Thursday, October 13, 2016

India's Eternal Inequality

NYTimes |  The 2014 election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his B.J.P. emboldened every variety of Hindu nationalist group. The primary aim of these groups is an aggressive form of nationalism. But there is a contradiction at the heart of this ideology: As Mr. Paz wrote in 1995, the idea of the nation itself is “incompatible with the institution of caste.” It was not possible to want everyone to be homogeneous while at the same time believing them to be fundamentally unequal.
The contradiction presented by caste and nationalism was never clearer than in the searing images that emerged from Mr. Modi’s own home state, Gujarat, in July. They showed Dalit boys being stripped and beaten with iron rods. They were accused of killing a sacred Indian cow. But they claimed they were only skinning a cow that was already dead, work that is typically reserved for people of low caste. The irony could not have been more stark: It was caste on one hand that had forced this occupation upon them, and it was caste that was degrading them further.

Modernity should be the natural enemy of caste. And, in many ways, it is. Urban life, apartment buildings, restaurants — even something as simple as municipal water and housing — have the power to erase the prohibitions under which caste functions. Democracy, too, is an enemy of caste: The low-caste groups form a powerful voting bloc, and so politicians are obliged to be responsive to them. But by upsetting hierarchies, modernity can also exacerbate old tensions. It can make the higher castes, whose numbers are small, insecure about their place in the world and drive them to reinforce it.

The spread of modernity in India has certainly undermined caste, but it has also made the need to assert it more vehement. And the unfolding story in India is not one about the disappearance of caste, but rather of its resilience. Brahmins still have an outsize presence in intellectual life; the armed forces are still dominated by the martial castes; a majority of rich businessmen and industrialists are still of the mercantile castes; the lower castes still do the least desirable jobs.

In the cloistered, English-speaking world where I grew up, caste seemed hardly to exist. As a child in Delhi, I could no more tell a Brahmin name like Mishra or Sharma from any other. And even if I could, I would not have held it in regard. Our only category was class, and it was determined by privilege, education and how well one spoke English. But there are some categories so deep that they hold without needing to be enforced. What I didn’t realize was that in one very important respect, caste did exist among us: because the lowest castes were not represented.

For the last two years, I have been speaking with a Brahmin from Bengal, a philosopher and a teacher of ancient logic, a man conversant with both Eastern and Western intellectual traditions. I admire him in many ways — his immense learning, his defense of tradition in the face of Western influence — but when I questioned him about the prohibitions of caste he gave me an answer that turned my stomach.

“If a person is suffering from a communicable disease, you would not let him touch your utensils,” he said. “You have this one idea of contamination, but you refuse to accept that there might be certain spiritual conditions …” His voice trailed off. He seemed to know that he had lost me. As if wanting to clear the air, he said: “You have to understand that modern European culture is based on the idea that all men are born equal, and later become differentiated. The Indian idea is different. We believe that men are born unequal, but we are all — Brahmin, sage, cobbler, outcaste — heading toward the same destiny.”

It was a valiant attempt at a defense, but in the end absurd. It would mean that millions of lower-caste Indians, like Rohith Vemula, had to forfeit the aspirations of this life in exchange for the promise of some ultimate destiny, many lifetimes away, in which all differences would be obliterated.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

anonymous on Hitlery

anonews |  With so much exposed already, why do we continue to follow, allow, and accept people like Hillary and Trump as potentials to be country leaders? Truly think about it. Can we even take a system that puts these two so high up in the ranks seriously?

Is this not the perfect storm to allow us to wake up to the reality of our current state? We should be thankful that this is going on so we can help wake up the world and begin a conversation about what we can legitimately do next.

This isn’t about Trump vs Clinton. That is merely the illusion we are being invited to believe. This is about awakening to the fact that our system is absurd and that it’s time to do something different. What is the answer? That is what we must discuss instead of playing this broken political game of dividing and choosing who to “vote” for.

It was Putin!!!

RT |  Hillary Clinton’s campaign has dubbed WikiLeaks “Russian propaganda,” accusing it of supporting Republican candidate Donald Trump. The comments came after a cache of leaked emails from the campaign’s chairman were published by the whistleblowing website.

Addressing the site from his Twitter account on Monday, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said: “You are no media organization. You are a propaganda arm of the Russian govt, running interference for their pet candidate, Trump.”

WaPo |  Brazile has issued this statement —
“As a longtime political activist with deep ties to our party, I supported all of our candidates for president. I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are simply untrue. As it pertains to the CNN Debates, I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did.
“But let’s get one thing straight. Our Intelligence Community has made it clear that the Russian government is responsible for the cyberattacks aimed at interfering with our election, and that WikiLeaks is part of that effort. This revelation should deeply trouble all Americans in both parties. And yet, Donald Trump continues to deny that Russia is behind these attempts to meddle with our electoral process and cheer on these efforts to undermine our democracy.

“This is the same man who called for more Russian cyber-espionage against us, who has extensive business ties to Russia, and who regularly coddles Vladimir Putin by praising his leadership and refusing to call him out. I am deeply disappointed that the Republican leaders of the party of Reagan are publicly using information illegally obtained by the Russians, because the national security of our country should not be a partisan issue.

“We are in the process of verifying the authenticity of these documents because it is common for Russia to spread misinformation and forge documents, but we cannot bow down to Putin’s wishes and allow foreign actors to try and divide our country with the hope of affecting the outcome on Election Day. There is too much at stake.” – DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile

the MOST evil phone company going hard after a $billion discount on its yahoo purchase proffer...,

theintercept |   Verizon’s general counsel and head of public policy made a public case this week for reconsidering legal protections on customer data in light of evolving technology that allows companies to almost continuously track cell phone users’ location.

Craig Stillman’s opinion piece published Monday in Bloomberg Law comes just days after Reuters revealed that Yahoo, the company Verizon is reportedly buying, helped the U.S. government scan millions of emails for a specific “digital signature,” outraging privacy activists. It also follows several years of controversy since Verizon was implicated in the NSA’s mass surveillance program through the 2013 Snowden disclosures, which revealed the collection of thousands of its customers’ phone records.

The piece describes the legal ins-and-outs of location privacy, including a specific issue courts have been pondering over the last few years: whether or not customers, when they make phone calls or log into apps on their smartphones, are voluntarily handing over to private companies’ information about where they are and what they’re doing — making that information available to law enforcement without a warrant.

After detailing Verizon’s rapidly evolving ability to collect more and more specific location data on its own customers, Silliman urged courts to consider how the law might need to adapt. “I hope that [the court] takes into account how quickly technology — including the volume and precision of location information — is changing,” he wrote.

Verizon says the timing of the piece is unrelated to the recent related to Yahoo and email surveillance. “In fact, the piece was finished several weeks ago.  We were preparing to post it when we got news of the Yahoo breach,” wrote Rich Young, Verizon policy spokesman, in an email to The Intercept. “We decided to delay the posting because we did not want the two to appear related, which they are not.”
According to Silliman and Verizon’s official Twitter account, the piece was born out of conversations that took place during company business meetings.

US start-up Geofeedia 'allowed police to track protesters'

bbc |   Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have revoked access to their data to an analytics firm accused of selling information that allowed US police to track activists and protesters.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Chicago-based Geofeedia had allowed police to "sneak in through a side door" to monitor protests.

Geofeedia said it was committed to the principles of personal privacy.

It comes amid growing concern about government access to social media.

ACLU said Geofeedia had been marketing its services to police agencies to help track activists using location data and social media posts.

The group said it had seen internal documents in which Geofeedia said that it "covered Ferguson/Mike Brown nationally with great success," referring to protests which erupted in 2014 after an unarmed African-American man was shot dead by police.

"The ACLU of California has obtained records showing that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provided user data access to Geofeedia, a developer of a social media monitoring product that we have seen marketed to law enforcement as a tool to monitor activists and protesters," the group said in a statement.

"We know for a fact that in Oakland [California] and Baltimore [Maryland], law enforcement has used Geofeedia to monitor protests."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Asymmetric power boosts extortion in the workplace | What do profit-driven bosses do if they are not satisfied with an employee's conduct? They use their strategic advantage to blackmail their subordinates: "If you don't want to do the job, I'm sure we'll find somebody else who does". Together with researchers from Harvard University and the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön have found that asymmetrical power encourages extortionate behaviour. Both in a model and an experimental setup, such 'blackmailing' strategies proved successful for the extortionists. An especially surprising finding was that subordinates were in fact better off if they played along in the unfair game. However, extortionists shouldn't be too obviously selfish; they are only successful if they maintain a well-measured degree of friendliness.

Nearly one in two people will take advantage of others if the opportunity arises: that is the sobering conclusion of a study recently published by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. The scientists asked 160 students to take part in the so-called 'prisoner's dilemma' game where two players choose, over several rounds, if they will cooperate with each other or not to receive a cash payoff. In this scenario, cooperation only pays off if the respective opponent also cooperated.

This means that particularly Machiavellian players can lull their opponents into a false sense of security by initially cooperating, only to unexpectedly withhold cooperation in the next round. In this case, the selfish player receives an especially large payoff, whereas their opponent is left empty-handed. Such strategies, however, are only successful in the short term. Ultimately, extortionate players often emerge as losers, because their opponents tend to stop cooperating with them altogether.

Carl Icahn: I'm still with Trump; 'salacious' talk happens everywhere

cnbc |  Amid an exodus of other high-profile supporters, Donald Trump is keeping one key ally in his corner.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said Monday he is holding ranks with the Republican presidential nominee, despite revelations in recent days that Trump made more disparaging comments about women in the past. 

"Over my years I've listened to a lot of salacious talk in locker rooms, bachelor parties, et cetera, by a lot of high-level people, some of whom are now supposedly so outraged," Icahn told in a phone interview. "All I can do is refer to that great quote, 'Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.'"

Trump is under fire after a video surfaced from 2005 in which he made comments criticized as endorsing sexual violence. He described walking up to women and kissing them and grabbing their genitalia. 

Since the video surfaced, a slew of supporters have ditched the candidate. Key congressional Republicans including Arizona Sen. John McCain, himself a presidential nominee in 2008, have withdrawn their endorsements, with former GE CEO Jack Welch joining them. House Speaker Paul Ryan, the vice presidential nominee in 2012, told his colleagues Monday that he is done defending Trump and is now focusing on maintaining congressional majorities for his party.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Is Granny Goodness Unintentionally Bringing About the Public Demise of Careerism?

greyenlightenment |  This ties with ‘shared narratives’, as all introverts, regardless of their politics, are unified in their dislike of ‘small talk’ and other vapid, atavistic social rituals that we voluntarily impose on each other and ourselves, which could explain why the article above went viral. We carry out these motions not because we derive pleasure from them, but because we have become so accustomed to doing them that to refuse is inconceivable. One such ritual is voting and the ‘democratic process’, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see millennials losing faith in democracy. Politicians promise ‘more freedom’ in exchange for your vote, but that results in diddly-squat. If you vote, it’s because the candidates embodies values you agree with, not because you expect a specific outcome or result. 

This is also related to the decline of ‘careerism’. Careerism, which thrived in the 80′s and 90′s, wasn’t about creating economic value; rather, it was about sycophantism, of millions of people ‘showing up’ and carrying out these ritualistic motions, everyday exchanging their livelihoods for steady remittances needed to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. As I wrote in Millennials and Misconceptions, millennials are abandoning careerism in droves, choosing introspection, MGTOW, ‘being alone’, and introversion, rather than gregariousness and ‘office politics’. But it’s not laziness, as many wrongly assume. When millennials choose to work, they do so to maximize economic value and their own productivity, meaning that they prefer not to dither with ‘small talk’ and ‘office politics’, and they want to work on their own terms, preferring autonomy instead of sucking up to a boss, who is is often overpaid relative to the economic value he or she produces. This is why personal finance (budgeting, investing, etc.) is so important to millennials, because financial independence and self-sufficiency is necessary to have freedom, or more specifically, autonomy, instead of careerism. It doesn’t mean having money for the sake of consumption, but money for autonomy.

“There is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives...,”

NYTimes |  In lucrative paid speeches that Hillary Clinton delivered to elite financial firms but refused to disclose to the public, she displayed an easy comfort with titans of business, embraced unfettered international trade and praised a budget-balancing plan that would have required cuts to Social Security, according to documents posted online Friday by WikiLeaks.

The tone and language of the excerpts clash with the fiery liberal approach she used later in her bitter primary battle with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and could have undermined her candidacy had they become public.

Mrs. Clinton comes across less as a firebrand than as a technocrat at home with her powerful audience, willing to be critical of large financial institutions but more inclined to view them as partners in restoring the country’s economic health.

In the excerpts from her paid speeches to financial institutions and corporate audiences, Mrs. Clinton said she dreamed of “open trade and open borders” throughout the Western Hemisphere. Citing the back-room deal-making and arm-twisting used by Abraham Lincoln, she mused on the necessity of having “both a public and a private position” on politically contentious issues. Reflecting in 2014 on the rage against political and economic elites that swept the country after the 2008 financial crash, Mrs. Clinton acknowledged that her family’s rising wealth had made her “kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class.

Mr. Miracle Went Hard in the Paint Last Night

dilbert |  The word “narcissist” gets tossed around a lot, especially when Donald Trump is in the news. That word can mean at least three different things, depending on who is saying it. For example, calling someone a narcissist could mean…

1. I don’t know what big words mean, but I use them anyway. (That’s at least 30% of cases.)


2. The target of the accusation has “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” as defined by the Mayo Clinic to include these traits: Inflated sense of importance Deep need for admiration Lack of empathy for others Fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism


3. The person doing the accusing has “Narcissistic Accuser Syndrome” as I define to have these characteristics:
  • Dislike of confident, successful people. 
  • Hallucinating that you have the diagnostic skills of a trained psychiatrist. 
  • Hallucinating the ability to determine a stranger’s level of empathy, and their need for admiration, based on limited evidence seen out of context. 
  • Inability to distinguish between a smart operator with a strategy of aggressive response to critics versus a person with fragile self-esteem. 
  • Inability to understand that labeling one individual with an inflated sense of importance and fragile self-esteem at the same time is harder to explain than you want it to be. 
  • A deep desire to rationalize one’s own lack of success by imagining the only way that other people attain it is with the help of some sort of personality disorder.
Did I write this defensive-sounding post because I’m a narcissist? I hope so, because that’s what I strive to be.

I’m a big fan of being admired, assuming I did something worthy. I find the goodwill of others to be one of several sources of personal motivation, and a legitimate one. Am I allowed to make the world a better place and enjoy the fact that others appreciate the effort? That seems like a reasonable deal for everyone. If you do something good for the world, I promise to admire you, and I hope you enjoy the feeling. Maybe it will encourage you to do more good stuff.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Once you drink from the Nile, you are destined to return...,

FP |  Blatant ideological bias faded from scientific endeavors in the post-1978 reform era, but the ultimate goal of Chinese archaeology — to piece out the nation’s history — remained. The best-known example from that era is the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project, directly inspired by the achievements of Egyptian archaeology. State Councilor Song Jian toured Egypt in 1995 and was particularly impressed by a genealogy of the pharaohs that went back to the third millennium B.C. This prompted him to campaign for a project — included in the government’s ninth five-year plan — that would give Chinese dynasties a comparable record. Mobilizing over 200 experts on a budget of around $1.5 million over five years, the Chronology Project has been considered the largest state-sponsored project in the humanities since 1773, when the Qianlong emperor commissioned the Siku quanshu, an encyclopedia roughly 20 times the length of the Britannica.

Some questioned the Chronology Project’s motives. One of the most prominent detractors was University of Chicago historian Edward L. Shaughnessy, who complained, “There’s a chauvinistic desire to push the historical record back into the third millennium B.C., putting China on a par with Egypt. It’s much more a political and a nationalistic urge than a scholarly one.” Others criticized the project’s methods and results. The Stanford archaeologist Li Liu, for instance, took issue with the fact that it regarded the Xia as historical and fixed dates for it, when there is still no conclusive archaeological evidence for its existence.

But the project also had defenders, including Harvard anthropologist Yun Kuen Lee, who pointed out that “the intrinsic relationship between the study of the past and nationalism does not necessarily imply that the study of the past is inherently corrupted.” The usefulness of archaeology in bolstering a nation’s pride and legitimacy — explaining and, to some extent, justifying its language, culture, and territorial claims — means that most archaeological traditions have a nationalistic impulse behind them. Thus, in Israel, archaeology focuses on the period of the Old Testament; in the Scandinavian countries, it focuses on that of the Vikings. “The important question that we should ask,” Yun went on to say, “is if the scientists of the project were able to maintain scientific rigor.”

In some ways, Sun’s current theory is an unintended result of the Chronology Project’s scientific rigor. At the project’s launch in 1996, he was a Ph.D. student in the radiation laboratory of the University of Science and Technology. Of the 200 or so items of bronze ware he was responsible for analyzing, some came from the city of Yin. He found that the radioactivity of these Yin-Shang bronzes had almost exactly the same characteristics as that of ancient Egyptian bronzes, suggesting that their ores all came from the same source: African mines.

Perhaps anticipating serious controversy, Sun’s doctoral supervisor did not allow Sun to report his findings at the time. Sun was asked to hand over his data and switched to another project. Twenty years after the start of his research and now a professor in his own right, Sun is finally ready to say all he knows about the Yin-Shang and China’s Bronze Age culture.

Although the public has mostly received Sun’s theory with an open mind, it still lies outside the academic mainstream. Since the 1990s, most Chinese archaeologists have accepted that much of the nation’s Bronze Age technology came from regions outside of China. But it is not thought to have arrived directly from the Middle East in the course of an epic migration. The more prosaic consensus is that it was transmitted into China from Central Asia by a slow process of cultural exchange (trade, tribute, dowry) across the northern frontier, mediated by Eurasian steppe pastoralists who had contacts with indigenous groups in both regions.


dailykos |  PBS and The Huffington Post have uncovered video evidence of Donald Trump’s long-held beliefs that he (and people like him) are genetically superior: 
The Frontline documentary “The Choice,” which premiered this week on PBS, reveals that Trump agrees with the dangerous and abusive theory of eugenics.
Trump’s father instilled in him the idea that their family’s success was genetic, according to Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.
“The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development,” D’Antonio says in the documentary. “They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”
The Huffington Post pulled together video clips of Donald Trump referencing his superior eugenics theory and it is nothing short of horrifying.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Laws of Manu

NewModeloftheUniverse |  Further, the Laws of Manu relating to marriage are full of deep significance and therefore probably they are completely distorted. In his teaching concerning marriage Manu undoubtedly speaks of what happens or may happen as the result of a wrong union of people of different castes, that is, people who are different in their inner nature. And he specially emphasises those negative effects which result from the union of men of a higher inner development, men of the " higher castes ", with women of an inferior development, of the " lower castes ", or similarly, from the union of women of the higher castes with men of the lower castes. A Brahman must marry a Brahman woman. That is the principle. There must be equality in marriage. In an unequal marriage the lower brings the higher down to his own level. This is especially disastrous for women and their posterity.

The idea is that the sex instinct, both in man and in woman, and especially in woman, is the instinct of selection, the instinct of search for the best. To seek the best is the task which nature has imposed on the sex instinct. A sex instinct which does not answer this requirement does not fulfil its purpose. Degeneration inevitably results if instead of looking for the best and the strongest, the sex instinct either becomes indifferent or is drawn towards the worst and the weakest.

It is to the woman, because of her special properties, that is, because of her " instinctivity " and emotionality, that the chief role in upholding the higher properties of the race belongs. On her instincts, on her choice, depends the protection of the quality of the race. If these instincts act, the race remains on a definite level; if the instincts do not act, the race inevitably declines and degenerates. A woman who could choose a stronger and better man, but gives herself to a weak or inferior man for some kind of external consideration, or because of an inner perversion or loss of a right valuation of her own feelings, commits the greatest crime against nature. The worst possibility is the marriage of a Brahman woman with a Sudra. A Kandala, the lowest kind of man, is born from such a union.

But a right understanding and a right application of the Laws of Manu demand a very high development in men. It is quite clear that the ordinary " human " understanding could not help establishing hereditary castes. Did right castes ever exist? Did the order which Manu teaches ever exist? How can we tell? Did true Christianity ever exist? We understand perfectly well that historical " Christianity ", in any case the greater part of it, is nothing but a distortion of the ideas of Christ and the Gospels. And it is quite possible that the Laws of Manu also in their true form and in their totality were never carried out in life.

Division into castes represents an ideal social organisation in accordance with esoteric systems. The reason for this lies, of course, in the fact that it is a natural division. Whether people wish it or not, whether they recognise it or not, they are divided into four castes. There are Brahmans, there are Kshatriyas, there are Vaisyas, and there are Sudras. No human legislation, no philosophical intricacies, no pseudosciences and no forms of terror can abolish this fact. And the normal functioning and development of human societies are possible only if this fact is recognised and acted on. All theories and all attempts at forcible reform based either on the principle of hereditary castes, or on the principle of " equality ", or on the principle of the supremacy of the proletariat and the struggle against hereditary castes, are equally useless, and all alike only make the situation of humanity worse. And at the same time actually, historically, humanity knows nothing else. There are only two ways for it—either hereditary castes and despotism, or struggle with hereditary castes and despotism. All the fluctuations of the history of humanity occur between these two ways. The third way, that is, the right division of castes, is shown, but humanity has never, to our knowledge, followed this way, and there are no grounds for thinking that it will ever turn into this way.

In modern life there are no tendencies leading towards a right division of castes. There is not even any idea of such a division, and there cannot be such an idea, because the understanding of the right division of castes was forgotten long before the beginning of our civilisation.

But even an accidental approach to a right division into castes immediately gives a result which lights up history for many centuries afterwards.

All the most brilliant periods of history, without exception, were periods in which the social order approached the caste system, but in which the principle of hereditary castes either was already weakening or had not yet become firm enough. Such were the brightest periods in the history of Greece and Rome, such was the epoch of the " Renaissance ", such was the 18th century in France and such was the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century in Russia. These approaches were accidental and imperfect, therefore they did not last long and ended in catastrophes; and usually, the higher the rise went, the deeper and more real was the fall. After such a fall people are not willing for a long time to believe that the epoch of rise has passed and will not return again; and they seldom wish to understand that the very evil of the preceding period, that is, division between the classes of society, was the cause of the rise and growth of the culture.

It is remarkable that an approach to a division into castes is almost always accompanied in history by one and the same phenomenon, namely, by the formation of an independent " intelligentsia ". The formation of an " intelligentsia " is the beginning of the gathering together of people of higher castes, people who are not yet conscious of themselves and do not understand themselves, but who, nevertheless, act in accordance with the principles of their dimly felt caste. The characteristic features of the " intelligentsia" are always and everywhere the same. First there is a craving for disinterested activity, then a very impatient feeling of the indispensability of personal freedom for all and a very rebellious attitude towards everyone and everything standing in the way of freedom of thought, speech and individual manifestation. In the conditions of modern life, that is, amidst all the absurdities of the present order of things, the " intelligentsia " becomes naturally revolutionary. It is very difficult to imagine the conditions in which the " intelligentsia " could be peaceful and loyal or constructing anything outside the sphere of science and art. In the conditions of modern life the " intelligentsia " is a destructive element. But the vagueness of its caste feeling and the vagueness of its understanding of aims and means, of friends and enemies, create the fundamental errors of the " intelligentsia ". It is carried away by Utopian theories of the common good and often finds that it has itself to serve the lower castes and be guided by their desires. Renouncing in this way its birthright the " intelligentsia " falls into the power of the " outcastes " and, becoming an instrument in their hands, begins unintentionally to serve their interests. Acting in this way the " intelligentsia " loses the meaning of its existence and the elemental forces aroused by it turn against it. This is exactly what happened in Russia with the most tragic consequences not only for the " intelligentsia " itself but chiefly for the " people " whom the " intelligentsia " strove to " liberate."

These tragic results of the " liberating movement " to which the intelligentsia gave its leadership, sympathy, and support, are explained by the appearance, immediately after the intelligentsia, of two new classes of contemporary society—the "pseudo-intelligentsia" and the " semi-intelligentsia." 

These two classes represent outcaste formations and are, so to speak, refuse from the process of the formation of the intelligentsia. Like all outcaste formations the " pseudo-intelligentsia " and the " semi-intelligentsia " contain a very large percentage of the criminal element and, in general, sympathise with the criminal, are interested in the criminal and are ready at any moment to become criminal themselves, especially (the pseudo-intelligentsia) if it does not offer much danger.

But having no value of any kind, cither moral or intellectual, these two new classes are very strong in numbers in modern life and power naturally passes into their hands (that is, into the hands of the pseudo-intelligentsia) when it falls from the hands of the old governments. In order to preserve this power they are ready to sacrifice anything and first of all the very " people " in whose name the intelligentsia carried on its struggle.

The intelligentsia cannot foresee this and even does not understand it after it has already happened because it does not understand itself and does not understand its role and the weakness of its theories.
Theories have played and they still play an unusually big role in the life of modern society. People have believed and many believe till now that they will be able to alter and reconstruct the whole life of humanity with the help of theories or by following theories. At no time in history have theories played such a role as at the present time, or, to speak more correctly, during the period immediately preceding the present time. Its faith in theories is the cardinal sin of the " intelligentsia ". The " pseudo-intelligentsia ", outwardly imitating the " intelligentsia ", also bases itself on theories but it does not idealise its theories, on the contrary it introduces a great deal of sophistry into them and makes them the means of personal adaptation to life.

Sex and Evolution

NewModeloftheUniverse |  From the ordinary point of view, in creating love, that is, in creating the division of the sexes and everything connected with it, nature has only one aim—the continuation of life. But even from the ordinary point of view it is perfectly clear, and there can be no doubt about it, that nature has created in man much more " love " than is actually necessary for the purpose of the continuation of life. All this surplus of love must be used up somehow. And under ordinary conditions it is used up by being transformed into other emotions and other kinds of energy, which often are contradictory, harmful from the point of view of evolution, pathological, incompatible with one another, and destructive.

If it were possible to calculate how small a proportion of sex energy is actually used for the continuation of life, we should understand the basic principle of many of the actions of nature. Nature creates an immense pressure, an immense tension, in order to attain a certain aim, but in actual fact uses for the attainment of this aim only an infinitesimal fraction of the energy created. And yet without this immense inflow of force the original aim would probably not be attained, and nature would be unable to make people serve her and continue their species to serve her. People would begin to bargain with nature, to make conditions, to demand concessions, to ask alleviations; and nature would have to yield. The guarantee against this is the surplus of energy which blinds a man, makes him a slave, forces him to serve the purposes of nature in the belief that he is serving himself, his own passions, his own desires; or, on the contrary, it makes man believe that he is serving the purposes of nature, while in reality he serves his own passions and desires.

Apart from the first and obvious aim, the continuation of life and the securing of this continuation, sex serves two more aims of nature. And the existence of these two aims explains why the energy of sex is created in much greater quantity than is necessary for the continuation of life.

One of these aims is the keeping up of the " breed ", the preservation of the species at a definite level, that is, what is ordinarily called " evolution ", though " evolution " is usually endowed with other properties which in reality it does not possess. But what is possible in the sense of " evolution " and what actually exists, exists at the expense of the energy of sex. If the energy of sex in the particular "breed" is lacking, degeneration begins.

The other, far more deeply hidden, aim of nature is evolution in the true meaning of the word, that is, the development of man in the direction of the acquisition by him of higher consciousness and the opening up of his latent forces and faculties. The explanation of this latter possibility in connection with the using of sex energy for this purpose forms the content and meaning of all esoteric teachings. 

Thus sex contains not only two but three aims, three possibilities.

Before we pass to the third aim, that is, to the possibility of real evolution, or the attainment of higher consciousness, we will examine the second, that is, the preservation of the species.

If we take man and try to determine, on the basis of all our biological knowledge, what in man is the indication of the " breed ", that is, the indication of the preservation of species, we shall obtain an exact and very significant answer.

In a human being, both in man and in woman, there are definite anatomical and physiological traits of the " breed", and a high development of these traits points to a sound type, whereas a weak expression or a wrong expression of them definitely points to a degenerating type.

These traits are the so-called secondary sex-characters.

Secondary sex-characters is the name applied to features and qualities which though not indispensable for the normal existence of the sex functions, that is, for all the sensations and phenomena connected with these functions, are nevertheless closely connected with the primary characters. This is shown by the fact that secondary characters depend upon the primary, that is, they are immediately modified, become weaker or even disappear, in the case of the weakening of direct functions or injury to the sex organs, that is, in case of change of the primary characters.

Secondary characters are all those features, apart from the sex organs themselves, which make man and woman different from and unlike one another. These features are difference in the lines of the body (independently of the anatomical structure of the skeleton), a different distribution of muscles and fat on the body, difference in movements, different distribution of hair on the body, a different voice, difference in instincts, sensations, tastes, temperament, emotions, reaction to external stimuli, etc.; and further, a different mentality, all that makes up feminine psychology and masculine psychology.

Academic biology does not attach sufficient importance to the study of secondary characters, and there is a tendency to limit the application of this term to those characters only which are very closely connected with sex functions. But in medicine the study of secondary characters and of their alterations often serves as a basis for the right distinguishing of various pathological states and for right diagnosis. It has been established beyond doubt for both man and woman that a weakening or an anatomical change of the essential parts of the sex organs, or their injury, leads to a complete alteration of the external type and to a change in the secondary characters, different for men and women, but in both cases following a certain definite system. That is to say, in a man, an injury to his sex organs and the derangement of their functions cause him to resemble either a child or an old woman, and in a woman the same thing causes her to resemble a man.

This gives the possibility of the converse conclusion, namely, that a type differing from the normal type, that is, a man with the features, properties and characters of a woman, or a woman with the features, properties and characters of a man, indicates, firstly, degeneration and, secondly, wrong development (that is, usually under-development) of the primary characters.

Thus normal development of sex is a necessary condition of a rightly developing type, and abundance and richness of secondary characters points to an improving, an ascending type.

The decline of the type, the decline of the " breed ", always means the weakening and alteration of secondary characters, that is, the appearance of masculine characters in a woman and feminine characters in a man. " Intermediate sex " is the most characteristic phenomenon of degeneration.

Normal development of sex is necessary for the preservation and improvement of the " breed ".
The second aim of nature which is attained in this case is perfectly clear. And it is clear that the surplus of sex energy is used precisely for the improvement of the breed.

Friday, October 07, 2016

how could non-haplo-diploidy humans comprise a superorganism?  |  Insects exhibit several levels of social organization. Many species live in groups for some portion of their lives, but not all of these groups are truly social. For instance, chimney bees

Anthophora abrupta, do live in groups for periods of time, but they are nevertheless solitary bees. Female chimney bees build nests in large aggregations, giving the impression that they are social, but in fact each female builds and provisions her own nest. In contrast, some insects, ants, for instance, live in complex societies called colonies and depend on continual social interactions to survive. Members of these social species cannot survive as individuals; they must live as a part of a colony.

Three characteristics define the levels of sociality observed in insects. These characteristics are: 1) reproductive division of labor: most individuals are non-reproductive and specialize in colony growth, maintenance, and defense while only a few reproduce; 2) cooperative brood care: individuals within the colony care for offspring that are not their own; and 3) overlapping generations: offspring contribute to colony labor while their parent(s) (at least their mothers) are still alive and inside the colony. Species that express all three of the above characteristic are highly social or eusocial. The most common eusocial insects are bees, wasps, ants, and termites (Table 1).

Honey bees (Hymeoptera: Apidae: Apis) meet all three of the criteria described above and are therefore eusocial:
  • Reproductive division of labor—Each honey bee colony consists of a queen (reproductive female), workers (non-reproductive females), and drones (males). Each caste has a clearly defined role that is not performed by any other caste.
  • Cooperative brood care—Workers care for the queen’s offspring. In most cases the queen’s offspring are sisters to the workers who are rearing them.
  • Overlapping generations—Honey bee queens can live several years and coexist in the colony with their offspring (workers and drones).

Thursday, October 06, 2016

as musical chairs intensifies - what becomes of this?

theatlantic |  “I think the biggest factor that promotes victim-blaming is something called the just world hypothesis,” says Sherry Hamby, a professor of psychology at the University of the South and founding editor of the APA’s Psychology of Violence journal. “It’s this idea that people deserve what happens to them. There’s just a really strong need to believe that we all deserve our outcomes and consequences.”

Hamby explains that this desire to see the world as just and fair may be even stronger among Americans, who are raised in a culture that promotes the American Dream and the idea that we all control our own destinies.

“In other cultures, where sometimes because of war or poverty or maybe sometimes even just because of a strong thread of fatalism in the culture, it’s a lot better recognized that sometimes bad things happen to good people,” she says. “But as a general rule, Americans have a hard time with the idea that bad things happen to good people.”

Holding victims responsible for their misfortune is partially a way to avoid admitting that something just as unthinkable could happen to you—even if you do everything “right.”

Marathas vs The Dalits: The Seething Caste War In Maharashtra

ndtv |  Lakhs of people from Maharashtra's most powerful caste group, the Marathas, held a muk or silent rally in Pune on Sunday to protest the rape and killing of a 14-year-old girl from the community by three Dalit boys in the village of Kopardi in Ahmednagar district in July. Similar demonstrations have been held since the incident in almost every major town of the Marathwada region dominated by Marathas and are now spreading to the rest of the state under the banner of a newly floated non-political outfit, the Maratha Kranti Samiti.

The clout of the new agency is derived partly from its success in bringing on board older groups that have represented the upper caste Marathas - groups like the Akhil Bharatiya Maratha Mahasangh, Sambhaji Brigade and the Maratha Seva Sangh. They want the death penalty for the accused Dalits. They are asking for the abolition of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA) 1989 because they say this law, which is meant to prevent and punish violence against Dalits and Adivasis, is being misused by these groups to target the Marathas. "The Dalits receive financial compensation for any atrocity committed on them under the Act. To be able to get this money, they have started filing false cases against the Marathas," alleged a young boy at the Pune rally.

But official figures reveal just the opposite. That despite the Act, Maharashtra's weakest castes have little access to justice and continue to be victims of discrimination.

Dalits and Adivasis constitute 19% of the state's population, but last year, only 1% of all FIRs registered by the police were filed by members of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. Of these, the Atrocities Act was applied in less than 40% of the complaints. The conviction rate under the Act has been even more dismal, an average of 7% in the last five years. A staggering 87% of the cases are still pending trial.

Which leads many to believe that while Maratha anger may have justifiably been provoked by the Kopardi rape and killing, the demand to scrap the Atrocities Act and restore their honour is directly linked to the community's deep resentment of the government's reservation policy of guaranteeing jobs and seats in educational institutions to lower castes.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Dutertism: Human rights: ‘only for good guys’

guardian |  At the Philippines national police headquarters, even the police themselves admit active officers could be behind a number of the vigilante killings. A police briefing document on project Double Barrel shows that from 1 July to 16 August, 250 officers were relieved from their duties in metro Manila because of suspected links to the drug trade.

But any official relationship between police and vigilantes – such as the one described by the officer to the Guardian – are denied.

The Philippine National Police was contacted on numerous occasions by the Guardian to comment on the allegations detailed in this story. Although they did acknowledge requests from the Guardian regarding the matter, no official comment was forthcoming.

But the previous responses from Duterte himself to allegations of involvement in death squads have been strong.

He has called them lies and “accusations of a madman” and previously stated that there were “no Davao death squads”.

Martin Andanar, Duterte’s communications secretary, said of the Davao allegations: “The Commission on Human Rights already conducted an investigation years ago, when the president was still a mayor, and charges were not filed, they did not see any direct evidence.”

When contacted by the Guardian to respond to the specific allegations of the police officer, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said he was unable to comment.

“I cannot make any comments regarding that,” he said. “There are so-called sources and we cannot verify what they are saying, they have not made an affidavit. I cannot make any statement because it is not verified.”

For Arsenio “Boy” Evangelista Jr, spokesman for the group Victims against Crime and Corruption, the denials and no comments mean little.

“Who would have the skills and the guts to do this?” he says when he talks about the mass killings.
“I am talking of police skills, all the skills, like intelligence, proficiency in handling firearms,” says Evangelista, who six years after his son was killed in a brutal crime is still waiting for someone to be charged. “Because that’s what is happening lately. It’s practically perfect. No witnesses – it is being done very accurate, swift.”

At the Philippines Commission on Human Rights, Chito Gascon, its chairman, is asked about the allegations of police acting as judge, jury and executioner. He too is unfazed.

“I am not surprised, I have heard of this. But the problem is we need to prove it.

“And it probably follows a playbook that has been used before, like in Davao.”

Gascon says he is grappling with the new president’s apparent take on human rights: if you’re a good guy, you get them; if you’re a bad guy, you don’t.

It’s a slippery slope but this appears to be the logic at the heart of the surge in killings: the justification necessary to rid the country of the scourge of drugs and crime, the end that justifies the means.

everyone gets what he deserves...,

princeton |  ‘The great tragedy of science,’ the Victorian biologist Thomas Huxley said in 1870, ‘is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.’ At the risk of being unfashionable, we part ways with present-day methodologists and go back to simpler times, in which theory, to be considered valid, had to accord with experienced reality. Confronting theory with evidence is not simple or easy, and we do not mean to dismiss the many writers who point this out. One of us has tried it himself, confronting George Akerlof’s economic theory of ‘the market for lemons’ (recognized by a Nobel Prize in 2001) with the facts of the historical used-car market, the subject of Akerlof’s article. 3 A key premise was found to be wrong, the theory as stated was not genuinely testable, and some of its predictions were not borne out. Our reason for insisting on reality is that theory is not only about how to understand the world (epistemology), or how the world is constituted (ontology)— it is also about how life should be conducted, that is, theory is ‘normative’. So much hangs on the benefits and sufferings that economics has the power to inflict that we have to insist on asking, ‘Is it true and does it work?’ 4 Other sources of authority can do without that kind of justification: commitment and inner belief have no need for external confirmation. Authority is often resistant to argument and evidence. Officials, priests, prophets, and leaders do not always submit to the test of consequences. But the Enlightenment in Europe and America ordained a quest for truth by means of critical argument and evidence. The sciences abide by this method, and economics, when it aspires to the same esteem, is presumed to do so as well.

What are the ‘norms’ that economics lays down? They start from the laudable principle of maximizing well-being, or ‘welfare’. Welfare, however, is defined merely as what individuals want, and only that. That is the principle of ‘methodological individualism’. A social improvement takes place when somebody can get more of what they want, without depriving anybody else. This is a ‘Pareto improvement’ (after Vilfredo Pareto, the Italian economist). When there is no slack, nobody can gain without somebody else losing. We get there by means of exchange: people sell what they want less of (including their labour), and buy what they want more of. Everybody has something to sell. If everyone trades freely, the system achieves a benign equilibrium, which is ‘Pareto efficient’. This was supposedly anticipated in the eighteenth century by Adam Smith as being like the work of an ‘invisible hand’. 5

In such a system, everyone gets the value of what they can sell, and what they get is what they are due. This imaginary marketplace belongs with a larger set of doctrines, ‘Just World Theories’. The concept comes from social psychology, but is used differently here. 6 The idea is simple: a Just World Theory says that everyone gets what he deserves. If the Spanish Inquisition burned heretics, that was only what they deserved. If peasants were starved and exiled in Soviet Russia, they got what they deserved. Likewise the Nazis and the Jews. Just World Theories are ubiquitous; they are political, religious, ethnic, gendered, and cultural. They justify the infliction of pain.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

mass-incarcerating Granny Goodness peddling end-to-end criminal justice reform...,

politico |  In her remarks, Clinton was careful to couch her call for reforms with support for law and order. “We must not forget that violence has touched the lives of police officers,” she said. “From Dallas to Baton Rouge to Philadelphia, the families of fallen officers have been dealt a great blow.”

But the focus of her address was to the hurting black community. “We need to fix a system where too many black parents are taken from their kids and imprisoned for minor offenses,” she said.

On Sunday, Pastor Dwayne Walker underscored the importance of voting, noting that stacks of voter registration cards were available at every church entrance. “Some people are just skeptical — they’ve heard so much, they’ve seen so much, and they have been hurt so many times, because people will say one thing and do another,” he said.
Clinton, sitting in a pew near the front, nodded in agreement.

architects of mass incarceration now pretending at criminal justice reform...,

democracynow |  AMY GOODMAN: Ava DuVernay’s new documentary, called 13th, is being released by Netflix on Friday. It premiered at the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center here in New York. Part of the documentary looks at how ALEC, the America Legislative Exchange Council, has played a central role in the expansion of the U.S. prison system—ALEC’s work with states to write legislation promoting the privatization of prisons, in addition to pushing for harsher, longer sentences.

Joining us now is Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, who is also featured in 13th.

Talk about the thesis of the film 13th. It’s not just about the 13th Amendment, but the clause within the 13th Amendment that goes from slavery in the amendment of 1865 to mass incarceration today, and then how private corporations play a role in this.

LISA GRAVES: Well, this film is a magnificent, incredible meditation about race and crime in America, and it really tells new stories. One of the stories it tells is about how that amendment, where it says that you can’t be enslaved or you can’t be put in involuntary servitude unless you’re convicted of a crime, except as punishment, has really manifested in the 21st century and the 20th century through a lot of criminal justice policies.

And one of the things that Ava DuVernay brilliantly shows is the role of corporations in joining in this effort, this very racialized criminal justice system, how corporations, through ALEC, have helped advance their own bottom line. And one of the things that she helps document is the role of the Corrections Corporation of America within ALEC. It was a member of ALEC for a number of years, as we’ve written about. It was the chair of ALEC’s crime task force for a number of years, and ultimately it left ALEC after it was disclosed that CCA was in the room when corporations were voting on the SB 1070 legislation in Arizona that would have put—that was designed to put more immigrants in detention facilities and jails for immigrants. And CCA is just one of the many corporations that has been part of ALEC as it has pushed forward both for privatization of prisons, as well as measures to make people go to jail for longer—longer sentences.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain how ALEC works. You’ve got the private corporations, like CCA, and then you’ve got the legislators, who introduce the legislation written by the—or co-written by the corporations.

the unsurprising face of american fascism clamping down in a public library...,

kcur |   Kansas City Public Library Executive Director R. Crosby Kemper III said off-duty police officers "over-reacted" when they arrested Steve Woolfolk, the library's director of public programming, along with community member Jeremy Rothe-Kushel during an event at the Plaza branch in May.

The incident took place on May 9, but despite the presence of hundreds of witnesses, it gained no media attention until it was reported last week on the Bill of Rights Defense Committee's website.
The story detailed Woolfolk's arrest during a library event headlined "Truman and Israel," featuring Dennis Ross, a special envoy to the Middle East who who had served in the Obama, Clinton and George H. W. Bush administrations.

As soon as the question-and-answer session started, Jeremy Rothe-Kushel, identified as a local peace activist, asked Ross a question. As Rothe-Kushel tried to reply to Ross, one of the private security guards grabbed him. In an audiotape provided to KCUR by the library, Rothe-Kushel clearly says he will leave voluntarily.

Woolfolk tried to intervene and was charged with interfering with the arrest of Rothe-Kushel, who was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest.

Kemper was not at the event. Afterwards, he said, he got a phone call from Carrie Coogan, the library's deputy director of public affairs, explaining what happened.

"I went to bail Steve out and helped Jeremy Rothe-Kushel get bailed out of jail as well," Kemper told Central Standard host Brian Ellison on Monday.

The event was sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Truman Library. The library was sensitive to security concerns because of shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom a year earlier, Kemper said, and agreed to the hiring of off-duty police.

"They over-reacted. We've had hundreds of events, with much more raucous disputation. Nobody's ever put their hands on a questioner," Kemper said.

"We have tried to resolve it. It happened on May 9, and it's now October 3. We are trying to resolve it with the least amount of damage to everyone," Kemper said, describing the arrest of the questioner at a public event, and the librarian who intervened, as "silliness."

Monday, October 03, 2016

the haunted smile: a brave comedian ridicules the armed faction of american nazism...,

rawstory |  “Snow White wasn’t afraid of apples before she bit into that really bad one. But I’ll tell you, the next time an old lady comes at her with a piece of fruit, Snow is going to get the f*ck out of there.”

That argument, he said, “has some real problems.” Many “good apples,” he said, are forced to enforce bad laws and policies that systematically persecute non-whites. Furthermore, police aren’t being forthcoming with accurate statistics.

“Even some of the most basic questions are hard to answer,” he said, as FBI Director James Comey pointed out when he said before Congress that “We can’t have an open discussion because we don’t have the data.”

Oliver said that some schools are teaching students how to interact with police in order to minimize the chance of being shot, which he called “f*cking depressing,” but noted that this is the only class students take where they don’t wonder when they’ll get to use these lessons in real life.

The “bad apples” argument, he said, does a disservice to the issue and to the people who police are sworn to protect.

Nazi Overseers Grinning and with Hard-Ons About Military Raids on Private Residences...,

WaPo |  There are no children at the residence, the lead officer assures his colleagues. (There were.) There would be a significant quantity of illegal drugs at the house, another says. (There weren’t.) The tactical team then proceeds to raid the home of a black family in Richland County. Most officers storm the front door with their guns while one shatters some side windows as a distraction. Minutes go by. The officers’ body language eventually shows signs of frustration as their search for contraband continues to come up empty. Finally, someone finds a book bag with traces of marijuana at the bottom — not enough to smoke, much less sell. They arrest a young black man with long braids for possession.

“I never one time said you’re a bad person,” the lead officer tells his arrestee, with an odd cordiality. “I just have a job to do, and you happen to be in the middle of it.”

The officer also seems to know that the man is a student at a local technical college. He’s working toward a degree in construction. The man also runs a landscaping company to help pay for his education. The man later tells the officer that he was on his way to pick up some lawnmowers that morning. Knowing that he’s about to be arrested, he asks the officer if he could tell his employee that he was arrested and won’t be able to pick up the lawnmowers. He then gives the officer $876 in cash and asks it to give it to his employee to go pick up the mowers, along with a weed-eater.

Instead, the officer confiscates the money under civil asset forfeiture laws. There is no obvious connection between the money and the pot residue. The man volunteered the cash, mostly because he didn’t want his arrest to hurt his business. In doing so, he provided ample evidence that the cash had nothing to do with illegal activity. Still, if unchallenged, the $876 will go back to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, even if the man is never charged with a crime. The cost of hiring an attorney for such a challenge would likely exceed $876.

Meanwhile, the man’s father asks the officers whether the police would pay for the windows they just shattered. The lead officer tells him that breaking the windows was a tactic, then adds, “The moral of the story is, don’t sell drugs from your residence.” Perhaps realizing that he had no evidence for what he had just accused the man of doing, he tried to correct himself. “I didn’t say you were actually doing it, I just said — said you were associated with … ” and then there’s some mumbling.

The striking thing about the footage is, again, the utter mundanity of the raid. A family was just violently raided over an immeasurable amount of pot. A man was arrested over that pot. The money he needed for his business was taken from him. Yet there’s no shame or embarrassment from the officers. There’s no panic that the whole thing was captured on video. That’s when it hits you.  They don’t think they’ve made a mistake. This is what they do. The lead officers later tells the camera, matter-of-factly, that the raid turned up “a personal use amount of marijuana.” Perhaps realizing that he was also on camera back at the police station promising a much larger stash of drugs, he adds, “It happens. Drug warrants are, you know, 50-50.”

The documentary also eschews voice-overs and talking heads and simply lets law enforcement officers speak for themselves. You don’t need a civil rights activist or ACLU attorney to tell you about the threats posed by militaristic, aggressive policing when law enforcement officers can make the point unintentionally — and thus more powerfully and persuasive — when they’re speaking freely.

For example, the directors attended one of the many SWAT competitions across the country. One SWAT cop officer reflected on his first raid. “I was just trying not to smile. I thought it was so fun. I thought it was so cool,” he says. Since then, he says, he always loves to watch the “SWAT pups” (his term for first-year SWAT officers) on their first raid. “They’re always just smiling from ear to ear. They’re just on top of the world.” At risk of stating the obvious, the officers he’s describing are about to stage an armed, potentially lethal invasion of a private residence.

Notsee's Fix They Mouth to Claim Naked Dutertism Open to Interpretation...,

LATimes |  A graphic police video that appears to show two Sacramento police officers trying to run over a mentally ill homeless man with their cruiser has sparked tough questions from both city leaders and some law enforcement use-of-force experts who say it might be hard to justify the behavior.

Patrol car recordings related to the July 11 fatal shooting of Joseph Mann were released by police Sept. 20. But it wasn’t until last week that enhanced audio from one dash camera inside a police cruiser revealed one officer using an expletive and saying,  “I’m going to hit him.” The other officer can be heard saying, “Go for it" as the patrol car turns sharply toward Mann. 

Mann died less than a minute later after officers chased him a short distance on foot and opened fire, striking him 14 times. Police were pursuing Mann after receiving reports of a man wielding a knife in the neighborhood. 

Two experts in police tactics said the video and audio recording raised several troubling questions about the officers’ actions. They note that for most of the pursuit, officers were safe inside their cars and no members of the public appeared near Mann.

Ed Obayashi, a Plumas County sheriff’s deputy and legal advisor on police use of force, called what he saw on the videos "Lone Ranger-ish." He was most concerned by the officer stating his intention to harm Mann half a block away from the suspect, even before seeing what Mann was doing.

"I have a real issue with officers declaring their intent in the heat of the moment,” he said.

"The issue [is] ... the use of lethal force with the radio car as a weapon. That is tough to defend,” said Charles "Sid" Heal, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff's commander.

“It is impossible to be definitive because the situational awareness is developed beyond what the video depicts, but without substantial provocation and urgency, deciding to employ lethal force before confronting the suspect is going to be difficult to defend,” Heal said.

Former Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Greg Meyer, a prominent use-of-force expert, cautioned that the officers' comments are open to interpretation. The remark "I'm going to hit him" does not necessarily mean "run him over,” Meyer said Sunday.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

The desire to fit in is the root of almost all wrongdoing

aeon |  Imagine that one morning you discover a ring that grants you magic powers. With this ring on your finger, you can seize the presidency, rob Fort Knox and instantly become the most famous person on the planet. So, would you do it?

Readers of Plato’s Republic will find this thought experiment familiar. For Plato, one of the central problems of ethics is explaining why we should prioritise moral virtue over power or money. If the price of exploiting the mythical ‘Ring of Gyges’ – acting wrongly – isn’t worth the material rewards, then morality is vindicated.

Notice that Plato assumes that we stray from the moral path through being tempted by personal gain – that’s why he tries to show that virtue is more valuable than the gold we can get through vice. He isn’t alone in making this assumption. In Leviathan (1651), Thomas Hobbes worries about justifying morality to the ‘fool’ who says that ‘there is no such thing as justice’ and breaks his word when it works to his advantage. And when thinking about our reasons to prefer virtue to vice, in his Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751) David Hume confronts the ‘sensible knave’, a person tempted to do wrong when he imagines ‘that an act of iniquity or infidelity will make a considerable addition to his fortune’.

Some of history’s greatest philosophers, then, agree that wrongdoing tends to be motivated by self-interest. Alas, I’m not one of history’s greatest philosophers. Although most assume that an immoral person is one who’s ready to defy law and convention to get what they want, I think the inverse is often true. Immorality is frequently motivated by a readiness to conform to law and convention in opposition to our own values. In these cases, it’s not that we care too little about others; it’s that we care too much. More specifically, we care too much about how we stack up in the eyes of others.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

We are all in some sense becoming, by necessity, desensitized to Duterte's language

reuters |  Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte appeared to liken himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler on Friday and said he would "be happy" to exterminate 3 million drug users and peddlers in the country.

Although the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama played down the remark, Duterte's comments triggered shock and anger among Jewish groups in the United States, which could create pressure on the U.S. government to take a tougher line with the Philippines leader.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a news conference following a meeting Southeast Asian defense chiefs in Hawaii that he personally found Duterte's comments "deeply troubling", though the matter wasn't discussed at the meeting.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner had earlier described Duterte's remarks, made in a rambling speech in Davao City, as "a significant departure" from America's partnership with the Philippines "and we find them troubling."

Duterte told reporters that he had been "portrayed to be a cousin of Hitler" by critics.
Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Duterte said, "There are 3 million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them.

"If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have ...," he said, pausing and pointing to himself.

On Friday, reacting to critical comments on his war on drugs by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Benjamin Cardin, Duterte said: "Do not pretend to be the moral conscience of the world. Do not be the policeman because you do not have the eligibility to do that in my country."

Jewish groups quickly condemned Duterte's Hitler comments.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Digital Terrorism and Hate project, called them "outrageous".

"Duterte owes the victims (of the Holocaust) an apology for his disgusting rhetoric," Cooper said.
The Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish group based in the United States, said Duterte's comments were "shocking for their tone-deafness".

"The comparison of drug users and dealers to Holocaust victims is inappropriate and deeply offensive," said Todd Gutnick, the group's director of communications. "It is baffling why any leader would want to model himself after such a monster."

Duterte has said there will be no annual war games between the Philippines and the United States until the end of his six-year term, and his hostility may make Washington's strategy of rebalancing its military focus toward Asia in the face of an increasingly assertive China more difficult to achieve.