Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Trump and Jesus Two Days before Christmas

Trump and Jesus Two Days before Christmas

First, a small but interesting tidbit. ********************************

The news this morning is about how Trump said that Hillary Clinton was “schlonged” in 2008. It was strange to start the day seeing CNN (first day like that for me in about three weeks!)... with everyone saying Trump used “that word,” without saying what the word was. Seeing the partial information ... was a surreal experience in itself. It reminded me of the day I returned to the US after a long absence, and saw a headline: “Reagan stonewalls, refuses to answer questions about his nose.” What??? Or when, in the restricted graduate student library at the University of Leningrad (1968), I saw ever so many card catalog entries for criticisms of Camus, but not the books actually being criticized. But finally CNN deigned to include an image where the word appeared.

Luda —knowing ever so many things from unique life experience – told me: “All those horrified people presumably are either Jewish or getting their information from Jewish sources. More precisely, in Yiddish, the perfectly sanitary German and Russian word schlong has acquired additional connotations well beyond the actual meaning of the word. Assuming that ‘schlong’ must have that meaning is like assuming that the word ‘jewish’ itself has all the meanings attributed to it in the Webster’s Second International Dictionary – and we really wouldn’t want to propagate those kinds of assumptions.”
(Golly. The word ‘propagate’ can also be taken in unintended ways too, no?) “The true meaning is simply like ‘to be hosed.’” OK, so if someone of German background happens to use a German word in an appropriate word, describing what actually happens a lot to people in real estate...  shouldn’t we have some tolerance for that culture too?

In fact, I remember quite well what happened to Hillary in 2008. Back then, I supported her quite strongly versus Obama for the nomination, and it was a touch and go contest. The folks supporting Obama were not only the Sanders crowd, attracted to beautiful pictures, good intentions and eloquent words, but also right-wing people not so visible to the public convinced he would be easier to beat than Hillary. The situation both on the ground and in the noosphere was quite different then, in many ways. Perhaps this time the right-wing will not repeat the mistake they made in 2008. Better an honest election and an honest dialogue than double-dealing conspiracy nonsense. And this year... the noosphere is always tricky to talk about, much more sensitive objectively than specs for Xray lasers or state department emails. Crudely – one shift in the tide involves something like “bringing balance to the force,” and it is entertaining that a new Star Wars movie series is coming out at the same time. It is a really huge shift in the tide. It reminds me of those drastic last-ditch medical treatments which have a 50% chance of killing the patient... when the only alternative is for the patient to die a certain if slower and more painful death. The US elections this year are only one part of that process, but they do tend to reflect its character.

By the way, Luda makes the interesting suggestion that Trump might pick Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, as his running mate. That might be a brilliant suggestion, for that future time, if the right-wing establishment does not make Hillary’s election inevitable anyway. (Haven’t they learned in recent years how a lot of their strategic plans for elections might be based on partial information?) Like Fiorina, she has a CEO background (badly needed in DC today), but unlike her, she was actually a success, known for a great expansion and productivity rather than liquidation of enterprises better off before she came. Unlike her, she has an acute first-hand sense of reality, and a deep understanding of the health care system in America, much deeper than any of the lobby and pundit and lawyer types which have confused so much as they float around at an imaginary “300,000 foot” policy level. And yes, she could massively improve his chances of election.  


So what does Yeshua have to do with it, and what is the larger context?  Too much to type to cover everything important, as usual....

I was very glad to see a thoughtful and interesting email from my friend Yeshua ben David when Luda, Chris and I returned from our recent Caribbean cruise and some exploration of Florida. You may recall how he and the local Quakers called me to “the watch,” which in a way encompassses observation of the entire noosphere, of which US elections are one part. Recently they are both calling very hard for an effort to oppose Islamophobia, which could get very risky in many ways. (Yes, it has obvious relations to bringing balance to the force, and to the 1930’s.) The specific new call is to pay deeper and more effective attention to the core issue of relations between the Islamic “lobe” and the English-speaking “lobe” of the noosphere. Yet we are also in a very difficult balancing act, where we need to have full respect for the positive side of Donald Trump, in particular.

My mundane, human knee-jerk reaction to much of the recent news is: “Trump promised to be like Teddy Roosevelt, and root out the constrictor snakes of corruption and manipulation now strangling the politics of the US, and with it the soul of the US and the hopes of survival of humanity itself. (This is not imagination or ideology – it’s a matter of tracking specific technologies like low cost RLV and transportation secure against OPEC revenge and such, and seeing what happens in the DC system, in immensely specific concrete detail. Fire and brimstone, aka misuse of nucs and H2S, really are coming to a place near you, along with a bunch of wormwood.) Luda has reminded me that Roosevelt did have an international policy side as well – but many of us would have been happier if we heard more about rooting out the snakes in DC than about things which drive Yeshua and Quakers to try to balance things out.

Yet in the end, Teddy Roosevelt did have to get elected, and the snakes we see in DC have very important connections back to the Middle East. I do not believe in killing snakes out of a desire for vengeance or even a hatred of snakes; rather, my concern is to try to prevent the death of every human on earth, or at least to exercise due diligence in giving them a fair chance of survival. Yes, I do think it is entirely fair to compare Dick Cheney to a Sith Lord, not because of the battery pack he had to wear to stay alive when his human heart became too weak, but because of his Halliburton headquarters in the Gulf – exactly like Palpatine in Star Wars, the VP who tried to assassinate the president, who commuted between his headquarters in the dessert and DC, who installed a network of anti-republican imperialist loyalists in the security world (e.g. Hayden’s extragovernmental apparatus with deep tentacles throughout the power structure), and somehow pushed policies exactly like the Moslem Brotherhood plan to use wars first in Iraq and then in Iran to kill off both enemies of the main customers of Halliburton, a select group of wealthy shariacs in the Middle East. Along among the major candidates, Trump stood up against those who were well advanced in pushing for a new war between US and Israel versus Russia and Iran. That counts for something. So many well-meaning oblivious puppets falling for Cheney’s line... well-meaning but enough to kill us all.

As for myself, I do plan to oppose any Presidential candidate now in the running EXCEPT for Clinton, Trump or Kasich, all of whom deserve a fair hearing beyond what has already happened. All three are high-risk candidates for glaring reasons, but it is like those medical procedures I mentioned. Better some hope than none. If the snakes are not rooted out, we are all dead anyway.

The media has often asked: “How can so many Americans still support Trump? Are they all just ignorant fascists?” But one good media story interviewed Trump supporters, and found out it is not that way. Stuff which sounds like simple Islamophobia worries them too, but they will never forget those snakes now. They understand we are in a struggle for our lives.

I can almost hear Hillary ask: “But how could you view ME as a high-risk option?” In my view, the main risk is that, like Obama, she might not have the force, energy and effectiveness to be able to root out the snakes. The Cheney types were the real culprits in the Benghazi incident, and Hillary’s only failing was that she did not root out the snakes in the State Department and keep them under control. (The same is sadly true of Pete Worden at Ames, another wonderfully well intentioned guy whose people and PR side may be the last nail in the coffin on human chances of lost cost RLV, and avoiding the extinction which that simple omission may be enough to cause.) She has had some serious line management experience, and has been bitten (or scholnged) by those same snakes herself, so there is real hope for her, and I will support her as best I can (to within whatever time I still have left for the mundane world) if she is elected, but I worry about the risk that the same might be done to her as was done to Obama. The risk that she would be hosed again after being elected, as she was in 2008, is a risk we should minimize but not ignore. When Trump talks about “energy” – hey, is this a guy who “unconsciously” has an actual sense of qi?

Too bad about Kasich fading. I had a friend once in the Morgan/Mellon families, a truly upright Republican, who would have drastically preferred Kasich over both Trump and Clinton. But in this zone of the noosphere... as the force moves towards a real balance, led more by EU than US... and as the Republican establishment fails to understand he was their last hope (exactly BECAUSE he is not a clear hope for the snakes!)... well, I regret I seem alone in including him on the list. Perhaps it is just as well, because, brilliant as he is... the task is pretty hard, and may take someone more hard-bitten to accomplish. Maybe. Maybe a moot point anyway.

Also... I remember when Trump refused even to listen to a question from a reporter for France24. “No one listens to you.” Well, I am one of those no one’s, in great part because of Verizon’s new TV set up. Am I Verizon’s only customer? If Trump watched France24, he might know that the socialist Hollander has closed several mosques, even as he also tries to fight a growing wave of Islamophobia, even as La Pen won 6 of the 13 recent regional elections in France (4 won by conservative Republicans, 2 by socialists, and 1 by the Corsican local party).

By the way, Yeshua also commented that my discussion of “peace of mind” on this blog had one rather important omission. Of course, the concept of “sanity/zhengqi”  in  addresses the core issue of internal disharmony far more completely than any of the well-meaning but fuzzy stuff in Brinton. It was an incredible blind spot in my own thinking that I did not mention that in my blog post on “higher Buddhism”! For myself, I take for granted that I have already had one kind of very fundamental peace of mind for many, many years, due to full assimilation of those principles both at the mundane level and the level of “alchemical marriage” – though I am called to grow further still. Brinton’s discussion of religion as such as a foundation is simply wrong as a starting point for peace of mind at that fundamental level. Yet even so, I fully resonate with his simple observation “If we have chaos in our own minds, we cannot bring peace or harmony to the world as a whole.” Achieving a first-level zhengqi or second-level zhengqi, there are still turbulences in the mind, even as pain, fear and memory do not just disappear altogether either.


None of this was a major part of the last few weeks for me.  I said more about my own experience on Facebook on the day we came back.

For a solid week on the Norwegian cruise ship Escape... I felt I was at the peaceful fulcrum of four great forces of nature, spinning with energy like a four-color yin-yang symbol: the sun, the ocean, the stars and Luda. Major PARTS of that week were spent following Luda in very vigorous physical exertions (like rope climbing over the ocean, climbing up the mountain “with the best view” on St. Thomas panting hard due to heat and humidity and steepness, fumbling through caves to Davil’s Bay on Virgin Gorda BVI...) and in exploring free dining options on-board (the best of them being breakfast with really high quality smoked salmon, herring, and plain yogurt with properly cooked berries n the Gardn Cafe overlooking the ocean).

For the stars part... so many hours at rest, no internet and no news... I forced myself to revisit one of the intellectual tasks described in my new paper with Luda on analog quantum computing: the development of a new theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED), as close to the old QEDs as possible, but consistent with a dramatic new experiment last year at one of the three labs in the world which has produced three entangled photons. On the first morning after we returned home, I typed up an overview of my new thoughts – so complicated I would forget their connections if I only had my green notebook to rely on:

This was basically written for me, for a kind of intellectual completion. I also left out a few pieces too. Given the way so many things are working, I have no plans to spend the many years necessary to pump so much material through a narrow bandwidth system.

The problem of coping with a narrow bandwidth system reminds me of another treasured friend, who recently asked about Musks’ new approach to the Terminator threat of extinction (not as close as fire or brimstone but still quite serious)

Part of my reply:

This link basically seems to echo the kinds of discussions we have had (slacking off a lot this year) on the Scientific Advisory Board listserv of the Lifeboat Foundation. In fact, it echoes the kinds of approaches which David Brin was pushing very hard, not only at Lifeboat but at the Potomac Institute (in the office side of the Hilton building next to NSF) and elsewhere; for a long time, Brin and I had a very good communication, but Brin went totally bonzai when I insisted that Orson Scott Card also has some important things to say (above and beyond his political filters which I do not support). There was a previous time a few years ago when someone went on a crusade to eliminate some other heretic... which makes me wonder how deep the progressive thinking really is in some circles. Filters and foibles everywhere!

For many years, I dedicated most of my energy to a complex, shifting strategic effort to do what I could to reduce the probability that the human species simply goes extinct before its time, sometime in the next few millennia (most likely after a long denoument, though lately I am less sure about how long that would be). It was great to have a discussion group dedicated to understanding the extinction threat directly, instead of just hiding such thoughts in illegible notebooks...even though I never liked their use of the word "existential" instead of "extinction." (There are other meanings of "existential" I hate to see obscured...) That Board has a strong base in the silicon valley culture, and I sense a lot of interlocking directorates...

In my view, US government lead in IT technology is not one of the direct "end game" final threats of human extinction. It is rough... but I still see it mainly as two big threats and three smaller ones, the big ones being misuse of nuclear technology (which leads to many end game scenarios I feel uncomfortable talking about even in relatively secure email) and H2S -- 'fire and brimstone", the small ones being Terminator II kinds of scenarios, .. oops, must be brief, Xmas complexities...

I do not see wide dissemination of AI as an answer to the Terminator threat, any more than military drones operated by all nations and factions would reduce the terminator threats specifically related to drones. Excessive concentration of power and corruption in the US government is indeed extremely important, above in preventing an effective response to the primary threats... and wide dissemination and other transparency policies could help with that, but if real AI became available to all, I'd see it as riskier situation. Fortunately, I don't see Musk's group as having much hope of that; this week, I would see China, Europe and maybe Microsoft as now more likely to get there than anyone else in the US. 

My current view of how to deal with the Terminator threat: (1) emphasize getting vector intelligence right, with lots of new apps in the distributed, less complex part of the world (e.g. local task automation in Baiden's "teleautonomy" robotics); and (2) get back to being serious about data mining not as AI but as a tool to assist human inference, with more attention to the human. (There has been huge froth about that, but can it become more principled and powerful?)

This week, I also note the news about an Iranian hacking into a US dam, presumably as a kind of response to things we did to THEIR physical infrastructure. I hope some folks in the security community might just begin to get more serious about the really nasty tradeoffs I discussed with them (and also Brin) in 2014: above all, the need to really live without backdoors in operating systems, recognizing that more damage gets done if enemies destroy lots of physical infrastructure than if a few lone wolf shooters get to make the usual type of mess. As for communication systems... that's very high on my "nichevo nye znaio" list. 


Enough for now.

Oh no... oops... at the very beginning of this day... I was reminded of old story I posted before about that preacher who forcibly closed his eyes to Yeshua even when he was peering right through him, wearing sandals and robes fresh from the Sinai... in Singapore... and how that forcible closing of the eyes reminds me a lot of other preachers like Musk who say many good things, but ....  you can't be a Carnegie without awareness of Bessemer... having pals in the PR department of Ames is not the same thing. Such a big part of our life... but this post is too long already.

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