Archives for category: Intent

I have no way of knowing what the creator of the meme actually wanted to convey through it.
All I know is what I make of it.

The ‘Austrian’ will eventually fall. Not only that nobody can stay in the saddle for ever but the guy uses only one hand to steer his bike. And the fact that he doesn’t use a helmet is the second proof that he doesn’t care much for safety. For his safety… At his age, he should have known better!

Hard to argue with Mises – the quintessential Austrian economist, if I remember right.
Specially since I grew up under a communist regime. Where laissez faire was absent and where the government was inept and immoral. Which regime, like all other authoritarian/totalitarian regimes in history, had crumpled under it’s own weight.

But wait!
Countries which use laissez faire had long ago invented the necessary mitigation mechanisms.
The unlucky entrepreneurs can declare bankruptcy and start all over.
The fraudulent entrepreneurs – well, many of them, go to prison.
While the inept and immoral governments get booted. Democratically!

My point being that laissez faire works better if there’s a safety net in place.
And that people should trust their government. But also keep it on a very short leash!

Wishful thinking!

Conspiracy theorists are absolutely convinced that they are the true critical thinkers…

That their critique of how things works on the face of the Earth is the only reasonable one!

Then what?
Sheeple and conspiracy theorists are nothing but the very same thing? Each of them on the other ‘side’ of the dividing mirror? The surface on which the conspiracy theory dew has been craftily etched? To blurr the vision of all those attempting to look through?

After all, what’s the difference between sheeple – those who follow the official narrative and consider the ‘alternative’ to be wrong, and the conspiracy theorists? Those who consider theirs to be the true version and the ‘official version’ a misleading lie?

Each of them exercise their right and ability to doubt. To look for alternatives. And to discard the alternatives they deem to be implausible!

Most conspiracy theories have already been proven as having been bogus?
With the current ones waiting in line?

This, I’m afraid, is the moment for me to remind you that science is wrong by definition. That all scientific theories are, by definition, falsifiable. That the scientific community is convinced that all knowledge is maybe not completely wrong but definitely incomplete!
Hence there’s a lot of room out there for conspiracy theories to thrive!

‘OK.
I can follow your arguments.
Or, more exactly, I can follow your logic….
But I still believe you’re wrong.
Conspiracy theories ARE bogus!’

Let me put it differently.
Both the official narratives and the conspiracy theories are fueled by the same human need.
By our need for consistency!
Human mind has a hard time processing cognitive dissonances. Pieces of information which contradict each-other. Hence we need a ‘script’. A meta explanation for ‘everything’. A way to discharge the tensions produced by the conflicting pieces of information which assault our attention.

‘And why some people choose to become sheeple – to buy into the official version of things, while others remain conspiracy theorists for life?’

You’ve just set aside the vast majority.
Those people who are explicitly or implicitly aware that both the official version and the conspiracy theories are at least incomplete. And sometimes promoted by people with ‘ulterior motives’.
People who have a deeper creed. Many times of a religious nature but not necessarily.
People who have too many on their heads, mostly worries, so are no longer ‘available’ for ‘petty things’.
As for conspiracy theories being bogus…
I just mentioned how science works. Whenever a theory is judged to be plausible by the peers involved, it becomes the official narrative. All other competing theories become bogus. But all those earnestly involved in the process are convinced that sooner or later the official narrative will be proven if not wrong, then at least incomplete!

‘Then what about ‘critical thinking’? Is it good or not?
And you haven’t answered my question!’

Critical thinking is a tool!
And as all other tools, it becomes good or bad only in the hands of the person who yields it!

The most important thing about critical thinking is that we must remain critical relative to our own opinions!
Open to whatever new evidence happens to cross our path!
Sometimes the evidence which comes first might be misleading. Or false. We might reach the wrong conclusion. If we cling to the already reached conclusion we might be wrong. It is absolutely understandable – admitting an error is hard, but still wrong. That’s why some people remain sheeple while others cling to their beloved conspiracy theories.

You see, the true definition for sheeple is not ‘those who believe the official version’. Far from it!
The real sheeple continue to pay lip service to the official version long after fresh evidence prove the official version has been ‘incomplete’!

Homo Sapiens Sapiens is a species of cultured animals simultaneously capable to place a highly sophisticated IR telescope on an orbit around their native planet, the Earth, and to reduce a country to a pile of rubble.

Interestingly enough, the technology used to accomplish both, the rocket, has been imagined a little more than a century ago.
By, among others, Herman Oberth.

He had built his first rocket as a school project, when he was 14. About then he also came up with the concept of a multistaged rocket.
Lack of resources convinced him to study medicine. After only two years he was drafted into the German Imperial Army to serve during WWI. Initially as a foot soldier and then moved to a medical unit. In that period he found enough “spare time” to conduct experiments which had later enabled him to present “designs of a missile using liquid propellant with a range of 290 km to Hermann von Stein, the Prussian Minister of War.
During WWII he had worked at Peenemunde, were he was awarded a decoration for bravery during an aerial attack, and then at the German WASAG organization developing solid fueled anti-aircraft rockets.

Between the wars he had contributed to a series of experiments in Germany. For one of which he was helped by an 18 years student. Werner von Braun.

After WWII, Oberth moved to Italy to continue, for the Italian Navy, some of the work he had started at WASAG. Then returned to Germany to publish “Mankind into Space, in which he described his ideas for space-based reflecting telescopes, space stations, electric-powered spaceships, and space suits.”

Oberth eventually came to work for his former student, Wernher von Braun, who was developing space rockets for NASA in Huntsville, Alabama.

He retired in 1962 and had a brief stint in far right politics (the National Democratic Party of Germany).
He was invited to the US in 1969 to witness the Apollo 11 crew being sent towards the Moon and in October 1985 to view the Space Shuttle Challenger being launched carrying the D-1 Spacelab mission – “the first with German mission management and controlled from the German Space Operations Center
However, his primary interest during his retirement years was to turn to more abstract philosophical questions. Most notable among his several books from this period is Primer For Those Who Would Govern.

Humans, as a species, have harbored the same ‘amount’ of brain for the last 200 000 years. That was when the Homo Sapiens had arrived. But that brain had produced something only about 70 000 years ago. That’s why the second Sapiens was added, by us, to the name of those living since that time. To underline the fact that humans had become ‘fully’ conscious only ‘recently’. That having a big brain was not enough. That becoming fully human also implied self awareness. Wisdom…

Apparently that’s not enough.
After experiencing, first hand, the horrors of WWI such a creative mind as Herman Oberth’s was still capable of building offensive weapons for Hitler.
After experiencing, first hand, the horrors of WWII such a creative mind as Herman Oberth’s was still able of joining an extreme right political party…

After experiencing, first hand, the horrors of WWII at the hands of the nazi, the modern day, post communist, Russia is capable of inflicting the same kind of horrors to their close cousins, the Ukrainians.

When are we going to become Sapiens enough to stop this insanity?
To concentrate our creativity exclusively towards ‘elevating’ purposes?

Just came across this meme.

It was shared on a FB-wall and somebody had commented that “Institutionally they are not your friends.”

My ‘jerked’ comment was:

“Institutionally, cops should be your ‘last resort’ friends.

The fact that too many of them are not, and the fact that too many of us consider them, as a category, to be unfriendly, is proof of how dysfunctional our society has become.

Cops used to be ‘unfriendly’ when I grew up. In communist Romania. When the cops were used, by the communist state, to preserve their power. The communist power over the entire society.

In the free countries of today, the cops are the sole barrier separating our persona and private property from the hands of the criminals.

Without their presence…

Or, putting it the other way around, we have but the cops we deserve. Train and motivate them properly and you’ll have good cops!”

At a second glance, I had an inkling.
Is it possible for the whole thing to be nothing more than a ‘marketing campaign’? Organized by the only people interested in increasing litigation?

Interested in altering the relative stability of our political establishment?

The police, by properly performing their duties – the world over, not only in the communist countries, contribute to the political stability of those respective countries.
For the police to properly perform their duties, there must to exist a proper trust between the general population and the police itself. The population must see the police as their friends of last resort while the police must see the general public as both their employer and their responsibility.
The population must be open in their relationship with the police while the police must treat respectfully every individual, including the suspects and the convicts.

In the communist regime I grew up, the police couldn’t fulfill its duties. Exactly between there was a ‘trust’ barrier between the general public and the police. Between the oppressed and the armed hand of the oppressor.
The communist regime I grew up under, in Romania, had eventually collapsed.
Exactly because of the malignant mistrust between the general public – The People, and the government. The police being nothing but a portion of the government itself.

Who is interested in the collapse of the democratic regimes?
Who is mostly interested in wedging apart the government from The People?

Putin advisers ‘too afraid to tell him the truth’ on Ukraine: US official
“Putin didn’t even know his military was using and losing conscripts in Ukraine, showing a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president,” the official said.

There are two ‘things’ which collide here.

Dictators tend to drive away really competent people and those remaining tend to put the entire blame on the ‘guy on top’.

As many of you already know, I grew up in the communist Romania. Ruled by Nicolae Ceausescu, the dictator who ended up being shot on Christmas Day, 1989.

At 28, I was already familiar with the notion of ‘yes-people’. Decision makers who ruled our daily lives were surrounded by people who provided the ‘right’ answers, effectively isolating the decision makers from the reality.
This ‘development’ being the fundamental explanation for how all dictatorial regimes, including the communist ones, ended up in abject failure. For ‘how’, not for ‘why’ – but this is another issue.

After Ceausescu was toppled, I was absolutely flabbergasted when I first heard

‘He didn’t know what was going on. Had his close advisers kept him in touch with the real situation, he would have taken the proper decisions to rectify things’

Really?!?

Who had selected his ‘close advisers’?!?

Who prevented him from asking ‘a second opinion’? From stepping out of his office and ….

Who, step by step, had ‘created’ the ‘atmosphere’ which had driven all those unwilling to lick where ‘he’ had spat to flee, living ‘him’ surrounded by sycophants?

Sycophants attempting, after Ceausescu had been toppled, to pile all the blame on his shoulders…

I’m afraid we are witnessing a replay, with Putin as the lead character.

The internet is full of articles attempting to understand Putin’s motives starting from what he had said about the subject.

Here’s but the last I’ve read.
Why has Russia invaded Ukraine and what does Putin want?

Nothing special inside but it illustrates well enough the point I’m trying to make.

At first, Putin’s words are summarized and then proven ‘wrong’. Misleading. Or plain false.
In the next section of the article, the author – Paul Kirby, like many more before him, attempts to divine what Putin will do. Starting from the same words which have just been proven false and/or misleading.

?!?

No, the author is not ‘dense’.
He simply does what he was trained to do.

We, here in the land of democracy, understand language as a medium for negotiation.
And negotiation as an exchange where we let our needs be known, in earnest. As an exchange where we ‘trade’ information with the goal of finding the best mutually acceptable solution for whatever problem we attempt to solve.
In this sense, a negotiation is a form of cooperation. And compromise is something which both sides find beneficial.

For people conversant in ‘dictatorian’, ‘compromise’ is something to be shoved down the throat of the weaker side. The bigger the power differential, the harder to swallow becomes the ‘compromise’.

Doesn’t make much sense?
To us, democrats?
Because we know that shoving things down the throat of now weaker people doesn’t work on the longer time frame?

‘Assuming’ is the worst thing a negotiator may make.

We keep assuming that dictators are rational. Even worse, that they follow the same ‘ratio’ as we do.
That we – as in we and them, see the same world and have ‘slightly’ different goals.
And express those different goals in the same manner. Using the same kind of language.

We are wrong.

We, the democratically minded, are trained – conditioned is a truer word, to consider ‘the other’ as being equivalent to us.
At least some of the others, but that’s another discussion.
We actually ‘know’, in our bones, that we cannot ‘do’ anything by ourselves. That we exist only in cooperation with those around us. That everything we have ever accomplished was the result of a common effort.

People conditioned in dictatorial regimes see things rather differently.
They don’t cooperate, they just obey.
Their existence does not stem from the common effort but from following orders.
Language is not at all a medium where information is being passed between equivalent agents but a two way conduit. Orders are flowing from top to bottom and acknowledgments crawl from bottom to the top.

‘And what about ‘information’?!?
How does it travel among those people?’

Piecemeal.
Exclusively on a ‘need to know’ basis.
Nobody ‘volunteers’ any information unless expressly asked about it by a superior.

This is why dictatorships end up crumbling under their own weight.

That’s why we don’t understand, for real, what Putin attempts to communicate.
That’s why he is extremely annoyed right know.

Putin no longer understands what’s going on.
Let aside the fact that nobody around him dares to volunteer any information – which would be contrary to what Putin wants to hear.
My point being that Putin had been accustomed to having his way.

I’m not going to enumerate all the things he had done. Things we should have reacted against…
As in ‘reacted’, not meowed meekly.
As a consequence, he had grown accustomed to shoving things down our throats…

Suddenly, we have stopped swallowing!
Without giving him a ‘reasonable’ reason…
A reason he could understand!

Do you remember what I’ve told you?
A few moments ago? That dictators don’t care about those who are weaker? Nor about the long term consequences of their decisions?
That dictators are concerned exclusively with their own survival?

Savvy?

Circa 840, “three noble brothers” of Viking origin – Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, established “what came to be called Kievan Rus”.

“Rus,” which is where the name “Russia” comes from, purportedly derives from an old Nordic word for “men who row.”

882. Oleg the Prophet captures Kyiv and moves the capital of the Viking kingdom from Novgorod to Kyiv.
Thus the Rus becomes Kievan.

1703. Peter the Great of Rus-sia established Sank Petersburg as a bulwark against the Swedish Kingdom.
The city served as Russia’s capital from 1712 to 1918

1941. Hitler breaks the German Soviet Non Aggression Pact and starts a war against the Soviet Union.
Leningrad – the city formerly known as Sankt Petersburg, had been put under siege from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944

2022. February 24. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the present day ruler of Rus-sia, in complete defiance of the Budapest Memorandum, started a “special military operation” meant to achieve the “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine,”

Kyiv hasn’t been besieged yet but has already been under heavy bombardment.

I’m Romanian.
Romanians don’t have very fond memories of what had happened to their country whenever the Russian soldiers had come by to ‘visit’.
As a teenager I read The 900 Days The Siege of Leningrad, 1968, by Harrison Salisbury

And wept.

Now, an already old man, I check out, on the Internet, what’s going out in Kyiv – the former capital of the Kievan Rus.

And weep.

Homo homini lupus has become a massive understatement.

1. Sow doubt.
2. Drop a loud fact. Or two… This will simultaneously ‘water’ the previously planted seed and act as a ‘foot in the door’ for your next move.
3. ‘Miss-interpret’ another fact.
4. Mention an universal human emotion, inviting your audience to identify itself with the ‘victim’.
5. Squarely state what you want your audience to believe.

1. ‘The Soviet Union didn’t crumple under its own weight. It was dissolved by Yeltsin so that Gorbachev’s position would disappear.
Leaving Yeltsin as the top dog of the day. Even if at the helm of a little smaller empire…’

2. ‘After the Cold War had ended, the West should have treated the ‘defeated’ as Germany, Italy and Japan had been treated after WWII. The West should have helped the Soviet Union to overcome the transition hurdles by extending to it an equivalent of the Marshall Plan.
Instead of that, the Americans had come up with the Wolfowitz – later Bush, Doctrine.’

3. ‘Gorbatchev was told by James Baker that NATO will not move an inch eastward’

4. “…1998, Yeltsin, late Yeltsin: ‘you promised not to do this! So, how do we trust you, if you make a promise?’ “

5.1. Vladimir Putin has been created by the United States.
5.2. The so called free media in general – and New York Times in particular, cannot be trusted to provide honest information.

Pozner’s discourse is far more ‘byzantine’ than the ‘stream-lined’ version I used to illustrate what skillful propaganda looks like. Skillful maskirovka, more likely?

This post has become long enough. Let me wrap it up.

The main question here being ‘did he actually say it? Did Baker actually promised Gorbachev that “NATO will not move an inch eastward” ‘?

Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev.
Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev’s statement in response to the assurances that “NATO expansion is unacceptable.” Baker assured Gorbachev that “neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understood that “not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”

‘So he actually said it!’…

the Americans understood that “not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”

The Soviet Union is long gone, all the states which have been admitted into NATO are ‘in’ because they had asked themselves to join – and are now extremely glad to be protected by the famous 5th article – … while the only (frustrated) ‘agent’ who ever cried foul was Putin.
Not only cried foul but eventualy acted out his frustrations!

But Putin is not exactly alone…

Putin’s Munich speech was the first explicit warning of serious trouble if the West did not abandon its increasingly aggressive posture toward Russia; the Kremlin’s latest demands for security guarantees and a NATO military pullback from Russia’s borders may be the last warning. The United States and its allies are backing Russia into a corner, and that is profoundly unwise if the goal is to avoid war with a heavily armed great power.

Ted Galen Carpenter, Senior Fellow, Cato.org January 24, 2022

Trump: “How smart is that?”
Pompeo: “I have an enormous respect for him!”

Pozner seems to be somewhat right, after all.
His arguments don’t stand – as he had framed them – but he does have an inkling…

And yes, you can – and actually should, analyze my post following the steps I already mentioned.
Then please read this:

Manipulation: useful tool, mortal sin or what?!? April 27, 2015
‘Causing’ Circumstances March 1, 2022

There’s chess and there’s bridge.

There’s managing your resources – on your own, while trying to outsmart – out, in the open, your opponent.

And there’s team-work. An attempt to make the most of what lady-luck had put on the table by exchanging information. With your partner and in the presence of the competing team. This time only the conversation is out in the open, the resources themselves remain hidden. During the initial phase of the competition and, partially, during the end game.

Until WWI, war was more like chess than anything else. Resources were, more or less, out in the open. The soldiers had no other role but to do and die. The whole responsibility belonged to the guys who called the shots. One for each side…

WWI had ended indecisively. Hence WWII.

Each of the winning parties – there had been two victors, had learned something different from the experience.
The Western allies had learned the value of cooperation while the Eastern ‘block’ had reached the conclusion that brute force trumps everything.

The Americans had started playing bridge with the Brits and taught the game to the rest of the world.
The Russians had honed their skills at playing chess. Something they were already very good at.
For a while, the Americans have tried to compete with the Russians. Remember a guy named Fischer? Bobby Fischer?

Soon, too soon, the Americans had given up.
After building a computer smart enough to outsmart all human chess players…

The even worse part was that the Americans had given up bridge too!
And forgot the most important lesson of WWI and WWII. That the victor needs to take care of the vanquished if they want to enjoy peace. To actually win the peace process after they had already won the war.

Which brings us to the end of the Cold War.

Communism – and practically all communist states, had crumpled under its own weight.
The westerners assumed it was something they had done themselves. Declared victory.
And the end of history

Having already given up bridge, they forgot to take care of the vanquished… and allowed Russia – the party who had taken most of the blame over their shoulders, for reasons to be discussed some other time, to slide down the slope inaugurated by post WWI Germany.
Did I mention that Russia was still fond of chess? Very much in love with brute force? And not very fond of respectful cooperation?

Now, that we all try to peek into the future – attempting to figure out how the current aggression ordered by Putin will end up, we need some people to learn about bridge.

Putin cannot launch by himself the nuclear missiles he had been brandishing lately.

Now, can those around him reset the chess board on which they are but pawns into a bridge table?
And invite the rest of the world into the game?

Will the rest of us understand the invitation?
If, and when, it will come?

Let us imagine, for a moment – or longer, than among the already innumerable objects circling the Earth is yet another surveillance satellite.
One operated by aliens…

What would they think of the current developments?

One of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the topmost watchdog pretending to guard the ‘normalcy’ on Earth, brazenly attacks its neighbor.
Both the aggressor and the victim are members of the organization watched over by the Security Council.
But the aggressor has veto power over the Council.
And, of course, uses that power whenever it sees fit.
Another of the “five permanent members” of the Council chooses to abstain from voting. When the Council is discussing the aggression perpetrated by one of the permanent members of the Council against another fully recognized member of the ‘international community’.

Would the alien observers be laughing their heads off?
Would they keep us isolated from the rest of the Universe? Lest we spread our suicidal behavior ‘among the stars’…?
Both at the same time?!?

‘Guided missiles and misguided people‘….

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