These pages have not until November, 2004 been linked from any web site.
 They are now linked from the October, 2004's Explorepdx "Have you noticed..." via the dot in the exclamation point, "Don't dumb down!" .
You can find magic in places you never before thought to look.
For every action there is...
Letters from Southern California
from Jer
Believe only SOME of what you read.

about the lead-up to the new kind of war,
the war on Iraq.

Here is an elegant reflection on where we stand today and a plea to . . .

June 22. 2004

A Time To Weep
by Theodore Sorensen

Full text of commencement address to the New School University on May 21, 2004.

"This is not a speech. Two weeks ago I set aside the speech I prepared. This is a cry from the heart, a lamentation for the loss of this country's goodness and therefore its greatness. 

"Future historians studying the decline and fall of America will mark this as the time the tide began to turn -- toward a mean-spirited mediocrity in place of a noble beacon..."

"...The stain on our credibility, our reputation for decency and integrity, will not quickly wash away..."

November 7, 2004

The Politics of Victimization
by Mel Gilles

Mel Gilles, who has worked for many years as an advocate for victims of  domestic abuse, draws some parallels between her work and the reaction of many Democrats to the election.-- Mathew Gross

"Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated  before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and  career of over thirty years.... Listen as Donna and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer take to the airwaves saying that they have to go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to be better, more likable, more appealing, have a stronger message, speak to morality."

"Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior.  Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even  once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one  question..."

A direction for future investigations that must be taken very seriously
November 6, 2004

Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked
by Thom Hartmann


"This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play." 

1.  Exit polls are very reliable statistical tools used to test the honesty of elections in third-world countries.

2.  Statistical concepts are more often than not not understood: if they were widely understood, gambling casinos and lotteries would be extremely rare. 

3.  The advertising techniques intensively used in the 2004 elections--and one of Carl Rove's trademark techniques--are based on the principles elucidated in The Fine Art of Propaganda published by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1939.  American mass media are saturated with this kind of very effective persuasion. See PAP.

4.  Testable hypothesis: The very sharp split in the American electorate in 2004 is caused by the sharp differences in intellectual abilities needed to critically evlauate (and effectively use) information--perhaps the most important function of education.  (Preference in the election should strongly correlate with readership in Consumer Reports?)

5.  The election of 2004 appears to be the erosion of democracy that John Platt warned about more than 40 years ago: "What We Must Do"

Today (May-June 2005) ?
George Galloway makes some observations that are seen by some as "merely his opinions."
Others see his observations as facts which must be worked into any valid conclusions about future actions.
Many see conclusions, especially if they are political, as not subject to guidelines of logic: "All opinions are equally valid."
Here lies
The slippery slopes of oversimplification

Look here "for a man rare enough to tell the truth to the US Congress."

Short Tales from Bizarro World 
by William Rivers Pitt


"I met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met  him. The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns, and to give him  maps the better to target those guns." --George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, 05/17/05    You know things have gone more than a bit around the  bend when it takes a British MP with a hard Scottish brogue to throw a little truth  against the walls of the U.S. Senate chamber to see what will stick."

The "Bizarro World" described here exemplifies a core oversimplification about which we build our pseudoscience, our destructive human relationships (politics that sets each side plundering the other, for example), and our blundering into disaster (playing the lottery to climb out of poverty, for example).

The oversimplification is that of cherry-picking the facts -- it's the "Prove Anything Ploy" (PAP), it's the power behind propaganda (and Orwell's "newspeak" and the GOP's "Newtspeak").

It's also steeped in the ubiquitous inverted implication, the bizarre responses we make, and observe others making, when we immerse ourselves in, for example, that simple-but-difficult puzzle of selecting cards, Wason's Card Puzzle.

If you feel strongly that someone is making some point that is fundamentally irrational, but you can't quite put your finger on exactly what's wrong with it, odds are that implications are getting imiproperly inverted; odds are that unnoticed oversimplifications are being made that render the argument meaningless; and the odds are very good that you can get some flashes of insight (EUREKA!) about it by looking deeply in these "places that you never before thought to look." 

Vandana Shiva
It's important to build up more and more recoinitions of why Vandana Shiva also said, "Once you see it you can never again not see it."
Some common oversimplifications:
Punitive Morality
Linear Ranking
Abstraction Shallowness
"The Singles"


We think of something we would like to be true.

Do we concentrate on confirmations?

Do we concentrate on disconfirmations?
The first leads to pseudoscience.
The second leads to science.
The first is the easier way.
The second is the harder way.
The first is a slippery slope to disaster.
The second is necessary to avoid slippery slopes.
This first is to dumb down.
The second is to wise up.
The first could be the current human path in evolution.
The second is the path that got us where we are.

Look back further in mournful reflection:

Some earlier Letters from Southern California are given here for their historical interest.
They remind us of some assiduously ignored facts about the 2000 presidential election:

11/10/00  The Elderly Jews of Southern Florida...and 62 Years Ago Tonight  Michael Moore
11/14/00  The Presidency.  Just Another Perk  Michael Moore
11/17/00  Blame Monica!  Michael Moore
11/17/00  Sworn Affidavit  Richard Yellin 

Those with EXPLOREPDX above the box have, on the linked page, references to the "steps to better understanding of science" which are featured throughout Explore the Physicists' Domain.
A few of the "Comments" have such references, too.
The lead-up to "war."


Twas' the Night Before Christmas--2002
December, 2002 Doug Fuller
Comment:  Fascism is "THEM."  Bush is "US."  That makes fascism and Bush opposites.
"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
not a critic was stirring, for stirring was banned.
A thousand brown prisoners, snug in their cells,
all held without charges or tinsel or bells;..."
The United States of America Has Gone Mad:
Comment:  "This, too, is terribly overstated...  Ignore it!"
 "The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press. "
If You Want to Win the Election, Just Control the Voting Machine:
Comment:  Very few citizens understand statistics well enough to recognize how to use this major tool of modern science.
 "Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit polling to such a science that it's now sometimes used to verify how clean elections are in Third World countries, it really did suddenly become inaccurate in the United States in the past six years and just won't work here anymore. Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around the same time corporate-programmed, computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines began recording and tabulating ballots. But if any of this is true, there's not much of a paper trail from the voters' hand to prove it. "

2/9/03  Truth behind poison factory claim: Luke Harding

Ed Gernon lost his job when he:
Comment (Anon. 1): "This is a Bush bashing article in disguise.  Not worthy of a rationalist's time."
Comment (Anon. 2):  "I beg to differ. It's VERY worthy of a "rationalist's" time and consideration. It's about the suppression of free speech.  Please show where...(cont)"
Comment (Anon. 1): "...hang on to your flag a moment.  No where in your ad hominem (Bush et al.) diatribe did you mention conditions of Iraqis under Sadam, you forgot 9/11, you did not mention weapons of mass destruction, and remember this war is a done deal ... live with it."
"Don't give up your vote," he said. "Don't ever give up your right to think, to feel, to have a voice. That's what this kind of leader does to you. There's a sense that each person would be better if they surrendered to this greater good."
Look at "Language, a Key Mechanism of Control," and consult the Propagandacritic (Temple University

2/15/03  Merci for the French Connection: Justin Vaisse

The Bottom Line on Iraq: It's the Bottom Line: 
2/19/03   Arianna Huffington
Comment:  "I agree with Arianna.  We are damn close to treason here.   But, of course, the guilty in the administration,  just like the bosses at Enron, World Com, and all the others,  will never pay the penalty."
 "To hell with worldwide protests, an unsupportive Security Council, a diplomatically dubious Hans Blix, an Osama giddy at the prospect of a united Arab world and a panicked populace grasping at the very slender reed of duct tape and Saran Wrap to protect itself from the inevitable terrorist blow-back, the business of America is still business." 

Wrongfully Jailed in South Africa: 
 "The FBI refused to comment on the case yesterday. John Lewis, of the US attorney's office spokesman, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'We had the wrong man. He deserves an apology and he certainly gets one from me. I do apologise and others, I'm sure, will as well.'" 

 Letter of Resignation: 
 "When our friends are afraid of us rather than for us, it is time to worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly that the United States is as it was, a beacon of  liberty, security, and justice for the planet?

3/5/03  Arrested for wearing a peace t-shirt: Damita Chambers

 The Logic of War: 
3/13/03   Peter Freundlich
"Let me see if I understand the logic of this right.

"We are going to ignore the UN to make clear to Saddam Hussein that the UN cannot be ignored.

"We are going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to avert war...

When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of... 
Reason Why  George McGovern
Comment: "That's far too extreme, ignore what he says."
 "But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media..." 

Iraq is a Trial Run: 
Comment:  "Walk together, talk together oh ye people of the earth then and only then shall ye have peace."
"This should be seen as a trial run. Iraq is seen as an extremely easy and totally defenceless target. It is assumed, probably correctly, that the society will collapse, that the soldiers will go in and that the U.S. will be in control, and will establish the regime of its choice and military bases. They will then go on to the harder cases that will follow. The next case could be the Andean region, it could be Iran, it could be others." 

Why we are in Iraq:
 "They thought they would get another try with the strategy plans next year, but the American people voted them out of power. Some guy from Arkansas became president, and they were furious. They spent their years in exile well. They learned, studied and organized, and now as a group they have entered the government and have key positions in the State Department and in the Defense Department, and now have a hammerlock on the national security policy apparatus of the US. For them, Iraq is just the beginning. As one of the official said to me 'we have a long 'to do' list.'" 

3/25/03  Dollar vs Euro:  W. Clark

3/28/03  Thank You Great Leader, George W. Bush: Paulo Coelho

3/30/03  Bracing for Bush's War at Home: Chisun Lee

4/4/03  Some Worry U.S. May Bend Fact for Policy: Scott Shane

4/6/03  No Amount of PR Will Disguise the fact... Mary Riddell

A letter from Portland:

"I Stand For Peace and Justice...
Comment: "Like you, we too have been inundated by statements, petitions and protests. Am forwarding this for one compelling reason - and that is the unprecedented collective raising of voices from around the world which has undoubtedly made an impact in ways which we might not fully appreciate at this moment."
"I stand for solidarity. I stand for and with all the poor and the   excluded. Despite massive disinformation millions oppose unjust,   illegal, immoral war, and I want to add my voice to theirs. I stand   with moral leaders all over the world, with world labor, and with   the huge majority of the populations of countries throughout the   world.
"I stand for justice. I stand against economic, political, and cultural institutions that promote a rat race mentality, huge economic and power inequalities, corporate domination even unto sweatshop and slave labor, racism, and gender and sexual hierarchies.

4/7/03  Where are the WMD? Robert Novak

4/7/03  Letter from: Michael Moore

A Picture of Killing...: 
Comment:  Not exactly the impression you get from our managed newscasts. 
"Death's embrace gave the bodies intimacies they never knew in life. Strangers, bloodied and blackened, wrapped their arms around others, hugging them close.

A man's hand rose disembodied from the bottom of the heap of corpses to rest on the belly of a man near the top. A blue stone in his ring glinted as an Iraqi orderly opened the door of the morgue..." 

4/10/03  Beliefs of American Population: Amanda Chesworth

4/12/03  Why did you say we are invading Iraq?  The war explained.

4/12/03  Letter [to W]  from: Barbara Atwood

4/14/03  Corporate Reform Weekly, from: Citizen Works

Stop corporate tax dodging
"...big corporations are using increasingly complicated schemes to avoid paying taxes, dedicating armies of lawyers and accountants to puncture every loophole in the tax code and hiring lobbyists to write new ones."
Behind Our Backs
4/15/03 Paul Krugman
Comment: Does this scare you?  If not, why not?
"For the overwhelming political lesson of the last year is that war works - that is, it's an excellent cover for the Republican Party's domestic political agenda. In fact, war works in two ways. The public rallies around the flag, which means the President and his party; and the public's attention is diverted from other issues. 

"As long as the nation is at war, then, it will be hard to get the public to notice what the flagwavers are doing behind our backs."

Why the Anti-War Movement Was Right: 
The whole pretext for our unilateral charge into Iraq was that the American people were in imminent danger from Saddam and his mighty war machine. The threat was so clear and present that we couldn't even give inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction — hey, remember those? — another 30 days, as France had wanted.

Well, it turns out that, far from being on the verge of destroying Western civilization, Saddam and his 21st century Gestapo couldn't even muster a half-hearted defense of their own capital. The hawks' cakewalk disproves their own dire warnings. They can't have it both ways. The invasion has proved wildly successful in one other regard: It has unified most of the world — especially the Arab world — against us.

4/17/03  US cannot kill, jail, or occupy all...: Bill Clinton
4/17/03  Danny Sleator
Comment:  We all need some antidotes to the garbage put out by NewsMax and other right wing zealots with little concern for the truth.
"I'm alternately outraged and depressed by what's happening in the world.  We now have the most powerful, deceitful, arrogant, and belligerent administration in US history.  And almost everything they're doing is wrong."

"But I think the real problem, and the reason for Bush's popularity, is that the American people basically don't have a clue about what's really happening.  The mainstream media are not communicating it." 

Canada - U.S. Relations
4/19/03  Mel Hurtig
Comment:  Even if you love Bush's war on Iraq you need to know what others are saying.
"You ask why Canada doesn't support the United States... 

"...why have you not supported Canada? Why have you turned your back on us?  Why have you and your country proceeded in a reckless, arrogant manner which is  100% guaranteed to substantially increase terrorism and volatility around the world...

Why have you launched into this foolhardy aggression that will cause hundreds of millions of Muslims to hate and despise Westerners for generations into the future, with potentially cataclysmic results, for  ourselves, for our children and for our grandchildren?" 

4/27/03  George W Bush Resumè a few MAY be exaggerations

And Now: 'Operation Iraqi Looting' 
4/27/03  Frank Rich
Comment:  "Our troops cannot be blamed..." for this blunder.  The higher one goes in the command chain, the less was the interest in the responsible, intelligent and humane issues.  This is the inverse of what we should find as we search for the "reasons why."  It seemed to be a charge commanded by the light-intellect brigands.
"'Stuff happens!' said Donald Rumsfeld, who likened the looting to the aftermath of soccer games and joked to the press that the scale of the crime was a trompe l'oeil effect foisted by a TV loop showing 'over and over  and over . . . the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase.' As Jane Waldbaum, president of the Archaeological Institute of America, summed up the defense secretary's response to the tragedy, he 'basically shrugged and said, `Boys will be boys.'

"When the outrage over the story refused to go away after the looting subsided, a cover-up began."

Somebody had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Did Our Leaders Lie to Us? Do we care?
Comment:  This article should be critically studied for its far-reaching implications.  Examine the sinister oversimplifications.  Try to understand what is not being understood.
"Would it bother you if we were to discover that George Bush lied about the case for going to war?" I asked. 

He knew what I was referring to. His blunt answer left my jaw hanging. 

"Everyone knows he lied about weapons of mass destruction being the point of the war." 

5/8/03  Photocopy of  George W Bush's military suspension document: Follow the links from this web page

5/27/03  Shout their names into the wind--Viet Nam Memorial: Suppressing the truth; manufacturing evidence...

5/29/03  Facts lose the war to fictions: Arianna Huffington

5/29/03  Democrats: Profiles in Spinelessness Arianna Huffington

6/4/03  The WMD Question: Molly Ivins

What is fascism? 
Comment:  Fascism is constructed from dangerous oversimplifications–arising from multi-dimensional simplemindedness.

One key oversimplification is failure to sense mutual reciprocity

"Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile). He found the regimes all had 14 things in common, and he calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. "

Anti-intellectualism:  ethnocentrism, egocentrism, punitive morality, hierarchical ranking, superficiality and multiple-parameter simplemindedness—coupled with opinion shaping by PAP, propaganda, Newspeak ("Newt Speak") riding on gullibility and wishful thinking. 

6/5/03  The weather report by Kurt Vonnegut: Kurt Vonnegut

6/5/03  The Iraq War Was About Oil: George Wright

6/10/03  Dying for the Government: Howard Zinn

6/18/03  WMDs And The Psychology of Fanatacism: Arianna Huffington

6/25/03  The Road to Coverup Is the Road to Ruin: Robert Byrd

6/26/03  Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq?: New Math, so simple

7/4/03  And Human Rights for All?: Arianna Huffington

7/12/03  The Bright Stuff: Daniel Dennett

"Democracy is not a lie."
7/14/03  Bill Moyers
Comment:  Those simple but subtle five steps that lead to seeing science better also lead to seeing society better.  It is the view that the progressive visionary sees and sees that progress which is blind to it will crumble civilized society into dust.
Alternative Radio, recorded June 4, 2003
"Their stated and open aim is to change how America is governed - to strip from government all its functions except those that reward their rich and privileged benefactors.  They are quite candid about it, even acknowledging their mean spirit in accomplishing it."

Anti-democratic vision:  ethnocentrism, egocentrism, punitive morality, hierarchical ranking, superficiality and multiple-parameter simplemindedness—coupled with opinion shaping by PAP, propaganda, Newspeak ("Newt Speak") riding on gullibility and wishful thinking. 

7/18/03  Fudge the numbers and push for ever more tax cuts: Paul Krugman

8/6/03  Ten appalling lies we were told about Iraq: Christopher Scheer

Impeachaable Offenses
Comment:  "Cherry picking" to build a case for anything is pure PAP, the advertiser's and propagandist's first tool for effective deception--it's also one of the chief reasons for the prevalence of attractive pseudoscience.

Recognizing credible evidence and correctly reasoning from evidence to conclusions is far more difficult than generally recognized.  That is why the science of the past several centuries remains persistently replaced by pseudoscience.  And it underlies much controversy.

"...the OSP and the president's advisors manipulated and cherry-picked the intelligence information to build a case for war." 

" the time the invasion began, fully 72 percent of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, without a shred of credible evidence to support such a claim."

"What is becoming increasingly clear is that if the president and his closest advisors knowingly lied in making the case for a preemptive war based on Iraq constituting an imminent threat to the security of the United States, this is assuredly an impeachable offense of the highest order of magnitude, manifestly greater than the constitutional abuses of Dick Nixon or the sexual lying of Bill Clinton."

9/2/03  Bush Was All Too Willing to Use Emigres' Lies Robert Scheer

10/13/03  The Sins of September 11 William Rivers Pitt

10/13/03  Turkeys on the Moon Michael Moore

 Our God-Fearing Founding Fathers: 2/2/03:'

"Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.": Think About It:

Biased personal opinion vs logical imperative

You can find magic in places you never before thought to look.
These pictures are links to far away places and strange seeming concepts.

Two-tone paint job?

Is it a good map?
To Knowledge for Use website
Up or down?
'Sooner or later you will need to use tensors'  Richard Feynman
Scalar or tensor?
For every action there is...
Who gets injured?
Once you've seen it, you can never again not see it.
Different people see different things in different ways.  Some people see no difference between orange and green, but most can.  Some people see nothing wrong with a street map that shows many non-existent streets, and it's more people than we might think.  Some people can't tell the direction of the acceleration of a ball as it bounces about in a game—in fact, most can't.  Most people can imagine ranking people by "value"—and do all the time—but only a very few see that ranking as being in a space of many, many dimensions.  Some people see who gets injured in a war...

These differences exist because different people develop a variety of mental mechanisms for understanding complexities and subtleties  Colorblindness, dyslexia, and map difficulties are abilities a bit inferior to the norm in some specific way.  Math skills, critical logic insights, synesthesia, and spatial visualization sometimes get honed sharply enough to give a person uncommonly powerful insights; the insights that lead to modern science,  but also to artistic excellence, diplomatic skills that might pacify a fiercly belligerent world, perhaps even healing skills for a societal bedlam bordering on mutually reciprocal self-destruction.

The events of the first part of the year 2003 polarized populations.  Opinions were seen as ranked, not so much as "better" or "worse," but more as "good" or "evil."  And "good" got too often defined as "US."  "Evil" got defined as "THEM."  Nevertheless, some opinions really were superior in the sense that they were driven by better insight into subtlety and complexity. 

Can we identify the "better" insights" in...

Letters from Southern California

For every action there is...