Friday, January 31, 2014
foreignpolicy | Documents from the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) show that America's nuclear weapons developers were happy to support the Army's quest for tactical nukes. In 1957, according to an AEC history, Sandia Corporation President James McRae lamented that "indiscriminate use of high-yield nuclear weapons inevitably created adverse public opinion." Since the future of war lay in an "unending succession of brushfire wars, rather than large-scale conflicts," McRae recommended that "greater emphasis should be placed on small atomic weapons," which could be used in "local ground combat."
McRae's urgings paved the way for the development of the Davy Crockett, a sub-kiloton-yield nuclear rocket that could fit on the back of a jeep. In 1958, when the Army came knocking for an atomic demolition munition that could be carried by a single soldier, the AEC looked to the Crockett's lightweight Mark 54 warhead for its solution. The resulting weapon would be a smaller, more mobile version of the ADMs. The Army, though, would have to share the device with the Navy and Marine Corps.
The AEC's final product -- the B-54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition -- entered the U.S. arsenal in 1964. It stood 18 inches tall, encased in an aluminum and fiberglass frame. It rounded to a bullet shape on one end and had a 12-inch-diameter control panel on the other. According to an Army manual, the weapon's maximum explosive yield was less than 1 kiloton -- that is, the equivalent of a thousand tons of TNT. To protect the bomb from unauthorized use, the SADM's control panel was sealed by a cover plate secured by a combination lock. Glow-in-the-dark paint applied to the lock allowed troops to unlock the bomb at night.
As Soviet forces advanced into such countries as West Germany, the SADM would allow Special Forces units (dubbed "Green Light" teams) to deploy behind enemy lines to destroy infrastructure and matériel. But their mission wouldn't have been limited to NATO countries alone. What many nuclear historians don't realize is that Special Forces Green Light teams were also prepared to use SADMs on territory of the Warsaw Pact itself in order to thwart an invasion. The teams prepared to destroy enemy airfields, tank depots, nodes in the anti-aircraft grid, and any potentially useful transportation infrastructure in order to mitigate the flood of enemy armor and to allow allied air power to punch through. According to an internal report, the Army also considered burying SADMs next to enemy bunkers "to destroy critical field command and communications installations."
Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces were trained to reach their targets by air, land, and sea. They could parachute behind enemy lines from cargo planes or helicopters. Teams specializing in scuba missions could swim the bomb to its destination if necessary. (The AEC built an airtight, pressurized case that allowed divers to submerge the bomb to depths of up to 200 feet.) One Special Forces team even trained to ski with the weapon in the Bavarian Alps, though not without some difficulty. "It skied down the mountain; you did not," said Bill Flavin, who commanded a Special Forces SADM team. "If it shifted just a little bit, that was it. You were out of control on the slopes with that thing."
Special Forces thus turned to teams trained in special high-altitude parachute jumps and scuba diving to deliver the weapon. Team leaders were allowed to choose which of their men would receive training on the weapon in order to make sure their units could pass the Army's periodic, demanding nuclear surety inspections. "The people with the best records, the people with the most experience, usually ended up on the SADM team because they had to pass the surety inspection," said Flavin. To receive SADM qualification, soldiers also had to be screened through the Defense Department's personnel reliability program to make sure they were trustworthy and mentally stable.
Some men approached for the mission were gung-ho; others were less so. "Of course everybody would volunteer. That wasn't a problem," said Capt. Davis. "We did it because, hey, it was gee-whiz. It was a neat thing to do, and I wanted to learn about it." But when Green Light team member Ken Richter began interviewing potential candidates, he said, not everyone was as enthusiastic: "I had a lot of people that I interviewed for our team. Once they found out what the mission was, they said, 'No, thanks. I'd rather go back to Vietnam.'"
having served their purpose, disinfo operations finally get digested and excreted through the larouchian sphincter whale.to...,
terrorism-illuminati | The so-called experts of the History Channel’s ludicrous Ancient Aliens series are actually crackpot researchers who, with the assistance of certain covert government agencies, are communicating Masonic interpretations of history based on the legends of the Kabbalah, to present the devil and his legions, also known as the Fallen Angels, as having been the secret guardians of humanity over the centuries, and who will soon disclose their existence, to lead a one world government and herald the coming a of New Age.
Since the earliest times, mysticism centered around the worship of the stars and planets, who were revered as living gods, the most important ones being Venus or the star Sirius. This tradition was preserved in the West through astrology and alchemy, and reinterpreted in the late nineteenth century during the Occult Revival. The era derived from the perception that Western society had become overly skeptical, and attracted audience by promising contact with “supernatural” phenomena.
Séances then become very popular. The being contacted were typically interpreted as being souls of the dead, or human beings who had advanced to higher dimensions, and other times, as beings from other planets. And it is from these practices that so-called contact with “extra-terrestrials” evolved.
As the highly-respected UFO researcher Jacques Vallée demonstrated, there is very strong evidence the contactees have experienced contact with something, but those experience do not follow the typical science-fiction scenario popularized by the media, but rather, the same experiences described over the centuries with beings called demons, fairies, ghosts and genies, or what are called Jinn in Islam. And many so-called cover-up documents, like the MJ-12 papers, have been proven to be government-assisted hoaxes. As Brenda Denzler noted, in The Lure of the Edge: Scientific Passions, Religious Beliefs, and the Pursuit of UFOs, “the contactee movement was, in effect, a conduit through which established spiritualist and Theosophical ideas and practices moved into the UFO community.”
The leading personality behind this trend was H. P. Blavatsky, a British and Russian agent, and founder of the Theosophical society, who is regarded as the godmother of the New Age movement, and whose books are considered “scriptures” for Freemasonry.
The Ancient Astronauts hypothesis, also known as Ancient Aliens, is related to the “White Gods” theories, developed from the Aryan racism of Theosophy, that was later adopted by the Nazis. Basically, the theory purports that ancient cultures like those of the Egyptians and the Maya, were visited by Caucasian civilizers who were ignorantly worshipped by primitive peoples as “gods.”
These ideas are derived from Kabbalistic interpretations of the Book of Genesis, which recounts the story of the Nephilim. Translated into English as “sons of God,” they refer to Lucifer and his legions who were cast out of Heaven, the so-called Fallen Angels, who descended to earth and interbred with the female descendants of Cain, to whom they taught magic. Thus they supposedly created a superior race, the Aryans, who have been preserving the “Ancient Wisdom” ever since.
The veneration of ancient Egypt derived from Rosicrucian traditions of Scottish Rite and Egyptian Rite Freemasonry, which claimed to follow a Christian Gnostic tradition inherited from the Ancient Mysteries of Egypt, founded on the worship of the dying-gods, Osiris and Sirius.
wikipedia | The extraterrestrial spacecraft can readily cross the vast distances between their planet and Earth at many times the speed of light, but are too small to carry more than one or two crew members. Their time on station is limited: UFOs can only survive for a couple of days in Earth's atmosphere before they heat up, deteriorate and finally explode. The alien craft can survive for far longer underwater; one episode, "Reflections in the Water", deals with the discovery of a secret undersea alien base, which shows one UFO flying straight out of an extinct volcano, which Straker describes as "a back door to the Atlantic". A special underwater version of the standard UFO design is seen in "Sub Smash". In flight they are surrounded by horizontally spinning vanes and emit a distinctive pulsing electronic whine that sounds like a Shoooe-Wheeeh! (This was produced by series composer Barry Gray, on an Ondes Martenot.) The craft is armed with a laser-type weapon, and conventional explosive warheads can destroy it. The personal arms of the aliens resemble shiny metal submachine guns; these have a lower rate of fire than those used by SHADO. Later episodes such as "The Cat with Ten Lives" show the aliens using other weapons, such as a small device that paralyses victims.
The show's concept was unusually dark for its time: the basic premise was that Earth had not simply been visited by extraterrestrial visitors, but indeed was under brutal alien attack, and that alien invaders were abducting humans to use as involuntary organ transplant donors. A later episode, "The Cat With Ten Lives," contains a sinister plot point which suggests that the UFO pilots are not humanoid aliens at all, but are in fact human abductees under the control of the alien intelligences, suggesting that, as in Captain Scarlet, the aliens, in the dialogue of Dr. Jackson, "may have no physical being at all and therefore need a container, a vehicle – our bodies".
The show also featured realistic, believable relationships between the human characters to a far greater extent than usual in a typical science fiction series, showing the clear influence of American programmes like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek and British action series such as Danger Man. One early episode, "Computer Affair," suggested an interracial romance between two continuing characters – something that was uncommon in British TV of the period – while others showed the heroes making mistakes with sometimes fatal consequences. Furthermore, relatively few episodes of the series actually had happy or (for the characters) satisfying endings.
The episode "Confetti Check A-OK" is almost entirely devoted to the breakdown of Straker's marriage under the strain of maintaining the secrecy of the classified nature of his duties. "A Question Of Priorities" takes this exploration further, and hinges on Straker having to make the life-or-death choice of whether to divert a SHADO aircraft to deliver life-saving medical supplies to his critically injured son, or allow the aircraft to continue on its mission to attempt a last-chance intercept against an incoming UFO. Two key images from "A Question Of Priorities" – Straker's son being struck down and his ex-wife declaring she never wants to see him again – are repeated in flashback in two subsequent episodes, "Sub Smash" and "Mindbender," suggesting that Straker remains haunted by these unresolved emotional issues.
Another episode, "The Square Triangle," centres on a woman and her lover who plan to murder her husband. When they accidentally kill an alien from a downed UFO instead, SHADO intervenes and doses the guilty pair with amnesia drugs. (This was decades ahead of a similar story device in Men in Black, and it was one that was deployed for similar reasons.) Straker realises, however, that the drugs will not affect their basic motivation and, worse, he cannot reveal the truth to local legal authorities. The end credits of this episode run over a scene set in the near future, showing the woman visiting her husband's grave and then walking away to meet her lover.
not sure what they were working on that prompted them to renew the disinfo program from the 50's...,
wikipedia | The series was produced by Quinn Martin, who was looking for a show to replace the immensely popular The Fugitive, which was ending its run in 1967. Larry Cohen, the show's creator, had conceived two earlier series with similarities to The Invaders. Chuck Connors starred in Branded (1965) as a soldier court-martialed for cowardice, who traveled the West searching for witnesses and proof that he had acted valiantly, and Coronet Blue (1967) about Michael Alden, a man suffering from amnesia who was being pursued by a powerful group of people. All he could remember were the words "Coronet Blue".
Another inspiration was the wave of "alien doppelgänger" films which had come ten years before in the 1950s, typified by Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and the British film Quatermass 2 (1957), known in America as Enemy from Space. While these paranoid tales of extraterrestrials who lived among us, posing as humans while planning a takeover, are usually linked with a Red Scare subtext, Martin simply wanted a premise that would keep the hero moving around and that would explain why he could not go to the authorities (i.e. not only had some aliens infiltrated human institutions already, but most humans would dismiss a claim of alien invasion as a paranoid delusion), however as the series unfolded the various 'disappearances' of people in episodes (killed by The Invaders, such as Vincent's partner - James Daly - in the pilot, etc.), those installed alien figures revealed to be aliens by Vincent thus having to withdraw (such as Edward Andrews' character in 'The Mutation' etc.) plus the surviving one or two key human witnesses in most episodes (from the third episode onwards) did rather alter the basic premise of the show to something deeper and more thought provoking early on.
The basic idea of just ONE man standing between Earth being invaded by an entire alien force with advanced technology, rather stretched viewer credibility (and hardly made the aliens themselves look very impressive as Vincent consistently turned up everywhere and defeated them each week), the episodes do however have curious undercurrents both re the political overtones and quite subtle hints that more was going on than at first appeared, making it a far more compelling show than it first seems, anticipating later such shows as' The X Files' and 'Dark Skies' etc., which were clearly influenced to a degree by 'The Invaders'.
The flying saucer design was influenced by two famous UFO photographs. The first case happened in 1965 in Santa Ana, California. On August 3, the highway traffic engineer Rex Heflin took several pictures of a flying craft, while working near the Santa Ana freeway. Heflin did not report his sighting, but the photographs were published by the Santa Ana Register on September 20, 1965. The second is the Adamski case. On December 13, 1952 in Palomar Gardens, California, USA, the contactee George Adamski took a series of photographs through his telescope, of a bell-shaped craft, today well known as the Adamski Scout Ship. The upper hull, and flat top from the Heflin case were combined with the bell-shaped outer flange and three rings of the Adamski case. The five hemispheres in the bottom of the craft seem to emulate the three semispheres in the Adamski Scout Ship.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
slate | Concurrently with the publication of the Perkins letter, a fair swathe of the world’s elite was gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for a conference based on the presumption that a Tom Perkins would never write a stupid letter. The presumption of the annual World Economic Forum meeting is that leading policymakers and scholars ought to mingle with very, very, very rich businessmen (and, yes, it’s overwhelmingly men) to talk about the leading issues of the day. The idea, in other words, is that CEOs and major investors have unique and important insights on pressing public policy issues. After all, they’re so rich! How could they not be smart?
Well, ask Tom Perkins. Or ask Michael Jordan how he could be so good at playing basketball and yet so bad at owning and managing the Charlotte Bobcats.
Outside the business world, we tend to take it for granted that just because you’re good at one thing doesn’t automatically make you a mastermind at other things. Nobody expects Taylor Swift to make important contributions to a panel on sustainable growth in Africa or rethinking global food security. But the Davos panels on such topics always include a rich executive from the business world.
Because who better to solve the world’s problems than the people who benefit from the status quo?
Because who better to solve the world’s problems than the people who benefit from the status quo?
Of course, if there were just one somewhat obnoxious conference like Davos, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But the Davos mentality—the assumption that managing a for-profit enterprise gives you special insight into social ills—is all around us, from the Aspen Ideas Festival on down. It has also infested more formalized policymaking settings. Rich businesspeople wield disproportionate interest in the political system simply through their ability to make campaign contributions and hire lobbyists. But over and beyond that, they are regularly invited to enter policymaking circles.
In the early months of his administration, President Obama held a summit with bank CEOs to discuss the state of the financial system. He did a big roundtable with tech CEOs in December. Back in 2011, he made a big deal out of creating a council on jobs and competitiveness headed by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and largely composed of other business titans. And yet a staple of Republican criticism of Obama during his first term was that he didn’t do enough of this kind of thing and his administration lacked firsthand business experience. Finance whiz kid Mitt Romney was supposed to turn things around with his business savvy.
wustl | The idea that people make calculated decisions that allow them to obtain the most goods with the smallest amount of effort — a complex hypothesis called ‘economic man’ for short — often has been challenged. People sometimes make irrational decisions, they rarely possess sufficient information to make the best decision, and they sometimes act against their own economic self-interest, critics say.
But none of these critiques is as radical as the one advanced in the Jan. 13 online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Written by an international team of researchers, it was inspired by a workshop on biological markets (transactions in which partners, typically animals, exchange commodities for their mutual benefit) held at the Lorentz Center of the University of Leiden in The Netherlands in January. (Visit here for the agenda.)
The scientists asked themselves how far biological market theory, which has been used successfully to explain cooperative behavior in many species, could be extended. Could it be used to describe, for example, the exchange of commodities between organisms without any cognitive ability, such as microbes?
They could think of instances where single-celled organisms had been shown to avoid bad trading partners, build local business ties, diversify or specialize in a particular commodity, save for a rainy day, eliminate the competition and otherwise behave in ways that seem to follow market-based principles.
They concluded not only that microbes are economic actors, but also that microbial markets can be useful systems for testing questions about biological markets in general, such as the evolution of partner choice, responses to price fluctuations and the identification of market conditions that drive diversification or specialization.
They even foresee practical applications of the work. It might be possible, for example, to manipulate ‘market conditions’ in crop fields to drive nitrogen-fixing bacteria to trade more of their commodity (a biologically available form of nitrogen) with crop plants.
“Creative insights are often easier when theories from one field are explored in a different system as we do here, applying economic concepts to microbial interactions,” said Joan Strassmann, PhD, the Charles Rebstock Professor of Biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, who participated in the workshop and helped write the PNAS paper.
“The microscopic nature of microbial systems means it is easy to misunderstand their interactions; an economic framework helps us focus on what is important,” said David Queller, PhD, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology, another of the brainstorming scientists.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
theatlantic | In the past, the most efficient businesses created lots of middle class jobs. In 1914, Henry Ford shocked the industrial world by doubling the pay of assembly line workers to $5 a day. Ford wasn’t merely being generous. He helped to create the middle class, by reasoning that a higher paid workforce would be able them to buy more cars and thus would grow his business.
Ford’s success trickled down, as other companies followed his lead. Automotive companies not only employed numerous well paid workers but they created a large demand for other product and services that employed millions more—steel, glass, machine tools, auto dealers and dealerships, gas stations, mechanics, bridges, roads, and construction equipment. The workers in those industries purchased homes, appliances, and clothes creating still more jobs.
One reason we are failing to create a vibrant middle class is that the Internet affects the economy differently than the new businesses of the past did., forcing businesses and their workers to face increased global competition. It reduces the barriers for moving jobs overseas. It has a smaller economic trickle-down effect.
Doing some of the obvious things like raising the minimum wage to fight the effects of the Internet will probably worsen the problem. For example, it will make it more difficult for bricks-and-mortar retailers to compete with online retailers.
Surprisingly, the much-vilified Walmart probably does more to help middle class families raise their median income than the more productive Amazon. Walmart hires about one employee for every $200,000 in sales, which translates to roughly three times more jobs per dollar of sales than Amazon. Raising the minimum wage will also make it more difficult to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. The Internet is not the sole force driving income inequality in the U.S. Our languishing education system is a major contributor to the problem. But two things are certain: the Internet is creating many of those in the ultra-wealthy 1%; and it forces businesses to compete with capable international competitors while providing the tools so that businessmen can squeeze inefficiency out of the system in order to remain competitive.
If the government is going to be in the business of redistributing wealth, a better approach would be to raise the earned income tax credit and increase taxes to pay for it. Not only would this raise the income of low paid workers, but also it would subsidize businesses so they would be more competitive in world markets and encourage them to create jobs. Since the minimum wage would not go up, moving jobs overseas would be a less attractive alternative.
If policy makers want to attack income inequality, they must pay more attention to the ways in which the Internet is affecting their businesses. If we ignore the power of the Internet when making policy decisions, we are in danger of allowing it to become the greatest legal facilitator of income inequality in the history of the planet.
NYTimes | Thomas Piketty’s new book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” described by one French newspaper as a “a political and theoretical bulldozer,” defies left and right orthodoxy by arguing that worsening inequality is an inevitable outcome of free market capitalism.
Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, does not stop there. He contends that capitalism’s inherent dynamic propels powerful forces that threaten democratic societies.
Capitalism, according to Piketty, confronts both modern and modernizing countries with a dilemma: entrepreneurs become increasingly dominant over those who own only their own labor. In Piketty’s view, while emerging economies can defeat this logic in the near term, in the long run, “when pay setters set their own pay, there’s no limit,” unless “confiscatory tax rates” are imposed.
Piketty’s book — published four months ago in France and due out in English this March — suggests that traditional liberal government policies on spending, taxation and regulation will fail to diminish inequality. Piketty has also delivered and posted a series of lectures in French and English outlining his argument.
Conservative readers will find that Piketty’s book disputes the view that the free market, liberated from the distorting effects of government intervention, “distributes,” as Milton Friedman famously put it, “the fruits of economic progress among all people. That’s the secret of the enormous improvements in the conditions of the working person over the past two centuries.”
Piketty proposes instead that the rise in inequality reflects markets working precisely as they should: “This has nothing to do with a market imperfection: the more perfect the capital market, the higher” the rate of return on capital is in comparison to the rate of growth of the economy. The higher this ratio is, the greater inequality is.
In a 20-page review for the June issue of the Journal of Economic Literature that has already caused a stir, Branko Milanovic, an economist in the World Bank’s research department, declared:
“I am hesitant to call Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the 21st Century one of the best books in economics written in the past several decades. Not that I do not believe it is, but I am careful because of the inflation of positive book reviews and because contemporaries are often poor judges of what may ultimately prove to be influential. With these two caveats, let me state that we are in the presence of one of the watershed books in economic thinking.”
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
NYTimes | A SEEMINGLY un-American fact about America today is that for some groups, much more than others, upward mobility and the American dream are alive and well. It may be taboo to say it, but certain ethnic, religious and national-origin groups are doing strikingly better than Americans overall.
Indian-Americans earn almost double the national figure (roughly $90,000 per year in median household income versus $50,000). Iranian-, Lebanese- and Chinese-Americans are also top-earners. In the last 30 years, Mormons have become leaders of corporate America, holding top positions in many of America’s most recognizable companies. These facts don’t make some groups “better” than others, and material success cannot be equated with a well-lived life. But willful blindness to facts is never a good policy.
Jewish success is the most historically fraught and the most broad-based. Although Jews make up only about 2 percent of the United States’ adult population, they account for a third of the current Supreme Court; over two-thirds of Tony Award-winning lyricists and composers; and about a third of American Nobel laureates.
The most comforting explanation of these facts is that they are mere artifacts of class — rich parents passing on advantages to their children — or of immigrants arriving in this country with high skill and education levels. Important as these factors are, they explain only a small part of the picture.
Today’s wealthy Mormon businessmen often started from humble origins. Although India and China send the most immigrants to the United States through employment-based channels, almost half of all Indian immigrants and over half of Chinese immigrants do not enter the country under those criteria. Many are poor and poorly educated. Comprehensive data published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2013 showed that the children of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese immigrants experienced exceptional upward mobility regardless of their parents’ socioeconomic or educational background.
Take New York City’s selective public high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, which are major Ivy League feeders. For the 2013 school year, Stuyvesant High School offered admission, based solely on a standardized entrance exam, to nine black students, 24 Hispanics, 177 whites and 620 Asians. Among the Asians of Chinese origin, many are the children of restaurant workers and other working-class immigrants.
Merely stating the fact that certain groups do better than others — as measured by income, test scores and so on — is enough to provoke a firestorm in America today, and even charges of racism. The irony is that the facts actually debunk racial stereotypes.
There are some black and Hispanic groups in America that far outperform some white and Asian groups. Immigrants from many West Indian and African countries, such as Jamaica, Ghana, and Haiti, are climbing America’s higher education ladder, but perhaps the most prominent are Nigerians. Nigerians make up less than 1 percent of the black population in the United States, yet in 2013 nearly one-quarter of the black students at Harvard Business School were of Nigerian ancestry; over a fourth of Nigerian-Americans have a graduate or professional degree, as compared with only about 11 percent of whites.
Cuban-Americans in Miami rose in one generation from widespread penury to relative affluence. By 1990, United States-born Cuban children — whose parents had arrived as exiles, many with practically nothing — were twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to earn over $50,000 a year. All three Hispanic United States senators are Cuban-Americans.
Meanwhile, some Asian-American groups — Cambodian- and Hmong-Americans, for example — are among the poorest in the country, as are some predominantly white communities in central Appalachia.
MOST fundamentally, groups rise and fall over time. The fortunes of WASP elites have been declining for decades. In 1960, second-generation Greek-Americans reportedly had the second-highest income of any census-tracked group. Group success in America often tends to dissipate after two generations. Thus while Asian-American kids overall had SAT scores 143 points above average in 2012 — including a 63-point edge over whites — a 2005 study of over 20,000 adolescents found that third-generation Asian-American students performed no better academically than white students.
The fact that groups rise and fall this way punctures the whole idea of “model minorities” or that groups succeed because of innate, biological differences. Rather, there are cultural forces at work.
It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.
npr | An Agency Revealed
Medsger's new book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI, covers the history of that episode, and the revelations those documents helped bring to light.
For one, the FBI had been opening files on so-called subversives — including people who simply wrote letters to the editor objecting to the war in Vietnam. The papers also showed the FBI was encouraging agents to infiltrate schools and churches in the black community using secret informants, turning people against each other.
"I think most striking in the Media files at first was a statement that had to do with the philosophy, the policy of the FBI," Medsger says. "And it was a document that instructed agents to enhance paranoia, to make people feel there's an FBI agent behind every mailbox."
Powerful stuff for people like John Raines, who had traveled south as a Freedom Rider and marched in Selma, Ala., on Bloody Sunday.
"The distinction between being a criminal and breaking laws is very important," he says. "When the law, or when the institutions that enforce laws [and] interpret laws, become the crime as happened in J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, then the only way to stop that crime from happening is to expose what's going on."
Before long, the purloined files from that tiny FBI office published by Medsger and other reporters began to attract wide attention. It took years and revelations by other reporters and a congressional investigation led by Sen. Frank Church, but eventually lawmakers did rein in the FBI and the CIA.
Medsger's new book about the FBI investigation fills in some details. Hundreds of agents were dispatched to find the burglars. The FBI narrowed its search, building profiles of seven prime suspects. But they got almost all of the suspects wrong.
The burglars had been meticulous. They left no fingerprints, and they surreptitiously photocopied the files at the colleges where they taught. FBI agents did visit Raines, but he deflected their inquiries.
"With no physical evidence left from the burglary itself, they were faced with having to sort through a thousand or 2,000 suspects, and that was an overwhelming job, which of course did overwhelm them," John Raines says. "They never found us."
The burglars went about their lives, vowing never again to talk or meet to protect their secret. John Raines started writing the first of many books. His wife, Bonnie, a child and family advocate, describes carrying on this way: "In my case, it was working and pursuing a degree and driving carpool."
NYTimes | But every group finds itself facing criticism, and ends up on the losing side of policy disputes, somewhere along the way; that’s democracy. The question is what happens next. Normal people take it in stride; even if they’re angry and bitter over political setbacks, they don’t cry persecution, compare their critics to Nazis and insist that the world revolves around their hurt feelings. But the rich are different from you and me.
And yes, that’s partly because they have more money, and the power that goes with it. They can and all too often do surround themselves with courtiers who tell them what they want to hear and never, ever, tell them they’re being foolish. They’re accustomed to being treated with deference, not just by the people they hire but by politicians who want their campaign contributions. And so they are shocked to discover that money can’t buy everything, can’t insulate them from all adversity.
I also suspect that today’s Masters of the Universe are insecure about the nature of their success. We’re not talking captains of industry here, men who make stuff. We are, instead, talking about wheeler-dealers, men who push money around and get rich by skimming some off the top as it sloshes by. They may boast that they are job creators, the people who make the economy work, but are they really adding value? Many of us doubt it — and so, I suspect, do some of the wealthy themselves, a form of self-doubt that causes them to lash out even more furiously at their critics.
Anyway, we’ve been here before. It’s impossible to read screeds like those of Mr. Perkins or Mr. Schwarzman without thinking of F.D.R.’s famous 1936 Madison Square Garden speech, in which he spoke of the hatred he faced from the forces of “organized money,” and declared, “I welcome their hatred.”
President Obama has not, unfortunately, done nearly as much as F.D.R. to earn the hatred of the undeserving rich. But he has done more than many progressives give him credit for — and like F.D.R., both he and progressives in general should welcome that hatred, because it’s a sign that they’re doing something right.
Monday, January 27, 2014
wsj | Regarding your editorial "Censors on Campus" (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent.
There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these "techno geeks" can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a "snob" despite the millions she has spent on our city's homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?
Mr. Perkins is a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
motherjones | In his new book, Windfall, journalist McKenzie Funk visits five continents to bring back stories of the movers and shakers at the forefront of the emerging business of global warming. He introduces us to land and water speculators, Greenland secessionists hoping to bankroll their cause with newly thawed mineral wealth, Israeli snow makers, Dutch seawall developers, wannabe geoengineers, private firefighters, mosquito scientists, and others who stand to benefit (at least in the short term) from climate change. (See this short excerpt, in which he writes about a guy who launched the world's first water rights hedge fund.)
Windfall is fascinating, entertaining, and ultimately troubling as the author uncovers more and more evidence of what he calls the implicit "unevenness" of global warming, and the futility and/or unfairness of our approaches to dealing with it. I reached Funk at his home in Seattle to chat about California's impending drought, why man-made volcanoes won't save us, and how Hurricane Sandy (figuratively) blew him away.
Mother Jones: How do you supposed your water hedge fund guy, John Dickerson, feels about California facing its worst drought in 40 years?
McKenzie Funk: He doesn't consider himself a bad guy. He thinks that he plays a necessary role in moving water from where it is to where it needs to be for things to happen, and I respect that. He told me that California is a bit of a harder market to enter, mostly because there are a few others doing this, and a lot of his plays have been farther upstream in the Colorado system, so I don't think it'll have a huge effect on his bottom line immediately.
MJ: But drought in California will affect water futures in other states, right?
Sunday, January 26, 2014
umkc | The Division of Diversity and Inclusion at theUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City will bring an advocate for social justice to its campus later this month as part of the university’s annual tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Melissa V. Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry,” will serve as the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Lecture Program at 6 p.m. on Jan. 27 at the UMKC Swinney Recreation Center. The “Melissa Harris-Perry” show airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon.
A book signing will take place from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., prior to the lecture.
Harris-Perry is author of the well-received book, “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America” (Yale 2011). The book argues that stereotypes – invisible to many but painfully familiar to black women – profoundly shape black women’s politics, contribute to policies that treat them unfairly, and make it difficult for black women to assert their rights in the political arena.
She is a professor of political science at Tulane University and the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race and Politics in the South. Harris-Perry is known for her in-depth knowledge of politics regarding African Americans, gender and religion; U.S. public opinion and elections; and political psychology.
Professor Harris-Perry is a columnist for The Nation magazine where she also writes a monthly column, also titled Sister Citizen.
HuffPo | What if the next big thing really isn't a thing at all? What if it's a way? And what if this way doesn't bring neatly folded answers but rather a basket of disheveled questions? Often what moves our world goes unnoticed because we are looking somewhere else for something else.
I am ever amazed at what I accidentally learn on the way to seemingly more important things. I was recently part of a blue-ribbon panel on the future viability of retirement. The primary topic of conversation was the impending specter of a maddening throng of boomers using the political process to tip the scales of economic fortune in their favor to the detriment of all others. Prevailing logic has it that my generation will use its strength in numbers at the voting booth to maintain the status quo. This assumes that the generations that follow us will naturally carry the burden of our age. Yet, what has been lost in the conversation is the possibility that Millennials -- our semi-adult 20-something children -- might just opt out of our plan and more importantly our world view.
Many young people are now taking the opposite track of their parents' and eschewing social and economic convention to challenge what we take to be civil society. On our way to developing innovative solutions to our imminent retirement debacle I learned from some of the most credible researchers on the planet that our children aren't marrying; they have become the refuseniks of our competitive corporate culture and have effectively eschewed organized religion and even a belief in the almighty.
It is indeed difficult to imagine a world absent of marriage, capitalism and religion. For many of us these are the reliable struts that keep us upright and brace us when our world is akilter. But try as we might to hold firm to our ways the turn and churn of it all leaves us spinning. True innovation is born out in the very places where there is no solid ground.
Perhaps we should start with perfunctory look at some facts that suggest such an outrageous teaser:
guardian | A conference sponsored by a US military official convened experts in Washington DC and London warning that continued dependence on fossil fuels puts the world at risk of an unprecedented energy crunch that could inflame financial crisis and exacerbate dangerous climate change.
The 'Transatlantic Energy Security Dialogue', which took place on 10th December last year, was co-organised by a US Army official, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, operating in a private capacity, in association with former petroleum geologist Jeremy Leggett, covener of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security.
Participants, who addressed one another via video link, consisted of retired military officers, security experts, senior industry executives, and politicians from the main parties - including two former UK ministers. According to US Army colonel Daniel Davis, a veteran of four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, and regular contributor to the Armed Forces Journal:
"We put the event together because the prevailing idea that we have a bright future of increasing oil and gas production that can sustain our current way of life indefinitely is based on a selective appraisal of the data. We brought together experts from across the spectrum, and with a wide range of opinions, to have a comprehensive look at all the relevant data. When you only look at certain things, like the very real resurgence of US oil and gas production, the picture looks fine. But when you dig deeper into the data, it becomes clear that this is only part of the picture. And the big picture proves that our current course cannot continue without significant risks."
The dialogue opened with a presentation by Mark C. Lewis, former head of energy research at Deutsche Bank's commodities unit, who highlighted three interlinked problems facing the global energy system: "very high decline rates" in global production; "soaring" investment requirements "to find new oil"; and since 2005, "falling exports of crude oil globally."
Saturday, January 25, 2014
wired | Before Edward Snowden showed up, 2013 was shaping up as the year of reckoning for the much criticized federal anti-hacking statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). The suicide of Aaron Swartz in January 2013 brought the CFAA into mainstream consciousness, so Congress held hearings about the case, and legislative fixes were introduced to change the law.
Finally, there seemed to be a newfound scrutiny of CFAA prosecutions and punishment for accessing computer data without or in excess of “authorization” — which affected everyone from Chelsea Manning to Jeremy Hammond to Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer (disclosure: I’m one of his lawyers on appeal). Not to mention less illustrious personalities and everyday users, such as people who delete cookies from their browsers.
But unfortunately, not much has changed; if anything, the growing recognition of the powerful capabilities of modern computing and networking has resulted in a “cyber panic” in legislatures and prosecutor offices across the country. Instead of reexamination, we’ve seen aggressive charges and excessive punishment.
This cyber panic isn’t just a CFAA problem. In the zeal to crack down on cyberbullying, legislatures have passed overbroad laws criminalizing speech clearly protected by the First Amendment. This comes after one effort to use the CFAA to criminalize cyberbullying — built on the premise that violating a website’s terms of service was unauthorized access, or the equivalent of hacking – was thrown out as unconstitutionally vague.
The panic has even spread to how crime is investigated. To prevent digital contraband from coming into the United States, border officials can now search electronic devices without any suspicion of wrongdoing. To get to illicit files on a seized computer, the government can force you to decrypt your computer and threaten you with jail for noncompliance. To get information about one customer, the FBI can demand a service provider turn over the key that unlocks communications from all of the service’s customers. And let’s not even get started on what the NSA has been up to. Fist tap Dale.
nonsite | This line of argument has been most popularly condensed recently in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, which analogizes contemporary mass incarceration to the segregationist regime. But even she, after much huffing and puffing and asserting the relation gesturally throughout the book, ultimately acknowledges that the analogy fails.37 And it would have to fail because the segregationist regime was the artifact of a particular historical and political moment in a particular social order. Moreover, the rhetorical force of the analogy with Jim Crow or slavery derives from the fact that those regimes are associated symbolically with strong negative sanctions in the general culture because they have been vanquished. In that sense all versions of the lament that “it’s as if nothing has changed” give themselves the lie. They are effective only to the extent that things have changed significantly.
The tendency to craft political critique by demanding that we fix our gaze in the rearview mirror appeals to an intellectual laziness. Marking superficial similarities with familiar images of oppression is less mentally taxing than attempting to parse the multifarious, often contradictory dynamics and relations that shape racial inequality in particular and politics in general in the current moment. Assertions that phenomena like the Jena, Louisiana, incident, the killings of James Craig Anderson and Trayvon Martin, and racial disparities in incarceration demonstrate persistence of old-school, white supremacist racism and charges that the sensibilities of Thomas Dixon and Margaret Mitchell continue to shape most Americans’ understandings of slavery do important, obfuscatory ideological work. They lay claim to a moral urgency that, as Mahmood Mamdani argues concerning the rhetorical use of charges of genocide, enables disparaging efforts either to differentiate discrete inequalities or to generate historically specific causal accounts of them as irresponsible dodges that abet injustice by temporizing in its face.38 But more is at work here as well.
Insistence on the transhistorical primacy of racism as a source of inequality is a class politics. It’s the politics of a stratum of the professional-managerial class whose material location and interests, and thus whose ideological commitments, are bound up with parsing, interpreting and administering inequality defined in terms of disparities among ascriptively defined populations reified as groups or even cultures. In fact, much of the intellectual life of this stratum is devoted to “shoehorning into the rubric of racism all manner of inequalities that may appear statistically as racial disparities.”39 And that project shares capitalism’s ideological tendency to obscure race’s foundations, as well as the foundations of all such ascriptive hierarchies, in historically specific political economy. This felicitous convergence may help explain why proponents of “cultural politics” are so inclined to treat the products and production processes of the mass entertainment industry as a terrain for political struggle and debate. They don’t see the industry’s imperatives as fundamentally incompatible with the notions of a just society they seek to advance. In fact, they share its fetishization of heroes and penchant for inspirational stories of individual Overcoming. This sort of “politics of representation” is no more than an image-management discourse within neoliberalism. That strains of an ersatz left imagine it to be something more marks the extent of our defeat. And then, of course, there’s that Upton Sinclair point.
cultural politics worse than no politics at all: the ruling material force dominates intellectual and cultural production
nonsite | Race theory, that is, took shape as a defense of slavery only in the last decades of the institution’s life; it was the expression of a beleaguered slavocracy doubling down to protect its property rights in human beings.
Hammond may have believed that he’d always believed the positive good argument and that black slavery was nature’s racial decree. If he did, he would only have been demonstrating the power of ascriptive ideologies to impose themselves as reality. Marxist theorist Harry Chang thus analogized race to Marx’s characterization of the fetish character of money. Just as money is the material conden
sation of “the reification of a relation called value” and “a function-turned-into-an-object,” race is also a function—a relation in the capitalist division of labor—turned into an object.35
Race and gender are the ascriptive hierarchies most familiar to us because they have been most successfully challenged since the second half of the last century; ideologies of ascriptive difference are most powerful when they are simply taken as nature and don’t require defense. The significant and lasting institutional victories that have been won against racial and gender subordination and discrimination, as well as the cultural victories against racism and sexism as ideologies, have rendered those taxonomies less potent as justifications for ascriptive inequality than they had been. As capitalism has evolved new articulations of the social division of labor, and as the victories against racial and gender hierarchy have been consolidated, the causal connections between those ideologies and manifest inequality have become still more attenuated.
Race and gender don’t exhaust the genus of ascriptive hierarchies. Other taxonomies do and have done the same sort of work as those we understand as race. The feebleminded and the born criminal, for example, were equivalent to racial taxa as ideologies of ascriptive hierarchy but did not hinge on the phenotypical narratives that have anchored the race idea. Victorian British elites ascribed essential, race-like difference to the English working class. The culture of poverty and the underclass overlap racially disparaged populations but aren’t exactly reducible to familiar racial taxonomies. Some—like super predators and crack babies—have had more fleeting life spans. Their common sense explanatory power hinges significantly on the extent to which they comport with the perspectives and interests of the social order’s dominant, opinion-shaping strata; as Marx and Engels observed in 1845, “the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.”36
property rights - of some individuals over others - conferred by law, custom, and institutions - is the issue
nonsite | The rhetoric of antebellum fire-eaters and the ordinances of secession they crafted stand out for the vehemence of their protests that their essential liberties were under attack. The secessionists framed their extravagant denunciations of the national government for its potential infringement of their right to hold property in human beings in language that from our historical location seems Freudian in the blatancy with which they declared themselves as literally fearing enslavement by the United States. But it wasn’t psychological projection or reaction formation. They considered any potential infringement on absolute property rights as indeed tantamount to enslavement. For them property is the only real right; therefore, property-holders are the only people in the society with rights that count for anything, and their rights trump all else.
This is a perspective that can provide some badly needed clarity on debates in contemporary politics regarding the relation of race, racism and inequality. For example, Ron and Rand Paul, libertarians of the highest order, do not oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Law because they hate, or even don’t like, black people. (And, for the record, whenever one finds oneself agreeing at all with Kanye West about anything, it’s time to take a step back, breathe deeply and reassess.) They oppose it, as they’ve made clear, because it infringes on property rights. They dislike black people because they understand, correctly, that black people are very likely to be prominent among those committed to pursuing greater equality. They oppose black people’s demands and all others intended to mitigate inequality because any efforts to do so would necessarily impinge on the absolute sanctity of property rights. I don’t mean to suggest that the Pauls aren’t racist; I’m pretty confident they are, no matter how much they might protest the assessment. My point is that determining whether they’re racist, then exposing and denouncing them for it, doesn’t reach to what is most consequentially wrong and dangerous about them or for that matter what makes their racism something more significant than that of the random bigot who lives around the corner on disability.
And that is a quality that makes multiculturalist egalitarianism, or identitarianism, and its various strategic programs—anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-heteronormativity, etc.—neoliberalism’s loyal opposition. Their focus is on making neoliberalism more just and, often enough, more truly efficient. Their objective is that, however costs and benefits are distributed, the distribution should not disproportionately harm or disadvantage the populations for which they advocate.
But what if neoliberalism really can’t be made more just? (And, to be clear, when I say neoliberalism, I mean capitalism with the gloves off and back on the offensive.) What if the historical truth of capitalist class power is that, without direct, explicit and relentless, zero-sum challenge to its foundations in a social order built on its priority and dominance in the social division of labor, we will never be able to win more than a shifting around of the material burdens of inequality, reallocating them and recalibrating their incidence among different populations? And what if creation of such populations as given, natural-seeming entities—first as differentially valued pools of labor, in the ideological equivalent of an evolving game of musical chairs, then eventually also as ostensibly discrete market niches within the mass consumption regime—is a crucial element in capitalism’s logic of social reproduction? To the extent that is the case, multiculturalist egalitarianism and the political programs that follow from it reinforce a key mystification that legitimizes the systemic foundation of the inequalities to which those programs object.
Regimes of class hierarchy depend for their stability on ideologies that legitimize inequalities by representing them as the result of natural differences—where you (or they) are in the society is where you (or they) deserve to be. Folk taxonomies define and sort populations into putatively distinctive groups on the basis of characteristics ascribed to them. Such taxonomies rely on circular self-validation in explaining the positions groups occupy in the social order as suited to the essential, inherent characteristics, capabilities and limitations posited in the taxonomy’s just-so stories. These ideological constructions and the social processes through which they are reproduced, including the common sense that arises from self-fulfilling prophecy, are what Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields call “racecraft.”31 An implication of the racecraft notion is that the ideology, or taxonomy, of race is always as much the cover story as the source of even the inequalities most explicitly linked to race.
Friday, January 24, 2014
politicker | Dinesh D’Souza, a controversial political commentator, author and former president of King’s College, was indicted today by a grand jury for alleged campaign finance fraud, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office announced this evening.
According to the office, Mr. D’Souza, 52, is charged “with violating the federal campaign finance laws by making illegal contributions to a United States Senate campaign in the names of others and causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission in connection with those contributions.”
According to a complaint, Mr. D’Souza contributed $20,000 to a New York Senate candidate’s campaign—five times the legal limit—by using straw donors, whom he later reimbursed.
FEC campaign finance records show Mr. D’Souza made two $2,500 contributions to long-shot Republican New York U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long in March 2012—the maximum allowed. Mr. D’Souza’s wife at the time, Dixie D’Souza, also gave $5,000 that March, records show. Ms. Long was handily defeated in the general election by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.
The candidate in question was unaware of Mr. D’Souza’s allegedly illicit activities, the indictment says.
The indictment is just the latest by Mr. Bharara, who has gone after political corruption aggressively in recent months. “As we have long said, this office and the F.B.I. take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption of the electoral process. If, as alleged, the defendant directed others to make contributions to a Senate campaign and reimbursed them, that is a serious violation of federal campaign finance laws,” he said.
itself | In a wonderful if hilarious article for the 1989 December issue of Telos, Timothy Luke, one of the primary progenitors of the artificial negativity thesis, writes a delicious article ‘Xmas Ideology: Unwrapping the New Deal and the Cold War under the Christmas Tree’1, which is replied to directly afterwards by Paul Piccone2. In it Luke claims that Christmas films such as It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Holiday Inn and White Christmas are an almost perfect example of artificial negativity. Against the crass commercialisation of Christmas, they appear to offer an authentic core of love and human compassion that are unspoilt. In fact, Luke argues, they are merely a way of briefly compensating for the aggressive fragmentation of late capitalism, and actually perpetuating it. The films “generate ideologies of self-gratification and fulfilment as in the cult of Christmas, which rather than being cast as a Christian celebration of Christ’s birth, is instead turned into a fantasy of self-fulfilment and collective solidarity as part of a celebration of materialistic giving (and receiving)”.
The Christian rituals of Christmas, then, have been remanufactured by capital and the state during WWII and the Cold War into “Xmas”. Without it, the rituals of life in consumer society might disintegrate even more than they have already, making Xmas an essential aspect of exchange. It mediates the forms of subjectivity in the intimate sphere of caring with corporate agendas of spending and having. Christmas as “Xmas” becomes in film the essential simulation of settled social traditions, family unity, and collective purpose for many modern American Pottersvilles that otherwise lack these qualities.
For Luke, as in It’s A Wonderful Life, such stories are a New Deal fantasy dealt out by corporations and one side, and the state seen as benevolent protector on the other through the medium of bureaucracy – Clarence the angel attempting to get his wing is after all part of a bureaucracy of angels much like the New Deal state.
Suffice to say, Piccone doesn’t like this much. He believes the films as quite capably critiquing the American they found. Indeed, rather than stressing the values of capitalism and welfarism, these classic Christmas films: “If anything, it is the concept of solidarity and, particularly in It’s A Wonderful Life, communitarian values which are idealized”. Indeed, one of the main enemies in It’s A Wonderful Life is the heartless landlord Mr Potter. The protagonist of It’s A Wonderful Life, George, is the son of the owner of a small bank Savings and Loan. When his father dies, the slum landlord Mr Potter wants to start denying loans to the working poor, because these loans are not profitable and to also take over the company. In an very famous scene in front of the board of directors, George argues that from an economic perspective the loans his father made may not have been good sense, but from a human perspective, in getting people out of the slums, they had been an obvious good “People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped, […] they’re cattle”. This convinces the board of directors to reject this, and to put him in charge of the company. Thus the older, benevolent capitalism of the small town with its concern for human values and the desire to enable people’s ambitions even if it was not profitable, the bank as service provider for people not profit, is contrasted to the centralised despotic and money orientated capitalism of Potter where profit is the only concern and people are pure objects from which to extract it. The film speaks to spiritual and moral values over money values. The same is true of Miracle on 34th Street, speculative capitalism is opposed to kindly capitalism of the small banker who knew your needs and ambitions. These films are not artificially negative, but authentically and organically negative. But this leads to a problem – they were still created by the Hollywood and, as Piccone claims, became more popular during the Reagan years because of the family values agenda he articulated. How can they be organically negative if they are put so easily to use by the Reaganite neo-conservative New Class? Piccone never accounts for this – but whatever we think of the films at hand, this small example of the major theorists of the concepts of Artificial Negativity and the New Class clashing over a particular object shows some important conceptual flaws – how do we point genuine versions of organic negativity out and be attentive to false artificial negativities? In this light, after a little anaylsis we can see that these terms have, first, no theoretical coherence and second, fulfil only one role, a purely polemic way of labelling and dismissing the distasteful.