Sunday, December 07, 2008

Stephen Harper Outsmarts His-self - Lies & Anger from a Would-be Autocrat by Louis Evan Palmer

Stephen is angry. He didn't get his way. Worse, he made get sidelined. Now he's really mad. Now he may even subvert parliament to get his way.

It's a peek-a-boo routine worthy of old-school burlesque - first the anger, then the lies. Sometimes seamlessly interwoven but always both there. As a former professor of economics, Harper would be expected to know more about what's needed to deal with a full-blown international financial crisis than merely attacking various "enemies" with a parochial, head-in-the-sand economic statement.

But then again, Harper is a also a former president of the Ayn-Rand-ist National Citizens Coalition (guess he didn't have a problem with coalitions then) who are against a lot of things including our national health-care system. Presumably, Harper was also against our national health-care system for his entire NCC tenure and likely some time before assuming their leadership position. Is he really for it or against it? Hard to tell with Stephen as he has this lying problem. Has he formally renounced this recent deeply-held position?

What about his former support of the Iraq war? Our Stephen wrote to the Wall Street Journal when he was the Leader of the Official Opposition to berate Canada and Canadians for not participating in what most would categorize as an illegal war. That qualifies more as a betrayal than an act of leadership. He ran to the US for approval and to cheer them on, undercutting his own country in his haste to curry favour with the self-appointed big bad wolf of the world.

Harper is the type who agrees with the individuals & groups who feel that Canada does a poor job teaching Canadian history. However, I don't think our Stephen or his reform rabble knows much about Canadian history other than the anecdotal fireside chats of Albertan premiers and the like. If they did, they would not be cuddling with the Americans - it's not something we've done in our past or admitted to or openly embraced. One of the reasons for that being America's own history of attacking and controlling every nation it thinks it can or needs to. Ask Stephen if he thinks the United Empire Loyalists were right; or, perhaps more appropriately, if they're still right?

When Stephen and his Mike Harris retreads and rabid reformers start barking that coalitions are an abomination, and that the Bloc are even worse than the Alberta separatists who'd like to build firewalls and other walls, while they tried to do the very same thing themselves, it's really too much. Lucky for them no-one knows even recent history including the news media. Stephen & Company tried to form a coalition with the NDP and the Bloc not once but twice. The naked brazenness of this type of serial lying is breathtaking and nauseating. In 2000, Stockwell Day was the leader of the Canadian Alliance (very similar to coalition) and he had a document all prepared and ready for signatures. A scant 4 years later, our Stephen tried the same thing - again without success. The NDP could not stomach allying with a bunch of nouveau fascists so it fell through.

Coalitions are infrequently used in Canada but it's available and totally legitimate especially in the cause of avoiding unnecessary elections. However, closing parliament is not legitimate. Parliament is the fundamental control on the exercise of power in our confederation. We vote for MPs. Parliament is comprised of MPs (members of parliament). How they organized themselves is distinct from what we vote for. The names of the parties were not even on the the ballot until 1960. MPs can drop out of parties. They can join other parties. They can form new parties. But, at the core, we don't vote for parties, we only vote for the MP. The rest is an assumption, a point in time.

Coalitions act as a form of representational voting in that people who voted for parties that would have not had an active role in government can participate to some degree.

Stephen has shown in his intemperate attacks on the Bloc that he does not have the grace and magnanimity to be a true leader. He can be a loathsome fear-monger posing as a leader but not a true leader. He does not lift the people up but rather he knocks the people down - who gets knocked depends on the day and the battle. Not only does Stephen not play well with others, he brooks no opposition. Perhaps living in the one party state of Alberta is part of that mindset especially the no opposition part. It's one thing to always form the government but quite another to have an unbroken series of majorities - makes one get a little loose with all that rights and accommodation stuff.

Stephen says he's worried that Canadians are not getting what they voted for. Like when they voted Reform and got Canadian Alliance? Or, when they voted Canadian Alliance or Progressive Conservatives and got the Conservatives. (Dropping the "Progressive" was telling)

Stephen won't let his Cabinet Ministers talk on their own. His underlings surreptitiously tape meetings. They manipulate campaign monies and then attack the Electoral Officer. They release secret information when it suits their political aims. It's obvious by now that they're in it for the power and they'll sing any song to get it.

They cry "less government" but that's not it at all because those various functions they decry have to be done by someone. What they really mean is not "less government", it's less "public" government. They want to privatize as much government as possible. We'll still have government but it'll be in the hands of the few and far less accountable. How do you say "conflict of interest"?

I'm afraid our dear little Stephen has shown himself to be a dissembler and a divider and there's nothing to be done but to send him home.


Stephen Harper Outsmarts His-self - Lies & Anger from a Would-be Autocrat, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http:twicb.blogspot.com
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Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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Sunday, November 30, 2008

NYT's Thomas Friedman Equates Nature with "The Market" by Louis Evan Palmer

Andy Barry, CBC Radio's morning host, recently quoted Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, in another of an increasing number of live-radio faux-intellectual moments. Mr. Barry's efforts were directed at sharing what to him seemed to be observations that verged on the transcendent. (One can tell as much from who one quotes as what one quotes) In this case, Andy quotes from one of premier apologists of the American Imperium. Even some 3 decades removed, perhaps Mr. Barry is still too much of an ex-pat American to be hosting the flagship show on the flagship Canadian network and he can't help but drag us into the pontifications of one of America's key propagandists.

In the article from which Mr. Barry's reads, "The Post-Binge World", Thomas Friedman quotes from his friend, the head of EcoTech International, certainly as ominous & threatening of a corporate name as one can imagine. The head of EcoTech equates "Mother Nature" to bits of science and nothing more. "Chemistry, Biology & Physics" to be exact. There is a simple name for this way of looking at things and it is neither new nor obscure - it's called the mechanistic view. To be sure, there is no "Mother" in this "Mother Nature".

It's at this point that Thomas starts drawing parallels. In Mr. Friedman's world, a contrivance called "the market" not only exists but exists on the same scale & majesty as "Mother Nature" and with as mechanistic a heart as well. There is no deliberate mis-reporting in Thomas' domain, no skewed inflation rates or GDP or dubious debt & deficit figures. There also is no realizations or actions on the part of the largest investment banks that they could use interest rate derivatives to manipulate national and international rates. Sure, millions of small-time lemming investors can be jerked into a cascade of selling and buying, but the surreptitious suppression of commodity or gold prices is ignored. Thomas also willfully neglects to allude to the rampant conflicts of interest rotting through the whole system and the ethics-destroying complicity it not only fosters but insists upon.

Mr. Friedman's naive adherence to a mythic "market" is merely cant, a vicious ideological cant, the same kind that can refer to a million dead children as an "acceptable" loss. He may not have said that particular statement but he apologized for it, maybe even as an unstoppable force of nature. Again, Thomas is merely asserting another mechanistic viewpoint. This time he elevates this sorry patchwork of agreements and debts and contracts and a myriad of goods and services and den-of-thieves stock & commodity exchanges that we call "the market" onto the same level as his un-motherly Nature. What others call the "globalization of poverty", Thomas calls the "democratization of finance".

Thomas and his ilk offer prosperity but deliver a vast casino economy where the game is rigged in favour of the super-wealthy and their lackeys. Friedman asserts "The World is Flat" and it certainly is in the sense that it has lost its diversity and depth as it is distorted by a new-conservative house of mirrors. In this world, torture is used to protect freedom, and freedom is taken away to protect law and order and Mother Nature is the same as "The Market".

NYT's Thomas Friedman Equates Nature with "The Market", Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http://twicb.blogspot.com
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Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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Saturday, November 29, 2008

If the World is created by the Songs of Whales by Louis Evan Palmer

We think we know and that's usually where the problem starts. We think we know about space and time. We think we know about our own existence. We think we know about history, identity, the reasons for things, and truth and consequences.

"Realisticism" replaces reality. Realisticism doesn't need to know the whole truth or even most of the truth. It gets mixed in with, and mixed up with, pragmaticism. "Results" become the barometer of truth and results, as we quickly discover, are very relativistic.

In the 1960s, the Milky Way was the Universe. The experts said so as did the textbooks, the newspapers and the scientists talking on the movie newsreels. This was after "E=MC2" and nuclear bombs. We knew the Universe and we described it and we taught it and it was spectacularly wrong. It is incredibly instructive to listen to old recordings of the experts as they tell us without any equivocation that the Milky Way is the Universe and describe various aspects of it including its approximate size and the number of stars inhabiting it. It was not only wrong, it was wrong in such a fundamental way that it highlights our profound ignorance of the type of which Francis Bacon warned - "a little knowledge". The heady arrogance of the slightly enlightened.

For hundreds of years we had three spatial dimensions. Then some eighty years ago, we determined that we also had had one temporal dimension the whole while but didn't realize it. This obvious theory of three spatial dimensions had the status of conviction that was so deep and hidden to us that alernatives were not even imagined let alone discussed. String or membrane theory now postulates that we might have as many as eleven dimensions. No-one really believes it. They can only exist without our noticing them because they're very small. The ramifications are enormous.

Some scientists claim that if quantum mechanics is completely true then our universe is constantly splitting off into each of the possibilities that arise in every moment so that we are actually in the flux of an incomprehensible raft of universes and selves.

Who's to say it cannot possibly be true? What about an Electric Universe? Is there another set of universes composed of anti-matter? Does Dark Energy or Matter exist? Or, other sentient beings?

Gerry O'Donnell is a remote viewer and a teacher of remote viewing who claims that whales sing the world into existence and without them the world would fade away. The idea of sound as a generative force has been around a while but has been subsumed by the more recent and forcefully promulgated idea of ours of light as that force. Is there a music of the spheres? Is it at all possible that whales could do such a thing? If we say "no" what's it based on other than ignorance. We must admit "we don't know". Our understandings must widen and deepen and lengthen as must our memories and our feelings.

If we pause long enough and deep enough, we might almost hear those haunting calls in far-off cold waters. Rather than safely saying "no", we should cautiously ask "how?"

A-U-M.

If the World is created by the Songs of Whales, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http://twicb.blogspot.com
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Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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Friday, October 10, 2008

What Market? Program Traders Feast on Other People's Wealth by Louis Evan Palmer

The market, popularly thought of as thriving industrious individuals who behave rationally and collect relevant information and make informed decisions - or not. It's not true in today's market if it ever was. Today's market is electronic and hierarchical, the small trades feed into the bigger trades feed into the trades which qualify as program trades. A standard definition being over $1 million worth of 15 or more stocks. But even that is piddling compared to the real movers and shakers.

The big investment banks employ more staff on their IT side than on their trading side. As do the hedge and mutual funds. The volumes and percentages of all trading done by a few behemoths is increasing. The danger from hackers especially well-placed insiders is far greater here than elsewhere. Siphoning off even a hundred million a day is within rounding errors. The small and decreasing circle of those who trade the bulk of the world's financial markers wield enormous unaccountable power with access to vast sums of computer entries representing value, ultimately money, goods & services. What better place from which to launder proceeds of crime and illegal black ops funds. What better place from which to manipulate the world exchanges and economies for profit and towards ends other than those publicly stated.

Who really counts in the world trading forums, who has access to the truly huge funds? Maybe 2,000, maybe 3,000. A few clicks here and there and a national economy crashes, or a company, or a currency. Jerk it up, jerk it down, make a pile. Mostly anonymous, certainly unaccountable.

Is there any control over who has the rights to trade and how much they can move? Is it right that "traders" and their host of speculators and financial jackals can ravage economies at their whim, for their own reasons, for their own benefit? Making money off of people's fear & greed, juicing it out of them just like that.

Who's driving this soon-to-be train wreck?

What Market? Program Traders Feast on Other People's Wealth, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http://twicb.blogspot.com
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Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Rightness of Incrementalism by Louis Evan Palmer

It's October 2008 and we're in the midst of another financial crisis. If we count wars as social crises then it's safe to say, that crisis mode is our norm. Although its impact varies.

One of the key characteristics of a financial crisis is an obvious imbalance usually in the form of an excess of one type or another. Too many sellers, too many buyers, not enough, too much product, etc.

The incrementalism I'm calling on is not just gradualism in terms of economic growth but an anti-revolutionary brake on any rapid expansion. That is, even "good" expansion which seems favourable should be measured out. We currently have all kinds of controls and visible and invisible brakes on various types of activities. This would bring that into the open and cover gaps and make it work for the benefit of the many.

We should not allow events, specifically financial events, to go their own way. Up 100%, down 300%, etc. Whatever the so-called free market dictates. It would more like up 5% or down 5%, closed for the day.

We put controls in place to regulate the numerous flows in an advanced economy. This is nothing more than prudent management. Why should we allow speculators to move vast amounts of currency and financial instruments around in a given economy or among nations and larger economic units at will?

Prudence and common sense tells us that we should not allow financial instruments to be created or allowed to enter our economy unless they are well understood - especially in their negative implications. The starting position is that a given financial instrument is probably going to have a negative effect on the ecomony over time. The onus would be to prove that this is not the case. It might be a good idea to have the creators of these instruments, if they are approved for use in a given economy, to post the equivalent of bonds that they forfeit if damages are incurred. Again, we should only allow a small number of new instruments to enter the economy with controls on how much value they can have, they can affect, etc.

Secondly, if they are permitted to enter a given economy, it should be done in a gradual and controlled way. It should also be controlled in terms of its ups and downs. We should only permit a small percentage uptick or downtick in individual stocks and indexes. If that gets exceeded, trade in that stock or index is over for the day.

Flows of currency and other financial instruments should be taxed. In addition, the flow size and its variance from day to day and week to week should be stipulated.

This is also meant to apply to wages & prices although this seems to be what is happening already to wages right now.

This is not as difficult or intrusive as it might seem. It's going on now except it's being dictated by a much smaller unaccountable group of hedge fund managers, high bank officials, government & government agencies and criminal & intelligence organizations.

Almost everything would be the same except with leeway for only small specified upward or downward movements in price, supply, and other relevant factors. The economy changes in a healthy controlled way.

Incrementalism would also apply to the money supply, taxes, government expenditures and the whole gamut. If strenously implemented, this would act as a tremendous brake on war and military expansion as they both need rapid expansion of the public debt and spending. This would also act as a brake on criminal & black-op intelligence operations spending and hopefully by extension, their extent and power.

The thing about incrementalism is that it can be implemented over a long period if that's the only way to do it. Let's bring it to the fore and make it work for us in building stable steady peace-based economies.

The Rightness of Incrementalism, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http://twicb.blogspot.com --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


BUY BOOKS BY LOUIS EVAN PALMER

Monday, September 01, 2008

What Puppets Can Teach Us by Louis Evan Palmer


For a long time, puppeteers were to be heard but not seen. They worked the strings above a stage or behind a curtain. The often given observation being that puppets could say things people couldn't. The audience would laugh at a puppet's remark but might shiver or cringe if it was said by a person. The less you saw of the puppeteer, the more leeway the puppet had. For a while now, however, puppeteers have come in from the shadows, and perform fully visible beside their puppets. An example of this is the hit play “Avenue Q” an adult version of Sesame Street.

Initially, the audience is distracted by the visible actors beside their puppets but then an amazing thing happens. The visible actor become invisible to the audience - but not really. The audience picks up emotional clues from the actors and projects them into the puppet yet all the while, they are not consciously seeing the actors; focusing on the puppet.

This seems to be another instance of the miracle of “attention”. We direct our attention. We decide what we're going to see and hear and care about and what is outside that periphery we don't attend.

Another thing about this phenomenon and its manifestation in a puppet play is that it is strongly analogous to what sages and mystics describe as the illusion of our life. Could it be that we play the role of a puppet and the source or Tao is the cosmic person holding all the strings, being the strings? And, that somehow we have allowed our attention to shift to our version of a puppet, this body and soul, and we don't see or hear or know that which animates us? And, we are our own audience; we all have shifted our attention to the puppet's play.


What Puppets Can Teach Us, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http://twicb.blogspot.com
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Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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Friday, August 29, 2008

Olympic Bragging – Medals, Medal Counts & Other Observations by Louis Evan Palmer

Another Olympics, Beijing 2008, has finished with an especially sublime opening ceremony to remember it by. And world records by Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. Even if Michael's unlikely run seemed a little too luck-struck by half. How long was the Croatian swimmer suspended in the water about a single millimeter from the touch bar?

There has been the requisite chest thumping and teeth gnashing. Medals counts broadcast and fawned over. Reporting that probably can't help being boosterish although a few stars so overshadowed everyone else that we could cheer for them without impairing our patriotic credentials. Usain Bolt leaps to mind.

We were told ad nauseum that the USA “won” the 2008 Olympics because they won the most medals. This is almost equivalent to saying that if China won 49 gold medals and the USA won 50 bronze medals then the US “won”. In effect, we are weighting gold, silver and bronze the same which doesn't make sense even to the great unwashed hordes.

Simon Forsthye, a researcher in Brisbane, Australia has worked on several more logical ways of representing medal counts. The first mandatory step is to weight the medal count. He and others rate gold as twice the value of silver which, in turn, is rated twice the value of bronze – therefore, gold counts as 4, silver as 2 and bronze as 1.

Refer to related articles listed below:


We can be sure if the ranking was more favourable to the USA if it was weighted, we would have seen it that way instead. The mass audience would have been educated as required. The slant in the western media is, in this case, blatant. If they can educate people about some of the obscure “sports” they have in the Olympics like biathlon or equestrian or sailing then a simple weighted medal count is child's play.

Some argue that medal counts should only focus on gold. In fact, this is completely backwards, For some sports, where there is a lot of competition and it is therefore more difficult to place, we should have more than just 3 medals. Marathons with hundreds of runners and some other track events come to mind. For those events, 5 medals seems more appropriate. Say, a brass medal for fourth place and copper for fifth place.

Here is a partial table using data on Simon Forsythe's site. The first column showing an unweighted medal count is the tally that was almost exclusively used by the mass media. Followed by the rank if the medals are weighted (4 for gold, etc). The last 2 ranks are by population, per 1 million persons, and by GDP (per 1 trillion $). It attempts to account for population and wealth assuming that it is easier for a populous or wealthy country to compete well.



Country RANK Unweighted Medal RANK weighted medals RANK Weighted medals per million POP RANK weighted medals per billion GDP
United States 1 2 43 65
China 2 1 65 50
Russian Fed. 3 3 34 38
Great Britain 4 4 22 44
Australia 5 5 6 27
Germany 6 6 33 52
France 7 8 32 51
Korea 8 7 24 42
Italy 9 9 37 53



On the vein of Olympic sports, the Olympic head body should publish the
criteria for what constitutes a “sport” or “event” including requirements such as a certain threshold of persons who actually play or participate in a given sport or event. For example, should we continue with equestrian events – very expensive with relatively few participants, it seems to qualify as the epitome of elitist events.

The weighted medal count rank is shown below. Countries like China and Jamaica with high gold medal counts benefit from this more accurate tally.



Country RANK Unweighted Medal RANK weighted medals RANK Weighted medals per million POP RANK weighted medals per billion GDP
China 2 1 65 50
United States 1 2 43 65
Russian Fed. 3 3 34 38
Great Britain 4 4 22 44
Australia 5 5 6 27
Germany 6 6 33 52
Korea 8 7 24 42
France 7 8 32 51
Italy 9 9 37 53
Japan 11 10 54 71


Using the GDP as a way of weighting medal counts does reflect at a high-level a country's ability to fund excellent training. Typically, though, GDP is not evenly allocated so we can, and do have, wealthy countries that relatively speaking underspend while some very poor countries redirect inappropriately large amounts of scarce resources to glamorous propaganda-rich events like the Olympics.

Using population also suffers from problems as a measure in that most world-class athletes train around the world. Many get scholarships and sponsorships and train in the best facilities with the best coaches wherever they may be. Being born poor does not mean anything at a certain point and at a certain level. At the highest levels, it becomes difficult to attribute where the resources used by a given athlete come from.

Another phenomenon that's been emerging for a while now is the effective buying of athletic excellence by offering citizenship and other benefits including money. This is well-funded fast-track stuff well beyond the easy immigration policies of the past.

The next 2 charts show ranking by population and by GDP. Zimbabwe would be a case in point regarding misappropriate use of funds. Their winning athlete apparently trains abroad all year.



Country RANK Unweighted Medal RANK weighted medals RANK Weighted medals per million POP RANK weighted medals per billion GDP
Jamaica 20 18 1 2
Bahamas 59 72 2 7
Iceland 81 80 3 23
Bahrain 74 61 4 24
Norway 22 21 5 36
Australia 5 5 6 27
Slovenia 40 40 7 17
New Zealand 24 26 8 20
Estonia 62 54 9 14
Mongolia 45 33 10 3



Adding a population component to the medal weighting formula seems legitimate but again if we look at poverty-stricken disease-burdened peoples, does it matter how many of them there are? Does it really contribute to their pool of top athletes?



Country RANK Unweighted Medal RANK weighted medals RANK Weighted medals per million POP RANK weighted medals per billion GDP
Zimbabwe 44 39 44 1
Jamaica 20 18 1 2
Mongolia 45 33 10 3
Cuba 12 14 13 4
Georgia 37 31 14 5
Kenya 18 17 42 6
Bahamas 59 72 2 7
Armenia 35 55 20 8
Belarus 13 16 12 9
North Korea 34 32 52 10


At the very least, the common reporting practice should become weighted medal rankings.

In the interest of demilitarizing the Games and lowering the jingoism potential, maybe the Olympics should start allowing “clubs” to compete where the clubs can have members from anywhere in the world. This would be similar to professional sports teams in that the club would have the best team they can afford and manage with the widest pool of talent possible – basically, the entire world. If they win, play club anthems and raise club flags.

On a practical note, instead of marching in nation by nation at the beginning, let's have teams / nations march in from all four stadium entrances at 60 second intervals. Over each minute, four teams enter. This has got to be the most tedious part of the opening ceremony.

Finally, people must really wonder about the cost of staging this type of spectacle. Did China really spend over $70 billion dollars?! We must pare it down dramatically. Fewer, more popular events. Perhaps 8 days instead of 16. We should think about capping spending. Revisit the idea of always holding the Olympics in Greece. Or, having a set of sites we rotate through. The games should inspire and uplift us not confuse and bankrupt us.


Olympic Bragging – Medals, Medal Counts & Other Observations, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http://twicb.blogspot.com
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Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Making Things BIGGER or smaller by Louis Evan Palmer

Their job, self-appointed or paid for, is to make us see a mountain when we're looking at a molehill and, alternately, to make us see a molehill when we're looking at a mountain. By controlling what we perceive and telling us what we perceive, they will control what we think and feel and from that, how we'll act.

How we see things is both an art and a science. There are the organs of perception. There are various aids that we have constructed to help us perceive - to see farther than we could otherwise, to hear more, to see smaller things, to detect elements and energies. Microscopes. Telescopes. Spectrometers.

There is also the psychological aspect of perception, in that, we perceive what we're conditioned to perceive; we unconsciously blind and deafen and otherwise insensate ourselves either individually or collectively to what is outside the realm of the expected.

We rarely perceive things as they are; if there is that as a real condition - "as they are"? We see them as larger or smaller or much larger or much smaller or vast or invisible. We also colour everything with our judgements and opinions and attendant feelings and thoughts.

Agendas are also in play in determining what we perceive and what it means and how important it is or how important it should be. The list of groups with claims is long, heavy with organizations (both conceptual and real) that typically comprise 1,2 or 3% of something. Small groups, vanguards whether they know it or not, whether they consider themselves as such.

Two examples: This comes into view when we look at the claims as to how many homosexuals there are in any given country. The long-standing claim was 10%; the recent census in the US has it as not far past 1%. It's important to that group to have as big a number as possible to support rights and protections that accrue more easily to a larger group. But exaggeration is eventually uncovered and may generate substantial negative feedback.

This is also on display when discussing something like the porn industry. Those in it like to claim it's vast, even that it's mainstream and it shouldn't be harassed. The US apparently produces well over 90% of the world's porn using something like 20,000 persons mainly in southern California. As a percentage of the US population, that's 0.000067 %. It may seem like porn is everywhere and everyone but it's only employing 1 person out of 15,000.

What these and other groups use to increase the impact they make on society are various types of amplification. The main type of amplification being the mass media. The mass media is a very powerful amplification tool which is why it's used extensively for propaganda and advertising. Another method of amplification is the law. If you can influence what laws are made or how they're argued or interpreted, you can amplify your opinion because you can call into its service the full force of a society.

The opposite force, minimization,occurs when groups or issues are ignored and not reported; occasionally, it's achieved by trivializing or marginalizing a group or issue. Burying it in an avalanche of other information is another way to undermine its impact.

Societal norms are the measuring stick we use when deciding what's allowable in our public and semi-public forums. In the courts, it's a moving measure and it's typically not measured very well. In the cases where the media is involved, the people who have a big effect on societal norms are the same ones who are supplying and interpreting them. Why should the public give any extra access to industries that comprise 0.000067% of the population? Coincidentally, this percentage would also apply to the very rich.

We need to take control back of our own societies. We need to be able to establish what is proper and permissible in public forums and who should have access and what controls should be permitted. Otherwise we're going to lose our public forums to small and various groups who are more aggressive and energetic in their advocacies and stakes but who represent minorities. The usurpation of the public forum should be stopped. It shouldn't be a democracy of the loudest or the most litigious. No more of the tail wagging the dog.

MAKING THINGS BIGGER OR SMALLER, Louis Evan Palmer, The Wat It Can Be, http://twicb.blogspot.com
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Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Indivisibility and the Theory of Everything by Louis Evan Palmer

The investigation of reality starts with the idea of it because unless and until one considers reality as a concept then one will not think about its nature and whether things might not be what they appear.

We will start with a proposition that reality is a whole. Various sages and spiritual masters have stated that reality is whole and indivisible. If we take that as a starting point where does it lead us.

An indivisible reality means that separation is not possible. However, our experience is one of separation and distinction. The mechanics of creating an apparent multiplicity is the key. If everything is one, why and how, do we see and feel the many. What sustains the illusion? Is it sustained because it is a shared delusion? Is it the deliberate intention of an exceedingly powerful being, or beings, who only need our consent to enmesh us in this realm?

Regardless, the mechanics of the creation and maintenance of this detached realm of relations and multiplicity must involve techniques for masking the actual reality and a voluntary limitation of our perception and knowing, a way to circumscribe the full extent and content of this reality.

The sharing of this reality with other deluded beings and the constant validation among ourselves serves as a convincing reinforcement. The introduction of causality is a stroke of genius as are the constructs of time and space. They form an almost irrefutable bulwark of the authenticity of the realm in which we find ourselves. It impinges on us so strongly that we not only accept what we perceive as real but we feel that it is the one and only reality.

The Theory of Everything postulates that there is a single constituent thing, whether it's a string or a membrane or some other construct, out of which everything else is made. To make that theory more encompassing and to avoid dualistic interpretations, we can say that consciousness will be a component of whatever the eventual successful theory is. And, if so, we will arrive close to where the mystics are and have been: that there is one reality which derives from one source and/or force and/or substance and includes consciousness.

And, that it means that there is no separation, no individual entities, no space, no time. Further along, the indivisibility of it means there are no unknowns, no memories, no perceptions, no actions, no movement, no change.


Indivisibility and the Theory of Everything, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http://twicb.blogspot.com
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Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Professional Armies = Slow-Motion Fascism by Louis Evan Palmer

As the largest military power in the world currently, this article will focus on the use of no-draft armies in the United States.

In the 1970s, one of the key lessons that America should have been drawn from the Vietnam conflict was not to fight unjust and unnecessary wars. Instead however, one of the the lessons that was actually drawn by the Americans was to eliminate opposition by eliminating the draft.

The Vietnam-era draft and the necessity of inducting citizens from all persuasions and backgrounds ensured that there would be a lot of soldiers (and to a lesser extent, sailors and airmen) opposed to the military, the war, and its conduct of the war. It didn't stop much but it did give it attention and it did produce protest and opposition. Back then, the media wasn't totally muffled and monopolized (somewhat but not completely) so those bellows of opposition were heard.

A no-draft armed forces seemed like a solution made in heaven - to trade money for domestic peace, a large obedient armed forces, and wide latitude in exerting military might (who cares about the soldiers, they're all "volunteers"). Once this capability was established, it facilitated other complementary actions like subversion, intelligence operations, economic warfare under the guise of aids and protections for American corporations, and a new-fangled gunboat diplomacy. All of this went on before but now it was that much easier. Many other nations have adopted this all-professional armed forces approach including the United Kingdom, Canada, France.

Part of the argument is the same as that used for professionalizing Police Forces or Fire Departments - better police, better fire fighters. However, the pool of talent available for police and fire departments is substantially greater than the requirement so the quality of the recruits is typically high. This is not usually true for the Armed Forces and thus, we find that the quality of the recruits is lower and prone to being allowed to go lower under the slightest duress. Because lower quality recruits don't mesh well with an increasingly high-tech military, the non-military support component (the corporate component) must expand to address that gaping need.

An important consideration for Police recruiting is the need to draw its personnel from the general population in a way that reflects that population - for example, an all white police force in an all black neighbourhood is not a good policing scenario. Because the interaction between the policed population and the police themselves is crucial, this was a factor that could only be ignored for so long. This highlights one of the primary threats of a professional Armed Forces - it is easier for them to become disconnected from the society on whose behalf they are acting.

With corrupt political leadership having taken hold in the United States and with its intent of misusing this tremendous military force (using it for the benefit of special interest groups), America has become dependent on the honour of its military commanders to protect its nation's freedoms and rights. The original idea was that politicians controlled the armed forces, not that the military commanders would have to restrain dangerous bellicose civilian leaders.

Another of the dangers of no-draft, hired armed forces is how they offer linkages to other previously unthinkable options like corporate military support functions and to mercenaries.

Mercenaries used to be the retirees, cast-offs or renegades of various armed forces who were hired by western intelligence services to fight surreptitious wars in god-forsaken countries in Africa, Asia or South America. They are now a key component of America's war efforts in Iraq. They are taking over functions traditionally performed by the military like protecting convoys. The drivers in the convoys are likely to be highly-paid employees of well-connected campaign-contribution-dispensing military arms of corporate America. These non-military employees get paid a lot more so they're drawing away very highly and expensively trained military personnel especially for mercenary jobs. And while we have diminished control over all-professional armies, we have even less control over their mercenary allies or the military arms of corporations.

A long-standing control over armies in democratic countries was the fact that the bulk of the army was comprised of citizens and its leadership at the highest level was civilian. This is no longer true of the army itself and the civilian leadership has become compromised in a number of ways.

If the proof is in the pudding, then the all-professional armies are failing. The implementation of no-draft hired armed forces has seen it crumple under the pressure of wars against the minor nations of Afghanistan and Iraq. The so-called professionalism of the new all-professional army is called into question when its standards have to be dropped so as to allow gang members and ex-convicts to join and substance abusers to remain. Allegations abound that gangs are expanding throughout the military and using its facilities, training and resources to further gang power and profits.

The membership of the armed forces is also suspect when under the same pressures to maintain unit strength, citizens of foreign nations are allowed to join with an inducement of citizenship if they survive.

Since there was always a small professional core to a modern armed force, the creation of an all-professional armed force has merely expanded that readily-available force. If a situation was sufficiently grave, a draft would be still be instituted. Therefore, a non-conscript armed force dramatically expands that core force that can be applied quickly especially in small to medium sized conflicts. Rather than working towards peace, a sizable professional standing army acts as a destabilizing element.

The no-draft armed forces also exacerbates the divide between the civilian and military components of society where the armed forces is filled with mainly poor and lower-middle class recruits and an officer aristocracy on one side and civilians who have no connection to their mission on the other. Add to that anti-democratic mix, foreigners in the American army who want to jump the immigration queue. Ominously, the divide is shrinking because the military and military-related components of American society are increasing. With the compliant boosterism of the monopoly media, the checklist for full-blown fascism is nearing completion.

It appears that the epitaph for this stage of the American Republic is being written. Will it have been an all-professional armed forces that sent the final dominoes falling towards a real-live police state?


Professional Armies = Slow-Motion Fascism, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, http;//twicb.blogspot.com

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Copyright 2008  Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.