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Messages - L Liberti

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1
General Board / Re: Psychopath attorneys
« on: January 11, 2012, 01:23:43 AM »

[...] Like the kills of most successful snipers and fighter pilots, the vast majority of the killing done by these men were what some would call simple ambushes, and back shootings. No provocation, anger, or emotion empowered these killings.

[...]


But of course - these are the kinds of nihilistic killers - there is a movie "Mr. Brooks" which depicts a guy who killed people for the hell of it..


Examining his modus operandi, from the fastidious preparation and cleaning up of the crime scene before departing, it looks like Brooks was obsessed with not getting caught (he responds to Smith's inquiry as to whether the person they would agree on killing could be someone who he knew, by saying, that you never kill someone you know, that's the surest way to get caught) - and yet, as Smith lies dying, Brooks reveals that he used many different MOs before becoming the meticulous Thumbprint Killer.


Serial offenders modify and perfect their MO as they become more adept at what they do. The improvement or slight adjustment to an offender's MO is something for investigators to bear in mind in analyzing a criminal pattern over time and formulating a behavioral profile. This is especially true in the first stages of profiling when the investigator begins his or her profile from the paradigm of the Organized/Disorganized continuum.

2
General Board / Re: The Madoff Ponzi Scheme
« on: January 11, 2012, 01:04:16 AM »

Amway Corporation is among the world's largest and best-known direct sales/multi-level-marketing organizations. (Amway's IBOs - 'Independent Business Owners' - who sell via the Internet instead of offline do so under the name Quixtar). Some sociologists consider many such such organizations to be 'para-religions' - movements that, while they can not be classified as religions, include some religion-like aspects (e.g. enthusiasm for the cause, recruitment and motivational rituals, positive thinking, etc).

Regarding Amway, others go further, claiming that certain recruitment and motivational tactics used within the Amway network make this organization something of a "corporate cult." So-called "corporate cults" are businesses whose techniques to gain employee commitment and loyalty are in some ways similar to those used by traditional cults.

Amway is a multi-level-marketing (MLM) company in which participating sales people can earn extra income by getting others to sign up (rather than merely earn a commission on items sold). Amway produces and sells recruitment literature, audio messages, pep-rallies and incentives to help its sales force bring other distributors on board. It is said that successful Amway distributors make the bulk of their income from these motivational products, rather than from sales of Amway's other products.

It should be noted that often individual distributors become so focused on Amway's promises that they seemingly can think and talk about nothing else. They try to recruit friends, co-workers, fellow church-members, neighbors and just about anyone they meet in order to try and build their 'downline' (sales network). Many people are turned off by such an unhealthy, cult-like, 'devotion' to a business scheme. In addition, many people who join and try to make money by working for Amway (or similar MLM companies) discover that they spend more on marketing-, recruitment and training packages than they earn from actual sales and/or recruitment efforts.


As to pyramid schemes:

Many pyramids are more sophisticated than the simple model. These recognize that recruiting a large number of others into a scheme can be difficult so a seemingly simpler model is used. In this model each person must recruit two others, but the ease of achieving this is offset because the depth required to recoup any money also increases. The scheme requires a person to recruit two others, who must each recruit two others, who must each recruit two others.


The "8-ball" model contains a total of 15 members. Note that unlike in the picture, the triangular setup in the cue game of eight-ball corresponds to an arithmetic progression 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = 15. The pyramid scheme in the picture in contrast is a geometric progression 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 = 15.

Prior instances of this scam have been called the "Airplane Game" and the four tiers labelled as "captain", "co-pilot", "crew", and "passenger" to denote a person's level. Such schemes may try to downplay their pyramid nature by referring to themselves as "gifting circles" with money being "gifted". Popular scams such as the "Women Empowering Women" do exactly this. Joiners may even be told that "gifting" is a way to skirt around tax laws.

Whichever euphemism is used, there are 15 total people in four tiers (1 + 2 + 4 + 8 ) in the scheme - the person at the top of this tree is the "captain", the two below are "co-pilots", the four below are "crew" and the bottom eight joiners are the "passengers". The eight passengers must each pay (or "gift") a sum (e.g. $1000) to join the scheme. This sum (e.g. $8000) goes to the captain who leaves, with everyone remaining moving up one tier. There are now two new captains so the group splits in two with each group requiring eight new passengers. A person who joins the scheme as a passenger will not see a return until they exit the scheme as a captain. This requires that 14 others have been persuaded to join underneath them. Therefore, the bottom 3 tiers of the pyramid always lose their money when the scheme finally collapses.


Wow, very interesting, too2, to say the least :)


Consider a pyramid consisting of tiers with 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 members.


No matter how large the model becomes before collapse, approximately 88% of all people will lose.

If the scheme collapses at this point, only those in the 1, 2, 4, and 8 got out with a return. The remainder in the 16, 32, and 64 tier lose everything. 112 out of the total 127 members or 88% lost all of their money. During a wave of pyramid activity, a surge frequently develops once a significant fraction of people know someone personally who exited with a $8000 payout for example. This spurs others to seek to get in on one of the many pyramids before the wave collapses. The figures also hide the fact that the confidence trickster would make the lion's share of the money. They would do this by filling in the first 3 tiers (with 1, 2, and 4 people) with phoney names, ensuring they get the first 7 payouts, at 8 times the buy-in sum, without paying a single penny themselves. So if the buy-in were $1000, they would receive $56,000, paid for by the first 56 investors. They would continue to buy in underneath the real investors, and promote and prolong the scheme for as long as possible in order to allow them to skim even more from it before the collapse.

Other cons may also be effective. For example, rather than using fake names, a group of 7 people may agree to form the top 3 layers of a pyramid without investing any money. They then work to recruit 8 paying passengers, and pretend to follow the pyramid payout rules, but in reality split any money received. Ironically, though they are being conned, the 8 paying passengers are not really getting anything less for their money than if they were buying into a 'legitimate' pyramid which had split off from a parent pyramid. They truly are now in a valid pyramid, and have the same opportunity to earn a windfall if they can successfully recruit enough new members and reach captain. This highlights the fact that by 'buying' in to a pyramid, passengers are not really obtaining anything of value they couldn't create themselves other than a vague sense of "legitimacy" or history of the pyramid, which may make it marginally easier to sell passenger seats below them.


Pyramidal schemes are cult-like environments, with those on the top being those who do nothing but lie and win, and the further down you go the more suckers, who lose everything, you find ...

What I wanted to point out, though, is that the hierarchical structure that the current social order entails can well be likened to a pyramidal scheme.

3
General Board / About Defecting
« on: January 11, 2012, 12:05:11 AM »

[...] Formerly, they could eat, dress, wear shoes, be educated, travel, and hear Beethoven; while millions did not eat, had no clothes or shoes, neither studied nor traveled, much less listened to Beethoven. Any restriction on this way of life, in the name of the rights of the community, appears to the former oppressors as a profound violation of their individual rights -- although they had no respect for the millions who suffered and died of hunger, pain, sorrow, and despair. For the oppressors, "human beings" refers only to themselves; other people are "things." For the oppressors, there exists only one right: their right to live in peace, over against the right, not always even recognized, but simply conceded, of the oppressed to survival. And they make this concession only because the existence of the oppressed is necessary to their own existence.

This behavior, this way of understanding the world and people (which necessarily makes the oppressors resist the installation of a new regime) is explained by their experience as a dominant class. Once a situation of violence and oppression has been established, it engenders an entire way of life and behavior for those caught up in it -- oppressors and oppressed alike. Both are submerged in this situation, and both bear the marks of oppression. Analysis of existential situations of oppression reveals that their inception lay in an act of violence -- initiated by those with power. This violence, as a process, is perpetuated from generation to generation of oppressors, who become its heirs and are shaped in its climate. This climate creates in the oppressor a strongly possessive consciousness -- possessive of the world and of men and women. Apart from direct, concrete, material possession of the world and people, the oppressor consciousness could not understand itself -- could not even exist. Fromm said of this consciousness that, without such possession, "it would lose contact with the world." The oppressor consciousness tends to transform everything surrounding it into an object of its domination. The earth, property, production, the creations of people, people themselves, time -- everything is reduced to the status of objects at its disposal.

In their unrestrained eagerness to possess, the oppressors develop the conviction that it is possible for them to transform everything into objects of their purchasing power; hence their strictly materialistic concept of existence. Money is the measure of all things, and profit the primary goal. For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more -- always more -- even at the cost of the oppressed having less or having nothing. For them, to be is to have and to be the class of the "haves." As beneficiaries of a situation of oppression, the oppressors cannot perceive that if having is a condition of being, it is a necessary condition for all women and men. This is why their generosity is false. Humanity is a "thing," and they possess it as an exclusive right, as inherited property. To the oppressor consciousness, the humanization of the "others," of the people, appears not as the pursuit of full humanity, but as subversion.

The oppressors do not perceive their monopoly on having more as a privilege which dehumanizes others and themselves. They cannot see that, in the egoistic pursuit of having as a possessing class, they suffocate in their own possessions and no longer are; they merely have. For them, having more is an inalienable right, a right they acquired through their own "effort," with their "courage to take risks." If others do not have more, it is because they are incompetent and lazy, and worst of all is their unjustifiable ingratitude towards the "generous gestures" of the dominant class. Precisely because they are "ungrateful" and "envious," the oppressed are regarded as potential enemies who must be watched.

It could not be otherwise. If the humanization of the oppressed signifies subversion, so also does their freedom; hence the necessity for constant control. And the more the oppressors control the oppressed, the more they change them into apparently inanimate "things." This tendency of the oppressor consciousness to "in-animate" everything and everyone it encounters, in its eagerness to possess, unquestionably corresponds with a tendency to sadism. Fromm maintained that,

Quote
The pleasure in complete domination over another person (or other animate creature) is the very essence of the sadistic drive. Another way of formulating the same thought is to say that the aim of sadism is to transform a man into a thing, something animate into something inanimate, since by complete and absolute control the living loses one essential quality of life -- freedom

Sadistic love is a perverted love -- a love of death, not of life. One of the characteristics of the oppressor consciousness and its necrophilic view of the world is thus sadism. As the oppressor consciousness, in order to dominate, tries to deter to search, the restlessness, and the creative power which characterize life, it kills life. More and more, the oppressors are using science and technology as unquestionably powerful instruments for their purpose: the maintenance of the oppressive order through manipulation and repression. The oppressed, as objects, as "things," have no purposes except those their oppressors prescribe for them.

The fundamental theme of our historical period, domination, readily implies that of liberation as the objective to be achieved (given the fact that themes of any era are always interacting dialectically with their opposites) It is by means of critical thinking that individuals will be able to understand the world in totality, not in fragments, achieving a clearer perception of the whole. To this end, a dialectical method of thought, exemplified in the analysis of a "coded" situation is presented. The "decoding" on the part of students/learners will guarantee moving from the part to the whole and then returning to the parts, so that the Subject recognizes oneself in the coded concrete situation and recognizes the latter as a situation in which he finds himself, as well as with the other people; accomplished as it should, this makes possible for the abstract to be "transported" to the concrete realm, by the critical perception of the subject himself. The task of the teacher becomes the "representing" of the universe of themes to the people from whom it was initially received -- presented to them as a "problem."


Trying to connect the dots here ... basically what the quoted poster is saying is that the ruling class and their pals (corporate execs) expect total subjugation to their wishes from the oppressed - to each and every one of their wishes?!


Well, I guess we can't do anything more than tell people this:

OPT OUT OF THE D I C K LINE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!


Exactly Figaro - if people would find the force to act on what they already know and understand about the system and defect, the oppressors can not artificially force their ideology and their ways, the ones that help maintain the false hierarchy of power and wealth.

4
Socratic Method / IQ - Social Darwinsim - Eugenics
« on: January 10, 2012, 11:35:29 PM »
For the sake of truth, the INfamous Bell Curve has a very direct connection to Social Darwinism and the eugenics movement. The book "The Bell Curve," for instance, is perhaps one of the most controversial books of all time. Written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the book uses empirical statistical analysis to reach conclusion of intelligence gap in American society. Two of the most controversial conclusions reached by the author are the relationships between low measured intelligence and anti-social behavior and the observed relationship between low African-American test scores, when compared to Asians or whites, and genetic factors in intelligence abilities.

These controversial conclusions can be tied to Darwin's theory of evolution. Written in Darwin's "The Origin of Species,"

Quote
"With animals having separated sexes there will be in most cases a struggle between the male for possession of the females. The most vigorous individuals, or those which have the most successfully struggled with their conditions of life, well generally leave most progeny. But success will often depends on having special weapons or means of defense, or on the charms of the males; against slightest advantage will lead to victory"

is one of the many quotes by Darwin which could be use to explain the conclusions reached by Herrnstein and Murray. Or in Stephen Jay Gould's words, "The Bell Curve" rests on two distinctly different but sequential arguments, which together encompass the classic corpus of biological determinism as a social philosophy - in other words, Social Darwinism.

Social Darwinism holds that Darwin's theory of evolution can be applied to the development of human social institutions. It first become popular in late 19th century and continued until end of World War II. The application of the term to 19th and 20th century modes of thought, however, generally did not occur until after the publication of American historian Richard Hofstadter's "Social Darwinism in American Thought" in 1944, which codified the concept in the sense it is generally used today.

Social Darwinism is often linked to eugenics, and is the backbone of Herrnstein & Murray's arguments, according to which humans are separated not only by race and class, but also by IQ - this being the central theme of the arguments brought forth by these authors. This argument may deviate from the original 19th century theory of Social Darwinism; however, its use of statistical analysis of IQ is the central thought of 20th century Social Darwinism. The conclusions of the authors suggest people who have high IQ would be more "successful in life" and people with low IQ will encounter more problems in life such as unemployment, divorce, crime, and poverty. Using Social Darwinism, survival of the fittest (or should we, more appropriately, say, survival of the unfittest, the fat lazy a s s e s?) and other laws of evolution can be applied to human society; hence, it can be understood, that the people with high IQ be successful in life therefore have a easier time passing on their "good" gene to the next generation because they have a easier time finding a partner. On other hand, the people with low IQ, often exert anti-social behavior, hence have problems finding and supporting a partner, therefore would have problem passing their gene to the next generation.

They maintain that

Quote
"It is time for America once again to try living with inequality, as life is lived: understanding that each human being has strengths and weaknesses, qualities we admire and qualities we do not admire, competencies and incompetencies, assets and debits; that the success of each human life is not measured externally but internally; that all of the rewards we can confer on each other, the most precious is a place as a valued fellow citizen."

This idea is the 20th century Social Darwinism. This idea is also the idea behind eugenic movements and research which was not unpopular during the time.


Hitler believed humans were animals to whom the genetics laws, learned from livestock breeding, could be applied. The Nazis believed that instead of permitting natural forces and chance to control evolution, they must direct the process to advance the human race. The first step to achieve this goal was to isolate the ‘inferior races’ in order to prevent them from further contaminating the ‘Aryan’ gene pool. The widespread public support for this policy was a result of the belief, common in the educated classes, in the conclusion that certain races were genetically inferior as was scientifically 'proven' by Darwinism. The Nazis believed that they were simply applying facts, proven by science, to produce a superior race of humans as part of their plan for a better world: 'The business of the corporate state was eugenics or artificial selection — politics as applied biology'.

Some may argue the connection between "The Bell Curve" and Social Darwinist eugenic movements of the time. But many facts show strong connection between the two. Firstly, as early as 1971, Herrnstein published an article in a prestigious US magazine, 'Atlantic Monthly', and can be quoted "the tendency to be unemployed may run in the genes of a family about as certainly as bad teeth do now.... As the wealth and complexity of human society grow, there will be precipitated out of the mass of humanity a low-capacity residue that may be unable to master the common occupations..." Secondly, Herrnstein's political stance is very conservative; "It is hard to argue that the "class struggle" can be resolved by a redistribution of wealth and capital, if it should turn out that something more than economics distinguishes the contending classes." Thirdly, quoted from an ABC New Report transcript, "Ever since 1937, the 'Pioneer Fund' has promoted the study of racial purity as a an ideal. Over the past 10 years, according to public documents, the 'Pioneer Fund' contributed $3.5 million to researchers cited in "The Bell Curve."

Finally, Herrnstein is found to be connected with the journal 'Mankind Quarterly', which is owned by Roger Pearson for the last 25 years. Pearson was a leader of the pro-fascist Northern League, which included a number of former Nazi SS officials, and a member of the World Anti-Communist League, described by former member Geoffrey Stewart-Smith as a collection of Nazis, fascists, anti-Semites, and vicious racists. These facts suggest strong ties between the authors and ideas of "The Bell Curve" with Social Darwinism movement of the time. "The Bell Curve" brought the theories of Social Darwinism into the public. It introduced the mass population to the idea IQ, something heritable, being the main determining factor for success in life, and it did it in a "scientific" way which help the idea to be accepted by the public.

The political landscape of the time also played a large role in the success of Social Darwinism. The presidency of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. initiated hyper segregation, large-scale unemployment and contingent labor. To go along with this, the collapse of Soviet Union, more importantly the communism it symbolized, also played a role in how equality was perceived.

5
Socratic Method / Re: Zero-Sum Game :: Scarcity
« on: January 10, 2012, 10:35:18 PM »

Thinking "like a lawyer" also means to define people according to their legal rights, trying to understand, prevent and "resolve" problems by applying legal rules to those rights, usually in a zero-sum manner. It is fundamentally negative, critical, pessimistic, and depersonalizing. This method of thinking is conveyed and understood in law schools as a new and superior way of thinking, not a strictly limited legal tool. These beliefs and thought processes have an atomistic worldview and a zero-sum message about life. Nothing much matters beyond winning or losing, and there is always a loser for each winner.

Not to mention that stupid m u t h a @ # ! * i n g grading curve that law schools have in place.



http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/index.php?topic=3003847.msg3037022


I wouldn't be surprised to see law schools do this kind of thing - don't get me wrong, they are major a s s h o l e s when doing that - what I am saying is that social Darwinism and the like are highly influential in contemporary American thought. Think Malthus, for instance - in fact, Malthusianism became an intellectual stepping-stone to the idea of natural selection, with evolutionary biologists such as Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace having borrowed from the theory.

For example, it is a common assumption that there is not enough food produced globally to feed the entire world population. In addition, it is assumed that, should food be distributed to the poorest of the poor, this would inevitably eventuate in a population increase that would, again inevitably, create a need for food that would be greater than the available supply of food. This is the "Malthusian" dilemma, after the Thomas Malthus who first put forward the argument in 1798. Malthus argued that population growth, especially of poor bastards, would inevitably outrun food supply, unless the latter were restrained from breeding. He advocated that poor people be crowded together in unhealthy housing, for instance, this being a way of checking the population growth.

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