Verisimilitude

Felt it was appropriate to repost this one…

Flounder's Observations

Verisimilitude, generally defined, is “appearing to be true or real”, per Oxford Dictionaries. One English Lit professor explained it to me as “the act of being truth-like”. It does not mean truth, but rather the act of wanting to appear like truth. This has become a popular tool used by oppressive groups, individuals, and movements.

Rather than deal in truth, these actors produce words, actions, and propaganda that resembles truth that, when deconstructed, often falls apart quickly. The trouble is, only those who take the time to deconstruct, will find the flaws. Those who digest the works of an oppressor, do not take the time to deconstruct. They assimilate it as fact, and most often fail to challenge its validity. Such is the case with followers of most movements, such as cults, from my perspective. Followers are expected to simply accept what is provided as truth, and face punishment, or…

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Friday Five – Were they needed?

HOF Game – ok, I get that everybody should be excited for NFL to be back, but is this “game” really necessary? Who is so desperate for football to watch 2 teams that have only been through 1.5-2 weeks of training camp? – no offense to Dallas and Arizona fans. As with most preseason action, the plays are mostly generic and the risk of injury is too high for a meaningless exhibition. You would think that the Hall of Fame portion would be more than enough to draw an audience. But, I guess if people will watch the Pro Bowl, they would also watch this one. The one stat that killed me was the W-L record of the “starting” QBs… 9-32.

ICBM “test”- in response to N. Korea’s 2nd missile test in a week, was it necessary to fire our own test missile? Shouldn’t it be common knowledge that the U.S. military already possesses the technology to use such weaponry? I’m just not getting what the goal was in responding this way. Seems a highly volatile game of chicken…I won’t be surprised if the “Doomsday Clock” gets pushed.

Press Secretary – I mean, really, in the current administration, is there any more useless position? When the president is actively tweeting policy, position, and attacking MSM, his critics, and anyone he wishes, is there any need to have Spicey, Mooch, or Sanders? Does the press, much less the American public, get any additional information as a result? I don’t think so…

Collegiate Pre-season Top 25 Polls – is there any sort of poll that is more about favoritism than this? It’s all about the “power” conferences, coaches, and legacies. You can have the greatest college team on paper, yet haven’t won a darn thing yet. Or, you can have a talented team with little national recognition be overlooked. As compared to pro football, college has a higher degree of variability. Yes, they both have unexpected injuries but the turnover of talent is much higher at the college level, in my opinion. And, there are some stadiums that are nearly impossible to win as the visitor. One trend that I do like is many of the “easy” games that use to be scheduled in the first few weeks of the season are gone. I like that teams are tested right out of the gate, so you can get a better idea of how the season may progress.

Space left blank, intentionally  – TBD

 

 

 

Verisimilitude

Verisimilitude, generally defined, is “appearing to be true or real”, per Oxford Dictionaries. One English Lit professor explained it to me as “the act of being truth-like”. It does not mean truth, but rather the act of wanting to appear like truth. This has become a popular tool used by oppressive groups, individuals, and movements.

Rather than deal in truth, these actors produce words, actions, and propaganda that resembles truth that, when deconstructed, often falls apart quickly. The trouble is, only those who take the time to deconstruct, will find the flaws. Those who digest the works of an oppressor, do not take the time to deconstruct. They assimilate it as fact, and most often fail to challenge its validity. Such is the case with followers of most movements, such as cults, from my perspective. Followers are expected to simply accept what is provided as truth, and face punishment, or fear of being shunned, for not adhering.

Oppressors frequently rely on a single source for all “truth”, such as scripture, policy, or jazzy propaganda pieces. If one would peel back the veneer of such things, you would easily note a lack of independently verifiable information or peer reviewed confirmation/validation. In fact, blind faith is a cornerstone of oppressive behavior. The leaders demand strict adherence through elaborate, documented means of punishment for those who do not acquiesce or follow without question. Simply, believe all I say/do, or face the consequences.

Beyond ideas of shunning, disconnection, being declared an apostate, or worse, it also provides guidelines on how to “handle” non-followers or critics in cookie-cutter fashion. As many others can attest to, the methods employed to silence critics is vast, but very predictable. Ranging from circular online “arguments” focusing on how followers are the only ones who are “truthful” (Honest PR hat), to Black PR (smear), or fair gaming, to extremes of gas lighting, legal/career threats, and surveillance or doxing. The goal is to either frustrate, enrage, or force disengagement. Bonus points if they can cause discord among groups of non-followers.

So, when faced with oppressors, their followers or apologists, how do you confront this idea of verisimilitude? My suggestion is to rely on provable, documented facts where available. It is far easier to argue from a position of truth with verifiable information, than attempting to appear truthful. Yes, on occasion you may be wrong – happened to me yesterday. But, rather than attempt to talk around the error, simply admit you were wrong, correct, and refocus on provable facts. In most cases, those who deal in verisimilitude will refuse to allow any in depth inquiry. They will quickly fall back to circular arguments, meaningless personal attacks, or similar means to deflect. It is their literal Achilles’ heel. When pushed to provide verifiable, validated proof, they cannot. It is very easy to identify the differences between appearing truthful, and being truthful. For me, I will continue to stand with those who are willing to look beyond the surface and dig for the truth.

Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard!

 

Friday Five – It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)…

Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs,
Listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and
The revered and the right, right.
You vitriolic patriotic, slam, fight, bright light,
Feeling pretty psyched.

[Chorus:]

It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. – R.E.M.

 

CCHR & Faux “children’s rights” – Ok, ok, who among us is willing to argue that, in a perfect scenario, children should be labeled as ADHD, ADD, or with some other mental disorder? And, furthermore, who wants to force medication on them? Anyone? Bueller?…Hmmm, so then what is all the hubbub about this group and their “meager” protests in this arena? I think it is safe to say the general consensus of normal humans with any shred of decency do not support the forced medication of anyone, let alone children. So, this is a no-brainer. They use this as the leverage needed to attract attention and donations. Beyond the polarizing “childhood is not a mental condition” rhetoric, they also want you to believe that EVERY psychiatrist, government agency, and evil person is pushing these medications down the throats of EVERY child. It’s all part of Co$’ larger “doomsday” campaign. As part of the foundation of this campaign, they highlight “Big Pharma” as creating these conditions, and medications, as a means to make a profit. Sure sounds evil, right? While there may be some truth to that statement, you also need to remember that most of us live in a capitalist society, and one of the main goals of any business is to maximize profits. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that even pharmaceutical companies are “in it for the money”. As a parent, and a rationale adult, I understand that sometimes these medications are needed, do help, but should be used under strict medical care and observation. I find it far to easy for groups like CCHR to highlight suicides and other violent side effects without digging into what level of care was being delivered, or how strictly they were being observed by doctors or parents. And, until proven otherwise, I will always side with trained medical practitioners over the non peer-reviwed “ideas” of LRH that are employed by CCHR, NarCONon, and their other front groups.

STAAD League – Yeah, it’s not STAND…I’ve spent a decent amount of time reviewing some of the “protest” letters sent by supposed scientologists to companies like A&E and Disney. You would think, based on their rhetoric, that there is an all-out violent assault on each and every scientologist. They use buzzwords like “bullying” and “terrorize” to build their case. Everything from losing 2 recent girlfriends to teachers mocking a student, just because of Co$. From my perspective, I have never supported the use of violence in matters like this, and most of the people I know are the same. We do not wish harm on anyone just because of their “beliefs”. I’d rather highlight the irony, hypocrisy, or irrationality of their “religion”. Unfortunately, you will find violence in every walk of life, but to use examples of it to employ a “victim” mentality is unacceptable. Especially when you compare it to the actions the “church” has taken against those who speak out against them. Anyone remember Paulette Cooper? I suggest they come down off their moral “high horse” and stop trying to label everyone who speaks against them as bigots, violent, or evil. For as much as they have a “right” to pay to go up the bridge, we have a right to point out the lifted ideas, lack of verifiable facts and figures, and reported abuses that are baked into scientology. Co$ and scientologists are not “the only ones” who can do something about this…

ASC – As I covered in my podcast earlier this week, while I protest the policies, actions, and beliefs of Co$ and all their front groups, I am not in some cult. I do not get ideas or orders from some hierarchical “chain of command”, and I do not blindly believe everything that I hear or read, especially without backing evidence. I am not a member of some super secret/not so super secret group like “Outer Banks”, and I never envision a situation where I would want to be. I do what I do, because it seems to be the right thing to do, not because I’m trying to make money or become famous. As seen on Twitter, I highlight other groups and issues as well. So, to me it is always about seeking the truth, highlighting the stories of abuse, and revealing what others wish to keep hidden.

Beers for the weekend – I highly recommend virtually anything from Shiner, Victory Brewing, and Evil Genius. I recently tried the Shiner Strawberry Blonde (nice), and want to try their Peach Wheat ale. They also have a very nice ruby red grapefruit wheat – Ruby Redbird. What I love about Shiner is they work with other local towns in their brews. For example, the strawberries come from another small Texas town, Poteet, for their Strawberry Blonde, and the grapefruit are grown in Texas as well. It’s nice to see businesses supporting each other this way.

Fourth of July – While we are hosting a party this weekend, we will also be reflecting on the historical significance of the date as well. You can blame my love of history, but I think it’s always important to understand why we celebrate national holidays. 🙂 So, eat, drink, be merry…but be safe. There will be no home fireworks for us, so if you do, be very careful!

Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard!

The Road Not Taken…

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

 

As we each make our way through life, we are often met with two divergent paths, maybe one light and one dark, or perhaps the lesser of two evils or some other variation therein. While the general sense is that choosing “the one less traveled by” is an example of one expressing their freedom of thought and ability to plot their own course, it can also be read as not caring which path is chosen, and not willing to look back and reconsider if the best choice was made.

To me, the importance here is not which path, but the understated lack of care for which path is chosen, or any future reconsideration of that choice. While one could argue that Frost was fine with “making the best of the situation”, to me it is the constant reevaluation your choices that is more important. Constant analysis of your choices, both past and present, is key in gaining wisdom and perspective.

Disregard for past decisions, can be seen in both politics and the recent videos from a former high-ranking Co$ executive. In both cases, it is far more convenient for one to disregard their past words and actions, and attempt to deflect from them, by prescribing the blame or criticism on someone else. Whether they are choosing the road less traveled, or the more popular path, there appears to be no remorse or hindsight gained from the journey. And, that is a true tragedy.

I’d suggest that we all ponder which path to take and make the most of that decision, but always look back and learn from the consequences were missed as a result. One can always revisit the yellow woods and choose a new path, but only if you reflect on your decisions.

The other option, that Frost doesn’t mention, is to forge a whole new path. Rather than follow the only defined “paths”, there is not always a hard rule that does not allow you to determine a path on your own. But, I would warn that this choice may be the less comfortable path, must be done with conviction and employ all relevant wisdom and knowledge available. And, you cannot disregard the benefit of reflection.

In the end, we are all free to choose any path we like, or forge a new one, but only those who take the effort to reconsider their choices, and adjust as needed, will benefit from gained wisdom and knowledge. And that, makes all the difference in the world.

Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard!

Friday 10/2

Ok, only have time for some quick hit conversation starters –

Be wary of people who seem to have all the answers. Chances are, they are orchestrating the conversation

Be wary of people who want to control you. Chances are, there is a hidden agenda

Be wary of people who seek out power. Chances are, they haven’t earned it

Be wary of the shadows. Chances are, there is trouble lurking

Be wary of those with hidden agendas. Chances are, they do not mirror you goals.

Have a great weekend all!

For whom the bell tolls…

Today, I’d like to spend just a moment to remind everyone of what is on the horizon. There has been a lot of activity on social media, in the courtroom, and local government.

First, was the City Counsel of Clearwater voting unanimously to buy the parcel of land from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It was significant in that Co$ wanted the land, and was willing to pay 3X the price that CMA accepted from the city. While hard to determine if this parcel was an essential part of the “Imagine Clearwater” revitalization plan, it is important to note that most attendees and the counsel were in favor of the purchase even after pressure from Co$. The Pinellas County Commissioners also ignored Co$’ efforts to disrupt expansion funding for the aquarium, despite last minute black PR campaign from Co$. Unfortunately, I don’t think we have heard the last of their efforts to thwart the city or aquarium in retaking Clearwater.

Next up is their “treatment” centers. If you recall, as a result of a 911 call in Cannon County, Tennessee, police “rescued” two “patients”. One was kept in small, relatively unfinished cabin, the other in a padlocked room. The two “caretakers” pleaded guilty to 2 counts of unlawful imprisonment, and the owner charged with 2 felony counts of facilitation to kidnapping. The judge ordered all facilities in Cannon County be closed.  And, just yesterday there was another pre-trial settlement for Narconon Arrowhead, bringing closure to 2 of the 3 “mysterious” deaths at the facility. It will be intriguing to see if the final case makes it to trial, and what information will be disclosed about Narconon.

There is also the Garcia’s fraud case hanging over Co$. While the judge decided to use the “church’s” arbitration process, most recently he ordered Co$ to turn over a list of 500 members “in good standing”. The judge received the list, but void of any contact information. As a result, he ordered Co$ to turn over the list with contact information so that he can choose the 3 arbiters. That list was due by May 11th. While it might be an uphill battle to get 3 current members to side w/ the Garcia’s, it is important to see how this one judge has interacted with both parties.

We have also been receiving information from a 2009-10 FBI investigation on Co$. Although they previously have denied that the investigation ever took place, a FOIA request has produced 300+ pages from the FBI. While the investigation appears to have been abandoned in May 2010, there should be a significant amount of information to comb over in the coming weeks and months.

There are also a few other “cases” that may either directly impact Co$ or certainly shine poorly on them such as, the Masterson sexual assault allegations, Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced abortion case, and hopefully more information regarding Cat White’s death. I’m sure there are others, but those were at the top of my head.

So, let’s get to the really “good” stuff. I think everyone is very excited for “Scientology and the Aftermath” Season 2 to kick off. Around the same time, Co$ will begin “broadcasting” from SuMP on Spectrum. Hmmm, competing channels and shows…the ratings war should be interesting. Leah and Mike’s show appears to have been perfectly timed as Going Clear and My Scientology Movie whetted the public’s appetite for the subject. I’d like to see Season 2 share the stories from 2nd and 3rd generation ex-members, where they were born into it, or indoctrinated at a very early age. It will also be very interesting to see if the “guests” experience the same type of “smear site” campaign as the first season participants.

And then we have Anonymous. You may not know who they are, but you surely have heard of them. Seems they have had a renewed interest in exposing Co$. As of today, significant protesting is scheduled for June 24-25th in the UK and LA. I think there will be more protests around the globe on those dates as well. I think we can all expect additional protests in the following months. My sense that they are putting significant resources and effort into #OpScientology. I will be sure to share any additional information, on protests, that I receive.

I’m sure there are additional efforts in the works that I’m either forgetting, or are still not widely known. Safe to say, there is a focus on Co$ from many different angles. They need to be careful in how they handle responding to this attention. With more eyes on this organization every day, will they continue to respond by attacking? Is the bell set to toll on Co$? Only time will tell, but the forecast is not looking sunny for them.

Disturbance at the Heron house…

“They’re going wild” the call came in
At early morning predawn then
The followers of chaos out of control
They’re numbering the monkeys

The monkeys and the monkeys 
The followers of chaos out of control
“They’re meeting at the monument”
The call came in the monument
To liberty and honor under the honor roll
“They’ve gathered up the cages the cages and courageous”
The followers of chaos out of control
The call came in to Party Central
“Meeting of the green and simple”
Try to tell us something we don’t know“Disturbance at the Heron House”
A stampede at the monument
To liberty and honor under the honor roll
The gathering of grunts and greens
Cogs and grunts and hirelings
A meeting of a mean idea to hold
“When feeding time has come and gone
They’ll lose the heart and head for home
Try to tell us something we don’t know”
Everyone allowed, everyone allowed
– Peter Buck, Bill Berry, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe
So, what can we learn from this R.E.M. hit? It’s a warning to the powers-that-be, the underlings (grunts, greens, cogs, hirelings) can be rallied to organize, but don’t expect them to click-step to your directives. You may find that once you take your eye off them, they have a very different “mean idea to hold”. You can only hold their attention for so long, if under false pretenses, until their own needs to be met.
You can claim the rally-cry is for nationalism, party, human rights, etc but if your motives are nefarious or self-serving, those you consider “underlings” will soon grow weary of you. As a result, your power will wane. You do not rule/lead simply “because”, you are allowed to rule only so long as the underlings are either apathetic, believe you are honorable, or trustworthy. When the façade of our heroes & leaders are shattered, there is no more trust, admiration, adherence, or influence. You can no longer cast your spell on the masses. You no longer hold the key to the kingdom, and you cannot expect to lead without being challenged.
For the followers, it can either be absolute freedom or absolute chaos. In the vacuum created when leaders are discarded, they must be wary of replacing one despot with another, falling into complacency, or feeding a thirst for power. True leaders will emerge organically.
Steer clear of those who seek or claim power. True power is not assumed it is given. It should not be built on the backs of others, or rely on secrets, lies, or misdirection.

Then they came for me…

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the labor leaders, but I did not speak out because I was not a unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

As one day became another and others disappeared, gypsies, mentally retarded, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, criminals, anti-socials and emigrants, I remained silent because I was not one of them.

Then it was they came for me, but no one spoke for me because by then there was no one left to speak.”      Martin Niemoller,1945

It does not serve the greater good to replace one “cult” with another. Those who seek to expose the truth have no time or interest in acquiescing to another “higher” power. I will not sit by idly when there are abuses to be exposed, without regard for where those abuses are being manufactured.

Friday 6-1=5…

Well, hopefully everyone has their preparations for Mother’s Day, this Sunday, complete. Mine includes lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant followed by Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2. Please go out of your way to make sure all Moms, those expecting, Grandmothers, or any females in your life are showered with attention – even more than usual. 🙂

Make sure you check out the Come Get Sum podcast today @ 12:30 PM EST. He will be playing Part 2 of his interview with Lois Reisdorf.

Beer & Wine Festival tomorrow, yay! Unfortunately, calling for lots of rain and the event is rain or shine, so let’s hope for the best.

I’m not going to get too political here, but no matter what side of the “aisle” you happen to stand, you cannot deny that we are in truly historic, potentially devastating times. I haven’t felt this close to the “edge” in my lifetime. Let’s hope that everyone in D.C., and the rest of the country, can figure out how to avoid the abyss we appear to be heading towards.

“I have survivor skills. Some of that is superficial – what I present to people outwardly – but what makes people resilient is the ability to find humour and irony in situations that would otherwise overpower you.”- Amy Tan

Have a great weekend all!