Sunday, February 24, 2008

Art forms: Euphemism and Dysphemism - Fogging Reality

Fogging Reality

The bookshelves are picking up on the art of persuasion - see "Words that Work - It's Not what You Say, It's What People Hear," by Frank Luntz, Hyperion 2007. Make a chart of the same reality said directly, or euphemized (made to sound better); or dysphemized (made to sound worse). Euphemism and dysphemism are common propaganda techniques - steer the hearer to a point of view without their even knowing.

This book focuses on the euphemism - and not all are dysfunctional. Some are fairly descriptive. However, the choice leads a hearer to want to believe something, negative or positive; or take some action, do something; and not just get further information before alliances are made. People unawares.

Some are mild. Watch the degree of revulsion engendered for any other position:
  • wiretappings become electronic intercepts, like football - hurrah
  • tax cuts become tax relief, as though taxes do no good in the first place, and are mere burden
  • trial lawyers become personal injury lawyers, associating the injury with the lawyer
  • drilling for oil becomes exploring for energy - that's exciting, and not noisy, messy and profiteering
  • alternative energy becomes renewable energy. This one does inform - ok.
  • globalization becomes free market economy - hard to say what is being sold. Small entrepreneurs watch out for the benefits you get from all this freedom of the big guys to cross over
  • vouchers or school choice become parental choice or opportunity scholarships
  • privatizing social security (like private country clubs), in a current downturn because of the tanking economy, may become, in the next incarnation, personalizing social security
See this and other propaganda techniques that date from a US 1937 list (to protect us against Hitler).

Find it at Hello, Fodder, Propaganda Techniques 1937 ; and Hello, Fodder, Euphemism.

For Dysphemism, including uses of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), see Joy of Equivocating, Dysphemism.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Decision-Making Choice - Consensus To Reach "We The Jury"

I. My life as a juror. Jury Duty.

Living the legal fog. The use of Informed "Consensus" to Reach an impossible Unanimity.

When: Jury duty. Several months ago. Civil trial, products liability action, six jurors and from broad background differences, racial and economic and etc. Duration of Trial: Calendar time, over some 40 days plus. Main fuss: The financial impact that long jury service has on a family with a working juror now not working, and the substitute pay becomes less and less sufficient as the weeks go by.

Here some of us are.

How did we do? Fine, thank you.

Looking up that kind of case later on the internet, it turns out that our decision is well in the range of other cases in the nation on the topic, and our fact situation was somewhat different, as all are. No loss of sleep. Good job, jury.

But it took lots of hours before we had our agreement. Here is what I would pass on, because in trials, nothing is clear, all is rebutted, or rebuttable, counterweighed, snuck, soaring or the pits, and that is why the issue came to trial. Jury in. Jury out. Things happening while we are sent out. Mutterings from the congregation. Life in continual fog.

1. A jury can choose which route to take in coming to a group decision, so do it carefully and discuss it well ahead of time - the routes possible, not the case. You can do either route:

( a) Gamble that taking time at the beginning to discuss things neutrally, pooling ideas, will save time at the end, in a "mediating" kind of context, gathering facts first, finding out what key points are; or

(b) Jump in with pencil and paper, poll everybody, make everybody take a stand, see who are the odd ducks.

Got the odd ducks identified and quantified on a numbers scale? Then have at them. The culturally approved combat mode.

2. It is hard to persuade people to try route (a) where engaging in neutral talk is unfamiliar and sounds wimpy, so our macho gang prevailed and we went the (b) route - just get the job done and go home, several said. Combat is our cultural model, and most wanted that. So we did it. Muttering all the way.

And sure enough, the polled range was enormous. Ducks of differing feather at both ends. Everyone ruffled at everyone else.

3. So we spent more hours than we probably needed to because:

3.1 Convincing directly doesn't work. Noone can ever convince anyone else of a change in position where the position is "core" to the belief system of the person.

3.2. Allowing someone space does work. Set a safe climate for people to consider other choices, without losing face, and people can change their own minds.

4. What saved the day: the concept of unanimity itself.

4.1. Unanimity does not have to mean official agreement on the reasoning behind what we are deciding. Unanimity can be as to the end result reached, with each retaining rationales that suit the "core" of each person.

4.2 Unanimity only means official agreement on limited areas: not everything. Only those areas where the judge has provided specific questions. Note that in some cases, a jury may not be given these limited questions at all. Then it may be a free-for-all if it starts out in combat mode.

5. So, if the judge's form does not ask for an agreement on how an event happened, the jury does not have to agree on how it happened (and we did not agree among ourselves on that).

We can stay, as we did, with an agreement on percentage of fault that we attributed to each side (this state allocates proportional fault, not all or nothing) and reasoning remained unspecified, and each juror could retain his or her idea about why that end percentage was appropriate.

6. We still would have been better off in terms of time and emotional head-butting if we had taken time to explore issues and facts neutrally first. See :// Informed consent. Agree to get the facts out, agree to weigh. But also agree that compromising on permission to proceed with an end result does not mean change in core belief - the reasoning can remain internal. And don't talk to the lawyers or reporters afterwards. It does not help settle a case, or even clarify it because there are many reasonings behind an end result. Let the decision stand as the judge asked for it - on the paper. Some did anyway. But that's the system.

Role of Narrative: Humans, like jurors, put a Narrative to events, to make sense of them. Once formed, a Narrative is hard to dislodge, regardless of later facts coming out. So, get the facts first, if people want to agree more easily, and to come to an agreement that will last. Narratives based on emotions and not facts, or on flawed factoids, can still be firmly entrenched. Where facts are hidden, or there is little documentation to firm up facts, then anybody's Narrative can wedge in. Control the Narrative, control the world. Salesmanship heaven. See Joy of Equivocating: How Legend Supersedes Fact,

How does this apply to decision-making in a country, a government, a family. It takes some learning.

II. The Formal Process - Informed Consensus

See earlier post at Joy of Equivocating, Government for Dark Matter Problems - the WIMP, Part I here. That explores other ways of coming to decisions - stepping aside and letting others do it, accepting promises, using muscle, stacking the deck, etc. And at the end, consensus is mentioned as a way to move forward in a multiple-angled society. Leave people's personal reasonings alone. Just agree that you will stop on red.

If Consensus is a new concept to you, as an active decision-making option at the appropriate stage, go to Wikipedia. A good start for an orientation. Try :// Problem solving vs. the bulldozer. Sometimes just get out of the way, Agility also works.

III. Is this the Time? Does Consensus Now Combine with Collective Intelligence.

Is mutuality becoming a meme out there, a cultural idea, suddenly ripe, spreading brain to brain. See Hello, Fodder - Meme. What is collective intelligence saying now.

All those of us who are Wimps, in the sense of trying to solve "dark matter problems," see Joy of Equivocating, Government for Dark Matter Problems - the WIMP, differently, think back a little.

What if a focused, care-full response had been advised by those in power back at this Dark Hour and that care-full mode retained before Expanding.

Consensus means not throwing war around when there is reasonable time to explore alternatives, as here. A very long time elapsed before response, and then it was dead wrong. Did it work to Confront and dash about and Confront some more?

Are our leaders unskilled, given the knowledge that is indeed out there.

Would communications within and without have been more effective with some different skills, like" non-defensive communication" so we don't set everyone on edge and provoke a cataclysm. It can work. See example of constructive patterns at :// "Powerful Non-Defensive Communications." But nobody tries it.

Productive next steps. Schools. listen up. Our leaders are now in the fourth grade. Teach articulation of reality, not euphemism and fog. Teach about, and help young and old people watch for, a culture's collective wisdom, not just sequential egos mouthing on screens. Is this the time for the wimp. // What is the wisdom of the wimp.

Politics Current Application: For this site, we are watching the candidates. Who engages in Combat, the Oz tricks, like cutting off other people's motorcades and kicking sand in their faces (old think); and who rises above. Swiftboating - mountains out of molehills, without substance, but spaghetti thrown at walls to see if anything sticks. Old patterns still in use may mean the candidate is stuck, and the collective wisdom passing by. What is change if not at bedrock level.

IV. Does pooling information lead to better results. Maybe. If there is a choice.

1. Mouquet Farm - the soldiers knew the folly of persistence in the same path, but were left with no recourse but to carry on. Officers! Go around, fools, go around. And finally, bodies later, they did. Mouquet fell of its own isolation. World War I, the Battle of the Somme, Nazis regional headquarters, massive tunnels, Allies (Australians there) year after bloody year trying to go over the top and make it - beat it. "Mucky Farm" they called it. Miles of mud, blood. Beaten back every time. Four years. Finally, the wisdom to go around the bulwarks and tunnels. Let them collapse of their own isolation and weight. But too late the wisdom for the tens of thousands dead. See France Road Ways, Mouquet Farm.

2.Verdun. There the soldiers did speak up, bargained with the officers, too many dead: so, if we do this for you, what will you do for us?World War I, the Battle of the Somme. Here, the bulwark and trenches and tunnels known as Fort De Vaux.

The fodder soldiers finally mutinied against orders to go against the German artillery, with success. - officers negotiated terms for going over the top. The lesson here is an unusual one for the military -- considering the wisdom of those actually out there. Look up the Mutiny of 1917. See Studying War. See discussion of mutiny, the ultimate consequence of lack of consensus, and the place of consensus in the military, at //

3. Divorce war stories. There sometimes is a place for Confrontation, as in any conflict, because some people will compete to the death. And, it is also appropriate to defend, in most cases. Still, two sides, each in good faith (the big rub) can do a decent job of dividing stuff and going home. Can, not necessarily will. Safeguards and protections clearly needed simultaneously. But mediation and collaborative law are choices. The point is to choose, not fall into combat. Pick the remedy for the specific situation.

4. Required: Transparency. Turn to transparency for stability long-term. Much is timing, sharing information, putting on the table what you base your choices on. Wade in slowly. While keeping all options open in case of sabotage. Consensus, giving permission for results with full information, is a mindset, a status of thought, a waft of the common cultural will,. Wise, and in many cases it can, not necessarily will, work. Watch out for people's staging. People who rely on combat will stage themselves for it. Stage yourself a late-acquired ranch, and swagger. Everybody buy the image.


Post Script March 8, 2008 -

Why no request for articulation from the Jury? Judges get them all the time. Why not us?

The case has gone up on appeal. Why? In a case where the judge is the decider, the lawyers can and usually must get an "articulation" or "clarification" of issues, from the Decider. With these clarifications, the issues on appeal are narrowed; and, ideallly, the new information can help settle at something other than the Decider's decision, and avoid appeal.

In this difficult jury case, if there is a debate about why we did what we did, why not reconvene us and ask? Ask us for the articulation or clarification. We will be glad to tell you, because we discussed all that. We were only given certain "interrogatories" to answer, however, and had no opportunity other than those narrow questions, to explain why.

This is a major flaw in the jury system, if not reconvening juries is customary. Ask us back in. We will tell you. Period. We are not dumb. We had good reasons that fit. So why is this thing still going up? Huh? Ridiculous waste of money, and uses up the judgment that should have helped the injured person. Ye gods. Move on here!

Monday, February 18, 2008

How Legend Supersedes Facts - Emoticon Dominance and A Small Play About It

I. Background. Wedding the Legend. What do we do when the legend falls apart?

Stirling Castle, Scotland, Wedding Procession On The Way

The setting: A myth is out there, motivating people. Or an image: Political, historical, sociological. A narrative, a custom, a pillar, a tradition with a story supports it.

The events: Then - after the wedding, out come more facts, a framework that supports a different narrative. Who is this person?? Why didn't I know that before!

The reactions: Will we, who adopted the first narrative, then be able to adapt and change to a new narrative based on new facts? Or do we run?

Here - the fine Scots-In-Love Couple promenading to their Reception at Stirling Castle. Where are they now. Is their reaction to reality to hang on to the first in-love story, and demonize those who present facts that would weaken it. Or can they expand to include the new, and move forward.

And can they keep the myth of the perfect relationship, the perfect spouse, alive despite all.

Put this dynamic on a world stage: McCain, Creation, Kosovo. Any issue with a story line behind it creating an image.

a) If we based the first adopted narrative about the event, the candidate, on solid and thorough facts, transparency; then the theory is that new facts can be more readily included and the story can be modified.

b) If we based the first adopted narrative on few facts (fall in love and quick! marry!) and went on emotional pull, either because the facts were willfully concealed (the wastrel), or because there was just no time to find out, see the difference. There will be a huge pull on emotional and linguistic grounds to keep that myth going.

If we were convinced by emotion and not fact to begin with, we will hold to the emotion even when the facts are before us.

How does this impact information like news, views, attitudes. Some communicators even have an interest in seeing that views are formed on emotion, not fact - the propagandists - knowing that the later facts, when revealed, will carry little weight next to the first established gut reaction, and face-saving. This applies to religious areas as well, see Kngdu - Looking for the Meaning.

Is this true?

Enter Emoticon Dominance - a so-far cogent theory on how we think, or don't.

A small play:

II. The Example in Motion. Emoticon* Dominance Theory. How it Works to Perpetuate Legend Over Fact.

The Setting: Research, from a lab hidden high in the mountains.

Castle, near Zilna, Slovakia

The Process: Delve deep into universal human mental cognitive processes.

Join with us now, as we see a notebook, there on the table...

Let us read over the Experimenter's bent shoulders, as the recording of data, the consulting of dusty texts, continues. There are words used and crossed out, rewritten, a deep "Hmmgh" coming from the Experimenter's turkey throat:

"The Experience." writes the Experimenter, crouching over her work.

The experience is the result of the Experiencer interacting with the Perceived Fact Surround."

Move closer with us, as we peer over her dowager's shoulder, unnoticed, as she writes her next words: here in narrative form.

The Perceived Fact Surround . The Perceived Fact Surround is what the Experiencer understands about what happened. The Perceived Fact Surround can be either stable or unstable.

The Perceived Fact Surround is Stable if it is Accurate, complete, fully understood, in perspective. It is Unstable if it is False by omissions or commission, or other inaccuracy, trumped up, as by the Experiencer making things up and filling in gaps, or someone else doing it for him or her.

"Ah," says the Experimenter, with beetled brow.

"The absence of sound foundation adds to fog. And fog must be countered, most believe. Sometimes it must be lived with, but that must be discerned. That is so."

And she continues:

The Stable Fact Surround. If the Perceived Fact Surround is accurate and complete, the Experiencer understands it reasonably well. The Experiencer may enjoy what is on his or her plate or not, but is on solid ground to make what decisions are needed. The Experiencer enters a relatively Stable State. Life goes on. Oooh blah dee. See ://

Even unwanted facts can be accepted if the facts themselves are trusted and trustworthy.

"Good! Good!" nods the Experimenter. "That is just so! And now," she continues, "I shall include the details of the experiment with an Experience.

" Ah, here it is. The Photo. Great time, great photo, gorgeous Lady, but all in its own setting, its own Evening.
The Experiencer and - the Nice Lady.

Dan and Vanessa

"Everybody here is having fun, no strings.

"Facts here meet and match with the Experience.

"The Perceived Fact Surround of All Involved are in sync. No problems. Everybody on same Page. Stable. Yes, Memories are made of this!**"

The Experimenter claps her hands and kisses her gnarly fingertips.

Then she calms, and continues with her writing:

The Unstable Fact Surround. However, if the Perceived Fact Surround is inaccurate or trumped (factoids), the Experiencer may be led to think he or she understands it reasonably well, but decisions will be based on factoids, see ://

Then the Experiencer enters an Unstable State, where later facts may conflict with the decisions made on the basis of earlier factoids.

Or, the Experiencer may find the Facts so repugnant to his self-interest, as he perceives it, that he rejects them and looks for other justifications for Life Undisturbed.

"As with our Photo Experience," muses the Exerimenter.

"What if somebody had been leading somebody else on. Making things up, hiding other things, and feeding what serves a third party's interest to the Experiencer who doesn't even know! What if The Lady is in a fine role here, but has no deep personal interest in this particular Experiencer, despite the closeness of the pose.

"Alas! Whatever our Experiencer decides in thata case, believing otherwise, will be the result of an Unstable State - What if the Experiencer falls! This is a hypothetical, of course. Then learns facts later that would have made a difference to his decisions then! Tilt!

" And what if our neck-tied subject here is so downcast that she will not be seeing him again, probably, that he rejects that possibility, and makes it up that she doesn't mean it, can't mean it, and pursues her!"

So the Experimenter bends down once again to her notebook....

The Narrative. The Experiencer must create a Narrative about the Experience. Either an Unstable State, or a Stable State, can be used successfully by the Experiencer to create his own Narrative about the Experience.

This is because Humans need a Narrative to Explain their place in the world and who they are.

The Experiencer's Perceived Fact Surround, plus his Experience, leads to a Narrative that he creates defining the Experience. If the Narrative is adopted and is then challenged later, the Experiencer may well ask the ultimate question, Who Am I, If Not What I Thought? And that creates discomfort.

The duration of the Narrative relates to its origins, from a Stable or Unstable State.

The Stable State produces a long-term, reliable Narrative - based on facts that endure, even if not nice.

The Unstable State produces a short-term (only until the Experiencer finds out the missing facts), unreliable (but potent in its time) Narrative - based on factoids that may well fall apart because they are really made of dry sand.

"Meanwhile, we must get back to the Unstable State," mutters the Experimenter. "How long, really, can we expect it to last." And she writes:

The Unstable State's duration has been measured. It will continue until the Experiencer gets Wind. Gets Wind of the idea that he is being duped, led, treated as a nobody. This Getting Wind leads the Experiencer into anxiety, irritability, restless leg syndrome, liver spots, midnight hunger and angst.

"Now," says the Experimenter aloud, moving about the room.

"We need to explain how it is that the absence of reliable, complete facts leads, actually draws the Experiencer into the Unstable State. And the mechanics of what he does to get out of it, or others do to steer his course, in that situation."

She picks up a worn volume, leafs through with her pointer finger. "Ah! Yes! The Bull Finesse!" Back at her notebook, she writes:

The Bull Finesse. The Unstable State leads to the Bull Finesse. The Bull Finesse comes in two types, depending on Initiator.

Bull Finesse Type A. The Initiator here is the Experiencer coping on his or her own.

Bull Finesse Type B. The Initiator here is a Third Party stepping in to make the Experiencer feel better. The Bull Finesse thus can be described more fully as follows:

1. The Experiencer Bull Finesse. The Fantasy Urge, a/k/a The Reactive Stuffing.

This absence of coherent, cohesive or reliable fact drives the Experiencer to make something up, a Construct, largely stimulated by Emoticons to shortcut the process, and divert from the brain; and to swallow whatever, that will explain The Experience in ways that meet his or her Needs and enable him or her to frame the issue with suitable Emoticon shortcuts at the coffee shop.

The Experimenter picks up the Photo: "That obviously does not apply to our subjects, because there were no disconnects.

"But somebody else might fantasize that just being with Her means Heaven is around the corner and the Experiencer may stalk her forever! And make it up that the Photo Op was meant just for him. I get it now! It all depends on the Narrative adopted! Now, to continue!" And she writes about the second type of Bull Finesse:

2. The Third Party Bull Finesse. The Flying Intercept Ersatz Fact Surround (The Factoid, see above).

The absence of coherent, cohesive or reliable fact in the mind of the Experiencer enables a Third Party to interject therein an Ersatz Emoticon-Generated Fact Surround because the Experiencer simply hasn't built up his or her own Impregnable Construct fast enough.

There might have been a time delay, and the Experiencer's own Impregnable Construct mechanisms have not completed the make-it-up-despite-no-access-to-facts process by 7 AM. The Experiencer thus remains vulnerable to outside people making up Constructs for him or her. The Sneak becomes engaged. The Experiencer remains unaware.

"Now, how does the Sneak Third Party know that The Experiencer is in this Unstable State," mutters the Experimenter. She raises her head, nostrils flare, sniffs. "Yes! That's it!" There is a Catalyst! And she writes:

The Quasi-Pheromone Catalyst. The Experiencer, in the Unstable State, before he creates his own Impregnable Construct, exudes an Attractor, a Quasi-Pheromone substance.

The Quasi-Pheromone substance suddenly in the ether pulls Third Parties to the Experiencer's immediate vicinity. These Third Parties come buzzing with personally profitable PreFab Constructs, Explanations, Factoids and Useful Interjects for sale or distribution.

They are well versed in the Art of Articulating Selected Bits, leaving the Whole intact and in the locked cupboard at Blair House, sometimes catching fire. The Third Parties' spam email agents love venomous, emoticon-arousing cartoons and are especially enamored of Floating Conclusions, which they repeat often. See Familiar*** likeness here, from a very old print, owned.

The Third Party zooms to the side, or the airwaves adjacent to, the Experiencer in an Unstable State, and Explains, without further Ado or Adon't, and profits thereby, necessitating frequent deposits. They are spotted by their elbows and soles.

RESULT. Cortex Calcification. A completed Bull Finesse, whether called Ersatz Fact Surround, or Reactive Stuffing Process, results in a measurable Cortex Calcification within the the Experiencer.

"Sittin' in m' cortex, Watchin' all my Wits float by..." sings the Experimenter to herself. Then she writes on:

Once the Bull Finesse and its Emoticon-Generated Factoids are irrevocably etched and verbalized at the Coffee Shop, the Experiencer cannot thereafter reassess his situation without feeling that he or she is Losing Face. Thus, no subsequent Facts as to the real Fact Surround can break through.

"How do we counter this process," asks the Experimenter to herself, serious now, no longer singing. She picks up another volume, reads aloud:

'ANTIDOTE; PREVENTIVE. There is no reliable Antidote. However, there is a Preventive.

Experts agree that there is only one way to circumvent this physiological, psychological trap, by which Personal and Cultural and Nationalistic Narratives are Created, Fantasized, and become Unsurmountable even though later facts are disclosed or do emerge:

There is a Preventive to the Bull Finesse, known as Advance Fiduciary Dissemination, not to be confused with the artificial type.' "I can see that," agrees the Experimenter, and writes:

Preventive: Advance Fiduciary Dissemination. The only preventive to the Bull Finesse in both its forms, self-induced and induced by self-interested third parties, is a process called Advance Fiduciary Dissemination.

Process: Transparency Immediate. The Communicator finds (there are no barriers to the right to fact) and distributes publicly, and immediately, all Facts and documentation related to the Experience Fact Surround. For example, questions about who has contributed what to whose presidential libraries in the plural? Disclose! Prevent mischief from strings.

This must be done in an objective, neutral, transparent and complete and trustworthy manner, including financial interests and benefit, and before decisions are made.

Role of Angst. This disclosure also must be accomplished before the Experiencer experiences the angst that leads to Making Things Up On His or Her Own; and the Experiencer relying upon the Third Party's Bull Finesses, in the form of the prefab Factoid Surrounds.

Relevance to Opinionators. Any Opinionators expending Words shall disclose their funding sources as part of the overall requirement for Fiduciary Dissemination. For example, a newspaper printing an OpEd from an Organization, shall provide on request and online a full list of amounts and identities of financial supporters of that Organization.

An example of the Type B Bull Finesse, a Third Party's Factoid Surround, may be viewed with its Quasi Pheromones seeking cash at ://

"So, we have done it! We have established a new Theory by which the World Works," says the Experimenter, without enthusiasm, and wiping a small tear that has crept to a crease on her cheek at the thought. "But does that leave out Hope?" She, but writes on, doggedly, for the Ages or Wikipedia, whichever comes first:

Antidote: Work continues. The circumstances make antidotes difficult.

Jelling Danger. A fully entrenched Emoticon Factoid in the mind of the Experiencer, produces a Narrative that sets quickly in the fridge, like jello, see ://

Once jelled it can be mixed up with your spoon, but it will not then re-jell. It will become and remain slush.

That is why it is vital to prevent the original mis-jell. There is no antidote to a firm mis-jell except to make a new plate of Facts and hope the Experiencer will take it instead, on his own, setting the inadequate and still quivering slush aside of his own volition.

"We may be nearly finished," mutters the Experimenter, looking at the clock, and thinking of dinner. And she concludes in her notebook:

Emoticon Dominance. Therefore, Emoticons Win When a) Facts Are Incomplete, by Design or Circumstance; or When b) Facts Don't Fit What is Wanted Personally by the Experiencer; and Once Established, Emoticons Are Virtually Impregnable, Despite Fabulous Facts Magically Found Pursuant to Subpoena or other Means, or Brought to the Experiencer's Attention, Later.

She closes her book. We leave her now, our Experimenter, with his Work, as she reaches for a tissue, and tiptoe out.
Serious applications of what began as brain exercise -

Narrative and Belief. see the role of Narrative in developing an understanding, and how an emotional attachment to a belief before facts are in may block later consideration of those facts, and bar adjustment to a new reality; in the Jury Room - Jury Duty - at Joy of Equivocating: Decision-Making Choice: Consensus, Jury Duty.

What is the role of myth, particularly the legends arising after the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, in the nationalism of the Serbs still in turmoil,; or in the nationalistic desires of the Albanian Muslims. Or the role of myth in shaping belief in any group in any other country, including ours.

See a variety of posts on the interpretation of the Battle of Kosovo, 1389 -- the lack of documentation on the battle itself, but the vast epics, legends, poems, visions, that emerged to fill in the gaps, and the nationalistic drive that can result and destroy. See World Wars 1&2, Other Battles: Kosovo.

Bottom line - history and now: Facts do no good once emoticons are dominant. Emoticons rule. So stop them if they threaten to take hold before the facts are in. Emoticon Dominance.
*Emoticons - see ://
** See ://
***A saucy digression for sake of frivolity ://

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Institutional Fog Machines I - Organizations, Purposes, Premises, Modes

Fog Machines for Sale. Fog on the web! Fog on the web!

You can buy a fog machine at :// You, too, can be among those who are "filling the night with menacing fog," that the hapless must "venture through, wondering what could be lurking within it...."

If you use it, can you, too, be "Truly creepy."

See a sample at work. See if you can resist it.

You can find a fog machine in use at :// That is the site for the Federalist Society.

This should be a great group - it says it likes democracy; and democracy has great street cred. Roots in Plato, Aristotle, de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," see :// See a set of arguments exploring issues by famous founders, called "The Federalist Papers."

See what the Federalist Papers meant, at ://, and then figure out your own practical definition of "democracy" and "federalist" after two centuries plus of decisions affecting policy.

Thinks you: Yup. The name "federalist" was used back then. So it must be good if it is used now and we can just trust whoever is interpreting it for us. These are some pretty big names on that there website, yup!

Now: Go further. Examine the fog machine yourself. Take time with the site. Look for definitions of terms, facts laid out to support the conclusions drawn, and "white papers " aptly named, for pet projects. You will not find definitions of the terms used "about them" and you will not find a fact sheet supporting the conclusions there - but you will be made afraid. What sales techniques can you find at work. Blue book exam here.

Gather some tools for analyzing why that group raises so much money. How do so many people get persuaded?

Here is a starter list of how to do it, from 1938 so the topic is not new - it lays out what PR had learned in the 20th Century to that time, when it was so important -- World War II and all. People were marching in all sorts of directions, persuaded of lots of things. And ordinary folks at that. Like you.

Tools list.

Go directly to :// Print it out. Now, go to the Federalist Society. Do you see "glittering generalities?" "testimonials?" "name-calling?" - including perfectly normal words used and inculcated as pejoratives, requests for "transfers" of your approval from one authority to now another? is there a stacking of the cards at work, great efforts to monitor and weed out and get appointments so decisions and positions are or can be foreordained, and are you asked to hop on the bandwagon. Do they want your sixpence?

Now read the Declaration of Independence also at that same site, after the salesmanship list. The site goes on, but that is the gist for now. The "self-evident" truths. Start studying. Look after yourself and the truths because other people aren't on your behalf.

They are in the counting house, while the birds are nipping off your nose. See://

This is not an eagle. This is the Turul , a Turul Falcon, in Budapest, a nationalist symbol there, used here only for illustrative pose purposes.

Actually, we could use her right now. Something to save the day! See the real-life legendary role at :// See also ://

Friday, February 1, 2008

Western Cultural Dhimmi: Yale Frat Boys Zeta Psi Power Plays; Violence and Status Fears

Pecking orders.

We are looking at pecking orders that are grounded in a status from the culture, such as gender, or religion, and not in merit. We are interested in how those pecking orders are enforced and perpetuated each time those in one group are rewarded for making others second class - rewarded by getting away with it, reaping a psychological or other benefit. Overt ways, covert ways, differing kinds of cultural and individual violences to assert turf and status.

Victorian cultural dhimmi: "No Christian Blood" - aimed at a Jewish man seeking his property, while onlookers laugh. Godey's Lady's Book, "Charade," May 1865 at 430.

Including at college.

Take the illustration: the Jewish man becomes a Christian female, and guess what the sign then could say in support of ridiculing her. Go ahead. Think. No what? And down again go the scales of justice.

The habit, the accepted role of dominator, becomes part of a cultural dhimmi*: the culturally institutionalized enforcement of a lower class status against others. See FN 1. Is that right?

See what happened at Yale:

I. The presenting situation.

Yale males (Zeta Psi boys in particular) recently imposed their need to feel superior over women on campus.

They formed a gauntlet, and the women passing by had to go through.

See :// They isolated a particular woman, who was minding her own business, and as she had to go through the gauntlet, chanted, "Dick! Dick! Dick!" She felt intimidated and frightened. No wonder. Ick. Is this for real? They held up signs, got it on YouTube, about loving "Yale sluts." Laughs all around. Here they even put themselves on Facebook with their little signs, thinking that would boost their rank. Wrong.

II. What were the Responses to the Gauntlet. Not much. Where is the overall recognition that this issue is "systemic."

a. Belittling. Just a Prank. Yale authorities termed it a "prank." They are investigating privately, no publicity, no waves on the little pond.

That ducks the issue. Give it one quack.

b. Overreacting: Woman-Hating. The Yale Daily News called it "misogyny." That is off base also. It is too narrow - the fear expressed here is loss of automatic rank by competition - not just little boys angry at women. That Latin term captures nothing. It is too academic, linguistic and vague to cover what is going on. Give it one quack.

c. Getting warmer: Systemic. The Yale Daily news also agrees, however, that the problem of male behavior against females on campus is systemic. The Hartford Courant agrees, citing other examples over long periods. Give it two quacks. Systemic is the key.

d. Criminal - also overreacting. Women's groups at Yale call it "actionable sexual harassment," see also a blogger, at ://

But those words also miss the point. They whine. And legal action costs too much, distorts the issues. Who with any wits wants the legal system involved? That route invites "I dare you" and "Oh, Yeah?" and posturing and obfuscating and gamesmanship blocking justice. Keep away from it. Half a quack to the Women's Groups.

e. On point: Recognize the gauntlet as cultural "dhimmi" - systemic dhimmi - so root it out. Ten quacks. Make a quark.

III. What to do about systemic dhimmi problems.

A. Neutralize with perspective. A kind of vaccination you carry right around with you. Try a degree of humor but with a clear point - try See floral-digital resolution at Hello, Fodder - Yale Post. With the recurrence of the issue at UConn (University of Connecticut at Storrs May 2008, some action clearly is needed. See Hello, Fodder, Yale Frat Boys - Virus Spreads to UConn.

We could put out a recruiting poster for Zeta Psi.

Yale Zeta Psi Recruiting Poster

The Cave Man's choice. Tell the Freshmen to match themselves to the image of the desired frat. Is this by chance an athletes' frat?

The trouble here is that cave people are not necessarily as this photo suggests: fake, pretend, not grown up yet. Stereotypes are themselves a dhimmi. So we won't do it.

Problem remains: Intimidating women is not officially institutional in our culture any more.But it clearly persists in the Yale culture and other societal elements as a kind of dhimmitude.*

Bullying gone big. See traits at ://

And intimidation is theft of consent. See PoseJuxta, Corpus Meus, Law of Inviolability.

B. Tell The Story Truthfully. Truth in marketing. Get the point across. Put out a narrative that removes the glory of the doer against the doee. Frame the issues. Talking points: not whether people enter into pecking orders to organize their lives. People do that. FN 1. Here are some we found:
  • Pecking order achieved by intimidation immediately works, but is unstable, and culturally detrimental. It reduces the resource pool for solving problems. Intimidation as a recourse means the doer is not superior at all.
  • Pecking order naturally configured as those who do have superior skills, talents, offerings for the common good, rise because of those attributes, is constructive. Those persons do not need to use intimidation to get rank recognition above others. They get it by merit.
  • So the mere act of humiliating others demonstrates inferiority in the doer, not the doee. The lesson is that males (or any other status group) are no longer automatically uber alles, and that can be frightening to those who relied on getting it.
C. Recognize the Forms of Violence, So None Slide By

1. Overt individual or group violence.

This kind of violence accomplishes short term goals of turf or status, or ideological control. The place for it: carefully controlled. Keep those tendencies kept in reserve and to be used only for bona fide defense.

The problem here is that overt displays of violence - self-seeking - are effective in the short term, and that may be enough to get the job done.

Same Godey's: Pickpocket on the run, mayhem behind

Over time, overt violence breeds resentment and counter-violence, Resistance. Ultimate clash and overthrow. But meanwhile the dhimmitude is entrenched.

a. Identify early and control. Why the need for control? Because seeing and acting out violence attracts the least stable among us, those who see their problems as rooted in somebody else. Look up the methods of skinheads, see a status overview of hate groups at ://; check out extremists of any group, what are their myths about others that justify their "superiority." Search for the KKK. Example: One target group. Read this perspective on the Jewish hatreds at ://

Bar the showing of films of animal predatory and fighting violence for profit - does that not numb the viewer to violence of other kinds as well, feeding the frenzy? Reduce the stimulation from exploiting and seeing pain inflicted. Yet no restrictions yet apply, even though the activity producing the films, the animal fights, is illegal in many places. See Hartford Courant (this an update) 7/19/08.

b. Limit those in policy positions to the non-overdosed. If the issue is not to do away with its skills entirely, because defense is reasonably necessary; then at least keep those who are inclined to it (check testosterone levels of all seeking election?) out of policy making positions. Use overdosed persons for implementation only, and then with close oversight.

2. Defensive violence. This can be justifiable - useful for survival when under siege, if not let out of hand. How to do that, while allowing violent-tended persons to go about daily lives among others.

3. Institutional violence

a. Capital punishment. Some believe this acts as a deterrent. We think it becomes instead a role model, perpetuating itself in many ways, creating and promoting punitive instead of constructive environments and products.

b. Policy supporting acts and omissions against subgroups. The institutionalized Dhimmi establishes who is where by decree. This form of violence enables the individual to be violent under cover of legitimacy - It has the benefit of sidestepping daily random physical violence. Violence becomes a norm, predictable. The culture imposes a culture-wide rank and legal / religious system that defines and enforces.

c. Institutional dhimmi, the overt, legislated form, underlies the treatment of a sub-group within the "superior" group. The term originated in Arab lands, Muslim, and provided for the inferior but still protected status of Jews and Christians, in the lands of Arab Muslims. They were protected in the sense that they would not be summarily killed, but would live under severe economic, legal and social restrictions. See, for example, medieval Spain under Ottoman rule at Spain Road Ways, Jews and Christians under Muslim Rule. Dhimmitude.

4. Covert violence: subtle - harder to root out

a. Verbal expression of hatreds, phobias over time, but with minimal individual related acts above the radar. And those around failing to respond. Let them go. Let them do. Tthe culture follows along a path of rank by status, not merit. Then, if all is calm (nobody files charges), all must be bright, and the institution probably will look away, as did Yale. The individual gets away with it, to do it again.

b. Cumulative effect. Rank and pecking order can result from repetitive smaller acts, building on each other. The psychologically weak, themselves a lower status, can experience a vicarious success - they can cheer the infliction of dhimmitude upon others lower then themselves, from the sidelines. The Big Tent. Stand by while others impose fear of humiliation, loss of independence, assumes burdens. Covert dhimmitude. The concept that covers all. See://

Is this fear of humiliation and discrimination so core to groups in our culture that there is no hope? Is there any institution or group in western culture that does not rely on establishing and maintaining populations within it as fungible, disposable, usable without responsibility to individuals in that population.

And each time we find it, are we diminishing the issue by giving it separate little names, not the whole - misogyny, sexual harassment, racism, election fraud, anything to keep us from seeing the Whole. By doing that we also dhimmi. Elitism at Yale is ours.

D. Game. Play Find The Dhimmi. Go.

1. Dhimmitude at Yale. Go to Yale. Or, better, don't. Yale is not overtly institutionally violent; but may well be covertly institutionally violent: So long as it condones by "private" discipline the expressions of systemic violence by individuals within its purview to enforce rank, Yale is covertly institutionally violent. Other institutions are probably equally covertly violent, but Yale's Zeta Psi hit the news here most recently, so is our example du jour. We are pleased that Yale now has hired two same-gender oriented house parents for one of its residences, so that front may be opening up. But systemic sexism against women remains. UConn, we are watching how the institution reacts to the situation at Hello, Fodder, Yale Frat Boys - Virus Spreads to UConn.

2. Dhimmitude on dates. Go on a date.
Better yet, don't. Stay with a group, depending. Dhimmitude in marriage?

Popping The Question, Peterson's Ladies National Magazine March 1866

May start out fine (mine still is) but we have long seen a pattern of men imposing their need to block competition, and doing it by violence at work, in social life, at home, and that was even codified in religion and state. Go ahead and beat her; we won't interfere. Blame. FN 2

3. Dhimmitude in Government. The FCC selling airwaves to the one-source in the area, letting one source control TV, radio, newspapers. The "justifications" include the perception that people get their news from alternate sources - like the internet, says the always right Heritage Foundation, at

Is the next step for the FCC to see that each household that has a TV indeed also has a computer hooked to the internet? at no extra charge? to make the dream come true? How else can we say people already get news on internet so don't need independent news paper sources, when they don't have computers? Even the northwest corner of Connecticut isn't wired yet.

4. Dhimmitude in Elections. Voting procedures that pass constitutional muster but still have the effect of burdening certain groups. Funding. Elections carry with them their own kind of violence used to maintain superiority over the dhimmi voters, lest they assert themselves successfully over the party regulars. Require photo id's. Or, those with inside knowledge about issues, or methods of obtaining power, hindering voters from getting it, where that knowledge is significant to an issue being decided by those voters. Transparency avoidance syndrome.

Methods: Failure to fund public education acts, keeping some populations at an educational disadvantage. Using for persuasion purposes the propaganda techniques laid out at the Institute for Propaganda Analysis,

Playground, Budapest, Old Jewish Quarter

5. Dhimmitude on Playgrounds, the Internet. Bullying. Force in elementary school, see :// high school, elsewhere. Addictive. Dhimmi status. Define a group as replaceable, each individual in it as inconsequential, and the joy of force takes over.

Define a person as a target, an obstacle to be removed so you can achieve your greater goal. It works. The rush of adrenaline. And other chemicals bringing joy.

6. Dhimmitude in all the "Isms". Racism. Ethnism. Any other Ism. Including all religious Isms. Feminism** also has become a bad word - all causes have a way of setting one part of a group against another - women who believe in equal rights, vs. those who like not having them, one over the other. Skip the word entirely. Is there a substitute? Sexism, we suppose. But that sounds like a verb. Still looking. Genderism? Too artificial. Pan-human rights? That was a licentious god. Still looking.

7. Dhimmitude in omissions, as well as acts. The failure to fund. From your own experience: what happens when a lower status group shows signs of organizing and sharing communications and information so as to better look out for themselves. Do you see funding and approval stop? See, e.g., "National Women's History Museum Shut Out By Smithsonian," at :// Keep awareness of achievement in medicine, music, art, invention, under wraps, lest girls get ideas. Keep exhibits temporary, on the move, dhimmied.

These activities can become systemic. Repeated "withholding" behaviors against individuals and groups even when under the radar. Very effective. There is a cumulative effect of the smaller, pesky, but persistent, deprivation behaviors against individuals, sometimes covert.

8. Dhimmitude in Twisted Communications. Distract, destroy and deny. Here comes an Innocent Under The Table Competition Killer, direct from the White House to the Fox House. Will you be able to spot him? Nobody here but us chickens. See :// The Pentagon sending puppets with talking points to talk to we the people, and we think they are independent.

Pretense, fib and fog as communications weapons. That invasion of privacy and liberties without substantial safeguards and transparency serves anything but perpetuating those in current power, in power. Bully pulpit of government. :// Bully pulpit of Yale frats, Yale authorities who do "private" discipline, if they do anything at all, for systemic problems.


a. Change the meme from the model of life as linear and pyramidal, each stepping on and pushing off others to get to the top. Only one way to get from point A to point B - straight through You.

To the web idea. Security in life is at the center, when all strands are strong. Many options in getting from point A to point B. You actually can go around, or help strengthen, and not lose your own place.

True Rank goes to the fiduciary.

b. Codify the fiduciary eventually
at the federal level, so it preempts, a fiduciary obligation for each commercial, healthcare, corporate (!) governmental, political, interaction. Let competition have fun and be suitable rewarded for who can serve the consumer, voter, electorate, receiver, best.

Essentially, a fiduciary acts with full transparency, receives no funds from special interests, and places the interests of the client-receiver-patient-consumer ahead of his own. Here is an overview of that standard in the financial planning field - Phat chance.

*DHIMMI: Defining and enforcing a secondary status, without recourse to the one on the receiving end. Imposing and enforcing a second-tier status on a group, by actions, inaction, laws, culture. A way of preventing access to religious or political or other knowledge and information, removing competition, so superiority can be claimed "without competition." Overall, dhimmi status defines the rights and non-rights of the subject population in economic, political, religious and social areas.

The treatment can be even further down the ladder in some cases, depending on the interpretation given by rulers, judiciary of the place. See the broad range of views, testimonials about experience, and history, on the internet - do any search for dhimmi and dhimmitude, and read the variation in how dhimmi is viewed and implemented. Here, a highly negative view: :// This, more investigative - at ://

Note, however, that there is room for interpretation, a Taliban style, see history of the Taliban at ://, is not necessarily the style used elsewhere, and this is shown in different Muslim countries and populations, even though the same sacred words remain.

We decry that when we see it in its original context, as the secondary treatment of non-Muslims, especially Christians and Jews, in a Muslim country. We spend little time on dhimmi in our own culture. Pots and kettles. See://

FN 1 Pecking Orders. Animals work out their pecking orders, see :// Ranks. People also work out pecking orders, and seem to want to know who is where. And if rank is not clear, people will impose something, anything, rather than live with the uncertainty of imprecise rank. Human stratifications have been with us probably forever. Here, as an example, find Rome and its trappings: see ://

The pecking order is reinforced also by use of fear, fog, and violence; and by physical separating out of entire groups on racial, gender, ethnic or religious affiliation grounds, for put-downs, special burdens. Cultural dhimmi.

FN 2 - Covert dhimmitude. The argument goes this way in permitting it: Let boys be boys. No effort to change, make accountable for humiliation, forced attentions. That attitude, although not codified in most places any more, has legs. It is still acted out at home, and now acted out in teen boy-girl relationships. No codifying to justify, but pervasive - and nearly impossible to eradicate. Force among teens is just as addictive as in the adult world. Just keep people out of a position where they might just be better at what you do than they are.

Start early and often. See Hartford Courant's article at,0,3778293.story."Dating Violence Triggers Activism." Non-institutional, but cultural dhimmitude. Back again to bullying. See traits at ://
Now, add The sexist dhimmi, if you are interested in theology at all. It looks like another of the global-universal preoccupations of mankind - facets of the same prized stone: how to obtain and maintain dominance, and cut out competition. You religious folk: is competitiveness Original Sin? Competitiveness? Eve, the upgrade, did not compete - she shared; Adam, the prototype, blamed. A way to compete and try to come out on top.

Was Adam's weakness for competition the reason Adam was the only one kicked out, and Eve's tendency to share the reason she was allowed to go back as she liked? Who was barred. Read your OT. Try King James. You will enjoy. Starting right off. Thinking is fun.

Power-seeking as original sin: Fits. Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, both with the added twist of secrecy and sneak. We worship that. Our capitalism-worshipping western culture codifies the sneak; worship cutting out competition, in any way possible, and under the table is best (Cain did the overkill; Jacob was cleverer) is part of our heritage. Resist anyway.

FN 3 Some topics apply to other sites as well. Gender relations is one of those. The issue appears in Hello, Fodder - about disposable people - and here, where ambivalent responses encourage bad sturr. One gender as user, the other as usee. Interrelated issues. Do visit the Fodder Site, a 5/08 update re these same Yale Frat Boys behavior (the attack-by-humiliation virus spreading to UConn) at Hello, Fodder, Yale Frat Boys - Virus Spreads to UConn.