Reality

Our universe is a computer

The digital universe is the theory that the universe is essentially a huge discrete software program.  The implications of such an existence will blow you away.

It already has. Just watch The Matrix.  It underlies popular staples in science fiction like replicators, teleportation, and wormholes.  You can’t reproduce an apple, or a person, or a starship, and have it suddenly appear in your lab or a million light years away unless you can digitize it at a fundamental atomic level

And we’re starting to do exactly that.  3D printing already exists.  Quantum entanglement has been used to instantaneously transmit information hundreds of miles.  Both technologies will continue to grow in the sophistication of replicated products and the amount of information and the distance that it can be exchanged.

One sector where the digital universe doesn’t obviously apply is the quantum realm.  It’s the fabric of space and time that undergirds the material world we know (at least until experimental physics can dive even lower).  At the quantum level particles randomly form and appear in the briefest of instants.  It’s an unknowable place.

Well, maybe not.  The latest research suggests what we know as mysterious quantum particles is a holographic projection of the error correction codes that define them.  These codes are math, i.e. digital. We know they exist.  We’re already using them for quantum computers. They may be the very thing that holds together space-time.  It’s the digital machine code of the universe. 

Ready to be beamed up?

 

http://frd1.us/Digital

Posted by Marc Freedman in Science, Technology, 0 comments

Is it too late to stop the virus killing American democracy?

The Trump-sponsored Nunes memo that alleges an FBI and Justice Department anti-Trump bias represents the latest Republican break with reality when:

  • Their heads were appointed by Trump.
  • The departments are typically staffed by Republicans
  • The FBI influenced the presidential election in Trump’s favor with Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
  • The GOP was the law and order party.

It’s Trump’s latest inept and corrosive attack on our democracy, this time to deflect attention away from the Russian investigation.

It’s a part of a much larger puzzle.  This isn’t a typical meme or swing of the political pendulum.  A fundamental change started 30 years ago when the extreme far right was infected with a certain anarchy.  The infection mutated outside the normal bounds of political convention.  American politics had no immunity.

Its goal was not to take over  government but to destroy and remake it.  The virus was unbound by tradition.

As a result, the infection spread over the years.  It leaped from person to person, from group to group.  It expanded its sphere from haters to the fearful to the docile.  It bulldozed facts, science, truth, moderation, cooperation, bipartisanship, and outsiders.  It took over the party where it started. With the normal checks and balances dissolved, the virus infected the government itself.  Yesterday it was local and state government. Today it’s the FBI.  Tomorrow the press.

We last saw this in the 1930’s. All that’s left is the naked ambition of the Boy King, the craven acceptance of enthralled acolytes, and the tyranny of the mob.

How do you explain the unchecked success of an infection that’s spanned an entire generation? Is it just a natural political mutation that incubated in the right brew of schemers, money, and power.

Perhaps.  If you’re willing to settle for an easy and neat answer.  The one they want you to have.

But I see order, the blueprint of a 30 year old plan.  This virus is brilliant, a feat of social, political, and information engineering that predicted the future that we’re at today.

Is is the inevitable endgame of unrestrained capitalism? …

A plutocratic takeover that germinated in the 1970s military industrial complex? …

The fruition of a Russian KGB operation hatched amid the deaththroes of the Soviet Union?

Or something else?

Is it too late to kill the virus when you don’t know where it came from and it’s already killing its host?

 

https://frd1.us/FAVirus

 

 

Posted by Marc Freedman in Articles, Commentary, Current events, Donald Trump, History, Philosophy, Republicans, 1 comment

The Inconvenient Truth

… or Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire and Fury.

David Brooks writes about inconvenient observations and the Michael Wolff book in The Decline of Anti-Trumpism.  A few excerpts follow.

First, people who go into the White House to have a meeting with President Trump usually leave pleasantly surprised. They find that Trump is not the raving madman they expected.

Second, people who work in the Trump administration have wildly divergent views about their boss.

Third, the White House is getting more professional. …

This isn’t just a struggle over a president. It’s a struggle over what rules we’re going to play by after Trump. Are we all going to descend permanently into the Trump standard of acceptable behavior?

Mr. Brooks, let’s look at what you wrote.  The President isn’t a raving madman.  Some people in his administration like him.  And some are getting work done.   I’ll even add that I’m sure his family loves him.  Plus certain crowds still adore him. I’ll even grant that clinical narcissism may not be as bad as psychopathy.

They said the same about Hitler and Caligula early on during their reigns. Aren’t YOU the one setting the bar low here?  Are you truly willing to settle at this point?

The man is not well.  He’s doing damage to the norms of the office and the country.  He’s co-opted the cowardly GOP.   This isn’t a typical Administration or political process.  Even your own colleagues remain alarmed where a recent selection included Paul Krugman’s The Worst and the Dumbest, Nicholas Kristof on Trump’s Threat to Democracy, and the New York Times editorial Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

The GOP has weaponized politics through media and message control and thirty years of continual lies … and you’re worried about whether Wolff’s book is too lowbrow with gossip that contains the truth?

The inconvenient truth is that it’s been and still is a critical, clear, and present danger.  The problem is not, as you write, the anti-Trump movement is suffering from insularity.  It’s the challenge of continuing to reach, motivate, and mobilize Americans.

The fight for #TheResistance is just starting. Let’s worry about standards and lowbrow books after the battle’s been won.

 

https://frd1.us/FAFireFury

 

 

 

Posted by Marc Freedman in Articles, Commentary, Current events, Donald Trump, Republicans, 0 comments

The Quality of Overcoming

Once upon a time there was a narcissistic populist who trumpeted his mental stability and intelligence.  He charmed the populace and rose to run a kingdom that was the leader of the world.  He had exquisite tastes and demanded luxury. He ran up extravagant personal bills that were paid by the people.

He had no government experience.  He said whatever was on his mind, made impractical promises, reversed all his predecessor’s policies, and enacted tax cuts that increased the deficit.  He had no military experience but liked to play the role.  He glorified violence, surrounded himself with military trappings and generals, and threatened his rivals.

No, this is not Lyin’ Donald.  This ruler was Trumpier than Trump with four wives and slept only three hours a night.  He didn’t just threaten but killed Senators.

The emperor was Caligula, as recounted by Nicholas Kristof in There Once Was a Great Nation With an Unstable Leader. Kristof’s conclusion is that Rome survived, as will America.

To me, the lesson is that Rome was able to inoculate itself against unstable rulers so that it could recover and rise to new glories. Even the greatest of nations may suffer a catastrophic leader, but the nation can survive the test and protect its resilience — if the public stays true to its values, institutions and traditions. That was true two millennia ago, and remains true today.

Of course.  We shall overcome.  In one year or a hundred.  In Trump’s world or another.  By definition.

Is that all?  The end of the story?  Is it sufficient for you to resign yourself to the natural arc of time, knowing that Trump and his legacy will be swept away … at some point, just like Caligula?  Are you satisfied to feel injustice, but stay in your comfort zone and accept current events as fate?  Trump, the GOP, and their plutocratic bosses hope you are.

Or are you ready to take control of your life and be a part of, and not just observe, history?

For those of us here, now, is not the quality of how we overcome more important than our endurance?

How do you want to be remembered in 10 years or a generation from now?

What is your commitment and role in #TheResistance?

 

https://frd1.us/FAovercome

 

Posted by Marc Freedman in Articles, Commentary, Donald Trump, History, Republicans, Resistance, 0 comments

Engineering Tribalism

For the past two years President Trump has revived tribal identity politics with his brand of American nationalism.  After the Presidential race in Nov. 2016  termed it a “Slide”, attributed it to Trump’s choice of policy, and asked if it was inevitable.

This month David Brooks called it a “Retreat“.  He makes the point that tribal politics rises and falls with societal externalities and institutions, and such civilizing forces are weaker than they have been in the past.

Brooks resorts to false equivalence, which misses the asymmetry, a clue to what’s happening.  He writes about campus extremism on the left as if students who fight to control a classroom are comparable in any way to a President and Republican Congress who control an entire country.

Brooks pins overly broad labels.  He claims that “we’ve regressed from a sophisticated moral ethos to a primitive one,” which insults most Democrats and some Republicans and conservatives who do place country above party and tribe.

Both Nyhan and Brooks are missing the bigger picture – the cause.  Trump is the current end of a long process, not the beginning.  The rise of identity politics is not the result of a broken economy, declining social networks, or a romantic return to primitive times.  People don’t regress naturally or on purpose.

Not only is the slide to tribalism not inevitable, it’s also no accident.  It’s been precisely engineered over the past 30 years.  It’s the intentional, cumulative, and tuned result of the GOP weaponizing politics through media and message control.  When you define reality you can manufacture fear, shrink the world, and force such a retreat.

It’s good marketing (for them) …  basic brainwashing (see Orwell) …  and a necessary ingredient to get a population to vote against their own interests and transfer ever more power to the plutocracy and their corporate proxies.

 

 

https://frd1.us/FAtribes

Posted by Marc Freedman in Articles, Commentary, Reality, 0 comments

Is the G.O.P. T.O.X.I.C.?

I wrote about the hijacking of the Republican party three years ago in Grande Old Party, I Hardly Knew Ye.  Here are a few excerpts:

I remember the GOP positively as a teen as the party of economic opportunity.

According to Bring Back the Party of Lincoln,  the change in the GOP isn’t new.  Republicans are historical flip-floppers.  Author Heather Cox Richardson concludes:

Twice in its history, the Republican Party regained its direction and popularity after similar disasters by returning to its original defense of widespread individual economic success. The same rebranding is possible today, if Republicans demote Reagan from hero to history and rally to a leader like Lincoln, Roosevelt or Eisenhower — someone who believes that the government should promote economic opportunity rather than protect the rich.

Change is inevitable, especially amid a changing electorate that reduces the Republican power base every year.  The only question is when.

While anything is possible, it’s unlikely to happen soon.  The Super Recession was nearly as bad as the Depression.  It had no effect on the party.  There have been various Republican branding initiatives.  They’ve gone nowhere.  The party has virtually shut down Congress.  Not a budge.  And there is no savior in sight.

Instead the party has used its power to enfranchise its legitimacy by redrawing voting maps and giving the rich even more influence.  It’s drawn the Democrats far right of where they were 30 years ago, thus providing far less GOP maneuvering room.

I suggest nothing is going to happen until the party runs out of all its tricks and loses both houses of Congress and the Presidency at the same time and that’s probably 20 years away at best.

It’s now three years later.  A new GOP President promised Main Street populism.  Did he lead the party and reinvigorate it?

Of course not.  Trump is no Lincoln and didn’t keep that and many other promises.  Lyin’ Donald and his billionaire cabinet are the embodiment of protecting the rich. Republicans own all 3 federal government branches.  Trump’s ratings are the lowest of any modern President at this point in their term.  Trump’s brand is toxic. And the GOP has embraced him, making that stain theirs as well.  A Democratic whiplash appears increasingly likely in the midterms with a Democratic presidency in 2020 a good bet.

When will the GOP return to being the party of Lincoln? Apparently they’re still not toxic enough.  Based on the 2017 Tax Bill, there’s no hint of change yet.  We’ll check back in another four years.

Posted by Marc Freedman in Articles, Commentary, History, Republicans, 0 comments

U.S. Economic Slavery Worsens

I penned the article on the Civil War below four years ago.   I asked when will we ‘make the US great again?’  and return to economic equality and a strong middle class.

Today little has changed.  Trump took that phrase for his own slogan.  His version of MAGA is a reversion to earlier times of straight white male supremacy like the Civil War era.  With Lyin’ Donald and the Republicans in control, economic slavery is only getting worse.

_____

The Civil War anew: U.S. economic slavery 150 years later

March 28, 2013

The New York Times commemorates the Civil War’s 150th anniversary with an ongoing series called Disunion.  The closed patriarchy of slaveowners clashed with the freedom and opportunity of the West.  The article Mitchel Thompson’s War by C Kay Larson documents the strong support for the war in the Union Midwest.

Slave ownership made for bad economics …

[F]uture governor Richard Ogilvy told how, as a young laborer in Kentucky, he could charge only $6 a month, lest he lose out to slave labor, which could be rented out at $75 a year.

… and bad culture.

Rev. Charles Beecher  said the question was not “ whether black men are forever to be slaves, but whether the sons of Puritans are to become slaves themselves.”

The country was growing up and recognizing the externalities of an unjust and imbalanced socioeconomic system.

Northwest Illinois farmers’ mantra became “free territories, free homesteads, and protection to free labor.”

Is it any different today as billionaire industrialists have created their own plantations of wealth, often squirreled overseas to save every last penny … where their enterprises are too big to fail … their jobs are guaranteed with golden parachutes … their adverse actions have no consequences?   Their money has bought the political power to increase their holdings at the expense of the rest of the country.  They’ve destroyed the middle class, weakened the social network, gutted job security, increased poverty, and cheapened life for those who are not privileged.

150 years ago:

[A] new Republican Party alliance was struck between Western free farmers and Eastern industrialists.

Where is the alliance, Republican or otherwise, that will break today’s slavery?

When will the technology and innovation industries meet their social obligations and join with the people to make the US great again?

Posted by Marc Freedman in Articles, Commentary, Donald Trump, Economics, History, Politics, Republicans, Resistance, 0 comments

A Culture of Lies & The Real Fake News

No, Lyin’ Donald, you did not create the term ‘Fake News’.  Your first use is below, while fake news have been a part of politics virtually forever.

According to Politifact, Obama was telling all or most of the truth 50% of the time as of this post date.  That’s disappointing.  But compare that to only one out of six Trump claims being true or mostly true.   That means that five out of six times Trump is fully or partly lying.

The explosion of lies has mostly happened on the Right over the past few decades.  It’s become a standard part of the Republican toolkit.  See Swiftboating and Truthiness.

The next step in institutionalized lying is to attack those who job it is to report the truth objectively, regardless that their reporting is supported by published data and verified sources.  Calling legitimate media fake is a classic doublethink switch and bait marketing tactic.  It’s perfect cover to move the attention away from the real fake news, your own lies.

But there is a limit. When you’re mostly lying, anything you say won’t be trusted.  People tune you out.  Not only do they not believe your lies, they also ignore the rare 15% of the time when you actually do speak the truth.

Ultimately a culture of lies is ineffective and unsustainable.  There is no bridge to reach those who think for themselves, aka #TheResistance.  Once you’ve maximized your base, which Trump did on Election Day, you’re not going to be able to expand it.  You’ll have to expend ever greater effort to publish your fake news and maintain a false reality that’s constantly clashing with what’s really happening.

https://frd1.us/FAlieculture

 

 

Posted by Marc Freedman in Articles, Commentary, Reality, Republicans, Thank you, Trump, 0 comments

The Boy King is Naked

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” Nobody, except everybody else.

This is what passes for self-disclosure and nuance for Trump.  An issue that’s been a huge controversy for decades, that he willingly accepted as President, and that he promised to have a solution for.  And he’s now finding it … and many other things just so … hard.

How do you get your arms around and around this narcissist?  Naming is important.

I choose Naked Boy King.  Symptoms include the elevation of self, lack of empathy and understanding, limited scope of one’s world, absolute reliance on loyalty, actions based on emotion and not logic, refusal to accept commonly accepted objective reality, ignorance of his shortcomings, and that’s just a start.

The following is taken from Child Development Info based on Piaget’s Stages for the characteristic behavior for a 4 to 7 year old.

  • Speech becomes more social, less egocentric.
  • The child has an intuitive grasp of logical concepts in some areas.
  • However, there is still a tendency to focus attention on one aspect of an object while ignoring others.
  • Concepts formed are crude and irreversible.
  • Easy to believe in magical increase, decrease, disappearance.
  • Reality not firm.
  • Perceptions dominate judgment.
  • In moral-ethical realm, the child is not able to show principles underlying best behavior.
  • Rules of a game not developed, only uses simple do’s and don’ts imposed by authority.

Seems to fit to me, though Alison Gopnik argues that he’s not even four and Jennifer Finney Boylan notes the lack of object permanence, which would place him at two.  Whether he’s 7 or 2, he is our President, or rather king wannabe.

Posted by Marc Freedman in Articles, Commentary, Donald Trump, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Reality, 0 comments

Whose World Do You Want To Live In?

I want to tell you a story. You’ve been hearing it for the past two years.  It’s about darkness, fear, and despair.   The world is collapsing.  Our borders let in murderers and rapists.  Muslims are killing the Americans left alive.  Women, minorities, and non-Christians get preferred treatment over white men.  Billionaires and corporations should be treated as gods.  Science is for sissies.  Our national intelligence and military are not respected.  Freedom is for the chosen few.

It’s the 1950s Happy Days … or the 1930s Weimar … or 1900 BC.

That’s Trump’s story.  That’s what he wants to make great again.

I want to tell you another story, an alternate set of facts, if you please.

Once upon a time America was respected across the world. People everywhere admired the country for its rule of law, focus on the future, dynamism, individual rights, vigorous media, practicality, and openness to difference.

Government wasn’t perfect.  It allowed billionaires and corporations to corrupt institutions, cheat on their taxes,  pollute our air, water, and food, and keep most of the money at expense of everyone else.

But on the whole government was good when it could stand up for the people.  It protected the weak, provided basic health care for all, and supported the young, disabled, and elderly.  It forced everyone to respect other people’s rights and let them be who they want to be in peace. It strove to have FEWER Flint Michigan disasters, not more.

It was a time when conservative stewardship meant protecting this land not just for us, but for our children, and our children’s children … not for ever more corporate exploitation and profits.

It was a time when science,  logic, and open and transparent inquiry were respected and treasured, for they formed the basis of a good share of everyday life, from America’s military might to popular media to amazing advances in health and agriculture to the latest electronics, phones, Internet, and technology.

Despite occasional myopic, meddlesome, and, er, Trumped up wars, the U.S. exuded optimism and kept moving forward and upward.  The nation was a shining beacon across the planet for freedom and progress.

Life was good.  Many were happy.  All the women were strong, the men good looking, and the children above average.  And not just the white folks.  Too bad the kids weren’t as excellent at school as other first world countries and were taught the world revolved around them.  But they typically grew up to be fine citizens and weren’t sheep.  And we still managed to out-innovate everyone else.

This time was 2016.

So, forget the rhetoric and politics.  Ask yourself one question.  OK, just a few actually.

What time do you want to live in?

What world do you want to live in?

What will you do to make your world a reality?

Be FREED. Not Trumped.

Posted by Marc Freedman in About, Articles, Commentary, Inspiration, Marc Freedman, Philosophy, Politics, Resistance, Society, 0 comments