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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive


Monday, December 14, 2009

Entireties in Legislation, Judging, Governing

Governmental Entireties: 
Spouses and Partners -- The New Entireties for Election Purposes
The Appearance of Impropriety Unless Overt

Hadassah and Joe
John and Cindy
Whosis and Whatsername
Each its own set of factors.  Air the issues.

 Appearance of Election or Judicial Equivalence
The lobby and political action group tumor grows

Spouses. Partners
Voters know, is this so,
That pillow talk happens
And spouses may influence each other.
Same lobby mirror,
Same action group mustering.
That is, unless one of them comes Out
And speaks out against views of the elected one.
Congratulations, Cindy. Well done.
Issue in open.


Joint enterprise in presumptive effect,
If not technical.
The estate of
the entireties.*

No muzzling of spouses or partners.
Let voters know if they agree or disagree.

Spouse: board connected.
The legislator: funded.
No independence presumed.
Presume influence, voters.
Let them rebut.

Entireties in governmental influence.
Consider. Just another factor, but significant.

* Tenancy by the entireties - still with us. What benefits one spouse, benefits the other, or the one speaks for the other. One for both, both for one. Legal inseverability, is that so?  See ://  Now - Apply. Health for us. How Joe votes, if against us, makes his wife a fortune perpetuating bureaucracies, siphoning contributions to overhead. Ask what has he made already, then add. New math. Zero for whom.  Even small town America is concerned with Other Governmental Entireties - see ://

Can we complain?  Good strategy for Pharma to get spouses on payroll or on boards, etc.  Watch it pay out.  The market wins.

Updated 2011. Focus had been on Hadassah and Joe. Time to branch out. Voters may inquire into views of partners. Why not?  Pillow talk.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Tort. Failure to Pursue. The Abandoned Hot Pursuit: Legacy of Minefields.

Bring Back Hot Pursuit - 
an early Justice concept.

Reread The EU Schengen Agreement

Original Ditherers Undo Us All
A New Tort? If not, how else
to compensate for our Legacy of Dithering Minefields?
If not, at least increase accountability.

1.  The issue:  Hot pursuit, opportunity for justification lost by past delay.

Clocks tick whether we do or not. Accountability. Can governments that fail to pursue rights of pursuit effectively and promptly, be held accountable?  In concept, no, because of immunity.  But neither should it be ignored, because the concept of the justification of hot pursuit is ancient and valuable.

Hot pursuit.  Strike while the iron is hot. Afghanistan at issue in the news. How could we not. See ://  Think of the time gone by, says the song.

2.  Failure to Pursue as Accountability issue.  Barrier to later Criticism.

Failure to pursue by government 1 may not be a tort, but it should undermine later criticism of how government 2 handles what was left undone.

3.   International organizations recognize the need for facilitating proper hot pursuit issues, including individual rights - see The Schengen Agreement.  

Ten member states of the EU signed the Schengen Agreement in 1985, in Schengen, Luxembourg; and later a Convention implementing it was passed.  Accordingly, the systematic border checks between EU nations were abolished, allowing hot pursuit and other activities.  See ://  The Amsterdam Treaty in 1997:  fostered a community of "freedom, security and justice," and set up a common "foreign and security policy," among other matters addressed.

4.  Current hot pursuit issues: 

What may have been acceptable when the pursuit was indeed hot, may not be so over time. Get the job done early and decisively.
  • Drones over Pakistan. What approval is now needed in Pakistan for those to continue. Perhaps we already have it.
  • Financial regulation, when bad effects are still being felt
  • Ordinary police work. Chase the robbers into their own homes after the heist. Act now before the evidence is flushed.  In hot pursuit, cops don't need warrants. Exigent circumstances. The Fourth Amendment gives us protection in our homes, for ourselves, and our property.  Not in hot pursuit. Those can be suspended. Keep it simple:  go here://
  • Your own puppy and child.  Time between deed and consequence matters.
4.  Resources:  The Right of Hot Pursuit in International Law, see google book, at page 6 ff at ://

5.  Limits. 
  • Investigative detention cannot be done in Texas (probably elsewhere as well)  under the guise of hot pursuit, see ;// 
  • And, just because the government or someone violated hot pursuit laws and entered anyway and got evidence, does not mean that evidence will necessarily be suppressed.  
  • You can, therefore, be right and still be wronged.  See ://  
  • You can be right in your objection to the act of cold pursuit, but not get anywhere in fighting its use.  No fruit of the poisonous tree here, where evidence stemming from other evidence illegally gotten, cannot be used if from that line of investigation. See ://

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Route to Mauthausen. Polarize then Demonize. Mass Persuasion Comes First.

The Route to Mauthausen 
Polarize, Propagandize, Demonize.  Mass Persuasion. Intimidation.

Mauthausen Concentration Camp
Mauthausen KZ
Near Linz, Austria

What fosters the atrocity that the concentration camps of the Third Reich represent.

How does the idea take root.  Our view:  Psy ops, psychological operations and those have been going on for centuries.  Polarize a society with egregious abuses of persuasion and non-fact; then demonize the other side.  Use a form of guerrilla warfare to undercut the existing government so that the new power can take over, and take over the propaganda machines that keep them there. See :// and :// Guerrillas. Guerilla equivalents in WWII era.

For an example of how to take over a society, see how the United States CIA did it in Nicaragua, in subverting the Sandinistas. See://  This is not a discussion of the merits of a policy; just of methodology.

Matthausen / Mauthausen is off the usual tourist track in Austria. See Austria Road Ways: Mauthausen Konzentrationslager And once there, it is difficult to find unless you know that the tiny signs that say Mauthausen KZ mean the labor camp.  Or Mauthausen.  Translations vary. We are looking now at the extreme results of polarizing in a society. And the demonizing that follows. Children, and then teens, in little Youth programs. With the weapons and the certain kind of discipline.  And what can come after.

Go back to WWII for a start, a reminder, how people accomplished their goals with group persuasion. See :// as a start.  The most moving of Europe's concentration camps is Mauthausen. It was also possibly the worst in terms of atrocity; and - ironically - is among the least known. Find it near Linz, Austria. It will not be easy either to find, or to stomach. Signs to it are in initials - KC, or KZ, not the full name, for concentration camp. Easy to pass by. Then you get there.

Mauthausen is still in process as to its renovation, exhibits, but the structures are there, mostly.  Ideas are not completely implemented yet, there is construction and repair work ongoing, and ambiguities in structures are not all fully explained, especially for English-speakers, leaving room for imagination.  Good.
It is still being constructed-reconstructed. Even hesitantly, reluctantly - and that is understandable. After all this time, still not open and fully running.

Time passing may blunt the impact of any of the camps, especially those on mainstream tourist tracks. Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, they are and have to be conscious places, museums carefully constructed to show this or that aspect of the horror.  Outlines of structures. Tourist centers and buses, and those will  come here as well.

Why, despite the exposure and documentation from Nuremberg to Jerusalem to the individual sites, do too many choose not to see. Go see. For an overview, see ://
Yet, being off the usual routes also protected it.  There remain many actual rooms, the actual equipment, rusted but there, it is possible to take time, choose which way to go next without arrows and packs of guided people.

Countries were invited and did set up individual memorials.  They are highly individualized for some countries, with actual portraits, names, a wall of faces, tokens. Some institutions are overwhelming in laying out what happened.  See ://  Mauthausen is people. There's someone who looks like Uncle Harry. He was an accountant, see? It says right here. And this one was a whatever. People.

Not all rooms offer English explanations,  but the concept is clear.

Find both spellings, Matthausen and Mauthausen.

Extremes. But recurrent. Always in reach.  How to teach and learn. The Fodder idea - a casual way of referencing exploitation, destruction of the big and little things that make us whole, removal of human rights. Maybe too casual, given the impact.  Some forms are so usual that they get accepted as the "is." The poor will always be with us, etc. Other forms frighten, especially by their origins with regular people gone amok, and should. Who can go so amok. We can. And did. And will again?

Route to Mauthausen.  Polarize, Propagandize, Demonize.

Polarizing takes time. It takes concentrated propaganda. And it works. There is a range in expressing it. When and how do bullying, deception and the implicit terrorism of open carry as to firearms, become a cultural  norm; and can the virus be stopped. Does the frog really sit in the warming water until dead? Feeders, always deniable, for the violent. Do we have a choice.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Explore Election Finance: If You Can Vote, You Can Give. Humans Only.

Dear Supreme Court:
Re: Campaign Finance, First Amendment, and Corporations.
Approach from a different angle.
Make Qualification to Vote (being Human)
the Qualification to Contribute.
Only humans can vote, only humans can contribute.
Corporations have no standing.
Campaign finance laws are again at the fore. Who can contribute, and how much. Corporations as "legal persons" want in. Here come the robots wanting a place at the table. What would Lincoln, the simplifier, do?

1. Why not reframe and simplify the issue.

Provide that only those who are qualified to vote can contribute to campaigns. Period. New rule.

Only human people can vote:  not "legal persons" (corporations) who have no need to breathe, for healthcare, for shelter, for clothing, for transportation to employment, for food (except cash), for education. They just have a want - for profit.

Humans, therefore, who have those needs, and who are therefore qualified to vote, can give all they want from their own war-chests. Children also are human. Let them participate. Needs now, vote later. Still qualified.
  • Named individuals, not "corporations." This builds in helpful accountability, and transparency about where the money is coming from, what interests are revved up, while preserving each qualified human's first amendment rights. If more money is contributed than the person declared as income, the IRS will be happy to investigate.
  • "Humans". That is what governments and governing is supposed to be about. Humans with needs and feelings, pursuit of happiness in mind. Without that humans-only provision, if corporations can give directly on their own behalf, imagine the tax-fogged dollars to be unleashed for persuasion purposes for their profit only. Off-shore accounts, man your battle stations. A tsunami of propaganda and ads from sources unknown, and opinion churning, all now to displace even more of our endangered fact-challenged ersatz news. Let the entertainment begin and the barbs fly. And get that emotional commitment from the base by the most effective PR techniques, before the information can get out in a neutral way. We have too much of that already.

At least, if vast amounts are to fly, let us see whose individual interest is footing the bill; how much; and since the campaign contribution will not be not tax-deductible, it is from the after-tax income of the contributor.

Money is inherently dangerous, thus requiring strict scrutiny as to its disposition.
    2. Add more.
    • Contributions are gifts for tax purposes. Add that the gift tax laws apply to all campaign contributions. It is a gift, after all. That way, there are limits to the amount that can be gifted, before other consequences are triggered. Fine. The gift must be complete in order to be "contributed" - no loans to self. No loans. No returns. FN 2
    • The gift must be a gift. Add that the donor has to complete the gift, out of his or her power of disposition, complete transfer no strings, no getting it back, as of the election day itself. To be worked out. 
    • Time, place and manner. There are time, place and manner restrictions available to any first amendment issue. Here, the manner of the speech - campaign contribution money - is to be off limits to corporations as a matter of public policy. 
    • The value of gifts (services, things) to campaigns - to be worked out - same as cash? rule it out? Or tax those gifts as gifts. Income to recipient once certain threshhold is passed. What is that now - $12,000? Debate at next Town Hall. Ideas welcome, shouters not. Another "manner" restriction applies there.
    3. Review: Blood in your veins? Human? Pay all you like.

    No blood in your veins? Talk through individuals willing to front you.  The robot's manner of speech shall not be cash, however. What if the CEO pays for an ad personally? Fine.

    Work with us here. We are scheduling Town Halls.  No one source has all the answers.  List what you like and what you don't, state your facts, and we can discuss. Now, that's community organizing.

    We like:  Names names in donor lists, so that other voters can see what is being bought, or seeking to purchase.

    Must there be a limit on what an individual can contribute? So far, we think not. The funds contributed would not be tax deductible, and subject to gift tax, so what is the problem. The person can give to the limit of the annual gift exclusion, of course, without problem.

    Harry X contributes 6 million, that is Harry's decision. Voters see it, and call out loudly, "Vote buying!" And many Americans would see that as unsavory, but legal, and vote their own way.

    4. The case is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is scheduled for argument before the Supreme Court on September 9, 2009. See overview at the nonpartisan Democracy 21, at ://{91FCB139-CC82-4DDD-AE4E-3A81E6427C7F}&DE={4EE9C146-F0EA-4DF7-9D32-33721209523C}/

    The issue has been up before, with different focus points:
    • In 1990, the Supreme Court agreed that a state can bar a corporation from buying ads to support a candidate. The "immense wealth" of the corporation was noted.
    • In 2003, it upheld the McCain Feingold Act banning corporate or union ads that endorse or attack a candidate. Start with background at, an article from NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, Still Awash in Cash.
    Does this get us out of the woods? FN 1

    Work with us on this. We are scheduling Town Meetings. Ask, and we'll talk. No one source has all the answers. If you like something, we'll list it.  If you don't, we'll list it also. We can work with your ideas. That is what community organizers do, and very well.

    FN 1 "Soto" means grove, forest, in Spanish. See :// Sotomayor would mean a big forest.

    Somebody, then, who lived near or in such grove. Now, The Bronx comes from the one Jonas Bronck's homestead, past where the Indians forded the river (Fordham), and the Dutch authorities and the Native Americans entered into a treaty for the safety of the area, and we know this area as The Bronx. His nationality is subject to various interpretations, from German to Swedish, to Faroe Islands, see Brian G. Andersson at :// Melting pot. All this is to show that she can indeed show us through the woods because she is also a melting pot. As are we all. And Greenwich, of course, sets the standard for time. It is time.

    Can she lead us out of the woods on this one? Knock on....

    Gavel. Right to contribute depends on right to vote - Only humans need apply.

    Next case?

    Links: Plank: Standing Requirement; further option - Campaign Contributions by Donor to Campaign of Donor to be Taxed as Gift; Loans by Donor to Campaign of Donor to be Taxed as Gifts

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Political Disruptive Behavior Disorder: Chronic Child-like Patterns of Breaking Rules

    Oppositional Behavior -
    Learned Tantrums and Scripts on the Hustings.
    Seen:  Disruption of mass gatherings.  Free speech asserted by one group, impinges on the free speech of others. What does the Constitution require as to behavior fostering a democracy, or trashing it. Anything?   A nation of Tantrumic Adults, acting in ways they never let their children do, and who are those who set them in motion. Or is one person's Obstructionism another's mere Demonstration
    Coping with disruptive behavior is part of any parenting. But when does an entire culture have to have parenting. Our culture applies the concept of measuring pathological disruption readily to children. Time to apply it to adults.

    But who will  bell the destructive cats, and would we get the right ones.

    Reread a familiar tale about that. See Migratory Patterns of  Cultural Tales: Who Will Bell the Cat - Piers Plowman.

    Is it best, as Piers Plowman's wise mouse advised, to let the destructive cats run their course, better to live with it and absorb the damage. Better that, than risk the consequences of a forced stop by new laws. Limiting behavior with new laws sets the stage for limiting our own, and for the law of unintended consequences. See :// It's a bet.  Will truth out, and in time. What is whose truth and why. So, no focusing on content; focus on behavior.

    Are we ready to confront on behavior of our peers. When do we open our eyes that we may see, and apply the disruption pathology syndrome to the parents and grandparents, any adults. Did they tolerate it in their kids. Should we tolerate it in them, particularly adults acting out in the political arena in ways that destroy a process - not just against routine rules of home and school. Were they raised so strictly that they are only now finding fun and socializing in rebellion and fostering violence in the less hinged, like gangs. Gang mentality in our seniors, our "mature" adults..


    NO! NO!

    Enter, Hollywood. Is this getting like Chucky. Child's Play. See :// All grown up.

    Ordinary (but all pale) looking people, turning (or turned?) ugly and against anyone in their way. Our grandparents, for heaven's sake. If we would not permit children to act this way, why do we tolerate it in their parents and grandparents? Are they responding to emotional lures as though they were children,or does the technique advance democracy's ideals? What is so? Analyze along.
    • At issue here: First, the discussion of the disorder, usually applicable to children. Look up DSM IV Conduct Disorder at ://; and DSM-IV Oppositional Defiant Disorder at Diagnostic Statistical Manual.
    • Second, its current spread among adults. Is teaching and fostering this disruption now the mode of non-discourse of choice, for an entire political party. Skip democracy, think they We just might not win for ourselves if other people are allowed to think.
    What got us started: The trigger: We see nightly film and coverage of disruptive behavior by busloads of seniors (it looks like). How complete is the information they are acting upon? Why the rudeness, the frenzy, the joy in doing "it" - breaking every rule of social decent behavior they were probably once taught. Is the behavior fostered by organizers feeding selective and emotion-hooking viewpoints to them, instructing as to the behaviors desired, and busing them places (they pay their way, we believe, just get the organizer convenience of what bus to take where and when) and turning them loose.
    Our conclusion will be something like this, probably, but possibly not::
    That adult political disruptive behavior may be either

    a) a genuine reaction against perceived threat to wellbeing, to status, to care. Or, it may be

    b) orchestrated so the reaction methodology is taught. And the perception falsely implanted, without the facts supporting it as a total picture.

    Is the disruption instigated in those ways, by intentional organizers, whose goal is to disrupt, and not discuss or merely demonstrate; and have they found a vulnerable group, willing to follow a frenzy.

    This adult behavior, by instigators or followers showing tantrum-like behavior in public, acting like unruly children even, has risen in this "democracy" to the level of a disorder. Can we examine the childhood disorder and learn from it as to the adults it now afflicts. How about the organizers. This activity is mustering "mob" behavior, not "support." It is tantrum time in the political supermarket.
    What coping mechanisms can affect the disorder positively, so discussion can resume. Anything? In adults, perhaps nothing.
    Is this hopeless? Are we too far gone in disrespect, in dissing, in allowing our democracy to be highjacked by the loud, the repetitive, and applauding it and rewarding it with media coverage. Too much money to be made in showing the entertainment of it all, using it to create issues. Show tolerance of it and promote it by giving it air time. So, Probably.
    It works. Media, congratulations. You play a part. Your coverage without analyzing who these folks are, what their understandings are, who told them so, who taught them, leads us on. Politicos, ditto. Your distortive talking points, carefully taught with the skills to disrupt so ordinary old people hop on buses and do it, works. The vulnerable, led by the devious? Or voters, acting on their own?
    I. The Behavior Disorder
    A. In the child - the usual frame of reference

    Take the child, age two or three. Please. Or the adolescent, in early teens and older. Disruptive. Oppositional. Gainsay. Quaint. Normal, to a degree, in the young, where the syndrome is most studied. We smile indulgently at the "terrible two's".
    When the child or youth oppositional behavior becomes a pattern, however, it can signify a mental disorder. See Disruptive Behavior Disorder at :// The disorders come in three flavors - 1) the familiar ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder/; then 2) the Oppositional Defiant Disorder; then 3) the Conduct Disorder. Go to the site, click on them, and read.
    B. The types
    1. ADHD - this one already has plenty of publicity through school and child development research, so we are not focusing on it here. It may have relevance to political acting out, but perhaps not. Go to the Diagnose Child site and click
    2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
    You defy the authority of parent, school, other in charge. Argue. Refuse to obey. Basic rules are out there for decent, constructive behavior. You ignore them all and do the opposite. Take no responsibility for your own mistakes or even your bad behavior. You resent, resent, resent, and look for revenge. You have tantrums. Regularly.
    3. Conduct Disorder

    You defy the rules of the society. You are aggressive to the degree that you threaten, or even harm, people or animals. You destroy property by your behavior. You bully. Lie. You even steal. Your violations of rules are serious.
    As to children, there are named clinical possible causes of these syndromes. Neglect, rejection, all that. Many possibles. Neurological perhaps in many. The diagnoses is not just in the United States. See Britain's overview at :// The focus remains on school-age children, however, see ://
    4. Coping strategies. What do simple folk do?

    Think of the tantrum-ridden child or teen. What to do. See How to Handle Your Child, at :// Rats. It takes ongoing supervision by someone who establishes a relationship with the child. No fast answers.
    But the supervision doesn't have to be the parent 24/7, "These kids enjoy making you mad and they are good at it." Says the article. Adults: "maintain an emotionally neutral stance when giving instructions or consequences." Obama in the living room? Things escalate, can even get violent, if the parent or other adult cannot control their own emotions. Find something good to say about the child - some inroad to some positive aspect of the relationship.
    And have outlets. You will need it. Tantrums anywhere are a nightmare, and people do cave in.
    The role of discipline? Be careful here. No heavy hand. Give effective consequences. No willy-nilly slap-down. Click and see how at the site. See Discipline Tips for Parents, at :// Then be sure your instructions are clear and also effective - and how to do that - see ://

    Now - how to address the tantrumic adults on the loose. Does any of this stuff as to coping with kids apply to grandma amok?
    B. The Adult Behaviorally Disordered

    1. Will any of that work with the political mobs disrupting people's speech and stopping it, not just demonstrating their own view in reasonable turn.

    We have always had time, place and manner restrictions that constitutionally apply to first amendment free speech rights - what can be fashioned here so everyone can talk, in turn.

    Probably nothing. Look at the people breaking civilization's most basic rules for communities that need to live with one another. Have they resorted to killing off the opposition, in a sense. Have they chosen to allow themselves to be taught the behaviors; but, to be fair, their emotions were engaged by the persuaders before they were allowed the facts, so they are victims in that narrow sense. They are being used as tools. Is that so?
    It is noticeable that these are elders out there - at least on my TV. Somebody else look into that. How representative are they - and do they realize that their medicare is, well, another topic.
    So, ask: What about adults displaying Oppositional Defiant Disorder as to the place where they are - blooming where you are planted. The community. What about adults displaying Conduct Disorder. In the society at large, not just the community where they live. Are they just the disordered kids grown big? That doesn't sound reasonable.
    So, have they been taught? By whom? And why were they so susceptible to learning how, and doing the totally disruptive, oppositional behaviors, simply seeking to stop someone else, not address an issue as a problem to be solved where they may have had some helplful input. How were their heads highjacked into kamikaze mode.
    People can be carefully taught. Look up all the propaganda techniques out there, see as a start, :// Since the earliest 1900's, even before, the persuasion machines have been honing their skills.
    2. Obstructionism vs. Demonstration.
    How is a group mustered specifically for mob-behavior activity, to disrupt and even stop the other side from presenting its case, different from a group mustered to demonstrate its position, even obtrusively, but allowing the other side to present its case.
    Night and day.
    A group mustered for support is a group educated by facts about various viewpoints, so the group can and does positively show its choice. It does not focus on simply stopping whatever the other side is saying. It is fear-based. Lash to the masts. We dare not listen lest the siren call prevail and we be dashed.
    A group mustered for mob is persuaded by emotion-laden propaganda, selective information, so the group will disrupt anything in the way of it. It is not hard to muster a mob. Propaganda and PR have done this for over a century as a business. But it is hard to stop. Rev people into action from a highjacked emotional core, without laying out the facts for them first for their own free choice, and weapons are loosed. Persuasion, propaganda, all technique.  See Communications, Persuasion, Propaganda.
    Are those so?

    Philosophically, look to song. There is an old folksong that has, in its lyrics, as I recall, this line: The world is turning toward the morning. Here is your neighbor singing it: ://

    Is it? Have to look back at it in an hour or so. Right now, it looks turned inside out. Is that Gordon Bok? Will check. Lots of song references here.Yes - it is Gordon Bok, see We like the Dallas Cline arrangements, :// Singing. Now, that is civil discourse. Shall we require that all political commentary be in song, sung solo, one singer at a time?

    Now, back to how to deal with instructions....://

    • Check out the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM-IV as to Instigator, and Follower types.
    • Disruptive behavior. The techniques, the reasons. Town halls. Those who dream up how to stop the process. Roll out the tumbrels. Recreate Willie Horton and the preoccupation with one event as though it typifies a sinister whole.
    • Disorder. What is politics, and what is exploiting, even creating a mental disorder. We are used to current politics with the old propaganda, the old swiftboating (take one element of something and blow up and twist it until it looks like one of those animal balloon things, and say that is the truth of the element), but now we have it with mob rule at legislator discussions. Thought up, wound up and loosed by industry-political operatives, see that link explored at :// by Rachel Maddow. Later links, many other sources, but the point is not the tactic, but what the behavior says about the behavioror. This is a behavioral disorder, not a mere means of expression.  Seeing it legitimized on TV draws more disorderors to it. Is that so?
    When does disruption cross the line from normal, even useful and expected, behavior in limited situations (stop playing around and get off the tracks now), to a pattern, a bona fide disorder. There is a time and place for any "disruption." Look at context, rationality.  For any instigators, is this just a way to make a buck.  Is there commitment behind it.  For the followers, is this the way to approach community differences. Maybe so.

    Roots of disagreements.  Monstrous in the acting out.

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Opinions and Culture Wars. How to discern fact-based, or agenda. Teach propaganda defense.

    Analyze types of opinions, and their bases.  How to discern what the opinionator has relied upon. Is that reliable, fact-driven, or to promote agenda.

    A. Types of Opinions

    1. Manipulative opinions. 

    These taint because they are  
    • covert, not identified except by carefully tinted words in news
    • anchored only in carefully selected facts, the rest are handily omitted
    • designed to shape beliefs before the facts are in
    In the old dust-up between the Cambridge MA police and the professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr, who was caught in 2011 trying to get into his own home while black,, compare the news provided by the online services:  Bing seems to be dominated by sources of the AP, Associated Press, and The Tribune newspaper coroporation folks. By way of update in 2013, is that still so?  
    The issue is raised as to AP because of the justice department obtaining records of AP's news collection practices, see 
    This update is not about merits of the seeking;  it looks back at what the nation already knew about AP, and Tribune, and from the Gates matter. 
    Back to the focus: manipulative opinions.
    Spot the manipulative opinions in that case in police reports.  Are police reports fact-based, or to support the actions of the police?  Question it where the policeman himself is involved in a later investigation, and where facts may be reported and misreported in order to justify what the policeman did, and why he made the decisions he did. 
    Be especially careful of those reports when there was no back-up policeman or other person there to corroborate either side. Reports are made after the fact, when there is time to carefully shape it.
    Even if the opinion is overt, stated as what conclusions the policeman or other reporter drew, the failure to enumerate all the facts tells you they are being selective, in the interest of persuasion. Know your news source and the context before absorbing an opinion in any of its forms.

    2. Transparent, Fact-Based Opinions:

    These foster useful discussion when when they are overt, stated to be a opinion, even stated to be based on limited facts as available (no selectivity, just fewer available), and state all the facts known to the opinionator, so that a hearer can assess the connection. Opinions are useful where they shape an issue for a larger stage, rather than let significant issues 'go'. Truth is a defense to what is said. Immoderation in choice of a word is appropriate when needed to make a strong point.

    3. Propaganda Opinions Substituting for News.

    News adds to a fact base concerning an event or phenomenon. News informs. What someone thinks or believes about something is not news. That is opinion, and adds nothing to the fact base of an event. Facts include the who, what, where, when, why, how. Opinion churning, repeating and comparing opinions, presenting opinions, is not news at all. It is propaganda, depending on whose opinion is highlighted and why. Propaganda for a viewpoint. Is this laziness? Lazily done? Yes. All opinion is intended to persuade; but the measured, fact-based approach costs more money because it requires going out and finding out information. You can't just lead a panel. That is cheap, literally. And, opinions themselves, in the absence of a solidly presented fact base, fosters the emotion-laden selective-fact approach leads to propaganda. Watch the agenda. Watch the mob. Where to mobs come from. Not from fact, but from opinion.

    4. Ersatz Opinions by Polls.

    Here goes another industry down the tubes. Opinions by telephone polls (that is, most all of them that are reported in media) are highly suspect because they only reach people
    a) with landlines,
    b) who also answer their phones instead of letting messages accumulate, or
    c) who eagerly pick up when a pollster calls, and
    d) who do not question the way questions are worded. Answer the question anyway. Who cares.
    Who are those people, anyway who answer phone polls? People with nothing else to do? The ones with all the time, who make up the polls. Disregard, largely. Why don't the polls pre-poll for demographics -- that sometimes happens, but in a limited way. Who is answering - as to race, ethnicity, voting history (if any), party, occupation, time at home, computer use, educational level, and does anybody think they would get accurate information any more than the polls themselves get? Why do I think only aging whites answer phones for polls? Is that so? Pre-polling also puts too much information out there. Who will do that voluntarily with all the scams going on?

    5. Zombie Opinions.

    The living dead. These are opinions that take on a life of their own after a story is over, nobody bothers to put all (yes, all) the facts out in one place, so the opinions can and do continue to unfold.
    B. Opinions on the Battlefields of the Mind
    Look at The Cambridge police Sgt. Crowley arrest of Professor Gates, and the dropping of the charges before President Obama outlined what he understood and gave his opinion. That all happened after the case was closed. No ongoing investigation.But agenda-ed reports give it more life than the original story. Is that warranted? Examine the process of opinion-offering. Some functional, some not.

    Overbattle, by the main characters; and underbattle, by others, making other points. Be conscious. The undercurrent. Easy as 1-2-3?

    B. The Gates Matter.  The culture/legal war exemplified in Cambridge MA 2011.

    Watch the surrounding opinions, as an under-battle. Facts even though the case was dismissed continue to emerge or clarify, and with their treatment, and as they change, another matter takes center stage. This is a particular issue about regular people, media, politics and government - the Opinion Exchange. This seems more significant overall: the role of opinion in evolving cases.


    The President of the United States. One charged with looking out for national policy. Was POTUS properly prudent in using one immoderate word in connection with his understood and stated facts. Was it tied to those facts, and stated so. Yes, say we, and POTUS was properly Spockish in using it. The tone and body language remained as restrained as ever. The word itself had impact. Note that the police were parties here, in what happened; so examine their accounts of what happened along with the accounts of others. Opportunities for self-serving reporting on both sides, prof and cop.


    But some say no. Police always right. Look at their service, their risks. So: President Barack Obama and Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley. Examine how we might examine our opinions. See FN 1 as to Gates.


    C.  The Role of Opinions in Any Warfare.

    Is this Professor Gates situation of a citizen and the police a war?

    In a sense, yes. Someone is on someone else's turf, the original justification has melted away, and tempers are flaring. Values wars, race animus wars, presumption wars, authority vs. people wars, all conflicts, all recurrent in cultures. He /she who manages to sell a preliminary opinion as the Final Say, wins, so long as the facts do not radically change; and so long as the people are so sold emotionally that they do not care about factual error.

    a. Remedy if a problem is to be solved.  

    Is it time to set up Opinion Alerts, lest people get so revved up or entertained that they fail as citizens to go further to get the facts, or even realize that the facts are not in yet. Opinions become the issue, not the legal grounds of the case. For those who do not edit online, as we do, life is tough. Follow us again, if you can stand it.

    We need to look at measuring opinions, especially the preliminary opinions that so many may buy just because of the perceived authority or persuasiveness of the speaker, so we can defend, and use wisely, each in its turn.

    b. Opinions with Facts and Disclaimers Based on Situation

    Compare to opinions that frame an issue in a larger setting, and offering a plausible alternative.  As to the Gates matter, see and hear: President Obama at 

    At issue: legal issues, of course, as to any police action.

    When a President speaks, apply criteria to your views. What did you consider. Was the context off the cuff, or official. We think yes, that his opinion was important in framing the issue as more than just local, and in offering a possible alternative to whatever may appear in a police report, written by the police who were parties to the actual "crime" for which a person was incarcerated.


    Pull these criteria out any time there is an opinion out there. Is the opinion worth its salt? To what does it contribute as to scope of issue, and treatment; and to whatdegree should you pay attention? Analyze: Is the individual opinion:
    • timed before all the facts are in and laid out; and so
    • preliminary according to its own text statement; acknowledging that facts are still emerging;
    • supported in that text by a statement of the facts as they are understood so far; and
    • supported by a statement of fact in neutral terms and correct as far as it goes, with the conclusion, from those limited facts, allowed to be personal when separated out as the opinion of the good-bad-ugly parts of the case;
    • motivated (this is always hard) by a public service intention a) to frame the issue, in order to show its significance on a larger stage so it does not get "lost", as in a national policy and cultural climate matter involved, and not just a local kerfuffle; or b) lay a marker for later decision-making: this is what we have now, so we are going to go in this direction now, dot dot dot.
    • open-ended, so that changes information will be met with bona fide reconsiderations of the opinion, and the investigation itself left open in all directions
    Yes. Okay on all fronts. Mr. President, you were in bounds and overall useful here.

    c. Opinions Without Stated Facts or Disclaimers, Regardless of Situation

    Same question as above, but tools phrased differently. If you are watching a media talk show, or reading a newspaper, Lou Dobbs is going on in the next cubby, or Rachel Maddow. Or any politician or person perhaps with an interest in persuasion, and not just information. Some of the above are indeed interested in getting out content and information, but that is for you to decide.

    Is the individual opinion
    • timed before all the facts are investigated and laid out
    • couched as though it could serve as a final pronouncement on the significance of what happened, despite an ongoing investigation'
    • unsupported in its text by a statement of the facts relied upon; or the facts relied upon are so incomplete or phrased in such a slanted way as to be misleading, or so untrue as to be fraudulent;
    • motivated by a self-service intention: a) to persuade according to one's own interest in profit or power as to the end result, even before the facts are in, and b) not "inform" in a neutral way so that hearers can form their own opinions depending on later facts
    • closed. The speaker speaks with such authority, repetition and volume, that the viewpoint is absorbed and conclusive.
    • given en masse. A panel. Selected "experts". Is this opinion a cheap substitute for content and information by lazy or agenda-ed media, and the propaganda opportunity that opining offers to an unwary public. Sometimes the presentation affects the perception. Sometimes? Always? The loud panelist vs. the more timid, who may be more factual?
    Media talking heads, panels, journalism in newspapers (except the New York Times and perhaps others - we did see a seemingly comprehensive fact statement there) that did not lay out all the facts, opinion-churners, revvers-up, no. Bad job. Bad. Got the emotions going, few if any acknowledged that facts could change the opinion, and focused on persuasion on an ideology, not information.

    d. So: Our conclusions.

    1. Get your own facts first.
    2. See if the ones you find gibe with the facts given (or not) by the opinionator.

    We think the police had rightly come to investigate a possible burglary at the home of Henry Louis Gates Jr. That matter did not then pan out; but their choices in how they implemented the investigation, in time, place and manner of conducting the investigation of who the resident was, created the real issue. It was the time place and manner decisions in implementing the investigation that triggered angry outbursts against the humiliating and, the resident believed, racial-animus methods, and led to his being dragged from his residence and jailed.

    So the police arrested, booked, and jailed the resident for opposing their bullying, intrusive, humiliating (he felt) methods. By that time there was no danger, the original issue had passed. Everybody had an opinion. Some, those that are fact-based, frame the issue as significant, or set the stage for further orderly legwork, and identify themselves as preliminary and subject to change, have merit. Others, disseminated to further other personal or political agendas apart from unrolling a case, do not.

    Preliminary opinions can be useful; or devastating. When useful, they help offset the nearly insurmountable advantage that the police have in those situations: the police write the report on which justice relies as a start. People tend to believe it. Early opinions on all sides help offset that, especially where a policeman himself is a party. Gratuitous assertions of power create backwash. How to rein in dysfunctional, damaging, gratuitous force, verbal and physical, in a diverse culture. So: was the force used here gratuitous.
      • Stupidly done? The investigation itself was not stupid. Of course. But how the police carried it out, in ways seen as personally violating and overpowering, with humiliation overtones, was. Time place and manner choices triggered, in a person who had been culturally and racially sensitized, the outbursts.When danger is gone, bring out the PR. The word was used immoderately, but the concept was apt. Even if that word about stupid has now been softened by a lead opinionator himself, it does indeed apply to the implementation choices made by the police. The time, place and manner decisions. Behavior's choices. Discretion within the mandates. More important than the act is the time, place, and manner chosen.
      The investigation was made more complex here because, we understand now. that the resident was a renter whose identification did not include the rental address.

      e. Teachable moments. Education.

      One: Tell renters to carry an envelope that had been mailed to them there, as proof of residence- a simple matter, that satisfies the driver's license people as to residence. We are not sure any more if the Professor was a homeowner or a renter, and that would make a difference in the case. If he is a homeowner, then the dispatcher would have identified him. If he is a renter, then that would not be on public record.

      Two: Tell police to stay outside of people's houses and even off their porches after then are finished investigating. Avoid the opinion wars. Was the Professor on his own porch, with noone else around, or in his house when he was arrested? Is this a "public" disturbance when only the peace of the officers is disturbed?

      It makes a difference to the wars.

      f. Think of duly in your analysis.

      Duly-formed preliminary opinions by officials, including a president, that include statements of the early facts as understood both ways so far, are useful and appropriate. Preliminary conclusions may and can and should be drawn for certain purposes. Making a preliminary conclusion based on fact is not precipitous, or un-presidential, or in-appropriate.

      Unduly-formed opinions, however, by anyone else, or by rogue officials, that present and are disseminated as conclusive of the ultimate issue, are dysfunctional.

      Opinions that are agenda-driven, selective as to fact base. Propaganda

      • Unduly processed preliminary opinions.
      g. Sink the Floater Opinions. Every time they float by.

      A floater opinion is one that is offered by regular people and officials and news reporters and talking heads and other pushers. Its direction depends on the wind.

      These unduly formed opinions are conclusory in presentation, views that sound immovable and absolute, without laying out the specific facts on which the opinion relies, and without laying out what facts were gathered and known, or why prominent issues are not relied upon.

      Floater opinions are like the dead, given by the dead. Is that so? Conclusory views given prematurely and in absolute terms are cages. They rev up but have no life, do not change, take in no new information. Those who foster floaters just give the bald opinion. The great unanchored boat. Let 'er rip. Repeat. Add volume and visuals. Say whatever. Just keep it up, and enough people will absorb it and hop on board.

      Floater opinions are cannoned out - more metaphors - by people with agendas, and the agenda is not finding out "truth". The agenda for the Floater is persuasion: propaganda for the cause the benefits the cannoneer. And it works.


      Discern slant. All credibility hinges on the magic of "duly". The key to sound procedures. But persuasion can take over anyway, and that is why we need to educate ourselves on how manipulation by limited information works. "Duly" describes proper procedure; the order of things. Who does what and when, to preserve as much information as possible. Duly means done as required at the particular stage involved, at the expected time, by the person supposed to do it. This can be early in case, or later. The timing depends on the intent.

      How to assess individual credibility, motivations, and presumptions. if the "duly" produces reliable information about who, what, why, when, where, how; we can move on to assess how this should affect Life. If duly done, fine.

      If not, not. Knot.

      Duly. Duly is the tool for untying the Gordion knot. A Gordion knot is a public tangle at high stakes: where the one to make it untie can be kinged. It was Alexander the Great who succeeded in ancient Gordium, with his bold stroke.

      The concept of "Duly". Was it applied. Is it being applied. If knot, we won't get beyond it to learn something, or resolve issues. Our culture has identified a number of bold strokes - bold as in boldface this time- to get us through our cultural conundrums. What are our choices among them, and who lies in wait with deep pitfalls to catch us on our way.

      Waiting to form any opinion at all until all the facts are in is wonderful. But that is the dream world. In the real world, there are voiced conclusions frequently, not just opinions, but formal decisions prematurely made, by those duly agenda-ed. Only then comes a quasi-investigation, in order to support the conclusion.
      The trigger event, glommed in various states of spin, is accordingly cannoned out, so that public opinion that is calcified without fact can again rule the day; and even fog what happens next about the "crime scene." Neutral investigation and report, a tool of justice, becomes a weapon for other agendas.

      So: So far, we think that the President was right in offering a preliminary opinion based on the facts he stated, because this is not a mere local issue, but has national policy ramifications - what degree of force and obtrusiveness is to be tolerated by law enforcement when doing their jobs affects directly the perception of racial profiling.

      The President was also right then to hold back on direct involvement. It took the use of an immoderate word to make the point that the police are not always right, especially to some communities among us, but it was tempered by the context and clear statements of the facts he relied upon. It is indeed stupid to sack your training and push too hard when you don't have to. And then not show your badge to the one so angered?

      The media was not right in taking conclusory sides, however. Or in its partial quotations from the statements made.

      Is it appropriate for officials to assess and comment upon the action as it unfolds, to frame the issue, and establish foundations for next steps in the investigation and later final conclusions. Yes.

      Is it appropriate to choose carefully the time, place and manner of getting a point across? Yes. See this roadside speed warning. It works. And you laugh as you go by and stop and take a picture. No hard feelings. The benign approach can work. Try it. The President was right to criticize the heavy hand when lesser means were available - like just leaving.

      FN 1 
      FN 1. The Gates matter.  Background.

      We can probably agree a) that there was a clear right for the police to investigate whether Professor Gates was rightfully in the house, after a break-and-enter report was called in; and, after all the versions of facts that we have, and b) that both sides, in their choices of how to behave once it was clear that he was rightfully there, were woeful in some respects. So, this is a time-place-manner problem, and not whether the original action was justified. The police, as the ones in and with power, however, had the greater responsibility to be wise in their use of it.

      Facts, then unroll. And roll on.

      Facts are the observables. The things people said they saw, and heard. But emoticons have already taken over for many of us. Who cares about facts when core values have been revved up by the revvers. And the values get revved up by opinions disseminated, especially before facts are in. So we focus on that.

      Enter, Opinion. How do those affect how facts are perceived, are phrased.

      We can thank dissemination of Opinion for the emoticon dominance. Opinion: a tool for shaping the proper scope of an issue, or a tool for manipulating it. Opinion here makes this case is bigger than its own incident facts. So many opinions circulated immediately, some with merit, as fact-based, even if stated to be limited facts; some without merit as emotion-based. Each influenced the result still resulting.

      The churning of preliminary opinion gives rise to enough material to support a year's course in any of the following: American History, Sociology, Criminology, Public Relations, Political Machinations, Abuse of Everything In Order to Make a Buck, Good Intentions, Media Manipulation Churning Opinions Instead of Offering Content and Information, and personality journalism take-overs.


      Sunday, June 14, 2009

      Healthcare. Legislative Recusal Time. Financial Interest? De-Weight the Vote

      Legislator with financial stake, cutting off constituent interests in alternatives
      Weight the Votes

      De-Weight the Votes
      For Financial Stake in the Outcome
      Financial conflict of interest. How often does that arise in the context of a legislator and pending legislation, were the legislator has a cinancial interest. Weight the vote he votes. Higher for no financial stake; lower for financial stake proportional to the stake. Or the industry's gifts (bribes) to him, or his campaign chest. How else to counter objective financial conflict of interest.

      Recusal? Or, the weighted vote?

      How to get universal healthcare? How to neutralize the clout of legislators with financial interests in the outcome; their failure to weigh the interests of their constituents, is that happening?

      Neutralize the acid special interests, as far as feasible. Easy as 1-2.
      1. Disclose.

      Disclose the value of the financial interest publicly and objectively.
        Some provisions are already in place, but paltry. The flaw with mere objective valuation is that voters must wait for the next election to speak out against self-interested voting;

        2. Weight or De-Weight the Vote, to neutralize personal stake.

        Give full vote to the lowest level of financial interest. The greater the financial interest, the less weight to the vote. Reduce the value of each vote according to the proportion of investments to the topic being voted upon, to the entire portfolio.

        • A full vote. This is awarded to the legislator who holds 5% of the value in his portfolio for healthcare investments-related interests; or $10,000, whichever value is lower.
        • Down to a two-thirds vote. This is awarded to the legislator who holds 10% of the value in his portfolio for healthcare; or $20,000, whichever value is lower. Such a deal.
        • Down to a one third vote. This is awarded to the legislator who holds for more than 10% of the value in his portfolio for healthcare, or $30,000, whichever value lower.
        • Recuse. This is required for the legislator 1) who holds more than 15% of the value in his portfolio, or $50,000, whichever value is lower; or 2) fails to disclose as required. Recuse: disqualify oneself or be disqualified based on grounds of prejudice, conflict of interest, or involvement. See :// This is objective by objective standards, not countered by personal statements vowing the person will not be swayed by his or her own portfolio..
        Legislators have the option now to recuse at any level of financial interest, but who does?
        Issues of fundamental rights, which should include universal healthcare, are not for the financially self-interested profiteers to decide in an unhindered way.
        Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness Require Healthcare. Decide it with objectivity.

        A. Healthcare is, to people, a fundamental right.

        Constitutional approach. Find a Fundamental Nature in Right to Healthcare. See fundamental rights at :// Essential to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.

        For example, voting is already considered fundamental. Speculate: is healthcare also so basic that it deserves special protection, as against its being treated as a mere commercial commodity. Then see the Declaration of Independence as a start for how to interpret the Constitution.Reread the Declaration of Independence, see :// Each of us has an inalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. That right is thwarted when reasonable healthcare is denied.
        B. How to rein in special interests, high personal stakes in outcomes

        1. Recusal of legislators

        How do voters re-assume power, power to offset the power of the money that is guiding the people supposedly to act in their interest.

        Do we have legislators divest, put funds in blind trusts, or have referendums (referenda) for these kinds of huge issues. This is an explore site, not an answer site. Where to go. Who has money for campaigns in referenda, or to push amendments. California has been in litigation about its issues for years now.
        Requiring objectively self-interested persons step aside from such issues, is not new.
        See this article, The Great Recusal, from The American Prospect, from the Enron era, 2002, at :// It traces reform movements - in 1917 after robber baron abuses, then the laissez-faire abuses leading to the Great Depression abuses. Its necessity: Reforms only work

        "so long as the power of voters offset the power of money."

        Capitalism is not self-correcting. Medicine needs regulating against the same kind of opportunism that plagues other marketplaces. Even the accountants, supposed to be a watchdog of sorts, were in on the deals.

        But then what happens. After a mass recusal, who's left? And how about the disenfranchised constituents?

        2. Weighted voting. Or, de-weighted voting.


        Do we say that a legislator has a full vote if his holdings are 5% or less as to his total portfolio; and decrease to a 2/3 vote if he has up to 10%, and decreases further to a 1/3 vote if he exceeds 10%. Is that a feasible outline? If 5% is too low for a full vote, pick another. More than 15%? Recuse.

        Either way,proportional weighted voting puts it up to the tainted legislators to either divest themselves in order to get full vote for their constituents, or put investments in a blind trust for the rest of their employment as legislator, or keep their coins and get a fraction of a vote.
        De-weight the vote. Keep the most self-interested legislators from having a full vote. First get disclosure with valuations reasonably objectively arrived at. See what proportion healthcare matters comprises in each portfolio. The untainted will divest themselves so they can give their constituents a full vote, or put their items in a blind trust. We'll know the others by their limping. * This starts to rid us of systemic bias. It also informs voters.

        C. Disclosure. Apply the light of day.
        Sunlight: World's Best Disinfectant

        Sunlight, Hermann Dahl, DE Artist, deceased, whereabouts of heirs unknown

        1. First, immediate disclosure of all financial benefit, campaign contributions, income and gifts received, promises made, financial holdings, related to the healthcare industry, healthcare insurers, and online now.

        Then, Recusal. Voluntary or guided. Disclosure not provided? You leave. Forfeit.

        • Disclosure is staggering along, with its equally staggering opportunities for obfuscation. See the way Nancy Pelosi's transparency steps in the House as to expenditures of members are capturing local interest - see
        • The legislator disclosure required now is paltry - no real valuations.
        2. Second, clarify the ethics.

        Ethical obligations of legislators are hard to pin down: few apply during the work itself. See Federal Conflicts of Interest at :// The ethical issues most addressed to date circle around post-employment activities; or receiving money from special interests. Those are simple minded. Dismal.
        How about the representative or senator (or judge) who holds more than 5% in investments that will increase with a vote this way, and decrease with a vote that way. What weight. Recuse, as to the judge; because there are other judges. As to legislators, think further.

        Why not demand recusal. If 5% is too low, you experts pick something else. But the tainted people step aside. If need be, for healthcare go a more drastic route. People can always divest, or put matters in blind trusts before taking office. Even Andrew Carnegie advocated self-divestment before death as an ideal for the very rich - see Gospel of Andrew Carnegie - Self-Divestment. That step also reduces the need for taxes. Read the essay.

        D. Enlightened Self-Interests

        The concept of enlightened self-interest rises again in financial and cultural terms. Alexis DeToqueville wrote of it in 1835 - see it reappear, for example in this 1999 article, The Economics of Enlightened Self Interests, at ://; see the balance needed between I me mine, and considering you and yours. See :// Self interest alone has long been touted as the natural order of things, all that is needed for a market to operate, and the best of all possible systems when everyone pursues it, ://

        This worship of self interest ignores, however, its malignancy. Look at the ability of one to cage the many, for the sake of that one's own self-interest. Would that diminish with full disclosure, that gives the voters more information and power at least for the next election. What shakes out when the dark corners get lit.

        First comes disclosure; then maybe comes recusal. An ideal. Gibraltar here.

        Head for the boat. Recuse before you disclose. Save all of us.

        4. The meme spreads.

        The idea of more objectively neutral decision-makers is in the wind.

        An inroad has been made already in the issue of personal financial interest recusals, in the area of judges. See fast overview of recusal area at the everyman's :// Find a more legal analysis of the recent case, Caperton v. A. T. Massey Coal Company , at ://; and the U.S. Supreme Court News account at ://

        Those are due process issues, in litigation. But there are parallels between a judge in an adjudication, and an elected official standing in judgment on a piece of legislation - thumbs up or thumbs down, in the best Colisseum tradition. The legislator votes himself healthcare. Most of them have plenty of money to pay for whatever. What do they care. Is that it?

        5. Time's Up. Weighting Vote and Recusals Now. Why not?

        You with time and expertise. Healthcare.
        It is not just a commodity any more. What is more basic to the productivity of the country than healthy people. What is the role of stress in continuing low productivity, low motivation, hopelessness, the disease of disregard, rankism's worst effects. Yet, can we expect people to vote for needed change if it might -- read, will -- reduce their immediate income. AMA, insurers, whatever.
        Where to start on building in recusals against voting in these matters where the voter is financially interested. Are there ways. Listening. Listening. Come in, moon. Follow the money, says the New York Times, at We are and it isn't pretty. Stridency, self-interest, coming our way.

        Disclose. Weigh the vote. Recuse. Just do it. The Gordion Knot here just needs a bold stroke. See Health care, Human Infrastructure; The Gordion KnotValuation issues: pick a valuation date and just do it. Divorces are full of valuation approaches. Read up.


        If there are more than 50% recusals in the legislature, we do a referendum -- absolutely reasonable when an issue is this fundamental, as is healthcare for everyone. This site prefers a government option, in addition to private, but all the proposals are not in.

        We can do that. Experts, lay out a road map. FN 1 Do we need to amend the constitution? Why? Eye on the goal. America stands for life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Without healthcare, none of us has a chance of that. Does healthcare arise to the level of a Constitutional right? We could make that argument.

        Does healthcare as we institutionalize it promote capitalism? Of course. Financially.

        But what good is a capitalism that promotes unproductivitiy, keeps the majority of the workforce sick, encourages pollution, food taint, no buses, lousy houses, poor education. That is not capitalism at all because the workings of it calcify an artificial cap on competition. Hello, antitrust activities. Labor-fixing.

        This site supports the public plan healthcare option, in addition to the private plans people might want to retain. Perhaps you could tell. Death rides a green horse. Not only money as the color green, but the actual Revelations color. Not the pale horse you were taught at all. FN 2


        * How to know when someone is for you, or against you. Do we believe what they say.

        Do the people say this as to disclosure of real interest in the common good:
        May those that love us, love us. And those that don't love us, May God turn their hearts; And if He doesn't turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles; So we'll know them by their limping.

        Old Irish, found everywhere. Look up Irish limping. Then, look at your Congresspeople. Who staggers.


        FN 1 On the way, declare that only human individual entities enjoy freedom of speech. Corporations, groups, no. All group or corporate speech, if it is to be protected, has to be in the name of an individual.

        Financing. Only those eligible to vote by virtue of being a human being can contribute to any cause. Thus, all groups or corporations seeking to influence an outcome can only contribute in the name of an individual.

        Wednesday, June 3, 2009

        Strict Constructionism and Abortion: The Conservative Ideological Dilemma.

        The Perils and Necessity of Extrapolation.

        Moral matters such as abortion, or gay issues, may be briefly noted in texts; or not at all.
        Do we add language or not, to explain, or enforce.

        1. People who like the extrapolation, call it revelation, dogma, claim it is close to strict construction of the idea.

        2. People who don't like the extrapolation, call it misguided, heretic, disrespectful, self-serving and activist.

        Example: where scripture is silent on third party intervention in a moral issue,
        who is to say what to do.

        Comments - We hesitate to publish emails with individual names signed, but appreciate the interest and support. This topic takes more working out, and who has time to edit; but its bones look sound. Will do best efforts to condense. Many have said this helps bridge the gap in understanding differences among conservative, progressive, liberal, libertarian approaches, thought processes.
        I. Extrapolation and the Lesson of the Lighthouse.

        A. What is extrapolation.

        One, two, three, extrapolate. What is extrapolation? Anything done or said or written that is not in an original text is an extrapolation. If you like the extrapolation, call it revelation, or a teaching, or make it dogma, say it furthers the original idea, or some such

        If you do not like it, call it misguided, activist, tainted, self-serving, or aggrandizing the institution, self-serving, at the expense of the original idea.

        If you have basically conservative ideas, you may want to say your viewpoint is "strict constructionism." If you are more liberal, you may want to say your viewpoint is "pragmatic" and relevant to today's needs. The conservative would then call the liberal "activist." The liberal would then call the conservative an "ideologue."

        Let the games begin. What happens to that degree of predictability when there is no original text addressing the point.

        B. The Lesson of the Lighthouse.

        What causes Extrapolation issues to arise? Why extrapolate? Consider this lighthouse, at Urk, The Netherlands. The original design provided for this lighthouse to serve a purpose: to warn fishermen that the island is Here.

        Time passes. Dykes are built. Land reclaimed. Suddenly this lovely lighthouse is extraneous. There it is, on a stubby peninsula - busy, commercial, no island at all. Nothing to warn of at all. But the light still goes on. Things changed around it. The old text directions about put a lighthouse Here, are irrelevant to the new need - which is for other than an inland lighthouse. What to do. What parts of heritage are disposable. How to discern.

        Extrapolate. Add in what is logical: if the lighthouse is not needed, you can tear it down. Or use it to sell souvenirs.

        To some, that would be heretic. To others, common sense. Extrapolation is messy.

        C. Lessons on Extrapolation and Religious or Moral Laws

        Move from old lighthouses to moral laws. Extrapolation is necessary whenever a text about morality leaves a loophole, or instructions in case of new circumstances. Even if the text said, Do Not Change This Lighthouse, would sensible people pay attention all the time, no exceptions? Here, the extrapolation says: this lighthouse is useless, but a reminder of things past, and tourists like Urk because they don't need a boat any more to get to this old fishing place.

        Other examples where extrapolation can sneak in: there is an unexplained term. Or a later culture;s value-promoters want to implement a specific punishment to something that had no punishment before. The first idea was, don't do it; but there was no mechanism to force people not to do it. That means we need --

        Many moral issues are clearly stated in people's religious texts. Others are not. What happens next is extrapolation. enforcement is silent.

        Where a culture wants to enable third parties to intervene and enforce a penalty, followers who come later are left with the job of filling in the gaps that a Founder left, The followers then decide for the organization what and how to implement. Enter, enforcement, and interpretation.

        That means extrapolation - adding to text. Apply to the Constitution, religious issues, any set of rules.

        Those who like the particular extrapolation are happy to see it become dogma, defined as "revelation" or otherwise adopted. Those who do not like it, call it heretic, or "activist" or misquided. Where Founders are silent as to any authorization for third parties to intervene in someone else's moral decision, problems arise: it takes more problems with meetings and committees and conventions to hammer out what will be interpreted how, and who can do it, whether it should be done, who, when, how, why.

        Knowing that process, add back this choice: Don't extrapolate. Resist the temptation.

        When is it best to leave moral decisions to our fellow citizens and residents, No third party intervention or enforcement in abortion is authorized by any scripture, as far as we see so far. Stay with the no extrapolation.

        This topic necessarily shares boundaries with religious, political, and cultural issues. The approach here is essentially secular, however. How much involvement must we build in from governing bodies, in order to live together.

        D. Approaches.

        It appears that many conservatives espouse the interpretation method of strict construction as a way of minimizing government involvement in people's lives. It has been applied to Constitutional issues.

        Strict construction has become a rallying cry in itself - the technique of strict construction morphs into an ideology - an ism - strict constructionism. If the Founders addressed an issue, we return to that wording, and leave it at that. People are free to do as they like, within ordinary contract boundaries, for example, in any area not specified by the Founders. If a matter is not covered, leave it uncovered. No interpretation needed. Leave it out. Is that accurate?

        An alternative to strict construction is interpretation: Interpretation sees an issue that is uncovered, and wants to cover it.

        2. So we have choices: We can move from that rationale of strict construction, see problems related to cultural and religious issues, such as abortion, and extrapolate what to do.

        3. Then we need a base line for the extrapolation. The obvious place to start in moral areas is a people's history of religious texts, or all the peoples' collective history of religious texts. What did the originator say, specifically. Nothing there? What so strict constructionists do then?

        4. Western Christian Scripture? It appears that scripture does not specifically authorize third party intervention in abortion - it mentions other transgressions and includes enforcement; but not for abortion. Indeed, abortion is not mentioned as a problem of inducement at all. See Vetting Roots, Early Christian Writings on Abortion.

        There are other writings from the time that decry abortion but those were rejected from the canon, writings by some mainstream orthodox Paulian-minded Christians, and some by those later called heretic: Gnostics, others; and Jewish Christians, whose efforts to challenge the Roman sect failed. See Vetting Roots, Trial of an Abortion Vigilante.

        5. Now, with the current crime where a Vigilante killed an abortion practitioner, Dr. Tiller, those issues become relevant in a new way.

        How to assess the merits of a scriptural basis claim, if someone or some g roup supports the Vigilante and wants to cite scripture in support of his possible view that the deity wanted someone to kill Dr. Tiller (if he did - a suspect is in custody, no charges yet, facts coming out piecemeal). And that the homicide is justified in that or other ways because a) the State is immoral in refusing to criminalize abortion, and b)the Vigilante is moral in taking care of the issue himself.

        6. Forming a moral rule under those circumstances is a challenge for any conservative thinker. If there is no clear base line in scripture for the specific abortion issue, the conservative must extrapolate from whatever he can find, in order to arrive at a moral rule about abortion. This is also true for any area of human behavior where there is no specific prohibition, so people have to cobble together various references and surmises.

        7. Is any extrapolation "Activism". Activism can come in the guise of revelation, perhaps, or any addition to original words as best we find tham. One person's revelation is another's opportunity to set up a marketing scheme. Look at the phenomenon of Medjugorje pilgrimage site in Bosnia - the Church disavows any miracle there. But the people still flock, believing in the "revelation" taught there.

        How to determine revelation from hype. Whose dream controls? Could we even say that any dogma or decree or bull or opinion or teaching that veers from what was specifically stated as required in scripture is Activism? Extrapolation? That is a problem for the abortion issue. A strong prohibition with enforcement built in takes a huge leap of extrapolation.

        Extrapolate on that. If it is routine to extrapolate in religiom, then why not be an activist with the Constitution as well. Extrapolate away. If it is good enough for the religious, it is good enough for the secular, is that so?

        And to extrapolate is to add words and ideas that are not there - and that is Activism. How to tell if the extrapolator is continuing to serve the original Idea by expanding it to meet a new situation, and when is he advancing his own agenda.

        The method, extrapolation, that must be used where there is no clear mandate for intervening at all, may be incompatible with political ideology. The strict constructionist needs extrapolation to get what he wants. If he wants to intervene in other people's deepest most difficult decisions, he needs to be an activist to do that because scripture leaves the issue out.

        8. If language cannot bridge the gap between the Idea and the Institution's use of it, skip all religious references. Look to education, scientific information, to get as much familiarity with all aspects of the issue to all the people before asking them to decide. No more religious absolutes. Nobody will agree on absolutes. Give the underlying information about the developing physique, mental awareness, sensory development. We can make progress here.

        If we stay with language, then follow the money and control. Which interpretations further the concepts in the Founder's Idea in earliest texts; and which extrapolations further an individual's or group's desire for power over others. Silence is intentional.

        Skip the labeling of extrapolations as strict construction or activist. Neither is a pure concept,

        Permission to Amend.

        Did any original text specify that there were to be no further additions or comments to it? What is the effect of what is proposed by each side. Control, forcing people to accept this interpretation or that in a moral decision, is unacceptable activism. FN 1


        FN 1. This takes working out. The idea that abortion law rationales are this circular - not easy. But it does help explain why we are getting nowhere with the intervention angle. Conservatives have to become liberal in order to justify it. Intervention takes extrapolation.
        • Extrapolation, not Activism.
        So far: To arrive at a moral rule, where a clear one is lacking in Founding documents, can we avoid the pejoratives.

        If extrapolation continues to serve, expand upon, the original idea. there may be no objection. An extrapolation can also serves the personal interest of the extrapolator - politics, lucre, whatever. Who is to say which is which. At some point, the extrapolation becomes "activism." But some degree of extrapolation is always needed if there is no direct statement on point. How else is someone to fully explain the reasoning? The gray areas are overwhelming.

        Surmise in both cases, but a different motivation, effect.Then, if surmise about what a deith wants, for those addressing ideology, it becomes more complex. For centuries people have done battle over what each thinks the deity wants.
        • Hwaet. Extrapolation. Activism. Neither fits "strict construction". If we can extrapolate in finding moral laws against abortion, when nothing is mentioned in scripture, and that in itself is a kind of activism. and conjecture and later opinions that do not always agree after all, then we can use activism in all areas of our life - including the Constitution.
        Activism and extrapolation suddenly becomes a conservative value if a conservative wants to find a moral law where none is written. There has to be extrapolation.

        Look - the conservative jurors are nodding - they are interested in an analysis of all these terms. Nobody explained it to them before. Cable Right gets apoplexy. And then the issue becomes whether the activist is extrapolating to further the aim of an original idea, or merely advancing one's own agenda. Always a talking point.
        • Strict Constructionism.
        Or, to arrive at a moral rule, we can be strict constructionists. The strict constructionist approach is to leave an issue where Founders left it.

        If the Founders said nothing, we leave it at that. No penumbra, no nothing. If out then, it is out now. A true conservative would look at what the Founders did or did not do about abortion, and let it stay there. No third party involvement, no mention, leave it to the people involved and the deity..
        • Hwaet again. We are at the same result either way. Whether activist or strict constructionist, the result is the same: leave abortion out of the public view. No third parties involved in the decision. Provide the health setting, the care, and good, attractive choices elsewhere (daycare, adoption, etc), and everybody go home..
        So, noone has been able to lay out a workable law against it and for enforcement in a way that does not cause greater evils. See history. And that's they way it is.
        This also applies to gay and lesbian activities - narrow construction of the little bits about it do not lead to the "activist" result that it is all so heinous. Strict constructionism would have to let the issue be: a circumstance to deplore, some would say, but no authorization to intervene. Let the issue be. Just don't tell that you use The Position. Who's to know?

        Back to abortion and Dr. Tiller.

        Perhaps this Vigilante never considered those finer points of reasoning; , and was simply persuaded, revved up over time by inclination plus other people and groups. Memes began to fly a decade ago.

        So he started off small, then joined with others who want something their way regardless. Extremism attracts extremism. Mutual feeding frenzies. Is there a pattern of acting out here. Connections with other groups. Wait and see. Ideologies can do that. Take over, in a sense. See Fear the Follower. Is fear of ideological followers a legitimate concern, with sophisticated communications techniques and marketing so much of our culture?
        Higher moral order: Did the Vigilante really think through his higher moral order, and what his actions meant? Possible, perhaps, in some form; but see how any good points in his value system are negated by the terrorism in getting there. Societal sabotage. Too much testosterone here? Something else askew?

        And how do conservatives get from strict constructionism to a moral rule that allows third party intervention and enforcement of something not prohibited in scripture - a whopper of extrapolation is required. Activism. The new conservative value. Big government restricts people. Little government leaves people alone. Take your pick, but be consistent.

        The wise choice: Leave the issue be. Use scientific information to educate everyone about every aspect of the process, the development, the sensory stage, the shape. Common sense may emerge. The Founders back then knew what they were doing in that area. There are no answers, so leave the people to their issues, in their own fear and trembling. Even their disregard, if that is the way it is. The alternative is chaos.