Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Cymatics - Insights Into the Invisible World of Sound

soundtravels |  We live in a vast ocean of sound, whose infinite waves ripple the shores of our awareness in myriad patterns of intricate design and immeasurably complex vibrations … permeating our bodies, our psyches, to the very core of our being.

So begins the program, Of Sound Mind and Body: Music and Vibrational Healing and so begins this whirlwind account, unveiling the mysteries of sound. Perhaps because it is invisible, less attention has been paid to this sea of sound constantly flowing around and through us than to the denser objects with which we routinely interact. To those of us for whom ‘seeing is believing’, Cymatics, the science of wave phenomena, can be a portal into this invisible world and its myriad effects on matter, mind and emotions.

The long and illustrious lineage of scientific inquiry into the physics of sound can be traced back to Pythagoras, but this article will focus on more recent explorations into the effects that sound has upon matter. However, a brief sum- mary of the last three centuries of acoustic research will help to highlight a few of the pioneers who blazed the trail so that Cymatics could emerge as a distinct discipline in the 1950s.

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE (PDF) - click this link (opens new window)

READ THE WHOLE BOOK - click this link (opens pdf)

Monday, September 03, 2018

Does Music Link Space and Time in Brain Dynamics?

opentheory |  I think all neuroscientists, all philosophers, all psychologists, and all psychiatrists should basically drop whatever they’re doing and learn Selen Atasoy’s “connectome-specific harmonic wave” (CSHW) framework. It’s going to be the backbone of how we understand the brain and mind in the future, and it’s basically where predictive coding was in 2011, or where blockchain was in 2009. Which is to say, it’s destined for great things and this is a really good time to get into it.
I described CSHW in my last post as:
Selen Atasoy’s Connectome-Specific Harmonic Waves (CSHW) is a new method for interpreting neuroimaging which (unlike conventional approaches) may plausibly measure things directly relevant to phenomenology. Essentially, it’s a method for combining fMRI/DTI/MRI to calculate a brain’s intrinsic ‘eigenvalues’, or the neural frequencies which naturally resonate in a given brain, as well as the way the brain is currently distributing energy (periodic neural activity) between these eigenvalues.
This post is going to talk a little more about how CSHW works, why it’s so powerful, and what sorts of things we could use it for.

CSHW: the basics
All periodic systems have natural modes— frequencies they ‘like’ to resonate at. A tuning fork is a very simple example of this: regardless of how it’s hit, most of the vibration energy quickly collapses to one frequency- the natural resonant frequency of the fork.

All musical instruments work on this principle; when you change the fingering on a trumpet or flute, you’re changing the natural resonances of the instrument. 

CSHW’s big insight is that brains have these natural resonances too, although they differ slightly from brain to brain. And instead of some external musician choosing which notes (natural resonances) to play, the brain sort of ‘tunes itself,’ based on internal dynamics, external stimuli, and context.

The beauty of CSHW is that it’s a quantitative model, not just loose metaphor: neural activation and inhibition travel as an oscillating wave with a characteristic wave propagation pattern, which we can reasonably estimate, and the substrate in which they propagate is the the brain’s connectome (map of neural connections), which we can also reasonably estimate.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

You Don't Have To Go Home, But You Gotta Get The Hell Up Out Of Here!!!

scmp |  Having obtained a dual bachelor’s degree from a US university and climbed to a senior software engineer’s position within two and a half years of working for an American company, Owen Wang was forced to dramatically scale back his salary expectations when he decided to come home to China.

Currently working in Kansas City – where the average annual senior software engineer’s salary is US$100,000, according to glassdoor.com – the best offer from a Chinese firm he has received so far is a package from a Shenzhen-based start-up worth around 240,000 yuan (US$35,250).

But while he had expected salaries in the southern Chinese city to be lower than those on offer in the US – the per capita income in Kansas City is over four times more than the average in Shenzhen – he had been hoping someone would offer him a pay packet worth around 500,000 yuan a year.

“We’re still negotiating. I guess I will finally accept a compromise if there’s no better choice, but the quality of my life will drop significantly,” said the 27-year-old.

Wang’s plan to return home is not motivated purely by financial considerations – he worries that tighter US immigration policies will make it harder for him to stay and his parents have been hoping that he will be able to come home and visit them more often – but his disappointment is mirrored by many of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese who return home from studying and working overseas every year.

A recent survey by a Beijing-based think tank of more than 2,000 Chinese returnees found that about 80 per cent said their salaries were lower than expected, with around 70 per cent saying what they were doing did not match their experience and skills.

China's Exploitation of Africa

caseyresearch |  Justin: Is China exploiting Africa?  

Doug: Of course “exploit” is a loaded word; it implies one-sided, unbalanced dealings, and unfair business—although the word “fair” also has lots of baggage, and politically charged meanings.

But, yes, they’re definitely exploiting Africa. We’re seeing a veritable re-colonization of Africa. Every time I visit Africa I see more and more Chinese. It doesn’t matter which country; they’re everywhere.

It’s important to remember that Africa doesn’t produce anything besides raw materials. There’s close to zero manufacturing, like 1% of the world’s total, in sub-Saharan Africa. And almost all of that is in South Africa. The little there is, is only produced with the help foreigners—Europeans, but increasingly the Chinese.

The Chinese basically see Africans as no more than a cheap labor source. That’s at best. Other than that, they’re viewed as a complete nuisance. Basically an obstacle, a cost, standing in the way of efficient use of the continent itself.

What do the Chinese people think of Africans? They don’t hold them in high regard. Of course, you’ve got to remember that China has viewed itself as the center of the world since Day One. They see all non-Han peoples as barbarians, as inferiors. That was absolutely true when the British sent an ambassador, Macartney, to open relations at the very end of the 18th C. He was treated with borderline contempt—pretty much the way Europeans and Americans have treated primitive peoples since the days of Columbus. It’s actually the normal human attitude, when an advanced culture encounters a backward culture. The Chinese see their culture as superior to even that of the West, and believe—probably correctly—that they’ll soon be economically and technologically superior as well.

Africa doesn’t even enter the equation. The continent has no civilization, no economy, no technology, no military power. The famed Zimbabwe ruins are just some semi-finished rocks piled on one another—and they’re considered iconic. The Chinese see the place the way the Spanish saw Mexico and Peru in the 16th C. Of course they won’t say that in public. In fact it’s very non-PC for anyone to make that observation…

Nonetheless, Africa is going to be the epicenter of what’s happening in the world for years to come. It’s gone from being just an empty space on the map in the 19th C, to a bunch of backwater colonies in the 20th C, to a bunch of failed states that people are only vaguely aware of today. Soon, however, it will be frontpage news. And this is both because Chinese are moving to Africa in record numbers and Africans are leaving as fast as they can.

Many Africans are now trying to make their way to Europe. Every year scores of thousands of them—all young men by the way—cross the Mediterranean on rafts. When they arrive in Europe, they somehow survive by selling bobbles on the street, dealing dope, or stealing. And figuring out how to game the welfare system. Now, I realize this doesn’t sound very promising. But that’s the way things are headed. It’s a growing trend.

Mama Said Knock You Out....,

Guardian |  Historians have emphasised how male workers, humiliated by such repressive industrial practices as automation and time management, also began to assert their manhood by swearing, drinking and sexually harassing the few women in the workforce – the beginning of an aggressive hardhat culture that has reached deep into blue-collar workplaces during the decades-long reign of neoliberalism. Towards the end of the 19th century large numbers of men embraced sports and physical fitness, and launched fan clubs of pugnacious footballers and boxers.

It wasn’t just working men. Upper-class parents in America and Britain had begun to send their sons to boarding schools in the hope that their bodies and moral characters would be suitably toughened up in the absence of corrupting feminine influences. Competitive sports, which were first organised in the second half of the 19th century, became a much-favoured means of pre-empting sissiness – and of mass-producing virile imperialists. It was widely believed that putative empire-builders would be too exhausted by their exertions on the playing fields of Eton and Harrow to masturbate.'

But masculinity, a dream of power, tends to get more elusive the more intensely it is pursued; and the dread of emasculation by opaque economic, political and social forces continued to deepen. It drove many fin de siècle writers as well as politicians in Europe and the US into hyper-masculine trances of racial nationalism – and, eventually, the calamity of the first world war. Nations and races as well as individuals were conceptualised as biological entities, which could be honed into unassailable organisms. Fear of “race suicide”, cults of physical education and daydreams of a “New Man” went global, along with strictures against masturbation, as the inflexible modern ideology of gender difference reached non-western societies.

European colonialists went on to impose laws that enshrined their virulent homophobia and promoted heterosexual conjugality and patrilineal orders. Their prejudices were also entrenched outside the west by the victims of what the Indian critic Ashis Nandy calls “internal colonialism”: those subjects of European empires who pleaded guilty to the accusation that they were effeminate, and who decided to man up in order to catch up with their white overlords.

This accounts for a startling and still little explored phenomenon: how men within all major religious communities – Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish as well as Christian and Islamic – started in the late 19th century to simultaneously bemoan their lost virility and urge the creation of hard, inviolable bodies, whether of individual men, the nation or the umma. These included early Zionists (Max Nordau, who dreamed of Muskeljudentum, “Jewry of Muscle”), Asian anti-imperialists (Swami Vivekananda, Modi’s hero, who exhorted Hindus to build “biceps”, and Anagarika Dharmapala, who helped develop the muscular Buddhism being horribly flexed by Myanmar’s ethnic-cleansers these days) as well as fanatical imperialists such as Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement.

The most lethal consequences of this mimic machismo unfolded in the first decades of the 20th century. “Never before and never afterwards”, as historian George Mosse, the pioneering historian of masculinity, wrote, “has masculinity been elevated to such heights as during fascism”. Mussolini, like Roosevelt, transformed himself from a sissy into a fire-breathing imperialist. “The weak must be hammered away,” declared Hitler, another physically ill-favoured fascist. Such wannabe members of the Aryan master race accordingly defined themselves against the cowardly Jew and discovered themselves as men of steel in acts of mass murder.

This hunt for manliness continues to contaminate politics and culture across the world in the 21st century. Rapid economic, social and technological change in our own time has plunged an exponentially larger number of uprooted and bewildered men into a doomed quest for masculine certainties. The scope for old-style imperialist aggrandisement and forging a master race may have diminished. But there are, in the age of neoliberal individualism, infinitely more unrealised claims to masculine identity in grotesquely unequal societies around the world. Myths of the self-made man have forced men everywhere into a relentless and often futile hunt for individual power and wealth, in which they imagine women and members of minorities as competitors. Many more men try to degrade and exclude women in their attempt to show some mastery that is supposed to inhere in their biological nature.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

The Sick Men of Asia

theatlantic |  This alignment of certain Asians with whites evokes historical instances of ethnic groups migrating from minority status to becoming part of the majority racial group. Sociologists have a name for this phenomenon: “whitening.” It refers to the way the white race has expanded over time to swallow up those previously considered non-whites, such as people of Irish, Italian, and Jewish heritage. In the next wave of whitening, some sociologists have theorized, Asians and Latinos could begin to vanish into whiteness, as some assimilate culturally into white norms and culture, and become treated and seen by whites as fellow whites. “The idea of who is white and which groups belong and don’t belong to it has been malleable and has changed. It is different across place and time,” Jonathan Warren, a University of Washington sociology professor who has written about whitening, told me.

The recent lawsuits echo the process by which whitening previously took place—in part, with the political and legal alignment of non-white groups with pro-white interests. While some Irish Americans once socialized and lived among black Americans and held anti-slavery views, they were courted by and ultimately joined the pro-slavery Democratic party, and came to pride themselves on their newfound whiteness and embrace anti-black stances. Centuries later, they are considered white people in the United States. Class, too, has influenced how minority groups have been viewed over time. According to Matthew Jacobson, a history professor at Yale, the idea of whitening stems in part from Brazil, where there’s a Portuguese phrase that translates to “money whitens.” The idea is that “if you move up the economic ladder you get magically whitened,” Jacobson says. “Some idea like that has been transposed into the U.S.”

Asians as a whole are not, of course, considered white people: The 2018 census form allows respondents to select from a number of Asian ethnicities. And not all academics agree that whitening will take place for Asian and Latino communities—Warren and Jacobson both say it isn’t happening, at least not to the degree it did previously. That’s partly because, as Jacobson notes, Asians and Latinos suffer from racial stereotypes such as the “model math student,” and the “immigration menace,” as he called it, that mark them as foreigners and non-whites.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Pankaj Mishra Channels Sarah Jeong On BeeDeeism In The NYTimes...,

NYTimes |  A broad range of figures in the Anglosphere’s establishment, including some of Mr. Trump’s most ostentatious critics today, contributed manure to the soil in which Trumpism flourishes. Cheered on by the Murdoch press, Tony Blair tried to deepen Britain and America’s “special relationship” in Iraq. Leaders of Australia and Canada also eagerly helped with the torture, rendition and extermination of black and brown brutes. 

Not surprisingly, these chieftains of white settler colonies are fierce cultural warriors; they are all affiliated with private donors who build platforms where political correctness, Islam and feminism are excoriated, the facts of injustice and inequality denied, chests thumped about a superior but sadly imperiled Western civilization, and fraternal sympathy extended to Israel, the world’s last active settler-colonialist project.

Emotional incontinence rather than style or wit marks such gilded networks of white power. For the Anglosphere originally forged and united by the slave trade and colonialism is in terminal crisis today. Whiteness denoted, as Du Bois wrote, “the ownership of the earth forever and ever.” But many descendants of the landlords of the earth find themselves besieged both at home and abroad, their authority as overlords, policemen and interpreters of the globe increasingly challenged.

Mr. Trump appears to some of these powerful but insecure men as an able-bodied defender of the “higher races.” The Muslim-baiting British Conservative politician Boris Johnson says that he is “increasingly admiring of Donald Trump.” Mr. Murray, the British journalist, thinks Mr. Trump is “reminding the West of what is great about ourselves.” The Canadian YouTube personality Jordan Peterson claims that his loathing of “identity politics” would have driven him to vote for Mr. Trump. 

Other panicky white bros not only virulently denounce identity politics and political correctness — code for historically scorned peoples’ daring to propose norms about how they are treated; they also proclaim ever more rowdily that the (white) West was, and is, best. “It is time to make the case for colonialism again,” Bruce Gilley, a Canadian academic, recently asserted and promptly shot to martyrdom in the far-right constellation as a victim of politically correct criticism. Such busy recyclers of Western supremacism, many of whom uphold a disgraced racial pseudoscience, remind us that history often repeats itself as intellectual farce. 

The low comedy of charlatanry, however, should not distract us from the lethal dangers of a wounded and swaggering identity geopolitics. The war on terror reactivated the 19th century’s imperial archive of racial knowledge, according to which the swarthy enemy was subhuman, inviting extreme and lawless violence. The rapid contraction of suffrage rights witnessed in early-20th-century America is now mimicked by Republican attempts to disenfranchise nonwhite voters. The Australian lawmaker who recently urged a “final solution” for Muslim immigrants was only slightly out of tune with public debate about immigration in Australia. Hate crimes continue to rise across the United States, Britain and Canada. More ominously, demographic, economic and political decline, and the loss of intellectual hegemony, have plunged many long-term winners of history into a vengeful despair.

Black Political Agenda: Defund Israel/Deport All Replacement Negroes

Affirmative action is based on a view of equal protection that compensates for historical and present prejudice and lack of opportunity. It is premised on the notion that some of us start behind the eight ball and need an extra boost to achieve basic access. Favorable treatment for blacks is controversial because it appears to be applied in zero sum contexts. If you favor a black person, you have to disfavor a white one and that's the seasoning upon which Mr. Blum's cases are all based. It is not the definition of equal that causes the controversy. it is the adverse effect on whites, or in this case, proxy white replacement negroes. 

In the case of Harvard University, it would be trivial to favor blacks while protecting replacement negroes serving as proxies for poor whites. You see, kibutzim Blum pretends to be unaware of the historic legacy of Blacks in America - thus his elite racist bootlicking antics. Blum could of course trivially solve the zero sum angle he seeks to exploit by going after the 30% + alumni legacy admissions. Blum lacks the historical perspective, ethical fiber, and testicular fortitude to go after any elite affirmative action, well, because, these selfsame racist elites are the folks who pay his bills.

Ivy League "affirmative action" began shortly after World War II. It was stimulated by the GI Bill, which made college possible for veterans who never would have dreamed of going to college, let alone to an Ivy League university. The GI Bill demonstrated there was untapped national talent out in flyover. They found public high school students in the South, Midwest, and Far West with school records rivaling the best of the prep schools. Even when some public high school scores were slightly lower than preppy competitors, admissions committees sometimes chose the provincial public high school student over the privileged alumni legacy. They recognized high achievement in the face of educational and cultural disadvantage.

As a consequence, Harvard and its Ivy sisters began recruiting a few good men out beyond the inbred Lovecraftian prep schools and elite academies of New England and the Atlantic Coast. The Ivies understood that there was more promise in the lesser academic record than in the marginally better academic record. Moreover, they wanted a more diverse student body. 

This was the original affirmative action”. It transformed the Ivies into truly national and meritocratic institutions instead of elite regional colleges for those with wealth, privilege, and pedigree. Only when the same principles of national diversity and meritocratic selection—based on recognition of high achievement and the overcoming of disadvantages—came to include black student admissions,  did we experience white backlash and resentment.

NYTimes |  At the heart of the case is whether Harvard’s admissions staff hold Asian-Americans to higher standards than applicants of other racial or ethnic groups, and whether they use subjective measures, like personal scores, to cap the number of Asian students accepted to the school.

“Harvard today engages in the same kind of discrimination and stereotyping that it used to justify quotas on Jewish applicants in the 1920s and 1930s,” Students for Fair Admissions said in a court filing.

Harvard, which admitted less than 5 percent of its applicants this year, said that its own analysis did not find discrimination.

A trial in the case has been scheduled for October.

WaPo Making Up New Concepts of Tribalism to Claim "Trump Voters Are Wayciss"

WaPo |  You remember the photo, taken in early August, of two men at an Ohio Trump rally whose matching T-shirts read, “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.” (Now you can buy them online for $14.) It was a gibe that spoke to our moment. The Republican brand — as with presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney — used to be pointedly anti-Russian; Romney called Moscow our chief global enemy. In the Trump era, though, you can be a Republican Russophile for whom Vladi­mir Putin is a defender of conservative values. American politics, it has become plain, is driven less by ideological commitments than by partisan identities — less by what we think than by what we are. Identity precedes ideology.

“The Democratic Party today is divided over whether it wants to focus on the economy or identity,” the veteran strategist and pollster Stanley B. Greenberg, a man of the economy-first school, has said. But once you come to grips with the potency of partisan-identity politics, the binary falls away. So does the assumption that the great majority of Republicans who support Trump are drawn to his noxious views. (That’s the good news in the bad news.) Among candidates who led in the Republican primaries, after all, his percentage of the vote was the lowest in nearly half a century. Identity groups come to rally behind their leaders, and partisan identification wouldn’t be so stable if it didn’t allow for a great deal of ideological flexibility. That’s why rank-and-file Republicans could go from “We need to stand up to Putin!” to “Why wouldn’t we want to get along with Putin?” in the time it takes to say: Rubio’s out, Trump’s in.

What’s true of partisan allegiance is true of ideological allegiance. In research published earlier this year, political scientist Lilliana Mason conducted a national survey that determined where people stood on various hot-button issues: same-sex marriage, abortion, gun control, immigration, the Affordable Care Act, the deficit. Then they were asked how they felt about spending time with liberals or conservatives. About becoming friends with one. About marrying one.

WaPo All-In On "Trump is Wayciss"Theme

WaPo |  Republicans are in a pickle. The midterms are just two months away, Democrats seem more excited than ever, and the president’s approval ratings are anemic. Faced with the possibility of disaster, what message will they focus on for November? It sure is a mystery. I’ll let the New York Times reveal the answer:
Democratic nominees for governor include three African-Americans, two of them in the old Confederacy, a prospect that not long ago would have been unthinkable. Record numbers of women are competing in congressional races. Elsewhere, Muslims, gays, lesbians and transgender people will be on the ballot for high-profile offices.
That diverse cast is teeing up a striking contrast for voters in November at a time when some in the Republican Party, taking their cues from President Trump, are embracing messages with explicit appeals to racial anxieties and resentment. The result is making racial and ethnic issues and conflicts central in the November elections in a way that’s far more explicit than the recent past.
Who could have imagined that the GOP would choose to campaign on racial resentment? Only anyone who has paid attention to Republican politics in the Trump era.

What’s more, this is the only kind of campaign it can run as long as Trump is president and dominates the party. Republicans may take a different path once he’s gone, or they may not. But any campaign that involves Trump will always be about race.

The primary reason, of course, is that Trump makes every campaign about race because that’s just who he is. There are some positions he adopts insincerely — I doubt he cares one way or another what his administration’s policies on health care or education are — but when it comes to getting rid of immigrants or his belief in the intellectual inferiority of African Americans, he speaks from the heart.

But it’s also because Trumpism as a political strategy rests on stirring up racial resentment among white voters. He turned himself from a reality TV star into a political figure by becoming America’s most prominent proponent of the racist theory that Barack Obama was not born in America; he also insisted that Obama could only have gotten into college and law school because he was an affirmative-action admission who pushed aside worthier white applicants.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Why Does the NFL Mandingo Rebellion Protest Avoid Calling Out the Military?

citizensmedia |  Regardless of the situation, “the petrodollar” has no direct bearing on the ability of the United States, or any other country, to provide for its people. The only thing that affects this is a country’s supply of real resources, and the fact that the country’s currency is the only one accepted for extinguishing tax obligations.

The United States is the “reserve currency” (meaning its currency is required to purchase oil) and has more resources than most (raw materials, labor, technology, and time). But neither of these things have any bearing on how well – as opposed to how “much” – it can provide for its citizens. All sovereign fiat economies (the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and England, among others) can fully employ all their citizens with the resources at its disposal as best they can.

If a conflict were to arise because of oil or resources, or “the petrodollar,” that conflict would of course have significant consequences. Ultimately, however, none of these things have any direct impact on any country’s supply of real resources, and therefore, no direct effect on any country’s domestic economy.

As far as what specifically would happen if the world stopped using the United States dollar for oil? The answer is, “Very little.”

The United States spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined. The U.S. military is one of the largest users of fossil fuels in the world and by far the biggest consumer of energy in the United States. The real problem is that the fossil fuel industry has too much influence on the United States government. Instead of fulfilling its original and only purpose – to protect the American People – the United States Military has now been hijacked to further enrich the very few, and to impose their power and reach across the globe.

Pursuit of Justice Through the Courts

BuzzFeed |  In response to a multiyear BuzzFeed News investigation, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said Monday that he would support the efforts of victims who suffered abuse as children at a Catholic orphanage in the state to pursue justice through the courts. 

“The allegations against St. Joseph’s Orphanage are as extremely disturbing, horrific and deeply troubling today, as they were decades ago,” Scott said in an emailed statement to BuzzFeed News. 

The allegations include once-parentless children in the care of the Catholic orphanage being beaten, sexually abused, mutilated, and observing the deaths of other children at the hands of their protectors. 

The former residents of St. Joseph’s told of being subjected to tortures — from the straightforwardly awful to the downright bizarre — that were occasionally administered as a special punishment but were often just a matter of course. Their tales were strikingly similar, each adding weight and credibility to the others.

“My heart goes out to the many who were harmed, and I support their continued pursuit of justice in the courts,” Scott said in his statement to BuzzFeed News. “As a society, the safety and well-being of our children is one of our most critical responsibilities and abuse against children cannot be tolerated under any circumstance. While we’ve made significant gains in the many years since these incidents occurred, I know that is of little solace to those who suffered, and I know too many still suffer abuse. We must continue to shine a light on instances of abuse and advocate for justice and a system that puts protecting our children above all else.”

Vermont commissioner for the Department for Children and Families, Ken Schatz, told BuzzFeed News that he shared the sentiment expressed by the governor.

Black "Descendants of Slaves" a Specific Claim of Legal Standing NOT Identity Politics

wikipedia |  In law, standing or locus standi is the term for the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party's participation in the case. Standing exists from one of three causes:
  1. The party is directly subject to an adverse effect by the statute or action in question, and the harm suffered will continue unless the court grants relief in the form of damages or a finding that the law either does not apply to the party or that the law is void or can be nullified. This is called the "something to lose" doctrine, in which the party has standing because they will be directly harmed by the conditions for which they are asking the court for relief.
  2. The party is not directly harmed by the conditions by which they are petitioning the court for relief but asks for it because the harm involved has some reasonable relation to their situation, and the continued existence of the harm may affect others who might not be able to ask a court for relief. In the United States, this is the grounds for asking for a law to be struck down as violating the First Amendment, because while the plaintiff might not be directly affected, the law might so adversely affect others that one might never know what was not done or created by those who fear they would become subject to the law – the so-called "chilling effects" doctrine.
  3. The party is granted automatic standing by act of law.[1] Under some environmental laws in the United States, a party may sue someone causing pollution to certain waterways without a federal permit, even if the party suing is not harmed by the pollution being generated. The law allows them to receive attorney's fees if they substantially prevail in the action. In some U.S. states, a person who believes a book, film or other work of art is obscene may sue in their own name to have the work banned directly without having to ask a District Attorney to do so.
In the United States, the current doctrine is that a person cannot bring a suit challenging the constitutionality of a law unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that he/she/it is or will "imminently" be harmed by the law. Otherwise, the court will rule that the plaintiff "lacks standing" to bring the suit, and will dismiss the case without considering the merits of the claim of unconstitutionality. To have a court declare a law unconstitutional, there must be a valid reason for the lawsuit. The party suing must have something to lose in order to sue unless it has automatic standing by action of law.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Unparalleled Examples of Human Decency

theautomaticearth |  Let’s try a different angle. How about the world through the eyes of children’s? I don’t want to dwell on John McCain, too many people already do today, but I would suggest that your thoughts and prayers are with the souls of the hundreds of thousands of children that died because McCain advocated bombing them. Or, indeed, 50-odd years ago, were bombed by him personally. I wanted to leave him be altogether, don’t kick a man when he’s down, but I can’t get the image out of my head of him singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”.

To remember that, perhaps the most vile and infamous thing he’s ever done (it’s in the top ten), and then see someone like Ocasio-Cortez say he was an “unparalleled example of human decency”, it’s almost comedy. But not as funny as when in the 2008 campaign the woman in the red dress asked him if Obama was an Arab, and he responded: “No, ma’am. No, ma’am. He’s a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign is all about”. 

That is full-blown hilarious. And hardly a soul caught it, which makes it many times worse. It made him a decent man in the eyes of Americans to defend Obama by declaring that Arabs are per definition neither decent nor family men. Yeah, well, you might as well bomb them all then. But enough about McCain: it’s about the children, and their souls, not his.

The Pope is visiting Ireland this weekend. There is really just one subject on people’s minds, even though the ‘leaders’ say this is one of Ireland’s biggest events in 40 years. What’s on their minds is -child- sex abuse by Catholic clergy. And it’s been -and probably still is- rampant in the country. Like it’s been everywhere the Catholic church is an important force. Which is in many countries, there are 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. The man claimed he was begging for God’s forgiveness. Not sure that will do it, there, Francis.

The Roman Catholic religion, and the Church, are fronts for the world’s biggest business empire, a multinational at least 1500 years older than the next one, Holland’s VOC -which existed maybe 100 years-. It has played power politics for longer than anyone else, all over the world. Its real estate portfolio alone is worth more than many a country. For that matter, it effectively owns many a country. 

There would have to be a huge outcry over the child abuse before there could ever be an investigation. Multiple popes have promised exactly such investigations, and nothing has happened. It would upset the business model too much. And most faithful still believe their priests are decent men, anyway. Yes, there’s that word again, ‘decent’.

If a priest can no longer be maintained in a specific church because he’s been too obvious, too perverted and too greedy, he simply gets transferred to another parish. They’ve been doing this for 1,500 years, they got it down. And when things heat up, they beg god for forgiveness. While the Church gets ever richer. 

At a 2% annual growth rate, wealth doubles every 34-35 years. The Catholic Church has been at it for 1,500. Do your math. Or look at it this way: real estate prices have been surging over the past few decades. And that’s the Vatican’s main industry. Anyone want to venture a guess at how much money they have made?

The Vatican is a facade hiding behind a facade hiding behind… Francis Ford Coppola tried tackling the topic in The Godfather III, but he was only mildly successful and not many people believed his portrayal. But, again, this is not about the Pope playing Kabuki theater like all his predecessors, it’s about the children.

The Desire of Identity Groups for Recognition a Key Threat to Liberalism?

newyorker |  It turns out that liberal democracy and free trade may actually be rather fragile achievements. (Consumerism appears safe for now.) There is something out there that doesn’t like liberalism, and is making trouble for the survival of its institutions.

Fukuyama thinks he knows what that something is, and his answer is summed up in the title of his new book, “Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The demand for recognition, Fukuyama says, is the “master concept” that explains all the contemporary dissatisfactions with the global liberal order: Vladimir Putin, Osama bin Laden, Xi Jinping, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, gay marriage, ISIS, Brexit, resurgent European nationalisms, anti-immigration political movements, campus identity politics, and the election of Donald Trump. It also explains the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, Chinese Communism, the civil-rights movement, the women’s movement, multiculturalism, and the thought of Luther, Rousseau, Kant, Nietzsche, Freud, and Simone de Beauvoir. Oh, and the whole business begins with Plato’s Republic. Fukuyama covers all of this in less than two hundred pages. How does he do it?

Why is the desire for recognition—or identity politics, as Fukuyama also calls it—a threat to liberalism? Because it cannot be satisfied by economic or procedural reforms. Having the same amount of wealth as everyone else or the same opportunity to acquire it is not a substitute for respect. Fukuyama thinks that political movements that appear to be about legal and economic equality—gay marriage, for example, or #MeToo—are really about recognition and respect. Women who are sexually harassed in the workplace feel that their dignity has been violated, that they are being treated as less than fully human.

Fukuyama gives this desire for recognition a Greek name, taken from Plato’s Republic: thymos. He says that thymos is “a universal aspect of human nature that has always existed.” In the Republic, thymos is distinct from the two other parts of the soul that Socrates names: reason and appetite. Appetites we share with animals; reason is what makes us human. Thymos is in between.

The term has been defined in various ways. “Passion” is one translation; “spirit,” as in “spiritedness,” is another. Fukuyama defines thymos as “the seat of judgments of worth.” This seems a semantic overreach. In the Republic, Socrates associates thymos with children and dogs, beings whose reactions need to be controlled by reason. The term is generally taken to refer to our instinctive response when we feel we’re being disrespected. We bristle. We swell with amour propre. We honk the horn. We overreact.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Not Long-Legged Passah Mack Ruckus Lord Jeebus!!!!

Doesn't Pastor Manning Realize That He's A Huge Target?

With all of the enemies that he has created with his fiery rhetoric spoken from the pulpit and from his former YouTube platform, one would think that Pastor Manning would have better sense than to leave himself as vulnerable as he has by speaking to this young girl when it is so easy to be recorded with the gadgetry and technology that is available today for everyone if they so choose. It will very interesting to see how this plays out even though his vaudeville act of a pastor is truly no threat to the powers that be, it's just that his words most likely reached the "high places" that felt it was time to shut down such an annoying voice that simply just wouldn't shut up!

Useless Elderly Ass-Whooping Victim Confused About John Mccain

twitchy  |  Seems Democrats are coming out of the woodwork to say and write positive things about the late Senator John McCain, which would be so nice if they didn’t contradict the way most of them spoke about the good senator while he was still alive.

Take for example Rep. John Lewis:

Warrior for peace.


So wait, does this mean Lewis has stopped comparing John McCain to George Wallace? Because that’s what John said a decade ago … 

Asking for a friend.
Pretty much.
It’s almost as though Democrats call anyone and everyone they see as a threat a racist and then when they become a convenient ally in any way they’re magically not racist anymore.

Pope - All Hat No Cattle - When It Comes To Degenerate Ecclesiastical Slugs

rte  |  Pope Francis has said he will not respond to accusations by a former top Vatican official that the Pontiff had covered up sexual abuse, saying that the document containing the allegations "speaks for itself".

He dismissed the 11-page statement, or testimony, from his former Papal Nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, which accused the Pope of being aware of serious abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, five years before the cardinal resigned in June.

The Pope told reporters he had read the document but that he "will not say a single word on this".
He said: "I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested, read the statement carefully and make your own judgement."

He added: "I believe the statement speaks for itself. And you have the journalistic capacity to draw your conclusions. It's an act of faith. When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak."

Without going into specifics, the Pope also said: "I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you."

In a wide-ranging news conference on board the Aer Lingus flight, Pope Francis addressed issues ranging from clerical abuse to homosexuality and migration.

The Pope also said he would study a memorandum provided by the Minister for Children on the issue of mother and baby homes, telling reporters on his flight from Ireland back to Rome that Katherine Zappone had informed him that the Catholic Church "had something to do" with the issue.

Clerical Slug Trails DEMAND Cleansing Blue Fire...,

WaPo  |  In the wake of a summer of sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, topped this weekend with an explosive letter alleging that Pope Francis himself covered for an abusive cardinal, American Catholics are agitating for major changes in their church.

Perhaps for the first time, Catholics of all political stripes who protected their hierarchy through what had once seemed the worst of the sexual abuse crisis are training their ire on it. They are calling publicly for bishop resignations, Robert S. Mueller-like investigations, and boycotts of Mass and donations. Even the biggest fans of Francis and his reformist agenda are now questioning whether he is actually part of the problem.

“This is a different reaction from the laity than I’ve ever seen before,” said Adrienne Alexander, the founder of a nascent national movement called Catholics for Action that has staged protests in seven cities in the past two weeks, with more planned in the coming days. “Regular old church folks in the pews are saying: This bishop has to go. Or: All bishops have to go. That’s just something I’ve never seen from the laity.”

And with the biting 11-page letter by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò on Saturday, in which the former Vatican diplomat to Washington called for Francis’s resignation, some Catholics are voicing despair about the path forward.

“The hope of reform on this issue: If it can’t be achieved under Pope Francis, who can it be achieved under?” asked Christopher Jolly Hale, who helped lead Catholic outreach for President Obama and has until recently been a prominent supporter of Francis. He added: “No one with good conscience can really defend him with his record on sexual abuse. It’s been an absolute disappointment.”

Viganò’s inflammatory yet unverified letter alleges that Francis’s predecessor Pope Benedict XVI secretly sanctioned former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick for sexually harassing young priests and seminarians, but Francis let the sanctions slide. He also obliquely implicated D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl in covering up the behavior of McCarrick, who last month became the first cardinal in history to resign as a result of sexual abuse allegations.

The letter “shoots the lack of trust right up the ladder,” said Joseph Capizzi, a professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of America. “As a lay person, and I think I speak for a lot of people, we no longer trust these men anymore.”

Monday, August 27, 2018

Black American Political Strategy MUST Focus On Black DOS Interests, PERIOD

theintercept |  Dr. Touré Reed, professor of 20th Century U.S. and African American History at Illinois State University, observed that the presumption that black Americans aren’t equally or more invested in economic interventions as white Americans is “pregnant, of course, with class presumptions” which work well for the black and Latinx professional middle class — many of whom play a significant role in defining public narratives via their work in politics or media. Since “the principal beneficiaries of universal policies would be poor and working class people who would disproportionately be black and brown,” he told me, “dismissing such policies on the grounds that they aren’t addressing systemic racism is a sleight of hand of sorts.”

Intersectionality, the “buzzword” taken up so faithfully by mainstream Democrats in 2016, requires an acknowledgment that like race and sexual identity, class is a dimension that mediates one’s perspective. That means the hashtag #trustblackwomen shouldn’t collapse the interests of Oprah, a billionaire, with, well, anyone else’s. Similarly, not all blacks or latinos should be presumed to speak equally to the interests of poor and working class people of color. This is a truth easily internalized when Democrats consider figures like Ben Carson or Ted Cruz. It’s a more difficult reality to swallow when considering one of our own.

None of this is to say that in every scenario, race, gender, sexuality, and class are equal inputs. Affluent black athletes are still tackled by cops despite their wealth, and black Harvard professors are arrested trying to unlock their own front doors. But the fact that racism hurts even those with economic privilege is not “proof” that class doesn’t matter, as some race reductionists have claimed. It’s simply affirmation that racism matters too. 

Consider, for instance, my colleague Zaid Jilani’s review of comprehensive police shooting data in 2015, in which he found that 95 percent of police shootings had occurred in neighborhoods where the household income averaged below $100,000 a year. Remember that Philando Castile was pulled over, in part, because he was flagged for dozens of driving offenses described as “crimes of poverty” by local public defender Erik Sandvick. Failure to show proof of insurance, driving with a broken taillight — these are hardly patrician slip ups. If anything is privileged, it’s the fiction that there’s no difference between the abuses suffered by wealthy black athletes and working class blacks like Philando Castile. Race can increase your odds of being targeted and abused. Money can help you survive abuse and secure justice — something which sadly eluded Castile.

“There is a tendency to reduce issues that have quite a bit to do with the economic opportunities available to all Americans, African Americans among them, and in some instances overrepresented among them, to matters of race,” explained Dr. Reed, who is currently writing a book on the conservative implications of race reductionism. He pointed to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as well as the mass incarceration crisis, as examples. “In both those instances, Flint and the criminal justice system, whites are 40 percent, or near 40 percent, of the victims,” he said. And that’s an awfully high number for collateral damage.” He went on: “There’s something systemic at play. But it can’t be reduced, be reducible, to race.”