Archive for category Authoritarianism

“Justified True Belief”

Knowledge is sometimes defined in philosophy circles as “justified true belief.” Sometimes philosophers can drain the passion out of any phrase.

Still, the idea counts for something. Can you really say you “know” something if you are wrong? Being raised Mormon I was always bothered when people gave their testimony with the phrase “I know this is true” because it was clear to me that they did not “know” anything of the sort. They believed. They may even be right. But unless it was proven true, they couldn’t actually know. They simply had faith that they mistakenly called knowledge…..

Over at MotherJones.com, Chris Mooney has an interesting article about some of the research on how political ideology and views can affect our reasoning ability. There has been a fair amount of research in the area of late, and I find an awful lot of it fascinating, I also find a lot of what is written about it to be misled for what seems like some pretty basic reasons.

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Veterans Hospitals..the Truth

The yammerings of the Republicans, and even some Democrats, about VA hospitals, show no trace, not even a trickle of a trace, of institutional and personal memory, let alone history. This is always true, for most people and all institutions. None have historical perspective beyond that of a Snail Darter. Remember, dear friends, that George Bush the Less, and Dick Cheney, the Dark Lord; and Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, started two wars of choice that will fill up to overflowing for at least fifty and likely a hundred years, all our hospitals. The impact of wars, so easy for stupid, venal, misinformed people to start and , in a sense, impossible, ever, to stop , is obvious. World War One is still very much alive, after destroying the twentieth Century, the Century of Total War. And the Bush administration severely cut the funding for our VA hospitals. All hospitals are effected by this avoidable tragedy, the greatest of our time. Our jails, our mental homes, our suicide prevention systems; our broken families and children without mothers and fathers, shooting crime statistics up into the stratosphere, ripple on forever.

The entire world, out into and through the cosmos, suffer from this violation of all that is decent and good, not to mention the laws of war. If the Nuremberg principle were applied to us and not just Nazi Germany, this dark band of brothers would all be in jail, or executed for the hundreds of thousands of murders that they accomplished. George W. Bush placed us squack in the middle of a civil war in Islam, which has been going on time out of mind.(we had our civil wars of religion that followed 400 years of Crusades from the 10th to the 14th centuries, the Renaissance and Reformation and the Enlightenment which gave us a rule of law community not shared by any state in the Middle East, except Israel; and no secular state in the Middle East except Turkey, thanks to Ataturk. The Treaties of Westphalia and Utrecht ended religious-based states in Europe and North America, and in their place we have had, with never a backward step, secular states, thank God (and I’m not being ironic), territorial nation states without any church in charge. (Utah is another matter.) Islamic civil war is not our business. It took us many centuries to build these rule of law communities throughout Europe and North America. Do you really think that Afghanistan will somehow, willy nilly, become democratic? Really? or Iraq?

Now, a huge portion of the Middle East, very understandably, see us as their premiere enemy. And much of Africa. And most other Islamic nations. Add to that what the Dulles brothers did in Iran, in deposing an popularly appointed tradition, conservative ruler, Mohammed Mossadeq, to put the Shah back on his throne and his bloodthirsty killers over the military and the police (the CIA’s war; just like Laos; just as we now do in Pakistan, way way before the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Pakistan is the most dangerous nation in the world, because it is the Islamic nuclear missile state and George Bush’s wars threaten always to bring any reasonable government down. I’ll bet World War Three starts there); and what we did in murdering an African head of state (both CIA assassins); and one Latin American democratically elected president assassinated under Nixon’s orders,why not see America as the Great Satan? There is blood on the hands of this dark band of brothers, and Karma, dark amoral Karma, that has nothing to do with God.

Of course we should do more for our veterans. But these tragic events play out, literally, forever. Remember: the Great Depression of our time began under Bush the Less. It had been building ever since Ronald Reagan created street people by refusing to fund mental homes and hospitals and put these people in jails and on the streets, so he could raise the military budget three and a half times over. He ran deficits like no Democrats before him. Then came the crash that remains very much with us still. So many millions of unemployed we don’t even count, because they’ve given up, and have taken themselves out of the workforce. How can the Republicans do this with a straight face? Well, they now are consummate liars, after decades of practice. Some in the Democratic Party do this too. Neither party has a monopoly on lying. BUT this is not to say there is equivalence. With the Tea Party, now absorbed within the Republican Party, truly inexperienced and terribly undereducated people rule the day. I believe the Republicans will gain seats in the House and narrowly take the Senate. All because most people and all institutions lack any trace of historical memory. ed firmage xoxo

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Republicans Eat Their Own Liver

Liver; Leader? What’s the difference?

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn’t seem to be doing the trick for the radical righties, so they’ve decided to throw him over the balcony like an inquisitive reporter.

Think I’m crazy? Watch this:

h/t goes to BradBlog. Where else?

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Anthem For The White Cry Babies

I don’t watch them, but from the little I’ve been forced to see while at the grocery store, I’d say this includes the fake reality referred to as “The Duck Dynasty”. I don’t care if you got your creds from the Jerry Springer show or get a million, making your own country look foolish; white trash will always be what it is, and nobody will ever stop assholes from having opinions.

I hate having to write that last paragraph, because – well – I’m an old white man and I feel I’m getting blamed for turning this country into a worldwide farce, when I’ve done a lot to try and stop it.

Personally, I prefer to pay attention to attractive young people with new ideas, but instead I get these bearded, stinking, fakes who are out for a buck and getting helped by – of all things ; The Arts and Entertainment channel?

Jesus! Help us now!

The Anthem: :D

Personally, I believe the loss of Ted Nugent’s reality show left a terrible void which had to be filled with…

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I Don’t Trust Obamacare or the TPP

Even if I come out ahead at 61 – and doubt I’m going to -, I don’t like it, because it has come out that young people will be expected to pay for something they can NEVER afford – Hell; how are they going to feed their own children when our political system cuts their children’s food security a little-bit-at-a-time! A “health” system which is built on profit can never succeed because there’s too damn much money in it!

The same logic goes for war profiteering.

I think Tom Tomorrow goes a bit more lightly on Obamacare in his latest column, but I think it’s a masterpiece.

You may need to left-click on the cartoon to read it.

But also, note that Obama is working to keep secret a meeting at The Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake City tomorrow, (Tuesday November 19th, 2013), and all next week. It may weaken China, but I think we have the right to know what is going on, because it has the potential to greatly weaken America too. This treaty, called the “Trans Pacific Partnership” – TPP -, seems highly dangerous to everybody except huge corporations.

Let’s get down to the Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake City this week and try to find out what’s going on!

555 South Main Street. BE PEACEFUL! BE ROWDY! NO GUNS!

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Jason Chaffetz Presides On Viral C-Span Video

I had to put this video up on OneUtah, because it’s all over the internet, might have set a record for a C-Span broadcast going viral and features one of our own. I respect the fact that representative Chaffetz didn’t try to lie, gavel or shout down Chris Van Hollen, even though he was forced to verify, multiple times, that the congressional body he was elected to, did something surreal.

Some must have seen this on C-Span and aren’t being tabulated on the YouTube site, however, the exchange between the representatives has only been posted for three days on YouTube and has already picked up over 2,500,000 viewings. Probably more then any cat video to date, but I’m not sure.

If this exchange is being played by any American television news organization, I would be stunned.

Glenden just put up a post which links to an article by Eric Idle, where he says:

If one party can shut down the government, then the social compact to rule is broken.

Actually Eric, it’s just one man. My apologizes to our long time friend, England.

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The US Needs to Start Unraveling the Homeland Security Mess

A good place to start is repealing the disaster that is the Patriot Act.

However, a proposal before Congress right now would limit the scope of the NSA’s information gathering.

The amendment [pdf] basically defunds the NSA’s dragnet collection of every bit of metadata on all phone records as well as other bulk records that have not yet been revealed. The amendment still would allow the NSA to collect information under the original intent—and understanding—of the law, that is information actually related to actual investigations.

Of course NSA supporters are pushing back, including, unfortunately, the Obama administration.  Like too many people in positions of power, the administration and the President seem to in the grip of fear about terrorism and have convinced themselves that any means necessary to keep us “safe” (what that means) are acceptable.  They are mistaken.  Such an attitude only feeds a creeping tendency toward authoritarianism in our culture, one which seems to be growing stronger because too few people in elected office see it as a threat.  We see it in the militarization of police forces, in spying on Americans, in the absurd theatre that is the TSA striptease in airports.  It is fueled by fear and it fuels fear.  I believe it is dangerous.

 

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David Gregory vs. Journalism

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Edward Snowden has been called a “traitor” by politicians, and he’s been formally charged with violating the Espionage Act. But that’s not enough for David Gregory of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Witness this incredible exchange from yesterday’s show, as Gregory in effect accuses Glenn Greenwald of espionage:

GREGORY: Final question for you…. To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?

GREENWALD: I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea that I’ve aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the e-mails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced, being a co-conspirator in felonies, for working with sources.

If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information, is a criminal. And it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States. It’s why The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer said, “Investigative reporting has come to a standstill,” her word, as a result of the theories that you just referenced.

GREGORY: Well, the question of who’s a journalist may be up to a debate with regards to what you’re doing. And of course anybody who’s watching this understands I was asking a question; that question has been raised by lawmakers, as well. I’m not embracing anything. But obviously, I take your point.

Later, Greenwald tweeted, “Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?” and, “Has David Gregory ever publicly wondered if powerful DC officials should be prosecuted for things like illegal spying & lying to Congress?”

Jane Stillwater:

An American spy agency that currently has all of its greedy tentacles tightly wrapped all around every single household in the entire world — and not in a good way — has just accused EDWARD SNOWDEN of being a spy. How ironic is that!

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald HuffPo interview:

“My critique of the D.C. media has long been that instead of being adversaries to government power — to the government and political power — they’re servants to it and mouthpieces for it.”

Greenwald said that Gregory was doing the work of the Justice Department by putting “together a theory in public about why I, as a journalist, should be prosecuted,” along with or “call[ing] into question that I’m a journalist at all.” That interview, he said, exemplified the “critique that they’re so in bed with the circles of political power over which they’re supposed to acting as watchdogs — that they really have become nothing more than just appendages.”

UPDATE: 10 Questions for NBC Host Who Shamelessly Suggested Greenwald Be Arrested for NSA Leaks

UPDATE: (Almost too funny for words) Head Of NSA Claims He Doesn’t Know “Who Wikileaks Are” – If I know something the NSA doesn’t, maybe we need better spies?

UPDATE:
Snowden Coverage: If U.S. Mass Media Were State-Controlled, Would They Look Any Different?

The Edward Snowden leaks have revealed a U.S. corporate media system at war with independent journalism. Many of the same outlets — especially TV news — that missed the Wall Street meltdown and cheer-led the Iraq invasion have come to resemble state-controlled media outlets in their near-total identification with the government as it pursues the now 30-year-old whistleblower.

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Sean Hannity Suddenly Concerned About The Constitution

Via Media Matters, the funniest thing I’ve seen today. I don’t watch the Faux News Channel, but sometimes it can be very entertaining.

Sean Hannity is warning that data mining and surveillance are “very clear violation[s] of the Fourth Amendment,” a drastic change for the Fox News host, who was a loud defender of National Security Agency surveillance during the Bush administration.

To be fair, some Democrats have also switched positions out of pure partisanship: Mika Brzezinski: ‘I’m Probably Guilty’ Of Hypocrisy Over NSA.

Seriously, every President takes an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Doesn’t matter who the President is — the job is the same. Some have claimed that widespread surveillance of Americans is OK now under President Obama because the FISA Court issued a warrant. But the Fourth Amendment does not allow a blanket warrant to search everybody for everything.

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Ten Years Ago Today . . . And No It Was Not Worth It

I hate looking back.  Ten years ago today the US invastion of Iraq began. 

The push for war with Iraq felt like a time of public madness.  The American media has never been less absolutely incompetent than in those months.  Yeah, the media pretty much sucks now, but back then they were awful beyond the telling of it.  The largest peace rallies in history got no coverage.  American media has spent the last decade hoping no one reminds them how bad they were, how gullible, how insanely biased for the Bush administration they were and how they mindlessly lapped up any lie they were told. Read the rest of this entry »

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Conservative Patriot Gives In: “As half the nation is in sheer awe of this American Idol “rockstar” presidency.”

I’ve followed this Facebook page for several months. Its one of the best in it’s genre; an excellent reference for study of the authoritarian mind and an excellent resource for tracking the Tea Party memes since 2010.

Its run, and run well, by a single person. Id love to speak with him and find out how I’ve been “dumbed-down.”

He posted the following today:

Conservative Patriots of America: Folks, I cannot do this any longer, it is of NO use. As half the nation is in sheer awe of this American Idol “rockstar” presidency, and the mainstream media is further enabling the STUPIDITY & NONSENSE with the dumbing-down of the citizens, Obama has just played his 115th round of golf — lucky he, huh? Well, how about that UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, or the fact that he met with his now defunct “Jobs Council” only FOUR TIMES before dissolving it — or that National Debt, or that China owns us — I mean, REALLY, WHERE do I begin??

I have sat at my computer for nearly THREE YEARS wasting my time & energy on a matter that cannot be resolved. We are less than one month into the second term, and if any of you have any “foresight,” methinks you will agree with me that NOTHING is going to get done, NOTHING is going to get better, and NOTHING can be done about it. I’ve done what I can & that’s about it, there is nothing more I can do or say. I’ll be hanging Old Glory upside-down for the next four years.

Oh, and to the Trolls, P.S. Do NOT talk about Bush’s vacations, the world was a MUCH different place during Bush’s 2 terms — find something else to bring to the table on this presidency.  Join us at: Conservative Patriots of America — on facebook.

Here’s a picture from his page that almost made me want to join up with them “patriots.”

teabagger idiots

Isn’t being anti-choice messing with family?

I sent him a Tweet asking him to contact me through Facebook. I hope he’ll give me an interview.

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The Republican War on Research Continues

If you’ve read Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science, it will come as no surprise that Republicans in Congress are trying to stifle and defund government efforts at objective research.  From Moshe Marvit:

Just before the November election, news leaked that the Congressional Research Service had been strongarmed by Senate Republicans into withdrawing a report that analyzed the last six decades of economic data and found, contrary to deeply held Republican dogma, that there was no correlation between top marginal tax rates and economic growth. Six weeks later, after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, we were reminded that 15 years ago the National Rifle Association successfully lobbied to kill all federal funding of gun research, leaving the public without solid information with which to debate gun control.

Now, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has begun calling for an end to federal funding for social science research, Paul Krugman has labeled the modern GOP “the ignorance caucus.”

“These days [Cantor's] party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions,” writes Krugman, who identifies an epistomelogical divide between the parties: “One side believes, at least in principle, in letting its policy views be shaped by facts; the other believes in suppressing the facts if they contradict its fixed beliefs.”

There’s an old line that facts have a liberal bias.  So Republicans have decided to declare war on facts.

There’s a deeper problem here, of course.  By depriving government agencies and government itself of research, Republicans are crippling the ability of government to make and implement good policy.  Research showing no correlation between top marginal tax rates and economic growth strikes at Republican dogma.  It also has the power to reshape public debate on the issue.  It makes it harder for both sides to make good policy.  It turns government into nothing more than a faith-based enterprise.  It’s appalling.  And it hurts us in both the short and long term.

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