as well as the typewriter, the sewing machine, photographic film and camera, the phonograph, electric lights, and finally, motion pictures.

Psychology also took its modern form – a sort of behavior modification technology – towards the end of this period.

Still, most Americans were using the good old fashioned firearm to get people to do what was requested of them. Major bank and train robberies began to show up in this period.

War

Europe seemed constantly embroiled in war during this period. If it wasn’t Napoleon, it was the Turks (Ottoman Empire) or the Germans, or Austrians, or Prussians. Or maybe, sometimes, the Russians (Crimea).

In the U.S., there was the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, the Civil War, and the war with Mexico over (mainly) Texas, and the Spanish-American War. It seems our Army, Navy and Marines were constantly busy.

Troops also helped capture Hawaii for the United States, so that Dole could sell his pineapples in America duty-free. And if you think there is any other reason Hawaii is a U.S. State, look again!

We also wanted the Philippines and Cuba, but we only got Puerto Rico and Panama, as well as Florida. California, etc, had been captured earlier from Mexico.

Genocide

Empire, it seems, has never been averse to genocide. In the U.S. this meant, at first, the Native Americans, then later, black slaves – now freed. There were also other ethnic minorities involved, like the Chinese. Meanwhile, the Irish kept having problems with the British, presumably because they wanted to remain Catholic.

This was also happening to indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities in South America, Australia, Africa, and Europe.

Exploitation

Though much of what happened along these lines is covered under Genocide, we can often see beneath the killing the lust for resources that seemed to be inspiring it.

During the 1800s, this was still expressing itself mostly through agricultural commodities. According to Wikipedia, forest cover in the U.S. dropped from 990 million acres (estimated) before westward expansion to about 700 million acres at present. This was mostly in the form of clearing the land for monoculture (a newish term for one-crop industrial agriculture).

We also have a lot of mining going on in the 1800s (copper, iron, coal) which has always been a very polluting activity.

The 1800s also saw the rise of the “modern” labor movement (now entrenched in some areas and threatened in others). In those days, leading a labor protest was considered a treasonous act.

On top of that, all of the Americas used black slaves. It is difficult for me to decide exactly how much black slavery was driven by economic incentives, and how much by some deeper, uglier need for an ultimate “underdog.” The Hindus of India had their “untouchables” for thousands of years before Europeans figured out how to steal Africans for enslavement in the Americas. Why didn’t the white upper classes just work harder to enslave the white lower classes? I am guessing that someone decided that using Africans would be a better plan.

Now that that’s legally over, other forms of enslavement, such as debt slavery, are having a comeback. We also have “newer” forms of exploitation now, based on the “pioneering” work of Wundt and his “psychologists” which began towards the end of the 1800s. Now the powers that be can replace blatant lying and blunt force with “more refined” techniques of persuasion. Doesn’t make it any less criminal, from my point of view; maybe even more criminal. If someone pointed a gun at you, you could at least shoot back.

What of the Arts, Literature, Theater, Academia, the Civil Rights movement?

The best way for a wolf to hide is by donning sheep’s clothing.

People, left to their own devices, would include plenty of enjoyable activities in their lives, if history is any guide. The ruling classes have always appropriated the arts as a kind of escape, or cover, from what must be their raging consciences. After all, leadership is necessary. (I actually agree with that.) If it becomes difficult or unbearable, well, too bad – it still must be done.

In my brief search into the 1800s, I found that Jefferson had hoped that slavery could be abolished in the United States by the beginning of that century. The beginning! Slavery was a huge issue from the very beginning of the Union of States! Lincoln tried to handle it, but then he got shot. And, by force of social pressure, slavery was replaced by its somewhat obvious precursor, racism.

Racism was already a “science” by the beginning of the 19th century. But that – it seems to me – was only done to give racists better talking points. Even Jefferson, apparently, was oblivious to the fact that blacks had totally identical capabilities to whites, until he made the acquaintance of an educated black man in 1791. He marveled at this as some sort of revelation!

And so (need I mention it) it continues to this day. Some sort of seething madness remains alive in the population, seemingly incurable, seemingly impossible to wipe out.

The new barbarians

But when all is said and done, the United States became the home of the new barbarians. The United States now spends more to defend its political position in the world using military might than the next ten largest nations combined.

defense spending comparison courtesy Peter G. Peterson Foundation

And that’s only the military expenditures! What about propaganda, and other technologies of control? The “mental health” system in the U.S. makes over $200 billion a year. Could that be one of the newer methods? Total annual “health” expenses in the U.S., by the way, are over $3 trillion.

“Barbarian” comes from a Greek word imitative of unintelligible speech. The Greeks originally applied the term to the Persians, a culture of roughly equal stature to theirs (if not higher). The Romans, as their culture decayed, applied the term to the various tribes trying to move in on their lands. The great cultures of history (after they stopped being so great) have always been swept away by “barbarians” who in turn developed the next “great” culture. Is modern Western culture really that superior to that of the ancient Persians? Certainly, for most of us, it is more comfortable. There is something to be said for that. But will that comfort alone get us to where we need to go? Of course not!

The challenge

The chance we had – made possible in part by our new-found level of comfort – was to reach beyond the old hackneyed attitudes and expressions of our predecessors to find a new understanding of the human condition which would lead, for once, to a real improvement of the human condition. That chance – I fear – is quickly running out. I, for one, hope we make it. And if that makes me a “barbarian,” so be it.

Footnote

In viewing a newly-released report from the Commission on Unalienable Rights (established last year by Secretary of State Pompeo), I became interested in the distinction between the words “inalienable” and “unalienable.” I was reassured by grammarist.com that the words have identical meanings, and the different prefix reflects a change in English that occurred – are you ready for this? – in the 1800s. The article about this referred me to the nGram for these words:

A New History of Freedom

5 July 2020

It seems more appropriate now than ever to re-evaluate our concepts of freedom.

Traditional history, on a perhaps superficial reassessment, could be seen as the story of the gradual enslavement of all beings. So, what of the story of their freedom?

A modern trend to re-teach history from the viewpoint of humanist ideals is impeded by a lack of data and understanding of exactly what freedom is really all about, and how we have been deprived of what seems like our fair share of it.

We see throughout traditional historical narratives a constant effort to normalize violent conflict and conquest as somehow inevitable, as an intrinsic part of human life. But is it really?

Though Hubbard is the obvious thought leader on this subject as far as I am concerned, others have, in more recent times, been stepping up to the task of filling in some important gaps in our understanding of what really happened and why.

This discussion will present the “facts” as I see them, without any particular reference to how I learned of them. They almost certainly remain incomplete, but are startling enough in their basic findings to make their study worthwhile, if not vital, to the cause of freedom.

Origins

No history of this universe, much less of Mankind, has answered the ultimate question of the origin of life and its games. At least not as a narrative list of facts and events, as we expect from our histories. Which is not to say that we haven’t tried! But we need not be overly concerned with the gaps in detail. Any concept of a Creation Event roughly serves the purpose, whether this be in the form of Divine Intention or a Big Bang. Yet: In those two possible paradigms lies the crux of our problem.

People really don’t have a clue about what actually went down, and are more or less willing to accept whatever story seems most popular at the time. And even though the truth must be resident in each of us, it seems to be permanently unavailable to us.

Detail from a painting by Akiane.

One viewpoint on this that has endured down through the ages in various forms still proves workable when properly framed. This is the idea that it all started with an intention, and that original intention is all that really keeps everything going.

Attempts to supplant this viewpoint using modern Physics have been frustrated by some sort of conceptual brick wall. The observed phenomena seem to point in a direction that seems totally imponderable – and perhaps is; the idea that there is really nothing there. You add up all the pluses and all the minuses that seem to be operating in this universe, and you come up with approximately zero.

Or you could say you come up with a question that seems impossible to answer: Where did the motion come from, and why does it keep going? The Big Bang, though it gives a somewhat workable mathematical model, doesn’t solve this. The idea that “God started it” actually solves the problem better. And so we find ourselves staring at a causative factor that adds up to completely and entirely – nothing.

That ultimate cause would of necessity have to be immaterial has occurred to some (such as Socrates), but rejected by most – even the religious. It just seems too weird. Yet it is the best answer. Those of us who believe in “zero as cause” do so (I hope) not under any pressure of dogma, but simply because our data point that way, and because technologies based on it have proven to be workable.

Freedom and causation

A simplistic analogy that uses this view of causation might go something like this: A baby is born, and finds itself totally alone. To amuse itself, it invents things to play with. Meanwhile and elsewhere, another baby is born under similar circumstances. Eventually these babies – now children, perhaps – meet each other. And now they have a game. And that game involves sharing the things each one made with the other. This results in a mutual agreement that the things that have been made and the space they occupy will persist and be seen as “barriers.” And that their ability to move objects, perhaps create new ones or destroy old ones, constitutes their “freedoms.”

boys playing

In other words, original cause led – somehow – to the playing of games. And games involve freedoms, barriers and purposes. Thus, freedom only has meaning in the context of barriers and purposes, which is to say, in the context of a game.

To restate the apparent actuality of the situation: “Nothing” led to “zeros of cause” led to games, which involve freedom, barriers and purposes. The “zeros of cause” (in case you missed this point) created all that we see and know as matter and life. Absolutely all of it.

The games of life

If you can imagine that the children in our little parable did not yet choose to take any form, but remained as “zeros,” then you can also perhaps imagine that they could play most wildly, as their games would not affect them directly, but only indirectly through the loss or destruction (perhaps) of some treasured object. In a universe where the zeros of cause do not identify themselves with objects, the freedoms of play are very great, including almost unimaginable extremes of violence.

When, however, those “zeros of cause” begin to identify with one or more objects which they have created, then they begin to take violence in play more “personally” and desire to set up rules of play, which amount to additional barriers of a sort. However, to serve as totally effective barriers, those rules would require total agreement, which can never be obtained. Those who do not wish to agree with the rules of play are considered “criminals” by the other players, and are thus subject to being expelled from the game.

You see the problem with this, though. How can you expel a “zero of cause” from any game if it wants to continue to play? There’s no real way to do it. Your only hope is to convince the “bad guy” to follow the rules. But if you try to enforce your rules with more violence, then you become the new “bad guy.”

See how this plays out? The original problem arose when we began to identify too closely with the objects of play. They weren’t dolls in doll houses any more. They were us!

Some young people play a game of tug-of-war.

And now we have a whole range of games that only exist on the basis of a certain amount of self-deception. We don’t want to be free of our objects of play (our bodies, for instance) even though we could be. Though that would solve the problem of “not enough freedom,” it is an unwanted solution because we prefer the self-deception inherent in so many of our games. Yet eliminating that self-deception is the only real solution to the problem. Why do children play so easily with each other? Because they keep the objects of play external to themselves. When they stop doing that, they start getting into fights.

Contexts of Freedom

The games we have been playing on this planet for a long time now involve, according to the assumptions laid out above, enormous amounts of self-deception. A certain amount of self-realization (to coin a phrase) must occur for the situation to move forward towards more freedom.

flying boy

This need not, at this time, amount to total spiritual emancipation. It only needs to extend far enough to allow us to envision a new path forward in the context of this set of games we play here on Earth.

But even if we reach some consensus on this new path forward, we need to keep in mind our larger context, the context of the games being played in this universe.

All evidence to date suggests that the rest of the universe has not yet come to terms with its own story and with the deceptions involved in keeping that story alive. Those guys are breathing down our necks. They always have done so, and they probably always will. We don’t even know yet what has held them back from a total Earth takeover. Something has, as they are certainly capable of it. It could have something to do with the current function of Earth as a prison.

Can you imagine a prison so isolated that the prisoners eventually discover how to free themselves, while the guards never find out? And then when the guards do find out, what happens? Do the former prisoners retain their new-found freedom, or lose it? That chapter of the story has yet to be written.

So: Do you think it’s all too impossible to be worth trying to change things? Do you think the ultimate “victory” of the “bad guys” is inevitable? Or would they just be deceiving themselves (and us ourselves) about their success? Is that seemingly endless cycle of self-deception really worth all the trouble it causes, given what we have learned about it in recent years?

These are questions we must answer if we care about freedom.