Saturday, March 21, 2015

psychopaths nucleate fraternities, gangs, mafias, churches, wherever weak cats give it up...,

hirhome |  This paper advances an ``information goods'' theory that explains prestige processes as an emergent product of psychological adaptations that evolved to improve the quality of information acquired via cultural transmission. Natural selection favored social learners who could evaluate potential models and copy the most successful among them. In order to improve the fidelity and comprehensiveness of such ranked-biased copying, social learners further evolved dispositions to sycophantically ingratiate themselves with their chosen models, so as to gain close proximity to, and prolonged interaction with, these models. Once common, these dispositions created, at the group level, distributions of deference that new entrants may adaptively exploit to decide who to begin copying. This generated a preference for models who seem generally ``popular.'' Building on social exchange theories, we argue that a wider range of phenomena associated with prestige processes can more plausibly be explained by this simple theory than by others, and we test its predictions with data from throughout the social sciences. In addition, we distinguish carefully between dominance (force or force threat) and prestige (freely conferred deference).

Friday, March 20, 2015

racism is an artifact of system 1 - work is transmutation of system 1 by system 2 - everything else is conversation...,

archive |  The distinction between fast and slow thinking has been explored by many psychologists over the last twenty-five years. For reasons that I explain more fully in the next chapter, I describe mental life by the metaphor of two agents, called System 1 and System 2, which respectively produce fast and slow thinking. I speak of the features of intuitive and deliberate thought as if they were traits and dispositions of two characters in your mind. In the picture that emerges from recent research, the intuitive System 1 is more influential than your experience tells you, and it is the secret author of many of the choices and judgments you make. Most of this book is about the workings of System 1 and the mutual influences between it and System 2.

The book is divided into five parts. Part 1 presents the basic elements of a two-systems approach to judgment and choice. It elaborates the distinction between the automatic operations of System 1 and the controlled operations of System 2, and shows how associative memory, the core of System 1, continually constructs a coherent interpretation of what is going on in our world at any instant. I attempt to give a sense of the complexity and richness of the automatic and often unconscious processes that underlie intuitive thinking, and of how these automatic processes explain the heuristics of judgment. A goal is to introduce a language for thinking and talking about the mind.

Part 2 updates the study of judgment heuristics and explores a major puzzle: Why is it so difficult for us to think statistically? We easily think associatively, we think metaphorically, we think causally, but statistics requires thinking about many things at once, which is something that System 1 is not designed to do.

The difficulties of statistical thinking contribute to the main theme of Part 3, which describes a puzzling limitation of our mind: our excessive confidence in what we believe we know, and our apparent inability to acknowledge the full extent of our ignorance and the uncertainty of the world we live in. We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events. Overconfidence is fed by the illusory certainty of hindsight. My views on this topic have been influenced by Nassim Taleb, the author of The Black Swan. I hope for watercooler conversations that intelligently explore the lessons that can be learned from the past while resisting the lure of hindsight and the illusion of certainty.

The focus of part 4 is a conversation with the discipline of economics on the nature of decision making and on the assumption that economic agents are rational. This section of the book provides a current view, informed by the two-system model, of the key concepts of prospect theory, the model of choice that Amos and I published in 1979. Subsequent chapters address several ways human choices deviate from the rules of rationality. I deal with the unfortunate tendency to treat problems in isolation, and with framing effects, where decisions are shaped by inconsequential features of choice problems. These observations, which are readily explained by the features of System 1, present a deep challenge to the rationality assumption favored in standard economics.

Part 5 describes recent research that has introduced a distinction between two selves, the experiencing self and the remembering self, which do not have the same interests. For example, we can expose people to two painful experiences. One of these experiences is strictly worse than the other, because it is longer. But the automatic formation of memories—a feature of System 1—has its rules, which we can exploit so that the worse episode leaves a better memory. When people later choose which episode to repeat, they are, naturally, guided by their remembering self and expose themselves (their experiencing self) to unnecessary pain.

The distinction between two selves is applied to the measurement of wellbeing, where we find again that what makes the experiencing self happy is not quite the same as what satisfies the remembering self. How two selves within a single body can pursue happiness raises some difficult questions, both for individuals and for societies that view the well-being of the population as a policy objective.

A concluding chapter explores, in reverse order, the implications of three distinctions drawn in the book: between the experiencing and the remembering selves, between the conception of agents in classical economics and in behavioral economics (which borrows from psychology), and between the automatic System 1 and the effortful System 2. I return to the virtues of educating gossip and to what organizations might do to improve the quality of judgments and decisions that are made on their behalf.

how conformism creates ethnicity creates conformism - there's no solving stupid

hirhome |  In this essay I will explore the important connection between conformism as an adaptive psychological strategy, and the emergence of the phenomenon of ethnicity. My argument will be that it makes sense that nature made us conformists. And once humans acquired this adaptive strategy, I will argue further, the development of ethnic organization was inevitable. Understanding the adaptive origins of conformism, as we shall see, is perhaps the most useful way to shed light on what ethnicity is—at least when examined from the functional point of view, which is to say from the point of view of the adaptive problems that ethnicity solves. I shall begin with a few words about our final destination.

Ethnicity is a phenomenon that rightly occupies much attention in lay and scholarly circles alike, because it is relevant to almost everything that humans do. What is it? From the descriptive point of view, ethnicity is normative culture. That is to say, an ethnie is a collection of human beings who more or less agree on how a human life should be lived: which foods should be avoided, which eaten, and how the latter should be prepared; what sorts of behaviors are funny, shameful, offensive (and which aren't); by what specific ritual displays should politeness be expressed in a million different contexts; what forms of dress and cosmetic enhancement are appropriate for members of either sex; etc. Ethnicity is a collection of 'oughts' and 'ought nots' that get passed down more or less as a package along with the associated social label inherited from one's parents; "I am an X." In some academic circles, the question "Which ethnie has figured out the right way to live?" will immediately be met with the following retort:

"Why, the premise is absurd! Why should there be one best way to live a human life?" Perhaps. But this cosmopolitan multiculturalist complaint belongs to a clear minority. To the same question, most human beings all around the world have a ready answer, and it is always the same; "My ethnie lives life the way a human should." Consequently, members of ethnie A can easily amuse, offend, or shock members of ethnie B merely in the act of conforming to the 'oughts' and 'ought nots' that As feel obligated to pass down from one generation to the next.

Such haughty or offended reactions are usually labeled 'ethnocentrism', or, depending on their intensity and negativity, 'prejudice' and 'racism'. Many academics consider ethnocentrism a "bad" thing in any of its forms. But is it? Yes, it is a bad thing, very much so. The values of science require that we root out from our observational methods any source of consistent, distorting bias; and believing that cultural difference implies error makes it well-nigh impossible for the social scientist to make much progress in the study of cultural variation. Even more important, by my lights at least, is that so long as we are not cosmopolitan and therefore tolerant and compassionate with respect to the ways of our neighbors, we are still moral failures.

Norm-conformism is an adaptive strategy that maximizes the number of potential interactants in the conformist's local population. It makes sense to lament and oppose specific outcomes of particular conformist processes, such as some silent majorities, and ethnic prejudice. But to treat "conformism" and its consequences as a generalized evil in the abstract would spill a narrowly applicable moral evaluation into domains where not only does morality not apply, but where even a non-moral interpretation of the negative judgment "bad" will also not fit, given that norm-conformism does a lot of useful work helping humans navigate their social world. As always, it is best to put our moral goals in charge of conduct directed towards our fellow human beings. If we turn them instead into axiomatic priors of a scientific analysis, we saddle our attempt to understand human perception and behavior with epistemological baggage that makes it harder to understand why people do the things they do. Such ignorance can lead us to hurt people when we meant to help, and it follows directly that this is ethically undesirable. Therefore, if we have a compassion-based obligation to, first, do no harm, then we have a moral imperative to be honest about what causes human behavior, even if we would prefer to have been designed differently. Wishful thinking will not heal a troubled world, but an improved understanding of it just may.

ethnic groups are biological species to low-functioning, primitive brains...,

hirhome |  If ethnic actors represent ethnic groups as essentialized “natural” groups despite the fact that ethnic essences do not exist, we must understand why. This article presents a hypothesis and evidence that humans process ethnic groups (and a few other related social categories) as if they were “species” because their surface similarities to species make them inputs to the “living kinds” mental module that initially evolved to process species level categories. The main similarities responsible are (1) category-based endogamy and (2) descent-based membership. Evolution encouraged this because processing ethnic groups as species—at least in the ancestral environment—solved adaptive problems having to do with interactional discriminations and behavioral prediction. Coethnics (like conspecifics) share many strongly intercorrelated “properties” that are not obvious on first inspection. Since interaction with out-group members is costly because of coordination failure due to different norms between ethnic groups, thinking of ethnic groups as species adaptively promotes interactional discriminations towards the in-group (including endogamy). It also promotes inductive generalizations, which allow acquisition of reliable knowledge for behavioral prediction without too much costly interaction with out-group members. The relevant cognitive-science literature is reviewed, and cognitive field-experiment and ethnographic evidence from Mongolia is advanced to support the hypothesis.

The evidence from Mongolia supports the hypothesis that humans process ethnies as natural living kinds (theoretical considerations suggest that they do so at the “species” level). My Torguud subjects have a blood-based model for assigning individuals to ethnies. Beyond this, they consider such assignment to carry implications for ethnic category-based behavior even without any exposure to other members of their ethnic category, and they seem to believe that the ineffable “something” responsible for this is carried somehow “inside.” All of these parallel essentialist thinking in natural living kinds, suggesting that my subjects’ thinking about ethnies is not only primordialist but essentialist and that there is no difference between an ethnic group and a species from the point of view of the schemas that are primed to process them. Processing endogamous norm groups as species, I have argued, was adaptive in the ancestral environment because (1) it allowed us to learn a lot about out-groups in a very inexpensive way, in particular by making inductive inferences about nonobvious properties, and (2) it made possible processes of discrimination that prevented us from incurring the costs of coordination failure. The reason these benefits have been obtained specifically by processing these groups as species results from the fact that ethnies exhibit the most diagnostic features of species: group-based endogamy and descent-based membership. This made it easy for a blind evolutionary process to exapt a preexisting architecture by simply failing to discourage the priming by ethnies of the living-kinds module. This is not, I think, how we think of social categories in general but only how we think of those categories which, as in ethnies, exhibit the strongly diagnostic features of biological species, such as feudal classes and castes.

pookie in the log cabin playing with hard balls when he gets abruptly taken to the woodshed...,

alternet |  In his desire to placate white folks and appear reasonable, Jonathan Capehart lets Wilson off the hook. The implication of Capehart’s argument is that Michael Brown is an acceptable, justifiable casualty in this decades-long police war on a small Midwestern community. But if you believe that All Black lives matter, that is an unconscionable conclusion, one that “offends my sense of right and wrong.” As “respectable” Blacks are wont to do, the Capeharts of the world need to believe that if Black people would just “act right” and “do right,” we would be all right. But in a system of white supremacy, there isn’t that much act right in the world.

Jonathan, surely you know a suit and tie won’t protect you. So we’re going to keep on marching, as you said. And we will keep holding aloft the banner of Michael Brown. We will do so, because Black folks have already tested out your theory of respectability. We’ve been trying to save our lives by dressing right, talking right and never, ever fucking up since about 1877. That shit has not worked.

In an ideal world of crime and punishment, the officer would have had the legal leeway and good sense to pick these boys up, take them back down to the convenience store, make them apologize and work out an arrangement to work off the cigarillos they stole. That is one example of restorative justice and of the world we are fighting for. We are trying to get free, and that means we bring everybody with us, whether your suit is tailored or your pants sag. When the revolution comes, we will leave no one behind.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

chomsky speaks truth - kahneman explains why many notsee it...,

NYTimes |  The neoliberal reaction that set in from the late ‘70s, escalating under Reagan and his successors, hit the poorest and most oppressed sectors of society even more than the large majority, who have suffered relative stagnation or decline while wealth accumulates in very few hands. Reagan’s drug war, deeply racist in conception and execution, initiated a new Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander’s apt term for the revived criminalization of black life, evident in the shocking incarceration rates and the devastating impact on black society.

Reality is of course more complex than any simple recapitulation, but this is, unfortunately, a reasonably accurate first approximation to one of the two founding crimes of American society, alongside of the expulsion or extermination of the indigenous nations and destruction of their complex and rich civilizations.

    ‘Intentional ignorance’ regarding inconvenient truths about the suffering of African- Americans can also be used to frame the genocide of Native Americans.

G.Y.: While Jefferson may have understood the moral turpitude upon which slavery was based, in his “Notes on the State of Virginia,” he says that black people are dull in imagination, inferior in reasoning to whites, and that the male orangutans even prefer black women over their own. These myths, along with the black codes following the civil war, functioned to continue to oppress and police black people. What would you say are the contemporary myths and codes that are enacted to continue to oppress and police black people today?

N.C.: Unfortunately, Jefferson was far from alone. No need to review the shocking racism in otherwise enlightened circles until all too recently. On “contemporary myths and codes,” I would rather defer to the many eloquent voices of those who observe and often experience these bitter residues of a disgraceful past.

Perhaps the most appalling contemporary myth is that none of this happened. The title of Baptist’s book is all too apt, and the aftermath is much too little known and understood.

There is also a common variant of what has sometimes been called “intentional ignorance” of what it is inconvenient to know: “Yes, bad things happened in the past, but let us put all of that behind us and march on to a glorious future, all sharing equally in the rights and opportunities of citizenry.” The appalling statistics of today’s circumstances of African-American life can be confronted by other bitter residues of a shameful past, laments about black cultural inferiority, or worse, forgetting how our wealth and privilege was created in no small part by the centuries of torture and degradation of which we are the beneficiaries and they remain the victims. As for the very partial and hopelessly inadequate compensation that decency would require — that lies somewhere between the memory hole and anathema.

Jefferson, to his credit, at least recognized that the slavery in which he participated was “the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other.” And the Jefferson Memorial in Washington displays his words that “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.” Words that should stand in our consciousness alongside of John Quincy Adams’s reflections on the parallel founding crime over centuries, the fate of “that hapless race of native Americans, which we are exterminating with such merciless and perfidious cruelty…among the heinous sins of this nation, for which I believe God will one day bring [it] to judgment.”

What matters is our judgment, too long and too deeply suppressed, and the just reaction to it that is as yet barely contemplated.

10 things that black people fear that white people don't...,

alternet |  The following is the latest in a new series of articles on AlterNet called Fear in America that launched this March. Read the introduction to the series.

When black people wake up and begin the day, we have a wide range of issues we have to think about before leaving our homes. Will a police officer kill us today? Or, will some George Zimmerman vigilante see us as a threat in our own neighborhoods and kill us? We brace ourselves for those white colleagues who are pissed Barack Obama won both elections and take out their racist rage on us. When we drive our cars, we have to wonder if we’ll be pulled over because our cars look too expensive for a black person to be driving. If we’re poor and sick, we wonder if we'll be able to be treated for our illness. We have a lot on our minds, and sometimes it’s overwhelming.

Here are a few examples of things we have to be afraid of that white people don’t (or not nearly as much).

well-intended thought-leaders and diversity window-dressers need to read some kahneman...,

NYTimes |  Scrawled on Starbucks cups, the words “Race Together” were intended to stimulate conversations about race relations in America, beginning just days before the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday. But the coffee company’s campaign has instead unleashed widespread vitriol and derision.

The company effort, which began this week, lit up social media, drawing criticism and skepticism. The attacks grew so hostile that Corey duBrowa, the senior vice president for global communications at Starbucks, temporarily deleted his Twitter account on Monday. “Last night I felt personally attacked in a cascade of negativity,” Mr. duBrowa wrote in a post on Medium on Tuesday.

The fury and confusion boiled down to a simple question: What was Starbucks thinking?

Reactions have ranged from video parodies of customer interactions with baristas to some hostile online attacks aimed at corporate executives. Many have pointed out that the company’s leadership is predominantly white, while many of its baristas are members of minorities.

Others pleaded for a more traditional relationship with the businesses they patronize.

Gwen Ifill, the co-anchor of “PBS NewsHour,” wrote in a tweet on Tuesday: “Honest to God, if you start to engage me in a race conversation before I’ve had my morning coffee, it will not end well.”

At the Wednesday gathering in Seattle, Howard D. Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, addressed the nascent public relations campaign accompanied by the stagecraft of African-American guest speakers like the Academy Award winner Common and ending with Jennifer Hudson’s rousing rendition of “Hallelujah” at the close of the presentation.

“Race is an unorthodox and even uncomfortable topic for an annual meeting,” he acknowledged. “Where others see costs, risks, excuses and hopelessness, we see and create pathways of opportunity — that is the role and responsibility of a for-profit, public company.”  Fist tap Arnach (for instigating me to read Thinking Fast and Slow)

smdh at "leaders" like rev. johnson in ferguson...,

kcur |  There have been two Department of Justice Reports, two police officers shot, and several high-level resignations since our last conversation about the whirlwind of events in Ferguson, Missouri. A reporter, a professor and a reverend give us their perspectives on the latest news.
  • Reverend Willis Johnson, pastor, Well Springs Church
  • Clarence Lang, professor, department of African and African-American Studies, The University of Kansas
  • Emanuelle Berry, reporter, St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

steven pinker is wrong about violence and war

guardian |  For an influential group of advanced thinkers, violence is a type of backwardness. In the most modern parts of the world, these thinkers tell us, war has practically disappeared. The world’s great powers are neither internally divided nor inclined to go to war with one another, and with the spread of democracy, the increase of wealth and the diffusion of enlightened values these states preside over an era of improvement the like of which has never been known. For those who lived through it, the last century may have seemed peculiarly violent, but that, it is argued, is mere subjective experience and not much more than anecdote. Scientifically assessed, the number of those killed in violent conflicts was steadily dropping. The numbers are still falling, and there is reason to think they will fall further. A shift is under way, not strictly inevitable but enormously powerful. After millennia of slaughter, humankind is entering the Long Peace.

This has proved to be a popular message. The Harvard psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: a history of violence and humanity (2011) has not only been an international bestseller – more than a thousand pages long and containing a formidable array of graphs and statistics, the book has established something akin to a contemporary orthodoxy. It is now not uncommon to find it stated, as though it were a matter of fact, that human beings are becoming less violent and more altruistic. Ranging freely from human pre-history to the present day, Pinker presents his case with voluminous erudition. Part of his argument consists in showing that the past was more violent than we tend to imagine. Tribal peoples that have been praised by anthropologists for their peaceful ways, such as the Kalahari !Kung and the Arctic Inuit, in fact have rates of death by violence not unlike those of contemporary Detroit; while the risk of violent death in Europe is a fraction of what it was five centuries ago. Not only have violent deaths declined in number. Barbaric practices such as human sacrifice and execution by torture have been abolished, while cruelty towards women, children and animals is, Pinker claims, in steady decline. This “civilising process” – a term Pinker borrows from the sociologist Norbert Elias – has come about largely as a result of the increasing power of the state, which in the most advanced countries has secured a near-monopoly of force. Other causes of the decline in violence include the invention of printing, the empowerment of women, enhanced powers of reasoning and expanding capacities for empathy in modern populations, and the growing influence of Enlightenment ideals.

in the hamlet of ferguson, nearly everyone is a wanted criminal

HuffPo |  This complete penetration of policing into everyday life establishes a world of unceasing terror and violence. When everyone is a criminal by default, police are handed an extraordinary amount of discretionary power. "Discretion" may sound like an innocuous or even positive policy, but its effect is to make every single person's freedom dependent on the mercy of individual officers. There are no more laws, there are only police. The "rule of law," by which people are supposed to be treated equally according to a consistent set of principles, becomes the "rule of personal whim." 

And this is precisely what occurs in Ferguson. As others have noted, the Ferguson courts appear to work as an orchestrated racket to extract money from the poor. The thousands upon thousands of warrants that are issued, according to the DOJ, are "not to protect public safety but rather to facilitate fine collection." Residents are routinely charged with minor administrative infractions. Most of the arrest warrants stem from traffic violations, but nearly every conceivable human behavior is criminalized. An offense can be found anywhere, including citations for "Manner of Walking in Roadway," "High Grass and Weeds," and 14 kinds of parking violation. The dystopian absurdity reaches its apotheosis in the deliciously Orwellian transgression "failure to obey." (Obey what? Simply to obey.) In fact, even if one does obey to the letter, solutions can be found. After Henry Davis was brutally beaten by four Ferguson officers, he found himself charged with "destruction of official property" for bleeding on their uniforms.

None of this is even to mention the blinding levels of racism, which remain the central fact of police interactions in Ferguson and nationwide. The overwhelming force of this violent and exploitative policing system is directed at the African American population. In 2013, 92 percent of Ferguson's arrest warrants were issued against African Americans, and black Fergusonians were 68 percent less likely than others to have their court cases dismissed. The racism is so blatant and comprehensive that the DOJ concluded that "Ferguson law enforcement practices are directly shaped and perpetuated by racial bias." Considering the qualified and colorless language typically deployed in government documents, this is an astonishingly forceful statement.

Ferguson's racism has been central to the media coverage of the release of the DOJ report. But in a certain way, by focusing entirely on disparate racial impacts without examining the sheer scale of the brutal state juggernaut, one misses crucial facts. MSNBC listed as the DOJ's number one "most shocking" finding the fact that "at least one municipal employee thought electing a black president was laughable." But the existence of racist views in the department is not the most shocking fact, not by a country mile. Rather, endemic racism in policing comes standard. However, that racism occurs in the wider context of an ever-enlarging interlocking system of administrative bureaucracy and police violence. 

The other pitfall in analyzing the Ferguson report is to see it as being about Ferguson. There are 19,492 municipal governments in America, and the chances that Ferguson happens to be the worst are extremely slim. In fact, there is strong evidence that in the world of better funded, more militarized, more technologically advanced police departments, Ferguson is simply a high-profile case study. While the Ferguson nightmare may dwarf the problems in cities like Boston, American policing is so out-of-control that Ferguson-style practices can occur on at least some level in almost every department.

It's hard to believe, but the Ferguson police department's massive deliberate racism only represents one of its problems. The DOJ report shows not just a racist criminal justice system, but one in which the very act of being alive has been made a crime, and in which nearly every resident is wanted by the law at every moment of every day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

which tribes of the north atlantic are empire-building?

spectator |  Just for once, let us try this argument with an open mind, employing arithmetic and geography and going easy on the adjectives. Two great land powers face each other. One of these powers, Russia, has given up control over 700,000 square miles of valuable territory. The other, the European Union, has gained control over 400,000 of those square miles. Which of these powers is expanding?

There remain 300,000 neutral square miles between the two, mostly in Ukraine. From Moscow’s point of view, this is already a grievous, irretrievable loss. As Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the canniest of the old Cold Warriors, wrote back in 1997, ‘Ukraine… is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.’

This diminished Russia feels the spread of the EU and its armed wing, Nato, like a blow on an unhealed bruise. In February 2007, for instance, Vladimir Putin asked sulkily, ‘Against whom is this expansion intended?’

I have never heard a clear answer to that question. The USSR, which Nato was founded to fight, expired in August 1991. So what is Nato’s purpose now? Why does it even still exist?

There is no obvious need for an adversarial system in post-Soviet Europe. Even if Russia wanted to reconquer its lost empire, as some believe (a belief for which there is no serious evidence), it is too weak and too poor to do this. So why not invite Russia to join the great western alliances? Alas, it is obvious to everyone, but never stated, that Russia cannot ever join either Nato or the EU, for if it did so it would unbalance them both by its sheer size. There are many possible ways of dealing with this. One would be an adult recognition of the limits of human power, combined with an understanding of Russia’s repeated experience of invasions and its lack of defensible borders.

white people are expats, the rest of you golliwogs are immigrants...,

guardian |  In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat”.

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

Don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal, the leading financial information magazine in the world, has a blog dedicated to the life of expats and recently they featured a story ‘Who is an expat, anyway?’. Here are the main conclusions: “Some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; and some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status. It’s strange to hear some people in Hong Kong described as expats, but not others. Anyone with roots in a western country is considered an expat … Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats … It’s a double standard woven into official policy.”

Monday, March 16, 2015

is this why valodya was at an undisclosed location for ten days?

eutimes |  The Ministry of Defense (MoD) is reporting today that the Federation is now in a “state of war” thus bringing to full activation President Putin’s “Dead Hand” nuclear order issued 29 July 2014 to The Strategic Missile Forces (SMF).

According to this report, the full activation of the much feared “Dead Hand” nuclear option was authorized under President Putin’s previous order due to the discovery that the nuclear forces of the United Kingdom (UK) were preparing a first strike against military and civilian targets located in the Federation.

The intention of the nuclear forces of the UK preparing a first strike against the Federation, this report says, was revealed by Federal Security Services (FSB) electronic intelligence experts working in conjunction with Kaspersky Lab who discovered last month a massive US National Security Agency (NSA) cyber espionage programme targeting not just Russia, but everyone else on Earth.
Both the FSB and Kaspersky Lab experts, the MoD reports, were able to swiftly reverse engineer the computer code(s) involved in this massive NSA spying operation which then enabled them to electronically obtain the launching codes and coordinates of all the UK’s nuclear weapons showing their plan to launch a first strike against the Federation during the week of 15 March.

Though information of this highly successful FSB-Kaspersky Lab intelligence operation has been suppressed in the West, some counter-news of it has been reported by a few technical websites, including The Verge which in their article reported yesterday titled “A Network Error Routed Traffic For The UK’s Nuclear Weapons Agency Through Russian Telecom”, in part, says:
“For the past week, something strange has been going on in the European internet. For five days, web traffic from Texas to certain addresses in the UK has been routed through Ukrainian and Russian telecoms, taking a detour thousands of miles out of the way. Network traffic often takes a circuitous route as a result of network congestion or interconnection difficulties, but neither one would be enough to account for these routes. Instead, this was the result of a bad route announced by Ukraine’s Vega telecom, inserting itself in between.
It’s particularly disconcerting because of the sensitive nature of many of the sites involved. Among the dozens of sites involved was the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment, which is tasked with managing and delivering the UK’s nuclear warheads, as well as the UK’s official mail service, the Royal Mail. US defense contractor Lockheed Martin was also running a VPN connection that was caught up in the redirection.”
Upon the MoD’s confirmation of the UK’s intention to launch a nuclear first strike against the Federation, this report continues, Russian military forces throughout the country were immediately activated with a special emphasis placed upon massive rocket-artillery maneuvers on the southern borders.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

capitalism and its handmaiden rule of law predicated upon injustice...,

RT |  The lack of civil rights, the lack of equality, the ‘ghettoization’, the institutionalization of racism are fundamental and making what is called ‘America in the 21st century'.

RT: What impact could this shooting have on police reforms that were supposed to take place in Ferguson?

Eric Draitser: It’s going to have a significant impact on everything that is happening in Ferguson. I think first and foremost we should begin with the impact that it’s going to have on the on-going protest movement, on the ongoing calls for justice, and it is not simply reform of the Ferguson Police Department, but calling attention to the institutionalized racism that exists both within that institution as well as within the larger institutions in Missouri and in the US. Of course this will delegitimize those protests, it will delegitimize that movement or at least that is the attempt that is going to be made. We have a very clear precedent here in New York City in the aftermath of the non-indictment of the killers of Eric Garner. When we had a massive protest movement developing in New York, you had a very similar incident in which two police officers were attacked and that incident was then used to attack the protesters, that is to say to attack them in the media, attack them in public relations, and we can expect a very similar outcome here. It’s very unfortunate because of all of the information that has come out about the racism, about the brutality and the other impacts that it was having in Ferguson itself. 

RT: The recent wave of resignations in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting was supposed to ease tensions. Does it look like they've had the reverse effect?
ED: They were certainly meant to present the illusion of changes, cosmetic changes, but again, I don’t think that anything was really addressing the criminal nature of the police department there. And certainly it is not easing tensions. We should come back to the facts in this case. We have corroborated accounts, that is to say corroborated by multiple eye-witnesses that the shots that were fired - which the mainstream media is attempting to allege came from the protesters - actually came from some distance behind them. 

The question then becomes exactly who is benefitting from this, and who might have perpetrated such an attack, naturally an investigation is what is really called for. But the larger question is: does anybody really expect justice and fairness from the Ferguson Police Department as if they would be the once investigating this incident. What might need to be called for a some kind of a special investigation possibly even a special prosecutor, special investigator, something along those lines, because the reality is, the situation in Ferguson is a volatile one and it … really addresses many of the most fundamental questions in the US regarding racism, social justice, institutionalization of the brutality, militarization of police. All of these issues that many of us have been talking for quite a long time; all of them come to the fore in the recent developments.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

systemic delegitimization of the protest movement next on the establishment agenda

wsws |  The US media and political establishment have seized upon the wounding of two officers in Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday night to reiterate their support for the police amid widespread hostility to the wave of police killings in America.

US President Barack Obama, making an appearance Thursday on the late-night television program Jimmy Kimmel Live, declared that police “have a terrifically tough job,” and added that “there was no excuse for criminal acts.” He added, “They’re criminals, they need to be arrested.”

These claims come despite the fact that, by their own admission, police have no information as to who fired the shots that wounded the officers, or whether the police were even the target. The shots were reportedly fired from up to 150 yards away.

By contrast, the Obama administration’s own report on the Ferguson Police Department revealed a “pattern” of criminal activity by police officers and officials. Obama was not referring to any cops as “criminals” or calling for their arrest. Instead, the Obama administration decided not to bring charges against Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown last August.

Prior to the shootings on Wednesday, the police had been on the defensive, following the release of footage showing the horrific killing of Charley Leundeu Keunang in Los Angeles on March 1; 19-year-old Tony Robinson in Madison, Wisconsin on March 6; Anthony Hill in Atlanta, Georgia on March 9 and many others.

The Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson Police Department, released last week, documented numerous crimes, including beating and arresting people and imprisoning the poor in order to compel them to pay fines.

Shortly before the shooting, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announced his resignation, while the Missouri Supreme Court said it would place a state judge in charge of the city’s court system. These moves followed the announcement earlier in the week that Ferguson City Manager John Shaw would resign.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles used the killings as an opportunity to take aim at the Justice Department report. He told NPR Thursday that “there continues to be hostile language coming out of the Justice Department—or rather, from Eric Holder, specifically.”

On Thursday, Rudy Giuliani, the former Republican mayor of New York City, denounced Obama for not going far enough to directly ally himself with the police. Giuliani declared that it is “the obligation of the president … to explain to the American people and the world that our police are the best in the world; they are the most trained; they are the most restrained.”

NYPD editing incident under internal review - look for future edits to "NYPD Wikipedia Scandal"..,

capitalnewyork |  Computers operating on the New York Police Department’s computer network at its 1 Police Plaza headquarters have been used to alter Wikipedia pages containing details of alleged police brutality, a review by Capital has revealed.

“The matter is under internal review,” an NYPD spokeswoman, Det. Cheryl Crispin, wrote in an email to Capital after examples of the changes were presented to the NYPD.

The edits and changes were linked to the NYPD through a series of Internet Protocol addresses, or IP addresses, which can be publicly tracked by various websites. (Here, for example, is one website that shows a number of IP addresses registered to the NYPD.) IP addresses can locate where a computer is when it connects to the Internet.

Computer users identified by Capital as working on the NYPD headquarters' network have edited and attempted to delete Wikipedia entries for several well-known victims of police altercations, including entries for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. Capital identified 85 NYPD addresses that have edited Wikipedia, although it is unclear how many users were involved, as computers on the NYPD network can operate on the department’s range of IP addresses.

NYPD IP addresses have also been used to edit entries on stop-and-frisk, NYPD scandals, and prominent figures in the city’s political and police leadership.

There are more than 15,000 IP addresses registered to the NYPD, which employs 50,000 people, including uniformed officers and civilians. Notable Wikipedia activity was linked to about a dozen of those NYPD IP addresses. Fist tap Ed.

Friday, March 13, 2015

did white flight spawn the criminal racket masquerading as a government running your town?

There are thousands of small towns and cities all across the US that budget for substantial revenues from fines and traffic enforcement in lieu of higher taxes. If the citizens don't like it, they can elect a new city council next year. Issues of racial profiling and police practice are also at issue everywhere. These, too, are subject to review by votes.

Why is Ferguson any different than any of these 10,000 other Valkanvanian hamlets?

St. Louis County has a total population of just over a million people and ninety municipal governments. The city of Toronto has over two million people and one municipal government. The City of New York has eight million people and makes do with one municipal government. It follows that each resident of St. Louis County has to support roughly ten to twenty times as many police chiefs, mayors, and possibly even city councillors as a resident of Toronto.

Since many residents of St. Louis County do not want to pay for this much government, the cities have grown dependent on fines as "revenue". Since fines apply to residents of other towns, a municipality that sustains itself through fines thus derives a percentage of its revenue from outside its boundaries. These municipalities thus find themselves in a variant of the "prisoner's dilemma"; the first municipal government to eliminate fine revenue will have to raise taxes, while its residents will continue to provide fine "revenue" for the surrounding municipalities. Even worse, some of these municipalities cannot sustain their operations from their tax base alone, which means that not everyone can cooperate.

White flight spawned the "system" of  racketeering hamlets that operates in St. Louis County; continuing racism accounts for the failure to undertake any sensible amalgamation. Once developed, the system of racketeering hamlets remains in place because of a prisoner's dilemma paradox that no hanlet can escape on its own.

FAIL: exagerated military cosplay exercise leads to destruction of the wrong house and no suspect...,

NYTimes |  Earlier, police SWAT units surrounded a house a few blocks from the scene of the shooting, and officers climbed onto the roof and broke through a vent to gain access. The police took in three people from the house for questioning and released them hours later.

The three, Iresha Turner, who lives at the home, and her friends Martez Little and Lamont Underwood, said they had attended the protest but had nothing to do with the shootings. Ms. Turner and Mr. Underwood said they fled from the protest to Ms. Turner’s house when the shots were fired, and Mr. Little said he came to Mr. Turner’s home later and was also detained.

Ms. Turner said her 6-year-old son had been traumatized by the search and the implication that his mother might have something to do with the crime.

“I have to live here,” said Ms. Turner, who identified herself as a single mother. “I have no help. I’m a good woman.”

Mr. Underwood speculated that someone might have seen him and Ms. Turner speeding away from the protest scene and reported it to the police.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

FAIL: stl pd tweets about the shooting half hour before it happens - better bring in the sniper from the stl pre-crimes unit for questioning...,

cnn |  The shots rang out shortly after midnight, at the end of a protest against the maligned Ferguson Police Department. That department has been under fire ever since one of its officers, Darren Wilson, shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown last August, and more recently since the release of a scathing Justice Department report documenting a pattern of racial discrimination.

While the demonstrators' focus was the Ferguson department, neither of the wounded officers is from that St. Louis suburb.