Daily Archives: March 11, 2017

Leading Putin Critic Warns of Xenophobic Conspiracy Theories Drowning U.S. Discourse and Helping Trump

The Intercept has the story Leading Putin Critic Warns of Xenophobic Conspiracy Theories Drowning U.S. Discourse and Helping Trump.

She now has a new article in the New York Review of Books – entitled “Russia: the Conspiracy Trap” – that I cannot recommend highly enough. Its primary purpose is to describe, and warn about, the insane and toxic conspiracy-mongering about Russia that has taken over not the fringe, dark corners of the internet that normally traffic in such delusional tripe, but rather mainstream U.S. media outlets and the Democratic Party. Few articles have illustrated the serious, multi-faceted dangers of what has become this collective mania in the U.S. as well as Gessen’s does.

So, I went to look at The New York Review of Books article Russia: The Conspiracy Trap.

The most solid part of the story to date is the hack of the Democratic National Committee, apparently carried out by people connected to Russian intelligence.

I find this ironic because I find the hack of the Democratic National Committee to be the flimsiest part of the story. I refer to a previous post of mine, Election Hack Report FAQ: What You Need to Know. Even the skeptics about the Russia story aren’t skeptical enough.

Even Glenn Greenwald, the author of the first article came to mention this at the end:

Indeed, even the most plausible plank of the story – that the Russians were behind the hacking of Podesta and the DNC – has been widely accepted as Truth despite no evidence from the U.S. Government.

However, there is not only a lack of evidence from the government, there even seems to be anti–evidence from the government. If anything, there “proof” offers more evidence that it is unlikely the work of Russian intelligence.

To make sure you don’t think I am saying that Trump is innocent, here is the conclusion of Greenwald’s and Gessen’s two articles.

As Gessen concludes: “What is indisputable is that the protracted national game of connecting the Trump-Putin dots is an exercise in conspiracy thinking. That does not mean there was no conspiracy. And yet, a possible conspiracy is a poor excuse for conspiracy thinking.”

Why Won’t Hedge Funders Confess Their Role in Multi-Million-Dollar Lobbying Campaign?

Hedge Clippers has the article Why Won’t Hedge Funders Confess Their Role in Multi-Million-Dollar Lobbying Campaign?

According to Moody’s, charter growth can cripple the credit ratings of urban school districts, leading to increased borrowing costs and declining public school enrollments.

This stress, largely due to district’s inability to reduce operation costs in response to declining enrollment, can touch off a “death spiral” where district costs increase, leading to an increase in charter enrollments.

Some of the anti-liberal Democrats I know who are so horrified about 45 being the President are also backers of the charter school movement. Makes me wonder what they are thinking.

Why a 400-Year Program of Modernist Thinking is Exploding

Naked Capitalism has the article Why a 400-Year Program of Modernist Thinking is Exploding.

To illustrate one of its signature follies, Kanth refers to that great Hollywood ode to the Western spirit, “The Sound of Music.” Early in the film, the Mother Superior bursts into song, calling on the nun Maria to “climb every mountain, ford every stream.”

Sounds exhilarating, but to what end? Why exactly do we need to ford every stream? From the Eurocentric modernist viewpoint, Kanth says, the answer is not so innocent: we secretly do it so that we can say to ourselves, “Look, I achieved something that’s beyond the reach of somebody else.” Hooray for me!

I think “The Sound of Music” example was grossly misunderstood. One of the reasons to climb every mountain is to achieve a personal or team goal. For the really big mountains, climbers go out in teams. They tie themselves together to get the team to the top of the mountain. It is humans vying against inanimate obstacles to see what they can achieve. It is a group of self-actualized people working in cooperation to achieve a goal they set for themselves.

The article does provide some food for thought, but like any idea of this type, reducing nature and humans to a single overriding principle is too simplified. It is just a model of reality. Models of reality leave things out so that the model can be understood. Modelers always have to remember the process that got them to the model so that they can always be on the look out for situations in which what they have left out becomes essential.