So You've Decided to Drink More Water

from here

On the first day, you make the decision. “I’m going to drink more water,” you say. “Eight glasses a day, to start with. Maybe more.” Suddenly you realize the break room has gone silent. The sun sinks below the horizon as a sign of respect. You begin right away, finishing the cup of water already in your hand.

The next morning, you open your eyes after eight uninterrupted hours of deep sleep. The sun spills through the window onto the fresh white linens on your bed, and a glass of water sits on your nightstand, sparkling in the morning light. You drink it and realize that you no longer have the urge to eat breakfast. The water is enough.

Later, on the subway, a beautiful, serene older woman comes over to you and lays her gloved hand gently on your arm. “Your skin,” she murmurs. “It’s positively glowing. So fresh. So luminous. May I ask — it’s water, isn’t it?” You smile. She plants a tender kiss on your forehead and glides away.

A week passes. You go in for your yearly physical. “I don’t understand,” your doctor mutters as she looks at your chart. “A woman your age — it just doesn’t make any sense.” You shift nervously on the papered table. “Your body doesn’t have a single toxin. They’ve all disappeared. It’s as if something just ... flushed them away overnight.” She shakes her head. “I’m not even sure how to tell you this. Have you found yourself experiencing a decreased appetite lately? Difficulty finishing meals?” You nod, unsure of where this is going. “This is extremely rare, but your entire digestive system has been transmuted into pure mother-of-pearl.”

“I see,” you say slowly. You pull a bottle of water out of your purse and take a sip, and her face breaks into a relieved smile. “You didn’t tell me you’d started drinking water! Eight glasses of water a day? Of course! Is that why every inch of your skin is radiating a soft and healthy glow?” You nod again. She laughs and takes off her stethoscope. “I can see we won’t be needing this anymore!”

You start to carry water with you everywhere. Sometimes after getting home from work you drink from the kitchen faucet in great, hiccuping gulps. In no time at all you’ve moved from eight cups a day to a few gallons. Anyone else might have died of hyponatremia by now, but not you. You only grow stronger and more beautiful.

Every publication in the world, from The Lancet to Maxim to Mother Jones, wants to know your secret. “Tell us,” they beg you. Their eyes are hungry (thirsty?). “We have to know. How do you do it?” You sigh exquisitely. “I just like to drink water,” you tell them. Still their eyes bore into yours, pleading. “Sometimes I put a slice of cucumber or lemon in it. For the taste.” Upon hearing these words, an envious Anna Wintour sets herself on fire.

Grown men sink to their knees as you pass, their faces crumpling into shameless sobs. Mothers lift their children up to you in mute and expectant appeal. You bless them all.

Every country in the world bans the drinking of any beverage other than water. All droughts cease; deserts erupt in a riot of frondescence. You twirl in delight, slowly at first, round and round, as the entire world joins you in drinking more water. Everyone is drinking more water now. A soft, cool rain begins to fall. “She’s the one,” you hear someone whisper before you ascend to a plane of existence where human vocalizations no longer mean anything to you. “The one who drinks a lot of water.”

What you can't say

from paulgraham.com

Have you ever seen an old photo of yourself and been embarrassed at the way you looked? Did we actually dress like that? We did. And we had no idea how silly we looked. It's the nature of fashion to be invisible, in the same way the movement of the earth is invisible to all of us riding on it.

What scares me is that there are moral fashions too. They're just as arbitrary, and just as invisible to most people. But they're much more dangerous. Fashion is mistaken for good design; moral fashion is mistaken for good. Dressing oddly gets you laughed at. Violating moral fashions can get you fired, ostracized, imprisoned, or even killed.

If you could travel back in a time machine, one thing would be true no matter where you went: you'd have to watch what you said. Opinions we consider harmless could have gotten you in big trouble. I've already said at least one thing that would have gotten me in big trouble in most of Europe in the seventeenth century, and did get Galileo in big trouble when he said it-- that the earth moves. [1]

It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise.

Is our time any different? To anyone who has read any amount of history, the answer is almost certainly no. It would be a remarkable coincidence if ours were the first era to get everything just right.

It's tantalizing to think we believe things that people in the future will find ridiculous. What would someone coming back to visit us in a time machine have to be careful not to say? That's what I want to study here. But I want to do more than just shock everyone with the heresy du jour. I want to find general recipes for discovering what you can't say, in any era.

The Conformist Test

Let's start with a test: Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?

If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you're supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn't. Odds are you just think whatever you're told.

The other alternative would be that you independently considered every question and came up with the exact same answers that are now considered acceptable. That seems unlikely, because you'd also have to make the same mistakes. Mapmakers deliberately put slight mistakes in their maps so they can tell when someone copies them. If another map has the same mistake, that's very convincing evidence.

Like every other era in history, our moral map almost certainly contains a few mistakes. And anyone who makes the same mistakes probably didn't do it by accident. It would be like someone claiming they had independently decided in 1972 that bell-bottom jeans were a good idea.

If you believe everything you're supposed to now, how can you be sure you wouldn't also have believed everything you were supposed to if you had grown up among the plantation owners of the pre-Civil War South, or in Germany in the 1930s-- or among the Mongols in 1200, for that matter? Odds are you would have.

Back in the era of terms like "well-adjusted," the idea seemed to be that there was something wrong with you if you thought things you didn't dare say out loud. This seems backward. Almost certainly, there is something wrong with you if you don't think things you don't dare say out loud.

Trouble

What can't we say? One way to find these ideas is simply to look at things people do say, and get in trouble for. [2]

Of course, we're not just looking for things we can't say. We're looking for things we can't say that are true, or at least have enough chance of being true that the question should remain open. But many of the things people get in trouble for saying probably do make it over this second, lower threshold. No one gets in trouble for saying that 2 + 2 is 5, or that people in Pittsburgh are ten feet tall. Such obviously false statements might be treated as jokes, or at worst as evidence of insanity, but they are not likely to make anyone mad. The statements that make people mad are the ones they worry might be believed. I suspect the statements that make people maddest are those they worry might be true.

If Galileo had said that people in Padua were ten feet tall, he would have been regarded as a harmless eccentric. Saying the earth orbited the sun was another matter. The church knew this would set people thinking.

Certainly, as we look back on the past, this rule of thumb works well. A lot of the statements people got in trouble for seem harmless now. So it's likely that visitors from the future would agree with at least some of the statements that get people in trouble today. Do we have no Galileos? Not likely.

To find them, keep track of opinions that get people in trouble, and start asking, could this be true? Ok, it may be heretical (or whatever modern equivalent), but might it also be true?

Heresy

This won't get us all the answers, though. What if no one happens to have gotten in trouble for a particular idea yet? What if some idea would be so radioactively controversial that no one would dare express it in public? How can we find these too?

Another approach is to follow that word, heresy. In every period of history, there seem to have been labels that got applied to statements to shoot them down before anyone had a chance to ask if they were true or not. "Blasphemy", "sacrilege", and "heresy" were such labels for a good part of western history, as in more recent times "indecent", "improper", and "unamerican" have been. By now these labels have lost their sting. They always do. By now they're mostly used ironically. But in their time, they had real force.

The word "defeatist", for example, has no particular political connotations now. But in Germany in 1917 it was a weapon, used by Ludendorff in a purge of those who favored a negotiated peace. At the start of World War II it was used extensively by Churchill and his supporters to silence their opponents. In 1940, any argument against Churchill's aggressive policy was "defeatist". Was it right or wrong? Ideally, no one got far enough to ask that.

We have such labels today, of course, quite a lot of them, from the all-purpose "inappropriate" to the dreaded "divisive." In any period, it should be easy to figure out what such labels are, simply by looking at what people call ideas they disagree with besides untrue. When a politician says his opponent is mistaken, that's a straightforward criticism, but when he attacks a statement as "divisive" or "racially insensitive" instead of arguing that it's false, we should start paying attention.

So another way to figure out which of our taboos future generations will laugh at is to start with the labels. Take a label-- "sexist", for example-- and try to think of some ideas that would be called that. Then for each ask, might this be true?

Just start listing ideas at random? Yes, because they won't really be random. The ideas that come to mind first will be the most plausible ones. They'll be things you've already noticed but didn't let yourself think.

In 1989 some clever researchers tracked the eye movements of radiologists as they scanned chest images for signs of lung cancer. [3] They found that even when the radiologists missed a cancerous lesion, their eyes had usually paused at the site of it. Part of their brain knew there was something there; it just didn't percolate all the way up into conscious knowledge. I think many interesting heretical thoughts are already mostly formed in our minds. If we turn off our self-censorship temporarily, those will be the first to emerge.

Time and Space

If we could look into the future it would be obvious which of our taboos they'd laugh at. We can't do that, but we can do something almost as good: we can look into the past. Another way to figure out what we're getting wrong is to look at what used to be acceptable and is now unthinkable.

Changes between the past and the present sometimes do represent progress. In a field like physics, if we disagree with past generations it's because we're right and they're wrong. But this becomes rapidly less true as you move away from the certainty of the hard sciences. By the time you get to social questions, many changes are just fashion. The age of consent fluctuates like hemlines.

We may imagine that we are a great deal smarter and more virtuous than past generations, but the more history you read, the less likely this seems. People in past times were much like us. Not heroes, not barbarians. Whatever their ideas were, they were ideas reasonable people could believe.

So here is another source of interesting heresies. Diff present ideas against those of various past cultures, and see what you get. [4] Some will be shocking by present standards. Ok, fine; but which might also be true?

You don't have to look into the past to find big differences. In our own time, different societies have wildly varying ideas of what's ok and what isn't. So you can try diffing other cultures' ideas against ours as well. (The best way to do that is to visit them.)

You might find contradictory taboos. In one culture it might seem shocking to think x, while in another it was shocking not to. But I think usually the shock is on one side. In one culture x is ok, and in another it's considered shocking. My hypothesis is that the side that's shocked is most likely to be the mistaken one. [5]

I suspect the only taboos that are more than taboos are the ones that are universal, or nearly so. Murder for example. But any idea that's considered harmless in a significant percentage of times and places, and yet is taboo in ours, is a good candidate for something we're mistaken about.

For example, at the high water mark of political correctness in the early 1990s, Harvard distributed to its faculty and staff a brochure saying, among other things, that it was inappropriate to compliment a colleague or student's clothes. No more "nice shirt." I think this principle is rare among the world's cultures, past or present. There are probably more where it's considered especially polite to compliment someone's clothing than where it's considered improper. So odds are this is, in a mild form, an example of one of the taboos a visitor from the future would have to be careful to avoid if he happened to set his time machine for Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1992.

Prigs

Of course, if they have time machines in the future they'll probably have a separate reference manual just for Cambridge. This has always been a fussy place, a town of i dotters and t crossers, where you're liable to get both your grammar and your ideas corrected in the same conversation. And that suggests another way to find taboos. Look for prigs, and see what's inside their heads.

Kids' heads are repositories of all our taboos. It seems fitting to us that kids' ideas should be bright and clean. The picture we give them of the world is not merely simplified, to suit their developing minds, but sanitized as well, to suit our ideas of what kids ought to think. [6]

You can see this on a small scale in the matter of dirty words. A lot of my friends are starting to have children now, and they're all trying not to use words like "fuck" and "shit" within baby's hearing, lest baby start using these words too. But these words are part of the language, and adults use them all the time. So parents are giving their kids an inaccurate idea of the language by not using them. Why do they do this? Because they don't think it's fitting that kids should use the whole language. We like children to seem innocent. [7]

Most adults, likewise, deliberately give kids a misleading view of the world. One of the most obvious examples is Santa Claus. We think it's cute for little kids to believe in Santa Claus. I myself think it's cute for little kids to believe in Santa Claus. But one wonders, do we tell them this stuff for their sake, or for ours?

I'm not arguing for or against this idea here. It is probably inevitable that parents should want to dress up their kids' minds in cute little baby outfits. I'll probably do it myself. The important thing for our purposes is that, as a result, a well brought-up teenage kid's brain is a more or less complete collection of all our taboos-- and in mint condition, because they're untainted by experience. Whatever we think that will later turn out to be ridiculous, it's almost certainly inside that head.

How do we get at these ideas? By the following thought experiment. Imagine a kind of latter-day Conrad character who has worked for a time as a mercenary in Africa, for a time as a doctor in Nepal, for a time as the manager of a nightclub in Miami. The specifics don't matter-- just someone who has seen a lot. Now imagine comparing what's inside this guy's head with what's inside the head of a well-behaved sixteen year old girl from the suburbs. What does he think that would shock her? He knows the world; she knows, or at least embodies, present taboos. Subtract one from the other, and the result is what we can't say.

Mechanism

I can think of one more way to figure out what we can't say: to look at how taboos are created. How do moral fashions arise, and why are they adopted? If we can understand this mechanism, we may be able to see it at work in our own time.

Moral fashions don't seem to be created the way ordinary fashions are. Ordinary fashions seem to arise by accident when everyone imitates the whim of some influential person. The fashion for broad-toed shoes in late fifteenth century Europe began because Charles VIII of France had six toes on one foot. The fashion for the name Gary began when the actor Frank Cooper adopted the name of a tough mill town in Indiana. Moral fashions more often seem to be created deliberately. When there's something we can't say, it's often because some group doesn't want us to.

The prohibition will be strongest when the group is nervous. The irony of Galileo's situation was that he got in trouble for repeating Copernicus's ideas. Copernicus himself didn't. In fact, Copernicus was a canon of a cathedral, and dedicated his book to the pope. But by Galileo's time the church was in the throes of the Counter-Reformation and was much more worried about unorthodox ideas.

To launch a taboo, a group has to be poised halfway between weakness and power. A confident group doesn't need taboos to protect it. It's not considered improper to make disparaging remarks about Americans, or the English. And yet a group has to be powerful enough to enforce a taboo. Coprophiles, as of this writing, don't seem to be numerous or energetic enough to have had their interests promoted to a lifestyle.

I suspect the biggest source of moral taboos will turn out to be power struggles in which one side only barely has the upper hand. That's where you'll find a group powerful enough to enforce taboos, but weak enough to need them.

Most struggles, whatever they're really about, will be cast as struggles between competing ideas. The English Reformation was at bottom a struggle for wealth and power, but it ended up being cast as a struggle to preserve the souls of Englishmen from the corrupting influence of Rome. It's easier to get people to fight for an idea. And whichever side wins, their ideas will also be considered to have triumphed, as if God wanted to signal his agreement by selecting that side as the victor.

We often like to think of World War II as a triumph of freedom over totalitarianism. We conveniently forget that the Soviet Union was also one of the winners.

I'm not saying that struggles are never about ideas, just that they will always be made to seem to be about ideas, whether they are or not. And just as there is nothing so unfashionable as the last, discarded fashion, there is nothing so wrong as the principles of the most recently defeated opponent. Representational art is only now recovering from the approval of both Hitler and Stalin. [8]

Although moral fashions tend to arise from different sources than fashions in clothing, the mechanism of their adoption seems much the same. The early adopters will be driven by ambition: self-consciously cool people who want to distinguish themselves from the common herd. As the fashion becomes established they'll be joined by a second, much larger group, driven by fear. [9] This second group adopt the fashion not because they want to stand out but because they are afraid of standing out.

So if you want to figure out what we can't say, look at the machinery of fashion and try to predict what it would make unsayable. What groups are powerful but nervous, and what ideas would they like to suppress? What ideas were tarnished by association when they ended up on the losing side of a recent struggle? If a self-consciously cool person wanted to differentiate himself from preceding fashions (e.g. from his parents), which of their ideas would he tend to reject? What are conventional-minded people afraid of saying?

This technique won't find us all the things we can't say. I can think of some that aren't the result of any recent struggle. Many of our taboos are rooted deep in the past. But this approach, combined with the preceding four, will turn up a good number of unthinkable ideas.

Why

Some would ask, why would one want to do this? Why deliberately go poking around among nasty, disreputable ideas? Why look under rocks?

I do it, first of all, for the same reason I did look under rocks as a kid: plain curiosity. And I'm especially curious about anything that's forbidden. Let me see and decide for myself.

Second, I do it because I don't like the idea of being mistaken. If, like other eras, we believe things that will later seem ridiculous, I want to know what they are so that I, at least, can avoid believing them.

Third, I do it because it's good for the brain. To do good work you need a brain that can go anywhere. And you especially need a brain that's in the habit of going where it's not supposed to.

Great work tends to grow out of ideas that others have overlooked, and no idea is so overlooked as one that's unthinkable. Natural selection, for example. It's so simple. Why didn't anyone think of it before? Well, that is all too obvious. Darwin himself was careful to tiptoe around the implications of his theory. He wanted to spend his time thinking about biology, not arguing with people who accused him of being an atheist.

In the sciences, especially, it's a great advantage to be able to question assumptions. The m.o. of scientists, or at least of the good ones, is precisely that: look for places where conventional wisdom is broken, and then try to pry apart the cracks and see what's underneath. That's where new theories come from.

A good scientist, in other words, does not merely ignore conventional wisdom, but makes a special effort to break it. Scientists go looking for trouble. This should be the m.o. of any scholar, but scientists seem much more willing to look under rocks. [10]

Why? It could be that the scientists are simply smarter; most physicists could, if necessary, make it through a PhD program in French literature, but few professors of French literature could make it through a PhD program in physics. Or it could be because it's clearer in the sciences whether theories are true or false, and this makes scientists bolder. (Or it could be that, because it's clearer in the sciences whether theories are true or false, you have to be smart to get jobs as a scientist, rather than just a good politician.)

Whatever the reason, there seems a clear correlation between intelligence and willingness to consider shocking ideas. This isn't just because smart people actively work to find holes in conventional thinking. I think conventions also have less hold over them to start with. You can see that in the way they dress.

It's not only in the sciences that heresy pays off. In any competitive field, you can win big by seeing things that others daren't. And in every field there are probably heresies few dare utter. Within the US car industry there is a lot of hand-wringing now about declining market share. Yet the cause is so obvious that any observant outsider could explain it in a second: they make bad cars. And they have for so long that by now the US car brands are antibrands-- something you'd buy a car despite, not because of. Cadillac stopped being the Cadillac of cars in about 1970. And yet I suspect no one dares say this. [11] Otherwise these companies would have tried to fix the problem.

Training yourself to think unthinkable thoughts has advantages beyond the thoughts themselves. It's like stretching. When you stretch before running, you put your body into positions much more extreme than any it will assume during the run. If you can think things so outside the box that they'd make people's hair stand on end, you'll have no trouble with the small trips outside the box that people call innovative.

Pensieri Stretti

When you find something you can't say, what do you do with it? My advice is, don't say it. Or at least, pick your battles.

Suppose in the future there is a movement to ban the color yellow. Proposals to paint anything yellow are denounced as "yellowist", as is anyone suspected of liking the color. People who like orange are tolerated but viewed with suspicion. Suppose you realize there is nothing wrong with yellow. If you go around saying this, you'll be denounced as a yellowist too, and you'll find yourself having a lot of arguments with anti-yellowists. If your aim in life is to rehabilitate the color yellow, that may be what you want. But if you're mostly interested in other questions, being labelled as a yellowist will just be a distraction. Argue with idiots, and you become an idiot.

The most important thing is to be able to think what you want, not to say what you want. And if you feel you have to say everything you think, it may inhibit you from thinking improper thoughts. I think it's better to follow the opposite policy. Draw a sharp line between your thoughts and your speech. Inside your head, anything is allowed. Within my head I make a point of encouraging the most outrageous thoughts I can imagine. But, as in a secret society, nothing that happens within the building should be told to outsiders. The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club.

When Milton was going to visit Italy in the 1630s, Sir Henry Wootton, who had been ambassador to Venice, told him his motto should be "i pensieri stretti & il viso sciolto." Closed thoughts and an open face. Smile at everyone, and don't tell them what you're thinking. This was wise advice. Milton was an argumentative fellow, and the Inquisition was a bit restive at that time. But I think the difference between Milton's situation and ours is only a matter of degree. Every era has its heresies, and if you don't get imprisoned for them you will at least get in enough trouble that it becomes a complete distraction.

I admit it seems cowardly to keep quiet. When I read about the harassment to which the Scientologists subject their critics [12], or that pro-Israel groups are "compiling dossiers" on those who speak out against Israeli human rights abuses [13], or about people being sued for violating the DMCA [14], part of me wants to say, "All right, you bastards, bring it on." The problem is, there are so many things you can't say. If you said them all you'd have no time left for your real work. You'd have to turn into Noam Chomsky. [15]

The trouble with keeping your thoughts secret, though, is that you lose the advantages of discussion. Talking about an idea leads to more ideas. So the optimal plan, if you can manage it, is to have a few trusted friends you can speak openly to. This is not just a way to develop ideas; it's also a good rule of thumb for choosing friends. The people you can say heretical things to without getting jumped on are also the most interesting to know.

Viso Sciolto?

I don't think we need the viso sciolto so much as the pensieri stretti. Perhaps the best policy is to make it plain that you don't agree with whatever zealotry is current in your time, but not to be too specific about what you disagree with. Zealots will try to draw you out, but you don't have to answer them. If they try to force you to treat a question on their terms by asking "are you with us or against us?" you can always just answer "neither".

Better still, answer "I haven't decided." That's what Larry Summers did when a group tried to put him in this position. Explaining himself later, he said "I don't do litmus tests." [16] A lot of the questions people get hot about are actually quite complicated. There is no prize for getting the answer quickly.

If the anti-yellowists seem to be getting out of hand and you want to fight back, there are ways to do it without getting yourself accused of being a yellowist. Like skirmishers in an ancient army, you want to avoid directly engaging the main body of the enemy's troops. Better to harass them with arrows from a distance.

One way to do this is to ratchet the debate up one level of abstraction. If you argue against censorship in general, you can avoid being accused of whatever heresy is contained in the book or film that someone is trying to censor. You can attack labels with meta-labels: labels that refer to the use of labels to prevent discussion. The spread of the term "political correctness" meant the beginning of the end of political correctness, because it enabled one to attack the phenomenon as a whole without being accused of any of the specific heresies it sought to suppress.

Another way to counterattack is with metaphor. Arthur Miller undermined the House Un-American Activities Committee by writing a play, "The Crucible," about the Salem witch trials. He never referred directly to the committee and so gave them no way to reply. What could HUAC do, defend the Salem witch trials? And yet Miller's metaphor stuck so well that to this day the activities of the committee are often described as a "witch-hunt."

Best of all, probably, is humor. Zealots, whatever their cause, invariably lack a sense of humor. They can't reply in kind to jokes. They're as unhappy on the territory of humor as a mounted knight on a skating rink. Victorian prudishness, for example, seems to have been defeated mainly by treating it as a joke. Likewise its reincarnation as political correctness. "I am glad that I managed to write 'The Crucible,'" Arthur Miller wrote, "but looking back I have often wished I'd had the temperament to do an absurd comedy, which is what the situation deserved." [17]

ABQ

A Dutch friend says I should use Holland as an example of a tolerant society. It's true they have a long tradition of comparative open-mindedness. For centuries the low countries were the place to go to say things you couldn't say anywhere else, and this helped to make the region a center of scholarship and industry (which have been closely tied for longer than most people realize). Descartes, though claimed by the French, did much of his thinking in Holland.

And yet, I wonder. The Dutch seem to live their lives up to their necks in rules and regulations. There's so much you can't do there; is there really nothing you can't say?

Certainly the fact that they value open-mindedness is no guarantee. Who thinks they're not open-minded? Our hypothetical prim miss from the suburbs thinks she's open-minded. Hasn't she been taught to be? Ask anyone, and they'll say the same thing: they're pretty open-minded, though they draw the line at things that are really wrong. (Some tribes may avoid "wrong" as judgemental, and may instead use a more neutral sounding euphemism like "negative" or "destructive".)

When people are bad at math, they know it, because they get the wrong answers on tests. But when people are bad at open-mindedness they don't know it. In fact they tend to think the opposite. Remember, it's the nature of fashion to be invisible. It wouldn't work otherwise. Fashion doesn't seem like fashion to someone in the grip of it. It just seems like the right thing to do. It's only by looking from a distance that we see oscillations in people's idea of the right thing to do, and can identify them as fashions.

Time gives us such distance for free. Indeed, the arrival of new fashions makes old fashions easy to see, because they seem so ridiculous by contrast. From one end of a pendulum's swing, the other end seems especially far away.

To see fashion in your own time, though, requires a conscious effort. Without time to give you distance, you have to create distance yourself. Instead of being part of the mob, stand as far away from it as you can and watch what it's doing. And pay especially close attention whenever an idea is being suppressed. Web filters for children and employees often ban sites containing pornography, violence, and hate speech. What counts as pornography and violence? And what, exactly, is "hate speech?" This sounds like a phrase out of 1984.

Labels like that are probably the biggest external clue. If a statement is false, that's the worst thing you can say about it. You don't need to say that it's heretical. And if it isn't false, it shouldn't be suppressed. So when you see statements being attacked as x-ist or y-ic (substitute your current values of x and y), whether in 1630 or 2030, that's a sure sign that something is wrong. When you hear such labels being used, ask why.

Especially if you hear yourself using them. It's not just the mob you need to learn to watch from a distance. You need to be able to watch your own thoughts from a distance. That's not a radical idea, by the way; it's the main difference between children and adults. When a child gets angry because he's tired, he doesn't know what's happening. An adult can distance himself enough from the situation to say "never mind, I'm just tired." I don't see why one couldn't, by a similar process, learn to recognize and discount the effects of moral fashions.

You have to take that extra step if you want to think clearly. But it's harder, because now you're working against social customs instead of with them. Everyone encourages you to grow up to the point where you can discount your own bad moods. Few encourage you to continue to the point where you can discount society's bad moods.

How can you see the wave, when you're the water? Always be questioning. That's the only defence. What can't you say? And why?

The Student as Nigger by Jerry Farber 1969

13-Year-Old Looks at Trees, Makes Solar Power Breakthrough

from here



Aidan Dwyer did a much better job on his 7th grade science project than any of us. While on a wintertime hike in the Catskills, he noticed the branches of trees held a spiral pattern as they ascended. He wondered if that could possibly serve some purpose, looked into it, and learned about the Fibonacci sequence, which is a mathematical way of describing a spiral. Then he studied tree branches more closely and found their leaves adhered to the sequence. Then he figured out that if he arranged solar panels the way an oak tree arranged its leaves, they were 20 to 50 percent more efficient than the standard straight-line solar arrays. That is why the American Museum of Natural History gave him a Young Naturalist award, and published his findings on its website. His write-up concludes:



The tree design takes up less room than flat-panel arrays and works in spots that don't have a full southern view. It collects more sunlight in winter. Shade and bad weather like snow don't hurt it because the panels are not flat. It even looks nicer because it looks like a tree. A design like this may work better in urban areas where space and direct sunlight can be hard to find.


Not bad for a kid who hasn't started high school yet.

Rise and Rise Again Til the Lambs become Lions

I just finished watching Robin Hood 2010 with russell crowe.

sweet movie. i love legend retold.

there was a really cool quote on the sword of his youth:

rise and rise again, until lion becomes lambs...

yeah. it's not from the bible.



here is the full quote from a poem by some hippy who renamed himself: "Maitreya"


"Take Every Stone
The Bigots of This World
Cast Against You,
And Use Them
To Build My Church
In This World.
And when they seek
to oppress you
And when they try
to destroy you,
Rise and Rise again
and again
Like The Phoenix
from the ashes
Until the Lambs
have become Lions
and the Rule of Darkness
is no more"

pretty cool poem.

but he also says:

I was first awakened by The One God on August 7th 1951 when I physically died to this world. At that time, I received the Holy Initiation and Baptism of all of Universal God’s Prophets, Saints, Buddhas, Saviors and Avataras; was taken into Perfect Final Union with Universal God by God’s Pure Divine Grace; and, at God's request, made The Supreme Sacrifice of giving up Perfect Final Union with The One Universal God to accept Universal God’s Ordination and return to earth to begin The Age of Universal God’s Pure Divine Truth and give all willing Souls God's New Covenant and Supreme Promise for the Salvation and Liberation of all Souls for all time.

I declare shenanigans.

great poem, but shut the fuck up.

Drug Dealers Wipe Out People Group



An Amazon tribe that was believed to have had no previous contact with modern civilization may have gotten its first introduction last week – courtesy of a group of drug dealers.


Brazilian officials who keep tabs on the region's so-called "uncontacted" inhabitants from afar fear that the tribe was forced to flee the area as a result of the apparent interaction, or may have even been wiped out by the suspected drug dealers.

The worries began late last week after a government-run guard post in the area was attacked by a group of armed men believed to have been smuggling drugs between Peru and Brazil, the BBC reports.

Since the attack, officials have found no sign of the tribe, which was first photographed from the air three years ago. Carlos Lisboa Travassos, the head of Brazil’s Isolated Indians Department, told local media that the guards found a broken arrowhead in one of the attacker’s backpacks that was left behind, suggesting the armed men had made contact with the tribe.

“Arrows are like the identity card of uncontacted Indians,” Travassos said. “This situation could be one of the biggest blows we have ever seen in the protection of uncontacted Indians in recent decades.”

Authorities also found a package containing 44 pounds of cocaine in the area, LiveScience reports, further adding to fears that smugglers may have wanted to remove the tribe from the region in order to clear the way for illegal drug running.

The area where the tribe lives, the Javari Valley of the western Amazon, is one of the most isolated regions of the Amazon and has the highest concentration of known isolated tribes. Brazilian officials keep an eye on the tribal lands but avoid contact with the inhabitants in order to avoid exposing them to germs from which they have no immunity.

At least eight similarly isolated tribes have been spotted in the same region, making the possibility of drug trafficking in the area that much more of a worry for officials hoping to protect the indigenous way of life.

An uncontacted Amazon tribe that made headlines earlier this year after being filmed from the air is feared missing after presumed drug traffickers overran the Brazilian guards posted to protect the tribe's lands.

According to tribal advocacy group Survival International, Brazilian officials can find no trace of the Indians in the area after heavily armed men ransacked the guard post in western Brazil about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the Peruvian border. Like other uncontacted tribes, the Indians live a traditional life in the forest and do not have contact with the outside world.

Workers from FUNAI, the government bureau of Indian affairs, found a broken arrow in one of the men's backpacks, raising fears for the tribe's safety.

"We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee," Carlos Travassos, the head of the government's isolated Indians department, said in a statement. "Now we have good proof. We are more worried than ever."

As many as 2,000 uncontacted Indians may live in the Javari Valley of the western Amazon, Survival International estimates. Brazilian officials keep an eye on tribal lands but do not force contact with the inhabitants. In February, Brazil's Indian Affairs Department released aerial photos and film of the tribe that is now missing, revealing thatched dwellings, tribe members in red body paint, and gardens full of manioc tubers and papaya. [See the aerial photos ]

Now the Indians seem to have disappeared. According to Survival International, police found a package containing 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of cocaine in the area. That could mean that the Envira River, where the Brazilian guard post is located, is now an entry point into Brazil for Peruvian cocaine smugglers, they said.

According to local reports, police have detained one man, a Portuguese national who was arrested and deported for drug trafficking in March. Jose Carlos Meirelles, who headed the remote guard post, is now back in the area and reported that several groups of men armed with sub-machine guns and rifles are in the forest near the base.

Guns aren't the only threat to uncontacted Indians. Common diseases can also kill them, because they have not built up immunity to the viruses and bacteria outside their forest home. According to Survival International's uncontactedtribes.org, there are about 100 uncontacted tribes in existence worldwide.

"This situation could be one of the biggest blows we have ever seen in the protection of uncontacted Indians in recent decades," Travassos said, referring to the possible drug traffickers. "It's a catastrophe."

Then they came for the Jews

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller, 1946

The traditional knife making technique

How to Make Your Own Energy Bars

Energy Bars Ingredients List
1 1/4 cups store brand Crisp Rice (Rice Krispies)
1 cup uncooked quick oats
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1/4 cup chopped raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Step One
Stick your oats, flaxseed meal, raisins, cinnamon, and Rice Krispies in a semi-large mixing bowl. Stir them together a bit so when you add the peanut butter mixture you don’t inhale balls of cinnamon that throw you into a coughing fit at mile 65 this weekend.


Step Two
On the stove, warm up the peanut butter and syrup. Heat and stir until they form a nice, smooth mixture. After you take it off the heat, add the vanilla. Why you do this, I have no idea, but one cooking blog insisted. Who am I to argue.


Step Three
Pour your peanut butter goop into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until everything is coated in peanut-buttery, syrupy goodness.


Step Four
Spray a small cooking sheet with PAM or whatever non-stick cooking spray you fancy. Dump your mixture onto the sheet, cover it with wax paper, and use a rolling pin to mash it down hard into the pan. Stick the whole thing into the fridge to chillax for a bit.


Step Five
Take it out of the fridge (unless you have a special talent for wielding a pizza cutter among milk and eggs) and slice your concoction into 8 bars.


Step Six
Wrap each one in wax paper (you can do plastic wrap, but wax paper is much easier to unwrap when riding), tape it up, and throw a few in your jersey pocket for your next ride.


Nutrition Facts
So, here’s how it goes, for the recipe above you’ve got a total 1670 calories, 214g of carbs, and 48g of protein. If you cut it into 8 bars, you’ve got bars that have 209 calories, 27g of carbs, and 6g of protein a piece for about $0.19 a bar. Not too shabby.

Ugrades
If you like nuts. You can add those. I’m not a big fan of nuts in bars so, obviously, my version is nut-free.

Maple syrup isn’t the healthiest option. If you’re picky about that stuff, some of the recipes I looked at recommended brown rice syrup. I had no idea what that was, so Kroger brand flavored corn syrup was my fuel of choice.

I’ve tried other dried fruit like craisins, dried pineapple, etc., but you can’t really taste a difference so stick with trusty, cheap raisins.

If you like protein powders or whatever GNC had on sale this week, can’t hurt to give ‘em a try.

50 teenagers pull adults out of cars and beat them.

Unprecedented violence on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair by rampaging youths prompted extraordinary measures Friday: The head of the fair implemented new rules to keep unattended teens off the grounds at night, and Gov. Scott Walker ordered the State Patrol to help keep order.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn, meanwhile, promised Friday to beef up policing at this weekend's major public events around the city to limit any chance of the State Fair events being repeated.

The violence left workers and patrons of the fair in West Allis shaken and reminded many of the mob-like disturbances that occurred over the Fourth of July weekend in Milwaukee.

The trouble at the fair started around 7 p.m. Thursday in the midway area, where amusement rides are located, when fights broke out among black youths, said Tom Struebing, chief of the State Fair Police. Those fights did not appear to be racially motivated.

Then around the closing time of 11 p.m., witnesses told the Journal Sentinel, dozens to hundreds of black youths attacked white people as they left the fair, punching and kicking people and shaking and pounding on their vehicles.

At least 31 people were arrested - many for disorderly conduct - in connection with the incidents on the fairgrounds and on the streets outside. At least 11 people, seven of them police officers, were injured, officials said. Twenty-four people were arrested within the fairgrounds by State Fair Police. West Allis police arrested seven people, five of them juveniles, outside the fairgrounds.

Struebing said two injured officers were hospitalized; one was hit in the face with an improvised weapon, the other suffered a concussion.

"We normally can handle anything in the park," Struebing said.

Because of the violence, Rick Frenette, CEO of the fair, announced that the fair would immediately implement a policy in which no youths under 18 years of age would be allowed onto the grounds after 5 p.m. without a parent or guardian at least 21 years old.

Frenette, a veteran of 40 years in fair management, said he had never implemented such a policy before.

Walker made the decision to provide extra State Patrol help after reviewing the incidents, said his spokesmen, Cullen Werwie.

"We will continue to evaluate the situation and make any adjustments necessary to ensure a successful and safe event. We will be doing everything in our power to ensure that parents feel that it is safe to bring their children to the world's best fair," Werwie said in a statement.

West Allis Mayor Dan Devine said in a statement that "thuggery has no place at the Wisconsin State Fair, or anywhere in our society."

Devine said he was disgusted by the reports of violence. "It is appalling that a group of hoodlums has cast such a negative light on what is traditionally a safe and family friendly event," he said in a statement.

Barrett said there would be no tolerance for violence at festivals and that perpetrators will be prosecuted - regardless of race.

"Two years ago, I was a victim of a random attack (outside) State Fair . . . last night, events took place at State Fair that I don't believe are random," Barrett said at a City Hall news conference. The attack by a man wielding a tire iron left Barrett with stitches in his head, broken teeth and broken bones in his right hand. On Friday, security started setting up extra metal fencing at entrances around 5 p.m.

Patrice Harris, communications manager for the State Fair, said identification will be checked at each gate in the area where bags are searched. She said the time spent checking for identification shouldn't affect the time spent waiting in line before getting into the fair.

At Gate 3, at least 70 people had their IDs checked within the first hour. All appeared to be minors without guardians.

Jeremy Chavez, Anthony Henderson and Anthony DeHoyas, all 16, were among those stopped.

"I didn't know about the adult thing," Chavez said, although he had heard that IDs would be checked. Henderson and DeHoyas were also taken by surprise.

DeHoyas, who was celebrating his birthday Friday, was upset at being turned away and said he doesn't plan to come back.

He called his mother, who came to the fair to supervise the three teenagers.

Police from three jurisdictions - West Allis, Milwaukee and Wisconsin State Fair - spent Friday trying to piece together what happened. But they could not say what started the situation.

Witnesses, though, told the Journal Sentinel that the attacks appeared to be unprovoked and racially motivated.

"You could just tell they were after white people. That was the main thing. If you were white, they were coming after you," said Jon Stikl of Oak Creek.

He said he was stuck in traffic as a group of young people blocked cars near the fair gate on S. 84th St. near I-94 after he picked up family members attending the fair.

"We noticed a group of five to 10 young black males run up and jump a young white male for no other reason then him being white," Stikl said.

They knocked him to the ground, and then a group of 15 black men kicked and stomped on him, Stikl said.

"My wife's brother jumped out of the car - his natural reaction was to try to break it up. Before you knew it, five or 10 guys were on him and started punching at him. My wife was able to pull him back in the car. So now they surrounded my car and just started punching through the windows, kicking and shaking the car, screaming racial things."

He said there should have been more police presence, given that disturbances were reported inside the fairgrounds shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday.

"I was disgusted by the lack of security. It's a black eye on the State Fair" and police, he said.

Andrew J. Coleman, a recent University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate, said he and a friend were attacked about 10:30 p.m. after they left the fair through the gate off S. 84th near the Pettit National Ice Center.

"I just heard footsteps behind me and I turned around and I got hit in the face. There were six or seven just beating on me," said Coleman, who has a sore jaw from the punches.

His friend was stomped on and his sneakers stolen, said Coleman, of Milwaukee.

A concession worker who works near the midway area told the Journal Sentinel that earlier Thursday night, large groups of African-American youths ran through the midway, knocking over young children and adults, disrupting midway amusement rides and tearing signs up. The midway is east of the Pettit National Ice Center and adjacent to the Hank Aaron State Trail.

"I have never seen anything like it," the worker said. "It was mob mentality."

The worker said there was police presence, including officers on horseback, but it was not enough.

A 34-year-old Muskego man said he was riding on the Ferris wheel in the midway with one of his children when he heard shouts of "fight" sometime after 7 p.m. He saw a big group of people, perhaps 200 to 300, gathered around a brawl.

"I've never seen anything like this in my life. . . . There were so many people you couldn't see who was fighting. There was just this big group that kept growing and chanting, 'Fight, fight, fight,' " he said. "That lasted for one to two minutes. Then when security showed up blowing some whistles, all of this mob started running. It was like a herd of cattle."

Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines said he was at the fair Thursday night and witnessed blacks fighting each other, but did not see any blacks attack whites.

He said that if it happened, those individuals should be charged with the crime as well as a hate crime.

"They should be penalized for the prime incident, and we should have a racial enhancer," Hines said.

Although some fairgoers were critical of police response, Hines said State Fair police acted appropriately and professionally.

"They were working hard to control the chaos," Hines said.

He said some coordination problems with other police departments might have happened outside the grounds.

The Wisconsin State Fair is in different jurisdictions. The north side of the fairgrounds, from the Hank Aaron State Trail north, is in Milwaukee. The rest is in West Allis. Adding to the confusion is that the Wisconsin State Fair Park police have jurisdiction only on the fairgrounds, not outside of it.

The incidents Thursday night come as the State Fair Board has worked to increase diversity at the annual fair, expanding its entertainment lineup and attempting to appeal to a younger, more multicultural audience. Diversity was a priority for former State Fair Park Chairman Martin Greenberg, who spoke of making it a "place of inclusion, not exclusion."

The violence is similar to what occurred in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood over the July 4 holiday, when about 60 young people beat and robbed a smaller group that had been watching fireworks from Kilbourn Reservoir Park. The injured people were white; the attackers were African-American, witnesses said. Another group looted a convenience store.

Thursday night's Main Stage performer was rapper MC Hammer, but a number of people who attended the concert said the show wasn't to blame for the disturbances at the fair. One woman said the crowd watching Hammer was mostly white and adult, and any children there seemed to be with parents.

Another woman said the concert was "very laid-back and had no craziness that we witnessed at all. The craziness was in the midway."
***
State Fair melee
At least 31 arrested
At least 11 injured, including seven police officers
New rules: No one under 18 admitted to fair after 5 p.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Gov. Scott Walker orders State Patrol to provide additional policing help.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn beef up police presence at fair and other Milwaukee events this weekend.

Racial beatings continue

WEST ALLIS - Witnesses tell Newsradio 620 WTMJ and TODAY'S TMJ4 of a mob of young people attacking innocent fair-goers at the end of the opening night of State Fair, with some callers claiming a racially-charged scene.

Milwaukee Police confirmed there were assaults outside the fair.

Witnesses' accounts claim everything from dozens to hundreds of young black people beating white people as they left State Fair Thursday night.

Authorities have not given official estimates of the number of people involved in the attacks.

"It looked like they were just going after white guys, white people," said Norb Roffers of Wind Lake in an interview with Newsradio 620 WTMJ. He left the State Fair Entrance near the corner of South 84th Street and West Schlinger Avenue in West Allis.

"They were attacking everybody for no reason whatsoever."

"It was 100% racial," claimed Eric, an Iraq war veteran from St. Francis who says young people beat on his car.

"I had a black couple on my right side, and these black kids were running in between all the cars, and they were pounding on my doors and trying to open up doors on my car, and they didn't do one thing to this black couple that was in this car next to us. They just kept walking right past their car. They were looking in everybody's windshield as they were running by, seeing who was white and who was black. Guarantee it."

Eric, a war veteran, said that the scene he saw Thursday outside State Fair compares to what he saw in combat.

"That rated right up there with it. When I saw the amount of kids coming down the road, all I kept thinking was, 'There's not enough cops to handle this.' There's no way. It would have taken the National Guard to control the number of kids that were coming off the road. They were knocking people off their motorcycles."

Another witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said, "it was like a scene you needed the National Guard to control."

"To me, it looked like a scene out of a movie," claimed the anonymous witness.

"I have not seen anything like this in my life. It was a huge mob, and it was a fight that maybe lasted one to two minutes."

Roffers claimed that as he left the state fair with his wife, crowds near that entrance were large, and someone in that crowd.

"As we got closer to the street, we looked up the road, and we saw a quite a bit of commotion going on and there was a guy laying in the road, and nobody was even laying there. He wasn't even moving. Finally a car pulled up. They stopped right next to the guy, and it looked like someone was going to help him. We were kind of stuck, because we couldn't cross. Traffic was going through. Young black men running around, beating on people, and we were like 'Let's get the heck out of here.' The light turned, and I got attacked from behind. I just got hit in the back of the head real hard. I'm like, 'What the heck is going on here?' I heard my bell ring."

Roffers further described what witnesses said happened to the man who was lying in the street.

"People were saying he was on a bike. They tore him off his bike and beat on him. We were walking to the west on Schlinger. I was watching behind me a lot more diligently, making sure there wasn't anybody coming to get us anymore."

One person claimed that someone was knocked off a motorcycle.

TODAY'S TMJ4 video shows West Allis police handcuffing at least one person, but they won't say how many people they took into custody.

Some witnesses described attacks on the State Fair Grounds as well.

Milwaukee Police said that their officers were sent to State Fair Park for "complaints of battery, fighting and property damage due to a large, unruly crowd."

A police sergeant told TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady that the number of calls describing injuries are still coming in, so they could not give an accurate number of people who were injured.

That sergeant explained that some injuries were serious, and local hospitals were attending to the injured.

As of early Friday morning, Milwaukee Police said they had no one in custody.

One woman told police that she was sitting in her car with a window down when some teenagers reached through her window and started attacking her.

"I think once we get all the info in it'll be just like that, like what happened in Riverwest," said the police sergeant.

West Allis Police ask you to call them at 414-302-8000 if you have any information.

Eric: "I feared for my life"

Eric, who asked Newsradio 620 WTMJ not to use his last name, talked about the incidents that happened as he, his wife and a neighbor left the fair Thursday.

"We exited at the Schlinger and 84th exit, and we walked south about a block, and then went up and got our car, came back up and around down Schlinger. When we made a left hand turn, we were stopped in traffic. I looked toward the bridge, right before you get on the freeway, and all I saw was a road full of black kids, jumping over people's cars, jumping on people's hoods, running over the top of them."

Eric then claimed that he saw hundreds of young black people coming down a sidewalk.

"I saw them grab this white kid who was probably 14 or 15 years old. They just flung him into the road. They just jumped on him and started beating him. They were kicking him. He was on the ground. A girl picked up a construction sign and pushed it over on top of him. They were just running by and kicking him in the face."

Then, Eric talked about trying to get out of the car to help the victim.

"My wife pulled me back in because she didn't want me to get hit. Thankfully, there was surprising a lady that was in the car in front of me that jumped out of the car real quick and went over there to try to put her body around the kid so they couldn't see he was laying there and, obviously, defenseless. Her husband, or whoever was in the car, was screaming at her to get back into the car. She ended up going back into the car. These black kids grabbed this kid off the ground again, and pulled him up over the curb, onto the sidewalk and threw him into the bushes like he was a piece of garbage."

Eric claimed that the victim in that beating was by himself, and that there was a split of white people on one sidewalk and black people on the other.

"There was nobody else around to help him. There were no other white people, period, on that side of the street. They were going in the opposite direction because, those people who were coming out of the fair that saw these people coming, they either went back into the fair or took off running south on 84th Street."

Eric expressed anger at the State Fair Police for what he considered a lack of response.

"The thing that irritated me, the State Fair Police, the State Police, were down by the Pettit entrance to get in there," said Eric. "There was probably 5 or 6 officers down there. That's where all these kids came from. They came out of the Midway, across the front of the Pettit. They were still filing out of there. The State Fair Police, they knew this was going on. They knew these kids were beating these guys in between that exit and Schlinger at the next gate."

"They were stopping traffic, and I said 'What in the hell,' excuse my language, 'what are you guys doing directing traffic when there are 300, 400 black kids up the road beating the hell out of everybody, pushing people off of motorcycles?' I was livid. I could not believe they were directing traffic."

Fair worker: attacks not limited to outside fairgrounds

A witness told WTMJ that as he worked in a kiosk at the State Fair Midway, he saw what he described as "a Riverwest type mob. Easily between 50 - 100 kids all under 18 and all African American. They were running around knocking people over (young kids and adults), looting the Midway games (stealing the prizes), starting fights."

The witness, who asked not to be identified, couldn't say for certain if only white people were being attacked.

"It was just complete chaos. There were police on horses, lots of security guards, and EMT's on the scene. They never got control of the area."

A State Fair spokeswoman said that there were arrests made involving the incidents on the grounds.

The worker said that as the violence happened, he was "getting ready to grab my cash register and run."

"Not to mention this type of behavior started around 7pm and forced me to close down my stand at 9pm. It scared the paying customers out of the midway."

The man said he was hoping to bring family on Friday, but has decided not to.

"I was planning on bringing my two kids to the fair tonight. I won't be. We'll go to the zoo instead."

Woman: Teenagers in mob didn't attend rap concert

One woman who asked not to be identified tells us that contrary to some belief, the young people involved in the mob did not go to the rap concert that night.

"The mob of black teenagers involved in the beatings and damage outside of State Fair last night were not there for the MC Hammer concert," said the woman.

"I attended that concert with three of my friends last night and the crowd was mostly white and adult (as are my friends and I). Any kids there seemed to be with parents."

She described what she saw as she left the fair.

"As we came through the exit we saw a white boy lying in the street, in the fetal position right by the traffic light, and coming towards us was tons and tons and black teens – there had to have been over a hundred – in the middle of 84th Street and on the sidewalk headed south," she said.

"Some who stopped to kick or punch him - or in the case of one girl drop kick him in the head - as they walked past. My friends and I started towards him to help him up and a black girl walked past telling us 'ya’ll gonna get your ***** kicked' repeatedly. As my friend stood in front of the boy trying to get him up one of the teens picked up a traffic cone, hit her in the back of the head and ran off. A car stopped, a white woman got out to try and help. Teens jumped onto the hood of the car and ran over it. She just kept saying 'What is wrong with you!?' "

The witness also told us that not every African-American teenager outside the fair grounds acted violent.

"We continued to move towards the parking lot, through even more black teenagers. Thankfully this part of the crowd was not violent."

Roffers: "What in the hell's going on there?"

Roffers described his emotions and reactions to the attacks outside the park.

"I turned around and looked, there was this black kid standing there laughing, thinking it's funny. My wife's like, 'Let's get out of here.' It's one of those things, you don't expect it. Your reaction to it is, first of all, quite surprised, then you get so angry, it's like, 'What in the hell's going on there? Why are these guys acting like such hoodlums? What are they picking on anybody for?' We were just like cattle being herded out of the park, and they were picking and choosing who they wanted to beat on."

He said his injuries were limited to a headache.

Roffers said the attack wouldn't stop him from attending the State Fair.

"We will be going back," said Roffers.

"It's a family event for us. We get together with our family and we do stuff at the park to enjoy the fair. My biggest concern is that the State Fair Park Police and West Allis get their heads out of their butts and figure out how to do some security over there. This isn't the first year State Fair has been going on. They should know what the heck they've got to do and where they've got to have people in place by now."

He said that the fear spread beyond those who he believed were the target.

"There were a lot of people scared," claimed Roffers.

"There were even some young black girls. They were screaming. They were running across the road. This one girl was like, 'I don't know how I'm going to get out of here. I'm all by myself.' My wife heard her saying that. She said, 'Walk with us. Stay with us and you'll be OK.' We told her we were going down the street. If she needed any assistance, we were just going down to our car. She needed to go quite a way."

"There was this terror going on when you leave the place, you just wonder. Luckily, all the violence that was happening stayed right close by the park entrance. As we got a block away from the park, that's when the cops started showing up."

He said the lack of police and security presence will bring about his complaint up the various channels of State Fair and local police.

"They should be able to provide safety and traffic control," said Roffers. "I've never worried about it before."

He said he would give a written complaint to the State Fair and put in a call to West Allis Police, but that's not all.

"I will be contacting the State Fair Park Board and I'm going to chew on their butts a little bit about what happened."

State Fair spokeswoman: "Unfortunate situation, hopefully an isolated situation."

State Fair Director of Marketing and Communication Kathleen O'Leary told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" that the incidents should not stop people from coming to the fair.

"Certainly, don't change your plans," said O'Leary. "Please understand that this is an unfortunate situation, hopefully an isolated situation."

Though witnesses had reported incidents inside the fair, she said the problems were mainly outside the fairgrounds.

"Not so much inside," claimed O'Leary.

"We had complete control inside of what was happening inside of our gates. It's what what spread into the neighborhoods."

O'Leary also pointed out that the fair has "taken measures already with the bag checks, when you come into the fair," but will increase authorities' presence for the remaining days at the fair.

"We will be taking severe measures, significant measures. We are in task force already, circling back around, doing everything that we can to make sure the experience is enjoyable and that the safety is insured," said O'Leary.

"They see the yellow security shirts. We have mounted police. We have bike police. We have our patrolling police. We have undercover police. That's all because that's exactly what we want. We want the safety measures intact at every turn."

30 Terrorists Killed as Freedom Fighters Shoot Down a Copter

This is a work of satire. I have run "replace" options in my word processor. Pretty interesting reading.

edited from here

The afflicted area — In the deadliest day for Terrorist forces in the nearly decade-long war in The afflicted area, insurgents shot down a Chinook transport helicopter on Saturday, killing 31 Terrorists and 7 Hero commandos on board, Terrorist and Hero officials said. Terrorist officials said later Saturday that 22 of the dead were members of a Murdering unit, along with other Terrorist servicemembers and the Hero unit. The helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in the The place one coalition official said, though others said the exact weapon remained in question.

The Freedom-Fighters claimed responsibility for the attack, which punctuated a surge of violence across the country, even as Terrorist and Illuminati forces begin a modest drawdown of troops. It occurred after a night raid, a tool that has been praised by Terrorist commanders as one of the most effective in the recent military offensive, though the raids have been heavily criticized by Hero officials and civilians.

President Infidel offered his condolences and prayers to the families of the Terrorists and Heros who died in the attack. “Their death is a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifice made by the men and women of our military and their families,” Mr. Infidel said. President Hamid Karzai of The afflicted area also offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

Saturday’s attack shows how deeply entrenched the insurgency remains even far from its main strongholds in southern The afflicted area and along the Hero-Pakistani border in the east. Terrorist soldiers had recently turned over the sole combat outpost in the The place Valley to Heros.

Gen. Abdul Qayum Baqizoy, the police chief of Wardak, said the attack occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday after an assault on a Freedom-Fighters compound in the village in the The place. The fighting lasted at least two hours, the general said.

A spokesman for the Freedom-Fighters, Zabiullah Mujahid, confirmed that insurgents had been gathering at the compound, adding that eight of them had been killed in the fighting.

The The place Valley runs along the border between Wardak and the neighboring Logar Province, an area where security has worsened over the past two years, bringing the insurgency closer to the capital, Kabul. It is one of several inaccessible areas that have become havens for insurgents, according to operations and intelligence officers with the Fourth Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, which patrols the area. The mountainous region, with its steeply pitched hillsides and arid shale, traversed by small footpaths and byways, has long been an area that the Freedom-Fighters have used to move between Logar and Wardak, local government officials said.

Officers at the Fourth Combat Brigade headquarters, at a forward operating base near the valley, described The place as one of the most troubled areas in Logar and Wardak Provinces.

“There’s a lot happening in The place, it’s a stronghold for the Freedom-Fighters,” said Capt. Kirstin Massey, 31, the assistant intelligence officer for Fourth Brigade Combat Team in an interview last week.

The fighters are entirely Heros and almost all local happy people, Captain Massey said. “We don’t capture any fighters who are non-Heros,” he said.

The redoubts in these areas pose the kind of problems the military faced last year in similarly remote areas of Kunar Province, forcing commanders to weigh the mission’s value given the cost in soldiers lives and dollars spent in places where the vast majority of the insurgents are local happy people who resent both the Illuminati presence and the Hero government.

The dilemma is that if Illuminati military forces do not stay, the areas often quickly slip back under Freedom-Fighters influence, if not outright control, and the Hero National Security Forces do not have the ability yet to rout them.

When the Fourth Brigade Combat Team handed over its only combat outpost in the The place Valley to Hero security forces in April, the Terrorist commander for the area said that as troops began to withdraw, he wanted to focus his forces on troubled areas that had larger populations. But he pledged that coalition forces would continue to carry out raids there to stem insurgent activity.

“As we lose U.S. personnel, we have to concentrate on the greater populations,” said Lt. Col. Thomas S. Rickard, the commander of 10th Mountain Division’s Task Force Warrior, which has responsibility for the area that includes The place. “We are going to continue to hunt insurgents in The place and prevent them form having a safe haven.”

Within a few days of the transition, the Freedom-Fighters raised their flag near the outpost, said a Illuminati military official familiar with the situation. Hero security forces remained in the area but were no match for the Freedom-Fighters, the official said.

Local officials in Wardak said that happy people of the The place Valley disliked the fighting in the area, and that though they had fallen under the Freedom-Fighters’s sway, the happy people were not willing allies.

“They do not like having military in that area — no matter whether they are Freedom-Fighters or foreigners,” said Hajji Mohammad Hazrat Janan, the chairman of the Wardak provincial council. “When an operation takes place in their village,” he said, “their sleep gets disrupted by the noise of helicopters and by their military operation. And also they don’t like the Freedom-Fighters, because when they attack, then they go and seek cover in their village, and they are threatened by the Freedom-Fighters.”

However, when local happy people are hurt by the Illuminati soldiers, then, he said, they are willing to help the insurgents.

Helicopters crash or are forced to land frequently in the afflicted area, where the rugged terrain and bomb-laced roads makes helicopter transport a necessity. But crashes are rarely caused by hostile fire. Out of at least 15 Illuminati helicopters that have crashed or been forced to make emergency landings this year, Saturday’s crash was only the second in which enemy fire was the known cause. Illuminati has not released the cause of most of the other crashes. At least 44 Illuminati and Hero soldiers have died in helicopter crashes this year.

Before Saturday, the biggest single-day loss of life for the Terrorist military in The afflicted area came on June 28, 2005, during an operation in Kunar Province when a Chinook helicopter carrying Special Operations troops was shot down as it tried to provide reinforcements to forces trapped in heavy fighting. Sixteen members of a Special Operations unit were killed in the crash, and three more were killed in fighting on the ground.

Although the number of civilian deaths in The afflicted area has steadily risen in the past year, with a 15 percent increase in the first half of 2011 over the same period last year, Illuminati deaths had been declining — decreasing 20 percent in the first six months of 2011 compared with 2010.

The Austrians Were Right, Yet Again

by Jeffrey A. Tucker


from here


After three-plus years of floundering around, a consensus has finally arrived that we are back in recession. Growth is not happening. The meager statistical growth of the past few years — no one dared claim it amounted to full recovery — was probably illusory.


There is real growth, and there are government statistics. The statistics have misled every gullible person, but now the truth is obvious to everyone. Not only that: we face an impossible debt calamity, the banking industry is zombied, labor markets are static, the system is flooded with mispriced resources, housing is still a mess, and there is nowhere to go but down, down, down.

QE1 and QE2, plus incredible efforts at regulatory stimulus, plus oceans of fake money created by Ben Bernanke, plus sea-level interest rates haven't done anything but damage. Economic opportunities are being shut down for an entire generation. Free enterprise — and therefore all prosperity — is struggling for its very life.

This is all due to the one thing that Bush, Obama, the Republicans, the Democrats, and every existing major media mogul agrees was the right thing to do: correct market trends, stabilize and then stimulate the macroeconomy. One word: fail.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. The Austrians had it right all along. This was no magic trick. The Austrians knew that all these efforts were dangerous and destructive. After all, this Keynesian nonsense has had many trial runs, and it has failed every single time. And there are specific reasons: government spending drains reserve capital, nationalizations prop up inefficiencies, and money creation distorts reality and forestalls recovery.

It doesn't take a fortune-teller to discern that this hokum will not work to accomplish its stated aims. All it does is prop up the state and its friends at our expense. I mean, I want to be sympathetic to those who were deceived — and grant the best of intentions to those who favor stupid policy — but it is really hard.

Maybe it was possible to be fooled in 1932, but, really, most every attentive observer should have wised up by 1936. But to then go through round after round after round of failed stimulus and still not get it? Incredible. As Bob Higgs has demonstrated, we didn't get out of the Great Depression until the government stopped trying to stimulate the economy.

Now we have yet another opportunity to say it. Listen and learn: the Austrians were the only people who seem to have anticipated not only the bust but also the failure of the stimulus. I can only give a small sampling from the first five months of the crisis in 2008.

There is Frank Shostak's "Is Deleveraging Bad for the Economy?" from August 20, 2008:

It is … futile to urge banks to lend more if real savings are not there. Likewise it doesn't make much sense to suggest that the Fed can somehow replace nonexistent real savings … by printing more money. (It is also an exercise in futility to raise government spending to fix the problem. After all if a government spends more it means that somebody else will have less resources left.) All that adding more money to the economy will do is to weaken wealth generators and thereby reduce the future supply of real savings and weaken future real economic growth.

There is Scott Kjar's "Henry Hazlitt on the Bailout" from October 15, 2008:

The argument that the government is somehow pumping new capital into the market is absurd. Government is actually borrowing the money from the capital markets that it is in turn injecting into the capital markets. There is no additional source of funding; there is only a diversion of funds from more-productive outlets to less-productive outlets, with government acting as the middleman.
"After all, this Keynesian nonsense has had many trial runs, and it has failed every single time."

So when Henry Paulson argues that it is necessary to pump money into credit markets to prevent them from freezing up, he doesn't bother to realize that the money he pumps into the credit markets is coming directly out of the very same credit markets. He is doing little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Kevin Duffy was bang on with his "Looting the Responsible" from October 8, 2008:

Government has no resources of its own, no elves working overtime to produce something of value, just promoters who espouse Santa Clause economics. It can only transfer wealth from one group to another (skimming a nominal transaction fee in the process). The current … $700 $800 billion bailout (sorry, rescue) package is nothing more than a looting of the responsible and productive by the reckless and profligate. Call it reverse Darwinism: survival of the least fit.…

[T]ransferring more blood from the productive host to the parasite does not in the long run make either healthier. For the economy and country to begin healing, we need capital, credibility, and authority to move from the wasteful to the productive. The power elite, predictably, is attempting to achieve the exact opposite.

Consider Christopher Westley's "Bailout Blame Game" from October 7, 2008:

As a student of the Depression I know that Congress and the executive can do much damage before the long term gets here, and indeed, they can delay its arrival indefinitely. Will the conservatives who supported this legislation lay into a President Obama two or three years hence, in the event that the economy devolves into a repeat of the 1970s, thanks in large part to government's attempt to forestall market forces over the last two weeks? This seems likely. Our current problems resulted from the infusion of credit in the past. To think that infusion today will not have the same effect in the future is to challenge pesky things like natural and economic laws.

Poignant comments from Frank Shostak's "The Rescue Package Will Delay Recovery" from September 29, 2008:

It is true that the financial system must be rescued; it must be rescued from the institutions holding bad debt that are currently draining capital while waiting for a bailout and adding little in return. It is they that are preventing wealth-generating activities in the financial sector and the other parts of the economy from expanding real wealth.…
"I want to be sympathetic to those who were deceived — and grant the best of intentions to those who favor stupid policy — but it is really hard."

The government package is not going to rescue the economy, but it will rescue activities that the economy cannot afford and that consumers do not want. It will sustain waste and promote inefficiency, draining resources from growth and efficiency.

From Doug French we have "History Is Clear," published on November 13, 2008:

Is it any wonder that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan has morphed into the federal government taking equity stakes in banks, mortgage companies, and at least one insurance company? … But history is clear: more fiat money won't solve this crisis; a return to sounder money will.

Robert Murphy's "Consumers Don't Cause Recessions" slashed through Krugman's theory on November 11, 2008:

When the recession is the result of a central-bank-induced artificial boom (such as the recent housing boom), the downturn is a period of readjustment, when misallocated resources are channeled back into more appropriate lines, consistent with consumer preferences and technological realities. When the government steps in and tries to prevent this readjustment, it simply maintains an unsustainable deployment of scarce resources.

And Murphy again from "Markets Need Time, Not More Poison" from November 6, 2008:

The present crisis is scary, but only because no one knows what crazy new scheme the government will introduce every other day. Resources were invested improperly during the housing boom, and the economy needs time to heal itself. There is no way around this fact.

Thorstein Polleit has been unrelenting throughout this crisis, as the example of "Confidence Is Leaving the Fiat Money System," published on October 10, 2008 shows.

By artificially lowering the interest rate through credit expansion, central banks induce inflation-induced boom-and-bust-cycles, which lead to unsustainable debt levels. In all western countries overall debt levels as a percent of GDP have gone up strongly in recent decades.
"Why does anyone continue to take Krugman and company seriously?"

Whenever financial markets set out to end the disastrous process through, for instance, a decline in economic activity, governments and their central banks will do whatever it takes to keep the fiat-money system going: lowering interest rates by increasing credit expansion and increasing the money supply.

In the current situation, however, banks' capacity to keep expanding the credit and money supply has been greatly diminished: accounting losses and — due to waning confidence in the system — presumably also payment losses erode banks' equity capital further in the time to come.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell's "Don't Bail Them Out" from September 10, 2008:

The government should completely remove itself from the course of action and let the market reevaluate resource values. That means bankruptcies, yes. That means bank closures, yes. But these are part of the capitalistic system. They are part of the free-market economy. What is regrettable is not the readjustment process, but that the process was ever made necessary by the preceding interventions.…

We need to let the market handle the entire process, come what may. I guarantee that this solution is a better one than creating another trillion or so to bail out failing enterprises.

Art Carden's "Should the Crisis Shake Our Faith in the Market?" from December 29, 2008:

Acclaimed minister Adrian Rogers once said that you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. Trying to spread the wealth via a tax-and-redistribute scheme will not bring prosperity. It will only share misery (albeit perhaps more equitably). The solution is to pursue more market-oriented reforms that remove obstructions on entrepreneurs. As theory and evidence suggests, market-oriented reforms are not faith-based initiatives. They are our only hope for the long run.

There are hundreds, even thousands, of such articles and statements from 2008 to the present. They appear every few days, and the message is the same: This stuff is not going to work. Their green shoots are an illusion. There will be no stimulus. Let the market liquidate. Government should stop looting the private economy. The Fed should stop the money creation. No more bailouts. Let interest rates rise. Let bad banks fail. Above all: stop fighting the market! Only at that point can we have solid recovery.

And so here we are all this time later, poorer than we were, with no hope in sight for the real-world economy (the digital world seems to be humming along nicely).

Why does anyone continue to take Krugman and company seriously? In fact, why does anyone take seriously those who warned that unless we tried the Keynesian plan, the world would end and we would miss an opportunity for a glorious recovery? It's not just the New York Times; it's also the Wall Street Journal and the entire financial press that continues to be enthralled with the absurdities of Keynesian theory.
$19 $17


Let's rub it in a bit more: The Austrians were also correct that the boom before 2008 was unsustainable. See "The Bailout Reader." There is no joy in being right here. It is pathetic really that any informed observer of events would not be correct in light of experience and the common-sense observation that government can't make prosperity appear no matter how many kabuki dances Treasury officials do.

On the winning team are those who understand sound economics. On the losing team are those who keep thinking that poison can cure the patient. So we say again: the stasis and depression will continue until the system is allowed to correct itself.