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Shankapotomus's Journal
Shankapotomus's Journal
June 22, 2016

Banning all Muslims vs. Banning all guns: an examination

I use the phrase "banning all guns" for balance in this examination, obviously real gun control would not ban all guns.

So let's proceed.

Some say the key to stopping mass killings is to ban all Muslims entry to the country.

Others say the key to stopping mass killings is to ban guns.

Let's quickly look at the roles each of these two variables play in mass killings.

All mass killings require both a combination of a perpetrator and a weapon to be carried out.

Perpetrator = In some mass killings in the United States, the perpetrator(s) has been Muslim, but not all mass killings. Some mass killings have had non-Muslim perpetrators.

Weapon = In virtually all mass killings in the United States the weapon used has been a firearm. Some contend other weapons can be used, and to a limited extent, things like hatchets and knives make up a small percentage of mass killing weapons. But they tend not to be as efficient as firearms and therefore are usually serve as a second choice. An example of an attempt at a mass killing using a knife outside of the United States involves a knife-wielding perpetrator in China who stabbed 20 school children of which all survived.

Note: (9/11 while it created mass casualties and didn't involve forearms, is not as common an occurrence as mass killing by firearm and therefore does not constitute an ongoing problem. )

So based on the above, if we look for the most common denominator to decide which one we want to ban to control mass killings, the most obvious answer is guns. It's guns and not Muslims because guns are the most common denominator involved in mass killings, not Muslims. It's not Muslims because we know that in some cases the perpetrator is non-Muslim. But the weapon is seldom non-gun.

The most common denominator in mass killings is guns because we know in most cases of mass killings a gun is used as a weapon but a Muslim is not always the perpetrator.

So wouldn't you want to ban the most common denominator in mass killings?

Now some will object to banning guns by saying criminals intent on killing lots of people won't care about guns laws and get guns anyway.

However, if guns were made illegal for civilians (specifically assault weapons) potential mass killers would first have to commit a crime to obtain a gun to use in a mass killing. It follows that if guns were illegal a potential perpetrator of a mass killing could be caught in the act of trying to obtain an illegal firearm before a mass killing and thus be thwarted in performing that future mass killing.

But with guns legal, a potential mass killer criminal can obtain a gun legally without committing a crime to obtain that firearm and proceed to perpetrate a mass killing.

At least with guns illegal criminals would have perform that extra criminal act of obtaining an illegal firearm before they commit a mass killing. Criminals would have to risk getting caught first in obtaining an illegal firearm before a mass killing could occur. And that one crime, if detected, could be enough to deter a mass killing

June 21, 2014

If you're going to buy something online

-- especially at Amazon-- don't forget to click through the affiliate links at your favorite liberal sites. It will cost you nothing extra and you will be supporting liberal and progressive voices by giving them a commission of your purchase.

Some of them I could find are:

bartcop.com (not sure if the site is still active)
alan.com (Alan Colmes)

Just look for the link to Amazon (or their "store&quot on any of the above websites.

Another way to support liberal and progressive causes is to use a site called GoodSearch.com For every valid search you do, your chosen cause will get a donation. Each donation for each search is small - one penny - but they add up-- especially if a lot of people choose that cause. And every bit helps.

You can do a search to find your cause. I've seen many NPR and PBS affiliates come up. The cause I've chosen was WBAI Radio NYC (wbai.org) - They provide many great programs one of which is Economic Update with Dr. Richard D. Wolff.

Of course, this is not for everybody but I will update and bump this thread from time to time to help remind people who are interested.

Not enough of you liberal and progressive websites have Amazon affiliate links so get 'em up there! I will be looking for more to add to this list!

Thank you very much!

May 31, 2014

It's really not about politics to the typical conservative anymore

They say it is, when you talk to them and make a big show of it, but it's really about how they will look compared to others if liberal causes are allowed to win out. You can sense that is the real underlying issue for them. While for the vast majority of their opponents it's about poverty, jobs, human rights, public safety, etc---for conservatives, it's about what they will look like if others are allowed to rise to a more equitable level of economic success, treatment, respect. It's about their own self-worth.

Even in the way they discuss -- or refuse to discuss politics --- you can sense it. It's like an impenetrable cloud of tension that permeates all their interactions with themselves and others. They feel threatened in any situation where they are not the ones giving direction, being the adviser, the boss, the businessman, the coach, the teacher, the expert, the cop, the soldier, the Sergent, the stock broker, the preacher, the authoritarian, the father, the husband, the parent...They want their due attention and respect and playing and defending these roles, where others are subordinate to them, is how they get it. Just as they are involved in politics for all the wrong reasons, the typical conservative you encounter today is heavily invested in all those roles of authority for all the wrong reasons. There has to be a subordinate class to make them feel good about themselves.

Does a conservative have you under their control? Maybe a boss, a coach, a relative? They really make you feel it, don't they?

If a conservative can't feel their authority and power in these roles they get very upset. They won't discuss politics with a liberal not because they respect the politics of others but to listen to your view would be an act of subordination to you. Any action that subordinates them to the views, the authority, the counsel, the power or expertise of others is intolerable. They hate you because you're not looking to them for the answers and that's why they can't discuss politics without getting frustrated and on the verge of anger.

People need to look up to them, to aspire to be them, or to even fear them if need be.

Otherwise, how will that make them look? You can't be the one in the position of power telling them how things are going to be. No, they tell you.

But the one thing these wannabe authoritarians are subordinate to is what? Government. And, as you would expect someone who feels threatened by anyone and anything that challenges the self worth they've invested in the various roles of authority, they hate government.

It's time to stop granting conservatives the presumption it's about politics. It's not. It's about their un-admitted battle with their own personal psychology. It's about protecting and reinforcing the fragile self-esteem of insecure little children.

Want to deflate their egos? Don't support their illusion that they are an authority at anything or over anyone.

And, whenever possible, don't work for one.
November 2, 2013

Let the Republican infighting be a lesson for Democrats

If what primarily drives you is using politics as a proxy to express unexamined personal anger, hostility, and dissatisfaction, eventually those competitive instincts are going to be turned on your own group, i.e. yourselves. That's because the politics is just the convenient excuse for an anger and hostility that would find a way to be expressed any way, regardless of party and politics.

So in the unique and advantageous position we find ourselves in as Democrats and as a party, we might be wise to dial down the vitriol and condemnation we aim at our own party members and representatives.

It doesn't mean we can't challenge members of our party on their policies and positions or posit hypotheticals to help them reconsider certain stances. It just means there are more constructive ways to disagree with fellow Democrats than tearing them down as Democrats.

Instead of condemning a representative as irrevocably tied to one position you despise, let's all try the attitude "They're a smart Democrat, eventually they'll come around or I'll be proven wrong." I believe our Democratic representatives are genuine people who, unlike Republicans, can admit when they are wrong when they see it.

As long as we remind ourselves of this, I think this is a good way to keep the internal vitriol and hostility down.

We see how it weakens the Republican party, so hey, let's not do it ourselves. Being stubborn, un-malleable and disagreeable is what put Republicans where they are now.

August 30, 2013

Syria conflict a strategic blessing in disguise?

Of course not a blessing because of the civilian casualties but because the two combative sides are, in western eyes, a traditional and repressive government and terrorist aided extreme Islamists.

Putting aside the problem of civilian casualties for just one moment (I'll get to it in a second), isn't having both these two traditional enemies locked in a long drawn out conflict with themselves, endlessly exhausting their own fighters and resources on each other instead of our resources, a strategic win for us if we can just address the issue of civilian casualties without interfering militarily with the conflict?

What I'm proposing is, if we are going to try to get the UN and Europe to commit resources for a military strike anyway (or worse, a long drawn out conflict), why not, instead of unified military action, ask them to commit to relocation of any civilian Syrians that want it? If we can get a lot countries to participate and spread the burden out, would it be anymore inconvienant than devoting resources to military action?

In this way, a non-military solution is proposed to avoid further civilian atrocities, while allowing our enemies to waste their attention and resources on each other instead of us and existing targets we are there to protect.

It depletes their resources, conserves our military and yet is still is an active solution to further civilian atrocities by mobilizing the UN nations in the non-intrusive activity of relocating Syrian civilians that want out.

Is this logistically possible? Or am I proposing a pipe dream?

July 25, 2013

Is it a mistake to wait for jobs?

I think it's pretty safe to say a lot of corporations are not our friends. Employers and companies are not allies of their employees. They are largely exploiters. I'm sure a lot of the socialists (and even mixed economy advocates) among us will agree.

So I've been thinking maybe big industry abandoning Detroit was, maybe in a weird way, what was supposed to happen. Not in the sense that the people of Detroit or anywhere else deserve what happened there and what could happen elsewhere. But in the sense of why are we looking to our exploiters for our survival?

Doesn't the person who started the garden movement in Detroit have it right? Just give up on looking to our exploiters for help and subsistence and start taking care of ourselves? Start looking back to the earth? Isn't it the waiting for the help and the jobs that is the problem? While people wait aren't they wasting time that could be spent learning how to live for themselves?

Employment is a relatively new concept to humans. For hundreds of thousands of years before that, our relationship with subsistence was between us an the earth.

Aren't we prisoners of corrupt capitalists as long as we look to them for our survival instead of organizing and dealing with people and groups that already believe in a strongly regulated economic and social model?

Why don't we abandon the corrupt capitalists? They can't function without us and nothing really says we need them to survive.

July 8, 2013

Political Issues Are Tools

When you seek an idea of "happiness" you usually don't find it.

In Buddhism and Hinduism it's called Upādāna and is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for "clinging," "attachment" or "grasping". I'm sure many will know, it runs opposite to what most experts on happiness will tell you brings contentment.

Be happy with what you already have and you will want of nothing, wisdom keepers and philosophers the world over have counseled for centuries.

Ideas like the one above are tools we use to manage our individual internal and behavioral lives. Political issues are also tools which give rise to political coalitions that propose ideas to manage the lives of large groups and societies.

In the 2012 election campaign, Republicans selected Mitt Romney but before that they were desperately seeking a better candidate that never came, one of their imagination rather than one that actually existed as a candidate or the current political landscape made possible. When Romney was nominated, their force had been granted to the wrong candidate and they lost. The Republican constituents were not united under the momentum of a solid political trend. Their loyalties were divided between a field of candidates that represented a scale from the extreme to Republican-lite and, as a consequence, they got the watered-down nominee of Mitt Romney.

The trend, building for some time, in Democratic circles right now is Women's issues.

The trend, the fight, the energy, the outrage and the Republican mistakes are predominately around the struggle of the traditionally Democratic voting block of women.

And most probably in 2016, if it isn't diluted with false hopes for non-existent candidates, all that energy will be brought to a sharp focus behind a woman Democratic candidate for president.

In 2012, the Republican vote got sidetracked on a quest for an optimal candidate and what Republicans got was the weak candidate of Mitt Romney.

In other words, the energy was diffused, their nominee for president just wasn't inspiring enough and he lost.

(On a related side note, I believe the candidate representing the Republicans strongest trend for the 2012 election (and a trend is not necessarily the smartest or most logical) was Sarah Palin but, for various reasons which we all know, she was weakened by her own handling of her image and was a no show as a candidate for the 2012 election anyway. Furthermore, I submit Sarah Palin's failure to enter the 2012 Presidential race left the Republican constituency without a trending candidate and ultimately led to the infighting and indecision that gave them Romney and lost them the election.) But that's another discussion.

Politics is not always about forcing a win with sheer effort.

I contend it is mostly evolutionary in nature and at the mercy of the random fluctuations of the strongest coalitions in the present moment. We, for the most part, and much like in biological evolution where certain physical traits are unconsciously favored by our environment, don't have as much control over what trends or issues form large coalitions around them.

The strongest trend, the strongest coalition at this time in the nation (and the world) right now is women.

Women's rights are the issue. This is our current strength. This is our trend.

We can either back this trend until it comes to a sharply focused battering ram in the face of the 2016 Republican opposition....

...Or we can distract and dilute it like Republicans did in 2012 by seeking candidates that never appear. Candidates of our imagination and fantasy rather than the ones reality and the political trends presents to us.

Hillary is here right now and, unlike Sarah Palin, with continued support, she will probably show up in 2016 and show up with the strongest coalition.

The trend for women's rights is here right now, is encompassing the planet in a perfect wave and will be here in 2016...awaiting Hillary.

The success of any coalition is not only dependent on those with a vested interest in its success but also depends on the support of those who stand nothing to gain themselves but to see their long suffering compatriots and comrades succeed. That is a genetic principle or law of group cohesion. We have an instinct to help each other.

In human evolution, the technological advancement of any group didn't all come at once through the guidance and instruction of a single genius. It came one tool and innovation at a time being applied and used, by large numbers of the group, to adapt to whatever environment or scenario we randomly encountered.

Political problems work the same way.

P​olitical change happens when a single innovation is being applied across the greatest number of coalition members, one issue at a time.

Modern Women's Rights is our adaptive tool and repeated hard-line conservative encroachment into female coalition territory is the environmental threat being presented.

Hillary, being a woman with a history of advocacy for women, is the best representative around which to organize a coalition in order to employ the use of that tool amongst the greatest number of coalition members.

​To make the claim that a trending issue is not the issue to reinforce a coalition around, while there being no alternatively stronger coalition to rally behind, is to deny the circumstances one is working under.

To illustrate this point, imagine the only tool a construction crew has at its disposal is a hammer. One cannot successfully advocate for the use of laser guided nail guns as a replacement unless they exist and are distributed to the majority of your construction crew.Just because you imagine or hope for a laser guided nail gun to appear because you know it is better than a hammer, doesn't mean it will materialize to replace the hammers you discarded.

The same principle applies to a political issue or a political candidate.

Unless you can replace a trending political issue or candidate with another issue or candidate that has a stronger coalition already attached to it, it doesn't make much sense to withdraw support of the former for a non-existing or weaker latter that will lose.

All this doesn't mean you can't support your favorite candidate or issues, but it is merely a way to help you predict when such support may result in reducing the effectiveness of a political coalition instead of strengthening it and allow you to adapt and consider your choice with that added information.

You can certainly sometimes pick the candidate you want for an elected office but I believe it is much harder to pick the issues that the strongest coalition will rally around and bring to the forefront of the political stage at any time due to it being a largely social evolutionary transformation mostly out of our hands.​ We like to think we can control the predominate issues but, at best, I think e can only strengthen or weaken the ones at the forefront of the public's consciousness and attention.

You may not have a personal stake in what may prove to be the dominant issue in 2016, but by supporting that coalition you strengthen the wider coalition that is the Democratic base and party and ensure it will be there to support you when an issue you find personally important becomes the dominant cause of the next largest coalition.

It would be great if someone came along, as Obama did in 2009 to subsume all the energy behind Hillary or any future candidate into a "better" candidate and nominee, but if you are thinking about trying to divert some of the energy from the women's movement, or whatever might be the trending issue confronting us, into an issue without a candidate or larger coalition, I ask you to please give the consequences a little bit more consideration.

June 8, 2013

Musk Ox don't break ranks when they are vurnerable

In fact, they stand closer together and form a protective wall.

I don't know about you but my focus is still on ending the Republican Party by never voting against my own. Consistently denying Republicans power is like denying them air. Eventually, if they want to breathe, they'll have to move Left.

As I see it, we are always going to get poor government from conservatives and republicans. We are sometimes going to get poor government from liberals and democrats.

I would rather have Democrats triumph completely over Republicans and then sort out our inconsistencies and problems later.

Outrage at democrats and denying support over every inconsistency and betrayal is only taking our focus off the goal of getting Republicanism out of the way first. Nothing wrong with nudging our Democrat representatives in the right direction. But I personally think withdrawing support is self defeating.

As long as the Republican party exists, we will always have, and are certain to get, poor government.

I personally would prefer occasional poor governing from a strongly Democrat by label system that is unwelcoming to Republicanism and Corporatism by label, than one where the Right is a constant gremlin toward progress like we have now.

Let's remain focused on our hierarchy of priorities. We know the government we have now will do bad things. But we also know where the worst offenders reside. The Republican Party. They are the bigger mess.

We need to keep reminding ourselves of this fact. Let's concentrate on dwindling the Republican ranks and consistently punishing Republicans by rewarding Democrats. I know Republican and Democrat are just words and their meanings can shift Left and Right. But if we focus on punishing those who call themselves Republicans overtly, they will be less likely to assume the covert role of a Republican under the label of a "democrat." It's the same as racism. You make people ashamed of admitting to it, you drive it underground and make it smaller and weaker.

Let's strengthen the Democratic Party by name and then sort out the inconsistencies and phonies later.

I know it's difficult for many who have seen betrayal too many times. But I'm starting to sense it is our giving and withdrawing our support of our party that is what has been prolonging the battle with the Republican Party and prolonging the political lives of our opponents.

An example from nature comes to mind.

Musk Ox defend their young and vulnerable from attack by forming a bulwark against their predators. Any subtraction from that bulwark weakens the effectiveness and strength of that survival tactic and puts the whole herd at risk. Imagine if too many Musk Ox got spooked and retracted their support for this herd survival behavior. Herd cohesiveness would dissolve and the Musk Ox herds would break up and each individual Musk Ox would be much more vulnerable to their predators.

This is an example of what scientists call "between group" competition. That is a separate issue to "within group" competition but related in the sense that too much within group competition weakens a species coalition against their predators. Republicans want us to break ranks and scatter in fear.

I know we occasionally encounter weak links in the chain that maintains our coalition as a political group and many become discouraged and want to withdraw their allegiance and support.

But let's never forget why we are allied in the first place.

March 2, 2013

The Twelve Points of Conservative Power Worship

Patriarchy, Christianity, The U.S. Military, The United States, Corporations, The Constitution, Capitalism, Police, God/Jesus, White Culture, Heterosexuality, Firearms.

Notice anything?

Let’s go down the list. But before I do, I want to say there is nothing inherently and totally wrong with anything on the list below..They all have their flaws however and can be abused. But they also all have something in common and the problem is, Conservatives will go on defending these institutions without demanding reform even when reform is needed. That's because it's about power and backing a winner.

The list:

Patriarchy = The Traditional Social System of Male Superiority over Female = POWER

Christianity = The Majority Religion in America = POWER

The U.S. Military = Currently The Strongest Military in the World = POWER

The United States = Currently the Sole Existing Super Power = POWER

Corporations = Money, Control of Resources & Workers, Lobbyists in D.C. = POWER

The Constitution of The United States = The Supreme Law of the United States = POWER

Capitalism (specifically unregulated Capitalism over Environmentalism) = Currently the Most Successful & Accepted Economic System = POWER

Police = Empowered By the State with the Legitimate Use of Force = POWER

God/Jesus (over Atheism) = Deemed throughout history, and by millions, to be the final word on morality = POWER

White Culture (over minority cultures) = The culture with currently the most economic, social and political power and the racial ancestry of every single president (but the current one) = POWER

Heterosexuality = The world’s institutionalized predominant sexual orientation. Condoned by most religions over homosexuality = POWER

Firearms = Weaponry, the undeniable and historic tool and symbol of control and destruction = POWER

I am not suggesting Democrats, Liberals and Progressives cannot support some of these institutions and systems at times. My assertion is that the trouble develops when these institutions, systems and beliefs are defended, usually by Conservatives, to a degree and in specific instances that go above, beyond and against all reason. And it is specifically their worship of power that is driving them to defend these institutions, systems and beliefs with the evermore untenable and indefensible positions we see in the current headlines.

The only institution with power Conservatives won't defend is the Government...unless they're in power.

January 20, 2013

PSA: Science Journalist Outlines the Climate Debate

PSA: Science Journalist Outlines the Climate Debate

This is probably one of the best series of videos explaining the roots and debunking the myths surrounding the climate change debate. I highly recommend others take the time and watch (even if it's just the first 11 videos of the series..) The back references, fact checking and respect for details with which the narrator (bio video included at end) addresses the issue is just unparalleled, imo. It's well worth it.

If you are not familiar with the origins of the climate debate and are unsure of the truths behind it (as most non-scientists are), grab a drink, pull up a comfortable chair and settle in for an unbiased exposé on the science, not the myths and lies, of climate change.

Note: The science journalist does address the hacked climate research unit e-mails in videos 6 &7.

For now, this seems to be a continuing series, so I with update and bump when a new video is added.

2. Climate Change -- the objections

3 - Climate Change -- Anatomy of a myth

4 - Climate Change -- Gore vs. Durkin

5. Climate Change -- isn't it natural?

6. Climate Change -- Those hacked e-mails

7. Climate Change - "Those" e-mails and science censorship

8. Climate Change -- Has the Earth been cooling?

8a. Climate Change - Phil Jones and the 'no warming for 15 years'

9. Climate Change - Meet the Scientists

10. Climate Change - An imminent ice age debunked

11. Climate Change -- Hurricanes, atolls and coral

11a. Sources for my last video

12 - 'Doubled CO2 means just 1.64 degrees of warming...' or maybe not.

13 - Misleading media reports on sea level rise - a case study

14 - BP oil spills and an end to snow

Monckton Bunkum Part 1 - Global cooling and melting ice

Monckton Bunkum Part 2 - Sensitivity

Monckton Bunkum Part 3 - Correlations and Himalayan glaciers

Monckton Bunkum Part 4 -- Quotes and misquotes

Monckton bunkum Part 5 -- What, MORE errors, my lord?

20 - Are cosmic rays causing global warming?

21 - "Earth facing mini-ice age!!" say the media. Now for the science....

22 -- Climategate mark 2 -- the quotes and the context

23 -- Medieval Warm Period -- fact vs. fiction

24 -- Global warming has stopped? Again??

|25 -- Climate Change -- The "800-year lag" unraveled

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