Links 2/15/15

Tone-deaf Valentines tweets from the NSA BoingBoing (martha r)

Elegant Montages Show the Beauty of Birds in Flight Wired (Robert H)

12th Annual Report: Out-of-print and in demand BookFinder

Brazil Amazon: Drone to scan for ancient Amazonia BBC

‘Next Pinatubo’ to test geoengineering BBC (David L)

Larry Summers Continuing Campaign To Be First President Of The Bitcoin Central Bank Dealbreaker

50 Shades of Grey: a film about male power, idealising emotional abuse as sexy when it isn‘t New Statesman (Nikki)

2015 Harris Poll RQ [Reputation Quotient] Summary Report. Martha r: “Harris poll of people’s opinions of prominent corporations, ranked. Some interesting info. Sad that amazon is so high.”

Pessimism in Spain: 83% Say Economic Situation is Bad; Podemos Takes Huge Lead in Latest Poll Michael Shedlock


Greece pledges to shut immigrant detention centers Reuters (martha r)


Ukraine Cease-Fire Goes Into Effect, but Rebel Leader in Key Town Repudiates Accord New York Times

The Putin-Did-It Conspiracy Theory Robert Parry, Consortium News

Hungary and Russia: The Viktor and Vladimir show Business Insider


Islamic State Sprouting Limbs Beyond Its Base New York Times (Jim Haygood)

GCC ministers meet in Riyadh on Yemen crisis Al Arabiya (furzy mouse)

US brigade of 4,000 soldiers headed to Kuwait Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Big Brother: Obama cyber push rankles tech giants Aljazeera (Nikki)

Samsung Begins Inserting Ads Into User’s Televisions Thai Tech (furzy mouse)

Political Meltdown in Macedonia Shows Destablizing Effect of Massive Governmetn Surveillance Tech Dirt (Nikki)

Obama’s Night Out in San Francisco: Baccarat and Mohair Walls Bloomberg

Discount and Department Stores Boost Manager Ranks by 46% in Two Years, Hours Up 88%
Michael Shedlock. EM. “Another Obamacare-resultant distortion.”

GOP Run Utah House Votes To Bring Back Executions By Firing Squad PoliticusUSA (martha r)

Loretta Lynch: Not Enough Evidence to Charge HSBC Banksters Marcy Wheeler

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Missouri police chief backs cop who shot at unarmed fleeing suspect and failed to report it Raw Story

GOP lawmaker calls women “a lesser cut of meat” Salon (Chuck L)


Fracking has collapsed Business Insider (David L)

Mississippi utility must repay $281M for illegally financing “clean coal” Grist

Another Cheating Carlyle Affiliate PEU Report (rich)

After the Housing Crisis, a Cash Flood and Silence Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. A good overview of the shareholder case against the government on how it kept all the dough, with details on the remarkable document withholding in the trial.

Class Warfare

White House to intervene in West Coast ports strike Washington Post (jrs)

New Milestone: Majority of Public School Students Now Considered Low-Income Angry Bear

The World of Our Grandchildren Jacobin. An interview with Noam Chomsky

Bitter Lake – review: Adam Curtis’s beautiful, gripping film unravels a story of violence, bloodshed and bitter ironies Guardian

Antidote du jour:

young penguins links

And a bonus video where Greek firefighters rescue a kitten from certain death (martha r):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. MikeNY

      I’m thinking it’s going to be like the “Twilight” series, which was intermittently titillating and bearable if you watched with the sound off. Or, you could just buy the picture book.

    2. winstonsmith

      Why do the reviewers ignore that it’s as much about wealth as gender?

      Wilkinson: “Grey is 30 something jerk of a billionaire. … [Steele] for no discernible reason falls in love with the afore mentioned jerk.

      Margolis: “50 Shades has been portrayed as a love story which has BDSM as central to its narrative. I disagree. The sex, kinky or otherwise, is actually irrelevant. This film, like the books, is solely about power – specifically, of a man [only coincidentally a billionaire?] having it and a woman not.”

      Also, as creepy as the fictional billionaire seems to those not under the richasshole spell, he pales in comparison to the real thing, e.g., Jeffery Epstein. So it’s a whitewash and glorification of creepy billionaires and the women who love them masquerading as a edgy BDSM romance criticized as a glorification of abusive male dominated relationships.

  1. ambrit

    Re. Greek firefighters save the kitten. I want to see some Greek politicians save the country from certain death. That would be a Super Antidote!

  2. JTFaraday

    re: “Tone-deaf Valentines tweets from the NSA,” BoingBoing

    eew, is that real? You would think that the NSA would have a verified account.

    (I’m gullible, so I can’t tell).

    1. diptherio

      A wadering sage once showed up at our local marketplace, carrying a guitar. He found himself a spot off to the side and started playing his guitar…or rather, he started playing a single note, over and over again, on his guitar. The next day he did the same thing, and the next. Finally, growing curious, I went up to the old geezer and asked him what was going on. “Every other guitar players plays many notes, up and down the scale, but you just sit here repeating that one note incessantly. What gives?”

      “Those other fools are all searching for the right note,” he replied, “I have found it!”

      1. MartyH

        And then a piano player rolled a small studio piano next to him and played John Cage’s 3’23” as an accompaniment. And all was finally right with the world.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a great story.

        And the right note is that we all have greatness within each of us.

        When we realize that, we empower ourselves, instead of giving over what we own to some one/some thing without…like a life-creator, or, the newest faith, an all-powerful money-creator, omnipotence to the infinite-th degree.

    2. Antifa

      We can deal with a huge methane release.

      For years now, more and more methane has bubbled out of the melting Arctic ocean, and from the Siberian taiga. The methane clathrates trapped in those huge regions is held in place only by a few degrees of average temperature. Methane being many times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, it is perfectly obvious and feasible for us to see a huge methane release — a methane bubble — that will raise the average global temperature by 20-plus degrees Fahrenheit all at once. Then feedback loops kick in, and things can get really hot from there.

      Which neither our oceans, flora, fauna, or humanity can expect to survive. It will destroy the food chain as we know it, end photosynthesis, the production of oxygen by plankton and plants, and make agriculture impossible. Which leaves humanity either sitting around, waiting to die . . . or doing something crazy to stop all this from happening. Something crazy like geoengineering.

      Geoengineering beats dying without trying, but only by a little bit.

      Anyway, the current “cures” available for stopping this runaway methane release are three:

      Cure Number One, capture the escaping methane and convert it to something less potent as a greenhouse gas. Burn it, if nothing else. The scientific equation for this capture currently looks like this:

      Methane release + (a miracle happens) = all the methane is captured.

      There. Now it can be dealth with by various off-the-shelf means.

      Cure Number Two, introduce methane-eating bacteria. Aerobic bacteria already make many useful things from methane out of compost piles and sewage treatment plants. Anaerobic bacteria can be introduced to the polar seas and bottom sediments to eat the methane in place or as it seeps into the water. Of course, both kinds of bacteria are only really efficient at this methane-eating business if they’re also supplied with some rare metals like cobalt, copper, molybendum, tungsten, nickel, and cobalt. So we’ll need to dump many millions of tons of these precious metals into the Arctic seas. Send the billl to the taxpayers. Call it the War on Methane or something.

      Cure Number Three, move human civilization underground, into vast, interconnected cities relying mostly on geothermal power. Generate UV light for photosynthesis, mostly growing algae crops that produce both food and oxygen, and live there happily for several thousand years while the surface of the planet regenerates a living ecosystem. Treat the surface of the planet like a giant park, which we can visit at night or briefly during cooler weather (below 130 degrees).

      These underground cities do not currently exist, but China has already shown us all that entire cities can be constructed in record time, and sit empty until needed.

      Golly — the future of our species sounds just like a Hollywood movie, don’t it?

      1. craazyboy

        Yes, this certainly will come as a surprise. Most of us thought global warming won’t be a problem ’till after we’re gone, or close to it, and those years are crappy anyway.

        But now I’m certainly not gonna buy any 10 year treasury bonds. That’s fer sure. Never get your money back.

        Solution Number 1 seems the easiest. Light the North Pole on fire. We would need to goad the government into action. Dunno, maybe point out Santa is a Red Suit Wearing Commie giving away stuff every year and setting a bad example for our kids? Find some Eskimo tribe to be Allies with and kick Russia out of their territorial claim on the North Pole? The Eskimos can extract their own natural gas, then flare it, with the help of Western Know How.

        This is an embarrassing way for a species to go too. Methane gas smells like farts. So we go with not a bang, not wimper, but a pffft.

        1. Integer Owl

          Obviously an extremely dire situation, however that last paragraph really cracked me up. As a species we probably deserve it. Thanks for the laugh.

      2. Ed

        Antifa, this is an informative and depressing post.

        Since humans have not been in this situation in recorded history, I’m hoping there is some error in the calculations I’m missing. Either the human body or our food services will not break down at higher temperatures like the biologists are predicting. Or there is some negative feedback mechanism that no one sees. Or the release happens, but really far in the future (though there are reports of it beginning now), so I don’t see it in my lifetime and there is time to build the underground cities.

        I’m in favor of geoengineering, but I think the underground cities, as shown in “Twelve Monkeys” and other scifi movies will wind up being the best bet.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      No wonder Obama et al are so keen on a war with Putin over penis size. With a nice all out nuclear conflagration, no one will be around – at least surface side – to call them out on criminal negligence regarding climate change. On top of that neat little trick, war might spare Obama’s presidential library (climate change will get it anyway, but I doubt his mirror has allowed him to think it through that far) – and he doesn’t seem the type to overly worry about how many “folks” will (or won’t) be coming in to read historical do overs.

      1. RanDomino

        Thanks for posting this, because this perspective is so necessary. People who read McPherson and others like him *cough*Chris Hedges*cough* aren’t actually interested in changing anything; what they’re looking for is an emotional journey. Hope, despair, comedy, etc, presented in a way that makes the reader feel like an engaged and important individual, without actually providing any real information or viable suggestions. In fact, they undermine the possibility for worthwhile organizing etc, because they throw out so much misinformation. And they do it just to get a rise out of people. They’re the Fox News of activism.

  3. Andrew Watts

    RE: Tone-deaf Valentines tweets from the NSA

    The fact that a SIGINT agency has a public relations department is a joke all by itself. But I’ll go ahead and play along. Here’s the tweets I would’ve sent if I was in charge or whatever of the NSA’s twitter feed.

    “Love responsibly America… we’re watching! #NSA #vday2015” -NSA/CSS (@NSA_PAO)

    Heh heh!

    “A little bit of love from your pocket to your collection of cute animal pictures. #NSA #vday2015” -NSA/CSS (@NSA_PAO)

    At least we know they care.

    “The only terrorists we’re gonna drone today are the men who don’t buy flowers (or something!) for their special someone. #NSA #vday2015” -NSA/CSS (@NSA_PAO)

    The NSA can be totally progressive too! They aren’t but they can try to look and sound the part… just like Democrats.

    1. craazyboy

      Roses are Red
      Violets are Blue
      The NSA watches over you.
      Sure, what you hear
      Is certainly true.
      From the folks at the NSA,
      Have a Good Screw!

  4. steviefinn

    I watched ‘ Bitter Lake ‘ yesterday – documentary films like this are the BBC at it’s best, but are probably an endangered species. I don’t agree with Adam Curtis on everything, but in my opinion this film is a brilliant, hardcore round up of the same old. simple minded, repeat vicious circles, our self perceived great leaders weave with no consideration of history or previous mistakes.

    Particularly relevant in terms of the latest ‘ Boots on the ground ‘ in Kuwait.

  5. Kyle

    “Loretta Lynch: Not Enough Evidence to Charge HSBC Banksters”

    Must be time for another Bill Black moment.

    1. OIFVet

      I love lesser cuts of meat: pork ribs, brisket, hanger steak. Women too, though I always thought they were superior life form that tolerates male existence for reproductive purposes (see America 3000).

    2. hunkerdown

      Salon (and its silent partner, the GOP) are learning how to play chords on their Wurlitzer of pathos.

      1. JoeK

        Not sure if is a mouth organ of the GOP, but I stopped visiting it when every session started with a splash page advertising an SUV or other odious consumer item. It’s only saving grace (based on infrequent visits) is that it hasn’t yet sunk as low as Huffpo. Left or right, the business of American does seem to be just business.

  6. NV

    Regarding drones scanning for ancient Amazonia, many major clues as to where to look are to found in the 16th century travel chronicles of Brother Gaspar de Carvajal. One of the characters in Herzog’s Aguirre Wrath of God was the Brother; the story line was adapted from one part of his chronicles. Also, Charles Manning, in his book 1493 has a good bibliography on 20th century archeology of Amazonia, which overturns the idea of jungle minus civilizations.
    Wikipedia article on Carvajal is a bit thin, but here is a quote: “Father Carvajal’s diary of the Orellana expedition has achieved prominence recently. For over four centuries, scholars dismissed its reports of large cities, well developed roads, monumental construction, fortified towns, and dense populations. It was thought that the acidic soils of Amazonia could not support the level of agriculture necessary to sustain such a civilization. His writings were largely dismissed as fabrications and propaganda.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Percy Fawcett could have used drones instead of trekking all way to Dead Horse Camp.

      In any case, I suspect an ancient connection between Amazonia and the pre-Columbian cultures of Peru/Ecuador.

      1. ambrit

        That’s probable. What’s really interesting is cross Atlantic contact. The myth of Viracocha, a culture bringer god who came from the east and set off into the Pacific when his work was done. One name for him was Kon Tiki, for which Thor Heyerdal named his famous balsa raft.

          1. ambrit

            The Pacific raft was made of balsa logs, and made it to Polynesia. The prevailing currents make a circum-Pacific trip possible.
            The cross Atlantic trip was tried twice. The second try, the Ra 2 made it to Barbados, using a reed ship made in a design used in Lake Titicaca, in the Bolivian altiplano.
            I remember reading Kon Tiki as a kid. There are some good You-tube videos about the Ra expeditions. Heyerdahl wrote a fascinating book, ‘Fatu Hiva,’ about living almost two years on a South Pacific island before WW2. It is not sentimentalized.

            1. OIFVet

              Kon Tiki is still one of my favorite books. There is also a movie on Netflix, but as in most cases the books is far better.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The Moche made beautiful stirrup totora boat pottery vessels.

              And the Chimu believed their ancestors arrived from the sea on totora boats (from another part of the coast, not across the Pacific).

              1. ambrit

                Every year, the time horizon for settlement of the Americas gets pushed farther back into the past. I liked your reference to Fawcett. Did you see the Brit drama loosely based on his life, “A Handfull of Dust?” It’s based on the novel of the same name by Evelyn Waugh.

            3. Brooklin Bridge

              I got them confused (a specialty). I remember the events – spellbound like most kids – and watched a related series of documentaries as they came out. The one that fascinated me most (though I don’t think it was specific to Easter Island) was a film on the method of navigation over long distances (> 2000 mi) not only by stars but also by close observation of wave patterns that had been practiced over generations. They found someone who had been given training in this method as a young boy and went on an expedition with him to test his ability to go long distances. Amazingly, he succeeded with great accuracy. Even on moonless nights or poor visibility, he could “listen” to the waves and maintain a course. Outrageous.

              I’ll check out ‘Fatu Hiva, and thanks!…

              1. ambrit

                “I got them confused (a specialty).” You are not alone in that.
                I have made a career, such as it is, out of being a “Confused Generalist.”

  7. ex-PFC Chuck

    About half an hour ago I posted a short comment re the fact that the Ukrainians apparently broke the cease fire about an hour after it went into effect. The comment included a link to the Youtube video, with English subtitles, of a Novorussian press conference at which this was announced. Something relegated it to either the etheric void or the modulation pile. I posted a nearly identical comment and link in the Ilargi piece but it hasn’t appeared either. In any case if you want to watch the video go to the Saker’s place.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      It seems the ceasefire was designed ro fail, since the primary beligerent /combatant (US) wasn’t even party to the agreement, and almost immediately after signing, the Euro parties announced new sanctions on Russia … all in good faith.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In a savage total war, economic sanctions, cease-fires and peace negotiations are all incorporated into the war effort.

        You have to include your non-violence (if you believe violence only refers to physical violence*) stuff.

        And that’s why I am grateful we are talking about emotional abuse being falsely idealized as sexy today.

        Emotional abuse is emotional violence, and emotional violence is also violence.

        * To me, greed is emotional and spiritual violence. Watching greed can make some people sick. Greed can maim and kill.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          “Greed is emotional and spiritual violence.”

          Amen! And that’s exactly where physical violence begins, as it already has on a scale of which most Americans are frighteningly ignorant, so far. I think it’s now too far gone; the dogs of war have snapped their leashes.

          1. ambrit

            The American military couldn’t subdue the Afghan Tribes, (well, no one has figured that trick out,) and now they want to go teasing Bears? Stupidity knows no bounds.

    2. Yonatan

      The article is a fine example of framing. The Nazi groups has no intention of complying with this truce or any other truce. Their military leader, Dmitry Yarosh, has assembled 17 battalions outside government control. The truce has been totally rejected.

      “Right Sector believes that any agreements with the pro-Russian terrorists have no legal force and contradict the existing Constitution of Ukraine, therefore the citizens are not obliged to implement them. If the Ukrainian army receives an order to withdraw heavy artillery and not to open fire, the Right Sector reserves the right to continue active combat operations in accordance with its own operational plans until we completely liberate the Ukrainian lands from the Russian occupation.”

      Here is a check list of excuses the west will bring out in the MSM

      The ‘Russian troops in Ukraine’ option has been invoked. Payette claims that the smudges in this satellite image are proof of Russian presence.

      It looks like the process to remove Poroshenko has started . Radio Liberty and Radio Svoboda have produced allegations that Poroshenko has acquired several acres of prime real estate in Kiev through corrupt means. Corruption seems a plausible excuse for the general public. They are hardly likely to give the real reason – insufficient progress in ethnically cleansing the east.

    3. Andrew Watts

      I just read your comment about that on Sic Semper Tyrannis. There was also an important bit about a leading Sunni sheik getting assassinated by Shia militias or the Islamic State. Nobody is sure who did it.

      So many fires, so little water.

    4. Vatch

      I went to the Saker web site, as you advised. Things may have improved, as this indicates:

      “It appears that after a bad start, the ceasefire is now more or less generally respected. The intensity of the shooting has dramatically fallen and the front is generally quiet. We shall see how long this will last.”

      Elsewhere, I found reports that the rebels do not believe that Debaltseve is included in the cease fire agreement:

      “Rebels in eastern Ukraine refused to allow monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to reach the encircled town of Debaltseve after a ceasefire took effect on Sunday, the head of the OSCE mission said.

      “The rebels have said the ceasefire does not apply to Debaltseve, scene of the worst fighting in recent weeks.”

      Is this true? Is Debaltseve excluded from the cease fire? The New York Times article in the links has this:

      “In his earlier statement, Mr. Zakharchenko, the head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, also said he had ordered his forces to halt combat all along the front line in eastern Ukraine, as required in the Minsk agreement, but not near Debaltseve.”

    1. Michael

      There are parts of the article I found relevant and enjoyable, but I think his characterization of Occupy is absurd and raises serious questions about his ability to understand much of anything in a way that would make him worth reading:

      “These explosions are undermined by a fatal naivety, that is, by a set of the best possible intentions to improve a problematic situation – combined with a lack of any effective or forensic knowledge about what has caused it in the first place. A complaint that might have occasioned an intricate political argument instead ends up as a primal scream.

      “The news is partly to blame for this incoherent rage; it is the news that helps to raise audiences that cannot make sense of and feel hopeless about their condition and that are fed a diet of economic analyses that skilfully crushes ambitious considerations of how to create a more equitable world.”

      This is patently false. I mean, yes, in some ways he is correct. Most people in Occupy don’t understand LIBOR or arbitrage or many other things– myself included. But it seems to me that Occupy has quite a good grasp on what has caused the problem in the first place, and that’s why it seeks out sweeping systemic change. That it can only be grasped by this author as a “primal scream” is because he is too attached to fixing a system that in itself is the problem. I don’t need to know how complex financial schematics work to know what the problem is and I don’t appreciate the ad hominem here– the assumption that because I don’t know exactly how banks work that I can’t accurately know that they are part of the problem.

    2. Integer Owl

      I have read one of his books, ‘The Consolations of Philosophy’. I would assert that to have written this book, one would have to have a significant level of inherent kindness and a good understanding of the human condition, so I’d have to imagine his economic views would be based on providing an dignified existence for all. I really enjoyed the book, btw.

  8. steviefinn

    Thanks for the link – i don’t know how he stands on economics, but the stuff I have seen & read leads me to believe he is a decent sort of moderate fella. This is an interesting docu. he made relating to materialism, keeping up with the Joneses, envy & why we should perhaps pity those who need status symbols :

  9. knowbuddhau

    Noam Chomsky: The machine, the ghost and the limits of understanding; Newton´s contribution to the study of mind

    My first reaction was, Newton’s what? I’ve indulged in innumerable rants about the dangers of reducing the organic world to a mere mechanism: if the universe is a mechanism, then so, too, are we, and of course, mechanisms have no “human” rights. If everything is an object, then nothing has any subjectivity TPTB are bound to respect. Eg., we’re no longer citizens, but mere consumers, just appetites on two legs. Control of inputs equals control of outputs; push the right buttons, and you can determine behavior. PSYOPs and propaganda are efforts to machine human minds, using words kinetically. And so on.

    But Chomsky says Newton “undermined,” even “demolished” the “mechanical philosophy,” as did Galileo. The MP attempted to reduce organisms to mechanisms, but, Chomsky says, the founders of the scientific revolution themselves rejected that effort, noting very real limitations on the scope of human understanding. He goes on to say how thoroughly reductionism has failed. He talks a lot about how Newton substantially lowered standards of intelligibility, from “we can know everything” to “some things we’ll never know.”

    So how come the idea, that the universe is “nothing but” a mechanism which we master with our (potentially) omniscient science, is so dominant today? IMNSHO it’s the driving force behind the US effort, to machine the world into submission forever and always (aka “full-spectrum dominance”). And it’s been known for a long time (to some at least) that it’s not what it’s cracked up to be.

    Chomsky says the effort, to reduce human consciousness to neurophysiology, is just as doomed as the effort, to reduce chemical laws to physical laws. He talks about the correctness of “mysterians,” those who hold the idea that there will always be things beyond the reach of human understanding in scientific terms. He says unification is a lower standard than reduction, but it’s at least potentially attainable.

    The most surprising thing Chomsky says is that, contrary to widespread belief, Newton didn’t exorcise the ghost from the machine, he exorcised the machine.

    This all comes as news to me. I’ve only watched it once, a few repetitions are in order. I wish “the greatest living public intellectual” had oratorical skills to match. His monotone and halting make it hard to follow him.

    Alan Watts called this idea “the fully automatic model.” It’s obviously ascendant, and yet fundamentally flawed. Anyone else, hopefully more knowledgeable of this topic than I, have anything to add?

    1. diptherio

      Insightful comment. One of the problems with dividing knowledge into separate disciplines, as we are wont to do in academia, is that we end up with (for instance) scientists holding philosophical positions re epistemology that have been long ago shown to be untenable by philosophical inquiry. For the same reason, we find economists who hold theories of the world that biology and ecology know to be absurdist–just as the philosopher knows that an epistemology that grants the possiblity of total knowledge of the universe (or any aspect of it) to a human mind is laughable.

      I have met a number of practicing scientists who hold the view that we will eventually figure out everything there is to know about our “fully automatic” universe through the use of the scientific method. Fortunately, there are wiser heads as well, who have grokked Godel’s incompleteness theorem, which states, in a nutshell, that no mathematical system can be both complete (able to provide an answer to every askable question within the system) and non-contradictory (doesn’t return an answer of 1=2 or something similarly impossible for some questions). I’m probably mangling it, but that’s the gist, and it seems to spell the death of science’s ability to describe reality fully, since reality itself is both complete and non-contradictory.

      On a more philosophical note, William James makes a strong case that even if we knew the Truth (big T) we would have no way of knowing that we know it–we would still be able to doubt it–and so “current best guess” is about all we can hope for in life and in science. Kierkegaard takes it a step further and declares that Truth is Subjectivity, i.e. since all reality, and all of our knowledge of it, is experienced by a particular, actually-existing individual, there is literally nothing we can speak of as reality outside of some actually-existing individuals experience of it–therefore Truth is Subjectivity. There is no “universal” perspective or viewpoint, no objective place from which to view the world and to declare what is what, since no matter where you are, you are always necessarily viewing it from behind a particular pair of eyes. Jesus speaks to the multitudes from the hilltop. One woman hears “blessed are the meek,” but the guy next her swears it was “blessed are the cheese-makers.” Reality is one, but our experience of it is multiple, and the way you look at things seems to affect the way things appear. This is the point of magical practice, as I understand it: to alter your perspective and thus to alter your lived reality. If Truth, and therefore Reality, really is Subjectivity then the thought that adjusting your mindset could change “reality” seems much less whackjob.

      As for TPTB’s ability to run all of humanity like a clockwork mechanism or a marrionette, history has a lesson for their hubris. Randomness and free will are endemic and will always f— things up for the would be puppet-masters. The more they try to tighten their grip, the more random rebellion they spur. I think you are right that these sorts have a “fully automatic model” of reality, but I’m not worried about them being successful in their aims for applying it. The more they win, the more inevitable they make their downfall.

      1. horostam

        This is irrellevent to the gist of your comment, but….

        “since reality itself is both complete and non-contradictory”
        what is this silly assumption doing in there? Quantum mechanics says precicely that reality is NOT complete and non-contradictory. This is what Neils Bohr understood that Heisnberg and even Einstein would not admit.

        1. Jack

          No, all Quantum Mechanics indicates is that we don’t yet have a full understanding of reality (and maybe we never will). That doesn’t mean it isn’t operating on an explicable, consistent process. Just because things appear to randomly pop in and out of existence on the smallest of scales doesn’t mean they actually are. I’m reminded of Sagan’s 3D apple passing through flatland and appearing, to its 2D inhabitants, as a series of changing slices.

      2. LifelongLib

        Based on reading what they say, I’ve often been shocked by 1) how ignorant many scientists are about areas outside their specialties, and 2) how often what are really philosophical/religious views get trojan-horsed as being scientifically based, admittedly less often by scientists themselves than by people who believe they understand science.

        1. Integer Owl

          “how ignorant many scientists are about areas outside their specialties”

          I agree with this sentiment, and would extend it to many occupations. To an extent I believe this is done by design. While it takes a lot of study and critical thinking to arrive at a coherent world-view that incorporates science, maths, the mysteries of the natural world (eg. origins of life, the universe, nature’s complexity, the human condition), and the mind-bogglingly complicated human-made systems (eg. economics and politics), it is by no means unachievable, and allows events to be assessed from both the perspective of what is known, and what is not known.

          I think the following quote sums it up well, and I would expect that those looking to wield control of populations would vastly prefer for people to remain boxed-in inside ‘cramped and busy understandings’ of their chosen field, and not understanding how it relates to the whole.

          “Great understanding is broad and unhurried, little understanding is cramped and busy” – Chuang-tzu

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          It’s very financially rewarding to look down and focus upon an ever increasingly smaller area of reality to exert oneself mentally.

          The machine is designed to reward you for that.

          “This is your cave to shine your torch. Leave other caves to others more competent about those caves.”

      3. knowbuddhau

        Thanks, diptherio, glad you liked it.

        One of my all-time favorite academic articles is along exactly the lines you mention. “Objective Psychology: a case of epistemological sleight-of-hand,” details how, in the founding of scientific psychology, an ideology was slipped in under the cover of lab coats.


        Much of objective psychology’s infirmity is rooted in its
        unusual beginnings. (One cannot rightly speak of its birth since
        psychology was not born but “stipulated into life” in Sigmund
        Koch’s crisp characterization (Koch, 1975, p. 485). Other fields
        of knowledge acquire scientific status gradually, beginning with
        puzzling observations, explanatory hunches, attempts at con-
        firmation, and ending with carefully tested, tentatively held
        theory. Or, they may start with sudden discoveries leading to the
        conclusion that the phenomena in question are either radically
        new and too different to be integrated with existing fields.
        Psychology, however, like biblical creation, was brought about by

        What actually occurred in 1879 at the University of Leipzig
        was, in operational terms, the designation, at the request of Pro-

        86 Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 11(1)

        fessor Wilhelm Wundt, of certain physical facilities, equipped
        with certain rudimentary instruments, for use in certain, fairly
        novel though actually quite humble activities. Textbooks in-
        variably glorify this actually commonplace academic event as
        “the creation of the first laboratory of experimental psychology,” a
        designation promptly streamlined into “the creation of Ex-
        perimental Psychology,” hence the “creation” of a science–a
        case of verbal inflation which puts an end to accurate com-
        munication! Knowledge reveals itself in response to man-made ef-
        fort, but it is not man-made.

        Like most of us even to this day, the early psychologists were
        probably overwhelmed by the triumphs of technology which they,
        again like most of us, may have mistaken for science–thereby
        confusing “what works” with “what is understood” ( Needleman
        1975; Barzun, 1964; passim). What impelled Wundt was an
        understandable impatience with speculative pronouncements
        about psychological processes and a corresponding urge for
        factual knowledge. For this he remains eminently deserving of
        credit. Boldly breaking with tradition, he declared psychological
        phenomena as being natural, not supernatural or somehow non-
        natural, hence he attempted to study them naturaliter , i.e.,
        empirically. Wundt, however, vastly overshot his methodological
        mark. Apparently forgetting that experimental techniques are
        only part of the empirical approach, he by-passed the initial,
        reflective, and observational phases of the process to start with its
        very last, experimental phase–which can rightly be broached on-
        ly after the possibilities of the former are exhausted. What spoiled
        Wundt’s and his followers’ endeavor was, it seems, their obsession
        with the reigning physical model and their sense of urgency.
        apparently ever stopped to ask the crucial epistemological ques-
        tion, to wit: whether the phenomena of consciousness, though
        doubtlessly natural, are natural in the same sense as the
        phenomena studied by the natural sciences.

        This epistemological neglect and resulting methodological er-
        ror were responsible for the early psychologists’ natural-science
        choice of an approach to their subject matter and for the
        physicalistic-quantitative techniques which they imposed upon,
        rather than fitted to, the phenomena.
        (In fairness to the all-too-
        long maligned Wundt, it should be mentioned that he himself
        promptly recognized the application of the experimental method

        G. M. Kinget Objective Psychology 87

        to psychology as being sharply limited, suited only to elementary,
        hence largely sensory phenomena. Where higher processes such
        as those of conceptualization and language are concerned,
        Wundt insisted throughout the seven volumes of his Völker
        that such processes can be studied only via the
        “techniques of historical and naturalistic observation and also of
        logical analysis” (Blumenthal, 1975, p. 1082)–which, incidental-
        ly, amounts very largely to the use of the phenomenological ap-
        proach. However, this choice of approach and of techniques
        amounts to introducing an ideology under the cloak of
        methodology–the mechanistic, Newtonian ideology which
        dominated 19th century thinking.
        The central assumption of this
        crypto-ideological methodology is the belief that psychological
        phenomena can be studied in the same way as physico-chemical
        phenomena, for it implies that, while phenomena differ in their
        manifestations, they are nevertheless identical in their nature, or
        sufficiently similar, to justify equating them. (Kinget, G. M. (1979). Objective psychology: a case of epistemological sleight-of-hand. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 11, 83-96. Bold emphasis added.)

        Lest it be thought that this academic debate has no real-world consequences, and speaking of an “obsession with the reigning physical model and their sense of urgency,” I give you Mitchell & Jessen

        The founders of the scientific revolution shared Wundt’s “understandable impatience with speculative pronouncements about psychological processes and a corresponding urge for factual knowledge.” But they themselves found that reducing organisms to mechanisms was a bad idea. Nevertheless, centuries later, Mitchell & Jessen made millions by claiming they could figure out the precise inputs (read: torture techniques) needed to produce, with mechanistic certainty, the desired outputs, ie, actionable intelligence.

        Evidently, preaching bogus psychology to the PTB choir will get you very far.

        I see bogus economics in much the same way: more of a religion than a science. It’s all about reproducing existing power structures without accepting responsibility for doing so, deflecting criticism with spurious claims of objectivity, claims that were discredited and outdated centuries ago. If that ain’t the very essence of a religion, I don’t know what is.

    2. Jack

      Not sure why you feel there needs to be some mystical/magical/woo dimension for things like human rights to exist. Sorry, but all the evidence is that life and reality are entirely mechanistic. So what? I subscribe to notions of human rights because I’m not a damn psychopath; I understand suffering and misery and seek to prevent them. I see no need to invent a soul or anything else to justify that position. Chomsky is completely wrong on this one. Claiming Newton undermined ‘mechanical philosophy’ is especially embarrassing, since one of the great tragedies of Newton is that after accomplishing all he did, including literally inventing a whole new kind of math, he simply gave up on trying to explain the constant minor variations in orbital movements and fell back on ‘God micromanages them’. And then Laplace came along a hundred years later and exactly explained what Newton failed to. And Newton was no idiot, he could have done it if he’d pushed himself to.

    3. skippy

      My only quip is Science [in the modern sense] has not nor does not view it self as a religion nor an ideology e.g. it was not self awarded. That distinction would be – force upon it – by those that are practitioners in the very methodology – they utilize – as a framing tool, too broad brush a perceived threat.

      This perceived threat is a manifestation of the latter’s fear [fear has a horrible track record with cognitive processes], worst of all is Science has no agency, that distinction is actioned by the engineers that apply Scientific discovery at the behest of those that fund their works.

      Skippy…. Hate to say it but, the navel gazers have a woeful habit of projecting their own internal contradictions onto others as seeming a way to assimilate anything not part of their collective world view. And as such render everything a personal opinion which can be debated endlessly… as the world burns.

  10. Jim Haygood

    From ‘US brigade of 4,000 soldiers headed to Kuwait’:

    Col. Greg Sierra told soldiers and their families that if his brigade tangles with Islamic State fighters, the outcome won’t be in doubt. “In the end, if we do get into fights, we win decisively,” he said.

    Yeah, right! We won so decisively in the 2003 invasion, that this time round they had to recruit naive foreigners to line up for a 2nd round of whup-ass from our heroes.

    *shakes fist toward the east*

    Surrender to our drones, losers!

    1. Dirk77

      I think Mr. Sierra made colonel because everyone else has retired in disgust. The USA is now responsible for more Iraqi deaths than Americans killed in WWII, and we can still find jokers unable to draw a line between two points, each the size of the Sun.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Only drones can surrender to drones.

      Anthropocentrism demands humans surrender only to humans.

    3. hunkerdown

      If we do get into fights? Therefore if we didn’t win it decisively, it wasn’t a fight? Colonel “Bravo” Sierra foaming the runway for the No True Scotsfight fallacy?

    4. evodevo

      You can still find this sentiment among Army brass today – “We could have won Vietnam if it weren’t for the dirty hippies/antiwar movement/insufficient will/etc. etc.” It’s a feature, not a bug, when you are rising through the ranks. No second-guessing, no critical thinking allowed. Gung ho only !!11!!!! Unfortunately, it results in NO learning lessons from past mistakes, and here we are today, back to the Friedman unit.

  11. Oregoncharles

    So Podemos, who DO intend to leave the Euro, are the likely winners of the next election.

    Does this explain a degree of caution on the part of Eurozone negotiators? The threat to the Euro’s veru existence, except perhaps as a form of Deutschmark, is very real.

    Which puts Spain in an even better negotiating position, if they choose to negotiate.

    1. Ruben

      Nah, the “socialists” of the PSOE and the right-wing PP will form a coalition, Podemos does not have time to grow enough, so the status quo will continue for another 4 more years in Spain. PSOE bosses have already categorically denied that they would form a coalition gov’t with the PP so most certainly this is exactly what’s gonna happen.

  12. Oregoncharles

    “Next Pinatubo’ to test geoengineering” –
    the most nonsensical form of geoengineering. Nothing is worth considering that doesn’t sequester CO2. Remember, planting trees and running up the humus (carbon) content of soils are geoengineering – and likely to work.

    1. davidgmills

      We can use Allan Savory’s method using animals and we can use biochar. Vast amounts of carbon could be returned to the soil.

  13. Oregoncharles

    “GOP lawmaker calls women “a lesser cut of meat””
    There’s a Darwin Award for you. Not only are women the majority of voters, but this is going to do wonders for his ability to get laid (unless he’s gay – one interpretation.) ;)

  14. Go Forth Unafraid of Mister Epstein's lapbone

    Macedonia, ha. They’re pikers at blackmail. CIA has securely rigged the 2016 election and everything else of interest with no meltdown, no destabilization, no muss, no fuss. They don’t need COMINT, they have tiny-dicked child molester Jeffery Epstein.

    The ingenious part was making him a generic tycoon to derail critical thought with eat-the-rich moralizing. As a financier, the Fifty Shades of Gray guy is less fictional. Check out Epstein’s laugh-out-loud story of making it big in the money game in options, Imean tax, Imean currencies, Imean macro, Imean global opportunities, with these idiotic geopolitical themes he gets from math or science or something. A lone genius in the Madoff mold. No one’s ever seen a statement. One billion dollar minimum investment. From inception. Right. AUM is this circle I am making with my thumb and finger. His expense account is Quasha and Saudi pelf and skimmed Israeli foreign aid. Could it be more blatant? His fixer is Ken Starr, Pecksniff of counsel for the sexual blackmail practice of Kirkland & Ellis.

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