Friday, January 27, 2012


from Murph

I have touched on the idea of acquiring information before. The reason I am going into it again is because I have been running into people periodically who have no idea concerning how they acquire information. I am going to postulate there are 4 levels of information.

1. First hand information. Your were there and observed. You are part of the insiders doing the investigation, doing the research, collecting the data, part of the experts doing the investigation.

The problem is, for most of us, we don’t have very much first hand information. For the most part, this kind of information is highly specialized and for the people involved in it the information collected is kept discrete and without relationship to other specializations. We aren’t doing the research on global warming, on the depletion of resources or the goings on in our government or much of anything else. We depend, for the most part on other sources of information. First hand information includes; this is what I saw; this is what I heard; this is the results (data) of my experiments. And, of course, if the experimenter and data collector have an agenda, this information can be heavily skewed. Even in the case of observed event, the observer can completely misinterpret and misunderstand what was observed. That is why first person witness testimony in jury trials is not absolutely dependable.

2. Second hand information. This is reported to us, through various means, from people that study the first hand information. If they are good at it, they give us the facts and nothing but the facts about the area of study they are reporting on. Reliability of the informant is key here.

The problem here is that way too often, this second hand information is clouded up with opinion and projected inferences of the data they are reporting on. Also, often agendas also interfere with this kind of reporting. Good second hand information gives you the facts of the case and allows you to draw your own conclusions.

3. Third hand information. This takes the form of quoting and interpreting what #2 reported on #1 information source.

This form in information starts to rely heavily on opinion about #1 information. It will often morph in unsubstantiated conclusions and even misinformation. Often this form of information is just pure gossip with little to no relationship to the facts. Listen to Rush Limbaugh.

4. Fourth hand information. This is where propaganda, spin and deliberate misinformation take place. This information takes all of the above sources and often utilizes them for an agenda. Again, listen to the Rush Limbaugh rants.

We are exposed to this form of information constantly in the popular media, the internet, and the rumor mill. Even those groups and individual that are sincere in providing us information have an agenda. Nothing wrong with having an agenda and putting out information to support the agenda. But the two need to be separated by the recipient. I suspect that often the reporter from this source doesn’t even know they are not being completely factual and thus draw conclusions that do not stand up to examination.

The inadvertent inaccurate transmission of information is legendary. Remember the school day experiment of sitting in a circle and starting a statement and have it whispered to each person down the line? By the end of the line, it hasn’t much relationship to what the original information was about.

All of the above sources of information can be factual and well analyzed or misleading or contain only half-truths or in some cases out right lies. I have been getting into to the practice of asking for sources from people that assert information that doesn’t sound right to me, and even when it does sound right. This is why it takes so much effort and time to try and determine what the truth of any situation/issue that I am not directly involved with, which are most issues.

I think we are all guilty of rather indiscriminant use of these sources without realizing it. We rely on experts and people involved for our information that may not be reliable at all. We also rely on people that supposedly spend time analyzing all 4 information sources to give us a synopsis of what they found. The difficulty comes with conclusions, projections/consequences and assumptions of the findings.

I have found over the years that most of the information coming from government people to be unreliable, usually contains half-truths and very often out right lies. It shows up today in bold print when the government economists issue pronouncements on the economy or when the president issues statements on the state of the union.

I often question just what is our advantage in acquiring accurate information. The internet today is full of enough information that no man can digest it all. My oft-repeated mantra is that I want accurate information to give me an idea of which way to duck to soften the blows I perceive coming my way. So far, the sources I have used to determine this have worked out pretty well for us in planning our next moves. How’s it working out for you?

The disappointing aspect of all this is that nothing substantial has changed. The information is out there to be acquired and acted upon. The totality of information I have indicates that our social contract is being very rapidly torn apart, we are progressing toward a totalitarian fascist state, our environment is being poisoned to an alarming extent, our society is consumed by greed, our eco systems are being destroyed, the worlds raw materials are finite and being squandered on superfluous bull shit and outside of a very small minority of folks, nobody gives a damn and no changes are taking place that will stop or reverse these directions.

Large-scale social change takes time and a huge amount of energy input, unfortunately. Humans are not very amenable to change, particularly if it is to their personal short-term disadvantage. If my conclusions have validity, then the question arises as to whether we have reached a tipping point and no action can possibly change the direction we are headed. I suppose that if there was sufficient collective will, it could happen but it sure doesn’t appear to me that is on the horizon. Our social momentum is too strong.

It sure would be interesting to me to know what the future historians (if there are any) had to say about our present period of history.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Considering the Nanny State

photo: Carson River, taken by freeacre

By freeacre

”Move over Big Brother! An insidious new group has inserted itself into American politics. They are the nannies—not the stroller-pushing set but an invasive band of do-gooders who are subtly and steadily stripping us of our liberties, robbing us of the inalienable right to make our own decisions, and turning America into a nation of children.

As you read this, countless busybodies across the nation are rolling up their sleeves to do the work of straightening out your life. Certain Massachusetts towns have banned school-yard tag. San Francisco has passed laws regulating the amount of water you should use in dog bowls. The mayor of New York City has French fries and doughnuts in his sights. In some parts of California, smoking is prohibited . . . outside.

The government, under pressure from the nanny minority, is twisting the public’s arm into obedience. Playground police, food fascists, anti-porn crusaders —whether they're legislating morality or wellbeing—nannies are popping up all over America. In the name of health, safety, decency, and—shudder—good intentions, these ever-vigilant politicians and social activists are dictating what we eat, where we smoke, what we watch and read, and whom we marry.

Why do bureaucrats think they know what's better for us than we do? And are they selectively legislating in the name of political expediency? For instance, why do we ban mini-motorbikes, responsible for five deaths each year, and not skiing, which accounts for fifty deaths each year? Why is medical marijuana, a substance yet to claim a single life, banned and not aspirin, which accounts for about 7,600 deaths?…”

from a book entitled The Nanny State by David Harsanyi

And, from Wikepedia:
"A nanny state is the perception of a situation characterized by governmental policies of over-protectionism, economic interventionism, or heavy regulation of economic, social or other nature.
The subjective term nanny state is typically used pejoratively, expressing an anxiety that these policies are being institutionalized as common practice. Opponents of such policies use the term in their advocacy against what they consider to be uninvited and damaging state intervention.”

And, from Survival 12/31/11
“The global grab on the world’s food supply isn’t about protecting anybody. It is about making sure that you and everyone else on this entire planet is forced to buy something extremely essential like food from a gigantic Ag-business. These companies will have the power of life or death, something they already have now, but it will be significantly worse in the days ahead.
Even growing your own food, or buying it from the local co-op or farmers market is now at risk.
We all seem to think we are not at risk, because we are not yet experiencing the utter defeat being experienced by other countries. In India alone, over 200,000 farmers are already known to have committed suicide. The reason is because they are being forced into bankruptcy, having to buy GMO modified seeds from the Ag giants, who could care less about your health, your freedom, or your right to eat safe, healthy foods. All they care about is that you are being forced by necessity (to stay alive) that every dollar you spend has gone into their pockets.
Nobody has any idea how many other farmers have just utterly given up or killed themselves.
It’s getting serious folks. If you want to survive into the future, then you are going to have to start helping yourselves.
I’ve seen ZERO evidence that the best interests of the people are being supported. What I have seen however, is agency after agency, government after government, and entity after entity being arrayed against the individual and collective rights of the people in a non-stop fashion, forcing us all into a tighter and tighter grip.”

Our last post, from Belgium, has had me mulling over several aspects of freedom. On the one hand, the pejorative term, “Nanny State”, signals more than simple meddling in personal affairs. It encourages a callous disregard for the thoughts, rights, decisions and feelings of others. I overheard a couple of grocery clerks chortling about the cost of cigarettes rising three dollars a pack next year. “Well, ha ha, I guess that’s going to make some more people quit smoking…” he said with a satisfied smirk. Is this a blatant infringement of my civil liberty? Yes, by God, it is. But, they could care less. Shaping behavior by raising prices translates into the rich being able to afford to do whatever they want, while for the rest of us, the politically correct is mandatory.
Parenthetically, “Nanny State” also includes a derision of the Feminine influence – as if nannies are stupid cows that spoil children and don’t know the real world…
But, is there no role in government for the protection of its citizenry? Yes, of course there is. The Federal government is mandated in the constitution to protect our borders and to provide for the national defense. The power of the federal government is supposed to be aimed at large forces (corporations, big banks, foreign armies, etc.) that would curtail our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Big corporate entities like Agra-business, Big Pharmaceuticals, and the Central Banks cannot be fought by individual efforts alone. In my opinion, it is the duty of the congress to monitor the globalist fraudsters and polluters and protect the rights of the common citizen and the planet we hold in common.
But, of course, just the opposite is happening. The foxes (lobbyists, miscreants and minions) are ruling the hen house, and our rights are systematically destroyed.
Furthermore, the agencies, which are supposed to be protecting us, like the DEQ or the EPA or FEMA are actively working for the misanthropic mutants. So, the DEQ in Oregon is concerned with NITRATES in the water (which is almost totally harmless) and not the hormones, toxic pesticides, antibiotics, and chemical runoff that corporations are guilty of spewing into the environment. Or, the EPA just ruled that they won’t go after Big Agra for over-medicating healthy cattle, which is creating ever more virulent diseases. Eighty percent of the antibiotics used in this nation are given to animals we eat.
It looks to me like the people in these agencies “help” the country by collecting their substantial paychecks and spending them on big-ticket items, vacation homes, ski trips, and luxuries whether they do anything good for people and the planet or not.
The “nanny state” term is also used with great animosity toward the social welfare system as well as the social security system. Programs which were sold in the 60’s, like The War on Poverty” have been dismal failures. The endless rules and more and more entanglements have created two generations of dependence and dysfunction. I bet about the same percentage of those on welfare are married as were married on the plantations. Two parent families don’t qualify for welfare. “Get a divorce” Is the advise from the social workers. So much for “family values” and caring about the state of families in this country.
Come to think of it, any of these so-called “wars” seem to be false. The war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on terror… all rackets that take their tolls on all of us.
The hypocrisy never stops. Liberal Dems are “shocked….shocked!” if anyone utters “racist” terms - but do nothing about laws that incarcerate a third of the black men in this country and leave them ineligible for much of anything other than to distribute drugs to enrich the Rich and enslave their brothers and sisters.
And they funnel the rest of the working class kids into the military by offering the carrot of a job, career, or education in a skilled trade. Or they indenture themselves for years in the hope of a professional career.

Meanwhile, the wisdom of the Mother State is never advanced. There is one, you know, or could be. A state based on the natural law that mothers love all their children. The baby cries, the mother lactates. She can’t do otherwise. She doesn’t care for and nurture her offspring so that they can be dependent on her forever. She raises them to grow up to be free men and women with a sense of their talents and capabilities and a responsibility for and to their world. And, She provides them with the knowledge and opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.
As the paternalistic, militaristic, and materialistic world we know continues to deteriorate, now is a good time to imagine what we would like to create in its place. I think it would start with the balancing of masculine and feminine “energies” that p often refers to, and their practical applications in our world.
It would begin by considering ourselves to be Human Beings first and foremost. We have done it before. Somewhere within we can feel the memories.