william.scherk

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About william.scherk

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    William Scott Scherk
  • Birthday 01/24/1958

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    Vedder Crossing, Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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    Fringe beliefs, pseudoscience, pseudophilosophy, fringe psychology, moral panics, cognitive neuroscience, Dusty Springfield, anthropology, evolutionary psychology, satanic ritual abuse/recovered memory therapy controversy, True Believers, cult dynamics, urban planning, 80s music, urban transportation, Grand Guignol, snarkiness . . . QAnon phenomena, Youtube 'cults,' extremism/radicalism

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    William Scott Scherk
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    Poet and gadfly, WSS has been:- HR manager of a year-round silviculture company in the great white north- singer. songwriter, frontman- painter- sculptor- reporter- cook- janitor- editor- filmmaker- actor- amateur psychologist- web mavenMay he be all these things
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  1. The phrase "all polls are wrong" was a cool hinge-point of argument last year, as the Trump train rolled on ... Yesterday a Democrat penned an interesting article at The Hill. It didn't say that "all polls are wrong," but that surveys of President Trump's popularity in the USA are flawed and in no way indicative. In other words ... Why the polls are still wrong. Here's a few excerpts from the article: The Penn article also received some pushback, in this instance from Philip Bump of the fey canoes Washington Post: Why is a former Clinton pollster writing iffy poll analysis that panders to Trump supporters? Here's a snapshot from the folks at 538 [updated July 3 2020]:
  2. I see your footsteps, Carol.

  3. Cool topic resurrection. I suspect a Gates connection. Hunch, so far, maybe wrong. A tidbit I found: https://medium.com/@jonathanferguson_72851/i-didnt-know-you-were-on-medium-curtis-yarvin-eab1266ae581 Wait, so Gates is actually alt-right? I've heard he's a white supremacist (mainly from the Whitney Webb--journalist who did some digging into Epstein and his connections). Keep in mind Yarvin has nothing but praise for Mises and Rothbard. And although Yarvin does espouse the belief that genetics are a good predictor of IQ, he is explicit that racist policy is obviously bad and judging an individual by their race is not effective. The Urbit platform is quite ambitious, almost "engine of the world" ambitious. Were it to become widely-implanted over time, it would probably be the thing most connected to Yarvin's name. I tease my now rather conservative Uncle with "I Was A Teenage Communist," because he was, but I love him and so I don't hold his pitiful old radical-card against him now). Yarvin's still got life and surprises in him -- I wonder if his first-noted writings and his blog will amount to a wall of beans in the end. If Yarvin still is "A Young Radical" I give him credit for consistency. He's put his money where his mouth is, put at least some of his philosophy in practice. He also does not sound bitter, trigger-happy or seething with vengeance, which is always a bonus ... I followed a few byways via Ellen's link. From the Verge story:
  4. Six fun (sad/awful/false/infuriating) stories emerged from the swamp in the last couple of days. Peter Taylor noted elsewhere on the site some vows made by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on the issue of "leaks." Some of the usual suspects have pretended that this is a "Threat" against the noble profession of prostitution journalism. The strongest or least-false coverage of this issue from that point of view may be from font of evul Politico ... in a story called Jeff Sessions' Attack on the Media Is Worse Than You Think. Of course, Objectivist analysis might find that the threat is more than necessary, and that it will encourage a proper "chilling effect." Less clear is the notion of "Lie Detectors" (in the White House). Polygraphs are a useful investigative tool, but not accepted by US courts on the whole. Less intrusive than a lie detector is the power to subpoena ... but see the story for all the convolutions. (one stand-out point was that it is relatively rare for journalist-itutes to be prosecuted or held in contempt for refusing to reveal sources [think Judith Miller]; the Politico story points out that the four arrested cited-but-not-cited by Sessions were not recipients but those who had purloined secret and often highly-classified 'spy' entrails from the DC borg.) ********************************* The second story circulating is that Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC. This may or may not be true -- even though everyone and the dog has been biting on the "news." I do not know if this would become public in the normal course of justice. The third story is that President Trump is a lazy do-nothing, who spends far too much time at his golf clubs ... instantiated in a nasty Newsweek cover. The fourth story is related to the Mueller grand jury suggestion ... this excerpt is from the brief Slate article "U.S. Reportedly Intercepted Suspected Russian Agents' Chatter That Manafort Asked for Their Help With Clinton: There are obviously multiple investigative balls in the air, and the public focus has shifted of late to Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, who certainly have had longer and more lasting influence on Donald Trump, but keep an eye on Paul Manafort, his Russia connections are deep and dodgy. Update, Aug. 4, 2017: Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, issued this statement on the latest round of accusations: “Paul Manafort did not collude with the Russian government to undermine the 2016 election or to hack the DNC. Other than that comment, we aren't going to respond to anonymous officials illegally peddling second hand conspiracy theories. But the Justice Department, and the courts if necessary, should hold someone to account for the flood of unlawful government leaks targeting Mr. Manafort." Manafort was the first somewhat hinky part of the Trump campaign and influence apparat to appear in posts here on OL, back a year and more ago. It's not surprising that Mueller would request documents and testimony from the Manafort axis. It isn't that he was a tool of Russia or an obvious go-between, but that he could have been a major conduit for the wink-wink quid pro quo that the crazy Russia conspiracists are certain is going to be found. Did Mr Manafort wink-nudge the Trump attitude that 'we take help from where it comes, given that politics is a dirty dirty game'? I mean, isn't the essential question reduced to who promised what in return? I take the tentative position that Trump's stated positions on Russia during the campaign and since being in office are obvious. So it will be exceedingly hard to show him 'promising' things on the down low, since he did it on the stump. Then, if he was inclined to reduce sanctions bite on Russia and to warm things up between the superpower and the also-ran, it was open and public. Which requires that underlings and satellites were going to be the ones dealing with the details of wink-wink, nudge-nudge. If you are a Menshist, or not. (the more hysterical of the Russia hoopla employees and hobbyists are those who think every rumour is true, every leak informs the big picture. So the Flynn Effect [very pro-Russia relax] and other fizz from the week means Russian "information warfare" was coordinated. Which is alarmist nonsense, right?) ************************************* The fifth story is about vacation-time, but in this instance taken by the manly President of Russia. Here's a sample: The sixth story is as usual performed by two casts, in two theatres. In the permutations, a Cernovich wing in the White House leaks out a broad range of accusations against Trump's National Security Adviser Lt. General HR McMaster -- that he is a tool of Soros/Rothschilds/Saudis, an enemy of Israel, and ever-so Swamp-Like that his hideous influence must be extirpated from Cabinet. Two guys come shambling up the alley. First guy looks like Steve Bannon, the second guy looks like McMaster, and the guy with McMaster is brown and in a turban**. Which one would you ask out on a date/for help? Which one is leaking to the Washington Post, or -- as this week -- to Cernovich-Breitbart-Gateway Pundit? I think there is a mini-war of ideas in the White House, which slops over into a war of words and Grand Hoopla Theatre in the mediatic multiplex. But what do I know. I am that guy who wrote "Why Donald Trump lost the election." Incidentally, as a bonus seventh story -- did you know that obsessive humans do such things as rigorously analyze Twitter accounts that peddle the Kremlin lines of attack? Yes you did, but did you know that PR and political attack campaigns have a particular 'footprint' or pattern? Of course you did, so it won't be a surprise that there is a website that tracks real-time information-warfare memes and their flows in Kremlin-friendly orbit. If you squint and pretend to be Louise Mensch, yesterday's peak trends like the Cernovich Leaks from the angry West Wingers about McMaster were coordinated with a robust 'managed news' campaign directed by the drunk guy in the alley. See if you can find your favourites bot link or alt-news site here. I add a screenshot of the crazy site, but first an intro from the feverish topic ends of Twitter. __________________________ * I am picturing Harjit Sajjan, who rarely togs out in his Commander outfit, but still. Who doesn't feel safer when a turbaned Sikh gets on the bus? I would think Bannon was a drunk, and McMaster probably a loud talker. Which makes me think how many more generals should join the Trump cabinet and administrative apparatus.
  5. That was then, and this is now. According to the last order from the judge (details from a June 26 Toronto Star AP report), Roger Stone will surrender to the Bureau of Prisons by July 14th. That decision was unsealed yesterday and can be read here. Dull recital of recent history set up, this is a fascinating interview given to Dustin Nemos, a notable QAnon author and entrepreneur. Nemos just lost his Twitter account for the usual murky reasons, but his YouTube account is still up. Lots of topical material, if not to all OL members' tastes. Bringing it back to Sessions ... his Alabama GOP Senate primary election run-off is set for July 14th. If you wet your finger and hold it up to the wind, you will discover who is going to win. My money is on the Trump-endorsed Tommy Tuberville, by a nose. An elephant nose. Don't piss off Big Daddy. He never forgets.
  6. All Polls are Wrong. I don't see why any present poll or polling average should give comfort to the Democratic campaign, because it seems like the real campaign hasn't started. About the only areas that might be of concern to the GOP campaign are seemingly 'iffy' contests for the Senate. I will put down a marker here of so-called swing state polls, and return once all the votes are counted in these (maybe) key races. Arizona -- today Real Clear Politics aggregate of surveys suggests that Democrat Mark Kelly is ~11% in front of the incumbent GOP senator McSally. Colorado -- RCP's page suggests (on very very scant data) that the incumbent Corey Gardner is ~10% behind challenger John Hickenlooper. Iowa -- GOP senator Jody Ernst won over her 2014 Democratic opponent by 8.5%. RCP has no information on the present race, but a mid-June Iowa Register survey suggested a three-point advantage to the Democratic candidate Theresa Greenfield. Maine -- up for re-election is Susan Collins, who won her 2014 contest by 14 points. RCP currently shows a slight lead for her 2020 opponent Sarah Gideon. Montana -- RCP has no data to present on the race here between Steve Daines and Steve Bullock. But I include this one to test the mettle of the Cook Political Report, who has put the race in the 'toss-up' column. North Carolina -- the incumbent is Thom Tillis of the GOP. He faces Cal Cunningham. RCP rates this contest a 'toss-up' on scant data. So, if Arizona, Maine and Colorado are lost by the GOP on November 3, then the Senate will be even-steven, 50 to 50.
  7. Barring death or Clinton shenanigans (per HA Goodman's thought) or stepping/staggering out of contention, Joe Biden is the "presumptive" Democratic nominee. Depending on America's future experience with COVID19, the Democratic national convention will be something of a 'virtual' affair, with no packed stadium full of trained seals and barking dogs. We shall see. Which leaves only the choice of Biden's vice-president, presently unknown. That is the remaining excitement. My guesswork is that Biden has about five names on his short-list -- with Elizabeth Warren fans promoting her as the only prospective VP candidate that can appeal to young 'progressives'; Kamala Harris fans seem to be in a crossed-fingers stance, hoping that the developing personal relationship between Biden will add to her other possible attractions. The main objections to Warren seem to be based on her 'baggage' and the main objections to Harris seem to surround the the meme of "Kamala is a Cop." Biden is supposedly going to announce his choice in a month or so ...
  8. Many leading lights of the QAnon movement just got together for a "pre-launch virtual live-stream" -- if I understand correctly, this will be the first of more "Virtual Conventions." Click the image or this link to visit: https://qcon.live One of the sponsors of the virtual event was partly responsible for the in-person "Great Awakening" events celebrating Q that were held in Washington DC and Tampa Florida. I'll post any video I can find that shares the conference events one I find them -- I don't yet know if they are pay-walled or on an 'alternate platform' that can be embedded here at Objectivist Living. In the meantime, here is the QAnonAnonymous podcasters and guests commenting during presentations of the main speakers ...
  9. Three days of whoopee and counting ... Mutiny over The Bounty. From "the most trusted name in news": bylined to Barbara Starr and Paul LeBlanc; we get quotes from McCaul, Ratcliffe and Haspell (emphasis added): Also today, the White House Press Secretary quelled doubts about the President's reading habits (one McGuffin from the loony left is that the President is not a great reader):
  10. Today in "Faux Leftist Whoopee" ... Outrage mounts over report Russia offered bounties to Afghanistan militants for killing US soldiers
  11. The Trump campaign wants to clear up a few points about the Tulsa rally ... TRUMP CAMPAIGN STATEMENT ON BOGUS CLAIMS OF TICKET HACKING
  12. You might also want to check out Harlow's monkeys: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Harlow Harlow was briefly mentioned in the Atlantic article ...
  13. Folks here will likely remember something of the plight of those in Romania's "child gulags." A new Atlantic article offers a deep dive, which some might find useful to discussion: 30 Years Ago, Romania Deprived Thousands of Babies of Human Contact | Here’s what’s become of them
  14. Objectivism and emotion and I have a history here going back almost to the beginning. At times I have been boring and pedantic. On the brighter side, thinking and reading about emotion and research into emotion has given me just enough confidence to be brief. I think everyone in this thread has made important points, interesting observations, and could probably get a C+ on a snap essay/comment that summed up "the other guy's" argument. What I got to was a question. And then a few more. First, Is empathy a capacity or an emotion? Is empathy felt in the body as an emotion is felt (is empathy an internal 'echo' of previously felt emotions re-imagined)? Can one empathize with an angry, grieving, mistrustful person? Can we ''pick up" and imitate a nearby emotion? Is there an "empathy of crowds"? How would emotional 'contagion' operate with and without empathy? If empathy is a human universal -- an aptitude or mental facility that comes with a standard issue brain -- can we measure its variable 'strength'? If empathy is a human universal, given a healthy brain, which will be the exceptions that prove the (general) rule? Can a sociopath be empathetic? Although it can be observed that a sociopath lacks remorse, is callous, has zero compassion and an absence of "conscience" and has difficulty distinguishing fear ... can he still 'get' empathy? Can he utilize empathy (or concurrent 'emotional echoes' in mind's eye)? Some of you here may keep up with the neuroscience as it pertains to sociopathy/empathy being mutually-exclusive. Where I think I agree most with everyone is that a human capacity for empathy(emotion) can be exploited, can be manipulated, can be commanded, and can be over-ruled. It can be fed on particular diets (of all the media we presently emit). It gets full play in great works of fiction. On that same tack -- empathy can be stimulated for good and for ill. As a parent teaches a child about the general non-aggression pact in human societies, stimulating a capacity for empathy is one tool. When we advise about the No Biting rule, and later on basic justice, on family fairness, we can effectively use a capacity for empathy to deepen the lesson. Later still, as we help teens grapple with moral issues we instruct on more explicit evils, on abuses and crimes, even on terrible fates, the wounds, hatreds, joys, fears and triumphs 'out there.' Evoking another's feelings in one's own mind is also a kind of day-to-day practical psychology ... One more line to truss up my points -- evoking empathy, eliciting empathetic reasoning, inculcating a mental skill at 'putting oneself in the other person's place,' imagining another person's joy or apprehension or shame or pain ... this helps carry forward the values of our selves (as philosophy for living), of our families, our cultural communities, "tribes," ethno-religious sects, states. It all adds to a lesson plan. Strong feelings help nail down the salient details. It might also be useful to re-beat this drum: empathy for the downtrodden, empathy for the forgotten, empathy for the left-behind, can be used to stake tribal boundaries -- using tales of great evil and suffering at the hands of putative enemies. It's a really interesting topic that I have thought about over the years. I wish we had a larger quorum, because this is one of those subjects that everyone probably has a take on. "What is empathy. What is it for? How does it manifest?" As always on an emotion-related thread, a plug for the excellent work of author and neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. I've used an example from his work to illustrate how decision-making and reason itself is deformed or gravely impaired by specific lesions to the brain that remove emotion. What a remarkable attribute of human beings, that we can imagine ourselves in the feeling body of another human.