Sunday, August 31, 2008

For Country; or For Party: Critique of the Sarah Veep Selection. Little Red Riding Hood

Sarah Saga
Hot Is Not Enough

The Pretty but Unknown Road
With Lots of Shady Spots

Where does it go? where has it been? why won't her handlers let her out for appearances, press conferences?

We have 60 days to get information from a candidate who is in hiding. Without her input, much of what anyone has to go on is internet and speculation.  Come out, Sarah.

Our concern here is varying sets of criteria for who is the best candidate:

1) someone to do what is needed to win; hide information, attack without responsive alternatives, keep ethical and other information out so reporters and people waste time trying to find it, meanwhile the spinners spin, and the clock ticks. Secrecy wins. Violations are ok if the person gets away with it - competition.

2) someone whose positions look to the common good, the well-being of the country. There secrecy, misrepresentations, ethical violations are not acceptable, even though they may occur. Voters have a right to know in a democracy, pipe dream, but we can press for it. See Full Disclosure, for Small Government, Lower Taxes.

In pursuit of information: We are concerned with these areas of Sarah Palin's background, and want to know what else is there before we vote. Do we have any right to information?
  • flawed exercise of Judgment: The candidate's failure to disclose all reasonable factual information at the outset, and the subsequent spotlighting of a vulnerable pregnant daughter when her story came out on its own later. FN 1
  • inconsistent demand for privacy for her family, while parading around a vulnerable pregnant child in need of privacy, and still denying it to others. She stands for no privacy to others in their reproductive lives. Why demand it for herself and her family, while engaging in the baby parade. The daughter's pregnancy is not in issue; how it was handled by the candidate is. FN 2
  • resort to secrecy, nondisclosure, voters be damned. Continuation of the current administration and presidential candidate's policies of secrecy in matters relevant to the voters. This fosters unilateral acts, and unaccountability. Nondisclosure costs us all time and money. FN 3
  • this secrecy policy by extension fosters big government and higher taxes by failing to require full disclosure in every transaction of a fundamental service: provision of healthcare, drugs, drug approvals, special interest involvement, lobbyist identification, investments, everything that currently requires government regulation. Regulation costs in size of government and funding. FN 4
  • predisposition to seek and enjoy ill-gotten gains - ethics abuses, abuse of power, lack of clean hands, use her office to press a personal matter; earmarks while claiming 'reform'. FN 5
  • Palin fails the classic leadership test, see Classical Cornerstones of Leadership - as do McCain and Bush. No reform or change there. See classical sources, Greek and Roman. FN 6. Seek only those measures that will benefit her or those who help her in office - only increasing funding for the mentally handicapped after, as we understand it, she learned she herself was carrying such a child.
  • She is a cut and run reformer. Ersatz. She claims reform of some corruption in the Republican party in Alaska, but leaves before the job is done, or even shows evidence that it "took." She has been no maverick or reformer at all in the areas where government needs change - in transparency, putting service over self-gain, full disclosure, the people before self.

    At least she will not have to be a "maverick," or reformer even in a limited way. Her boss has already moved to the other side of what he had once mavericked about; is he bought and paid for so that any reforms he has in mind will not hurt anybody he loves? - see the Keating 5 -:// FN 7
  • Her "experience" is in malfeasance. Twenty months in office, and already a record of self serving. She stepped in where the corruption she opposed left off. Like any surge, the bad guys just lay low until it's ok to come out again. Sarah, do you really think your "reforms" will last? Where is your better service, in Alaska to see that the job is done? FN 9

B. Come with us now, for a visit to the Real Little Red Riding Hood - plucky in her own woods, as we know, but there is more than the local woods out there.



1. Story Time. Let's look at the newest candidate, Sarah Palin.

Look at her along with someone else who handled herself well in the setting she was in - Hey There - Little Red Riding Hood. See ://; ://

The real Little Red Riding Hood was better than the songs,too, and so, perhaps is Sarah. Is 60 days enough to find out?

For the real Little Red, Little RRH, this was not the first trip to Grandma. She knew the characters, the woods, her job. Maybe this was the first time she was eaten up, but Little RRH did fine even with that change.

Little Red Riding Hood was no slouch.

The wimpy little girl was Disney's overlay. See Migratory Patterns, Fairy Tales: Little Red Riding Hood, Grimm 1909.

Here we go: Little RRH carried cake and a bottle of wine to Grandma, to build up her strength.

The wolf ate both, then fell asleep and snored so that the woodsman heard. Where's Grandma? The woodsman thought Grandma might be alive in there, so he cut open the wolf (who remained asleep). Out pop both.

Then, it is Little Red who scurries about getting stones and fills up the body cavity of the wolf with them. Filled the wolf right up! The wolf woke up, finally - at that point - and tried to escape. He couldn't with the bellyful of stones, and fell down dead.

Ivory wolf head, antique hatpin 8 1/2" rod

So, Grandma had the wine and cake, and felt much better, and the woodsman skinned the wolf and got that, and Little Red said she would not go back in the woods alone if her mother forbid it.

She liked it. Hey, Mikey. She liked it. Girls can handle the tough stuff. Getting in there and getting the job done, in her setting - yeah.

No shrinking violet at all. Any girl can do what she has to in her setting, and do what's fittin' - but operating out of one's sphere is a different matter.

And not every woman is maternal. Fine. Not every guy is macho. We balance out. Division of labor. The issue is this woman for this job, and we so far say no.

Surges don't work. Solidify gains in Alaska - see if those reforms and anti-corruption last at all. Like other enemies, many times they just lay low and wait until you are gone. Surges to that. Force the laying low, but surges come to an end, and then back they come. Alaska: watch it.


FN 1. Sarah Palin has serious judgment issues.

We are appalled that Sarah Palin refused to disclose daughter's pregnancy at the outset when she was announced as candidate. If she had done that decent thing, the issue could have been part of a total package, and probably slid away. As it should. However, the Palin Career came first, so that she gambled that noone would notice (not notice a 5-months pregnant teenager?).

Of course it came out, and in a way that put the spotlight on that girl - and that other highschooler Dad - not fair, not right.

She failed to balance competing interests in a reasonable way, jeopardizing her own daughter's well-being.
How is the best interest of this child being served by disclosure in this spotlighted way?

What mother, knowing how the media latches on to stories and digs and digs, will put a vulnerable child in their path and all to further the mother's career step-up. There are spotlights out there. This is appalling on a human level. Not the pregnancy itself - Rapunzel herself also got pregnant, see Grimm's 1909 tale. See Migratory Patterns, Fairy Tales: Rapunzel, Grimm 1909.

Now the issue has indeed been useful as a stepping stone, as planned, for Mom's career. It diverts, as intended, from policy and international competence issues.
The pregnancy is not the issue - the handling of it is.

And the sacrifice of the best interests of the minor daughter, to the career of the mother.

Watch the secrecy issue grow and grow - this is a candidate who will be as self-serving, and spinning, as her boss.

FN 2. How a privacy matter is handled is open for discussion.

To demand privacy for one's own family, while denying it to others, is Alice in Wonderland. She failed to provide either the family planning information or mechanisms to her daughter in a way that may have deflected a pregnancy. This is open to discussion, as she has opposed sex education for teens in the schools. If it isn't done at home, the schools have to. Tax dollars support teen mothers in need.

Sarah and her family deserve the same privacy that she affords to others. People can be conservative in their own lives, but allow liberality in what we allow others to be and do. Who said something like that? It is not original.
  • Sarah stands for outside regulation, investigation and limitation of personal reproductive and child-rearing matters. Therefore, outsiders are free to do all that investigating and poking as to her family also..
Fair enough.

New Plank. Everyone's family, everyone's family decisions, everyone's family planning decisions, are off limits to anyone else. No government intrusions, no religious intrusions, no political intrusions, nothing open to discussion, except as those issues relate to a candidate's judgment calls, and ability to fulfill the obligations of elected office for which the candidate runs.

Period. See PoseJuxta: Family Privacy Act. See also PoseJuxta: Corpus Meus, Corpus Tuus. Law of Bodily Inviolability.

FN 3. Secrecy works against good leadership.

Palin favored secrecy over disclosure.

Palin has shown the same policy preferences as the current administration, in her handling of the issue: She favors secrecy, failure to disclose information that voters may find relevant, manipulation of voters by seeking support based on incomplete information.

Or, Palin bowed to political pressure. Let's say she wanted to disclose. McCain, who doesn't get it, said no. She bowed to pressure. Palin let herself be used as a patsy, and at her daughter's expense. Did she believe the issue would not grab attention once out?
Naive. See :// See also ://

FN 4. Palin's predisposition to nondisclosure costs us all time and money.

It costs when we have to backtrack as new facts do come out. Follow the idea - the only way to reduce government size and taxes is to legislate disclosure and truth. Otherwise we need regulatory services to set things right.

Disclosure and transparency save money, increase efficiency.

Theft of consent. It is up to the voters to decide what issues have relevance.

FN 5. Predisposition to enjoy ill-gotten gains. A willingness to take risks for one's own advantage at the expense of powerless others. No penalty should be borne by Bristol, but her mother has put her in a position where the very spotlight is a penalty. Who else did her mother believe would bear the consequences of this delayed publicity.

FN 6. Classic Leadership Qualities - Palin fails the test, with McCain and Bush.

Leadership qualities. What are the virtues of a "citizen" in our culture. We enumerate none over free market and profit.

Look back at the heritage we have squandered, from the Greeks and Romans. A leader had basic qualities:
  • courage (and that does not include "endurance" as another matter; courage is active confrontation activity, the battle, the standing up against in an active way, not mere "endurance."
  • honor - serve the gods and destiny, over self; when you leave office, go back to your old ways, no legacy, no profiting from public service
  • virtue - selflessness; the watchfulness over the city without self-profit
  • manliness - that included, where women were rulers, as in Dido, Queen of Carthage, the faithful and forceful discharge of rulership
  • stoicism - that is an overarching frame of reference that did not mean mere "denial" or "stalwart" behavior - it was balancing of one's own nature and desires with the greater Nature and its offerings
  • gravitas
  • justice
  • dignity
Needed: Exploration of the purpose of government. Is leadership to promote country, or party. Cultures vary in definitions of leadership - see Classical Roots, Leadership Qualities. The Citizen.

Until we have some idea what we are doing in our elections these days, what the larger goal is, maybe we can agree that Sarah Palin can indeed handle herself in the settings where she has been.

FN 7. Success in a small setting is insufficient; she lacks global interest, reach, gravitas

Palin, so far, has proven to be good tofu.

Put her in the sauce, and she absorbs what is around her. Political opportunism, abuse of power, fire the career people and put in her own party members (not unusual, we just point it out), earmark benefits in the Stevens tradition. That is not change.

It takes more than absorption, however, to handle the world stage.

FN 8 - Experience is not Preparation. Even the Anchorage Daily News calls her an absolute beginner in the broad, domestic and global settings and issues that the country has to operate in - urban, Muslim, economics, foreign policy, negotiating with the Putins, battlefields, intrigue, and big oil and other special interests with interests and tentacles so big it, they will make a pipeline look like a pipecleaner.
FN 9. Experience in Malfeasance. See ://;; Read all about it.

Cornerstones of Leadership: Roots. Greeks, Romans. Qualities; Ex: Courage (Differs From Endurance); Honor, Virtue, Manliness - What Those Meant

The Classics on Leadership

Courage - Differs from "Endurance"
 Manliness (applied also to women)

Note that Women Also Were In Power, as Leaders (but faced more role conflicts)

Here we look at specific leaders from classical times, men and women. We analyze the qualities of leadership expected of the "citizen" - the male, but note that women also were leaders, however more conflicted because of other role requirements. Of particular interest:  the leader served for the duty of it. He set aside his work, his obligations elsewhere, in order to serve.  He was not expected to benefit financially or otherwise from his service.  Instead, he was expected to build no "legacy" at all - leave, and melt away back to the farm.

Our sample leaders:
  • Dido, Queen of Carthage, ://, eventually spurned by:
  • Aeneas, Trojan leader, sojourner. :// leader during and after the Trojan War, taking Trojan refugees to Italy, and then Rome was founded down the road;
  • Creon, King, ://, who became King of Thebes after Aeneas' two sons died fighting each other for the throne, refused to bury one of them; and
  • Antigone, Aeneas' daughter, the brothers' sister, defied the King, was ordered to be buried alive, things happened, the King repented and did the burial himself, but by that time, Antigone had hung herself rather than be buried alive. See the play at ://

1. Greeks:

Four main qualities were essential to the true leader, in ancient Greece: we use similar terms today, but our meanings differ, see ://

1.1 Courage - a battle-type confrontation (not "endurance" - that is something different)
1.2 Honor - service to gods and destiny, free of self-serving motive
1.3 Virtue - striving for the best interests of the state, without self-pride
1.4 Manliness - assuming a powerful role, firm, measured in resolve and action, free of seeking enhanced reputation

This is the Parthenon in Athens.

The mindrelief site refers to the play, "Antigone," by Sophocles; and the epic poem, the "The Aeneid", by Virgil, sometimes spelled Vergil. The mindrelief site, that we start with here, apparently is a place to buy term papers (!), and it reviews those sources to arrive at these qualities of leadership. There is a separate discussion of the later Roman version of leadership in that article, and summarized here.

1.1 Courage is shown in battlefield displays, the warrior at war, or a non-warrior in a battle-like confrontation, resolute assertion of or fighting for beliefs.

This definition seems to mean that, to the Greeks, courage is different from endurance, sustaining self and sanity while confined, a passive state, not in battle itself.

This would be a different word, apparently, for one who perseveres; and not "courage." You experts, help out here. We are figuring this out.

1.2 Honor - service to the gods, following the destiny laid out by the gods, and that can include service to community. It need not be a showy involvement. Loyalty is required, to that path laid out, regardless of personal desire. The perception and following of destiny idea. Any selfishness, even in motivation, - detracts from honor, even if the objective act is the same.

1.3 Virtue - this is not a personal moral matter, but relates to striving for the best interest of the state. Ruling with excellence. Greater loyalty to the future kingdom, not self. Pride may cloud judgment, so be careful. "Single-minded desire to govern and watch over his city...."

1.4 Manliness - very important in this hyper-patriarchal society. But women, as Antigone and Dido show, can achieve its essence by "assuming a powerful man-like role." Example, and showing the pitfalls - Antigone: King Creon tells her where her place is, and declares, "no woman will lord it over me," see site for the line - number 86 in the play, apparently. Yet, Antigone remains firm in her resolve to see to the burial of her brother. Meanwhile, Creon's "manliness" is undermined by his pridefulness - and and self-interest, and those become his downfall.

Love of one's own reputation undercuts manliness. True "manliness" is full  "personhood" in serving the gods and one's family - think "pater familias."

Dido, Queen of Carthage:

Her flaw, despite being a great ruler, was her emotional outburst and irrationality when Aeneas left abruptly to continue his own destiny. This undercut otherwise admirably manly qualities of a woman (here, Dido of Carthage) ruling well.


The site notes that, as to women, especially as to Antigone who in all other respects is the epitome of "manliness," cultural limitations imposed on the gender waste Antigone's "natural ability and strong character."

Roman Virtue: Gravitas, Pietas, Dignitia, Iustitia - these were matters of deportment, personal behavior, a boy was expected to display these by the time of his maturity. See ://

Gravitas: seriousness, dignity and duty.

Pietas: devotion to duty, devotion to it, but with a cheerfulness in the assumption of it. Duty to the gods and to the family of birth, and especially the pater familias, the father. Also extended to government, wider community.

Dignitas: "worthiness, dignity in style, status within society, and what degree of esteem" is bestowed on the person (remember, these are males) by both "family and society." Standing in the society was both a privilege and a responsibility.

The further we go here on qualities of true leadership, the more depressed we get.

Stoicism: This is different and far more complex than our casual use of the stoic as one who simply stands and takes it. See :// (the same term paper site).

Does Virgil's Aeneid stand for Emperor Augustus? Didn't know that.

Within Stoicism, there are parallels to the Greek leadership ideals - The passive endurance-abused state of the captive did not qualify for the leadership quality of courage, as in Greece, apparently. This illustration shows captives, and arch is in Rome.

To be a Stoic is to live harmoniously with nature, and that includes one's own nature; and destiny. Put the interests of the State ahead of one's own interests. Be willing to leave personal pursuits to do that. Then return quietly to your work afterwards, not promoting one's self. Oh, my.

Do not let excessive emotion cloud judgment. Focus on the purpose set out by the gods, Again, motives can undercut the virtue of the character even if the acts are the same. A leader puts the state first, then fades away, not then act "to protect and glorify his good name." (Creon did that - also believed that his interests came first, and indeed were the interests of the state)

Modern leadership

Do we even want to go there? 

See ://  Does our permitting, even encouraging political leaders to build legacies to tout themselves, get in the way of their judgment.  Are they prevented from leaving office voluntarily because that would affect their "legacy."

Meander on current leadership qualities, choices. The lessons appear to be these - in summary.

To be a classical leader, put the country first; not your own desires. When you leave office, go quietly back to what you did before, no aggrandizing yourself afterwards. No temple-like selective-information libraries for a marketed "legacy." That would be pride, and show base motivational factors that undermine honor and virtue.

Do not equate your desires and interests with those of the country. No emotional outbursts that cloud judgment. Follow the destiny the gods lay out for you. Be resolute. Follow your beliefs.

Courage is in confrontational action; other words may stand for qualities of endurance, in passive situations, but that status is not classical "courage."

Stoicism: Ah - be at one with nature out there and the nature within. Balance. Perspective. See one's place in the total scheme. The lines blur, apparently, between the Greek and Roman ideas of the great leader.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin: Any Topic. Weighing "Evidence." Facts; Sales Talk; Distractibility

The Age-Old Conflict:

How to Find Neutral, Reasonably Complete Information
For Assessment Purposes


The Spinners, The Sales People,
The Propaganda

Example of source for objectively observed or observable:, for example

Example of the gray areas:

Distractibility with five children and their circumstances,
responsibility assumed in having them, workable in Alaska,
and now to be shunted aside?

The voter's impossible position - how to assess credibility, how to weigh vaguer areas, what to believe. How to identify the Selective Presentation, the Artificial Weighing of Factors, Regardless of Truth, if there is such. How to weigh what you hear, see, read. If the information comes out fast, with little time to investigate, beward. Here, we have 60 days to decide your future.

Straight from the horse's mouth

Tabloids and manufactured selling product "image" sites: These may have curiosity value, but no more unless the sources are disclosed and examined.

See issues in weight of evidence matters at Weight of evidence; and Weight of Evidence. Spend time to educate yourself on the basic concepts - otherwise propaganda creeps in. Right?

To fail to look at the issue is to marry someone based on a sales presentation, not the person. Pay attention, people. This is your political marriage, and just as messy to get out of if you make a precipitous and wrong choice.

1. How To Rate What We Get

When we seek answers, how to assess what we are told. Ranking the credibility of evidence,
  • Ads, paid and professional regardless of truth, essentially
  • avoidance techniques,
  • distraction,
  • talking points,
  • sales talk,
  • or primary source information.
Urgency: For a Vote in 60 Days

Evidence categories. There are several ways of categorizing "evidence."

This site uses different descriptive language than our legal training did, but the idea is on target: it fails, however, to emphasize that the value of what is learned depends on the reliability of the source. That is the credibility issue that these categories fail to address.

All these can be incomplete, selective in what is reported, therefore mere propaganda in the guise of information:

a) anecdotal, what someone says about an event or interaction;

b) testimonial, or evidence that refers to an authority, but then you have to know if the authority is reliable;

c) statistical, based on empirical studies, investigations or experiments; and

d) analogical, or the modeling, comparison idea. See ://

This is essentially the same at :// experimental, comparative, anecdotal.

Here is the better way: literally "tried" over centuries. The legal standards. Where facts are being "tried" in the public arena, the same protections are needed. An election is really a "trial" of fact. See examples of evidence at ://

And here is our everyperson's rough guide, to what we see in ads in politics, for example. What is to be given weight, what not.

a. Primary sources, direct, demonstrative. What the person says, on video, writes, a clear individual to the media proven thing. Direct evidence, primary sources - the direct information, the first source. Statements, etc.What has Palin herself written, would be corroborative demonstrative evidence. What she said - tapes, audio please. What other documentation is there about her, herself, on the issues vital to domestic and foreign policy. No spin. Her words.

b. Documentary - issues arise. Other physical evidence, more indirect but still probative - the paper or other media itself, depending on chain of custody and if it is not tampered with. What tapes may be spliced, cut, whatever the word is for messing around. Cut and paste. How will we know?

c. Hearsay. What someone says the person said - may be ok or not, depending.

The probative value of sales talk

d. Not probative at all = sales talk. Zilch. Puffing, is squat. People paid to make a point, no holds barred, practically. Persuade, persuade, and say anything to get your way.

Juries are protected by the judge making the determination what they shall hear, how they shall weigh it. Why are voters sitting ducks?

e. Sales talk is Ads. What are ads? Nothing. Not even "hearsay" - what someone else says the person said. Ads are sales talk. Puffing. False. No obligation to truth except so gross that the misrepresentation becomes fraud. Who can prove that?

She's already short-circuited us as to the advance disclosure plank: Pre-Emptive Laundry Disclosure.

4. Give Up? Talk yourself to a primary source person, someone who can clue you in, if they feel like it. See Cindy. She must have a wealth of information about John, what he is like when he thinks noone else is listening or watching. What can she tell us?


Sarah Palin - New Candidate On The Block - and 60 days to go.

Present concern
: We will be looking at direct evidence regarding the following. We see in today's Hartford Courant 9/2/08 that even neighbors have not been interviewed, there seems to have been no background check in a state that is small and word would have spread.

Things we do know: Area of abuse of power in office. The second is as to cultural impositions, regulation or private bodily functions and determinations; creationism in schools promoted. What cultural areas will absorb her attention, or can she leave those issues to states and individuals.

1. The concept of abuse of power. Is it naive to say that because there was no direct contact, there is no direct responsibility.

Naive. Naivete.

No better word. Sarah Palin takes a naive approach to abuse of power issues. She has said that if it is not a direct use of political influence as governor to intervene in a family domestic dispute, it is acceptable. She acted indirectly, by letting others know what she wanted done (fire the brother in law), and perhaps there is more - facts coming out. See / Washington loves naive. Run circles around her.

Bottom line. Naive naive naive. It is abuse of power to stir others to act on her behalf, then deny. Evidence of naivete. Naive is no quality to put in Washington.

As to saying she did nothing directly, neither did King Henry - "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest!" and sure enough, they did. Thomas a Becket was assassinated in Canterbury Cathedral. Let the meme out, and the speaker is indeed involved. Hillary Clinton moved very close to this line - see Waiting for Deus, Waiting for the Meme to Work.

2. Cultural Impositions. What do these positions mean as to how citizens are compelled to conform on cultural beliefs - creationism, interventions in the pregnant woman's decisionmaking, similar issues, see ://

3. Anecdotes. How is she seen by those she has worked with, not just general governor approval ratings.

4. On cultural overtones. The totality of the evidence on responsibility, follow-through. Sarah Palin took on responsibility for five children; the youngest four months old. That scenario is manageable in situ as a mayor, even a governor. But to be a vice president and also maintain parenting and bond with a four-month old (Down Syndrome does not affect that child's need for caring, affection, bonding - are the other children to do that when Dad is at work?) requires sudden uprooting spouse and five children, one at five months pregnant herself, to Washington.

Or, some or all will just stay in Alaska. A further distraction for a high office holder. What does it cost for weekend visits Dulles to Anchorage? On Air Force Two? Add it up. And what if one of the six needs mom. She took on those responsibilities, now ditched? We are all for women doing it all, but to stay 20 months in a governorship, then leave for this, hard to reconcile with responsibility.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cracking Nuts. Using Flaws in the Messenger to Block the Message

Watch the New Propanda Technique:

Block a Message
by Alleging a Flaw in the Messenger

Sell the "Flaw"
Take Up All the Time,
Avoid the Merits.


The Messenger Flaw Finesse

Probe an Ideological Issue.
Critique the Status Quo.
"This approach is not working."

Avoid the Merits
Bar the Doors.
Toughen Up Resistance.
Find a Messenger Flaw
Example: "Hey - Who Are You."


Meet The Messenger Flaw Finesse
New Political Gamesmanship

A. Backdrop: History, Fantasy, Politics, Voter Examples,
B. New Ad
C. Fostering Voter Defenses Against the Messenger Flaw Finesse

D. Candidate Flaw Analyses - Starter Dough

A. Backdrop

1. History.

The traditional military "shields up" move has provided a chance for survival for the side under attack. It is a cooperative, simultaneous and disciplined protection of soldiers for each other. It is the group equivalent of "I've got your back" idea, that any individual fighting alone is too exposed. Another must rise and join, so each can cover the vulnerabilities of the other.

See propaganda, or its genteel equivalent, persuation management, or perception management, at the origins of Ballyhoo at Sassafras Tree, Science of Ballyhoo and Edward Bernays 

Beleaguered Spartans.

They were defending homeland from dastardly and overwhelming invasion, hear the whoosh of a cloud of arrows coming their way. "Shields UP" comes the cry. Down our heroes go, each on one shapely knee, forearms through handy handles inside the shield, helmeted heads lowered but not bowed, shields raised and held firm to the sky, clatter, Aaanh Uh Ehhhn Hooh! Some heroes fall victim, but most survive to rise and attack, or at least, reshield before Whoosh II.

2. Fantasy. Clones at war. The Empire Updates the Maneuver -

Down slides the Massive Protective Plexiglass Dome, like a big picnic table deviled egg platter cover, over the hordes of clones, and the noble rebels on the outside have to think fast. So they do. The force shield cannot be breached, it can only be snuck, so it is.

3. Politics.

The ultimate update. The force shield as usual is set in place at the first challenge to policy, record, the best way to approach XYZ. Up go the shields. Down comes the dome. Deny, misrepresent, propagandize away.

But the political dome these days has another component. The Flaw In The Messenger Finesse.
Watch what happens: Another cry goes up, soon picked up by the media: Versicle: "But he eats his cornflakes without milk!" Response: NO NO NO.

And with that, the thousands of attack ad gophers are loosed, and rise from their holes to fake stuff and taunt, and against which there is no defense because there is not enough time to bop 'em all back. Bop 'em all. Bop 'em all. Bop the long and the short and the tall... No, no hope. Gophers win, and the issue remains unexamined. The Flaw In The Messenger Finesse.

How has this worked in the past? See FN 1 A human issue. Non partisan. Find the flaw in the messenger, and you have the perfect excuse to avoid examining yourself re the message. We are developing a list of people that many find "great;" and that others denigrate as flawed, therefore won't look at the message. Ready? Some of this at Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. Leaders, Flawed.

4. Voters. See the range of responses, mostly rewarding the Finesse move.

Fake polls show:

a. 10% of likely voters will pursue their own fact investigations, weigh merits.

Ten percent of likely voters will check on their own to see if there is a connection between the cornflakes allegation and the merits of the political position proposed.

b. 69% of likely voters will hold their own particular lifelines despite any contrary facts.

Sixty-nine percent of likely voters will go on with life as usual, gripping ever more tightly their grip on their own views, without looking into the merits of the other side, cornflakes or not. Gotta work! Gotta play! Hey, I'll just skip it all and keep this firm grip on this old point of view I've had for a while. We never get the truth anyway. So frickity doo dah. When life gets complicated, just do what Momma said Momma said.

Old Knocker Hatpin

c. But 29% will respond, in addition to holding on, by an increasing dedication to their Leader. Twenty-nine percent of likely voters will rally ever more strongly around the one who raised the cornflakes issue, supporting their old view ever more fervently. No look at all at the merits of what was proposed.

d. The remaining households failed to answer, hung up with a bang, or could not remember what they had for dinner last Wednesday, thus disqualifying them from response tabulation.

5. New Ad: If you have time, see a Fabulous Dramatization at FN 1. The Messenger, the Voice From The Wings, the People.

B. Fostering Voter Defenses Against the Messenger Flaw Finesse

The efficacy of force shields has surpassed even Hollywood's expectations.

How to defend against the force shield going up in the first place. Wikipedia says it needs authority in these areas, see ://;// so we offer this:

Transparency Enters the First Amendment. Prioritize Protections Against Amok Free Speech (read: exploitation, non-disclosure)

1. Priority One. If the speech is on politics, decisions for democracy, facts involved, No lies. Simple. Any assertion to be objectively verified in advance, verification posted.

1.1 Candidate or spokesman speech. No faking stories about the other side. Candidates disclose own flaws with penalties for later discovered non-disclosure; see Pre-Emptive Laundry Week; no misrepresenting efficacy, results, costs of, special interests interested in, prior testing etc. of political positions

1.2 Madison Avenue Games. Advertising: Fact check submissions for political speech, truth being far more important to promoting democracy than it is in mere commercial speech selling a product (we don't do that, do we, America?). We know you can lie in commercial speech and nobody cares. Do we really want that in politics, for voter decision? (silence) And the fact check submission process to be completed prior to airing ad.

1.3 Reasonable connections to be made, if any, to outside matters: Experience. Examine the whole schmeer. What did you have before you got married. What did you have before you brought home the baby. When does "experience" lead to somebody repeating it over and over. See Schmeer on Experience.

C. Laying Out Candidate Flaw Analyses: so Pundits can move on to merits.
Voters, LOWER YOUR FORCE SHIELDS. NOW. Start your search engines and go to Factcheck for these and any other issues, so you can focus on the Message instead:

1. Main Players.

  • Obama: new on the scene. Flawed. Not part of Washington establishment. Not paid his "Washington Dues". Not a sooth-sayer. Bought his house 2005 earlier on with help of someone later found flawed 2008 - even now a felon. Gasp. And no connection to any other project. See Factcheck and relax - :// And ://
Same arguments to counter: Lack of Washington ties means he is not in the "dance," not profited from it. Access to not so much money. Deals? Act on the information at the time.

Ok. We've said that. Now, what is the Obama message despite the flaws. Can something from someone new be effective.

  • Biden: old on the scene. Flawed. Part of Washington establishment; but big time accomplishments in the most major committee-head positions and - get this - no profit from it. Obviously not on the take. Now, that's new. In Washington for 30 years, but where is that personal profiteering we see in others in Washington for that time? His assets $62,000-$405,000 and liabilities $140,000-$365,000. See comparisons at :// Not bought.
What is that about a plagiarism decades ago? Cleared. By the bar associations See ://, flaw. Are people smoke-fire sorts? Then they will say Flaw. Tried to attain nomination for presidency and said what people do in that setting. Sure, flaw. Ok, flaw.

Now: skip all that and go to the message as that unfolds now.
  • McCain VP - have to wait for that. Same analysis will apply. See the flaws, name them, get them out of the way, acknowledge the gray areas, complexity, no clear answers, then on to the message for the future. Ok, McCain. Who is your best pal going to be? See Schmeer on Experience.

  • McCain: old on the scene. Is part of the Washington establishment and has profited from it. Deals over years. Keating Five, see :// and :// Access to virtually uncountable money through family, other sources. Associations, concerns. Some relationship dalliances. Gross crudities against family members, not crudites in the hors d'oeuvres sense. Volatile temper, flies off. Ok, we've said that. Now, what is the message now.
Some "flaws" are not behavioral, but simply attributes. Race, age, gender, height, ethnicity, parental nobility, any other matter that is a given and beyond a candidate's control. Paris Hilton with a semi-funny rejoinder recently, focused on age.

Can an old tool, that used to be useful, like these antique knife rests, serve us today.

Heck, we couldn't even get rid of them on eBay. 19th Century credentials and all.

Can this car, with its nicely re-tuned and refurbished engine, get out there and do the job on today's highways.

Judgment call. Maybe so. Now, we've said that.

So what is the message of McCain for the future after we get rid of the age-ism jokes. And, say, the Keating Five; or more. Is everyone's laundry so flapping that we never see past what's on that line.

The eternal dance of the reformer and the anti-reformer: blurry lines between societal need, justification, merit of arguments. Still, to be examined.

FN 1

a. Martin Luther: Clearly flawed. Attitudes against Jewish population right out of the cultural times. Awful. Every "racial" caricature becomes an extreme.

Message: Need for reform from institutional ecclesiastical corruption. Needed, timely, on mark, factually correct. The corruption of Popes was legendary, increase in wealth, pomp, power, syphilis, lands, etc. See Michelangelo's response at "Sistine Secrets," at :// and :// Or disregard all of it. Your choice.

Result: Spin, so the flaws of the messenger Martin Luther as to (agreed) views on Jews, make his points as to ecclesiastical corruption irrelevant. Apply the disconnect, reform becomes mere "revolt," and start a 30 years' war against reform, counter-reformation, etc.

Thanks but no thanks. Can't fight it. Now, pardon me while I get on with my own life here.

So why don't people think of reform seriously in any culture? Those who profit from the status quo would lose. So, ecclesiastical supremacism, materialism, control? Maybe true, but that isn't the point. Is profit to Me the issue.

b. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Flawed. Then again, the FBI illegally taped, poked into, into personal matters that otherwise could have been lower profile.

Message: Need for reform from governmental corruption, societal corruption -- The Giant Triplets: Militarism, Materialism, Racism. See Martin Luther King, Jr.. Needed, timely, on mark, factually correct.

Result: Spin, or efforts to get it going, as to his personal flaws, do a simple search on the flaws issue. Need for attention to Militarism, Materialism, Racism, for those folks, doesn't matter.

So why don't we think of King's Giant Triplets of Militarism, Materialism and Racism today, even though they are with us even more? Is ist just because of the human flaws of the messenger, touted on the internet? Probably not.

Probably more because those hit us where we live. We profit from militarism, materialism, racism. So far, it looks like profit to Me is indeed the issue.

c. BIG ZINGER! Jesus: Hey - from nowhere. Out of sight for years. Where did he come from? Who does he think he is? From Galilee? A Jew? You must be kidding. Any other prophetic voice.

Pharisees, and others say, Let's get rid of this guy. So they did-we do, and the old toxic institutions very shortly took-take over again; although the J message was anti-institution, ha ha. And the merry-go-round spins to ML of Reformation Fame, see above.

We are not getting Messianic here, but look at the human response over centuries to someone speaking up about the obvious needing fixing. And the system rises up in rage. Any excuse not to listen, to demonize the source of possible discomfort.

d. Jesse Jackson -
now that we have washed out our ears from an earlier flawed message, clearly detracting from your status as "messenger," do tell us what message for the future you would lay out. Update - THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSAGE SUNDAY AUG 24.


FN 1 - Messenger Flaw - New Ad.

Messenger: Here's a great idea, better for all of us! Hark! We can do things another way! Path A has led us astray! Try Path B!

Voice From The Wings: (suitably authoritatively bass)(shouts) Don't listen to that person! Messenger Flaw! Messenger Flaw! We have found a Cornflake Anomaly! We have found a Cornflake Anomaly (sirens, lights flash, harpies fly).

People: Thank you, Voice! We are saved! We don't have to assess! We don't have to weigh the new information! We don't even have to question our beliefs! Thank our particular Heaven.
We are so relieved! We don't have to ask our alleged news sources to get back to airing candidates instead of airing themselves.

More people: Yes! Thanks to you finding this out, we don't have to work! We don't have to push the media to air the candidates stating their positions directly, instead of putting on the results of stupid polls based on our not getting candidates stating their positions directly!

Voice From The Wings: Of course. That is true. And here is the anomaly: The Other Guy Eats Cornflakes Without Milk! He stands there and snacks!

Messenger: But what difference does that make? Look at these choices we can make now!

Voice From The Wings: You can go now, Messenger Who Eats Cornflakes Wrong. The People find you flawed and will stay with the other guy, the wrinkly and familiar - too familiar, did we hear? A little crude sometimes with gross verbals aimed at his own family? No matter. We like the wrinkly policy that says, if you go five years with no house, you get eight.

People: Thank you, Ideology Leader.

Voice From The Wings. Thank you for your applause. Yes, any candidate with a message must be a perfect human being. Or, has to distract from or block the information streams about anything not, ahem, patriotic.

There can be no even arguable errors of judgment in his or her life, and how you cornflake is important. Even if certain facts did not develop until later, you can be sure we will retrofit the accusations we find so useful.

Ideology shields up!

And the people do.

Messenger: Wha? Wha?

Film clip of lemmings running headlong off a cliff (there is data, of course, that that does not happen in real life. Is that so?)

Friday, August 22, 2008

To frick or not to frick; equivocating on the hustings. Frickiosity.

Frickity Frack
Don't Talk Back

The Hustings* - Choice A:

A In order to sustain a Dignified Discourse. How to frame ideas, get points across while reducing anger response, escalations.

Why not use the "I" reference and speak only for oneself. I am concerned, I resent, I suspect, I assume this means, I had this question. I see this as....

At least the "I" word establishes more accountability. But still, how to tell if someone is telling the truth: Does an "oath" make a difference? See Sassafras Tree, Oaths: Worth Anything?.

The Dracula Club, Bucharest**

The Hustings - Choice B:

A Slanted Discourse. Characterize what you want people to believe is happening. Put a label on it so gross or off-base that the reaction roof blows off and nobody gets back to getting information.

Get the most horrendous analogy going and then act surprised at the response. Is it worth it? Yes, it sells. Excellent propaganda technique.

Still: examine this one with us.

Fricking. See it near you at :// Complete this sentence: His home is a ________ mansion. See ://

A fricking mansion? Take off the g and get frickin' mansion? Either way, obscene broadcasts are forbidden! Forbidden, We Tell You! Take Them Away! See the FCC laughing at all of us while lines blur despite it - see://; and "fleeting mouthing" by everybody goes round and round. See :// Email them at : and say you heard the word "fricking." Or "frickin'." Then watch: They're coming to take you away, ha ha, they're coming to take you away....see://! Hear and see it at :// And you laugh?

Does fricking fit? A fricking mansion? Do mansions frick? Does this violate media obscenity rules, indecency? Community standards? Are we kidding? Is it like a ha-ha, where it works but you only see it if you know it is already there? See ://

Good word to use for dignified, evangelical-support seeking candidates. Maybe those good people won't even know what is going on. It wasn't used in their comfortable setting, after all. It might have been used, however, but just not reported. Was it part of looking for the candidate: as in, "Green room to base, Green room to base, where's the fricking candidate?" Was it?

Don't know what it means? Ok 4U at 62, so just go ahead and use it, sight unseen. If you know Yakity, see ://, you must know Frickity. Looks alike.

Perhaps it refers to the 1937 Swiss ice skaters in the Ice Follies, see :// No fair looking at // Find it as to collections of things, apt, at a frickist collection, at ://

That brings us to houses, in connection with frickiosity.

Bojnice Castle, Slovakia

1. Just listed. Fricking colonial on cul-de-sac, 3BR, O/F, cath ceils. Want to go see?

2. Sunday's Lesson: In my house are many fricking mansions.

3. Fruits of fricking. Now, if you still don't know what this is, do your own simple search for "fricking." With all this active support for the activity, recheck your party's fricking platform. It takes two to fricko. But here's a conundrum: The daddy's choices after the frick remain unchanged. They are, so far, not in the sights of the legislative frickstoppo. Is that fair and balanced?

4. Frictologist: one who specializes in the removal of foot from mouth.

LMHO? No. Just sadly seeking some consistency, some decorum, old-fashioned factual discourse Along the lines of, among the foregoing choices, ://

Rules. The more you have, the more it costs to enforce. And define. And hire lawyers to argue for or against.

Alternatives to resolve the confricked.

A. Keep the fricking word-substitution game going. Business as usual. It's the image that counts, so having it on the books - so we can point to it and be proud - is good. Or, pretend this is just local for purposes of slidin' it by, sound folksy and drop the "g" - frickin' mansion. Frickin' mansions.

But, no-one is fooled either way. "Civil discourse" rules for the media are a sham. Can't say this, can't say that, but get the same point across by some fricking sufficient sound-alike so it gets under the radar and into people's faces anyway. Imus should have done a play on words rather than the direct approach - is that the lesson? That we reward the devious (of course we do) and punish the self-monitors (of course we do).

For Imus, here's the way to get in the ho word - see a personal Fave, Slasher X in translation in the Santa context at Uncle Remus' Heritage: Post, Slasher X, Raced Santa's Sleigh. Scroll down. Enjoy.

On the other hand, circumlocutions serve a fine purpose. They let you say the unsayable and get away with it because technically the word itself isn't against the rules. It's the gotcha ha-ha when you look it up. Beating around the bush is the ditch you don't see until you are in it. See :// By then, it's too late to react, and you are hooked anyway on the emotional pull the sound alone produced. And the body language, and the context. They win over fact, so the word used in itself doesn't matter.

B. Let the words fly. Free market. Flying frickers over the airwaves produce entertainment and wake up speech dozers.

There's the fricket. The clueless wouldn't mind. They have to look it up. Think of all the people over 55, especially target groups in that bracket so carefully wooed by gender and education. The danger is their feeling aged, if they hear the word, however, because of the trendiness of frickitude. So you may lose votes there: the granddaddy image busted, by frick. Who's a frick? Not me. Nobody here by that name. Right under the radar! Little frickdance. See :// Fourth paragraph from the bottom.

This issue will be dated shortly, and probably deleted. For now, the idea of our media rules as no longer meaning any fricking thing, gets us to thinking we can skip the rules and let the fricks fall where they may. You pick. Say it. Fricking mansion. Frick frack fruck frickimus frackitus platypus.


* Hustings - For hustings, see ://

** The Dracula Club in Bucharest, and on Halloween. Try the fried rats. Fried rats a la Dracula Club, from memory only: Nicely poached boneless chicken breasts, open pocket sideways and stuff with nice mild red pepper puree; dampen in something and dip in combination mostly poppy seed, some black pepper, deep fry (we suggest a simple bake, in which case you can attach the tail right then); add nice tail of a long green bean, quartered lengthwise, black pepper to darken; add little red beady eyes, whiskers of something, two white front biters (you figure it out) and serve to squealing guests. Excellent.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mocking Does Not Work. Pivotal Role: Secretary of State and Vice President. Compare

Mocking Does Not Work 

Washington. Sunset?

Civics 101. Roles in Government
Compare Secretary of State

How to move the US forward.  We are at a point where choices are being made as to candidates for secretary of state, vice president, roles.  This time in any nation's political life recurs.  The year of this election is not pivotal.  The issues are.

What do politicians include in their closest circles?

Lincoln included personal detractors in his cabinet, but with mixed results, so a candidate's record and expressed views as to a President are important. But not dispositive. The cases and personalities make the difference.  See ://

Hillary Clinton as a cabinet member, brings an opportunity for detractors, much related to Bill Clinton in his time, lack of information on funding for the library, other contributors.

To be answered:

  • What special interests developed over the last 15 years? We have immediate media spin available to anyone for anything. Who buys the media, buys the public. Resolve those issues, and we probably suggest Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. See comparison of roles, to use her skills, and even Bill's as a tag-along. Brilliant use of skills, experience.

Update August 25: Pleased that Hillary is not vice presidential choice. We like her spunk, but her as a choice for #2 would be like voluntarily adding a personal adversary to the vestry.  So: Why encourage Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State?

1. Role of secretary of state

The role fits.  See ://  The secretary of state
  • serves on the inner cabinet, 
  • acts as primary spokesperson for administration policy, 
  • serves on national security council, 
  • prepares budget for foreign affairs, foreign aid and contributions to world bank, etc. 
  • serves as point person for defense of foreign policy here, 
  • communicates directly to foreign nations re policy of US;
  • is in line of succession after vice president, speaker of house or president of senate, to the presidency itself. 
  • position is global in reach, more so than even the Vice Presidenc. Vital.

2. Role of vice president:

See the same everyman's broad overview, at ://
  • Few formal duties. 
  • The roving quasi-diplomat, 
  • Heir (heiress) in waiting. 
  • Important - tie breaker in the Senate, presides there.
  • Shadow power.  Te vice presidency has been shaped by the individual in the office, to fill the gaps of the presidency performance lately - last 8 years. See ://  The vice presidency can be ideal for someone who seeks to pull strings, and let the ostensible front person thrive there, and the vice remains in the shadows. 
 Steer from the aft like a big motorboat, so the fore rears up not even touching (rawrrr rawrrr rawrrr spray bounce everybody laugh photo op). The Cheney Taint. Meanwhile, back in the bunker....

The front person can go on vacation, and Mr. Bush did and does, all the time. But that vacation pattern takes a front person who has a back carrying on. No analysis is simple. As anything, a position is what you make it; and what others will let you make it. Weakness at the top leads down.

Which Role for Hillary

1. Vice Presidency: Needs to be controlled.

Hillary supporters should be able to see: Hillary's tenacity and personal drive works against her being a good vice presidential pick at this particular historical point.

Thank the Cheney Gang. Maybe the current tenant's sneaky but gargantuan shaping of the vice presidential role is why Hillary Clinton may not be top runner for the vice presidency for a new president.   Cheney distortion of the role.

It is time to take the vice president position down a couple of pegs.  Hillary is not, probably, going to thrive that way. So, put her where she can be a full contributor, all burners, elsewhere - not in a spot destined (we hope) to be reined in drastically and appropriately by a strong, wise person at the top. The Cheney Taint - uproot it, perhaps.

Plague Column representing gratitude for survival from spread of an elusive, deadly negative; Kutna Hora, CZ

This den of tentacles that the vice presidency has become is this like the modern equivalent of the plague. Everybody knew something bad was being spread, they just couldn't pinpoint it.

2. People who attack their own team burn bridges. 

Some can overcome, backtrack. Hillary does not project that balance.

Hillary has errors of judgment in her background. Maybe Hillary simply went too far in taking down other people in her scramble for the top. Burned bridges, to a degree. Will take a lot of backtracking to mend it all.  See her equating Reverend Wright with Imus, see ://; and ://

And other steps against the chief target on her own team, now top runner, her attitude deeply counterproductive if she is to work with and for her targets later. Even borderline wishing - see Meme, Wishful Thinking

To her credit: she did not do all she could have, given some of the advice she was getting, apparently. Still, there is a judgment call difference between competing intra-mural, where you will see those people in the halls, ongoing associations, and your every move will haunt you; or inter-mural, where just maybe you can sack the quarterback or stick in some shoves and not get caught. A gamesmanship element, ethical or not, enters in? See Joy of Equivocating Title IX Failure? Where is "I've Got Your Back". Mockery amok. See FodderSight, Mocking Heads.

3. Is that temperament conducive to consensus, diplomacy.

Could be. Firm, articulate, intelligent, and when she knows her role and is willing to stay in it until there is the time to expand it (then do so openly, and get the nods first) she could be brilliant in it.

Poisoning one's own well? Hillary, you may have gone too far. We hope you can shelve it. We think you can move out of it, to corrective and productive strategies.

On balance: Hillary for Secretary of State. She can shape that role productively.

Bill would even be an asset there. He is no asset as a direct adjunct at the White House. He throws too big a questionable shadow. Hillary, be Secretary. Send an email. Speak up.

Fourteen Points. Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points: What Has Rooted. America By the Numbers. Score for Progress.

America By The Numbers
Fourteen Points

President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points

What Has Rooted?

1. Openness in Diplomacy
2. Free Passage
3. Equal and Free Trade
4. Armaments Reduction
5. Colonial Claims Resolution
(population-based and equitable principles re colonialism)

For the historical context of the 14 Points Speech, and a summary, see FN 1.

What has rooted? sadly, not much

1. Openness in Diplomacy. We have made no progress in open diplomacy. We can't even get our own government to open up who it talks to and what is discussed and what the political tit-for-tats, see ://, are. Iraq? Secrecy is the devil's handbasket.

Score: Zip.

2. Free Passage (on international byways - there, the oceans): Not too bad on water, and we're sticking with everyperson's first stop on information, Wikipedia. See definitions at :// Ok on international air space. See://

We have absolutely blown it as to other areas - water and air have at least some definitions. Not the Arctic or Antarctic. Getting dicey on what is international left in geography - how to claim, who claims, whose claims stick, see your next war at Artic areas, ://; and Antarctic areas, ://

Score: On balance, given the coming conflicts in the Arctic and Antarctic, a Two.

3. Equal and Free Trade. Hard to say. This was to benefit the people. So far, it is not. Is that right? Only the offshore companies cash in big? Step out of our mainstream, and read thoughts of an England-resident, lived in America, India roots - a no profit site, one person thinking, Anup Shah at:// Agree with conclusions or not, but the issues are laid out. Skip CATO and anybody else not disclosing funding, funders, bents.

Score: Four (not much for regular people showing yet)

4. Armaments Reduction. See the 1972, "non-partisan" overview at :// In 1991, the arms reduction treaty with Russia was signed, the then USSR, and in 2008 Bush and Putin again passed the buck. See ://

Score: One - for at least keeping it on the agenda.

5. Colonialism.

5.1 Colonialism issues
are among those at the forefront today, how to balance interests, Georgia, South Ossetia, Azkhazia. There remain free movement issues, transparency, arms races, free trade - have we made any progress since this particular presidential vision. See FodderSight, Colonialism, Big Fish, Little Fish.

Colonialism, the use of one country for the purposes of another, is thriving in fact if not in the words used to describe it. We "do" Kosovo and Iraq, make big bases, long term; Russia "does" any country adjoining it, and tentacles anybody who used to be in the larger entity, the USSR, Everybody "does" populations within its own borders - one, two, three, USE! Is this - just a silly play on words here - the United States of Exploitation? Don't get mad. Just think about it.

Score. Two. Some came, some went, idea and implementation tactics still in vogue. Up up. Down down. FN 1 for the Up Down.

Conclusion: So, how did World War I do on its scorecard, these Fourteen Points being a large part of the Versailles Treaty ten months later, that the US then did not ratify. Terrible. Why fight wars that do nothing much. How to get at the causes before somebody barges into somebody else's kitchen and sits at their kitchen table.


FN 1 The Fourteen Points. Historical background. Look back at President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points speech, delivered to Congress on January 8, 1918, ten months before the armistice. The points for resolving issues of the Great War. See :// His reasons to our country for our involvement. See background and issues, and disagreements, at ://

In particular, we are looking for more information on why our Senate did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles that referenced these Fourteen Points, and why our own government effectively undercut the League of Nations before it even had a chance. Must be good reasons if our government did it. Go, US. The League and its weaknesses at the outset, however, is another issue and probably too dated to worry about.

Boundary and population adjustments. There was much on the plate. Look especially at the summaries here for boundaries and population issues in points 1-5 - most of the others related to boundary and population adjustments. Note the emphasis in getting populations split between countries back together - and add that overlay to why South Ossetia and Askhazia, with old Persian (Iranian) language ties to brethren over the border in Russia, are so pro-Russia. No wonder.

And, with that colonialism, note that the interests of the colonizing nation are recognized insofar as those are equitable, or "fair" - and the word "legal" is not used. See the difference between law and equity, concepts now blended in most proceedings, at Joy of Equivocating, Law and Equity (context: DNC rules, scroll down a bit).


1. Open covenants for peace, openly arrived at, no private international understandings, but always frank and public diplomacy.

2. Absolute freedom of passage on the seas, except by international action needed to enforce international covenants.

3. No economic barriers, if possible, and equal trade conditions among nations consenting to the peace and working toward it.

4. Reduce national armaments to low point consistent with domestic safety, and with adequate guarantees

5. Adjustment of all colonial claims, free, open-minded, neutral, and giving equal weight to the populations' interests and the equitable claims of the government in question. See main section, above.

6. Russia - This one too big to paraphrase: Score - 10. Russia has done just fine.
"The evacuation of all Russian territory
and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia
as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world
in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity
for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy
and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations
under institutions of her own choosing;
and, more than a welcome,
assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire.

"The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come
will be the acid test of their good will,
of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests,
and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy."

7. Belgium to be restored to unlimited sovereignty, Score: 10. It may yet divide again, but that is of her own populations' choosing, see language and history issues, French-speaking Walloon vs. Netherlands (Dutch) speaking Flemish, at ://

"[T]his will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired."

8. France's territory to be restored, including Alsace-Lorraine, taken in 1872 by Prussia. France got it back after WWI, then Germany took it again 1940-1945, and it was returned to France in 1945.

Film. See and hear part of the conflict at Battle for France, Alsace-Lorraine, in German ://, lest we forget. Are your kids cribbing essays? Make good reading for adults - see ://

Score: 8, but that is stretching it. With a war over it in between, not great but perhaps stable now. Does Germany want it back? Anybody keeping an eye out?

9-14. Other nations' boundaries adjusted back, wrongs righted, etc, and League of Nations provided for. See site, as these get beyond our interest right now - see ://

What fourteen points does our president offer for the world?

FN 2 The Up-Down - Who was there? Can you find a cite? This is from my brother, a New Yorker, but he was not there, either.

Dramatized social tensions. The Up-Down. What was that old play. We think it was done in Central Park, NY once, where an actor on stage up there shouted, "Up! Up!" And another shouted in response, "Down! Down!" And the call-countercall went back and forth until the audience itself joined in with the shouting, taking sides, some with the up, others with the down down and it was loud and people started shouting and outshouting at each other, and it went on and on. The human condition in a nutshell in a park.

Big fish little fish. Up? DOWN!

Does that fit with our election year? What's it all about?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cultural Airbrush: Distorting "Original" Sources. Narcissus, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood: Roots in Myth, Later Twists

Oral Tradition

How to Discern:

1. Precision, to Communicate a Vital Value
2. Teller Distortion

When, Why and How Do Cultures Force Stories into Ideological Molds

Telling and retelling. Oral tradition has produced humanity's most inspirational, or entertaining, or historically interesting works It has it dangers - the spoken tale can be part of a process where the teller is likely to embellish and omit, to suit the audience or the teller. But some oral traditions are precise - the value is in the exact replication of what was heard and taught, and the story does not change. See "The Centers for Study of Oral Tradition" at

Oral tradition can pass on the healing arts, or the people's account of their origins and place in the world, their heroic and tragic history. That, however, requires first that the story itself be so valued and so central, that the teller dares not change it. It also requires that the mind be trained to memorize.

Minds that do not value memorization and the cultural value does not depend on a particular form of tale, distort for purposes of furthering a different ideology - is that so? Check/

A. Narcissus - In Myth - Roots

Narcissus. We know there is a plant of that name, a pretty flower, growing near water. How did we get from the pretty narcissus to the "narcissism" in from modern psychology-psychiatry terminology. We were probably told that the name came from old myth. But did we hold true to the mythological roots in doing so.

Mr. John Edwards brought the term, "narcissism," back into media play. We checked the usage. Our grossly simplified "Narcissism" is nothing like the complex Greek / Roman myth:

1) Deities in conflict,
2) Fate, and
3) Handsome Young Men,
4) Who Prefer Other Young Men, and
5) Young Nymphs Who Are Angered Thereby

We found Narcissus in early myth translations - preferring Bulfinch's Mythology.

Narcissus the Real, Narcissus the Myth Man, does not belong in the little maligned box we as a culture put him in. He is not a mere self-admirer, an excuse for errant husbands caught in dalliances, letting themselves off the hook by calling themselves narcissistic.

It seems that the Narcissus of early Myth was not obsessed of his own volition by looking at an image he thought was himself at all.

He simply was attracted to his own gender, the ladies became jealous, curses flew, goddesses were jealous in turn regarding their own wayward spouses, all that.

That has nothing to do with John Edwards, who believes himself to be narcissistic.

The real protagonist of the Narcissus story is the nymph Echo, who angered a goddess, by helping the goddess' errant husband get away with it. The Nymph was cursed by the goddess, so that the Nymph could only thereafter respond to questions with the last words asked. The Nymph fell in love with Narcissus, he rejected her, and she then asked that Narcissus himself be cursed for rejecting her. He went his way, then thought he found another handsome youth in the reflection - did not think it was himself at all - no self-admiration there - he fell in love with the image, Echo could only echo, got punished herself, and regretted it. And the narcissus grows by the water ever after.

Far more interesting, but how can our culture look at homosexuality and let that be part of myth? See Narcissus Myth (scroll down for it)

See FN 1 for more on the homosexuality of Narcissus, but note that the term did not mean quite the same as it does for us today. The term "homosexuality" was only coined in the 19th Century. Practices were seen in a somewhat different cultural context in earlier eras, different places.

B. Meet the real Rapunzel. She had twins.

That nice prince. Remember the one.

See how we altered the story to airbrush Rapunzel's out of wedlock pregnancy. We look at Rapunzel and think - or are told - mainly of her hair, letting it down from the high window at the tower, down to the Prince who could climb up so they could talk.

The wicked witch found out and cut the hair, casting out the Prince and etc. The rest, the real and human predicament, hope, love, loss, disaster, wandering in the wilderness, the blindness of the Prince, the twins, expunged. See Migratory Patterns, Fairy Tales, Rapunzel.

C. And now, we are proud to present: Creation!

Biblical Creation. As in Genesis 1,2 3, bits of 4. Most came from elsewhere, vestiges remain to show that, and the story we tell doesn't even match what Genesis says.

Oh, dear. Must alter the story to airbrush out reference to events precedent whose cultural remains don't suit what we want. Still, be a literalist for a while - a literalist investigator - and see the deity's lack of concern for gender difference, lack of concern for any "relationship" vows, and the overall exoneration facts there regarding the woman - culturally defrauded.

And Adam part and parcel of the original evil - self-seeking. Strong and silly language? We thought so, too, until we looked closer. See Martin Luther's Stove, Delving Jewish History Roots, and posts leading up. Read also "Sistine Secrets," by Rabbi Benjamin Blech and Roy Dolner, for Michelangelo's inclusion of his understandings that inlcuded Kabbalah, at :// This is not some mystery novel with chases and intrigue. It is historical, historians of course disagree, but take your own look before you make up your mind.

D. Heritage Manipulation.

What else of our heritage as humans have we airbrushed out, or those in power airbrushed out for us in order to support a cultural or religious dogma.

Our conclusions may be wrong here - there are risks to looking at sources that are as close to an original as we can find online, limiting ourselves to basic library and online materials.

We are limited in the information we can get - "JSTOR" and other scholarly sources play keep-away, for noble reasons, paying the author, but that can be done in other ways. We say, open the doors. The musty old leaves there in the stacks. Let regular people in because you never know where the next really good interpretation or insight may come from.

We want more, because what we see even with limited research online, is alarming. The "grounding" for our most basic and, to some, beloved, most basic cultural beliefs are grounded on a slippery slope. A story with seven interesting, complex and varied angles, becomes, with the cultural extruder-compressor, a hard little pellet with one of those angles permitted to be swallowed without question, and the rest dumped.

1. The broad richness of a total heritage.

The richness of human heritage

Have we really taken an experientially rich heritage, and faked and trumped it up, and boiled it down, so what is left is nothing but our own cultural bias.

Can we leave any ancient tale unfixed. That's it - the universal "fixing," of the old tales, like our cats and dogs.

1.1 Example: The Narcissus Myth. Alter the story to airbrush out homosexuality.

Is it true that we oversimplify ancient myths of great and intriguing complexity. We misuse the great Names in myth, reducing them to our proper little boxes.

The cultural straitjacket we force on myth is our loss.

The cultural overlay: only power counts

Looking at original sources is not just for the fun of debunking what people believe.

It is necessary in order to learn what the stories really say to us. Without that search, we are left with some political gang discussing if human rights attach to zygotes and how many angels dance on the head of a pin. Go back to what our own sources say, or do not say, on that and get back to the real business of living and mutuality.

Or is it, the point of a needle. See ://

1.2. Religious precepts.

What is your experience after looking up original sources in religious materials, or cultural materials.

If a deity is silent on an issue, let it be. No dogma to fill in according to a cultural wish list. Each person make a choice.

Next step: What isms or ity's or ists attach to the fine original words of a founder. And would that founder be a member of the institutional ism or ity or ist group that came later, with all the dogma added on.

Would Mohammed be a current Muslim, interesting question - given the various interpretations of simply dressing modestly - and if so, conservative, extremist or moderate - same issue as for Christians. Or Buddhists, we suppose. We ought to look.

Our global common ground may be our aversion to ambiguity, and draw to fill in blanks as the culture determines - get away from culture, and we may find our religions not so different.