Thursday, January 30, 2014

FTSOA: "Pot Warz"

Even WOODY'Z sprized with the alacrity at which spam and slanders arise.
This took three days to appear.
Snopes won't permit us to c&p.
Here's the link...Conclusion: False
This will have ALREADY become an unchallenged fact on Faux Nooz and the RWEcho Chamber.
The story being circulated is NOT satire. It IS political propaganda, though, designed to demonize campaigns to legalize recreational cannabis use, by locating it in the discourse of poverty/minority bashing.
With this story and probably others, now "out there," every and any time the fuckheads wanna disrupt a serious discussion on the merits, all they gotta do is throw this "story" into the heap, and the discussion has to cease. Many who hear such a tale will WANT to believe it. It's called 'confirmation bias..' It confirms their already deeply held predispositions about cannabis users, poverty, and social class. So the conversation HAS to cease.
Because you cannot debunk that kind of misinformation with truth. It is immune to such appeals, because its appeals are to prejudice and "moral" superiority.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

For The Sake Of Argument: Holy Claptrap!

Thanks Mr. Smith:
In Albuquerque, I'm Dr. John Konopak, and this is "For the Sake of Argument:
Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared on Bill Moyers' PBS program last week, and as usual, was a rational, erudite advocate for science. This year he will appear in the 're-boot' of the most successful science show in history, Carl Sagan's "Cosmos."

Prof Tyson is a shining light of reason and rationality in a "discussion" which is mostly full of obscurantism, denial, fabulism, and really muddy thought.
(Actually, "arguing" with fundies about ANYTHING is almost exactly the equivalent activity to playing Scrabble with baboons: Pointless, fruitless, useless, and annoying, because they have no IDEA of what is going on.)
Of COURSE "creationism" doesn't "belong" in a science classroom. OBVIOUSLY!~
As Tyson says, they're in two different universes of discourse.
And equally obviously, though Tyson (strategically) refrains from saying so, baldly, the 'discourse of faith in the reputed sayings of imaginary beings and invisible friends" is equally incompatible with issues of law and justice. Neither Christians, nor Jews, Jains, or Jehova's Witnessed have "standing" to impose their 'spiritual' fantasies upon the secular 'body politic.'
Unfortunately, I fear, no one with the reputation, or credentials of a Professor Tyson who can claim the lectern in the social sphere the way Tyson does for the 'scientific' one.
Usurping the mantle of "the Bible," or "God's word" to impose sectarian superstitions on the Civis, the polis, is every bit as specious and spurious as doing so in the classrooms of a public school, but there seem to be no figures of Tyson's repute in the sciences to intervene in the broader arena, and expel the drooling, fabulist fantasists and their Holy claptrap from the positions of influence they increasingly, and destructively occupy in our public, policy debates. And it's a telling absence.--For the Sake of Argument, I'm Dr. John Konopak...Now back to Winstone Smith in the Studio...

FTSOA: No Help!

Thank you, Winstone...In Albuquerque, this IS John Konopak, aka Dr. Woody, and this is "For the Sake of Argument."

As the term of "America's First Black President" winds down, there are some who point with what I judge to be an unseemly degree of relish to the fact that he hasn't managed to do very much for his "natural" constituency--the poor, minorities, marginalized, elderly, etc--who haven't fared particularly better under the Lowbar regime than they had done under previous regimes.

In reality, Prez Lowbar is and has always been hamstrung in the matter of visibly assisting minorities and the poor, because any effort which does do so would be criticised by the Righturd echo chamber as pandering to "his people." So the people who had the most invested in him--poor, black, marginalized--were ALWAYS destined to be the most disappointed. And of course, the bulk of whatever was his "promise" was to the people of color was redeemed merely by his being elected. That, in itself, was WAY more than they'd ever expected.

Both Prez Lowbar and his handlers are now wholly consumed with the 'business' of his "Legacy." It is IMPERATIVE from the POV of the "narrative-of-freedom" and "the long arc of history"  that he be remembered as a "unifier," a 'bargainer," a "negotiator," because the opposite qualities, were they to attach to him, would validate the righturds' counter-narrative: that he's a divisive, angry, Black, Muslim, Kenyan, Socialist, un/anti-American Anti-Christ...

Lowbar's "usefulness" to the poor is and was a public relations/perception problem: If he (Lowbar) had made any REAL efforts to assist the down-trodden, it would be 'sold' in the SCUM/MSM as being divisive, as "income redistribution," as a threat to whites, and as a betrayal of "ALL" Americans for the interests of the 'few'--funny how that's okay when the "few" are white and rich, innit?

I think these critics are accusing him of being someone he never was, and then of BETRAYING "who he never was" by being, in fact, what most of his "leftish" critics knew him to have been from the start: an opportunistic, unprincipled, "pragmatic" corpoRat hack on the make...For the sake of argument, I'm Dr. John Konopak,...
And now back to my man, Winstone, in the studio!!!

Even in the extremely unlikely event that Lowbar HAD really BEEN a Nation of Islam mole and an under-cover bomb-thrower who had skillfully maneuvered his way into the very innards of the white power elite, and was now biding his time, waiting to use the power of the Presidency to attack 300+ years of inequity and iniquity, there was the whole 233 or so years of institutional inertia and 43 previous, weighty precedents to overcome. And he would have faced them alone, because the DLC Dims would surely have joined the rabid Righturds in resisting, instead of the mere passivity they've offered so far.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

WWH/CHE Soapbox: On the "JOB."

Hola Hippies, from high (yeah) atop the World Wide Hippies/Citizen Journalists' Exchange, massive, globe-spanning digital Soap-Box, this is yer ol' hippie pal, "Dr. Woody," Dr. John Konopak in Albuquerque:

One of the most heart-wrenching and terrifying videos on the Netz lately features two Orange County cops beating a homeless, mentally handicapped man named Kelly Thomas to death in the streets of Fullerton, Ca. last year. They got the whole thing on video...Which is terrible, and heart-breaking, and pitiful, and infuriating, and depressing all at the same time. It'll break your heart.
The Fullerton, CA, cops just plainly beat the shit out of the guy, and bragged about it.
Yet they got away with it: Acquitted on all counts.
How, the horrified observers want to know, could a jury look at that video and NOT convict the killer cops?
It's not easy, but here's how I think it went own:
The cops who beat Kelly Thomas to death were, in their own eyes, just "doin' The Job."
It's dirty, they'll tell ya, but SOMEBODY'S gotta do it. Besides they're just following orders, even if the orders are mainly implicit and tacit. They believe themselves to be doing only what the people who pay their salaries want and demand of them.
And what the people there in Orange Country, but anywhere where poor and homeless congregate, want is to have the cops keep the rabble moving.
Cops in such circumstances are under instructions to make it "unpleasant" for "undesirables." You got a NICE little town and nobody wants "THEM" hanging around; it spoils the ambience. They're bad for business, they beg, they stink, and piss in the street. The good burghers, their wives and children, and their patrons, don't want to be made uncomfortable by the piteous plight of the poor; don't want to SEE 'em... So the cops roust 'em, don't let 'em get too comfortable, keep 'em moving, give 'em reasons NOT to stop in Fullerton, or Orange or Garden Grove or Westminster...
I expect it's working.
Especially now, in Fullerton...The poor, the homeless, the beggars and street people avoid Fullerton, like the plague, these days, just keep stumbling down the tracks.
Cops KNOW they have support in their community and at least tacit aspproval of their harrassing tactics. It's rciprocal: The same community also supplied the jury that, later, acquitted the killer cops. That's like the ultimate in "home field advantage."
Now, the process is not over; the FBI has already said it would launch an investigation based on the video of the incident.
But local juries almost ALWAYS excuse local cops for excesses like this...
Anything for "Safe Streets," you know?
Keep yer heads down, hippies, and I'll see ya at the beach...
From Albuquerque, this is Dr Woody, John Konopak. Paz, chers...

As the Cookie Crumbles: From Barney Fife to Urban Storm-Troopers

There's a meme circulating on F-Book in which the smiling visages of Martin Milner and Kent McCord in their "period," '60s LAPD gear are juxtaposed with a foto of a pair menacing, anonymous, black-clad, masked, helmeted SWAT deputies with automatic weapons in combat-ready position. Beneath is the legend asks, basically,
"When did the smiling faces morph into these masked warriors?"

Here's my timeline:

The transformation of the police from Barney Fife to Urban Storm-troopers started with SWAT teams, which came into being in the late '60s and '70s, primarily as a response to urban and campus, racial and student demonstrations and strife. The media jumped all OVER it, hysterically. Soon every town wanted a SWAT Team.

Then in the 80s, under deputy Raygoon Ed Meese, DoJ started "saving the Pentagon money" by acquiring 'surplus' DoD equipment--Armored Personnel Carriers, mainly--and spreading it around around to counties and municipalities, free to all takers, under the rubric of the War on Drugs, a very popular item in DC and on the hustings. Every 'Burg and 'Ville lined up excitedly. Politicians LOVE to be pictured with the latest LawnOrder gear...

Both police tactics and philosophy of policing soon adapted to the exciting, dynamic, really cool war toys in the department, and it wasn't long before the standard motto, "Serve & Protect," had become "Search & Destroy," as cops came to view themselves not as members of the community, but as "peace-keepers" in a no-man's land of insurgency. Insulated in heavily armed and armored cruisers, they patrol a sector, not a neighborhood.

This was exacerbated since 2002-03, by the placement of many returning Iraq and Afghanistan war vets in local cop-shops around the country on federally approved programs.

Ya gotta LOVE the logic: Let's don't wait for cops to develop PTSD in the line of duty. Let's hire people to BE who already HAVE it.

Gotta admire bureaucracies: Always trying to save money somewhere, innit, hippiez?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Soapbox: Fold it six ways...

Hola, Hippies! From HIGH atop the WWH/CJE Great American broadcast Soapbox, this is Dr. Woody, John Konopak, on the stump from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Recently, in the wake of the poisonous chemical spill into the drinking water of 300,000 West by-gawd Virginians, Rep. John "Too Much Tan Time" Baner, the "Congressional boner in chief," declared that West by gawd Virginia probably already had enough regulations, and by gawd, I agree.
I too, am sure that 'west-by-gawd' Virginia has enough regulations to have prevented the spill.
Unfortunately, that's not the issue.
The problem izzat: Regulations, all by themselves can't prevent spills, even if you wad them up and shove into the cracks in the infrastructure. That needs inspectors and regulators.
But West BY GAWD VIRGINIA had no where enough REGULATORS with powers to enforce those regulations--and NEITHER does anybody ELSE.
The tanks where the spill occurred hadn't been inspected in 23 fucking YEARS.
NOT cuz they didn't need it.
It's because there weren't and aren't and never are enough people to inspect all the facilities where shit like this might be going on.
Remember West, Texas? Literally...Nobody'd inspected that fertilizer plant/bomb factory for a dozen YEARS or more. One night: Boom.
And that's because those regulatory agencies which SHOULD have been catching dangerous violations have been systematically and chronically underfunded by legislative bodies for DECADES, at the behest of the industries to be regulated, to keep them from interfering with "commerce."
Or they've been colonized by CorpoRatz' influence through "regulatory capture" through revolving doors and other stratagems by the industries themselves they're supposed to be overseeing.
In any case, it's not a shortage of regulations which is at fault, of that you can be assured...It is with the will and the ability to enforce them where the most significant failings occur.
In West By-Gawd Virginia, by the way, in the last three elections, voters have chosen to reduce regulatory oversight.
Correlation isn't causation, but it's close enough for schadenfreude.
From the WWH/CJE Soapbox, this is yer pal, Dr. Woody...See ya at the beach shars...Paz!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

FTSOA: Spy vs Spy

I'm Dr. John Konopak, and this is: For The Sake Of Argument...
As reported by The Washington Post last week, the NSA is apparently advancing towards a quantum computer that could crack almost any conventional existing encryption algorithm.
I garondamTEE you, shars., you definitely NEED to be worried!
Because technology is fungible:  if it can be build, and NSA doesn't build that sucker, SOMEBODY else will.

To me, that's the elephant in the room of this whole surveillance/intelligence debate: the most vocal critics seem to treat the issue (in my opinion, incredibly naively) as if the process goes on ONLY within a national vacuum, ending at water's edge.

But: Mais Non! No, Nyet, Nichts, and Ne. Ei (Estonian)...etc. It's not only about "us." It's more complicated than that.

Remember: Knowledge REALLY IS "power", not only in the abstract. The more you know, the more power you can exert. And information is the raw material of knowledge. And data is key constituent of information.
And an edge is an edge...

In case you missed it (the last 3/4 Century): In this modern world, full of jihadis, fundies, Mossad, the Russkis, and Kim Jung Un, you do NOT want NOT to have an edge, ANY edge.
An edge like that quantum computer, fer instance...It's gonna get built, if it can be. That's in tha bank.
If NSA doesn't build it, one of those other guys will, guaran-fucking-TEED, sha!

For the sake of argument, this is Dr.John Konopak, in Albuquerque, New Mexico...
Now back to the studio and Winston Smith...

Monday, January 6, 2014

For The Sake Of Argument: Quim Pro Quo

For the Sake of Argument: This is Dr. John Konopak, in Albuquerque, NM:

As the country struggles, still, more than FIVE years later, to climb out of the latest financial pit dug by unregulated, predatory, crony Capitalism, it's worth remembering that the roots of the recent "Great Recession"
go back to the late '90s, when the Clenis WhiteHouse/regime and the Congress agreed to repeal the Depression-era law, known as "Glass-Steagall Act."
Which was KINDA strange, cuz there really was NOTHING "wrong" with Glass-Steagall, of course.

Unless you were a banker, financier, or globalist...Because it prohibited the kinds of financial manipulations, scams and tricksy deals that got the banksters terribly wealthy, and brought on and ushered in the Great Recession of 'ought EIGHT."
The Clenis' penis was just a pretext under which the Righturds could undermine the LEGITIMACY of any opposition to their rule, AS WELL AS the actual foundations of the people's sovereignty which is their long-term goal.
L'affaire Lewinsky was a SIGNIFICANT part of that project. Distracted by the scent of that skanky pussy, "the Press" followed the obvious, poontang "trail," and ignored what ELSE was going on simultaneously and far more importantly in Congress...
I sometimes wonder if Clenis didn't sign the Gramm-Leach-Blilely bill in a some kinda deal with the GOPhux, a sort of "quim-pro-quo," so they'd lighten up on him in his last year.
That's what it looked like in retrospect.

For the sake of argument, this is Dr. John Konopak. Now to the studio, Winston. Paz!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

For The Sake Of Argument (FTSOA): Job-smacked

Hola hippies!
"For the Sake of Argument," I'm Dr. John Konopak--in Albuquerque, NM
A piteous refrain resounds, like a dirge, through an embattled populace: "What happened to the middle class? Where are the JOBS? Where did they GO? When will they come BACK?"
Bear with me, I'll postulate some answers.
As for the middle class, Raygoon's gunsels, the Corporat/righturds in Congress, and the USChamber of Commerce and the rest of the corporatz' lobbies agreed that the US middle class had just about outlived its usefulness. It was TOO wealthy.  So they all colluded to decouple wages from productivity. That's where the decline and fall of the USer "middle class" began.
They replaced higher wages with easy credit With appropriate collateral)...and it worked, for a while... until the time came to call in the markers. That was 2008.
Where the jobs are?
Ever hear of "Elsewheristan?" That's where.
The corporat, globo-oligarchs began, and the Congress and the Raygoons facilitated, the rapid, almost frantic, export of USer jobs and industries to the third world, where those jobs and industries created consumers who are now replacing the USer market, but without all those meddling unions and regulations.
"Everybody" (the MSM/SCUM/Corporat press in the lead) applauded these "inefficiencies" and the growth of "world trade."
But USer workers were left sucking an empty tit. Still are.
And when will the jobs return:
In all honesty, maybe never.
And if they DO come back, it will be when USer workers are sufficiently "disciplined" to accept 3rd-world wages and working conditions.
Not before...And maybe not even then...
For the Sake of Argument, I'm Dr. John Konopak. Paz, hippies...

For the Sake of Argument: Weed DOESN'T "Make You Dumb"

Woody envy's the lucky ducks in Colorado who are ushering in a new experiment in tolerance with the legalization of recreational cannabis use.

The move is and will be criticized as facilitating 'dumb' behavior because cannabis use allegedly induces such behavior, at leasat in the popular, ant-cannabis canon.

But weed doesn't make anybody "dumb."  
Unless you're already pretty far along that road to begin with, before your first toke.

I've been a daily cannabis user since the '60s, during which time I've garnered 4 degrees, three of them post-grad, several professional certificates and awards, written scores of articles and hundreds of news stories, taught high school and university, and gotten certified and earned a living as a journeyman carpenter. 
Oh, did I mention I learned also to surf?

On the other hand, I'll admit, I have known a fair number of dazed, flaky lay-abouts, toasted on weed, too stoned to move very far, or with much facility.

My own case is anecdotal, I realize. There are literally hundreds more like me, and there is a large number of very accomplished "stoners." 

Which seems to me to lead to the conclusion that recreational use of cannabis operates merely and mainly to accentuate traits one already possesses.

That is: If yer a dumb-ass, it ain't gonna help you NOT look like a dumb-ass.

But if you're moderately smart, skilled, or talented, it can help sharpen those faculties.

One thing for certain: What mass cannabis use will reveal izzat there really ARE a lot more dumb-asses than smart, talented people.