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The Watercone

March 14th, 2009 | Civilization | Science

Something for the Gates Foundation to get behind perhaps.

This is an absolutely staggering presentation, and it’s done on an overhead projector. I suggest you watch the whole thing, but if you’re impatient, jump to part 3.

alien_death_ray

It’s hard for regular people to save the world. We’re facing over-population, pollution, climate change, natural disasters, famine, the potential for nuclear holocaust — just to pick a few of the big ones. Presidents and other heads of state have some power to influence the world, but relying on them obviously isn’t getting us anywhere.

So when the concerned regular people (us) see how screwed we are we can’t help but feel helpless. What is Bob the IT worker or Jane the high school teacher going to do about all these things that require a unified globe to address?

I have the answer.

You go and buy some professional radio equipment, a massive amplifier and an antennae. Then you start broadcasting a plea to the listening aliens to a false attack on Earth. Plead with them to show up, take over all the media and send a simple message: they are the group in charge of galactic cleanliness, and that our race is such a cluster that if we don’t get ourselves in order we’re going to be exterminated.

Ask them to do something big just to prove a point — say carve out another Grand Canyon in the Nevada desert, or maybe have them send video of another planet being exterminated, or worst case scenario have them evacuate something noticeable and destroy it, like maybe New Jersey or something. And then, most importantly, have them leave some instructions on how to become a decent, advanced civilization, e.g. drop religion, embrace science, adopt Bertrand Russell’s morality structure, etc.

Anyway, the world freaks out and either starts getting their act together out of fear or they start unifying for the purpose of combining defensive military power. Either way, we stop fighting amongst ourselves because we realize that we have a common enemy/cause.

In other words, we can’t, as individuals, do anything to convince the world to stop being stupid, but we can try to convince the listening aliens to break their prime directive and perform a false attack on our planet in order to save our civilization.

You might say this is far-fetched, that it’s unlikely. Granted, but how does it compare to you fixing the world another way? Right. See you at Radio Shack.:

nwo

Let me just say that I am highly resistant to conspiracy theories in general. I think most of them are the product of too much time and abject stupidity. That being said I also realize that there have been real events that would have fallen into that category, to a cynic like myself, if they had been proposed as conspiracy theories while they were being carried out.

So, I’m skeptical overall but aware of the fact that some twisted stuff does actually get planned (and executed) from time to time.

And that brings me to the Council on Foreign Relations. I recently wrote about why Ron Paul supporters should get behind Obama for a simple reason — foreign policy. The idea was that McCain is batshit crazy, and that if you support Ron Paul you’ll do what you have to in order to keep McCain out of office.

The first Digg comment on my article was very short, very cryptic, and led me to do some research (dammit, I’ve been socially engineered!). It was simply:

Obama = CFR

I started searching my dictionary of Internet acronyms, e.g. FTW, but couldn’t come up with anything. So I did what anyone else would do in that situation — I went to Google and Wikipedia.

The Organization

So here’s some information about the group collected mostly from Wikipedia but also from other sources:

Wikipedia: The Council on Foreign Relations

  • The stated goal of the organization is, “to “find and nurture the next generation of foreign policy leaders.”
  • Today it has about 4,300 members (including five-year term members), which over its history have included senior serving politicians, more than a dozen current and former Secretaries of State, national security officers, bankers, lawyers, professors, CIA members and senior media figures.
  • The council is considered by many to be the most powerful agent of U.S. foreign policy outside of the state department (weasel words acknowledged, citation needed).
  • Seven American presidents have addressed the Council, two while still in office – Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
  • The organization has been accused (WW) of pushing for One World Government by those opposed to the loss of U.S. sovereignty.
  • They have an extensive list of corporate members.
  • Over 50% of council meetings are held off the record in order to, according to their own site, “…encourage frankness among participants who may be hesitant to express new or developing ideas if they feared that they would be publicized.”
  • For the council meetings that are on record there is extensive transparency; meetings are made available through transcripts, webcasts, video and audio stream.

So What’s The Conspiracy?

So the conspiracy theory is pretty simple here: the idea is that this group gets together the most powerful people in America and talks about how to go about creating a One World Government. Here’s a video that lays out what seems to be the main theory:

And here are some other other CRF videos from YouTube.

Interesting Quotes

As always we have to be cautious of context, but a few of these are pretty scary…

The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
I am a most unhappy man. I have unwillingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few men. — Woodrow Wilson
We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the world… no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and a vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men. — Woodrow Wilson
They’re gonna make it look like suicide. — Hunter S. Thompson, one day before his death, while working on a 9/11 piece.
The high office of President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American’s freedom, and before I leave office I must inform the citizen of his plight. — JFK, ten days before he was assassinated
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. — Thomas Jefferson

conspiracy_cartoon

If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it. — Edward Bernays
For many years I thought that FDR had developed many thoughts and ideas that were his own to benefit this country, the United States. But he didn’t. Most of his thoughts were carefully manufactured for him in advance by the Council on Foreign Relations-One World Money Group. — Curtis Dall, FDR’s Son in Law
The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. — J. Edgar Hoover

Is the CFR Really For Global Government?

Again, some of that is genuinely scary but some of it could easily be taken in a number of ways and blown out of proportion. Besides, the question at hand is whether or not the CFR specifically is into this whole one-world-government idea.

As it turns out, yes — they appear to be. One of the videos linked above asks the viewers to go and read what the president of the CFR wrote about national sovereignty in a global world. So I did. Here’s the link, followed by some rather scary excerpts.

Sovereignty and Globalisation | Richard N. Haass, President of the CFR

The near monopoly of power once enjoyed by sovereign entities is being eroded. As a result, new mechanisms are needed for regional and global governance that include actors other than states. This is not to argue that Microsoft, Amnesty International, or Goldman Sachs be given seats in the United Nations General Assembly, but it does mean including representatives of such organisations in regional and global deliberations when they have the capacity to affect whether and how regional and global challenges are met. Moreover, states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies if the international system is to function.
Globalisation thus implies that sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but that it needs to become weaker. States would be wise to weaken sovereignty in order to protect themselves, because they cannot insulate themselves from what goes on elsewhere. Sovereignty is no longer a sanctuary.
Necessity may also lead to reducing or even eliminating sovereignty when a government, whether from a lack of capacity or conscious policy, is unable to provide for the basic needs of its citizens. This reflects not simply scruples, but a view that state failure and genocide can lead to destabilising refugee flows and create openings for terrorists to take root.

And people wonder where the whole CFR/One World Government conspiracy comes from. If an author of a conspiracy theory novel were to write a manifesto in the voice of an evil mastermind, this is the kind of stuff they would produce, except this might be a bit over the top for fiction.

The author just said it may become necessary, in this new “global” world, to reduce (or eliminate) a country’s sovereignty when it fails to take care of its people. Is that what we did in Iraq? Does this Haass character realize that someone posted this on the Internet?

Then he busts out with this gem:

The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalisation, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of either world government or anarchy.

So lets assume he doesn’t want anarchy… (admittedly just a wild guess)

The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalisation, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of world government.

Ok, new question — who thinks the CFR is secretly pursuing world government? Have we considered the possibility that they’re not trying to keep it a secret? I mean, if it was supposed to be a covert plan why would they post an op-ed piece, written by their president, on the Internet?

So yes, my finding after a few hours of research is that YES, the CFR — at least at some level — is for one world government. But does this necessarily imply evil?

My Thoughts on the Philosophy of One World Government

So here’s where I’ll switch things up on you guys a bit. I don’t think the notion, by itself, of a one world government is bad. Star Trek had a one world government and they seemed quite happy (and free). Sure, it was fiction, but still.

In other words, just because there’s a one world government doesn’t mean we’re all watched from the sky and can have our nervous system disabled if we pay our cable bill late. Can’t this be done in a good way, given some more growing up on our part? Like 200 or 1000 years from now?

I think so. Definitely. In fact, I think it’s THE way to go. Philosophically I feel that as we evolve as a people (humans) we’ll have less need for borders and labels of “us” or “them”. It’ll just be “we”, and that’s fine with me. I think it’s superior. It’ll go from what we have now to what Norway has, then to Star Trek, and then when we are really advanced we won’t need much government at all.

As an example, Obama and Jimmy Carter are members. Do we really think they are for implanting RFID chips in everyone so that they can sit at the top, turn us all into slaves, and roll around in the money we make for them? I call bullshit.

Again, IF (and I stress IF) there is some faction of the CFR that is for this kind of elitist takeover of the world (that feels weird to type), very few people in the CFR even know about it. I’d be willing to bet that most people who are for one world government — including those in the CFR — are envisioning the Star Trek version, not the evil empire version. And if Obama and Carter subscribe to the idea they most certainly are in that category.

So that’s one option — the big happy Star Trek Federation option. The other option is the evil RFID / big-brother / monitor your thoughts and nuke your soul from orbit option. Not pleasant — I think we all agree on that. Unfortunately, that’s the model of global government that has the best (only?) chance of being put into place given our current situation.

And on a practical level, given our current situation, I think the best thing we can do as Americans who are also long-term global citizens, is to focus on America independently and ensure that it’s strong going forward. In other words, a broken America is no good for anyone. I like my air travel analogy — if you lose cabin pressure you put YOUR mask on first, then you help others. This isn’t a selfish act; it’s how to do the most good.

So the question really comes down to this: which model of one world government is the CFR pushing for? And can’t we as logical people accept that all members of the CFR are not necessarily (and most likely are NOT) for the evil-empire version? I think so.

Conclusion

So what can we take away from all of this? In my opinion, if you add everything up and throw in some logic and common sense, here’s what we end up with:

There is most likely one or more elite organizations, no doubt made up of very wealthy, influential people who are doing what they can to make themselves more wealthy and more powerful — at the expense of the ignorant and underprivileged. Perhaps some within the CFR believe in this, perhaps they don’t.

There are also some organizations who believe in the “Star Trek” version of One World Government. Fewer borders, central government, less war, happier people, etc, etc. Cultural evolution. Progress. I have very little doubt that many within the CFR have this vision in mind. The question is how many have the other, evil version in mind instead (if any).

And that’s where I’ll leave it. I do know that I’ll be paying much more attention to these different groups, especially the CFR. I’ll be watching for news about the North American Union, the North American Superhighway, the Amero, National ID, and all those types of programs. It’s interesting stuff, if nothing else.

On a side note, one thing all this does do for me is reframe the immigration debate. Given the fact that Obama and Hillary are CFR members, perhaps their stance on “the path to citizenship” is just part of their shared vision of a unified North America? Maybe not, but it’s a possibility.

Anyway, feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment below if you have any thoughts.:

Related Information

The CFR Website | cfr.org

Avoid “Weasel Words | wikipedia.org”

The CFR’s Election 2008 Blog | blogs.cfr.org

Conspiracy Quotes | dedroidify.com

The North American Union | wikipedia.org

One World Government | wikipedia.org

The Amero | wikipedia.org

A while back I wrote about an idea for a machine that could be used to bring the world together. I lost that post, so here’s the idea again.

[ Edit: I found my first post! I had named it "The Unity Machine", just like this one. So this second one came up as "the-unity-machine-2", which gave it away. So here's the link: >> The Unity Machine ]

I’m thinking of a computer network in the future that will have the ability to immerse ourselves in the experiences of others. This isn’t a new concept; in many ways it’s the foundation of gaming, but such a system could be used to do much more than pretend to be someone you want to be.

An interesting application of advanced HCI and networking that eliminated the notion of “remote” would be to ask that people experience the lives of others throughout the world, as a duty of citizenship.

So the goal of the project is simple: reduce the distinction between “us” and “them” and “me” and “you”. In other words, the machine would merge our interests in terms of common goals. It would make it so that hurting others equated to hurting yourself, and allowing others to be hurt would cause you pain as well.

So just as some countries have mandatory military service, this civilization would have mandatory “Unity Time”. It’d be every month or so for relatively short amounts of time, and you’d basically enter into an interface and await an assignment. The assignment would be a random event/experience from around the world — some positive, but mostly negative.

As an example, a rich girl from Pleasanton might sign in to her Unity Time and be sent over to Palestine to experience the death of a loved one due to war. Or she might be sent to a wedding in an African village. The key is that her heart rate would rise, she’d feel the emotions, she’d essentially experience the life-changing events that many have when traveling, only more intensely and without the travel.

So the next time she ran into someone from Uganda, for example, she might say, “Wow, I got to learn how to make one of those quilts you guys make. Those are really cool.” They would have shared something. And at her upscale private school there wouldn’t be so much disconnection with the world.

When the teacher said, “50 died today in Pakistan.”, many in the classroom would feel genuine anguish. At least a few of the people in the class may have spent some Unity Time in Pakistan recently. It would be on heavy rotation from the assignment algorithm if there were more people experiencing pain there recently.

And yes, I’m aware of the issues – some of which are very scary. Like who would decide who goes where? Couldn’t you hack the interface so that you didn’t experience pain? Could the assignment oversight committee be bought so that those with money got the good experiences and none of the bad ones?

All good points, but still…it’s an interesting idea. We need some way of conveying to people that we are all in this thing together.:

19.20.21

November 12th, 2007 | Civilization | Culture | Future | Technology

A worthy way to spend a few minutes.

[ 19.20.21 ]

A while back I wrote about the theoretical use of an “experience” machine that could become part of citizenship in the future. The idea was that the machine would allow us to tap into other peoples’ experiences from around the world. We’d be able to see as they see, live as they live, and most importantly — suffer as they suffer.

This machine would constitute a civic duty in order to benefit from the privileges of society. It would be the duty of all citizens to experience the life of others.

The goal is simple: to make it clear within everyone’s mind that we are all connected. That we are all one.

I can’t find that post right now, but if any of you remember what I called it I’d appreciate it. Anyway, my buddy Jason just pointed out to me that Seymour Papert had a similar idea: the Knowledge Machine.

Slightly different applications, to be sure, but the concept is similar enough.:

[ Posted using TextMate ]

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New York is rolling out a new program where they pay poor people to take care of their children.

The experimental program, called Opportunity NYC, is modeled on a 10-year-old Mexican program called Oportunidades, which has been so successful in reducing poverty in rural areas that it has been adopted by more than 20 countries, including Argentina and Turkey. International studies have found that these programs raise school enrollment and vaccination rates and lower the number of sick days students take. Bringing this idea to Harlem and the South Bronx may not make a radical difference, concedes Linda Gibbs, the deputy mayor for Health and Human Services. But, she adds, “It makes these activities matter in a new way.” Gibbs thinks that the money could also make parents more active in asking for services that might not exist in their neighborhoods.” A mother might demand an early-intervention evaluation [to look for developmental or learning disabilities] for a child” to get the $150 payment, Gibbs says. “If she can’t find a doctor to do it, the cash incentive might make Mom more likely to ask why those services aren’t available in her community.

So here’s the basic idea: bribe poor, ignorant parents into taking care of their children by paying them to do what they should be doing already. I find this horribly depressing. All it says to me is that these people should not be parents at all.

If there are utterly simple things you could be doing that would drastically help your children, but you’re not doing them, then you’re a burden to society. The fact that a financial incentive would inspire them to do these simple tasks is utterly sickening.

Let’s be clear here — this isn’t money to help them pay for these services; it’s to encourage them to simply take actions that they should be taking already as parents.

I still support the program because it increases the chances that children will succeed, but I think the real answer is for society as a whole to apply social pressure on poor parents — as peers. Society must police itself, and that starts with demanding that people are capable of supporting themselves successfully before they start bringing additional life into the world.

The first step to reducing the world’s suffering is finding a way to stop increasing it. And that means bringing less people into the world that are likely to suffer.:

According to a major study there’s a very strong correlation between atheism and societal health. Here are the most non-religious countries in the world, according to the findings:

  1. Sweden
  2. Vietnam
  3. Denmark
  4. Norway
  5. Japan
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Finland
  8. France
  9. South Korea
  10. Estonia

From the paper:

High levels of organic atheism are strongly correlated with high levels of societal health, such as low homicide rates, low poverty rates, low infant mortality rates, and low illiteracy rates, as well as high levels of educational attainment, per capita income, and gender equality. Most nations characterized by high degrees of individual and societal security have the highest rates of organic atheism, and conversely, nations characterized by low degrees of individual and societal security have the lowest rates of organic atheism. In some societies, particularly Europe, atheism is growing. However, throughout much of the world – particularly nations with high birth rates – atheism is barely discernible.

No surprise here. I wish the world would pull out of the downward spiral of building jails and churches to house the millions we’re producing but can’t take care of. Quite simply, religion leads to suffering because it encourages the intellectual weakness and dependence of its followers.

Educated and independent people are 1) less likely to be religious, and 2) less likely to be taken advantage of by their governments. Both lead to happiness — hence the findings.:

When one society’s prisons look better than another’s average living quarters, you have a problem. I mean this is just insane. The gyms are better than our YMCA, and the living facilities are like ultra-high-end apartments.

It makes me sick to think that this type of thing is possible while the U.S. is speeding toward third world status. I was in Brooklyn recently and the place looks like Lebanon or Mexico compared to this European prison.

In. Sane.

[ Link: Austrian Prisons ]

The world today is failing to help the less fortunate due to cowardice. This is true in the U.S., in Mexico, in Africa, and most everywhere else on the planet. The issue isn’t obstacles that cannot be overcome; it’s that we are unwilling to correctly identify the obstacles in the first place.

When we as world citizens approach a situation in which a certain segment of the population is in pain, we approach it in one of two ways: it’s either a problem with the group itself or it’s a problem with the group’s environment, i.e. they are victims of something external to them that they cannot overcome. Inevitably, we chose the latter.

What’s needed, however, is an aggressive move away from politically-correct, “victim” policy and one towards logic and reason. The sad reality is that in order to do any good we have to stop treating many of these groups as equals.

When a child starts lighting things on fire, the role of the adult is not to convene a summit composed of equal numbers of children and adults in order to decide whether they should be allowed to continue the behavior. Instead, the adult’s job is to simply state that it cannot continue. Children are not entitled to equal treatment because they are children. This should be no different in the “adult” world. If a population or culture seems unwilling or unable to subscribe to the concepts that make civilizations successful, and human suffering ensues as a result, the world should step in and put a stop to it. But not as an equal — as a parent. A loving parent, to be sure — a parent that knows that this child will one day be an equal — but a parent no less.

Failure to adopt this approach will lead to the child simply lighting things on fire over and over. The role of the world in that scenario is reduced to sending firetrucks (and money for new furniture) and politely asking for the kid to stop. I say the time for that has passed. Let’s call a failed system what it is and find the courage to “talk down” to our family members who have lost their way. Anything less is superficial and ultimately pointless.

The challenge here, of course, is determining who should be included in the group of parents, and what the message to the child should be. And given the recent Bush administration the perception of arrogance and condescention is somethiAny discussions along this line inevitably lead to charges of racism, religious oppression, cultural elitism, etc. But one fact is clear: the unwillingness to classify these situations correctly, i.e. as groups/cultures that need behavior modification rather than environment modification will only prolong the suffering.: