Friday, May 31, 2013

Statement from Jeremy Hammond Regarding His Plea

via freejeremy.net:
Today [May 28, 2013] I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline.

During the past 15 months I have been relatively quiet about the specifics of my case as I worked with my lawyers to review the discovery and figure out the best legal strategy. There were numerous problems with the government’s case, including the credibility of FBI informant Hector Monsegur. However, because prosecutors stacked the charges with inflated damages figures, I was looking at a sentencing guideline range of over 30 years if I lost at trial. I have wonderful lawyers and an amazing community of people on the outside who support me. None of that changes the fact that I was likely to lose at trial. But, even if I was found not guilty at trial, the government claimed that there were eight other outstanding indictments against me from jurisdictions scattered throughout the country. If I had won this trial I would likely have been shipped across the country to face new but similar charges in a different district. The process might have repeated indefinitely. Ultimately I decided that the most practical route was to accept this plea with a maximum of a ten year sentence and immunity from prosecution in every federal court.

Now that I have pleaded guilty it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites. Those others included military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.

I have already spent 15 months in prison. For several weeks of that time I have been held in solitary confinement. I have been denied visits and phone calls with my family and friends. This plea agreement spares me, my family, and my community a repeat of this grinding process.

I would like to thank all of my friends and supporters for their amazing and ongoing gestures of solidarity. Today I am glad to shoulder the responsibility for my actions and to move one step closer to daylight.

Jeremy Hammond

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Seduction of Dice, The Philosophy of Craps

This piece was originally published in 2006 (link to article on archive.org).

Video for Probability Distribution for the Sum of Two 6-sided Die created in 2014.




Video for How to Play Street Dice: A Simplified Craps Game created in 2017.



Every professional gambler has a graduation date that only arrives through years of turmoil experimenting with every type of game offered by a Casino. Most people will state the obvious, that every game in a casino is stacked in favor of the house. This, however, is only a partial truth based on playing a certain game for an infinite amount of time. It does not take into account the patterns that occur in every game over time.

One of the oldest games in the world is Craps (Shooting Dice). It is one of the simplest games to play but probably the most complicated to bet, highlighting the most important rule in gambling: To optimize your chances of winning you must not only know how to play a game but also know how to bet a game.

In Craps there are three elements that must be mastered: The rules of the game, how to shoot the dice, and how to place the bets. There are also two important concepts that must be understood: Every roll of the dice is a potential winner if the appropriate bet is placed, and the game will always end with a Seven at some point.

Craps offers the best odds for any table game in a casino and if a play can be mastered it can be used to generate income. The most important aspect of the game is to recognize ones abilities and weaknesses. Once adequate controls have been put on a certain type of play then the game becomes more than just a crap-shoot, it actually turns into a form of divination and for short periods of time the range of numbers can be predicted.

I. The Rules


Contrary to popular belief, the rules in Craps are quite simple. The table can be broken down into three groups of numbers. The "Horn" consists of 2, 3, 11, and 12. The "Numbers" are 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. And "Seven" belongs to its own category. Riding either group can generate money. The trick is be patient and to pick a target. There are multiple ways to play all three groups, however it is extremely difficult to master the play for all three groups. The difficulty is not in knowing the rules, it’s in remaining focused enough to recognize the patterns that appear, and at the same time being consistent enough to place the appropriate bets to take advantage of the situation.

click to enlarge - source

Numerous resources are available online detailing the basic rules of this game and they should be referenced before venturing out for a serious shoot. The simplified version with the appropriate rudimentary terminology is as follows:

    On the first roll of the dice any number in the "Numbers" group will start the game. The number rolled is called the "Point". When the game is "On", rolling a "Seven" or the "Point" will end it. Direct bets on the "Numbers" are called "Wager" bets and remain active on the table until the game ends. The "Horn" numbers will only payout if a one-time bet has been placed on them. "Hard Ways" are any doubles excluding 2 and 12. The "Field" is a onetime bet which covers all the numbers that are at least 2 points away from the Seven excluding the 5 (covers everything except 5, 6, 7, and 8). "Lay" and "DC" bets will payout if a Seven rolls before a specific "Number". Money can be placed on any number, occurring in any combination, at any time.

II. The Odds


Table 1 lists all the possible outcomes with their appropriate probability and payout odds. One important property of rolling two dice is that no matter what the outcome on the first die, you can always make a Seven with the second die. This is not the case for the rest of the numbers and makes Seven the easiest number to roll. For example, if a 1 appears on the first die then the only possible total outcome with the second die is anywhere between 2 to Seven. If a 6 appears on the first die then the total outcome can only be from Seven to 12.

click to enlarge – Table 1: Associated Probability and Place Bet Payouts

The numbers and their possible outcomes are best represented as an approximate discrete normal distribution shown in Graph 1. The axis of symmetry for this plot occurs at Seven with the remaining ten numbers distributed symmetrically about this point. There are six possible combinations to rolling a Seven and each point away from this axis lowers the possible combinations by one. In this distribution the reflection of 6 is its "Sister" number 8, appearing on the other side in the graph about the axis. If you see 5 then its reflection is 9 and so forth. Seven reflects itself, giving it perfect symmetry. The total sum of a number and its "Sister" is always equal to fourteen.

click to enlarge - Graph 1: Roll Outcome

This symmetry of Seven goes beyond the actual probability, it has also been imbedded into the design of the dice. The numbers on each die are placed such that the addition of the front and back total Seven. For example if you are looking at a 6 on a die then on the back is the 1. If you see a 5 then on the back is the 2 and the reflection of 4 is 3. This symmetry is also prevalent in the total outcome of the dice. The total of two dice is always equal to fourteen when the front and back are added, mimicking the Sister relationship in the probability graph. This means that if you see a Seven then on the other side is also the Seven, again, giving it the property of being the only number with perfect symmetry.

III. The Set


The best way to shoot dice is to consider it an art form and ‘Set’ them before the release. The basic premise of a proper throw is consistency. If the dice are Set and the throw is consistent then the probability of the same number appearing again is increased. If you are able to recognize a pattern, then placing the appropriate bets will give you an advantage over the house. Repetition of numbers is the key to making money in Craps. Even repeating a Seven or the Horn numbers can be used to generate income. Recognize the pattern and ride the wave that appears. Do not fall in love with specific numbers. If they are not being rolled then their probability of appearing is reduced if the shooter is a dice Setter.

source

There are numerous theories on how to properly Set dice and a quick search online is the best place to research this topic. The main concepts are that the throw should be consistent without being violent, while the spin and bounce kept to a minimum. There is no specific Set, it is individually based and requires experimentation and practice. The best players in the world will have gone through numerous phases in their dice Sets and will change their style according to the feel and bounce of the table.

IV. The Bet


The biggest mistake made by players in any game is maintaining the same amount on every bet. The best strategy is to increase your bet with your winnings. The first advantage is that you are now playing with the "House’s Money". The second advantage, which becomes more prevalent if the shooter Sets the dice, is that the same numbers repeat. The best way to understand this concept is to realize that no matter how many times a number has been rolled the predicted probability of it appearing again is always the same as the previous roll.

There are two methods for a proper betting style. One is the "Press" and the other the "Parlay". The Press can be done in multiple units. For example, if $20 gets a hit on a place bet on the number 5 it will pay out $28. The player should then Press the 5. This means that from the win you will take a certain amount and increase your bet on this number. If you do a $10 Press then your bet will now be $30, $20 of which is your money and $10 will be from your winnings. Keep in mind that you have already taken off the table $18. So from the $30 placed on 5 you only have $2 from your original bet. If the 5 hits again then the payout will be $42. This means that from the original $20 bet, you have won $70 and still control $90. The "Parlay" is a more aggressive style where all the winnings are placed on the same number.

The optimum betting system is dependent on the accuracy of the shooter. If the dice are being Set and the shooter is consistently rolling specific numbers then multiple presses on the same number will greatly increase your potential winnings. In general if the table is hot then two to three presses on a number will work to your advantage and will allow you to walk out of the casino with a multiple fold increase in your portfolio.

V. The Play


Now that we have covered the basic logistics lets discuss the actual play. The most important element of the play is to remember that it will end at some point no matter how hot the table gets, so never be afraid to call off your bets or to reduce the amount of your wager. Since Craps is a very personal game there is no right style. Numerous techniques can be observed at any moment on a table. It is up to the individual how they will play the game and what they will risk; hence there is absolutely no way to create a full proof regiment for the masses. The only way to decide on a gambling style is to review and observe specific systems and to individualize it to cater to your needs and abilities.

The only absolute property in shooting dice, which is beyond the realm of statistical probability, is that numbers appear in batches. Understanding this simple concept will give you an advantage over the house. To grasp this theory, visualize the probability plot shown in Graph 1 with a ball being attached to an elastic band, with the other end pinned down at Seven. The ball will deviate from the number Seven but will always return to this number at some point. The further away the ball deviates from this axis the more elastic energy it will have and the sharper and wider the deviation will become. This has the following effect; the extreme numbers will beget extreme numbers. For example if a 12 is rolled then the probability of rolling a Horn number is increased. If the bounce is staying within the Numbers group then the deviation from the Seven is reduced and the outcome tends to remain within this region.

I’ve named this ‘The Elastic Band Principle’ and it’s derived from simple observational theory obtained from years of experimentation in multiple dice games, specifically Craps and Backgammon. The basic premise is one that a child learns at an early age. One of the first lessons learned in life is not to pull too far on an elastic band because the band will break and sting you. This is also the case with dice. If the numbers appearing are on the extreme ends of the range then there is a good possibility that the band will break and a Seven will occur. If the deviation remains close to the Seven then the outcome tends to bounce around this region missing the actual Seven. The theory is as follows: To balance out the extremes in any situation, the situation has to be reset, and the reset button in Craps is the number Seven or the original Point. When this theory is applied and a pattern recognized, the table can be controlled for short periods of time.

VI. The Game


The true seduction of Craps is divination. It is the ability of being able to predict the next roll that is the real game at play. The prediction of the future has been a part of humanity for millennia, from bones rolled by Shaman, to the timeline of the Mayan calendar, to the different forms of the I Ching. It is our desire to know what the future holds and shooting dice is the prediction of the immediate future.

Different forms of divination span different timelines. The I Ching, also known as "The Book of Changes", is the oldest book to have survived historical China. It has been used and continues to be used by hundreds of millions of people to predict and to direct the future. There are even mathematical theorems and specific programs available for the I Ching to chart the course of the immediate future through to the full extent of humanity.

Craps can be viewed as a simplified version of the I Ching. It is a shortened form of divination, trying to predict the outcome of the next roll, seeking direction for just a few seconds into the future. When pattern recognition, defined as divination, is combined with ones abilities in shooting dice and betting the game then the probability of success is greatly increased.

‘The more you consult the I Ching, the more accurate will the answers be’ is the general belief among followers, and this idiom can easily be applied to Craps: The more you shoot dice, the more accurate your game will be.

VII. The Action


As mentioned above, numerous different styles can be observed at any given time on a Craps table. They could all be making money or all losing money indifferent of the style played. A specific play can attract action ranging from the high roller betting thousands of dollars to the sewer rat scraping the minimum bet off the table. Different plays attract different players from all social and economic circles. There is action that thrives on Seven and is disappointed when consecutive Numbers appear. There is action that rides every roll and seems disappointed when a Seven occurs. There are the plays that thrive on chaos and ride the extreme ends of the probability graph for short periods of time. There are the heavy 4 and 10 plays, the Big 6 and 8 bets, the Point Heavy players, the onetime Fielders, the Hard Way pressers, the Horn enthusiasts, and all kinds of combinations and mixtures of the above. Every style can make and lose money, and every style has its moment in the spotlight.

click to enlarge - source

My play begins with money management. I don’t hit the tables unless I have three consecutive days worth of float. I break up this float into three even piles and I partition each one of these piles into two stacks for my daily limit. The first stack gets approximately 40% of the daily float and the second stack 60%. By doing this I know that if I hit the second stack in the same day then I’m chasing a certain amount. Another advantage of breaking up the daily limit is that it slows down the play and allows for a gentle escape from the game if the dice are not cooperating.

I have two different games; the conservative game rides three Numbers - one through the Pass Line, two through the Come Bet - with maximum odds taken, and an aggressive game which is outlined below.

My basic aggressive play is as follows: When I bet the Numbers, I buy the 4 and 10 and place the inside for one or two units. If the point is an even number then I also bet it as a Hard Way. I press the inside at least two to three times and the 4 and 10 at least once. After the third hit I reduce the bet to the original units. I either ride the Numbers or the Horn and if I feel a Seven looming I turn off all my bets except for the Point and the Hard Ways. If I have to turn off my Wagers more than twice in a short period of time then I reduce my bets to one unit across and ride out the storm. If there are multiple triggers pointing towards a Seven then I take down all my Wagers.

I prefer to have the table to myself or with a small group of people who know the game well. Optimum position for my play is straight-out giving me the full view of the table allowing me to keep track of all the action while giving me an uninterrupted view of the dice. When I’m shooting I set the dice with double 6’s facing up and place both dice together side by side, sometimes leaving a small gap between them, paring up the sides. I shoot the dice in a parabolic trajectory, following through with every roll, usually just touching the back wall legalizing the throw. I try to minimize the spin on the dice and preferably allow them to settle down on the table with a small bounce.

I fully follow The Elastic Band Principle and the belief that numbers appear in batches. This means that if a Horn number appears I turn Off my Wager bets except for the Point. At the same time I bet the Horn for three rounds and place a bet in the Field. If the Horn gets a hit I do a full Press or a Parlay. If multiple Horn Numbers are hitting then I continue to Press for the next three rolls. For example, if an Eleven rolls, I turn Off my Wager bets and place a Horn-High Midnight (12). If a Horn number hits again, then I Press my original bet and continue to keep my Wager bets Off. Once Horn numbers have stopped hitting for two to three rolls I turn my Wager bets On and continue to ride the Numbers. If there has been an extremely high occurrence of the Horn numbers then I take down all my Wagers except for the Point.

If the Numbers are continuously being interrupted by multiple occurrences of Seven then I change my game and Lay the 4 and 10 for a few rounds. If the return on these bets is adequate then I place some DC bets and ride this wave for a short period. I prefer to play the Numbers but Craps is more than just a game, it’s about making money, and if Seven is the pattern for the time, then there is no choice but to follow the flow.

As stated above the difficulty in Craps is not the rules of the game, it’s the ability to recognize the pattern and be smart enough to place the appropriate bets. For this reason the following indicators will force me to turn Off my Wager bets: If the dice bounce off the table, if a Horn number appears, and if there is a serious mistake on the table forcing the game to slow down. It has been my experience that more often than not, the flow changes with any of these situations, and the occurrence of Seven increases.

The biggest mistake in any game is the ego. Sometimes the ride is so sweet on a set of numbers that it’s hard to believe that the wave has ended. Not following the pattern and thinking that you actually control the outcome of every roll is the biggest killer in the game. The following should help in controlling this imbalance:

  • Have a long enough gap between visits to dissipate the memory of the last game before the new one begins.

  • Never be in a rush; shooting dice is a time consuming activity so the best thing to do is to realize that the table will always be there, so there is no need to ride every roll.

  • Put better controls on money management by breaking up the buy-in on the table into separate piles for each type of play - riding the Numbers, the Horn, the Field and if the table is cold, the Seven. So create four different piles for each type of bet and refuse to bet outside the limit for the specified float.


VIII. The Conclusion


The education obtained through gambling is multi-tier and begins from the first moment that a player realizes that there are patterns that occur in every game and if recognized can be used to one’s advantage.

Shooting Dice is about finding a flow and riding the wave that pays. Do not get distracted if the game is going well, or poorly. Keep focused and do not venture outside your knowledge base or abilities. If the emotion required for you to play well is anger then seek it. If it is to beat the dice into submission then break them. If it is to completely focus on the dice and the outcome then visualize the number, and if it’s to make love to the table, caressing the dice, revealing their weakness, then exploit them.

All games of chance have overlapping principles and the golden rule in the stock market also applies in Craps: do not fall in love with a stock or a company if you are a trader, and do not fall in love with a group of numbers or a specific number if you decide to shoot dice. This requires complete self-control and is probably the most difficult personal aspect of the game.

The best Craps players in the world have one thing in common; they understand dice and recognize patterns. It is crucial to slow the game down long enough to recognize the pattern while at the same time keeping a flow to the game, optimizing your chances of winning.

Enjoy the game and keep control of yourself and the table. If you have had a few nice hits then take some time off and enjoy the returns, the tables will always be there when you need another fix.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why Stocks Have Risen: Stimulus, Stimulus, and Indefinite-Stimulus, i.e., Transfer of Wealth from Main Street to Wall Street

Since bottoming out at an intra-day low of 6,467 on March 6, 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW) has risen to 15,295 as of May 23, 2013 - a gain of approximately 130% in just over 4 years. The S&P 500 has shown similar results, advancing from an intra-day low of 666 to 1,650 for the same period, a gain of approximately 125%. Stellar returns.

As to why the markets have risen at historic rates during times of austerity economics? The answer is simple, it’s due to quantitative easing (QE) began by centralized banks after the market crash of 2008 – “fundamentally a regressive redistribution program that has been boosting wealth for those already engaged in the financial sector or those who already own homes, but passing little along to the rest of the economy.”

The amount of stimulus used varies depending on your definition of stimulus, so we won’t bother keeping tabs on the trillions that have been dumped into the markets in the last 4 years. We’ll just make note that at present the Federal Reserve is continuing its unlimited quantitative easing program to the tune of $85 billion a month, a last resort, desperate measure that the FOMC began in 2012 to maintain its ‘growth’ targets.

As for the consequences of what is taking place, considering that “affluent households typically have their assets concentrated in stocks”, it’s a transfer of wealth from Main Street to Wall Street:
“In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 35% of all privately held stock, 64.4% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.”
click to enlarge - source

As to when the party will end, probably a few weeks to a few months before the end of stimulus. So if you’re playing this game, make sure you’re not left holding the bag when the bubbles burst (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), because they will, and when they do, the 2008 crash will seem tame in comparison (pdf).
“Each time, this QE has served only to start the cycle all over again. The stock market rises strongly in response to a new dose of QE. Economic growth, however, does not keep rising, and resulting disappointment leads to a weaker stock market. The Fed announces more QE, and stocks rise again but growth does not….

“Should the pace of growth slow below 1 percent, as we expect, the stock market will likely sell off as it has done over the past three years when growth has slowed. The Fed will probably respond with QE4, another round of monetary easing that boosts stock prices without improving growth.

“The hope will be that the Fed will get lucky on its fourth try. But with Europe in recession, China slowing, and tighter fiscal policy, there is little reason to believe that having the Fed buy another $1 trillion–plus of bonds from banks will increase growth or reduce unemployment further. Whether or not a new round of QE boosts stocks again remains to be seen. I wouldn’t bet on it.
One thing to keep in mind, this transfer of wealth is not just a U.S. phenomenon, it’s occurring across the globe (see below).

And as for how this has played out? In June 2012 when it became clear that more quantitative easing was on its way, I began to take some screen shots of Bloomberg’s front page. Below you will find some pages of interest, starting from June 2012 to May 2013. They highlight some of the shenanigans of some of our centralized governments. Relevant dates have been marked, stories of interest highlighted, and links provided:

click to enlarge – Story at: “U.S. Stocks Cap Biggest Rally in 2012 on Stimulus Bets”

click to enlarge – Story at: “European Stocks Rise Amid Speculation of China Stimulus”

click to enlarge – Story at: “Draghi Says Officials Agree on ECB Unlimited Bond-Buying”

click to enlarge – Story at: “Fed Seen Starting QE3 While Extending Rate Pledge to 2015”

click to enlarge – Story at: “Bernanke Says Premature Tightening Would Endanger Recovery”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Noam Chomsky, a Conspiracy Theorist of the Highest Magnitude: Defining Conspiracy Theory, What are the Theories Behind the Conspiracies?

  1. Defining Conspiracy Theory

  2. Chomsky, a Conspiracy Theorist


I. Defining Conspiracy Theory


One of the main problems with our society is that words have lost their meaning. In spoken languages, the tone of a word can be used to make inferences that may be completely unrelated to the meaning of the word. This is especially true when dealing with propaganda. When certain people or organizations want to dismiss an argument, they tend to phrase words in such a way that makes them appear illogical or treacherous if given credence.

One of these words is “conspiracy”, and when put together with the word “theory” it becomes the infamous phrase “Conspiracy Theory”. Let’s take a look at the definition of these two words and try to figure out why they have been used to discredit not only people, but history, data, and facts.

The legal definition of conspiracy is “an agreement between two or more persons to commit an illegal or unlawful act, or to achieve a legal act but by illegal or unlawful means.” A theory is “a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena.”

So a conspiracy theory is a conjecture that two or more people may have planned an unlawful act, and if certain facts are proven to be true, then the conspiracy theory becomes reality.

As we all know, throughout history our governments and politicians have done exactly what the above states. They have conspired to obtain power, to overthrow governments, to destroy their political rivals, and to make money. Politics is littered with conspiracies but the mainstream media treats this word with contempt. Have we forgotten Watergate, Tonkin, Iran-Contra, Basra, Pinochet, Mohammad Mosaddeq, Reichstag, Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City, Waco, Ruby Ridge, Pine Ridge, COINTELPRO, Oswald and JFK, Northwoods, Condor, Iraq, 911, LIBOR, Robo-Signing round one, Robo-Signing round two, HSBC, The War on Drugs, and much more?

So in the phrase “conspiracy theory”, it is not the word 'conspiracy' that needs to be scrutinized, but the data on which the theory is based on. And this is where the problem lies. Neither the mainstream media nor those in power have any desire to investigate the theory behind the argument. If they did, many questions could arise from the investigation which in turn could be devastating for the status quo.

So next time the phrase “conspiracy theory” is used to discredit someone, just point out that the conspiracy is not in question, but rather the data being presented from the theory. Then ask them what part of the argument they disagree with. You’ll most likely find out that they know less about the theory behind the conspiracy than they know about history. This is when you can direct them to the teachings of Noam Chomsky - regarded as a leading contemporary historian, the author of over 100 books, and voted the "world's top public intellectual" in 2005.

II. Chomsky, a Conspiracy Theorist


As for where to begin with Chomsky’s vast library, may I recommend the following video from 2006 in which he is asked what he would say to George W. Bush if he had one minute alone with him. His reply:
“To tell you the honest truth, I doubt very much that George Bush has much to do with policy formation, I mean, the way the President is more or less like royalty in the United States. So the Queen of England opens Parliament with a speech, right, but nobody asks whether she believes it, or whether she understands it. Her role is a ceremonial role. It’s a role that’s connected with unity of the people, patriotism, obedience, and so on and so forth. The content is something else, that’s by people who run the country.

“The people who run the country are those in political office, but much more importantly their associates and the concentrations of private economic power. That’s where the country is really run, and that shouldn’t be a big secret either. America’s leading social philosopher John Dewey, who’s right very mainstream American, he pointed out that once, that as long as we have what he called industrial feudalism rather than industrial democracy - that means tyrannical totalitarian institutions running the economy – command economies basically, instead of industrial democracy where workers control management, as long as we have that than ‘politics will be the shadow cast by business over society’, and that’s approximately accurate. It’s not like the State has no independent choices, it does, but an amalgam.

“Exactly the role that George Bush plays in this is very dubious, questionable. In some cases like say Ronald Reagan, he probably didn’t even know what the policies where. He was reading off his note cards or the teleprompter or something like that. And Bush may have some knowledge of them but I think he’s mostly a ceremonial figure trained to act in certain ways and so on. So if I had a minute with him, I would say, you know, have you talked to god lately or something like that.”

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Paradigm Shift in Education: Krishnamurti on the Educator, RAW on Ignorance, Gato on the System, and Hamming on Learning

The root cause of society’s ills is how we deal with education. Deep down we all know this, but for decades we have barely lifted a finger to address it. The main reason for this inaction is because most of us are ourselves products of this defective system. We have been programed for obedience, turned into self-absorbed apathetic beings that submit to authority and fear dissent.

Noam Chomsky: Education Is a System of Indoctrination of the Young


We are bombarded with propaganda that wants us to believe in the economy. That if everyone had a job and the economy was growing at whatever rate our centralized governments had set, then all would be well. There are two problems with this mindset. First, our crony cannibalistic economic system will never reach this zenith. Second, it’s a lie; a better economy is not the solution to our woes. What is, is educating our children to become integrated beings, free of envy and materialism. Unfortunately, our present education system is not set up to achieve this task, not yet anyway, but it’s coming, and it will change everything.

Alan Watts: What if money was no object?


There is a war going on for the hearts and minds of our children - for the control of the future. Our present education system is collapsing and numerous parties are vying over who will be the dominant player during this revolution, hence the faction in control of the new system. From billionaires like Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates to politicians, governments, traditional and charter schools, massive open online courses, homeschoolers, teachers, unions, and parents, everyone is joining the fray.

Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley


No matter what the final outcome, the simple fact is that a centralized system should never again be allowed to dominate education in our society. We are diverse and social creatures and require intimate and personal stimulation to grow, learn, question, and create. To be educated we need engagement; to be fulfilled we need to be triggered – we need educators that engage students - to challenge, inspire, and motivate.

High School Student Goes Off On Teacher About His Education!
Interview with Jeff Bliss.

As for how we can achieve this task? The answers have been available for decades, we just haven’t acted on them. Below you will find some examples of what needs to be done.

What follows are excerpts from Jiddu Krishnamurti’s “Education and The Significance of Life” (pdf), as well as lectures from three playlists: Robert Anton Wilson’s first segment as he “Explains Everything; Or Old Bob Exposes His Ignorance” (links to torrent on The Pirate Bay), John Taylor Gatto’s first hour interview regarding the “Ultimate History Lesson”, and Richard Hamming’s opening lecture on “Learning to Learn”.

The works complement each other quite well and are well worth exploring, especially for educators and parents:
Jiddu Krishnamurti’s “Education and The Significance of Life” (pdf):

“The function of education is to create human beings who are integrated and therefore intelligent. We may take degrees and be mechanically efficient without being intelligent. Intelligence is not mere information; it is not derived from books, nor does it consist of clever self-defensive responses and aggressive assertions. One who has not studied may be more intelligent than the learned. We have made examinations and degrees the criterion of intelligence and have developed cunning minds that avoid vital human issues. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential, the what is; and to awaken this capacity, in oneself and in others, is education.

“Education should help us to discover lasting values so that we do not merely cling to formulas or repeat slogans; it should help us to break down our national and social barriers, instead of emphasizing them, for they breed antagonism between man and man. Unfortunately, the present system of education is making us subservient, mechanical and deeply thoughtless; though it awakens us intellectually, inwardly it leaves us incomplete, stultified and uncreative.

“Without an integrated understanding of life, our individual and collective problems will only deepen and extend. The purpose of education is not to produce mere scholars, technicians and job hunters, but integrated men and women who are free of fear; for only between such human beings can there be enduring peace.”…
Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything, Pt. 1: Life And Times Of RAW
“Any method which classifies children according to temperament and aptitude merely emphasizes their differences; it breeds antagonism, encourages divisions in society and does not help to develop integrated human beings. It is obvious that no method or system can provide the right kind of education, and strict adherence to a particular method indicates sluggishness on the part of the educator. As long as education is based on cut-and-dried principles, it can turn out men and women who are efficient, but it cannot produce creative human beings.

“Only love can bring about the understanding of another. Where there is love there is instantaneous communion with the other, on the same level and at the same time. It is because we ourselves are so dry, empty and without love that we have allowed governments and systems to take over the education of our children and the direction of our lives; but governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments - and to organized religions as well. That is why governments and religious organizations seek to control education.

“Life cannot be made to conform to a system, it cannot be forced into a framework, however nobly conceived; and a mind that has merely been trained in factual knowledge is incapable of meeting life with its variety, its subtlety, its depths and great heights. When we train our children according to a system of thought or a particular discipline, when we teach them to think within departmental divisions, we prevent them from growing into integrated men and women, and therefore they are incapable of thinking intelligently, which is to meet life as a whole.”…
The Ultimate History Lesson Hours 1-5 (Official Playlist)
“To discover what part education can play in the present world crisis, we should understand how that crisis has come into being. It is obviously the result of wrong values in our relationship to people, to property and to ideas. If our relationship with others is based on self-aggrandizement, and our relationship to property is acquisitive, the structure of society is bound to be competitive and self-isolating. If in our relationship with ideas we justify one ideology in opposition to another, mutual distrust and ill will are the inevitable results.

“Another cause of the present chaos is dependence on authority, on leaders, whether in daily life, in the small school or in the university. Leaders and their authority are deteriorating factors in any culture. When we follow another there is no understanding, but only fear and conformity, eventually leading to the cruelty of the totalitarian State and the dogmatism of organized religion.

“To rely on governments, to look to organizations and authorities for that peace which must begin with the under- standing of ourselves, is to create further and still greater conflict; and there can be no lasting happiness as long as we accept a social order in which there is endless strife and antagonism between man and man. If we want to change existing conditions, we must first transform ourselves, which means that we must become aware of our own actions, thoughts and feelings in everyday life.

“But we do not really want peace, we do not want to put an end to exploitation. We will not allow our greed to be interfered with, or the foundations of our present social structure to be altered; we want things to continue as they are with only superficial modifications, and so the powerful, the cunning inevitably rule our lives.

“Peace is not achieved through any ideology, it does not depend on legislation; it comes only when we as individuals begin to understand our own psychological process. If we avoid the responsibility of acting individually and wait for some new system to establish peace, we shall merely become the slaves of that system.

“When governments, dictators, big business and the clerically powerful begin to see that this increasing antagonism between men only leads to indiscriminate destruction and is therefore no longer profitable, they may force us, through legislation and other means of compulsion, to suppress our personal cravings and ambitions and to co-operate for the well-being of mankind. just as we are now educated and encouraged to be competitive and ruthless, so then we shall be compelled to respect one another and to work for the world as a whole. And even though we may all be well fed, clothed and sheltered, we shall not be free of our conflicts and antagonisms, which will merely have shifted to another plane, where they will be still more diabolical and devastating. The only moral or righteous action is voluntary, and understanding alone can bring peace and happiness to man.

“Beliefs, ideologies and organized religions are setting us against our neighbours; there is conflict, not only among different societies, but among groups within the same society. We must realize that as long as we identify ourselves with a country, as long as we cling to security, as long as we are conditioned by dogmas, there will be strife and misery both within ourselves and in the world.”…
Richard Hamming: "Learning to Learn" (Playlist)
“It is only when we begin to understand the deep significance of human life that there can be true education; but to understand, the mind must intelligently free itself from the desire for reward which breeds fear and conformity. If we regard our children as personal property, if to us they are the continuance of our petty selves and the fulfilment of our ambitions, then we shall build an environment, a social structure in which there is no love, but only the pursuit of self-centred advantages.

“A school which is successful in the worldly sense is more often than not a failure as an educational centre. A large and flourishing institution in which hundreds of children are educated together, with all its accompanying show and success, can turn out bank clerks and super-salesmen, industrialists or commissars, superficial people who are technically efficient; but there is hope only in the integrated individual, which only small schools can help to bring about. That is why it is far more important to have schools with a limited number of boys and girls and the right kind of educators, than to practise the latest and best methods in large institutions.

“Unfortunately, one of our confusing difficulties is that we think we must operate on a huge scale. Most of us want large schools with imposing buildings, even though they are obviously not the right kind of educational centres, because we want to transform or affect what we call the masses.

“But who are the masses? You and I. Let us not get lost in the thought that the masses must also be rightly educated. The consideration of the mass is a form of escape from immediate action. Right education will become universal if we begin with the immediate, if we are aware of ourselves in our relationship with our children, with our friends and neighbours. Our own action in the world we live in, in the world of our family and friends, will have expanding influence and effect.

“By being fully aware of ourselves in all our relationships we shall begin to discover those confusions and limitations within us of which we are now ignorant; and in being aware of them, we shall understand and so dissolve them. Without this awareness and the self-knowledge which it brings, any reform in education or in other fields will only lead to further antagonism and misery.

“In building enormous institutions and employing teachers who depend on a system instead of being alert and observant in their relationship with the individual student, we merely encourage the accumulation of facts, the development of capacity, and the habit of thinking mechanically, according to a pattern; but certainly none of this helps the student to grow into an integrated human being. Systems may have a limited use in the hands of alert and thoughtful educators, but they do not make for intelligence. Yet it is strange that words like ‘system,’ ‘institution,’ have become very important to us. Symbols have taken the place of reality, and we are content that it should be so; for reality is disturbing, while shadows give comfort.

“Nothing of fundamental value can be accomplished through mass instruction, but only through the careful study and understanding of the difficulties, tendencies and capacities of each child; and those who are aware of this, and who earnestly desire to understand themselves and help the young, should come together and start a school that will have vital significance in the child's life by helping him to be integrated and intelligent. To start such a school, they need not wait until they have the necessary means. One can be a true teacher at home, and opportunities will come to the earnest.

“Those who love their own children and the children about them, and who are therefore in earnest, will see to it that a right school is started somewhere around the corner, or in their own home.Then the money will come - it is the least important consideration. To maintain a small school of the right kind is of course financially difficult; it can flourish only on self-sacrifice, not on a fat bank account. Money invariably corrupts unless there is love and understanding. But if it is really a worthwhile school, the necessary help will be found. When there is love of the child, all things are possible.”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The shit show that is Afghanistan: “We will survive. But they will be taking the war back to America!”

An excellent article and documentary on Afghanistan now available through Vice: "This Is What Winning Looks Like".

It should be mandatory viewing for every citizen of every country that was involved in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. It shows life from our and our allies perspective – the honest, the honorable, the gullible, the liars, the politicians, the occupying forces, the Afghan security forces, the war lords, the addicts, the desperate, the corrupt, the child molesters, the murderers, the government – the fantasy that has been defined as victory.

The documentary is well worth watching and should be sobering for anyone who has not yet come to terms with what has been unleashed. The Following quote from an elected local Afghan official sums up the consequences quite well (emphasis added):
“When they came to Afghanistan they came here for a purpose. They couldn’t fulfill their purpose and now they are trying to release themselves. We know this very well. Where have they provided us peace, that now they are leaving? Have they built factories for us? Did they give us any air force? Any tanks? They have spent millions and millions and lost thousands of soldiers. American, British and other countries have lost their men here. We know this.

“How can we stand against the Taliban on our own? How can we defeat them with just two hands and feet? We will survive. But they will be taking the war back to America!

"This Is What Winning Looks Like - Full Length"

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Amazing Events Unfolding in Guatemala: “All of the crimes that Rigoberta Menchú just described were crimes not just of General Ríos Montt, but also of the U.S. government"


Updates:
  • May 23, 2013: Ríos Montt Genocide Verdict Annulled, But Activists Ensure US-Backed Crimes Will Never Be Forgotten
  • May 21, 2013: Guatemala overturns former dictator's genocide conviction


  • For those who have been following the story, below you will find the initial impact of the genocide conviction of ex-Guatemalan dictator Ríos Montt.

    The majority of the coverage in the two videos linked below is with Rigoberta Menchú, the woman largely responsible for making sure that Ríos Montt was brought to justice. It is a powerful interview with an amazing individual, a testament to her courage, and a fitting tribute to the victims of genocide.

    In the second segment, Allan Nairn joins the discussion for a short commentary, the highlight of which is the following:
    “All of the crimes that Rigoberta Menchú just described were crimes not just of General Ríos Montt, but also of the U.S. government. The U.S. prosecutors in Washington should immediately convene a grand jury with two missions: first, coming to the aid of the Guatemalan attorney general, who has just been ordered by the court to investigate all others involved in Ríos Montt’s crimes, by releasing all classified U.S. documents about what happened during the slaughter, which U.S. personnel were involved, providing to the Guatemalan attorney general a list of all Guatemalan army officials and security force officials who were on the payroll of the American CIA, and then proceeding to issue indictments against U.S. officials who acted in the role of accessory or accomplice to the crimes for which Ríos Montt has already been convicted… There would be hundreds of U.S. officials who were complicit in this and should be subpoenaed, called before a grand jury and subjected to indictment. And the U.S. should be ready to extradite them to Guatemala to face punishment.”

    Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Hails Genocide Conviction of Ex-Guatemalan Dictator Ríos Montt



    Allan Nairn: After Ríos Montt Verdict, Time for U.S. to Account for Its Role in Guatemalan Genocide

    Saturday, May 11, 2013

    Update to the About Page

    The following items have been added to the About Page.

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