Saturday, April 19, 2014

cultural supremacy mechanics...,


pnas |  An outstanding open problem is whether collective social phenomena occurring over short timescales can systematically reduce cultural heterogeneity in the long run, and whether offline and online human interactions contribute differently to the process. Theoretical models suggest that short-term collective behavior and long-term cultural diversity are mutually excluding, since they require very different levels of social influence. The latter jointly depends on two factors: the topology of the underlying social network and the overlap between individuals in multidimensional cultural space. However, while the empirical properties of social networks are intensively studied, little is known about the large-scale organization of real societies in cultural space, so that random input specifications are necessarily used in models. Here we use a large dataset to perform a high-dimensional analysis of the scientific beliefs of thousands of Europeans. We find that interopinion correlations determine a nontrivial ultrametric hierarchy of individuals in cultural space. When empirical data are used as inputs in models, ultrametricity has strong and counterintuitive effects. On short timescales, it facilitates a symmetry-breaking phase transition triggering coordinated social behavior. On long timescales, it suppresses cultural convergence by restricting it within disjoint groups. Moreover, ultrametricity implies that these results are surprisingly robust to modifications of the dynamical rules considered. Thus the empirical distribution of individuals in cultural space appears to systematically optimize the coexistence of short-term collective behavior and long-term cultural diversity, which can be realized simultaneously for the same moderate level of mutual influence in a diverse range of online and offline settings.

understanding how the octupus operates...,


"I brought this information out eighteen years ago and I got shot at and driven out of the LAPD."  



Just like Gary Webb the San Jose Mercury journalist who broke the original "CIA dealing drugs in LA" story. 


Just like Mark Lombardi the american conceptual artist whose work carefully documented the Bush-Bin Laden family money laundering operation - before 9/11. 



Just like J.H. Hatfield Fortunate Son author who documented George Bush Jr's drug abuse and arrest for cocaine possession. 


Just like Danny Casolaro American writer who documented the Octupus a criminal network that also involved the Bush family.

Jes sayyin....,

Friday, April 18, 2014

why capitalists do not want recovery and what that means for america...,


bnarchives |  Can it be true that capitalists prefer crisis over growth? On the face of it, the idea sounds silly. According to Economics 101, everyone loves growth, especially capitalists. Profit and growth go hand in hand. When capitalists profit, real investment rises and the economy thrives, and when the economy booms the profits of capitalists soar. Growth is the very lifeline of capitalists.

Or is it?

What motivates capitalists?

The answer depends on what motivates capitalists. Conventional economic theories tell us that capitalists are hedonic creatures. Like all other economic “agents” – from busy managers and hectic workers to active criminals and idle welfare recipients – their ultimate goal is maximum utility. In order for them to achieve this goal, they need to maximize their profit and interest; and this income – like any other income – depends on economic growth. Conclusion: utility-seeking capitalists have every reason to love booms and hate crises.

But, then, are capitalists really motivated by utility? Is it realistic to believe that large American corporations are guided by the hedonic pleasure of their owners – or do we need a different starting point altogether?

So try this: in our day and age, the key goal of leading capitalists and corporations is not absolute utility but relative power. Their real purpose is not to maximize hedonic pleasure, but to “beat the average.” Their ultimate aim is not to consume more goods and services (although that happens too), but to increase their power over others. And the key measure of this power is their distributive share of income and assets.

Note that capitalists have no choice in this matter. “Beating the average” is not a subjective preference but a rigid rule, dictated and enforced by the conflictual nature of the system. Capitalism pits capitalists against other groups in society – as well as against each other. And in this multifaceted struggle for greater power, the yardstick is always relative. Capitalists – and the corporations they operate through – are compelled and conditioned to accumulate differentially; to augment not their personal utility but their relative earnings. Whether they are private owners like Warren Buffet or institutional investors like Bill Gross, they all seek not to perform but to out-perform – and outperformance means re-distribution. Capitalists who beat the average redistribute income and assets in their favor; this redistribution raises their share of the total; and a larger share of the total means greater power stacked against others. In the final analysis, capitalists accumulate not hedonic pleasure but differential power.

how diversity was killed in economics...,


adbusters | Innovation feeds on diversity, but diversity is scarce in economics. 

A little-remembered episode in the history of the discipline, told by Tiago Mata in his dissertation at LSE, reveals how diversity was killed in economics. Back in 1968, a group of young radical economists, the product of the campus unrest of the 60s and the anti-war movement, came to rock the discipline. Organized by the Union for Radical Political Economics, they called for a politicization of economics, accusing fellow economists of ignoring the important questions and being “instrumental to the elite’s attainment of its unjust ends.” They rejected the “marginalist approach,” today’s mantra in economics, for accepting the basic institutions of capitalism, and catering to improve only its administration … marginally.

The front-guard of the group was at Harvard, where non-tenured faculty Arthur MacEwan, Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis and Thomas Weisskopf taught a course tellingly named “The capitalist system: conflict and power.” Older Harvard faculty found the course a disgrace. But these were still the 60s and economics was not yet economics. Harvard-based John Kenneth Galbraith, a non-conventional political economist, and a notable ally of the young radicals, was President of the American Economic Association. Galbraith was wary of economics becoming a system of belief and used his presidential address in 1972 to support this “new and notably articulate generation of economists” that was coming to ask politically-important questions. Not everyone agreed.

A campaign ensued the next few years to eradicate the young radicals from top positions. Contract after contract and tenure after tenure were denied, including to the Harvard four. 

Among them, the most notable case was that of Sam Bowles, one of the brightest economists of his generation, as confirmed by his later work. His tenure candidacy was rejected by a nineteen to five vote in 1973. He had received the support of the most prominent members of the department, J.K. Galbraith, and Nobel-prize winners Wassily Leontief and (yet to be) Kenneth Arrow. Albert Hirschman was one of the other two who voted in his favor, as recounted by his biographer in a talk in memoriam I recently attended in Boston and which brought the whole Harvard affair to my attention. 

Hirschman, a moderate economist, left Harvard bitter in 1974 for Princeton and so did Leontief for NYU in 1975, after serving Harvard for 30 years, and mentoring such conservative heavyweights like Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow. Galbraith retired in 1975 after half a century at Harvard and Arrow departed for the West Coast. Bowles’ denial of tenure and the departure of Leontief, Galbraith, Hirschmann and Arrow brought an end to the notorious Harvard faculty battles between moderates and conservatives, not only over tenures but also University governance and student occupations, battles that had brought the department to a stalemate in the early 70s.

The young radicals did not have the luck of their more established elder supporters. They were relegated to universities of lesser prestige, radical refuges such as the New School in New York and UMass at Amherst. UMass offered Bowles the opportunity to set up an institute and host other ousted young radicals from Harvard, Yale and beyond, such as Marxists Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff.

The American Economic Association judged that there was no political motivation behind the purge of the radicals, other than in cases where the FBI was found to be involved. The rationale, however, often used in many faculty decisions to deny the quality of the radicals’ research was that it was “political” and not scientific enough. Science and objectivity in economics came to be defined through these tenure battles not only as mathematical formalism (in this people like Bowles and Gintis excelled), but as one of a particular kind, based on the so-called “neo-classical” assumptions of a world consisting of selfish individuals maximizing their personal gain. This pre-analytic vision of a world of neo-liberal subjects was considered neutral, but deviations from it ideologically-motivated.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

.001% have become criminally untouchable...,



democracynow |  Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. In "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a "justice" gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. "It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else," Taibbi says.

support the world economics association

   
Three years ago the World Economics Association (WEA) was launched to create an inclusive professional association for the global community of economists.  Already it is second in size only to the American Economic Association, from which it differs in two fundamental dimensions. 

One is the self-evident geo-political difference; the other is that the WEA is not committed to maintaining the hegemony of the neoclassical school.  Instead, in the tradition of the natural sciences and physics especially, it supports investigation of real-world economies from multiple perspectives.

I should also emphasize that the WEA is not the tool or creation of the world’s financial oligarchy; instead it is financially independent.

The WEA’s strength is the breadth and size of its membership.  Real communities consist of individuals.  And that is why I am inviting you, a RWER subscriber, to join.  The WEA membership is free, and I have two incentives to motivate you to give the two or three minutes that it takes to join.

Firstly, you will receive WEA periodicals free of charge.  The WEA already publishes three journals (with print copies soon to be available).  It also publishes a substantial bi-monthly newsletter, holds online conferences, and has a rapidly growing network of national chapters.  Membership will give you immediate access to all this, including email notifications.  The covers of the current issues of WEA periodicals are pictured below.

Secondly, you will be helping a good and important cause.  It is now commonly recognized that humanity is ill-served by the economics profession as currently constituted, and that the primacy of the one nation over a global professional focus is both absurd and unjust. The WEA exists to overcome these deficiencies.  By joining the WEA and donating your two or three minutes you will be helping it achieve these goals.
You may join here 

Hopefully,

Edward Fullbrook

Executive Director of the World Economics Association
Editor of the Real-World Economics Review
University of the West of England

research shows that democratic majoritarian peasants ain't isht...,


princeton |  Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics – which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, and two types of interest group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism – offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented.

A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. This paper reports on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide
substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

Who governs? Who really rules? To what extent is the broad body of U.S. citizens sovereign, semi-sovereign, or largely powerless? These questions have animated much important work in the study of American politics.

While this body of research is rich and variegated, it can loosely be divided into four families of theories: Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, and two types of interest group pluralism – Majoritarian Pluralism, in which the interests of all citizens are more or less equally represented, and Biased Pluralism, in which corporations, business associations, and professional groups predominate) Each of these perspectives makes different predictions about the independent influence upon U.S. policy making of four sets of actors: the Average Citizen or “median voter,” Economic Elites, and Mass-based or Business-oriented Interest Groups or industries.

Each of these theoretical traditions has given rise to a large body of literature. Each is supported by a great deal of empirical evidence – some of it quantitative, some historical, some observational – concerning the importance of various sets of actors (or, all too often, a single set of actors) in U.S. policy making. This literature has made important contributions to our understanding of how American politics works and has helped illuminate how democratic or undemocratic (in various senses) our policy making process actually is. Until very recently, however, it has been impossible to test the differing predictions of these theories against each other within a single statistical model that permits one to analyze the independent effects of each set of actors upon policy outcomes.

Here – in a tentative and preliminary way – we offer such test, bringing a unique data set to bear on the problem. Our measures are far from perfect, but we hope that this first step will help inspire further research into what we see as some of the most fundamental questions about American politics.

The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism. Fist tap Dale.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

michael c. ruppert - RIP


fromthewilderness |  "This is the man who cost CIA Director Deutch his guaranteed appointment as Secretary of Defense after confronting him at Locke High School with hard facts about CIA dealing drugs." - Dick Gregory
 
" ...in the course of investigations in the mid 70's he came across information that the CIA was trading drugs in order to fund covert operations in the Middle East...Perot called him back to offer encouragement...Ruppert says that his main objective is to see that the country gets a leader worthy of its people. Even for Ross Perot those will be tough shoes to fill." - PEOPLE MAGAZINE 6/22/92

The Record is Here
Learn More: OPENING REMARKS OF MICHAEL C. RUPPERT for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (WRITTEN STATEMENT WITH EXHIBITS)
Full Disclosure Part I – Michael Ruppert's LAPD records
Full Disclosure Part II – The Legal Record Around His 1978 LAPD Resignation
The 1981 Herald Examiner Stories – Two consecutive front page stories got it mostly right but confirmed that Ruppert had stumbled on illegal covert operations:
Part One
Part Two
 
"Mike Ruppert is a one man crusade trying to expose America's bogus war on drugs. From the time we met on the campaign trail in 1992 while filming THE LAST PARTY, through his challenge to John Deutch, Mike Ruppert has been on the front line trying to get the story out." - Marc Levin, - Emmy award winning Director of PBS's The Secret Government, THE LAST PARTY and Producer of Bill Moyers' 1998 series on Addiction.

Michael Ruppert is the author of Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. Published in September 2004 and is one of the three best-selling books globally and in the US about the attacks of 9/11. Rubicon is the only book to show that Vice President Richard Cheney, the US government and Wall Street had a well-developed awareness of Peak Oil before the 9/11 attacks and that US policy since then has been consistent with Peak Oil imperatives. In May, 2006 Crossing the Rubicon was added to the Harvard School of Business library and released in a French version with distribution throughout all major book stores in France.

Mike is also the publisher/editor of From The Wilderness, a newsletter read in more than 50 countries around the world. Its subscribers include 60-plus members of the US congress, professors at more than 40 universities around the world, and major business and economic leaders. Since 9/11 Mike has been in demand as a university lecturer and has spoken on Peak Oil and 9/11 in nine countries. Recently, at the request of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, he served as an official questioner during a Congressional briefing looking into unanswered questions and the unaddressed flaws of the Keane Commission report. Having concluded that the US government and markets will be useless in preparing American citizens for the coming crisis, Mike's current focus is on individual and community preparedness for the coming challenges and the development of a reliable news service to quickly identify and track breaking developments around the world.

Mike is a former LAPD narcotics investigator, whistleblower and a 1973 Honors Graduate of UCLA in Political Science. After attempting to expose this he was forced out of LAPD in 1978 while earning the highest rating reports possible and having no pending disciplinary actions. In 1996, after 18 years of struggle, he finally achieved one of his deepest wishes in a face to face public encounter with then CIA Director John Deutch on national television. Washington sources later told Mike that Deutch's mishandling of the encounter cost him a guaranteed appointment as Secretary of Defense.

racial profiling, quotas, and secret "conviction bonuses"


alternet |  In the late afternoon of Jan. 3, Robin Dean, a 50-year-old county employee, pulled into a Durham, N.C., Burger King parking lot to give a friend a package of frozen chitlins that she had cooked over the holidays. After the transfer was complete, the pair said goodbye and parted ways. Both were subsequently pulled over by Durham Police.

Dean says an officer told her that there was evidence that she had just engaged in an illegal drug transaction, searched her car without her consent, and called for backup. When Dean worried aloud that she had been racially profiled, she says the white officer called her an “idiot,” although the nearly hour-long stop revealed nothing illegal apart from a window-tinting violation that was later dismissed.

In recent years, stories like this have come to epitomize heightened concerns that, as Durham becomes a regional center for sophisticated culture and cuisine, the drug enforcement strategies of its police increasingly assign second-class status to the city’s minority communities. Over the past several months, protesters alleging police misconduct have pummeled the city’s police headquarters with rocks and met tear gas along the usually amiable streets of this city of 240,000.

In seeking to understand the roots of the city’s divisive policing, lawyers at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice were astonished by what a recent round of public records requests produced. Not only was a federal grant subsidizing what they regarded as the most perniciously targeted drug enforcement operations of the department, but the grant — with a key “performance measure” emphasizing police report their sheer volume of arrests — also appeared to be incentivizing the department to raise its overall number of drug arrests, which overwhelmingly affect the city’s black community. SCSJ attorneys add that recently revealed evidence also indicates that the federally funded program included an illegal system of secret payments law enforcement made to witnesses who delivered successful drug prosecutions — another sign, they say, that the city’s policing has flown off the rails.

In a national context, such a discovery is not new. Groups like the ACLU have argued for over a decade that the performance measures of America’s largest federal policing grant, known as Byrne JAG, fuels racially biased, quota-driven policing in thousands of jurisdictions across the country. In this view, the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Justice Department doles out annually under JAG acts as a quiet bureaucratic buttress for policing policies like New York’s “stop-and-frisk” that have become intolerable to the communities they target and that have risen to the center of a heated national debate.

"We know that, intentionally or not, the JAG funding sets a tone, highlights priorities and guides the culture of policing in ways that impact what happens on the ground all around the country,” says Vanita Gupta, deputy legal director of the ACLU. Most pressingly, says Gupta, is JAG’s emphasis on police departments reporting their volume of drug arrests as “performance measure” of the grant. As the ACLU documented in a report [3] last year, although there is little racial difference in the national rate of marijuana use, black people are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for using pot — a major contributor to the disproportionately high numbers of African-Americans imprisoned within the United States’ exceptionally large prison population.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

silicon valley could force NSA reform tomorrow...,


rsn | With Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras triumphantly returning to the US to accept the Polk Award with Barton Gellman and Ewan MacAskill yesterday, maybe it's time we revisit one of their first and most important stories: how much are internet companies like Facebook and Google helping the National Security Agency, and why aren't they doing more to stop it?

The CEOs of the major tech companies came out of the gate swinging 10 months ago, complaining loudly about how NSA surveillance has been destroying privacy and ruining their business. They still are. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently called the US a "threat" to the Internet, and Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, called some of the NSA tactics "outrageous" and potentially "illegal". They and their fellow Silicon Valley powerhouses – from Yahoo to Dropbox and Microsoft to Apple and more – formed a coalition calling for surveillance reform and had conversations with the White House.

But for all their talk, the public has come away empty handed. The USA Freedom Act, the only major new bill promising real reform, has been stalled in the Judiciary Committee. The House Intelligence bill may be worse than the status quo. Politico reported on Thursday that companies like Facebook and are now "holding fire" on the hill when it comes to pushing for legislative reform.

The keepers of the everyday internet seem to care more about PR than helping their users. The truth is, if the major tech companies really wanted to force meanginful surveillance reform, they could do so tomorrow. Just follow the example of OKCupid from last week.

Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox browser, was under fire for hiring Brendan Eich as CEO because of his $1,000 donation in support of Prop 8 six years ago, and OKCupid decided to make a political statement of its own by splashing a message criticizing Mozilla before would-be daters could get to OKCupid's front page. The site even encouraged users to switch to another browser. The move made the already smoldering situation explode. Two days later, Mozilla's CEO was out of a job, and OKCupid got partial credit for the reversal.

The leading internet companies could easily force Congress' hand by pulling an OKCupid: at the top of your News Feed all next week, in place of Monday's Google doodle, a mobile push alert, an email newsletter: CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS. Tell them to SUPPORT THE USA FREEDOM ACT and tell the NSA to stop breaking common encryption.

nevada standoff has nothing to do with freedom, sovreignty, tyranny or cows...,


dailykos |  To appreciate how churning the media wurlitzer on this suddenly "newsworthy" controversy benefits the Kochs, one only has to go back to 2012 when the Utah legislature passed something called the Transfer of Public Lands Act, legislation vetted and inspired by none other than the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose chief funders include--you guessed it--David and Charles Koch.
The Transfer of Public Lands Act (TPLA), passed in 2012 and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, an enthusiastic backer, mandates that the Forest Service, with 15 percent of Utah land, and the Bureau of Land Management, with about 42 percent, relinquish their domain to the statehouse no later than 2015.
"Relinquish their domain to the statehouse" means that the lands would go from Federal to state stewardship.  As pointed out by David Garbett, a lawyer with the nonprofit Southern Utah Western Alliance:
“The only way the Utah legislature can generate money from the public lands is to ramp up development and hold a fire sale to clear inventory. That means that the places the public has come to know and love will be sold to the highest bidder and barricaded with ‘No Trespassing’ signs.” Similar bills are proliferating in other Western states where most of the land is managed by a federal agency.
The "Transfer of Public Lands" bills produced by ALEC are then hawked by industry-friendly local politicians and sold to the public as providing additional funding for non-industry purposes such as funding education, health and infrastructure improvements through "unleashing the energy" of public lands.
In other words, by selling them to mining, shale and oil interests, run by (among others) Charles and David Koch.
Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act is an updating of that old land-grabbing con game that has characterized the West. And it has powerful corporate backers. The legislation first made an appearance in a 2011 meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, which works with state lawmakers to draft “model legislation.” Lisa Graves, the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which runs an ALEC watchdog unit, describes the group as a “corporate and partisan lobby masquerading as a charity, allowing some of the most powerful corporations and richest CEOs to get their legislative wish lists in the hands of politicians eager to please special interests.” ALEC’s agenda, befitting the concerns of its chief funders, the archconservative energy magnates Charles and David Koch, is to bolster corporations’ interests without publicly disclosing those corporations’ influence on the bills ALEC task forces produce. Graves describes this as “legislation laundering.”
Nevada has followed a similar course.
On June 4, 2013, Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law AB227 Nevada Land Management Task Force, making Nevada the fifth western state to actively explore the transfer of public lands to western states.  
Legal scholars have largely concluded that these laws are unconstitutional. But with a fanatical, Federalist-society indoctrinated Supreme Court Majority bending over backwards to accommodate corporate interests in every conceivable manner, the Constitution has proved to be a flimsy protection against virulent greed. By milking and stoking the controversy, the Kochs seek to galvanize public opinion against the federal government, delegitimize the Bureau of Land Management that oversees public lands, and thereby impugn its stewardship of lands that Koch-run industries want to get their hands on. These include lands in Nevada, Utah and pretty much anywhere else they can dig, frack or mine. This isn't about some silly rancher's "grazing fees," to the Kochs and their business pals. It's about their desire to exploit, despoil and pollute lands that we, the public, own by virtue of our citizenship. That's not "freedom." It's greed.
In fact, it's almost tragic to see how the "militia groups" that pride themselves on their purported "independence" and "freedom" so willingly allow themselves to be duped by people whose only interest is to exploit the land for their own purposes. Whose self-serving greed wouldn't hesitate to gin up an armed confrontation in which people could conceivably die, simply for the purpose of lining their own pockets.
Did I sound like I feel sorry for the militia groups? I don't. If they were truly patriots I might feel sorry for them, but they aren't.  Because true patriots would realize that the federal lands the Kochs, the oil, mining and energy industries are attempting to claim for themselves are:  
[O]wned by every American – all 300-plus million of us. It is a peculiar property right we each have to this commons, as we acquire it simply by dint of citizenship, and what we own is spectacular. The marvel of the federal public-lands system is that it exists at all. During the 19th century and into the early 20th, much of the land was leased and sold off in a frenzy of corrupt dealings. Railroads, corporations, land speculators, mining interests, and livestock barons gorged on the public domain, helped along by the spectacularly pliable General Land Office, which from 1812 until its closure in 1946 privatized more than one billion acres, roughly half the landmass of the nation. The corruption was such that by 1885, The New York Times’ editorial page had denounced the “land pirates” whose “fraud and force” had excluded the citizen settler—the farmer, the homesteader, the cowboy—from “enormous areas of public domain” and “robb[ed] him of the heritage to which he was entitled.”
That's what this controversy is really about.

Monday, April 14, 2014

when elderly IQ-75 L00ZERS go wrong..., (I'm guessing that solves the random highway shootings too)


WaPo | The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a respected activist organization that tracks hate crimes and racist activities, said the man arrested and identified by police as Frazier Glenn Cross is actually Frazier Glenn Miller. Miller, the SPLC said, founded and ran the Carolina Klan before he was sued by the SPLC “for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and using intimidation tactics against African Americans.”

He later founded another Klan outfit, the White Patriot Party, which put him in violation of the terms that settled the suit brought by the SPLC. He was found in criminal contempt in 1986 and served six months in prison. He moved underground while out on bond and was caught in Missouri with other Klansmen with a reserve of weapons, the SPLC stated.

The next year, he pleaded guilty to a weapons charge. He was indicted for plotting to obtain stolen military weapons, and for planning robberies and the assassination of the SPLC founder Morris Dees. As part of a plea deal, he testified against other Klan leaders and received a five-year sentence. He served only three years, the SPLC stated.

In 2010, Miller ran for the U.S. Senate, and in 2006, he ran for the U.S. House, inciting fear among voters when his ads urged whites to “take the country back” from Jews and “mud people,” according to news reports.

Frazier Glenn Cross was booked into the Johnson County jail after 8:30 p.m. Sunday on suspicion of premeditated first-degree murder, according to the booking report.

A public records search shows he has used both names. And in a statement released Sunday night, the SPLC said it was able to identify Cross as Miller after a telephone conversation with his wife, Marge. She told the SPLC Miller had gone to a local casino Saturday afternoon. He called Sunday to tell her his winnings were up.

Police went to her home Sunday night to tell her Miller was arrested for the shootings.

Miller is a longtime anti-Semite. His Web site, with the headline, “Hey Whitey, Why Don’t You And Your Friends Build Your Own White Club? It’s Not Against The Law To Be White, Yet,” features photos of “white power” marches and radio interviews.

During a segment on an African American radio talk show, he told the host: “I just started [Carolina Knights] with three men … and by the time they threw me in prison six years later, I had built the largest white activist organization in the United States with over 5,000 strong.”

According to the SPLC, Miller claimed he read his first racist newspaper, called The Thunderbolt, in the 1970s. According to Miller, within two minutes, he knew he “had found a home within the American White Movement. I was ecstatic,” the SPLC reported.

last gasp struggles of the black public-intellectual...,


msnbc |  New York Magazine columnist Jonathan Chait responded on Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry to criticisms of his new essay about race in the Obama era –including several from the host herself.

Chait’s essay, “The Color of his Presidency,” makes the argument that race not only “has been the real story of the Obama presidency all along,” but that it “has now become the primal grievance in our politics, the source of a narrative of persecution each side uses to make sense of the world.” Chait insists in the essay that both liberals and conservatives use justifiable paranoia about race for their own political purposes. In a portion excerpted Sunday by host Melissa Harris-Perry, he elaborates:
And even when the red and blue tribes are not waging their endless war of mutual victimization, the subject of race courses through everything else: debt, health care, unemployment. Whereas the great themes of the Bush years revolved around foreign policy and a cultural divide over what or who constituted “real” America, the Obama years have been defined by a bitter disagreement over the size of government, which quickly reduces to an argument over whether the recipients of big-government largesse deserve it. There is no separating this discussion from one’s sympathies or prejudices toward, and identification with, black America.
Critics like Slate’s Jamelle Bouie posited that Chait’s essay omitted the realities of racism and discrimination throughout America, treating race ”as an intellectual exercise—a low-stakes cocktail party argument between white liberals and white conservatives over their respective racial innocence.” More negative reviews came from Salon, where writers offered that it was “poorly argued” and that it embodies everything that’s wrong with view from nowhere-styled journalism.”

Host Melissa Harris-Perry detailed some criticisms of her own prior to introducing Chait on Sunday’s show. The host, a political science professor, said:
“To describe American racial politics as an ‘endless war of mutual victimization’ suggests that there are no actual victims of continuing racial policies, only that there are discursive points to be scored by equally matched sides.”
Chait, who attracted attention recently for an online debate about race and poverty with The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, began Sunday’s conversation with a sarcastic remark. 

“Thanks for introducing your audience with such an open mind,” he said. “I’ve never really seen a television show with a host who berates and rebuts the person they’re having on the show for several minutes before they’re invited on.”

and the government is supposed to do exactly what to address this trend?

NYTimes | This week, four presidents journeyed to Austin, Tex., to address the Civil Rights Summit and remark on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s legacy on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

That landmark act brought an end to legal racial segregation in public places.

But now we are facing another, worsening kind of segregation, one not codified but cultural: We are self-sorting, not only along racial lines but also along educational and income ones, particularly in our big cities.

Our cities are increasingly becoming vast outposts of homogeneity and advantage, arcing ever upward, interspersed by deserts of despair, all of which produces in them some of the highest levels of income inequality ever seen in this country.

Some call this progress; I call it a perversion, at least of the concept of diversity — of race, culture, identity and class — that dynamic engine that built urban identities and that is now being erased out of them.

As a report by Kendra Bischoff of Cornell and Sean F. Reardon of Stanford pointed out last year: “The proportion of families living in affluent neighborhoods more than doubled from 7 percent in 1970 to 15 percent in 2009. Likewise, the proportion of families in poor neighborhoods doubled from 8 percent to 18 percent over the same period.”

This is consistent with a 2012 Pew Research Center report that found, “Residential segregation by income has increased during the past three decades across the United States and in 27 of the nation’s 30 largest major metropolitan areas, according to a new analysis of census tract and household income data.”

The report added, “The analysis finds that 28 percent of lower-income households in 2010 were located in a majority lower-income census tract, up from 23 percent in 1980, and that 18 percent of upper-income households were located in a majority upper-income census tract, up from 9 percent in 1980.”

As Richard Florida wrote in The Atlantic last month, “The poor face higher levels of segregation in larger, denser metros.” In affluent cities, he said, “The segregation of poverty is more pronounced,” adding, “The poor also face greater levels of segregation in more advanced, knowledge-based metros.”

According to a study published last year in the journal Education and Urban Society, “Students are more racially segregated in schools today than they were in the late 1960s and prior to the enforcement of court-ordered desegregation in school districts across the country.”

In fact, a report last month by researchers at the Civil Rights Project of the University of California, Los Angeles, found, “New York has the most segregated schools in the country.”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream about the coming together of children of different races seems, in some ways, to grow more faint.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

perceptronium...,


arvix |  We examine the hypothesis that consciousness can be understood as a state of matter, "perceptronium", with distinctive information processing abilities. We explore ve basic principles that maydistinguish conscious matter from other physical systems such as solids, liquids and gases: the information, integration, independence, dynamics and utility principles. If such principles can identify conscious entities, then they can help solve the quantum factorization problem : why do conscious observers like us perceive the particular Hilbert space factorization corresponding to classical space (rather than Fourier space, say), and more generally, why do we perceive the world around us as a dynamic hierarchy of objects that are strongly integrated and relatively independent? Tensor factorization of matrices is found to play a central role, and our technical results include a theorem about Hamiltonian separability (de ned using Hilbert-Schmidt superoperators) being maximized in the energy eigenbasis. Our approach generalizes Giulio Tononi's integrated information framework for neural-network-based consciousness to arbitrary qtuanum systems, and we nd interesting links to error-correcting codes, condensed matter criticality, and the Quantum Darwinism program, as well as an interesting connection between the emergence of consciousness and the emergence of time.

is consciousness a state of matter?



mysteriousuniverse |  When it comes to theories of human consciousness, there are basically two schools of thought. The first says that the hard questions of consciousness have been answered: that what we have historically thought of as consciousness doesn’t exist because we can trace various components of personality and memory to brain tissue, and that all that’s left is to explicate how all of this works.

This point of view is generally called reductive physicalism.

The second school of thought says that we haven’t answered the hard questions of consciousness— that there’s something else to it all that we haven’t found yet. Into this general category fall the non-reductive physicalists, the interactionists, the panpsychists, and so on, all trying to figure out what the reductive physicalist model of consciousness is missing and where we might find it.

Citing the quantum observer effect as reason enough to believe that consciousness is a unique condition, Tegmark argues that consciousness is, in fact, a state of matter—that consciousness is, in his words, “the way information feels when processed in certain complex ways.” He aligns himself with Giulio Tononi’s integrated-information theory, which is (like most theories of its kind) both valid and impossible to test.

reality is a mathematical structure


vice |  Max Tegmark has a theory about reality. According to Max, who is a cosmologist and professor of physics at MIT, all that exists, all this familiar stuff—that ergonomic chair you are sitting on, your body and your brain, even the space surrounding you— is math and we are merely “self-aware parts of a giant mathematical object.”

 It’s a heady concept, but what does it even mean? In his new book Our Mathematical Universe, Max calls this idea the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, wherein the universe is envisaged as a mathematical structure. A mathematical structure is “an abstract set of entities with relations between them,” expounds Max in his book, and these relations do not just describe all that is, but actually are all that is.
Reading Our Mathematical Universe, which is part mind-bending scientific treatise and part autobiography, is no casual jaunt. While the book offers a lot to readers, it also asks a lot in return. When I had the opportunity to chat with Max just before the holidays, I felt obligated to preface our conversation with the fact that although I had read the entirety of the book, I experienced difficulties in understanding chunks of it. To him, this presented no problem at all.

“You have to remember, Lex, that if you don’t feel you understand 100 percent about our Universe, nobody else does either!”

Fortunately for me, and anyone else interested in the possible realities of reality, Max is open to having his brain probed, which is what I hoped to achieve in our conversation. What I got from him was not just a deeper understanding of the details and implications of the contentious Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, but also how thinking about such grand ideas could assist you next time you find a parking ticket wedged under your windshield wiper.