Support Elizabeth Warren

Original version posted at Truth Dig as a comment.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale

Elizabeth Warren reminds me of Florence Nightingale the great reformer who changed hospital systems for the better during the Victorian era.

What Florence faced back then, Elizabeth now confronts, a phalanx of bureaucrats.  For every opponent that falters, one of a thousand will step into the breach. * Ms. Nightingale fought for every inch of ground, she had to educate people, and even become a vanguard for a new idea – the graphic representation of information.

Everyone who has entered a hospital since that time owes Florence a debt of gratitude. She lowered the rate of death in hospitals by 76%. ALL BEFORE WOMEN COULD VOTE!

When things are tough I think of Florence Nightingale. I don’t think of the Spartan King Leonidas. Yes he was brave and faced 500,000  men (+ or -) in battle with only 300. He had no choice. It was either fight or become subjected.

Florence in her era and Elizabeth now voluntarily faced off with entrenched interests; bureaucratic slaves of habit that resist change. The fight goes beyond the profiteers that make big money. The peon administrators are addicted to doing similar things everyday. It allows them to surrender themselves to an imagination that has been freed by relegating work to habit. Why effort when you can become and automaton and day-dream? “We always did it this way!” The battle cry of the mediocre.

Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren

Warren deserves our support in every way possible because these interests will resist in every way imaginable. The style in which Elizabeth fights with may not be pleasant.  She will certainly make mistakes. But just look at the foe she faces and try to understand.



* Paraphrase of Litton Strachy,  Eminent Victorians – Florence Nightingale

Paul Ryan’s lack of Moral Compass and Compassion on Abortion

Romneys VP pick is a piece of work.

Paul Ryan said
Rape is a “method of conception.”

He said this in defense of his views on abortion with no exception for rape. The video linked to his pic  ->


Leaving aside the trivial truism. I realize that thieving is a method of personal gain. That is not a reason to impose on the victims the cost of the police, trial and imprisonment of the perpetrator; in other words the aftermath.

Ryan’s moral compass is broken. If a woman is forced by the state to give birth to a rape child the insult to injury amounts to the rapist stealing about nine months at least, putting her body at more risk, lets not forget the cost, etc. There was no choice for a woman in the matter. Even more the emotional consequences of being seen in the culture as nothing more than an incubator once conception happens even by a rapist. It is women as a means to an end. Her biology is more important than her and her future and perhaps even her life itself may be forfeit because of falling prey to some rapist.

Now if you have not heard of this video make a point to share this disgrace of Ryan.

Here is

Paul Slansky discussing this at The Huffington Post

Study Finds Fox News Viewers Least Informed Of All Viewers

Study Finds Fox News Viewers Least Informed Of All Viewers

Writeonwater Commented 2 hours ago in Media
“Suggestibility burdens many of us. As long as this willingness to be led exists there will be people who take advantage of it. But doesn’t this happen on both sides? Yes and that remains valid argument against anyone who serves up fallacy as valid. But fox news has made it into an art form.
I am tempted to say that many Americans don’t recognize a fallacy’s like personal attacks, diversions, and conclusions that don’t follow from a premise, ect. I’m not sure that’s true because many who accept similar arguments against their opponents would not accept them being used against them and would call them out as what they are.
O’reilly has mastered changing the subject, building a straw man, slippery slope, but does he let his guests get away with that? Hell no, not if advantage will be lost. Take his statement “Occupy protesters are terrorists” Would he accept the proposition “Right wingers are KKK members” simply because individual members of the Klan are against progressive viewpoints? If you accept as legitimate argument against an opponent based on logic you would reject against your own position, (for good reason) then you lack integrity.”

— By Todd Vickers


Chauvinist Men and Fathers

Assuming the age of consent, any father who can’t bear the thought of his daughter discovering healthy sexuality let alone clinging to the sheets in ecstasy with a lover of her choice (of any sex or race) is a chauvinist – among other things. I am not saying he may not love and care for her. I am saying paternal love can and does exist in the midst of bigotry.

I say this because the troubled (and possibly anguished) father rejects the girl’s autonomy. This is sexism.  Moreover, insult compounds injury when a male sibling receives daddy’s approval or even pride for sexual adventures.

From monstrous honor killings, to raging fathers screaming sexual epithets, to the disapproving withdrawal of affection and finally at the other end a wholesome respect for a woman’s self determination, every degree of gradation exists. The same reasoning often justifies the the worst of that spectrum along with the more moderate forms of coercion. The useless shame, misery and tears women must carry along the way disgraces the father or any man who participates in the injustice.

Hiding such prejudice behind some ideal of caring for women is absurd. My grandfather forbade my mother to go to college because he didn’t believe it was good that women should be highly educated. She resented that imposition for the rest of her life. She had a scholarship and wanted to do research. Who knows what we may have lost in that bargain. Erase the word college and replace it with whatever you like,  it would still be invading the sovereignty of women’s lives and nowhere is this more prevalent than in sexuality.

Trainers control animal actions by making the behavior they want to instill the easiest thing a creature can do.  Masters may be nice and they may give rewards but still coercion rules.  They see a living thing as a means to an end. What is good for domestic animals is unacceptable for humans.

To the men who feel uncomfortable with this view I would say this: Even if you believe your ideas are correct you are not obligated to obey them. You are not a slave to your prejudices, or are you?

–By Todd Vickers

Content Copyright 2012 © Vickers Publications. All Rights Reserved

Low Effort Thinking and Conservative Criticism

If Dr. Eidelman’s study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin  linking conservatives to “Low Effort Thinking” is flawless. Many arguments based on his data amount to personal attacks I.E. conservatives are stupid. Insolence won’t help explain or solve any problem. Conservatism rests on ideals so now lets have a real life metaphor to change our point of view about beliefs.

Ron owns a septic company.  [1] He was called to a job in a gated community to service the system of a corporate executive. The jovial client explained he dug up his own tank to get some exercise apart from his jet set life.

Both men chatted and Ron noticed something, but said nothing. The exec asked, “is that what I think it is?” Ron said “yes”.  It seems a bunch of condoms had been flushed.  The palpable angst suggested that this man and his wife didn’t use condoms. Some weeks passed and Ron received another call and as he pumped a new batch of condoms emerged. The client  offered a wad of cash asking the details be kept secret then got in his car and left a large path of smoking rubber behind him.

Ideas about ourselves and the world can be shattered by facts. The wishful thinking of a rich person can be as delusional as that of a beggar. I refer to viewing life through beliefs  that act like blue lenses making the world look blue. Was the security and comfort of Ron’s client as unreal before the truth emerged as it was after? I think so.

The problem symbolized in the story is mistaking some concept for a fact; confusing the event called idea with what the thought refers too. To clarify – you never eat the thought of a banana.

I am not faulting here the formulas or deduction of conservatives though they may be flawed. I am saying those formulas leave out relevant facts. 2 + 2 = 4 is always rationally true. [2] Yet two rabbits and two other rabbits can be more than four rabbits without adding any. It is useless to say the argument is unfair because it involves change. The basis of the argument references life including the unknown variables that are not accounted for in formulas but can nonetheless change the outcome. I have never considered these objections answered by conservatives.

 “We may say, Karl Popper states, that a green leaf changes when it turns brown; but we do not say the green leaf changes when we substitute for it a brown leaf. It is essential to the idea of change that the thing which changes retains its identity while changing.[3] And yet it must be something else: it was green, and now it becomes brown; it was moist, and now it becomes dry; it was hot, and it becomes cold.

Thus every change is the transition of a thing into something with, in a way, opposite qualities… And yet, while changing, the changing thing must remain identical with itself.” [4]

4 of the same & not the same


There are facts which aren’t accounted for in beliefs (theses) and we can’t know if those variables would falsify our conclusions. When I worked building roofing trusses we followed precise schematics that were created and inspected by a team of engineers [5]. The steel parts I fabricated were accurate up to three hundredths of an inch. Once we were given a scheme that we couldn’t actually build. We kicked the plan back to the designers three times and on each occasion they found no flaw. Finally under time pressure we forced the engineering team to come and show us idiots how to build this marvel, and they failed. No one ever knew why (mistake or anomaly) it happened. They just changed to a different design that worked.

The assertion that conservative ideology equals evidence of lazy thinking will be open to the retort. If we are so dumb why are so many billionaires republican? 1. Refer to septic story above. 2. The credit for the reply that follows belongs to Professor Peter Munz.

 …one would suppose that a false belief will soon secure its own falsification, because people who espouse it will behave so stupidly that they will not survive for long. If the belief in question is, for example, that grain grows when one prays and not when one tends one’s fields, one will suppose that the people who harbor such a belief will soon starve to death. But this supposition is mistaken. The false belief, promotes cooperation and solidarity among the people who are using it as a catechism. Such cooperation will make them into a formidable military power and enable them to take food from the people they conquer…. [they] will suppose that it is their false belief that makes them thrive; for it enables them not only to get all the necessary food, but also to enjoy the pride they derive from their ability to conquer. The false belief… has a very good chance for survival because one of its effects is to shield the people who harbor it from the inexorable consequences.[6]

A bone crushing argument but not so fast, many problems are still not being solved. In fact we are going backwards. The women in Texas now have less access to general health care due to the republican position on abortion.  I think the GOP are also quite mistaken about climate change and so on. Pyrrhic victory in argument solves no problem. We are in this world-boat together. Viewing all knowledge as hypothetical can mitigate these errors yet this method can be trouble for one who desires certainty.

I think we can reason with rank and file conservatives if we use examples that are relevant to them. The perishable nature of our circumstances prompt me, within the limits of my ability, to offer a solution by way describing the mistake and looking at alternatives.

4 Circles = Theory’s. Lines = knowledge. The larger the scope the larger the gaps in knowledge.

Proponents of the free market love their neat formulas and argue against economic stimulus. If they only argued about how the money was spent I would agree with them about many things. One reason for their thesis rests on the idea that taking money from one part of an economic system and simply moving it to another, offers no real gain for the whole. The argument itself shines purely like an icicle droplet in the morning sun. But, the economy is NOT like a box of apples. If we look at complex systems like water, electrical, agricultural or a human body the circumstances are different. These systems can redirect the resources to areas of need. What conservative needing a skin graft or a section of leg artery to supply their heart would chose to forgo the procedure because there was no net gain? That’s absurd.

Distorted thinking shows itself again regarding sex education, birth control and abortion. If teens did not have sex, they wouldn’t need birth control. It seems we can derive from the subject “virgin,” the predicate “not pregnant.” The failures of abstinence only education in conservative states gets excluded from the equation, thus this proposition remains as empty as it is true. [8] Moreover, problems don’t get solved this way. What conservative would deny a need for police by saying, if people didn’t commit crime we wouldn’t need law enforcement. There will be trial and error with policies but if one solution is inferior to another then consider the other better, even if not ideal.

The double standard between public policy and private actions among conservatives never ceases to be a stone in the shoe of liberals. Like Bob Barr the opponent of abortion who paid for the termination of his wife’s pregnancy with a personal check. Proponents of family values also tend to loosen up while traveling, particularly in Vegas. The list could go on, conservatives have been willing to make circumstantial exceptions to their own rules for for their own benefit. But this very self interest could be the key to republicans understanding new ideas. The same concern can be extended to others that one has for oneself. Sure it looks like a sacrifice when one is not the direct beneficiary but we need to look closer. As with  health care for low wage workers, they are handling all our food. We as a society have something to gain by giving them benefits, our own health.

By Todd Vickers

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Content Copyright 2012 © Vickers Publications. All Rights Reserved

Edit: Grammar


[1] Todd Vickers – Excerpted from (provisionally named) The Kabir Project

[2]  G.E. Moore – the identity theory of truth applies to propositions that, unlike “2+2=4,” do seem to require a relation to something outside themselves in order to be true.

[3] It may be argued that Poppers disposition towards Hegelian dialectic is refuted in his own words. I think Popper has accounted for this with his emphasis on situational analysis.

[4] Karl Popper Conjectures and Refutations pp.195

[5] G.E. Moore – Perincipa Ethica pp.155 An engineer is entitled to assert that, if a bridge be built in a certain way, it will probably bear certain loads for a certain time; but he can never be absolutely certain that it has been built in the way required, nor that, even if it has, some accident will not intervene to falsify his prediction.

[6] Peter Munz – Philosophical Darwinism

[7] Bertrand Russell – TheProblemsofPhilosophy “The man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken.”

[8] Mississippi had the highest rate of teen births, at 55 per every 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19, followed by New Mexico at about 53 and Arkansas at 52.5. The best-performing states included New Hampshire at just under 16 per 1,000, Massachusetts at about 17, and Vermont at just under 18.