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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Disinformation – the new weapon of Republicans

Recently Mr. Ben Shapiro published a short video titled: “Was America founded on slavery?”

This video is a classic case of BS (as well as, I’m sure, all other his videos, because they have only one purpose – to lie; see below why).

The video follows the well-established strategy for creating disinformation (read, for example, “Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism” by Ronald J. RychlakLt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa; this book gives a great intro into what disinformation is, and how it is made up and used: https://www.amazon.com/Disinformation-Strategies-Undermining-Attacking-Promoting-ebook/dp/B01ED2THK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511407647&sr=8-1&keywords=disinformation+book).

First, we hear that “some people say this”.



Who, specifically?

No one specifically, no names, no citations, just “some people”.

And then we hear arguments against “this what was said” – which is a lie (but to camouflage the lie, the author always throws in several well-known facts, too).
One more time, the strategy follows theses simple steps:
1. invent a statement which no one makes
2. attribute this statement to your political enemies
3. attack the statement ("debunk" it)
4. point your finger at your political enemies and say - "they are wrong, I am right!"

The central lie (presented as an argument) is always invented by the author, in this case by Mr. Shapiro.

In the video, for example, the central lie is: “Leftists tell us that America was founded on slavery” and “pretend that unites states was unique regardless slavery”.

Again - no names, no actual citations.


Because they do not exist.

There is no respectful historian who would ever said or wrote that “America was FOUNDED on slavery” – this is the myth, or, fake statement, or – using old fashioned language – just a lie.

As well as there is no respectful historian who would “pretend that unites states was unique regardless slavery”.


Because every educated person knows that America was not founded on slavery.

As an educated person, I say that some people have been saying that Mr. Ben Shapiro is the master of BS.

But I would disagree with those some people, because what he says is far far from being a work of a master.

There are some facts in the video, which people who never get to learn actual history would find interesting, so the video may have some value as means to popularize history, and to ignite interest to it (like the years when slavery was ended in different countries).

Among others, there is another specific lie I would like to point at; Mr. Shapiro says “the war was to free the slaves”. Did he do it on purpose, or he is just ignorant? Not sure (both?). But the civil war was to preserve the unity of the States. Among the reasons threatening that unity was, of course, slavery.

But even today there are people who would love to return back to slavery, maybe not in the same form, maybe in a “softer” form, like political, economic, intellectual domination, using all means available to deprive people of color from being truly socially and economically equal.

And those people put forward people like Mr. Shapiro to invent and present a net of scientifically-looking but completely false statements (a.k.a. disinformation, a.k.a. lies).

So, watch out!

And ask yourself a question: “Why does Mr. Shapiro and people behind him defend a statement which no one – except them! – makes?”

Because they are scared.

They are scared to lose the power.

They are scared to lose the power due to upcoming changes in the U.S. demographic (more on this topic here: http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/07/peering.html).

They do all they can to “water down” the effect the slavery had and still has on the United States; to make the history of slavery be just one of many historic facts, which – yes – happened in the past, but – like rotary phones – just died out, and should be just forgotten.
Because, IF the slavery would be “not a big deal, other countries had it, too, and it did not play any major role in the history of the States”, then “there is no reason” to focus on the millions of people of color who for decades have been purposely held at the fringes of the political, social and economic life. Hence, “why bother”, “we all are equal”, and “if they don’t have what we have, it is not our fault”.
Every time when someone says “slavery is not important any more, we can forget it happened”, what he or she actually means is: “I hate when any resources go to help politically, economically, or socially disadvantaged people to advance their political, economic, and social status, because I don’t want to share anything with them”.
Ironically, many of those people call themselves a "Christian".

Naturally, Mr. Shapiro is not alone in his endeavor toward b@#lsh@#ing people, for example, check this link: http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/04/mmoore.html
Currently, progressives of all sort are busy with fashioning a big fiery GALA (http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/11/3dforcedown.html).
At the same time Regressive Republicans developed a network of disinformation.
Who is a real revolutionary here?


After watching the video, I placed two comments. Then some people responded to my comments, and I responded to them – it is good way to advancing one’s arguments and debating skills.

Below is that conversation.

To Valentin Voroshilov:

"'Leftists tell us that America was founded on slavery' and 'pretend that unites states was unique regardless slavery'. Again - no names, no actual citations. Why? Because they do not exist."

They do exist. Either you are ignorant or you're being dishonest. Michelle Obama said the United States was founded on slavery. The Young Turks also regurgitate the same talking point. Perhaps you have never heard of Franchesca Ramsey? Let's also not forget Jesse Jackson, Michael Eric Dyson, Al Sharpton, Boyce Watkins, Ben Jealous, Tim Wise, Noel Iganatiev, Jeremiah White, John Henrik Clarke, Ward Churchill, Howard Zinn, James Loewen, and Toure Neblette just to name a few more. There's also publications such as BuzzFeed and Vox that also spew the nonsense of America being founded on slavery.
You should put aside your complacency and do a simple google search.

"There is no respectful historian who would ever said or wrote that 'America was FOUNDED on slavery' – this is the myth, or, fake statement, or – suing old fashioned language – just a lie."

That depends on who you consider a "respectful" historian. The left hails Ward Churchill and Howard Zinn. Both are required reading for many history classes in college. However I digress because neither of these two are actual historians even though many on the left hold them as such.

"There is one lie I would like to point at, Mr. Shapiro says 'the war was to free the slaves'."

Alexander Stephens, who was Vice President of the Confederacy, said that "slavery is the foundation of the Confederacy" in his Cornerstone Speech. Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina all cited slavery as their primary reason for secession from the Union. Jefferson Davis called the Emancipation Proclamation an execrable measure. The Confederate Constitution even bans the abolition of slavery. That should seal the deal on the issue of slavery. Southern denial over slavery as a cause for war comes only after the Civil War ended as a justification for secession. It still lingers to this day. You can make the case the most Southern soldiers didn't fight for slavery, but the government they fought for did (as already laid out above).

"And even till these days there are people who would love to return back to slavery, maybe not in the same form, in a 'softer' form, like political, economic, intellectual domination, using all means available to deprive people of color from being truly socially and economically equal."

Amazing... How to put your own double standard into perspective? I know. How did you phrase it? "No one specifically, no names, no citations, just 'some people'." "Again - no names, no actual citations." Well? Care to address the fact that you blatantly contradicted yourself here Voroshilov? Thanks for clocking in.

From me:

1. Love to see people who can quote.
2. I KNOW people who would love to return back to slavery in a "soft form ", those people are not in the news, so their names will not matter, and that is good for me, because I do NOT make any generalization here. I just say - those people do exist. And they do.
3. Thank you for accepting that for the Confederacy the war was to save the slavery. But it does NOT logically mean that for the opponents (you know who there are, right) the war ALSO was about the same thing; that type of a statement is one of many false equivalence, which work for people who do not trace logical steps.
4. Thanks for trying to reason!
P.S. almost forgot, please, send a link to the transcripts (!) of the Obama's (for example) speech with the exact statement "America was founded on slavery".

To Valentin Voroshilov:

No, the Civil War was to keep slavery in the South. The North Democrats very clearly saw that "white lives" were being sacrificed for "black slavery", and they didn't like it. Abolitionists saw it as a war to free the slaves, and were wholeheartedly behind it, and saw Lincoln as dragging his feet. Lincoln was desperately trying to keep the Union together, and eventually realized that (A) that wasn't going to happen unless slavery was abolished and (B) the war actually provided the best possible way to free the slaves in the South anyway. But the war absolutely was about slavery. It wouldn't have happened without slavery, slavery was clearly the core reason behind every major player in the South and the only message of the South, and the end of slavery was the only major shift due to the war. Oh, and if you don't know who is saying that America was founded on slavery...just turn on freaking MSNBC for a few hours. I can't imagine how you've possibly missed it.

So...the Confederacy was fighting to save slavery... from people who weren't fighting to get rid of it. Yes, _ that makes perfect sense._ Let me know when you've sorted out that particular logical mess.

From me:

Nice return, I like the term “logical mess”,
It is like saying that

America was FOUNDED on the event which happened 84 years AFTER is was founded.

Classic!! In case you need some reference and have no history book handy: Go to the internet and search “when was America founded” (but do not fall for the “Independence Day” movie – that is a fantasy set in the future!).
Then go to the internet and search for “when did Southern states secede from the Union?”
Then write down the years for each event.
Then subtract – you may need a calculator, but those are cheap these days. BTW: do not put in my mouth the words I didn’t say – also classic trick of lairs. I said: quote “the civil war was to preserve the unity of the States. Among the reasons threatening that unity was slavery, of course.”
Got it?
“the civil war was to preserve the UNITY of the States”

From me:

Many people want to “water down” the effect the slavery had and still has on the United States; to make the history of slavery be just one of many historic facts, which – yes – happened in the past, but – like rotary phones – just died out, and should be just forgotten. Why? Because, IF the slavery would be “not a big deal, other countries had it, too, and it did not play any major role in the history of the States”, then “there is no reason” to focus on the millions of people of color who for decades have been purposely held at the fringes of the political, social and economic life. Hence, “why bother”, “we all are equal”, and “if they don’t have what we have, it is not our fault”. Every time when someone says “slavery is not important any more, we can forget it happened”, what he or she actually means is: “I hate when any resources go to help politically, economically, or socially disadvantaged people to advance their political, economic, and social status, because I don’t want to share anything with them”.

If Ben Shapiro blew somebody's mind, that mind might have been not very strong (e.g. easily blown). I guess, apple and the tree situation. http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/11/disinformation.html

Monday, November 20, 2017

Why Did Russian Cyber Forces Beat Their U.S. Adversaries in 2016? The Answers Is Rooted In The State Of Education In The U.S.

(this is a copy of the post originally published at https://teachologyforall.blogspot.com/2017/04/cyber.html)

Why Did Russian Cyber Forces Beat Their U.S. Adversaries in 2016?
Why eleven World Chess Champions came from the USSR/Russia and only one came from the U.S. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Chess_Championship)?
It might not seem obvious, but the answer to both question is the same, which is: “Because Americans do not value intelligence (a.k.a. intellect)”.
Just Google “Americans values”. The list would always include things like freedom, entrepreneurship, persistence, practicality, generosity, and others, but nothing related to “being smart”.
The highest recognition a smart person can have is to be called a “geek”, or a “nerd”, which stands for “a harmless idiot who helps a “school king” or a “school queen” with his or her math homework”.
I know that this is an exaggeration, which however is not too far from the realty.
Statistically speaking, three hundred million Americans should have twice more smart people than one hundred fifty million Russians.  But we didn't  see that in 2016!
Does it mean Russians are smarter than Americans?
The answer is – no!
The difference is not in the people.
The difference is in the approaches the two governments choose towards the youth preparation.
During the time of the Soviet Union Empire, almost every city and town in Russia had at least one chess club, funded by the government. Chess matches of various ranges, starting from a middle and high school levels, were a common place. Almost every paper and a magazine had a chess section. If sports like a football and a hokey were naturally popular, the popularity of chess had been promoted by the government.
In 1975 Russia’s TV launched a show called “What, Where, When?” where a group of six people, called “knowledgeables”, had to solve a number of problems (the number varied from a dozen to a couple of dozens, depending on the script). To solve each problem “knowledgeables” usually had one minute; during this time they could have a discussion to reason toward the solution, and then had to provide their answer. The show quickly has become very popular. Since 1986 the show is being translated live (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What%3F_Where%3F_When%3F).
A similar show was launched on ABC in 2011, but was canceled after the first season.
American popular shows like “Jeopardy” or “Who wants to be a millionaire” do not require any reasoning; they based solely on the ability to memorize a large number of facts.
Many Russian movies have a character whose internal reasoning is presented to the audience. One of the most popular mini-series “Seventeen Moments of Spring” regularly depicts a Russian spy analyzing various scenarios. In American movies even “geeks” do not think, they just already know what to do (lately, however, some companies have launched criminal TV shows where some analytical work is being presented to the audience).
The difference in the approaches the two governments choose towards the youth preparation leads to the difference in what the youth considers to be “cool”, and in the end to the difference in the youth preparation.
Because the society in general does not value logical reasoning (or at least does not demonstrate that it does), schools are not required to promote it as well, and school teachers are not required to use methods leading to the development and advancement of logical abilities of students.
The conversation about “teaching students to think critically” has been taking place for at least twenty years (for example, look up “Proceedings of the 1996 international conference on Learning sciences”; http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1161135&picked=prox&cfid=748024299&cftoken=68199815), but still has not moved beyond the initial statement that “we need to teach students to think critically” (for example, look up “International Conference on Learning Sciences; 2016 Proceedings”; https://www.isls.org/icls/2016/).
What does “thinking critically” mean, what is the structure of “critical thinking”, what are the elements and stages of the process of development of “critical thinking”, and why would “teaching students to think” be not enough, unless “thinking” is named “critical”; all those questions have not been answered, but even more importantly, all those questions have not been even raised – at least from a practical point of view, i.e. from a point of view of teachers helping students to advance their reasoning abilities.
However, the question “what to do in order to advance the development of reasoning skills?” has a very simple answer.
We know that in all human practices, to advance a development of a certain skill, one needs to use that very skill, and needs to use it on a regular basis (not episodically). For example, to get better at swimming, one needs to swim, and needs to do it as often as possible. To get prepared to run a marathon, one needs to do the running on a regular basis. That’s what is called a “training”.
Similarly, for developing reasoning skill students need to train that skill, meaning, students need to reason, and they need to do it on a regular basis, preferably under the guidance of an experienced “trainer”, a.k.a. a “coach’, a.k.a. a teacher.
All well-developed sciences like mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and other have a very clear, well-established, and well-known internal logic of the knowledge development. This makes these sciences a perfect instrument for the development of reasoning skills. However, we all know that this is not happening in our schools.
The fact that many school students lack interest to study STEM subject has become a common place. But as a common remedy for treating this attitude teachers are advised to either “make math/science fun”, or “connect math/science with a real world”. These two recommendations, although slightly differently worded, have been presented in numerous papers, conference proceedings, books, speeches, popular TV and radio shows.
There is a vast amount of publications on STEM education, but the most of them do not dig deep enough in the structure of the teaching and learning processes, and usually just repeat the same advises, which have been well known for a long time and ; like get students excited, increase rigor, start early (i.e. from the elementary school), work together (i.e. teachers and administrators)” (https://is.gd/EEuvuV). However, authors do not discuss reason which for many years have been preventing school and teachers from implementing these “simple” advises in their everyday practice.
It is time to ask a question; if twenty years of trying to apply all these recommendations to a teaching process have not led to a significant improvement in students’ success in STEM subjects, maybe they do not present the actual reasons for the lack of interest to study STEM subjects?
I’ve been teaching – mostly physics – but also mathematics, problem solving, logic, for almost twenty years (not mentioning my professional work with teachers and administrators). My students always appreciate a good joke, or an interesting story about how we use some of the physics discoveries for our everyday benefits. But most of all they love the clarity, and understanding of what and why is being done in the class. That is why I have no doubts that all students would appreciate the same, if all teachers would be guiding them through the logical steps required for understanding of all important logical connections of the subject they teach.
The discussion of why it is not a case is outside of the scope of this paper (http://www.teachology.xyz/3pc.htm).
The statement I make is simple: people who during their school years do not learn how to reason, will not be able to reason when the need for logical reasoning will be knocking on the door (The 11th Law of TeachOlogy; http://www.teachology.xyz/6LT.html).
The most important use of a logical reasoning in the everyday life is making predictions about possible events (The 33rd Law of TeachOlogy; http://www.teachology.xyz/6LT.html). Those predictions allow us to make preparations to face those events, or to alternate their results.
A person who cannot reason, cannot predict what will happen, hence, that person can only react to what already happened.
This is exactly what is happening right now (April, 2017) within the U.S. intelligence services – a reaction to the “unpredictable” Russian cyber “invasion” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html?utm_term=.­­3931175fa11f).

Cyber threat is only one of many the Country is facing these times.
When politicians and experts discuss what is the biggest threat to the national security, they also name climate change, mass migrations, Russia, ISIS, federal debt, income inequality, and many others (http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/09/02/whats-the-greatest-threat-to-us-national-security).
However, what we all need to accept is a simple fact, that whatever threat the Country faces, whatever problem the Country needs to solve, that threat is not going to go away on its own, that problems will not be resolved on its own; only people who have sufficient knowledge and adequate skills – including reasoning skills – will be able to grasp, design, and enact the needed, effective, and efficient actions and counteractions.
That is why the most important capital any country can have is the human capital.
That is why the biggest threat to the national security is presented by the decline of the human capital; both, quantitatively – a negative birthrate, or qualitatively – intellectual stagnation.
This is why the intellectual heal of the nation should be treated with the same important and urgency as the physical health of the nation.
Unfortunately, the facts show the opposite.
“Nearly a half of PhD aerospace engineers, over 65% of PhD computer scientists, and nearly 80% of PhD industrial and manufacturing engineers were born abroad.”
“The number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents earning graduate degrees in science and engineering fell 5 percent from its peak in 2008. At the same time, the number of students on temporary visas earning the same degrees soared by 35 percent.”
“According to a 2016 survey of 400 employers from across Massachusetts, 75% said that it was difficult to find people with the right skills to hire in Massachusetts.” “Respondents find deficiencies in the readiness of new hires, not just in “applied skills” like teamwork, critical thinking and communications, but also in simple reading, writing, and math.”
It has become a common place to present interviews or surveys where business leaders and business owners complain on the low level of skills of domestic workforce.
Numbers say that, essentially, the U.S. education system does not produce the domestic work force with the adequate set of skills and the sufficient volume of working knowledge.
If this issue will not be addressed forcefully and in time, the various U.S. services, including the intelligent services, will be predestined to play a catch-up every time after the next anti-American attack, which may happen in the economic area, cyberspace, or within the American territory.

P.S. Russian (or, for that matter, any other adversary's) intelligence forces saw an opportunity to use Facebook, Twitter, and Google to influence 2016 elections. This whole post has been based on the assumption that American intelligence forces did not see that coming and did not prepare the counter activities. But logically speaking, there are also other versions of the events.

(a) American intelligence forces saw it but was not able to do much about it. Or,
(b) American intelligence forces saw it but decided to do nothing.
Of course, I prefer thinking that the real reason is the state of the general education.

Some additional links on the matter:

What Would Businesses Do if No Foreign Students Could Come In the Country Anymore? https://teachologyforall.blogspot.com/2017/02/nostudents.html
Who and why should learn physics? https://teachologyforall.blogspot.com/2016/12/onphysics.html
ow much of the NSF funded “fundamental” scientific educational research is really fundamental? https://teachologyforall.blogspot.com/2016/12/wnsf.html
There are at least two versions of the famous quote
“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
“Every nation has the government which it is fit for.”
I would like to offer a modification.
“Every democracy has the government which is as smart as the most of the people”.
© Valentin Voroshilov (Nov. 2017)
That is why good public education is crucial for a democracy.
That is why everyone who is against good public education is automatically against a democracy, hence against the Constitution of the United States.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Alabama race shows: third-party groups are “all talk, no walk”.

The results are just in! Congratulations to all people of reason! It does look like a miracle! But if you dig deeper - you find the strategy which Democratic Party​ must repeat in ALL red states! Quote from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/us/politics/alabama-senate-race-winner.html?_r=0
"And solidifying Mr. Jones’s victory were the Republican-leaning Alabamians who chose to write in the name of a third candidate rather than back one of the two major party nominees. Over 20,000 voters here cast write-in ballots"
This IS why the Democrats NEED a strong 3d "party" movement - to give Republican voters who will never vote for a Democrat an outlet!
This is "The True Role Of The Third Party In The U.S. In The Current Political Environment" (has been published on Saturday, April 8, 2017) http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/04/3dparty.html

This post was published on 11/19/17
Major papers urge Alabamians not to vote for Roy Moore.

Despite everything, there is no doubt that Roy Moore will be elected.
Because many people in Alabama will just not vote for a Democrat.
THIRD-PARTY candidates!
Where are you when you are needed the most??!!
This is wat I call a PATHETIC political activity.
Political science is not an actual science like physics, but it also shows demonstrates predictability.
For example, in September of 2016 I tried to contact Clinton's advisers to warn them that "Trump is bad, I am good!" campaign is NOT enough to win (http://www.gomars.xyz/op.html: the collection of some ideas from the past). Like Michael Moore I knew Trump would win (unless a miracle would happen, and it didn't). 
In my post on October 21st
I wrote: “Mark my words, if Senator Sanders will run in 2020 he will do it as an Independent.”
At the time Bernie Sanders was a Democrat, but soon he announced that he would run for the Senate in 2018 as an Independent. And I am sure, he will not switch to the Democratic party any more.
Then I posted Biden-Sanders picture on Facebook, and lots of people just laughed (although, more than 8 thousand people have been reach, whatever that means).
And soon later, Biden said he may run in 2020, if there will be no good Democratic candidate.
On April 8th in my post:
I wrote:
“The number one goal of a small third party should be preventing opposition from gaining seats.
And, if possible, if it is realistic, to promote its own candidates into political power.
The most important goal for an American small party (especially in 2018) should be taking Congress seats from Republicans; making Republican party to be the Congress minority.
Ideally, the seats lost by Republicans would be taken by the third party candidates, but this goal is secondary”.
This prediction has not happened, yet.
Unfortunately, no “outsider” runs in Alabama.
Independents, or Sanders supporters, or candidates from registered third-parties did not want to give this race a try, just to test the ground, get experience, make some noise, or maybe even make some history.
It only confirms my strong opinion about all existing groups of “outsiders” (i.e. non-Democrats and non-Republicans) – all talk, no walk; or (my version) all words, no force, no action.
Those groups are run by narcissistic leaders or political newbies who use politics as means for boosting their own ego.
Members of those groups need to find new leaders; leaders, who would concentrate on actual political goals, starting from fighting in all upcoming political races, even when the odds may be far against them.
After zeroing-in on the same goal, they may have a chance to forge a political collaboration strong enough to finally create the actual 3-d political force in America.

But – and it is important – people need to set on a common GOAL (like bringing in all races an “outsider” candidate), NOT a common DREAM (like a third-party President).
(e.g. see the diagram in this post: http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/11/taxcode.html)
Unfortunately, no "major" third-party or independent group wants to invest time and money into a groundwork, like, economic and political analysis, strategic planning, interstate networking, etc.
Instead, what they like to do is gathering large summits.
We have seen already several of such summits.
For example, The People's Summit:
Then The People's Convergence Conference happened:
And now they plan another big gathering:
Unrig the System Summit
No doubt, these events help to keep excitement going, and create a feeling of marching ahead. But, unfortunately, that is just a feeling. Maybe other people see some specific goals being achieved, but all I see is this
This makes me ask two questions:
1. Is "Our Revolution" our?
2. Is "Our Revolution" a revolution?
The answer to the first question is - probably - "yes"; those people seems to have a genuine intention to fight inequality and to support working class, and middle class Americans.
But the answer to the second question is definitely "NO".
So far, all they do is saying good words, giving uplifting speeches, and setting up big fundraising summits.
A revolution demands meticulous groundwork.
Senator Sander's "Guide" is not really a guide, but a "Manifesto" (http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/10/kingmaker.html).
The sooner all "revolutionaries" accept this as a fact, the sooner they begin designing an actual revolution.
The political history offers us examples of such a design, for example:

Maybe, reading and analyzing such literature would help the progressives to avoid mistakes already made in Alabama? Even if Roy Moore will miraculously lose, it could not be taken as a win for the Democrats (the same way as Trump did not win - but Clinton lost).
Progressives of all sort are busy with fashioning a big fiery GALA.
At the same time Regressive Republicans developed a network of disinformation: http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/11/disinformation.html.
Who is a real revolutionary here?
Instead of preparing the big gala, all "progressives" in all 50 states should seize the moment,get a camera man, and make EVERY republican politician to say on the record what they think about Roy Moore, so they could use this tape in 2018 race - this IS strategic planning.
Unfortunately, at this point, all "resistance" groups are more "men of action rather than of intellect".

Sorry for the sad fact.
For me, all "Progressives" will forever be people who have been outsmarted by Donald Trump.
Except those ones who were able to analyze the past mistakes, learn from them, and be open about them.
So far - the count is 0.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Creativity, Tax Code, and Human Psychology.

What to do with the tax code? What to do with the Federal budget? How to pay for the Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare/Trumpcare, and many other government funded programs? How to close the budget deficit?
These questions are not new, but for at least two decades no major political party have been even trying to start a serious discussion about changing the tax code.
Until now!
It is interesting to think about why, in order to start tackling such a difficult problem like a tax reform, did the Country need to elect as the President of the United States of America such an odious figure as Donald Trump?
I have published several posts on the matter, so I will not be addressing this issue in this post (e.g. http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/04/why.html).
But what also caught my attention is the fact the conversation about taxes is stuck in the fight between two ideological dogmas.
The dogmas, which have been developed about forty or fifty years ago, and do not reflect any more the current economic and social realty.
That automatically means that no matter which one of the two dogmas prevail, 99 % of American people will lose anyway (unless the third path will be found).
The first dogma states that cutting taxes boosts economy, it leads to a drop in unemployment and to a growth in wages. Based on this dogma, no tax can be ever raised; a tax raise in any form is forbidden.
This dogma was developed before the globalization, the Internet, the WWW, the AI boosted robotization, and before restructuring of the global powers. Hence, it is outdated (and there are numerous data proving that it does not work any more).
The second dogma states that only broad federal regulations can keep the balance between the needs of regular Americans and the needs of big corporations and wealthy individuals. Based on this dogma, government has to widen its regulatory actions, and grow its regulatory entities.
This dogma is also outdated due the same reasons, especially due to globalization.
The problem with dogmas is that they prevent people from searching for solutions outside of the mainstream views. Any idea which does not fit into the limits placed by a dogma is automatically rejected without being given any consideration.
It is worth to take a closer look at what a dogma is, and how a dogma evolves (a short detour into the philosophy of science and the theory of human activity: http://www.teachology.xyz/pd.htm).
First, a dogma is just a commonly accepted statement (or a set of statements) about certain principles which govern peoples’ actions.
Those statements have not been written in the sky, or unearthed from underground.
Those statements have been developed “by the people, and for the people”.
Dogmas have not always been dogmas.
At the beginning of their time, they were paradigms, beacons of the new ideas. Initially, only few people used them in their everyday life. In time, more and more people accepted those principles as the governing principles for their actions (because they worked!). Eventually, people have forgotten that those paradigms have been developed under specific circumstance for answering specific questions about life, to solve specific problems of those times. Eventually, the paradigms have become statements which had to be accepted without any questioning – i.e. dogmas. Time passes, life changes, but dogmas remain still, and soon some people start noticing a divide between the needs of the life and the dogmas, which only grows with time. When that happens, the society starts to experience the need for new paradigms.
When that happens, people who are willing to think beyond the dogmas begin offering new ideas, new approaches to solutions to problems at hand. Many of those ideas may be silly, or crazy, but they create a fertile soil for a new paradigm, and one of those ideas becomes a seed from which that new paradigm eventually grows up.
Now one can predict which new idea will eventually outlive all other ideas and become commonly accepted as the new guiding principle.
That is why it is so important to not just shovel away anything which does not fit in the limits set by the current dogmas, but give a fare consideration to many of them. Of course, without some filtering, scientists, researcher, politicians, political strategists may be drowned under the shower of views, ideas, propositions. Currently, the filtering is based on the “halo effect” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_effect), which is basically asking “who says that?” instead if “does it make sense?”.
The better process of selecting new ideas for a further deeper consideration should be based on the answers to the questions like:
 – what do we want to achieve?
– what is our ultimate goal?
– what is wrong with what we have now, and what do we want to fix, what change do we want to see in the end?
– how will we know that our goal has been achieved?
I like to summarize this strategy in a concept map (I like using mapping for teaching physics: http://teachology.xyz/mocc.htm, but mapping is a universal way of representing connections).
BTW: the result of this reflective action heavily depends on how good is the person’s imagination (everything is happening in his or her mind!), and imagination is best developed via reading (not via watching TV, or playing videogames, which also help with development some psychological functions, but NOT imagination; learning physics is also greatly boosts imagination: http://www.gomars.xyz/1717.html).
When I listen to news, the first thing I notice every time, is that neither party offers specific measures to assess the success achieved as the result of their proposals. I cannot get a hand on any specific data which would be related to the future of my life. This makes me feel afraid of that no matter which plan will win, my life will be negatively affected.
This is when my imagination starts acting out, because I don’t understand what is happening.
When I don’t hear a clear reason, when I don’t see a clear picture, my mind starts creating its own arguments, which would make sense to me.
When those arguments become relatively clear, I write them down, and publish on my blog (my way of venting out, I suppose).
There is nothing special about that.
By design, all a human brain does, is absorbing information, processing information, and producing new information. Then, consciously or subconsciously, the new information affects human actions. If the new information stays inside, it affects actions of only one person. If the new information is brought outside (in the form of a speech, a gesture, a picture, written words, signs, symbols, songs, a physical contact), it may affect several people, or even a massive number of people (an example of such effect is the case of Facebook and Twitter political ads of 2016 elections cycle).
But let’s return back to our conversation about taxes, and apply the described strategy to designing a new approach to a tax reform.
What is the ultimate goal of the tax code?
Everyone involved in the debate must give an answer to this question.
My answer is: “The ultimate goal of the tax code is regulating wealth distribution in such a manner that all citizens would be able to live a decent life”.
This answer has two words which are more important than all other, which are “all” and “decent”.
These words need a further description, a further detalization.
For me “all” literally means “all” – no exceptions under any circumstances.
The meaning of “decent” is not so easy to establish. For example, it may be different for people who currently serve a conviction due to a committing a crime.
For this conversation, the exact meaning of “decent” is not important.
What important is that my definition of the goal for the tax code immediately differentiate all people into four categories: the ones who agree, the ones who disagree, the ones who do not care, and the ones who are not sure.
There is no point in trying to make people who disagree or don’t care to change their mind. That would be just a waste of time and energy. The main goal is finding people who are agree, and the main target should be people who are not sure, i.e. who could be swung (a.k.a. swing voters).
If you and I are agree on the main goal, we can start talking about details.
For example, what does “decent” mean?
How much does one (anyone) need to maintain a decent life?
What are the biggest obstacles to achieving the goal?
What are the biggest threats to achieving the goal?
The other day I watched an interview with one of the Nobel laureates in economics (do not remember the name). He said that he sees only two options:
1. eventually all taxes will have to be raised,
2. eventually all federal programs will essentially be closed.
That made sense to me. That statement represented a clear model:
1. more money into federal chests, and keeping working federal programs.
2. no money into federal chests, and having no federal programs.
Closing all major federal programs would be disastrous for the Country, because that would significantly lower the quality of life for many Americans (that is my belief).
That would be moving away from the goal.
That means, that whether we like it or not, but the biggest threat to achieving the goal is low taxes.
That means, that whether we like it or not, but we have to call for higher taxes (and, of course, simpler and more transparent tax code).
Colling for raising taxes is exactly what all politicians are afraid the most.
The reason they are scared of calling for higher taxes is that they do not believe that American people are wise enough to use a common-sense logic.
Simply saying, many American politicians believe that American people are stupid.
From my point of view, that makes many American politicians to be unwise (at the least).
For example, talking about “income inequality” is unwise.
People who talk about various aspects of “income inequality” do not know what people with a low income actually want. If all those pundits would ask anyone who lives a paycheck to a paycheck what do they think about “income inequality”, those pundits would learn that people do not care about how much Warren Buffet makes a year; they care about how much they make a year, and that it is not much at all.
Instead of talking about “income inequality” those pundits should have been talking about income insufficiency.
That was just an example of the fact that many politicians and political analysts do not know psychology of a common man.
Naturally, saying “your tax will go up” will not gain any support.
But I am sure that most people would at least think about options, if they heard: “To save the economy from a crash, to keep the safety net provided by the government, everybody will have to pay a higher tax. Every American will have to do his or her part. Well, people who are well below the “decent life” line, will not be affected, and the raise will greatly depend on the individual income, and for the most of Americans the change will not be significant. However, this action will allow us to restructure our economy in such a way that we will not only prevent economic crash, we will be able to gradually move all Americans above the poverty line. People with an insufficient income will be getting help from government to sustain their life at the “decent” level, but with the help of the government and in collaboration with the businesses the number of Americans with an insufficient income will gradually decline to zero. That is the ultimate goal of the tax reform!”
Can this be done?
I believe it can.
Our politicians also do not know the psychology of the wealthy Americans. That is why they treat them either as enemies (the Democrats), or as gods (the Republicans, who call them “job creators”, although I doubt that it is a correct name for people who closed about 60,000 factories; the right term should be “wealth creatures”, and those are NOT the CEOs of big companies! “Who are the real wealth creators?” http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/09/wealth.html).
Of course, wealthy Americans are neither gods nor enemies; they are just people who want to maximize their wealth, or to preserve their wealth by affecting the political process into their favor. Which is absolutely natural intention for such people. This intention should be used in order to navigate their energy into the direction leading to general social gains.
A tax reform cannot happen without addressing two big problems: healthcare spending and entitlement spending.
The Republicans want cut the programs to save money, the Democrats want to increase the spending.
They cannot find a common ground because they see those spending as a necessary part of the federal budget.
Hence, let’s move all the healthcare and entitlement related spending outside of the budget (more in this matter is in this post: http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/10/porg.html).
In that case there will be no problem to discuss (well, tax code still will have lots of loopholes to be fixed, but that requires a different conversation).
Note, I do not suggest to eliminate healthcare and entitlement programs.
Of course, we have to keep them and make them effective and broadly accessible.
Of course, we will need money to pay for them.
But those money should not be regulated by the congressional or White House budgetary committee (or whatever committee regulates the budget).
Instead, the Congress needs to establish two more “federal reserve”– type entities: a “healthcare federal reserve”, and an “entitlement federal reserve”.
Each “reserve” will be run by the board of independent appointees.
Each year each board will be calculating the amount of funds needed to pay for the related spending.
Then, that amount will be distributed among “income holders” (individuals or establishments/corporations) accordingly to the equation the board will come up with (higher income means more money).
Each “income holder” will have to send a specific amount of money directly to each “reserve”.
That moeny cannot and will not be called a “tax”; it will be a “fee” every “income holder” will need to pay.
That individual amount of money, each “income holder” will have to send to each “reserve”, will depend on the total amount of funds the reserve will need to accumulate on an annual basis.
Hence, every year that amount of money may be different, depending on the needs of the “reserves”.
That means, everyone paying this “fee” will be interested in decreasing the amount of funds needed for each “reserve”.
Everyone, including big corporations!
Imagine, one runs a big company, and one has to pay a healthcare cost for one’s employees, and it is huge. Maybe one will begin to reaching out to insurers and hospitals and start pushing them to drop the cost down?
Imagine one runs a big company, and one pays the employees so little, that they have to apply for federal help from the “entitlement reserve”. Maybe one will begin to think about raising their wages?
Naturally, the path from an idea to a legislation takes long time and a lot of effort, but someone somewhere sometime should start trying out creative approaches.
And that requires imagination, creativity, knowledge of human psychology, and ability to step outside of the well-established dogmas.
BTW: that requires a good education (on a massive scale: http://www.gomars.xyz/cash.html).
FYI: that requires reforming the way education is being reformed (http://www.teachology.xyz/np.htm).
Currently, progressives of all sort are busy with fashioning a big fiery GALA (http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/11/3dforcedown.html).
At the same time Regressive Republicans developed a network of disinformation: http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/11/disinformation.html.
Who is a real revolutionary here?