Category Archives: Ethics

National Entertainment – Political Soap Opera Lie

☆ The National Blatant – News Entertainment – Political Soap Opera Lie ☆

I know it’s easy to criticize, but when I see or read a story that repeats fiction & drama, packages it as fact on a massive scale, I just have to comment.

I’m referring to this ongoing FBI investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Let me begin by stating the obvious, Donald Trump won the election in 2016 by a simple, well known strategy. He ran a campaign without assumptions on which states “were in the bag”, by visiting those who were supposedly going to vote Democrat. This included among others, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida. His campaign managers knew full well that the key to victory is to win at least 270 votes in the electoral college.

The key to debunking this false story, is to understand how the electoral college vote works. I’m going to quote from an NPR article written 2 November 2016.

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“To win the presidency, you don’t have to win the majority of the popular vote. You have to win the majority of electoral votes — that is, 270 of them.”

“In most states, a candidate wins electoral votes by winning the most voters.

“So. Win a state by just one vote, and you win all of its electoral votes (unless you live in Nebraska or Maine, which divvy up their votes a little differently).”
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The key is still to win the popular vote. That’s the beginning and ending of this whole national mythical “boogie man”, story. The inherent protection, and incredibly simple, yet intelligent method to select our leadership, is a representative voting system which prevents just a handful of densely populated urban areas as representative of the entire country. It’s possible to gain 270 electoral votes through 11 of the most populated states, such as California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, for example, but in reality, that’s not how the 2016 election finished.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in some of the most densely populated urban areas such as, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, etc. What she didn’t gain though, were the most states and the majority of the electoral vote. There are 540 votes possible, and Clinton won just 232 while Trump won 306 of the electoral vote. Her overall popular vote was higher, but not the electoral college vote. These facts are key to understand just how much fabrication, or unfounded anxiety, there is in the repeated false narrative, “The Russians Hacked Our Election”.

No they didn’t, and if you follow the rest of my explanation, you should be able to see for yourself, the media and the “Intelligence Community”, are weaving a tale.

Forbes_2016_Electoral_College_map_a

Most people who complain about the electoral college, either don’t understand why it’s such a good system, or refuse to believe it even after it’s explained. It also makes it vastly more difficult to affect the outcome of the election by outside electronic “hacked” alterations.

Since there isn’t a single, nationwide, homogeneous voting system, an outside bad actor, can’t alter the outcome of the election. An outside perpetrator may be able to get into a less than secure, local database, but actual voting tallies are performed at precinct levels and differ widely in methods from other localities, even in the same state. Recall the election when George Bush & Al Gore ran against each other, and there was a big dust up over the punch ballots being used in certain counties in Florida. That system wasn’t even state wide, so “hanging chads”, were unique and paper ballots had to be reviewed. That’s just not a system, as flawed as it is, which could have had a rogue state, or spy agency, come in and electronically alter the outcome.

Why is this so important to know? It’s because once you know this information, and take enough time to think about these basic facts, then the repeated news stories, and all the Mueller, Trump drama, can be seen for what it really is, and that’s political Kabuki theater.

CBS 60 Minutes just did a story on the 2016 election hacking, spy-craft. I encourage you to go to the 60 Minutes Web page and watch the video or go to YouTube to understand what I’m saying a little better. I also probably know more about computer networks, and how they function than the average person, since I’ve worked as an IT professional for many years. I’ve also done large scale communications programming, although that’s not a current skill set.

Here’s a summary of the basic 60 Minutes story.

☆ Some Russian cyber-techs infiltrate Illinois state voting records. After about 3 weeks, their outside network activities intensify. Illinois election records IT personnel take note of how much they’re being slammed from outside network traffic. They inform the FBI, and their IT super techs help investigate the penetration. They agree with the Illinois IT team, you’ve been hacked. Meanwhile, at an unknown point in the time-line, Illinois voting records IT personnel manage to stop the breach. Still, they’re pretty sure their voter database information has been obtained by an outside organization.

* The facts behind the Illinois database access; the hackers extracted personal information on roughly 90,000 registered voters, and none of the information was expunged or altered.

The FBI compares their collected network data, to the patterns (signatures or fingerprints which they like to call it, but that’s not a technical description), to other states voting records IT management, and at least 20 other states are likely to have been penetrated. In addition to that, the Democrat National Committee data records have been hacked. Understandably, because if you know anything about network spy-craft, your weakest links are usually the same everywhere. The biggest, most important users, are often those with the patterns sought out by hackers. They’re not IT disciplined, they don’t like to follow rules, and they seldom use strong, secure passwords. This isn’t always the way ‘hackers’ get in, but it’s a common recurring problem, and even the lead IT person can only politely suggest that the head honchos follow their rules.

We saw that huge security problem play out on national TV, when Hillary Clinton faced a Congressional committee and insisted she was justified in using her own private servers. No matter which side of the issue you found yourself on in that past extravaganza, it’s a prime example of how arrogance and power always win over any technical support opposition. Public or private, any tech person, if they want to keep their job, will go along with their bosses requests, no matter how impactful those decisions are on security.

So, we know there were multiple breeches performed by clever outsiders. The information they gave us through the media outlets are, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton, and Huma Abedin, emails revealed the Democrats in power, and under the influence of the Clinton campaign undermined the campaign of Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary runoff. This was later confirmed by Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile in her Tell-All Book.

And we know that some of Donald Trump key people conducted meetings with influential Russians, to see if there was any dirt they could dish on Hillary Clinton and her campaign.

Overall conclusion’s by the 60 Minutes story? Russian hackers broke into some of our voter record databases and emails (NEWS FLASH: they’ve been doing that to large US Corporations for a couple of decades – including our banks). Even 60 minutes, and the people they interviewed were careful enough with the facts to not make the false claim, that success in breaching voting records changes the actual vote, in November. What they did claim was, “it undermines the integrity and the confidence Americans might have in our Democratic system.”

And here’s the final point I wish to make. That’s a far stretch, our politicians have been successful in undermining our country and election process for decades. Can anyone recall, Watergate? If you wish to remain ignorant on how votes are cast, collected, and counted; then you’re going to believe that somehow the Russians set the fox loose into the chicken coop, and rousted all the chickens, making them (this implies you), to change your vote for Trump. I’m quite certain you didn’t decide to change your mind on who to vote for because those rascally Russians have your name, home address, and phone number.

In case you want to know something more, the IP address they revealed in the 60 Minutes story can be traced to the following. No, they didn’t give you this info, but I found it out of curiosity.

registered person: Vilko Damianov
address: 4000, Bulgaria, Plovdiv, 2 Lyuben Karavelov, unit 5.

☆ Don’t be an unwitting pawn ☆

I just found this related information on “Hacking the Vote”.

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Myths Mad Men & Immortality

Humans have contemplated their reason for existence for eons. The rise of human collective knowledge wasn’t necessarily based on objective studies or provable criteria. Many people pondered things unknown, and believing those things were in the realm of intelligence beyond their own, fabricated deities associated with those areas of immense power, or an age in the distant unknown past, or unforeseen future. Egyptian gods

Our significance, our self importance was now defined by our ability to understand the mind & will of  ‘diety’. We were given explanations for things we don’t and can’t know, by people claiming greater knowledge and insight than ourselves. We attached our beliefs to their explanations and convinced ourselves, by their routine communication, that we could understand our life’s journey and tying it to the eternities.

This was of extreme importance as we developed attachments to people and animals, which at their demise, we were left with grief. Our losses could become temporary, as was all of our lives.

By special social & codified procedures and behaviors, we could rejoin all those we love. Conversely, all who we knew, who were unruly, unmanageable, or vile could be cast into eternal torment. This seemed perfectly reasonable to pre-bronze age cultures. Should those same ancient beliefs be particularly important today?

Harvey_Pooka_image_aThe fictional character in the play & movie, HarveyElwood P. Dowd: “Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for thirty five years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.

Among the greatest of unknowns, what happens after we die? Mystics, Shamans, Clairvoyants, and Prophets arose among them, to explain the gaps in our knowledge. Eventually, those oral stories found written form, and once structured to a language that could be passed to future generations, these words became codified.

Knowing the will of god is an interesting exercise.

It goes something like this…


You read from a collection of very old texts, connected together by a common theme, a god and various interaction with humans.

You read an interpretation of what was once an oral story, which later was written down and passed through several translations. The interpretations of these writings are frequently contested by another group or individual who claim, they understand what was anciently written, better than someone else.

Many of these written words contain stories when looked at with reasonable precision either contradict, or explain ideas that make little sense to contemporary culture, and in some instances, are foolish. Not all are wrong ideas, so there’s often ‘cherry picking’ going on for the least offensive or minimally ridiculous.

Then, the devout person prays to someone they can’t see, or hear, but insists this imaginary person is real, and answers prayers. On average, using the least scientific or objective criteria, the imaginary being is attributed credit for things when they turn out in the way the person praying, desired. Often, things don’t turn out in ways the individual had hoped for, but attributes that to the mysterious nature of god’s will. You know, the one in which they said they knew and were banking on to justify their reasons of belief.

It’s quite possible there’s another god figure. One in which things were set in motion and then left to themselves to manage or act upon by outside forces. Of course, you can’t have it both ways. Either you have a concerned, passionate, all powerful, all knowing god, or you have a god that is capricious, uninvolved, letting people do what they want, permitting disease, pestilence, natural disasters, horrible depravity by other humans, unintended consequences, random outcomes in spite of human desire, and allowing the rules of physics to do their normal stuff. Orthodox-Apocalypse-Fresco

Which is the god you know? The all caring, all knowing, all powerful, involved with humans and their myriad of wishes, or the uninvolved, laissez-faire, super being from a distance unknown?

You pick, you decide, but either one makes little sense. No matter how hard a person searches or acts in “faithful” ways, unless they just ignore what’s truly occurring, pretend that outcomes of life activities are measured and directed under a super being, and ignore accumulated science and understanding of how things really work, it’s a fruitless exercise.

My conclusion is, unless I wish to surrender my values of reason, objective intelligence, and ignore contradiction, then I may recognize value in established myth.

I believe I live a more productive and happy life without tying myself to a confusing set of rituals, myths, and paganism.

If I’m wrong, and god is this loving and compassionate being, he, she, or it, has had many opportunities to achieve an equitable, understandable, reasonably clear method of helping me to realize they exist. It needs to be more than a feeling. People have routinely acted on their feelings, not only were they often wrong, in some instances their ‘inspired feelings’, were harmful to themselves or other people.

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The Road to Any Damascus is Laden with Potholes

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings, for it destroys the world in which you live.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I don’t know anything about this person, but I can say from my own personal experience, it’s absolutely true. If life has taught me anything, ”don’t steer clear of the tough questions, or even those you don’t have answers”. There are many more questions than any of us currently have answers, and even some in which we think we do, we may very well be wrong.

behaviorial-change-intention-chart

For most of us, perception is reality. It drives our everyday decisions, but moreover, through assumptions, attitudes, observations, intentions, and habits, our behavior is altered. We do become what we think, so perhaps that’s the thing that creates within me, a desire to find out for myself. I know that I don’t have answers for many of life’s tough questions. I gain insight through the help of others. Ultimately, it falls on me to make my discoveries and choices.

Whenever you contemplate your own existence, how you or others perceive the world in which you live, it may not match reality. Furthermore, you may not even be aware of your misconceptions. Worse still, if you do nothing to challenge your own assumptions or those of other people, you’re stuck in a fundamental crossroad between reality and wishful, maybe even harmful, thinking.

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!
~ Nietzsche

I’ve posted personal information before about my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”). I’ve also posted that I left that organization over 20 years ago. I still have a few friends who are members. None of my adult children, at the time of this writing, have any affiliation with that organization. It’s their own choice. Their mother still believes in this religious organization. I left it a few years after my divorce. Those two events aren’t connected.

What do Mormons believe about general inquiry & introspection?
The LDS Church “Mormons” believe that freedom of choice, “agency” is an eternal principle. Agency is the fundamental right of any individual to choose between good and bad, and to act for themselves.

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” ~ 2 Nephi 2:27.

The LDS Church (easier to abbreviate than the longer official title), informs its members to read official “canonized” religious texts, ponder, and pray for personal answers to any questions they might have. They’re to develop a personal relationship with God. The religion is based on inquiry and individual revelation. If however, you come up with a different answer than that which has been given through official channels of communication, then you’re to accept the church answer, and re-think your own in attempting to further understand the basis of your differences.
For more information specific go here:
https://www.mormon.org/beliefs

question_button_imageThe purpose of giving you that brief background, if you’re not familiar with the organization, isn’t to examine any religion, it’s just to examine specific portions of their beliefs, and learn how your methods of finding answers, compare. It’s not so important that you have specific knowledge about any religion for this post to be relevant. What’s important is asking, how do you gain insight about the world around you, and how do you challenge your own beliefs? Most of us come to a “world view”, fairly early on in our life. We may revise it along the way, but peer (the society in which we live) pressure, often steers us into a general consensus with those to whom we associate.


How do you decide what’s correct and what’s false?
If you’re honest, at least with yourself, you know that’s not an easy process. So what do you read, listen to, or watch to help guide you in life’s journey? If you choose to respond, I’m looking for things more in depth than, you go for long walks in the woods. I’m not suggesting that you don’t or that it’s not a good idea. I’m looking for more specifics. What do you do?

“Your true educators and cultivators will reveal to you the original sense and basic stuff of your being, something that is not ultimately amenable to education or cultivation by anyone else, but that is always difficult to access, something bound and immobilized; your educators cannot go beyond being your liberators. And that is the secret of all true culture: she does not present us with artificial limbs, wax-noses, bespectacled eyes — for such gifts leave us merely with a sham image of education. She is liberation instead, pulling weeds, removing rubble, chasing away the pests that would gnaw at the tender roots and shoots of the plant; she is an effusion of light and warmth, a tender trickle of nightly rain…” ~ Parker Palmer

There are quite a few followers to this blog. Some have made it official by clicking on the link below, to follow. I’m not asking you to follow me, I see the statistics, but most of you are silent. I know better than assume you don’t have an opinion. I want to read yours. Don’t be bashful, be candid. Please, if you’re just someone that wants to come in and shout and stomp so that you can get attention, take your circus elsewhere. I’m looking for people who have taken the time to think this sort of thing through. cartoon-people-clapping

I’m also not looking for this to be about an open forum on religion. I’ve heard the canned answers, the public sermons, the pat answers. Let’s make this interesting.