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    Powell seems to have been a pretty straight arrow. If he recited bad intelligence at the U.N. and to the American public, I have to believe that he believed the intelligence he was receiving. Whether that justified the way it was ultimately handled is a different question.

    The following also comes from the article I cited above:

    In his defense, Gen. Powell cited a sense of duty and obedience to presidential authority. “It’s just like in the military — you argue, you debate something, but once the president has made a decision, that becomes a decision for the Cabinet,” he said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in July 2009.

    At least part of both my daughters’ livelihoods are based on environmentally-conscious consulting. One daughter turned down an offer years ago as a fresh agricultural science uni grad, from a Monsanto-like (GMO agricultural product) company when my advice might have been something like “try to make changes from within”. (BTW my issue wasn’t with GMO science, but with customizing seeds in a way to eternally suit the companies’ business model.) The other daughter’s currently trying to fill that kind of “internal” role within a Southern California energy utility, and voices the frustration. (I sometimes feel guilty wondering how much my advice may have nudjed her into following a fool’s errand, but at least she was pretty savvy about knowing what she was getting into.) I fell into line with Powell’s support for the war, before I learned for sure how Bush/Cheney et al were embellishing their cherry-picked intelligence reports… the war support for which Powell later apologized for.

    If that sounded tangential, I was voicing support for Powell’s attempt to act with integrity while “on the inside”. In this case, two different kinds of conflicting integrity… that people can be faced with in real life.

    Politicians very rarely apologize for any misjudgements, but Powell did. Looking back, I was often surprised by how long he lasted in the Bush administration.



    Was there an answer to my question in there somewhere?

    Whoops sorry, no… I was answering a different question while quoting the wrong text. (I’ve no idea what I was doing!)

    I think the United States is China’s Golden Goose, so I’m not too worried about a hot war with China, but North Korea…?




    I was so relieved to learn that little George prayed about Iraq and the lord told him….’yeah do it’.

    LOL, just like those who piloted those planes.



    My contention is again that once it is developed it begins at a preconscious or unconscious level.

    So in your case, what do you mean by “once it is developed”? Did it not take effort to develop the skill of analytical thinking? On another important note, I’ll claim here that the ability to think critically can also vary from person to person, requiring more effort in one than another. It’s great that it seems to come naturally to you, but there is, after all, some variations of different brain functions in the species.

    I can tell you for sure, for myself — albeit anecdotally, if I’m emotionally charged when presented with an issue to argue against, I fumble around to re-interpret in my head how the issue should be resolved with logic. And sometimes I’ll make the wrong “guess” at first, and correct it after some thought… and some of us need more training and practice than others.

    I’m not arguing that you’re not right about how spotting fallacies comes with little effort to you, I’m arguing that we don’t necessarily execute thoughts in the same ways as each other… and some of us need more training and practice than others.



    Question: Can Taiwan realistically be protected from ultimate seizure by China? If you admit that China will ultimately absorb Taiwan, should the United States commit blood and treasure to protecting it?

    Somehow I missed this post before. That would be quite a large project for China to take on, but perhaps they could afford to “buy out” NK’s leadership, and institute a customized long march for NK… it could even be the most humane thing to do for NK’s population, if it were managed over a generation’s time or so.



    Hypersonic offensive and defensive weaponry’s been in the making for years now, so this is not as surprising to experts as the article implies (even in the headline). I saw a few errors in the flashy drawing, but the threat of these new weapons is nevertheless real. The most reliable mode of defense has to be space based and/or laser/particle beam, or even faster hypersonic technology. (It just occurred to me how Musk’s SpaceX capabilities could play a huge part in deploying a majority of the space based stuff.) China obviously thinks it can do what it wants without regard to internationally recognized agreements in the long run (or “march”).

    Your suggestion of allying more closely to India sounds to me like the most effective strategy. As for North Korea, it’s the most populated and closely managed cult in the world, and is less predictable, except for its potential to behave erratically and out of bounds. I don’t put it past China to surreptitiously use them like a tool or surrogate force against South Korea or against other nations within their ballistic missile range. Any predictions about North Korea will be very speculative, until the cult gets overthrown somehow, which (imo) makes the prospect of liquidating the top leadership the least unpalatable option, and the sooner the better.



    What we ought to be spending money on is on helping India develop into a power rivaling China. It has a larger population, more competent scientists, and is positioned to be a superpower that can balance and restrain China from its goal of dominating Asia.

    A tiny Indian archipelago makes China nervous



    If you are reasoning reasonably well it is apparent without any formal introduction to the fallacy.

    I’m with Enco on this one. “Reasoning” takes skill, and conscious consideration. Human brains evolved almost entirely long before we had enough language in our thinking processes to even categorize the kinds of our own thinking that were possible, much less the kinds of thinking we’d become increasingly capable of due to using increasingly nuanced language to communicate with each other. I.e., the more advanced forms of reasoning we’re capable of not only takes years of formal training and experience, but took thousands of years to advance culturally, and hundreds of years to formalize in educational settings. IMO, the example you gave only emphasizes what I’m saying… you had to consciously learn, hone, and practice those thought processes, not to mention you had to choose to do those kinds of learning and thinking.

    I have to admit that in my critical thinking class, I got tired of all the nitpicking in terms of the language that explains concepts like “fallacies”, especially when I realized how culturally-specific the textbooks are on this, e.g. how exact definitions in English (or even English specific to USA) mattered. I was disappointed that my  Western-based class in critical thinking never expanded its focus to include a wider range of cultures around the world.

    Still, it seems the percent of humans on this planet who’ve been taught, much less are capable of any form of critical thinking are perilously small. I conclude that critical thinking is rarely, if ever a default ability or practice among us.

    By the way, I think you’re the master of language among our members, alongside Unseen, Reg, and maybe a few others whom I haven’t seen write here as often and recently as I’d like. For some strange reason I’m on a streak of learning new vocabulary, and I must have bookmarked a dozen words in my dictionary in the past couple of weeks, mostly from your posts. After decades I finally looked up the word “specious” because I thought it meant something like “only true in very specific contexts”, but I kept seeing it used not in that way.

    So my next thought was to ask you if there’s a word like that, i.e. a word that describes a writer’s/speaker’s kind of over-generalizing conclusion, when to be more accurate, one should have more clearly limited the context. E.g., just a few minutes ago, I was reading someone claiming that the Moderna vaccine should be banned because it causes dangerous cardiac inflammation. The fact is, the data only shows a very rare occurrence of that side-effect, and the studies on it are still incomplete, so it’s wrong to make any broader claims.

    To make my question shorter but in the above context, do you know of a word that works better than “cherry-picking”, or “anecdotal” when it comes to selecting  sparse evidence to support a claim? (Circumstantial comes to mind too, but it doesn’t seem that would work in my vaccine side-effect example.)



    Rest assured, it wasn’t my intention to derail Unseen’s thread on Taiwan.

    I think it’s ok to go off-topic if it’s ok with the topic’s creator. I probably would have let an off-topic comment or two stay, but it grew into more posts even after Unseen asked to keep the topic on Taiwan… plus I agree that Israel’s worthy of it’s own topic anyway.



    So, who’s safer now? A Jew living in Paris, New York, or Copenhagen, or a Jew living in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Haifa?

    Same question about Palestinians, albeit in this case I pose the question more cynically.

    Thinking now of larger contexts, and how humanity’s taken an evolved penchant for band and tribal competitions and extended their cultures to impose hegemony at global scales. I’m actually not being cynical there, but pointing out an unfortunate aspect of human nature that’s been with us for tens or more thousands of years and has grown in affect alongside our technological, political, and religious growths. (Hint: Some growths are called “tumors”.)

    In one of many larger contexts — which I think about, arguably obsessively, how would an extraterrestrial cultural anthropologist summarize humanity’s behaviors, notwithstanding all their science fiction’s self-depictions? [omg, that rhymes, said the obsessive sapiens self examiner]

    Enter the concept of New Israel [sic] during WWI, severely affecting Palestine. Enter China as a communist superpower with plutocratic tendencies that can increasingly out-compete with capitalistic plutocracies. Add a lot of other human history, too.

    While the alien anthropologist is probably just an AI entity sent on its way to here some thousands or millions of years ago while it was still just a tiny zygote-like seed that could be accelerated to a sufficient percentage of light speed before being decelerated for Earth orbit where it could self-assemble into something larger and heavier.

    I just saw a YT vid of Musk saying how an entire galaxy could be populated with intelligent life, even within a relatively short time frame. It starts about 2 minutes in:


    Yeah, I’ll move this from the topic on Israel to another topic now. [oh noze, another blog entry! i shan’t derail the topic on Israel]

    Reg and others, I started a reply to my confessional post above, but it got waaay too long. I’ve so much to say, but should format it for, and link from here to my unHoarding website… which btw isn’t up, yet.

    I’m just going All Over the Place right now. Or maybe it’s not actually Me, but just My Brain. After all, it’s only gonads that have a true purpose in life and any multiverse-compatible, scientifically-logical reason to exist.

    (Come on, no one else wants some kind of blog option here at AZ? I feel so alone!)

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: edits, ongoing for much longer than they should, but i promise to finish within a half hour or so


    I think the possibility of war over Taiwan is about as important a topic as there is and Pope Beanie actually started such a thread, maybe in response to my plea.

    Yes, but I neglected to make a new post here that links to where I moved those posts.



    I don’t have a strong desire to debate the topics about wife vs husband interests, but whether or not the state has a vital interest is more central to the general topic of abortion.

    The quick and short answer to that is No; the state’s only interest should be in terms of defining terms and making law, while executing enforcement of those laws.

    Without going deeper into the conversation you’re asking us to not talk about, I’ll just summarize by pointing out that each state already has laws outlining end of life definitions and who can make medical decisions.

    So it seems reasonable to me that beginning of life definitions, lawmaking, and decisions could mostly use the same types of definitions and lawmaking as the end of life laws; such as how medical professionals and the subjects closest family members can assess a subject’s “cognitive agency” and purported will to be treated in terms of life support and life continuation, vs (say) DNR.

    An embryo or fetus obviously doesn’t have any cognitive agency, much less an ability to imagine it’s own future, lack thereof, or concern for its own future.



    California vs Covid, and myself vs VA Covid Vax Proof

    As a Californian, I like this story and its map:

    California is only state with ‘moderate’ COVID-19 transmission after case rate falls again

    Other stories on same day:


    A personal story wrt VA proof of covid vaccination

    But first, a really long sidenote, spontaneous and completely unplanned.

    The VA health provider systems been awesome to me for the past ten years or so. IMO, it’s a model for what socialized health care should and could be for all USA citizens, for both medical and psych needs. To this day, I’m still receiving mental health services.

    It began ten years ago with treatment for depression, which basically required only Prozac for a few years as prescribed by a psychiatrist in six month intervals, and  with personalized, weekly therapy from a certified counselor.

    Within a year or so of starting the psych therapy, it became apparent that the cause of my depression was several decades of severe social anxiety, which I’d been experiencing since around puberty. I was comfortable and very functional on a one-to-one personal level, but once I was in the close physical company of more than a few people, I became quiet and fearful. With larger crowds (e.g. at parties), it almost always got so bad that I couldn’t even follow, much less contribute to, the simplest of everyday conversations that people around me were having. I’d get a headache almost every time from the stress of just being with a few friends, but in a pool hall with a lot of people.

    So as my depression therapy led to relatively quick success, treatment for social anxiety became my focus for the next six years or so, which included enrollment in Junior College classes. It was really tough at first, with difficulty focusing in every class, and I failed several classes before being successful in an increasing percentage of classes, until about three years ago when I really started enjoying them. I could interact with students and instructor in the classroom, even with humor that made them laugh, and even when I was almost always the oldest guy in class by far. Instructors gave me better grades than I deserved on paper, because I contributed a lot to the class in terms of interaction. I got my first degree ever, a two-year AS degree in Natural Science, with a lot of additional medically oriented courses on top of it.

    Before these successes, I’d been divorced from a wife who’d been the household earner while I couldn’t function in a job, I lived solitary in a garage with no health insurance, and she just finally had to give up on me. She made enough income for me to be ineligible for low income services. Then I became officially homeless, which, after the high stress of first getting rid of all my belongings that wouldn’t fit into a minivan, turned out to be fortunate.

    Enter my daughters. (I’m tearing up now, recalling this.) They jumped in, driving me around town for a week, signing me up for this or that service provided by the community, and by the VA. I was only officially homeless for a few days before I got super, super lucky with a vacancy at a charity-provided veterans halfway house that houses seven vets at a time. Most of the other vets’ problems ran deeper than mine in the long run, due to drug and alcohol addictions, or being homeless with HIV,  requiring more psychiatric care than me. I soon felt caring and comfortable enough to be among them for over a year.

    Finally cured of depression and several decades of severe social anxiety, I’ve one more problem to fix, which is severe hoarding. (My current therapist and I feel that hoarding is probably a psychological defense mechanism that started at the very beginning stages of my social anxiety, back in high school, to always have an excuse to not have people come and visit me.)

    Reg, when you mentioned you had recently visited my town, I didn’t think to invite you to my place. This is why. No one’s been in my apartment in the past six or so years, other than my daughters when they need to use the bathroom, or routine inspections from property management that I couldn’t refuse.

    Hoarding is a newly recognized mental disorder, with its own diagnosis code, but once just lumped into the OCD category. Lucky again, the VA actually reached out to me to participate in their new group therapy sessions for hoarders, based in San Francisco. Over the past year since I and four other hoarders completed group therapy, we’ve continued to privately meet online every single week. Most of us don’t take visitors or talk about our hoarding with other people. At 67, I’m the youngest, and the oldest guy just had his 80th birthday. He’s the only guy who’s still married, with motivation to make progress so his relatives can visit more and more often.

    I’m taking classes now to focus on website development, because I’ve had hopes for decades that I could create a few unique websites where I can finally contribute to the community, including a website to help hoarders fix themselves. I’ve accumulated — ok, in spite of it usually being a bad behavior for me — enough audio equipment and expertise to start a podcast. My therapist says she’d like to join a forum or group of fellow therapists working in this area, if I get that far. SHE gets excited when I talk about it! Meanwhile, this hoarding website is just one “niche presence” I hope to be working on. The others are more conventional, but still nichy, and none are planned for making profit. I hope to pay back to the communities at large that have helped me.

    Ok, back on topic, about the only gripe I have wrt VA health care is that for months, I’ve been trying to get a copy of a covid vaccination card that I lost. I tried several different avenues via the VA system, and they all said they can’t do it. I tried to see if there’s anything on file for me at CDC or State of California, and apparently, the VA is so privacy oriented that they haven’t communicated my records to the state or feds. They don’t ask me for permission to share my vax record, they just don’t have a mandate to share… I don’t get this, but it is what it is, and I finally gave up on them.

    I really want a proof of vax card because I primarily travel on public transportation, plus I want to be able to show proof in private establishments. So, realizing that no authorized vaxing agencies out there seem to be communicating with each other, I thought what the fuck, I’m just going to lie to one of those agencies, say I need my first vaccination, and get my damn card. I chose the J&J Janssen shot so I can be officially immune in two weeks with one shot instead of waiting six weeks for a two-shot regimen to complete.

    But I discovered that all places I looked into who were claiming they have and give J&J shots in my county ended up saying sorry, don’t have it at this time. So I looked up J&J vaccs within a 60 mile radius (via a CDC website), and found a non-profit about 30 miles south of me in another county that’s reaching out to Latino communities, and I booked a shot. Got there, lied about my vax status, got my shot from some really nice people who were happy to see me, and most importantly, got my proof of vax card, right there, right then. Woohoo! They said I’d automatically be added the state database (and I assume CDC as well), so I’m all set now. BTW, that was about three weeks ago, and like with my two previous ModeRNA shots, I had no side effects at all.



    Genetically inheritable adaptation only works when death is programmed into each species, i.e. when old makes way for the new. I didn’t know or remember about the short lives of octopi, but there must be some selective advantage to their having frequent generations… from what I just read, I surmise that their selection pressures are the need to adapt across generations to dynamic environmental conditions — most notably temperature, light and the lack of nutrition. Shorter, more frequent generations apparently reduces long term risks of overpopulation.

    I think more about death these days, but so far, only in terms of how I want to accomplish goals before my time’s up. In light of Authoritarianist DJ McNasty and His Nastily Nationalistic Hegemonites and Fellow Let-God-Sort-Them-Out Social Darwinists, I’ve felt at times that maybe striving to improve humanity is hopeless. But most of the time I feel like I have to keep trying anyway. Delusions, illusions, schmillusions notwithstanding.



    Some illusions (e.g., natural camouflage of moths and lizards, for example) operate quite well on very low forms of life that we might think of as having primitive brains but maybe not true minds, but work not so well on higher orders of intelligence.

    True, as evolutionary pressures have favored the development of camouflage with or without brains, while brains have evolved that can more accurately deduce realities wrt assessing predator or prey circumstances, or even further, mimic and fake behaviors. Meanwhile, more advanced brains can accidentally invent new and detrimental illusions as a side-effect to inventing more advanced and beneficial assessments of reality.

    The way some octupi can dynamically camouflage to match their physical surroundings is particularly interesting, because they can do this with mini-brains (so to speak) in their tentacles and body that receive light input in those parts of the tentacles and body. I would save the word “illusion” for what’s happening in human, or maybe even philosophical brains. What probably bugs me the most is how often scientists use that term when it just doesn’t add to the particular scientific discussion.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: much later, i removed my "whoops" clause, thinking then i was off-topic
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