Will No One Rid Me of These Troublesome Canadians?

It pains me to do this. I mean, I did a privacy rant just a few installments back, and today I wanted to talk about this really cool paper showing that squids are Lamarckian. But the news cycle Waits For No Man, and a couple of recent items have got me re-evaluating my sunny optimism of only a few weeks ago.

Of course, there’s a ton of commentary happening over C-51, the bill currently undergoing (limited) debate in the House. That’s not really news, although its highlights warrant a bit of review in light of recent events. C-51 is the Bill that would, among other things, jail for up to five years anyone who

“by communicating statements, knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general”

What exactly is a “terrorist offense”? According to S83.01 of Canada’s Criminal Code, it’s an act committed

“in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, with the intention of intimidating the public’s security or compelling a person, government or organization to do or refrain from doing an act.”

Seems a bit broad, no? Lots of people and groups try to compel governments to change their behavior for ideological or political reasons. That’s what advocacy is. I hope that I’m not alone in thinking it something of an overreach to classify acts of civil disobedience— a roadblock, for example, in pursuit of “ideological” ends involving First-Nations or environmental issues— as acts of terrorism.

But C-51 goes one better. I don’t have to be the one planting bombs, hijacking planes, or holding up a protest sign on Exxon’s front lawn; thanks to C-51, I can go jail if I just promote that kind of activity out loud, knowing that someone within earshot “may” be inspired to act on my words.

The bill is almost more remarkable for what it omits than for what it encompasses. There’s no exception for private conversation, for example; I’m just as guilty if I communicate my thoughts in a personal email, or whisper them to my wife at bed-time to get her in the mood. (Yes, they’d have to be monitoring those emails, bugging that bedroom, to catch me at it— but don’t worry, C-51 has that covered too). There’s no exemption for critique or artistic merit, protections which extend even in cases of child pornography. There’s no geographic limitation; I’m just as much a criminal if I speak out on behalf of Hezbollah or Ukrainian rebels as I am if I go Yay Team! To the local chapter of Idle No More. I don’t even need to be guilty of a “terrorist purpose”, whatever that even means these days. If I were to stick my tongue in my cheek and write a blog post in favor of Baby-Eating For Constructive Political Change— knowing, as I do, that my words might be taken seriously by some unhinged and highly motivated reader— well, tough shit. Do not pass Go.

Kent Roach and Craig Forcese have written a number of backgrounders, freely available, about C51 and its implications. They point out that

“A sign or even a gesture could qualify, provided that it promotes or advocates the commission of a terrorism offence. This raises the question of whether a sign that says “I support Hamas” or “Tamil Tigers GO” or “the IRA will strike again” would fall within the ambit of the offence.”

But you know what? Fuck that legalistic ambiguity. If you want to see a terrorist act, right off the presses, here it is:

Ah, the Classics.

God, I’d like to see someone take a shot at Stephen Harper.

There’s something ironic about the fact that such statements are going to become indictable at exactly the time when they most need to be said.

Keep in mind, this is only one small part of C-51. The rest of it is wondrously problematic in its own right. Hell, “four prime ministers, five retired Supreme Court judges, three former justice ministers, four past solicitors general, three ex-members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, two recent privacy commissioners, and a longtime RCMP watchdog” are speaking out with one voice— and, of course, getting the brush-off— on the oversight and accountability issues alone. (You should probably check out Michael Geist’s overview, even if you don’t have time for Roach and Forcese’s more detailed analysis.)

But none of this is news, right? At worst, it merely confirms ancient fears. So why does the same bill that gave me hope back on February 4th shrivel my balls here on the 20th?

Two new revelations, released within hours of each other. The first is a leaked RCMP document (scanned-pdf here) that puts all the ominous hypotheticals about C-51 firmly into the realm of empirical observation. It lumps environmental activists of all stripes together under the label “Anti-Canadian Petroleum Movement” motivated by an “anti-petroleum ideology” (“ideological motive” box, check), while redefining physics as political belief (“…greenhouse gas emissions which, they believe, are directly linked to the continued use of fossil fuels”). It laments the “violent rhetoric” on social media sites (“knowingly advocates or promotes”, check), and it does this all under the rubric of a “Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Assessment”. (Oh, did I forget to mention? Interference with Critical Infrastructure is one of the things that C-51 is crafted to deal with. It’s #6 on the list. “Terrorism”, strangely, is only #4.) The whole document seems pretty explicitly crafted to take advantage of the tools that C-51 would offer.

Again, though, how is this anything beyond another bit of grim told-you-so? For that we go to the second revelation, the only item in this increasingly lengthy post that did come as news to me. It turns out that— even against the backdrop of all these later-than-you-think headlines— Canadians like Bill C-51. It’s overwhelmingly popular across all ages and demographics, with an overall approval rating that weighs in at 82%. Ninety percent of us think it’s okay to criminalize speech that “promotes terrorism”. Over a third of us think the bill doesn’t go far enough, choosing a survey option which contains the line— I shit you not— “if you’re not a terrorist you have nothing to hide”.

This is what has robbed me of hope: the realization that I live in a nation of morons.

My reason to be cheerful, a few weeks past, was that we were fighting back. Sure the pols kept trying to sneak the Snooper’s Charter in through the back door, but they kept getting caught at it. Sure, the US had cops and congressmen who wanted to outlaw encryption; it also had companies who were finally taking encryption seriously enough to piss off those Powers that Be. Even up here in the Great White North, the number of C-bills that kept trying to strip away our privacy— only to get shot down at the last minute— was something of a joke. Our Masters wanted to see our nude selfies and poke at our stools every time we took a dump, but they kept falling short of those ambitions because we said no.

But it kind of takes the wind from your sails when you realize that over three quarters of the people you pass on the street have drunk the Kool Aid and gone back for seconds. We’re not just letting the Panopticon assemble itself around us; we’re actually applauding the engineers who are putting it together.

I know terrorism is a thing. I know measures need to be taken. But up here at least, the ideologically-driven dismantling of scientific institutions is also a thing. The muzzling of scientists and the censorship of research and the denial of fucking reality is a thing. The flooding of aquifers with mine tailings, the strip mining of the oceans, the Anthropocene Extinctions and weather chaotic as a grand mal ECG— things, every last one of them.

ISIS may be a cadre of murdering fundamentalist assholes, but that’s all they are; they don’t even pose an existential threat to Canada, much less an entire biosphere. Now Harper and his cronies shake those psychos in our faces to scare us into emptying our pockets and opening our bedrooms, and I can’t help but see Pol Pot offering us protection against Charlie Manson.

It would actually be kind of comical, if only so many of my fellows weren’t taking him up on it.

 

 

 

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Friday February 20 2015at 01:02 pm , filed under Big Brother, rant . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

76 Responses to “Will No One Rid Me of These Troublesome Canadians?”

  1. Well, what do you expect from people who did their absolute best to unleash the ugly, horrible moralistic abomination of the Swedish sex work model (one that is massively and steadily failing in its country of origin, which would have been kinda funny if it didn’t put thousands of vulnerable women under unnecessary risk) upon Canada?

    It appears to me that pretty much all conservatives (as well as, paradoxically, pretty much all proponents of “typical” Critical theory) are a wonderful mix of preposterously evil and batshit crazy.

    At least when shilling out for our dear petrochem friends, the conservitards are being rational about their evildoing (future generations can’t pay any money, while today’s petrochem can :) )

  2. Canadian guy once told me this joke:

    Q: How many Torontonians does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: Two. One to do the changing, and one to fly to New York first to see how they’re doing it.

    I say this with genuine sympathy as an American: Ottawans/Washington now works in that joke as well. *sigh* Not good.

    Has anyone noticed that prima facie batshit crazy seems to be breaking out all over the planet. I guess I might as well join in the new fashion wave. I guess I gotta go find someone to set on fire or decapitate on camera so I can upload it to You Tube.

    Seriously, though, the question becomes: what can we do? What ought we to do?

  3. Christina Miller:
    Has anyone noticed that prima facie batshit crazy seems to be breaking out all over the planet.

    Yes.

  4. If you’re still alive when the national governments of Canada and the US implode, you’re welcome to come live in Cascadia.

  5. @batshit: Um, hold it. They didn’t post here. Until now. 😉

    I have an idea. The next time the Canadian PM visits, the Secret Service can get caught setting him up with some Colombian hookers.

  6. Christina Miller,
    “Has anyone noticed that prima facie batshit crazy seems to be breaking out all over the planet.”

    Yes. Absurcracies. And they’re not even all that new of a thing, I’d wager. But it does seem to be some kind of special season… for a whole frigging crop of them to sprout forth all over the place.

  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dooAjI6yOhg&feature=youtu.be

    Completely OT, Frozen as directed by John Carpenter, via Lee Hardcastle. Might cheer you all up a little. :)

  8. This is what has robbed me of hope: the realization that I live in a nation of morons.

    Lucky you. I guess you have been in a program for the gifted or something like that, no?

  9. ^please replace ‘have been’ in the above post with ‘were’

  10. Christina Miller: Has anyone noticed that prima facie batshit crazy seems to be breaking out all over the planet.

    Crazy.

    You are the one who is crazy. It’s not crazy, it’s a power grab. The people who are doing it are quite sane, if power hungry and unprincipled. This is the case with C-51 and all the various transnational trade treaties.

    And why? My guess is that the old morality based on religion is gone, societies are far more diverse thus there is less trust among people. Then add in modern mass media, which is a for-profit enterprise that totally distorts reality.

    Also amoral opportunists are in charge, because the entire democratic system is set so only cunning, manipulative assholes get to be top dogs. Who is better suited to rise to the top of a political party?

  11. Does the man love his tar sands so much that he is willing to apply the “terrorist” term as liberally as putin uses “facist”?

    I often wonder if these kinds of people in power doesn’t see the ramifications of their proposals or just don’t give a damn.

  12. <a href="#comment-43730"
    Has anyone noticed that prima facie batshit crazy seems to be breaking out all over the planet.

    Seriously, though, the question becomes:what can we do?What ought we to do?

    Christina Miller,

    I tend to think that the batshit crazy has always been there, it’s just now the nutjobs in charge confident that they have such a lock on things that they can take their masks off now.

    What can be done? Well fuck, everyone has their own capacity to resist and any contribution – no matter how small – should be valued. Personally, I’m socking away cash to pay for someone ELSE’s legal defence fund for when the inevitable disappearances (7 days detention without charge) occur. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the canadian judiciary hasn’t been completely compromised, and going on how much the conservatives hate the supreme court its a half decent bet.

  13. I’ve gotta learn how to do these quotes and reply things properly.

  14. Markus:
    Does the man love his tar sands so much that he is willing to apply the “terrorist” term as liberally as putin uses “facist”?

    I often wonder if these kinds of people in power doesn’t see the ramifications of their proposals or just don’t give a damn.

    Seems to be a mix of lying to themselves–when one is surrounded by yes-men, lives in an echo chamber, it becomes easier to self-delude–and a growing power cult that believes God put them on Earth to rape it, what they call “blessing it,” and rule over the masses whom they view as objects.

    It is the RW version of the fake LW more “pragmatic” approach to multinational corporate dystopia which simply employs sociopaths to carry out atrocities and a lapdog media without the need for religious tenets.

    The nice part about these RW clowns, they’re easier to spot.

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/dominionism-and-religious-right-merger-complete

  15. Okay folks, lots of issues here.

    Re: batshit: At the risk of blowing a major plot element of something I might have been thinking about writing (I guess I could come up with some other major plot elements), let’s hypothesize that ever since the discovery of StupidVirus (Forbes.com denial article), various intelligence agencies and corporate hit-squads have been conducting their own version of peer-review experiments trying to find out if this stuff works. And lo and behold! It really does make people stupid. As the Forbes article concludes with no irony at all, just because the highest concentration is in people from Baltimore, doesn’t mean that it makes people dumb.

    Now, I am just a fan, not a “neuro” guy, so I will leave it up to the brighter lights here, ideally including Our Gracious Host, to set me straight on the facts and the conjecture, as warranted, and I will Stand Corrected. But here’s my theory:

    Almost everyone almost everywhere is at some point in time infected with StupidVirus (ATCV-1) and almost everyone adapts. Probably, like most illnesses, this is first encountered in day-care, kindergarten, or elementary school. People who have the right kind of immune system fight free of it and generally become immune; these are our intelligentsia. People who have a really crappy immune system, at least as regards dealing with this virus and the follow-on, become mostly Ordinary Joes, and people who are really badly affected become more than a bit extra dim. But what of people who were never exposed as children, or who are repeatedly infected and who fight it off, but quickly lose immunity and are thus subject to re-infection?

    Remember, this is an encephalitis, of sorts, not exactly super destructive like rabies, and clearly survivable for the vast majority of people. Most people, under this theory, wander through life with a constant infection not entirely dissimilar to people with toxoplasmosis in a low grade state. For most people, they settle into an adapted state wherein they aren’t disordered other than being, well, not the sharpest tool in the shed. And again, those who are either not much susceptible or who can fight it off quite well, those aren’t dim… but while those with exceptional immune handling may never experience much cognitive disturbance, those who have a robust immune response might find themselves more than a bit troubled by a sort of low-grade cytokine storm in the brain. This could manifest in all sorts of ways. See also Yolken et al. on statistical associations of toxoplasma and schizophrenia and related studies on toxoplasma and depression. While these are certainly arguable and debate still rages as to the meaning of the results, sometimes it’s really useful to just have good questions… and questions might be, so to speak, transportable from one study of zoonotic brain infections to another “botanotic”. From Yolken:

    […] number of questions remain concerning a role for Toxoplasma
    in the aetiology of schizophrenia, including the roles of
    strain variation, the timing and source of infection,
    and the role of host genes in determining disease susceptibility.

    Prefatory remarks done, my unsupported conjecture would be, that if there’s a global exposure and global varied immunity to StupidVirus, and if there is also occasional mutation of the virus coat in the same ways seen in influenza, occasionally waves of novel ATCV-1 might make the rounds, with effects on individuals variant with the immune response of those individuals. During this active phase of infection and adaptation of immune response, significant mental variations, cognitive disturbance or mood disorders, could all arise.

    And thus, my theory on why we really might have a global wave of prima facie batshit crazy breaking out all over.

    Re: Topic: As for the bit with the Canadian PM getting a trifle overzealous in defense of the tar sands, and the role of tar-sands in propping up his party and regime (and a large chunk of the Canadian economy), didn’t we get into that discussion a few posts back? Because I might be just a little batshit myself, but I could swear that we almost predicted that Mr Harper would have to be grasping at straws as the global low price of oil made the tar-sands (and US shale-oil hydraulic extraction) economically noncompetitive. And here’s the predicted straws at which his regime is grasping, dolled up as an anti-terrorism measure. “Canadian oil anti-defamation act” did you say? Speak Not Against Ye Tar Sands? Seriously, buy a Prius to nail this in its coffin. And find a nice simple catch-phrase with power comparable to “no war for oil” or “whoever would trade essential liberty for a little security deserves and will get neither liberty nor security”. Maybe “Oil jobs now, endless tyranny forever after, or suck it up if you want to be free”. When people ask you WTF then you explain it, simply at first and then in whatever detail they demand.

    Okay, enough for today of trying to meddle in Canada’s internal politics. 😉

  16. Excellent thumbnail rundown on the global picture and its origins by Matthew Stoller.

    Storify: NWO Conspiracy, Its Origins and Grain of Truth

    As is typical, people get the purpose and players wrong. Banks and multinationals, no aliens required.

    He left out banks also funding terrorism and laundering drug money but the idea is there.

  17. Ah yes, reactionary politics at its finest.

    Capitol Cooking 101:

    First, begin with a plump, raw focusing event (we recommend freshly slaughtered and still grieving). Dissect clumsily into bite-sized morsels and dust with all-purpose, bleached flour to homogenize for mild palates. Scrape onto a hot, oiled news desk and gleefully sear until sides are blistered. Remove and rest. Haphazardly slice two dozen mushrooms of questionable identity, split one dozen stalks celery, splice ground zero footage (if readily available), chop two onions, and scrub one dozen whole carrots and baby potatoes. Strip and dissemble two cloves of garlic and spread thinly into a hot, oiled pot. Brown. Dump the choicest pieces (excluding the potatoes) into the pot and stir-fry until softened. Add the Meat and Potatoes of the Story and mix in 2.5 quarts – of varying ratio – anecdotes, conjecture, fancy graphics, ulterior motive, stock and boxed red wine. Raise burner to high and bring to a roiling boil. Continuously stir in 24-hour media coverage and a healthy fist (or to desire) of sensationalism. After agitating for two to four days, lower burner temperature and simmer covered; about two weeks.

    Chef’s Tip: Spice up your affair with fresh thyme, parsley, basil, and politicians’ sound-bites! Be sure to stir in while the whole mess is stewing!

    Rapidly serve hot injections to ravening masses. Give second and third (and ninth and tenth) helpings generously. Do not take ‘no more’ as a signal to stop.

    Now that the masses are temporarily sated, the Show – Capitol Intrigue – may begin (or tune into your television)! This Show is a two-fold musical and dance extravaganza with sub rosa nudity and full metal jacketed pyrotechnics – one part unfolds on stage before the audience and the second part occurs simultaneously (or prior) backstage. VIP passes are required for the second part. The music is pompous and subliminally subversive! The dancing is choreographed and lurching! And the song numbers are simultaneously droning and titillating! This production will bedazzle and enamor; you won’t believe your eyes nor your ears! Come see it to believe it!!

  18. What a shame, I am unable to post my essay-length comment -__-

    @ Nestor, very cool JC homage a la Disney :)

  19. @Mr Non-Entity.

    Distinct possibility and based on historical precedent.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/25/the-truman-syndrome-when-_n_146366.html

    With somewhat hilarious results if you are devoid of sympathy.

  20. ISIS may be a cadre of murdering fundamentalist assholes, but that’s all they are; they don’t even pose an existential threat to Canada, much less an entire biosphere.

    Existential threat? How would global warming wipe out the entire biosphere? Not just polar bears, pandas and other such terminally specialized species?

    Seems like a bit of a hyperbole, but then, you do seem outraged.

    I know terrorism is a thing. I know measures need to be taken.

    No, they’ve already been taken. Terrorism is now only a serious issue in failed or near-failure countries. Everywhere else it’s just used as a pretext for something.

    If we exiled all TV journalists to North Korea and shot down every non-responsive aircraft in the wrong place, terrorism would not be a problem. As of late, it seems terrorist are unable to make truck-bombs in developed countries.

    They can’t even make good bombs, and so far they haven’t tried funny and bloody stuff like say, boarding a cruise ship on the high seas from a helicopter and shooting everyone on board. Or converting a fire-truck into a flamethrower and barbecuing a PEGIDA demonstration.

    The paltry amount of casualties terror attacks cause pales in the psychological damage done by the violence being televised and shown to everyone.

  21. Disregard the previous statement concerning the inability to post…the tubes must have been temporarily clogged.

    On a more serious note, I find the questionnaire and interpretation to be rather dubious. They seem to want to scale popular attitude towards the bill, but they have respondent bias to contend with and they conduct the survey in a haphazard manner. Response bias is most obvious in the first question they ask: “Some people say there is a serious threat of terrorism in Canada. Others believe this threat has been overblown by politicians and the media. Which of these two views is closest to your own?” And they supply two options: 1) “There is a serious threat of terrorism here in Canada” and 2) “Politicians and the media have overblown the threat of terrorism in Canada.” There are only two extreme choices and it forces the respondents to interpret their own beliefs and opinions in a rather messy manner. The other questions either employ more forced options or limited attitude scaling (strongly support, support, oppose, strongly oppose). Additionally, the poll reflects that Canadians for the most part, do not really know the c-51 bill in depth, with the majority possessing only passing awareness from few articles and headlines. They don’t go into how the questions are generated or selected either. In the end, I merely interpreted the results of the poll to reflect that Canadians for the most part believe that terrorism can be a problem to welfare and that the government should act in the peoples’ interest. So all in all, nothing new — citizens want protection and governments to do their jobs, well. However, at what cost? It doesn’t help that the anti-terror actions are the same old schlock, nothing novel or creative which may potentially nip the bud.

  22. “…I can’t help but see Pol Pot offering us protection against Charlie Manson.”

    Now, that’s simply irresponsible hyperbole. There’s *nothing* in C-51 or C-44 that would establish labor camps where hundreds would be executed daily with spades and sharpened bamboo,

    Those are in C-19 for 2016, now in early draft.

  23. Re: whoever, on eco-rape

    Frankly, there’s no reason to believe that we’re here not to rape the earth.
    Even without the assumption about some kind of skycritter looking over us and granting us “authoritah”, there’s pretty much nothing that would lead one to conclude that we should treat the biosphere any better than absolute minimum needed to prevent our own extinction, and even that only until we figure a way to “calvin-cycle our way out of any hole”, at which point we basically don’t need the damn thing anymore (except maybe as a repository of interesting biochemical routines that we should pillage and reverse-engineer before burning it for fuel)

    And you know what? To the extent one can “fault” a thing that literally lacks a mind, that’s all nature’s fault.
    Nature is neither balanced nor kind. Nature is vicious, brutal and, given known history of extinctions, anything but “stable” or “harmonious”.
    Given nature’s track record, it only makes sense that of all hominids, only the most rape-murderous and vindictive prevailed.

    If we owe anything to “mother earth”, it’s our vindictiveness, our cruelty, and a fuckton of bloody shit – you know, for all those fancy genetic bottlenecks that happened when it tried to mindlessly snuff us out.

    That we (okay, a significant number of us) have somehow sidestepped our evolved brutal tendencies (the precious legacy of our dear shitty “mother gaia”, lol) and developed ethics system that considers the well-being of non-cospecifics as anything more worthy than “fucking dust on our shoes” is a wonderful, extremely improbable coincidence.

    In fact, we’re pretty much the only species that cares about creatures it can neither exploit for pragmatic gain, nor productively copulate with ( Does a male otter contemplate what it feels like for a baby seal while raping said baby seal to the death? )

    My point?
    We don’t need a “god mythos” to justify raping the earth – raping the earth is a perfectly natural thing to do for any species brought about by a process as vicious and cruel as natural selection.
    We’re utterly unremarkable in this regard (we’re not even the first species to induce a catastrophic global environment change, for crying out loud)

    What makes us anomalous is that for some reason some of us stop and think, and come to conclusion that the thing that brought us about deserves protection (for reasons other than “not having the tech to become completely independent from this “nature” business)

  24. I see all that. Yes, we are anomalous as far as living creatures on this planet are concerned. We are able to think about the ramifications of our actions to a depth that other species cannot, and cooperate on a scale that they cannot unless evolution lead them to it, eg, some ants and some trees, etc. We don’t *have* to behave like animals, have to pretend that private mercenaries and wealth are going to protect us from the unwashed masses when the shit really hits the fan.

    And it’s all fine until it affects us personally. It’s academic, happening someplace far away.

    But the truth is, I’m not sure I care that much. I don’t really have much reason to. There’s always more to lose, but there’s no coming back from where I’ve been and even if there were, it would never be permitted. This is just the least shitty of my shitty options.

    I’ve seen or experienced just about every form of dirty trick imaginable. The point: while of course things don’t always go as planned, the body of knowledge and money thrown at shaping the world the way some special interests want it is such that it may as well be total control. Really. So what if you choose libertarianism over anarchism, antitheism over fundie-ism? It all leads to the same place: Multinational control on a scale not unlike that depicted in Starfish. Don’t have to have everyone on the same page. You need them fighting amongst themselves so they leave you alone. The House of Saud is a nice microcosm of this: They keep their radicals hating Israel and the US and succeed due to the support of the same because having those radicals around in turn gives them excuse to do what they like. A symbiotic relationship.

    Letting go of empathy, well I wish it were that simple. I don’t do this because I have other acceptable choices. I guess I’ve always been a rebel in a sense, though apparebtly a useful tool–unwittingly–at the same time.

    The hilarity of being manipulated to do some things and then to be punished for it by the same people who did the manipulating, well that’s just precious.

    It is in part stubbornness and part reason, that I just can’t bring myself to join the pack. It is a pointless “game” that, like Douglas Adams’ expressways must be built, must be played because games must be played…not because there is a better outcome to be won.

    Believe me, I tried other means of ending my conflict amicably and they were all refused. Someone is determined that I should pick up a gun or engage in some similar activity to prove some fucking point, I guess. Or just because they aren’t able to affect the changes they want, so resort to being bullies as always seems to happen when Empires crumble.

    So, while I may sound like a radical environmentalist, or whatever it is you guys think I am, I’m really not. I’m just a dude who’s circumstances went beyond his control. Just someone who wanted to be left the fuck alone and to not see bullshit like Squidgate go down, especially after electing Mr. Change to office.

    Not what you wanted to discuss, I know. I just would like to see a more intellectually honest discussion. And pretending that war, which exacerbates climate change and pollution, is helping leads me to think that it is really only for the enrichment of a few. I have no doubt that some of them believe it; I just doubt the real reasons. Recall, neuroscience suggests we don’t always know the real reasons we do things and consciousness is merely guessing. Why should intelligence agencies and the Joint Chiefs be excepted from that assessment? New SECDEF is doing away with PPT presentations. As if that will matter when the info is based on bias via torture and bottom lines.

    After the past few months, I think we could openly state the real reasons and it wouldn’t alter the course one iota. We are that far gone.

    Shit really is not always what it seems. Do I give a shit if we have a one-world goverment? Why would I? It’s mostly the lies I have to pretend to go along with that make whatever is happening unpalatable.

    It was so much easier when I was drugged crazy. 😉

  25. Re: whoever

    Dude, you do know I work in “competitive intelligence”, right 😀 ?

    Telling me that the world is going to be a Starfishesque megacorp soup is like telling a sapient fish that coastlines are gonna get flooded.
    Om nom nom.
    Sorry, I kinda sorta maybe want to empathize with your position, but given that the corpses (or, more precisely, the dire conflicts between them) are the force that feeds me and enables me to live the lifestyle I want to live, I can only do so in the most academic manner imaginable.

    Our goals do not appear to be well aligned.

  26. I hear you. Nothing personal, just circumstances not allowing me to be more generous to the industry. If they wanted to be friends, they went about it all the wrong way. To be sort of fair, I was repaid by the Dems for running those PSYOPs on Bachmann and Koch with the best sex of my life. It was the fact I thought I was buying my way out, not in deeper that pisses me off.

    If there were some glimmer of worth to be found in this quagmire, I’d gladly throw it out there. Not really seeing any. Like the plans displayed in a locked basement I don’t really see any good points or worth in the nonsensical tour of the cloak and dagger underbelly. Assume, like playing solitaire during the OBL raid or stating opposition to the Crusades while conducting and expanding them, just more schizo government behavior.

    Like I said, I worked for them–and at the same time worked for them without realizing it–for two decades. The thanks you get…well, something to consider. Become a player ASAP. :)

    The smart ones have all acquiesced or become complacent with the Snowden stuff being out there, far as I can tell. I’m either too smart, too dumb, or just plain too stubborn. And yet not paranoid enough, lol.

  27. This is what has robbed me of hope: the realization that I live in a nation of morons.

    Now you know how I felt after the November elections in the USA.

  28. @PhilRM:

    I hadn’t even heard of Seven Mountains at the time I wrote this, but could see–do see–it coming. Didn’t know about American Sniper either, but of course ZD30 was already out. Kind of funny in a sad way to watch old Hollywood crumble, but very much not funny realizing that Bibliawood is going to take its place, that Santorum will be a big time producer one day.

    https://cknall.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/inthrallis-chapter-two/

    I’d quote Malcolm X–because he was right, we love our oppressors and hate the oppressed–but it would make me sound like a radical. :)

  29. […] Watts does not like Canada’s new bill C-51, for good […]

  30. Re: whoever, on dirt and new HW

    First, as you might know, I kind of have a skeptical outlook on the whole “civvie psyops” thing, but at this point as far as I can tell my dear friend 01 and you have previously covered all the bases already (I’d just like to say that, based on my experience on planning and carrying out relatively mild compintel shticks, the kinds of things you describe would take a near-posthuman skill to properly orchestrate and make scalable to population-wide deployments)

    And who said that old HW is “crumbling” ? From here, it’s business as usual (in fact, I doubt that special interest movies would do much besides making a few dudes obscenely rich by tricking the religious fools and / or milindust folks out of a few hundred millions)

    I mean, for the love of tentacle robot fucks, the rise of “special interest movies” is simply due to the fact that you can porkbarrel and/or embellish the living shit out of them with impunity (if you bleed, say, a weapons development project to the point that it fails, you might get investigated. If you bleed a “special interest” movie or art project dry, and it flops, you just shrug and mumble something about god/culture/postmodernism/patriarchy/values, and you’re of the hook and ready to part some more fools from their moneys).

    BTW, this “steal money through pointless artsy-fartsy projects while claiming to do something practical” trick, like many others, was a CIA invention :)

    Useful heuristic:
    whenever something claims to be intended to affect a “cultural shift” and “bring back” or “alter” “values”, it’s likely a scam (whether it wants to “bring back traditional values” or “dismantle patriarchal oppression” is pretty much irrelevant)
    Since in the particular case of biblewood, it’s the conservative/traditional values/abrahamist wing that gets scammed, I don’t particularly mind this development.

  31. I’ve come late to your work, Peter, and can only thank you for making a lot (if not all) of it freely available. Your stuff gives me the same charge I get from M. John Harrison, Aldiss, Gibson and others. Thank you. You’ve heard this before, of course, but not from me. I’m hooked, and can’t thank you enough. Ditto for this ‘site and your way intelligent blogging.

  32. Nothing more I can do about skepticism. Like I said, I’m not an insider, gambled that one would blow the whistle. Didn’t happen, was apparently just something out of the sick imaginations of the people with whom Barrack Obama surrounds himself. He wanted his transparency cake and to eat unconstitutional covert ops, too. He’s really an awful president who writes nice speeches pretending he’s got no say in what happens.

    I’m not following you on the RR getting ripped off. Nor on the let the Muslims and Christians kill each other. Interesting thoughts, but it doesn’t ever work out that way. They don’t/won’t leave other people alone and war affects everyone.

    Authoritarianism means it doesn’t matter what they say, it matters who says it and how they say it. Pretty much that simple, coupled with most people being cowards IME. Same basic recipe as 1930s Germany minus the $200 loaves of bread and economic chaos plus the RR movement of Erik Prince’s dad. Create an enemy, label him an existential threat, repeat the lies over and over.

  33. {03 reply in mod.}

    Pete, see confidentiality section. Pretty normal, I guess, by today’s standards, but an acquaintance was asking about it on Twitter. Had to sign similar doc in ’04 at doctor’s office. Yeah, the same doctor’s office with ‘Balding,’ etc. in ’10. Figured it would never get used.

    See, my lessons are learned, not dreamed up. :)

    http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/submissions/

  34. 03: We don’t need a “god mythos” to justify raping the earth – raping the earth is a perfectly natural thing to do for any species brought about by a process as vicious and cruel as natural selection.
    We’re utterly unremarkable in this regard (we’re not even the first species to induce a catastrophic global environment change, for crying out loud)

    (Applause)

    Please do keep telling this to all the green people you meet. You’re doing God’s work, son.

  35. M.S. Patterson:
    If you’re still alive when the national governments of Canada and the US implode, you’re welcome to come live in Cascadia.

    I would love to return to Cascadia. Even more so now that the windchill outside my window is -35C.

    Mr Non-Entity: Almost everyone almost everywhere is at some point in time infected with StupidVirus (ATCV-1) and almost everyone adapts.

    I can’t follow the link to that Forbves article. It stalls me at “Quote of the day”, and clicking on “Proceed to site” doesn’t do anything.

    Weighing in anyway, you’re forgetting the aphorism that “All creatures are under stringent selection to be as stupid as they can get away with”. It’s less parsimonious to assume high intelligence that gets compromised by some external agent than it is to posit that most of us just aren’t very bright to begin with.

    Brains are big glucose hogs, after all. And stupid fruit flies do fare better in impoverished nutritional environments than smart fruit flies do.

    WASP: What a shame, I am unable to post my essay-length comment -__-

    Yes you are. Just please don’t post the same one half a dozen times. I am frequently away from my computer, sometimes for hours!

    Monte Davis:
    “…I can’t help but see Pol Pot offering us protection against Charlie Manson.”

    Now, that’s simply irresponsible hyperbole. There’s *nothing* in C-51 or C-44 that would establish labor camps where hundreds would be executed daily with spades and sharpened bamboo,

    Those are in C-19 for 2016, now in early draft.

    This almost inspired me to give up my principles and post an emoticon.

    Almost.

    03: We don’t need a “god mythos” to justify raping the earth – raping the earth is a perfectly natural thing to do for any species brought about by a process as vicious and cruel as natural selection.
    We’re utterly unremarkable in this regard

    Let me just echo this, although Y has beat me to it.

    There’s a myth in common currency that nature is somehow efficient, that predators kill only for food and not pleasure, yadda yadda yadda. In fact, species routinely fuck each other over for no good reason; orcas will play volleyball using a seal and leave the carcass uneaten; a fox will dig up a turtle nest and smash the eggs, again without eating any. Our own species, “treading lightly on the earth” notwithstanding, managed to take out 90% of North America’s charismatic megafauna within a few centuries of crossing the Bering land bridge, armed with nothing more than rocks and pointy sticks. (There’s been some controversy about this admittedly, with some claiming that those extinctions were precipitated by climate change; but that model doesn’t account for relic populations, isolated from humans but not from climate, which persisted into historical times— until more advanced technology dissolved that barrier. Steller sea cow is one example.) As a professor of mine back in Guelph used to say, the only reason anything ever lived in “balance” or “harmony” with nature was sheer incompetence; they just weren’t powerful enough to wipe it out.

    Natural selection has no foresight; its products don’t have much more. If something works in the moment, that’s what gets reinforced, and screw the long-term consequences.

    The problem is, though that may be a very natural attitude with billions of years of reinforcement behind it, there are long-term consequences. Nature doesn’t care if we wipe ourselves out. It’s indifferent to the depradations of pest species. But if we care about our own long-term survival, we damn well better dial it back, a lot.

    Not that we will, of course.

  36. Y.: Existential threat? How would global warming wipe out the entire biosphere? Not just polar bears, pandas and other such terminally specialized species?

    Yeah, I should have been more precise; I meant this biosphere. The one with the pandas and polar bears. The next one (or the next iteration, if you prefer)— the one dominated by insects and stromatolites— will probably be okay.

    Of course, there’s always the worst-case-but-still-not-implausible scenario in which deep-sea and permafrost-based methane clathrates bubble into the atmosphere, cranking up heat-retention way past what poor ol’ CO2 could ever manage. That way lies Venus— which, as far as we know, has no biosphere at all…

    William J. Grabowski:
    I’ve come late to your work, Peter, and can only thank you for making a lot (if not all) of it freely available. Your stuff gives me the same charge I get from M. John Harrison, Aldiss, Gibson and others. Thank you. You’ve heard this before, of course, but not from me. I’m hooked, and can’t thank you enough. Ditto for this ‘site and your way intelligent blogging.

    Thank you. It’s nice to get my ego stroked now and then. Much more pleasant than having my nose rubbed in the fact that I misused the word “biosphere”, anyway.

  37. Peter Watts: …the only reason anything ever lived in “balance” or “harmony” with nature was sheer incompetence; they just weren’t powerful enough to wipe it out.

    So we’re too intelligent for our own good? Gotten pointier sticks and bigger rocks.

    Well, that would make a nice bookend with the dinosaurs as the other.

  38. @Peter Watts: […] Weighing in anyway, you’re forgetting the aphorism that “All creatures are under stringent selection to be as stupid as they can get away with”. It’s less parsimonious to assume high intelligence that gets compromised by some external agent than it is to posit that most of us just aren’t very bright to begin with. […]

    Okay, in case you missed it, perhaps I can find a better link to ATCV-1. Here’s Wikipedia, briefly, citing Yolken, R. H. (et al […]). (2014). “Chlorovirus ATCV-1 is part of the human oropharyngeal virome and is associated with changes in cognitive functions in humans and mice”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    This discussion is of long standing, “species aren’t any smarter than they need to be”, and generally I’d agree. If we were talking Wattsian Vampires, I would say that would be a pretty good explanation of why humans are any smarter than chimps, because they had to compete with a mimic as well as a predator, all in one package. But leaving the WV out of the argument since they’re fictional in the modern day 😉 I have to add to my silly hypothesis. To ask why humans are so smart, we could look to science fiction.

    Both Poul Anderson (Brain Wave) and Vernor Vinge (“Zones of Thought” cycle) propose in their fiction that most of human evolution has occurred in an area of space with certain fine-detail specs in physics constants that limit the speed of nerves, etc.

    In Vinge, by traveling really huge distances you can get to places in space where this effect is profound, “the Unthinking Depths”, or alternatively to places where this effect is negligible, “the Transcend”. Life “as we know it” is possible only between the two extremes.

    In Anderson, the solar system crosses a rather sharp bound of a field which historically has constrained nerve speed, and suddenly the rabbits are solving puzzles and schoolchildren are inventing the math for hyperdrives while the cows and sheep organize for the common defense, etc etc.

    In Anderson more than in Vinge, we see evolution producing species which are, as you suggest, just about as intelligent as they need to be for their niche, and no more. Yet when fundamental laws of physics change just a bit, their intelligence increases drastically. The change isn’t in the species, but in the environment.

    So let’s look at very early anatomically-modern humans (“AMH”). I seem to recall that some of the earliest known fossils of settlements are around the silted-in remains of what was once a very large lake, with the people and the lake buried by ash from a volcanic event that some hypotheze wiped out almost all hominoids in that part of Africa and quite possibly wiped out most of anatomically-modern humans alive at the time. Those who were left alive might have been those farthest afield, near and beyond the Levant.

    One might hypothesize that this large lake, with its large settlement of AMH, might easily have been infested with ATCV-1, and in fact those AMHs might have evolved permeated with ATCV. Evolutionary pressures could have selected for a brain as big as was needed to operate under the influence of ATCV-1, in the same way that some American cars of the 1970s got bigger and bigger engines to try to maintain comparable power outputs even as pollution controls were slapped on in really power-sapping modes.

    And why would humans, rather than chimps, have to deal with this? We could posit, for now, that the African AMHs spent quite a lot of time in the water, possibly evading the chimps, who really don’t like water in general, and are nowhere near as adapted for it as are humans. Thus humans would be constantly exposed to refreshed dosage of ATCV, chimps potentially less so. Humans in the water might need to evolve their brains just to get parity with the chimps on the shore. (Way too far into conjecture here, but “stet”.)

    Of course, immune systems probably evolve in the same way as do microbes and viruses (see also the Native American pandemic w/smallpox etc) and at the same time, culture evolved and so did culture’s ability to provide clean water. At first, native immunity to ATCV-1 might have been rare and sporadic mutations, much like we theorize might have been the case with FOXP2. Yet such immunity might have conferred so great an advantage that any genetic component of such immunity would spread very quickly through the population, as clade analysis shows was the case with FOXP2. Thus, a fairly minor beneficial mutation in the immune system renders “bonus” all of the really-expensive evolution that produced a brain capable of muddling along under the weight of a ubiquitous viral infection. Compare, if you will, the health of populations which had no knowledge of herbal worming medicines, with the health of populations that had worming medicines.

    Of course, the principle of Parsimony would suggest, and with lots of supporting evidence, that the reason humans are so smart is that we had to compete with equally smart creatures trying to steal our food and kill us outright, namely, ourselves and each other. However, that very easily explains why we are so smart, but unlike my (probably whimsical) theory, it doesn’t explain periodic and perhaps cyclic eruptions of Teh Crazy, which in many locations and perhaps in most years might tend to cluster around the times that certain algae are getting ready for their spring blooms.

    Or you could just write it off as a long winter and Cabin Fever for some cases. I suppose the test of my theory might be someone developing a really good immunization for ATCV-1 and testing it. And while Spider Robinson did a really good story about the world going to hell in a handbasket due to some scientist releasing a virus that conferred immunity to the Common Cold and thus drove everyone mad when suddenly humanity regained its collective sense of smell for the first time since the invention of towns, it remains unwritten what might happen if suddenly even the stevedores had IQs above 180. Would politics become less crazy, or moreso?

  39. Re: whoever, on ripoffs and my enemy’s enemy

    The RR are getting ripped off the same way US army got ripped off on “sponsored by reel militarah” computer games (millions spent, no provable effect on army-relevant audience metrics, money well wasted)

    You seem to be laboring under a very special assumption (one “hard left”, especially of radfem variety, and “hard right”, especially of “evangelical” variety, seem to have in common) – the assumption that there exist practically feasible, provable, reliable methodologies for enacting controlled, radical social change through linguistic trickery, “artistic” produce and “cultural” manipulations.

    There is simply no evidence for such methodologies existing. We are nowhere near “engineering” values or, for Cthulhu’s sake, new “needs” and “wants”. We can barely and only partially reliably channel existing needs and wants into particular products, and even then the reliability with which we do so is far from stellar.

    Failure, desolation and utter desolation follow pretty much every major (as in, larger than a small neighborhood or tribe of :(

    Re: Peter Watts

    Well, sooner or later (given recent Lockheed fusion fuss, likely sooner) we’ll have the tech to set ourselves free from our humiliating dependence upon the biosphere, and that’s even without considering the theoretical possibility of re-engineering ourselves to cope well with novel environments.

    Of course, damaging the entire system before we’re independent from it is rather foolish.
    Pillage, then burn 😉

  40. Oh, looks like my reply to whoever got weirdly truncated

    I blame NSA CIA Microsoft Google Chrome!

    Anyway, here’s the slightly un-truncated version (hope it gets through in one piece)

    Re: whoever, on ripoffs and my enemy’s enemy

    The RR are getting ripped off the same way US army got ripped off on “sponsored by reel militarah” computer games (millions spent, no provable effect on army-relevant audience metrics, money well wasted)

    You seem to be laboring under a very special assumption (one “hard left”, especially of radfem variety, and “hard right”, especially of “evangelical” variety, seem to have in common) – the assumption that there exist practically feasible, provable, reliable methodologies for enacting controlled, radical social change through linguistic trickery, “artistic” produce and “cultural” manipulations.

    There is simply no evidence for such methodologies existing. We are nowhere near “engineering” values or, for Cthulhu’s sake, new “needs” and “wants”. We can barely and only partially reliably channel existing needs and wants into particular products, and even then the reliability with which we do so is far from stellar.

    Failure, desolation and utter disappointment follow pretty much every major (as in, larger than a small neighborhood or tribe of <50 humans) social engineering undertaking in the twentieth and early twenty-first century, ranging from Soviet attempt at communism and Pullman's little madtown to Sweden's preposterous anti-prostitution shenanigan (mentioned above, complete with link to empirical takedown and proponent's incoherent "not even wrong" style objections) and the weird camarilla of artsy-fartsy "radical cultural reform" projects.

    So if the conservatives are willing to throw cash at their own little "cultural reclamation" project, well, fools and their money tend to part rather quickly indeed.

    As to the whole "muslim versus christian" shtick, the enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy, nothing more and nothing less.
    And time an enemy spends fighting another enemy of mine is time and effort not spent harming me and people I actually sympathize with.

    Besides, given that all abrahamic religions prey on the same vulnerabilities in human cognition, a conflict between them is pretty much inevitable and very hard to avoid, so there's not much that can be done (of course, one could speculate that we could somehow encourage all of abrahamic cults to become less brutal and competitive in their fight for the ecological niche they all occupy, but hey – no large scale attempt at deliberate social engineering in history has ever succeeded, so such project would be a crapshoot as well 😉 )

  41. My pet theory, which I’ve blatered about here before I’m sure, is that peacock style sexual selection for neoteny just pumped our heads up like balloons and happily this coincided with increased intelligence as a side effect/avenue for survival for otherwise weak bobble headed monkeys.

    The thing about intelligence is there’s clearly a phase change once you reach a certain level, I don’t think a smart mayfly can actually do much more than a dumb one, though I may be uncharitable towards mayflies.

    (Having manipulatory appendages, the right sensory apparatus and the mass to actually affect your environment probably also helps)

  42. I’m sorry, 03, but you’re wrong. It is happening, is the point of, for example, GCHQ’s operations, and is clearly the case. Linguistic trickery? I just spelled it out for you regarding authoritarianism and that is backed up by studies we’ve discussed on this blog. I’ve shown an interview with a 20-year CIA vet stating they started a race war by simply controlling the news without the anchor even knowing they did so by controlling his boss. I’ve shown indicators that CIA/DoD control media domestically; that the National Defense of America Act made allowances for domestic psyops. I’ve shown that CIA’s budget is approx. 50% more than collect-it-all-on-planet-Earth NSA’s, not including the drones and the wars and they have other sources of income and asked what are they doing with it? Its not linguistic trickery, though we also know poll results can be slewed based on how the questions are framed–also diacissed on this blog; it’s control of information and thereby an altering of perception.

    Again: People are more likely to die by accident than terrorism anywhere on the planet. Does it make sense to spend trillions on fighting terrorism if it is that small of a threat? Then check out RW twitter and see if yiu think they agree with the stats.

    You’re saying PSYOPs don’t work? That is a ridiculous statement.

    Your confusion I think comes from assuming it’s “magic” or a single method when it is perhaps hundreds. All they need is the appearance of peer pressure and to control indicators. Jesus Christ, Hitler got people to join in on genocide and attacking much of the rest of the planet without the body of knowledge agencies like CIA and MI6 keep and CIA spent mondo money on research almost since its inception when it brought in Nazi scientists via PAPERCLIP.

    This is a separate issue from acoustic psycho-correction, etc. Though that should concern people like you guys as well. The point there, things like that and other more mundane tricks get used to create news stories to back up the stated or unstated premises. “All Muslims are terrorists.” “All blacks are prone to criminality.” Same shit different century.

    Except this time by also defunding education here on the one hand and using covert ops such as those lead to Squidgate to hide senstive but not secret research, they are going to manage to leverage a Clarke’s Third Law event, if not several.

    You and I and 01 won’t fall prey to, for example, the Seven Mountains cult and its proxies. So what? When they start filling the ranks of every level of government and private service provider, you might wish you had.

    If/When they decide to invade the EU for the good your own mortal soul, maybe then you’ll give a shit about their other victims. Or maybe you’ll just join up and pretend.

    They’ve just all pissed me off too badly for me to consider that.

  43. Mr Non-Entity,

    I like it. Wonder whom we have to call/fellate at the CIA?

    The ATCV-1 means bigger brains idea is great; I really enjoyed that idea. I subscribe to the traditional: humans got more flexible, thought-filled brains because they were intensely social and better ability to think about complex social relations improved survival of the individual and their tribe. Because, yeah, people aren’t really all that smart or effective singlely, it’s when they get together in groups to problem-solve that inconceivable things are somehow imagined and built. See: the pyramids. Vaccination programs. Trips to the Moon. usw.

    Leona:

    Absurcrasies. I’m horking that for my vocabulary, if you don’t mind. They’re like farces suddenly come to life, only more hair-raising.

    whoever:

    Well, at least I don’t feel so alone in observing this, all agog and bewildered.

    Y. :

    I meant it (batshit crazy) broadly, as in the whole world is breaking out in absurd levels of maladaptive unreasonableness, not just the mini-epidemic in Canada’s legislative body as reported here by Dr. Watts. I can’t discount your points about mass media, power grabs, or loss of religion’s restraint on society as a group.
    I just don’t see a coherent strategy, however, in lopping prisoners heads off in front of a camera. That stirs people to renewed love for Allah? There are better, less insane ways to piss off the West, if that’s what you wanna do.

  44. Via GG on Twitter:

    ‘Jihadi John’ Radicalised by Britain

    All these fuckers in charge are just so full of shit. Guarantee same thing happened after ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ simultaneous with energy exploration and documentation of the poppy industry.

  45. @Christina Miller

    It’s a large, concerted effort, mostly greed-driven that goes in all sorts of directions. Sometimes I can’t walk through a room without seeing it. Today: another stupid ghost show depicted Korean War vet and his two sons plagued by an entity they came to refer to as the boogeymen. If there’s any truth to it, it was a DoD and/or CIA PSYOP. Kids were blamed and abused for years by their PTSS father for hijinks around the house that they didn’t do. Today, youngest son Tim Yancey has a supernatural radio show.

    Significance? Many of the people I talk to seem to have family in the military. Imagine the loopholes and papers signed that people are never aware of all the legal ramifications for. Or consider the really, really petty way the brass can decide to get back at lower level folks who piss them off. DIA is notorious for being really, really nasty to folks whom someone decides they don’t like.

    And then let’s recall the origin of “In God We Trust” on money. The 50s mentality was to equate communism with atheism. While there’s some truth to that, both Russia and China put an end if only temporarily to organized religion after the revolutions, I think the bigger picture in the West is about social control. Make people think God wants them poor, the rich rich, and to send their kids off to wars the rich profit from and you have the life of Reilly on the backs of others without significant risk to yourself.

    That’s what the Seven Mountains cult is all about and places like DoD, CIA, FBI, etc. have people who equate godliness with torture, murder, lies, and theft. If I were the religious type, I’d wonder if they weren’t more on the other dude’s side.

  46. Peter Watts: Of course, there’s always the worst-case-but-still-not-implausible scenario in which deep-sea and permafrost-based methane clathrates bubble into the atmosphere, cranking up heat-retention way past what poor ol’ CO2 could ever manage.

    Has the world not been substantially warmer since the cretaceous? I recall reading somewhere that central Europe once had palms trees and savannahs and the like.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_temperature_record#mediaviewer/File:65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

    Or is the problem that the temperature swing is just too fast, and in the past those temperature extremes were accompanied by methane release, however it was more gradual and the atmosphere never had enough methane in it to cause catastrophic warning?

  47. Re: whoever, on Hitler and company

    First, let’s get Hitler out of the way (because it’s a generally good idea to get rid of him :) ) – Hitler did not “induce” or get “people to joint the genocide”, he merely managed to upgrade (industrialize, if you will) a genocidal proclivity that was common in Europe and, especially, in Germany, for hundreds of years (German massacres of Jews and Roma are older than the printing press), and the extent to which his participation was critical for this undertaking is somewhat questionable (but we don’t have access to alternate timelines to know for sure, which is sad 😉 )

    The humble tradition of using Third Reich as example of successful propagandist effort and “social engineering” is somewhat amusing, because TR was actually heavily piggybacking on existing German xenophobia, exceptionalism and, especially, violent antisemitism that date back to the damn middle ages, if not earlier.

    If anything, later developments in Germany would come off as better examples of “social engineering/cultural reform success”, but the extent to which they are a deliberate and reproducible result is questionable.

    My point isn’t that PSYOPs don’t work – because formally, PSYOPs is a lot of things.
    It covers matters ranging from rather exotic (like poisoning someone with psychoactives) to banal (like having an agent of appropriate gender engage in a sexual relationship with target to procure info or exert influence) and outright trivial (like gathering info about target’s past as to fine-tune arguments for increased emotional appeal)
    Some of those things work. Some of those things occasionally work. Some of those things work only for very permissive definitions of “work”, and some (gasp) don’t work at all and just waste money.

    My point is that there is no confirmed example of successful, deliberate large-scale “social / cultural engineering” project – and no reliable, empirically validated methodology for designing and executing such projects.
    Your examples are either not actually applicable (see: Hitler) or a case of “god of the gaps”“CIA of the gaps” argument – in the sense that, given that “CIA media capabilities” are largely implied and their effectiveness and operational parameters are not robustly, empirically established, you can dismiss any discrepancy with any hypothesis regarding CIA influence as “part of the plan”.
    This is further exacerbated by the fact that adversary motives you use in your hypotheses are largely speculative, allowing to further twist your hypothesis into any imaginable gap that might arise in evidence.

    That’s not very good, since essentially, TLAs and / or international conspiracies, when handled this way, become not unlike demons of yore, that is, unfalsifiable.
    Demons were cooler though…They allegedly had horns, bat wings, and superior sexual intercourse skills (may or may not be related to horns and wings 😉 ), which automatically makes them superior to typical malefactors in a CIA-conspiracy-theory (obese, pale generals who look like anthropomorphized chafer grubs when deprived of their fancy uniforms).

    If I absolutely had to have an unfalsifiable conspiracy theory in my worldview, it would at least involve demons (cool ones, with horns and wings)

    Do note that I don’t deny CIA involvement in internal US affairs – including but not limited to racial affairs (For instance, it appears very plausible to me that govthugs had a hand in MLK’s demise) , I merely find that under most CIA-goal/motive hypotheses their involvement can’t be deemed anything but rather ineffectual (whether they seek to incite a US-wide race-based civil war, ameliorate race relationships to prevent said war, or turn afroamerican people into easily managed remote-controlled unwitting puppets through clever psychoacoustically engineered headphones*, the achievements seem to be rather far from stellar).
    Which either leads us to conclude that they’re not very good at this conspiracin’ stuff, or leads us into a spiral of unfalsifiable “X of gaps / it-is-part-of-the-plan” speculations.

    If anything, the ultra-xenophobic, paranoid attitudes in the US of A have somewhat ameliorated

    And Seven Mountains movement… I can’t help but wonder why do they concern you so?

    I mean, yes, they are a particularly aggressive cult (all religions, even peaceful and “sympathetic” ones, are essentially cults, it’s just that some of them have grown “reshpechtable” and become more mild-mannered), but there has never been a shortage of aggressive cults.
    If anything, seem like a less intelligent, less well-designed scientology knockoff (I know you like timeline coincidences – though you don’t seem to think there are such things as coincidences – so here’s one: Dominion Theology, which is the core of 7M bullshit, was most prominent in mid-’70ies, approximately the time when information about Operation Snow White materials were becoming widely known, so it’s almost like a radical christian read about scientological shenanigans and thought “those heathens have a point about this whole infiltration business”** :) )

    They aren’t even very good at hiding (something scientology used to be good at in its early years) and their “social subversion approach” (the dominionist Seven Mountains doctrine) is more or less a mish-mash of unfalsifiable crap that is remarkably similar to the dreck “critical theory” proponents (especially “typical” Frankfurt School “scholars”) like to throw about, only with “socialism” and “social justice” replaced by “christianity” and “kingdom come” (The remarkable similarity between cultural attitudes of “atheistic” “critical theory” proponents and radical right is quite remarkable and tends to give rise to truly bizarre alliances, such as the alliance between certain “non-religious” radical feminists and radical evangelicals in their struggle to outlaw pornography and reinstate legal suppression of sexual expression).
    As you might notice, much like the “non-religious” Frankfurters, the Dominionist evangelicals (including 7Ms specifically) are not very keen on employing an empirically grounded methodology (if you take them at face value and not just as a yet-another-money-leeching op – money grabs based on such belief systems are usually very empirically sound :) ), which is actually a good thing since it limits the ability of these groups to come up with, and carry out, plans that would actually work “in real life”.

    Given all that was said above, they don’t look very remarkable at all. If anything, they are a downright second-hand cult. Yes, they should be subject to scrutiny and should be opposed where possible, but as far as cults go they are neither very interesting, nor very successful (scientology, again, can at least boast having bootstrapped a vicious and powerful religion out of nothingness, while Dominionists have to piggyback on abrahamic crap to get by)

    _______________
    *
    Maybe the reason I can’t stand Beatz sound is because we’ve been secretly inoculated against weirdo mind-altering shenanigans – we’re compintel folks, after all :)

    **
    Credit where credit is due, scientologists used to be kinda awesome in their craziness. For instance, they had an awesome plan to contaminate government databases with information about a talking cat having a press conference, so that they can later make a laughing stock out of government officials by pointing out this record. Not kidding here (well, I’m not kidding. Whether scientologists were “kidding” is something we’ll never truly know)
    To the best of my knowledge, no Dominionist has ever lived up to the standard of craziness thus set by their scientologist peers :)

    ========
    ========

    Re: Christina Miller, on (t)error

    During one of my forays into a circumstantially related area, I’ve come across a pair of publications (and article and a its summary by none other than Schneier himself) about terrorism psychology.

    The article is “What Terrorists Really Want” by Max Abrahms
    and the summary essay is the amusingly named “The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Terrorists” by Bruce Schneier

    Long story short, terrorist organizations are not rational goal-driven organizations, and the fact that a given act does not promote the officially stated goal (be that political independence of a given territory or establishment of a global islamic theocracy) does not serve to discourage the terrorists from carrying it out.
    A careful reader will of course notice that a similar behavior pattern has emerged among the US three-letter-agencies (for instance it has long been proven, scientifically and beyond reasonable doubt, that torture does not produce good intel, and thus is not merely “immoral” but also utterly ineffective – and yet the three-letter-goons keep on trucking)

    Terrorist organizations (and TLAs that are devolving into ones) are self-licking ice cream cones, not rational actors pursuing an external goal.

    Re: Christina Miller, on craziness epidemic

    I’d like to remind you that less than one hundred years ago there were a bunch of heavily armed, industrialized dudes who literally believed they are descendants of creatures who (allegedly) inhabited an (entirely imaginary) sunk continent.
    And until rather recently another bunch of heavily armed industrialized dudes were almost literally sacralizing something as trivial as “human labor” and were seriously intent on building “communism (well, technically those dudes are mostly still around, only instead of a communist utopia they’ve ended up with a preposterously corrupt capitalist oligarchy – remarkably, same fate has befallen their Chinese comrades, though the latter at least have a successful oligarchy)
    Oh, and unholy Reagan literally believed in biblical “armageddon” – a belief that still runs strong among US supporters of Israel (not to say that Israel ain’t a cool guy little angry nation-state, but christian armageddon myth is just plain comically silly)
    That’s among the most remarkable, threatening crazies in XX century.

    I’d say current rate of craziness is on the rise compared to, say, 90ies, but on a larger scale, the trend is down.

    Yep, it’s kinda sad to realize that head-chopping maniacs and conservative shitbags like Harper as a part of downwards trend

  48. Hello everyone. Did someone look up the whole definition of terrorism as defined by Canadian law? I did and found out it reads as follows:

    “terrorist activity” means
    […]
    (b) an act or omission, in or outside Canada,

    (i) that is committed

    (A) in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, and

    (B) in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act, whether the public or the person, government or organization is inside or outside Canada, [here it comes] and

    (ii) that intentionally

    (A) causes death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of violence,

    (B) endangers a person’s life,

    (C) causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public,

    (D) causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property, if causing such damage is likely to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C), or

    (E) causes serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private, other than as a result of advocacy, protest, dissent or stoppage of work that is not intended to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C),

    etc etc

    I’d say that’s a pretty big “and” right there. Paradigm-shifting, almost.

  49. @03:

    That’s a very thorough response re WWII and deserves a better reply than I have time to muster right now. I apologize for that. Here’s the reader’s digest on that part:

    Hitler: we have xenophobia here. We have news outlets enhancing and exploiting this. Watched the CNN coverage at Ferguson, for example. Wasn’t even me really noticing some of the silliness CNN got up to which amounted to trying to create news where there wasn’t any or much to be had. This included insulting and even once shoving protesters. There’s an old Sean Connery film about that.

    Throw in “it’s running out/there isn’t enough to go around” and you’ve got a similar climate to play in.

    Pogroms weren’t limited to Western Europe and clearly there was a sizable Jewish community that had not dreamed the Holocaust likely or possible despite that. Surely we can agree that there was something different. I don’t know enough–despite having once vacationed there and enjoyed it BTW–the Netherlands to understand the viewpoint. The key there, though, was the erosion of protection under the law. Police began leaving crimes against Jewish victims uninvestigated, even began covering them up.

    See again the link about MI5 and/or UK PDs harassing young Muslims and making sure they had no legal recourse. Factor in the “death of hope of 1,000 cuts” and you might start to get the picture. But that would require a little empathy. In any case, I consider that grey area false-flag.

    See if you prefer the Church/Tower hearings on COINTELPRO. How, in the 50s, did the FBI {and CIA} manage these things without the more exotic means? This at least showed they have the interest and training.

    Groups and individuals have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views and their lifestyles. Investigations have been based upon vague standards whose breadth made excessive collection inevitable. Unsavory and vicious tactics have been employed–including anonymous attempts to break up marriages, break up meetings, ostracize persons from their professionals, and provoke target groups into rivalries that might result in deaths. Intelligence agencies have served the political and personal objectives of presidents and other high officials. While the agencies often committed excesses in response to pressure from high officials in the Executive branch and Congress, they also occasionally initiated improper activities on their own and then concealed them from officials whom they had a duty to inform.

    In my case: they killed my dog. They burned down my friend’s home with her and her father in it for part of it–and by the way tried to frame Beaudry’s father and two brothers for it–and I refused. They may have killed my grandmother–or simply tried to PSYOP me into believing that they did, which I consider to be just about the same declaration of war–and I refused. They destroyed my life utterly, left me enough of a bread crumb trail to see how some of it was done, just enough to piss me off, left me alive so they could push me beyond the brink and they say, “See? Told you so. Manning. Greenwald. Fags are terrorists at heart.”

    Who would do that?

    How this ties in with Seven Mountains, Bush’s Apocalypse Death Wish, LDS in CIA, Rad Cats in DoD, etc.

    The point is simple. Social dominators, often sociopaths or religious extremists, require the distraction of “the other” in order to fulfill their selfish or nutty agendas. Whether you’re talking about the laughable secret Muslim crap or socialist or anti-Christ POTUS stuff, it’s not true.

    However, Blade’s timeless reply comes to mind. “Who’s President?” “An asshole.” Still true today. Likely always true. He’s got many powerful lobbies to juggle. I get that. But that is cold comfort, not change and doesn’t restore what they took unlawfully one iota.

    I am saying that 99.3% of the “all Muslims are terrorists” or “prone to terrorism,” which a very sizable portion of the US populace believes, is manufactured. Regardless of how–think of it as the idea version, as opposed to the organizational/group version, of this required reading in the IC:

    The Starfish and the Spider.

    I can only assume that your news sources are more nuanced and less prone to hyperbole and military industrial complex stenography than ours is. There are a hundred silly examples of what I mean. That’s what a starfish is. A group that moves slowly in a particular direction. Cut it in half and it grows into two but keeps moving. Momentum.

    Slouching towards Bethlehem as part of the Fauxpocalypse designed to secure their power. Labels like fascism, monarchism, theocracy, kleptocracy, likely get in the way. This is new and bad in similar ways that those things are bad. Call it what you like.

    Again, as I said to Y previously, we aren’t talking about one cult leader stuck in a bunker with a dozen people claiming the end is nigh and then blowing them all up with dynamite. We’re talking about a growing movement–see the link–with an agenda that includes taking over every aspect of message and power that already includes some very, very powerful people. Prayer breakfasts where many politicians feel compelled to attend. The RR movement is big. And, funny, you should bring up scientology. What a great way–beyond the kind of things they did to Clooney the year of Syriana–to control the message in Hollywood.

    And we’re talking about a corrosion of the rule of law at the same time. I’ve already pointed out some of the indicators. Chicago PD has a “black site” where they torture people we discovered recently. I’m going to guess that’s tip of the iceberg. There were similar rumors about NYPD ca. 15 years ago.

    This got a mention in my original letter asking Judge Monaghan to drop the case against Peter:

    America’s Secret ICE Castles.

    The handwriting is on the wall. I can throw out dozens of other indicators, many of which I already have. Philly PD, looting/robbing/destroying stores and no charges. Both Aaron Alexis and Myron May making similar claims before going on rampages. None of this is happening in a vacuum.

    Though the reasons for “why me” and what else were different from the point here, the point here is these power centers are engaged in a proxy war and I’ve been caught in the middle. So are lots of other folks but they don’t know it yet, maybe never will grep the truth.

    All I can tell you regarding effectiveness of X, Y and Z is that to some degree one or more of them work. I’ve seen it over and over again. And again, I am not an insider, so I’m only guessing as to which it is, how it works, etc. But I did see it. Saw it work on me and others, so it’s not like I had something “special” done to me 25 years ago that makes me more prone.

    But how do you prove it? I can’t. I can only relate what I saw and experienced.

    Here’s one I haven’t mentioned in a while. Here’s the chain of events.

    Step 1: Went out, probably March of ’10. Newly single, very confused and frustrated, drugged but not realizing it, and enduring what seemed like unending psychological harassment. I decided to go get a drink. Where?

    Step 2: Asked a gay couple on a street corner. They directed me to a group of three bars. {Two of which, I’d later discover, were half-owned by a former US Army officer, but that’s getting off-topic.} Were they operatives? Probably not.

    Step 3: Outside one of these bars got into a banter battle with a PYT. He suggested going to a party elsewhere in town. Had no idea what it was. Turned out to be the big gay bash of the year. Was he an operative? I’d say no, almost certainly not.

    Step 4: Went to the party. While checking something on my phone for a moment in a darkened area, there walked into the men’s room someone I hadn’t seen for fifteen years or more. Another New Jersey Shakespeare Festival intern. He was one of four people from that era who suddenly popped back into my life after Squidgate began.

    So they managed to get me and him in the same room at the same time without either of us ever intending that to happen. How?

    I only know it’s not magic, not God, not Fate, and not mere chance either.

    And I’ve had probably a dozen similar events plus fifty more that wouldn’t make sense unless you were someone who had the opportunity to read my emails and listen to my phonecalls for years.

    Anyway, the bottomline is there is something very, very wrong going on in this country even if it is only Obama advisors Cass Sunstein’s plan to try to trick people into thinking that there is. But I don’t think that is all, not even close.

    What am I trying to accomplish with that? Get people to realize that–somehow–there are ways to control events that completely alter the paradigm. We aren’t questioning events. We aren’t even asking the right questions. We accept the implied messages in this country without considering the simplest of ideas: When things are messed up, it’s the powerful, not the powerless, typically behind it one way or another. And we wind up at the Malcolm X quote.

    The chicken or egg question is what bothers me most about my personal situation. I didn’t and don’t want to be in this position. I’ve simply been left with crappy choices. I like checks and balances. I like the law applied to everyone, not just the disenfranchised or those who speak truth to power.

    But I’m not a radical. If I was radical about anything when this began, it was about being moderate. They pushed me to this. This is a reaction to it.

    Anyway, not to say that IQ is an indicator of the end-all and be-all, but I am a smart guy. It was rather my emotions they got hold of. The near suicidal state my partner came home in one evening in January of ’10 from work at IC subcontractor Google, for example. On top of everything else?

    No answers, just choices, as the man said.

  50. 03: (given recent Lockheed fusion fuss, likely sooner)

    What’s this? Link?

    Y.: Has the world not been substantially warmer since the cretaceous? I recall reading somewhere that central Europe once had palms trees and savannahs and the like.

    Oh yeah, the world’s been significantly warmer in the deep past than it is now; of course, back then there was more stuff sucking carbon out of the atmosphere too, as well as pumping it in, so the turnover was higher. Also the atmosphere’s fundamental complexion was different. A lot more oxygen, for one thing, which is how you could get insects a meter across.

    I haven’t done any of the math myself, of course, but judging by some of the papers I’ve read a runaway Greenhouse Effect, leading to literally uninhabitable conditions, is one of the scenarios down in the worst-case neighborhood.

    FRWL: I’d say that’s a pretty big “and” right there. Paradigm-shifting, almost.

    Not sure which “and” you’re referring to there. But it’s worth noting that C-51 bundles “terrorism” in with a bunch of other offenses, including “threats to infrastructure and financial stability”, which opens a whole cornucopia of offenses. C-51 also specifies an exemption only for “lawful” dissent, which opens up the restrictions of (E) considerably. Civil disobedience, for example, is not lawful by definition. If I trespass onto Irving’s front lawn during a protest, I’m no longer lawful. If I don’t have a license to wave my placard, I’m not lawful. C-51 takes all those reasonable exemptions for peaceful dissent, and hands them over to the discretion of any thug with a gun and a pair of shades.

  51. Not sure which “and” you’re referring to there. But it’s worth noting that C-51 bundles “terrorism” in with a bunch of other offenses, including “threats to infrastructure and financial stability”, which opens a whole cornucopia of offenses. C-51 also specifies an exemption only for “lawful” dissent, which opens up the restrictions of (E) considerably. Civil disobedience, for example, is not lawful by definition. If I trespass onto Irving’s front lawn during a protest, I’m no longer lawful. If I don’t have a license to wave my placard, I’m not lawful.C-51 takes all those reasonable exemptions for peaceful dissent, and hands them over to the discretion of any thug with a gun and a pair of shades.

    Maybe I was reading it wrong, but I felt that pretty much the whole argument about C-51 hinged on the definition of “terrorist offence”, which you considered “a bit broad”. So naturally I went looking what that’s all about. And I still think it was, well, misquoted in your post.

    Now, I’m trying to search C-51 for “infrastructure” or even “stability”, and I can’t find anything in the text. Which leaves me a bit puzzled at my own ineptitude.

    But what do I know? (And I mean it, being a foreigner and all that.) I actually hate it that I appear so… confrontational from my first words here. I should probably have said that I greatly admire your work, because of course I do, and I’ve been meaning to say that for a long time. And as much of a joy Russian translation of Blindsight was back in the day, it was so much more better for me to read your actual work when I could finally comprehend it.

    Just a little encouragement from a little Russian fan, I guess. That’s what I should’ve done. Instead I started arguing about politics I don’t know shit about.

    Sorry about that.

  52. Re: Peter Watts, on fusion

    http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/compact-fusion.html
    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/531836/does-lockheed-martin-really-have-a-breakthrough-fusion-machine/

    Yep, it sounds too good to be true (and yep, Polywell was similarly optimistic in their early presentations, and while they still have promise , things certainly slowed down for them)

    But it’s Lockheed. They’re very serious fish.

    Re: FRWL

    Ctrl-F
    activities that undermine the security of Canada

    Incidentally, C-51 looks like mild-mannered, sickly brother to the kinds of laws currently thrown about in Russia.

  53. Hey, did my linkfull comment about Lockheed get eaten ?

  54. Incidentally, C-51 looks like mild-mannered, sickly brother to the kinds of laws currently thrown about in Russia.

    Yeah, it’s an old story, and that was kind of reason I’ve thrown myself into that silly (on my part) argument. You gotta have hope, you know? That at least somewhere things aren’t FUBAR*. And things are looking pretty bleak here in Russia. More so when you realize just how many Russians are actually okay with that. So I guess my point was “troublesome Canadians? By God, Mr. Watts, wish I had your problems.” [insert emoticon here] Which I’ll admit is kinda rude, all things considered.

    *Guess I was wrong, then. Sadly.

  55. Nah, things in Canada, from the looks of it, are less FUBAR than in Russia/Belarus/Ukraine, if only because their conservatives are more inept and Canadian constitutional court and democratic institutions in general aren’t completely broken (do note that people like Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne have managed to, almost single-handedly, block implementation of another shitty conservative law, Bill C-36, right in its tracks)

  56. Thank… how do you say it? for that. Yay Canada! I should probably move there. If only I could, that is. But I see I wasn’t very good at conveying my message (again): living in some country well past beyond redemption is bad enough without watching other presumably more civilized countries slipping into the same sinkhole.

    So here’s to Canadians blocking C-51. I still think it’s not as bad as clause 282 of Russian criminal code, but still. You give them so much as a nail and.. well, look at Russia.

  57. @01, 03:

    Am told Silenced will be showing at this festival in late March.

    Movies That Matter.

  58. I don’t think that anyone here is claiming that “agencies” don’t lash out against whistleblowers and/or use underhanded tactics to advance their own empowerment.

    I think that the core of the disagreement is availability and feasibility of certain tactics, as well as presence of a well-organized conspiracy with some clear goal in mind .

    Besides, anti-whistleblower sentiment transcends “spy” agencies, specific law enforcements and even individual nation-states.
    It seems that it is a “natural” human resonse.
    Since we, as a society, need whistleblowers, suppressing this anti-whistleblower sentiment and establishing a framework where such people can act against institutional corruption in a constructive manner is a rather important, if throughly daunting, task, one that modern USA is not very well fit for.

  59. 01:
    I think that the core of the disagreement is availability and feasibility of certain tactics, as well as presence of a well-organized conspiracy with some clear goal in mind .

    And that first part is fair. Very goddam frustrating being in a spot where spouting the seemingly impossible seems necessary. Rerunning my example, easy enough to manipulate me to a party that someone else was already planning to attend, right? Simple enough, though I don’t know where the trick was specifically.

    But the practically scripted moment when I saw him, he didn’t see me in a building with hundreds of people. How?

    Perhaps the second part is a fair question as well, but forgot to ask either of you, what did you mean “doesn’t appear to be working well”? I can’t think of a single thing that indicates any stalling of war and NATSEC profit, nor the utter death of a nation for, by, of the people.

  60. Re: whoever, on TLAs

    You see, I am aware of both Church/Tower hearings (and nothing there strikes me as strictly requiring some “unconventional” capacities, I mean, really, initiating family break ups and organizational rivalries strikes me as “bread and butter” stuff that are well within conventional capacities of even non-TLA level entities) and the notion of “Leaderless organizations” (I kind of like “The Starfish and the Spider”, about the same way a physicist I occasionally play with likes string theory).
    I think that leaderless organizations are 1) overrated 2) often misidentified (identifying J. Wales as “catalyst” and Wikimedia/wikipedia as “leaderless” organizations are immense, obvious, terrible mistakes) 3) have certain extremely perilous failure modes (they are exceedingly prone to schism, and – as Brafman admits – are prone to mutations. Which isn’t a good thing, by the way)

    I doubt 7M cultists are a “starfish entity” – after perusing the relevant materials on them, as well as on dominionism in general, it appears to me that they are very rigidly hierarchical. But hey, maybe they pulled a reverse-wikipedia by appearing hierarchical while actually being “flatty” (Wikipedia has apparently convinced a lot of fair folks it’s some kind of ultra-democratic starfish-org/unorg, when in fact it’s more like a little constitutional monarchy with a mild mannered and generally humanitarian king – a king who is an affable, if sketchy and shady, doof most of the time, and rarely smites as much as a bug. Perhaps especially not bugs :) )

    I find it, however, very remarkable that you deem both scientologists and radi-christians to be parts of the “same” starfish. It appears to me that radical muslims and radical christians are way more compatible than radical christians and scientologists (that is by no means an endorsement of scientology, merely an observation on the fact that two radical branches of different abrahamic religions have more in common, and hence more potential for “productive interaction” than any abrahamic religion and a purely synthetic space-alien cult that is concerned, primarily, with alleged infestation of mankind by parasitic alien ghosts)

    What I would like to focus on, however, is your assertion that you “know” that your peculiar encounters are non-coincidential.
    It seems to me that it is impossible to reasonably arrive at such knowledge.

    P.S.:
    About 60% of Americans do not believe that Muslims are “more sympathetic to terrorists”
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-1-in-3-think-muslim-americans-more-sympathetic-to-terrorists-than-other-americans/

    So if “The Starfish Conspiracy” indeed “wants” to make Americans viciously anti-islamic, it isn’t exactly being very good at it, despite Islam being the easiest target among modern religions (Islam, with its apostate-extermination mandate (which is verily a part Haddiths) and uncanny shenanigans with scope and nature of jihad does indeed lend itself very well to being interpreted as a vicious, violent religion)

  61. 03: Yep, it sounds too good to be true (and yep, Polywell was similarly optimistic in their early presentations, and while they still have promise , things certainly slowed down for them)

    One fusion researcher (Radek Škoda) is of the opinion that the thing is (also) a PR stunt engineered to recruit plasma physicists, which Lockheed needs because it’s also involved in fusion bombs and lots of other stuff that’s not good PR.

    He notes that if Lockheed truly was onto something, they’d keep mum about it until they had something real, a working prototype. They don’t need investment.

    What they need is plasma physicists. What better way to recruit them than to dangle the prospect of being involved in a project of historical importance?

    And once they’re in, much easier to convince them to work on military stuff.

  62. What I would like to focus on, however, is your assertion that you “know” that your peculiar encounters are non-coincidential.
    It seems to me that it is impossible to reasonably arrive at such knowledge.

    When it happens over and over. How.many coincidences equal not a coincidence? According to the old Chicago mob, only two. My bar is higher. Living in NYC for twenty years I’ve seen my share of bizarre behavior. Never assumed it was anything special until there was a concentration of it, a density that defied naturally occurring. Put into context with everything else happening. It is impossible to reasonably ignore after a certain point.

  63. Re: Y

    Now that’s just odd.
    You can recruit physicists with money. Lockheed has lots and lots of money, and physicists aren’t exactly obscure people who are hard to reach.
    Mounting a potentially embarrassing PR stunt ( and making this PR stunt and then having to own up to this entire thing being a dud would make stockholders and government partners/sponsors/liaisons very very unhappy) seems like a risky way to recruit physicists, a way that can harm stockholders and can also harm GR efforts (not to mention brand image of Skunkworks – so such a stunt will in the long term hurt recruiting too).

    It’s quite more likely that they indeed believe they have a wonder-reactor within their grasp.
    And it still might turn out to be a dud nonetheless. That would be just sad, but well, universe is unfair.

    Re: whoever

    It’s not just a matter of rates.
    There is such a thing called “clustering illusion”

    Take a look at this pattern, finely crafted by Nazi Germany’s best artisans

    Seems there is a pattern right ? That Germans were obviously aiming to take out a specific area of London while conspicuously avoiding some other areas (maybe nazi sympathizers live there, huh?) ?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    [ SPOILER ALERT ]
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
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    Turns out that they were not.

    Bombings were completely random.

  64. Really don’t see that as applicable. But interesting stuff.

  65. This is really simple.

    It’s called clustering illusions and it is basically the tendency of human minds to assign patterned nature to random outputs.
    It’s related to Gambler’s Fallacy.

    When combined with birthday paradox (which amounts to humans having problems with grasping the probability distribution of 2+ independent events colliding over a finite observation time) it creates a sense of “purposefulness” to events that are (actually, provably, reliably) random.

    It is also interesting to note that people who are experiencing anxiety, are under duress and/or feel helpless tend to experience significantly stronger clustering illusions.

  66. But the question as to whether Hitler wanted to destroy London was not debatable, was it?

  67. Haha, good one

    But you can not arrive at this conclusion by merely observing “rate of bombing” in London or UK.

    A Martian Observer (a hypothetical observer who is devoid of human political and emotional biases, as well as “horses” in any Earthly race, just staring down on Earth through a telescope and recording the patterns of events) would have to observe the UK-wide distribution of bombing and then it would conclude that UK bombing peaks at “London” (and other “cities”) and conspicuously sags at “some shitty swamp no one even cares to name”.

    It would then break up UK into a grid and check whether the distribution fits what is likely to be random, and conclude that on a UK-wide scale, there is a distinct pattern, but within a given area of “high bomb attraction” the distribution of bombs remains random.

    My point was that drawing conclusions based on, as you put it, “concentration of it, a density that defied naturally occurring” is a common fallacy resulting from combination of very well known cognitive bugs.

  68. The point is people who were being bombed wondered why here, not there. Not that they weren’t being bombed.

    Actually that works pretty good looking at it that way.

  69. 03: But it’s Lockheed. They’re very serious fish.

    Oh, right. I remember seeing this now.

    Fusion in 5 years? I almost wish it wasn’t true— pretty much every one of my novels falls apart the moment we have cheap unlimited clean energy.

    FRWL: So I guess my point was “troublesome Canadians? By God, Mr. Watts, wish I had your problems.”

    Oh God, I would not for an instant say we have it anywhere as bad as you guys do over in Russia. (Nobody’s gunned down Thomas Mulcair on the steps of Parliament, for one thing). But there’s no reason we couldn’t be, in time, if legislation like C-51 is allowed to stand. The very generality of a phrase like “interference with critical infrastructure” allows the government to shut down pretty much any opposition at all (I mean, government is “critical infrastructure, innit? And if you’re actively opposing that…) The Varsity has an informative (albeit not-very-well written) (opinion piece on the ramifications of C-51 for academic freedom, and it’s pretty scary.

    03: (do note that people like Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne have managed to, almost single-handedly, block implementation of another shitty conservative law, Bill C-36, right in its tracks)

    Damn, who are who are so learned in the ways of Ontario politics? Your IP address puts you way the hell over in Europe, but I can’t see why anyone at such a remove would care about the activities of Kathleen Wynne? Are you just using a VPN to get free Netflix?

  70. 03: Seems there is a pattern right ? That Germans were obviously aiming to take out a specific area of London while conspicuously avoiding some other areas (maybe nazi sympathizers live there, huh?) ?

    Is there something wrong with me because I don’t see any pattern there at all? I mean, I thought some degree of clumping was an inevitable feature of random distributions. It would be much wonkier if the distribution was even.

  71. Re: Peter Watts

    Don’t you have a freight-container sized “safe and nice” self-servicing reactor (with a “smart socket” for field agents to plug into) somewhere in Rifters trilogy ?
    I do recall it’s CAESAR (fission-in-steam nuclear device, IIRC) design so it’s technically fission, not fusion, but hey, cheap safe electricity is cheap safe electricity, right ?

    Also, this particular case kind of highlights why even in hard sci-fi, it sometime pays to call your fancy “box reactor” merely a “Randindustry URS-5M” or perhaps a “Koscheeva-Krieger reactor”. If you did so, you could later claim that you have foreseen truck-portable fusion reactors 😉

    As to who I am, I am a nosy person who gets to know a lot of stuff :) (which is probably related to my line of work)

    However, to be honest, my knowledge of C-36 stuff specifically (which includes Wynne’s position) has more to do with my unrelenting, seething hatred of the Swedish Model of “combating” prostitution and all its proponents (as far as I’m concerned, Swedmo proponents are worse than religious fundamentalists, since fundamentalists, at least, are are straightforward, self-consistent, and don’t try to disguise their unsubstantiated bullshit as a “progressive” initiative), so it soothes my heart and puts wind under my wings when I learn that someone, somewhere, is giving that worthless, failing, anti-scientific and anti-humanitarian crap a fight it deserves (go Wynne go!).

    P.S.:
    There’s nothing “wrong” with you besides scientific training and years of working with data as a biologist.
    You’re trained to expect clustering in random data. So am I (statistics are to us managerial folks what waterboarding is to CIA SAD, and I gotta say waterboarding, while being worse, isn’t that much worse 😉 )

    People who aren’t trained to deal with all this quirky, annoying, mind-numbing “ascend to knowledge though violence upon numbers” business are susceptible to this whole clustering crap, especially if we’re dealing with more than one type of random events, and two clusters of different events collide due to birthday paradox.

    Re: whoever

    Universe is just so organized that “bombs” happen all the time (not literal explosive devices of course, but all kinds of unfavorable crap), everywhere.
    And without a larger, more precise dataset on how it distributes, you simply can’t claim that it’s not coincidental.
    Two or more random variables colliding, or weird shit going down around you, is simply insufficient for such claim.

    I guess that the idea that universe is just cruel and randomly unfair is somewhat less pleasant than the idea that a large conspiracy of assholes are ruining your life in the name of an obscure but vaguely malicious goal.

    Oh, and by the way, if “The Conspiracy” is working to make LGBT people become domestic terrorists, they are failing miserably – AFAIK there is about whopping one case that might, if stretched, qualify as “LGBT-motivated domestic terrorism in the USA”, and it’s a really pathetic case with exactly zero deaths.

  72. Peter Watts: Fusion in 5 years? I almost wish it wasn’t true— pretty much every one of my novels falls apart the moment we have cheap unlimited clean energy.

    Fusion produces 3x more waste than fission.(quoting a fusion physicist here) The entire D-T reactor gets activated, D-T fusion makes lots of stray neutrons.

    https://www.ipp.mpg.de/2769068/faq9

    Only reason Greenpeace is not protesting fusion plants is..

  73. It is interesting that, Patrick Muttart, Harper’s form chief of staff was described as, “the worlds leading expert on working-class voters in English-speaking countries”, by Henry Olsen of the American Enterprise Institute. Harper has hired major talent from the US to take this election. The Cons are following their advice and pushing the Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse – terrorists, drug dealers, pedophiles, and crime – down our throats. My prediction is that he is going to win this election with a solid majority.

  74. Re: Y

    There are aneutronic solutions, for example the Pollywell design which is slowly, but steadily, inching towards net power (it is also distinguished by a capability to utilize DEC, which should increase efficiency even with modern, relatively unsophisticated approaches to producing electricity from alpha particle collisions)
    It’s being funded (somewhat greedily) by US Navy and was initially conceived by none other than Bussard, so it’s not exactly your typical pie-in-the-sky vaporware either

    P.S.
    My understanding of Lockheed concept is that they explicitly intend to use neutron-activated shielding material as fuel (for more-or-less classic fission reactors, I presume) so a net-power-gainful Lockheed device will be automatically a breeding reactor (whether this is a bug or a feature depends on what kind of fissionables end up being bred, but I kinda expect greenpeace to freak the fuck out. But at that point, I will be willing to tell them to fuck off and die, because it’s an economically feasible fusion reactor – thus, a miracle and a wonder and I love it even if it rapes puppies and shits vampire wombats)

  75. 03:
    Re: Y

    There are aneutronic solutions, for example the Pollywell design which is slowly, but steadily, inching towards net power (it is also distinguished by a capability to utilize DEC, which should increase efficiency even with modern, relatively unsophisticated approaches to producing electricity from alpha particle collisions)
    It’s being funded (somewhat greedily) by US Navy and was initially conceived by none other than Bussard, so it’s not exactly your typical pie-in-the-sky vaporware either

    P.S.
    My understanding of Lockheed concept is that they explicitly intend to use neutron-activated shielding material as fuel (for more-or-less classic fission reactors, I presume) so a net-power-gainful Lockheed device will be automatically a breeding reactor (whether this is a bug or a feature depends on what kind of fissionables end up being bred, but I kinda expect greenpeace to freak the fuck out. But at that point, I will be willing to tell them to fuck off and die, because it’s an economically feasible fusion reactor – thus, a miracle and a wonder and I love it even if it rapes puppies and shits vampire wombats)

    [citation needed]
    I saw what they published – there was no mention of that.
    A D-T fusion reactor is extremely easy to breed plutonium in. Apparently any U-238 near the core will be transmuted into plutonium.

    So, I’m thinking fusion power is not gonna take off with D-T reactors, because it’d allow people operating it to breed plutonium.

    03: It’s being funded (somewhat greedily) by US Navy and was initially conceived by none other than Bussard, so it’s not exactly your typical pie-in-the-sky vaporware either

    Practically every fusion project with gov’t funding was thought up by some impressive scientist. Fusion is still 20 years away, perhaps. Or maybe just 15.

    03: , because it’s an economically feasible fusion reactor

    Maybe. In China.

    In the West, you can have no doubt that Greenpeace and the like are going to do their damnedest to make it not economically feasible – just like fission power.

  76. Hm. Wouldn’t one example of something done “in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, with the intention of intimidating the public’s security or compelling a person, government or organization to do or refrain from doing an act” be *voting*? After all, if you vote, you’re carrying out an intrinsically political act, and you’re trying to compel a bunch of people — the ones who you didn’t vote for — to refrain from doing a bunch of acts — everything they’d do if in office.

    To state something wholly redundant, this seems profoundly badly worded.