Friday, May 25, 2018

Inciting School Shootings In Trump Country

According to GQ Editor-in-Chief Jim Nelson Trump Is Our Nation's Worst Commander-in-Grief 05/21/2018; and I can't argue with him, at least when it comes to consoling the victims and their loved ones. The traditional media, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and even George W Bush all do a much better job consoling the victims than Donald Trump, and perhaps they might do better than me, since I'm not that sure I would be that good at it, although even I could do much better than Donald Trump.

However when it comes to educating the majority of the public about the causes of this violence so that they can help prevent it they all do an incredibly incompetent job, even though if they wanted to consult with some of the most reliable researchers they could easily do so, and these researchers often want to do much more to get their views across. Unfortunately, the mass media appears unwilling to provide them with an opportunity to address the public!

One of the most important contributing causes to escalating violence, as I have been pointing out repeatedly is early child abuse and bullying leading to escalating violence. There was a 2002 study (PDF) pointing this out; since then I have taken a rough look myself and found that school shootings continue to be more common in states still using corporal punishment, although in some years, thanks to a small number of shootings with high death tolls like Newtown that can skewer the results one way or another. This year it has risen significantly after going down fer several consecutive years but they're even more common, in states with corporal punishment in schools, than that study points out with 36 out of 41 deaths, and 26 out of 46 shootings, between January 1 2018 and June 2 2018 happening in states with corporal punishment, even though they only have about 40% of the population. I also looked up how many of them took place in states where Donald Trump won and 39 out of 41 of the deaths, and 33 out of 46 shootings took place in his states which was just barely over fifty percent of the population, although he got less than fifty percent of the popular vote. (These figures and the meme above were updated to add a few additional shootings in the two weeks following the Santa Fe shootings, and to correct an under-count of the MSD deaths which were mistakenly calculated at only fourteen deaths when there were seventeen.)

This is just one, and probably the most important one, of many contributing causes to escalating violence that the traditional media almost never discuss. The only contributing cause that they seem to be willing to discuss in detail is gun control and even that involves mostly arguing back and forth without explaining the details. When they do discuss something else like violent media, Ritalin or too many doors it's done in a manner that is designed to present it as ridiculous even when some of these issues might be worth serious consideration, although creating a fire hazard by limiting doors isn't one of them.

In the two highest profile school shootings this years there is evidence indicating that both shooters came from troubled backgrounds and may have been raised in strict authoritarian or abusive manners and subject to bullying at school, although there are distortions in at least one of the stories. The grandmother of one of a former friend of the Texas shooter, Bertha "Bland ... said Pagourtzis came from what seemed to her like a strict household, where she said he barely had a social life," according to What we know about Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the alleged Santa Fe High School shooter 05/21/2018 She also said that he was interested in violent video games, which may have been a contributing factor, although I doubt if it was as important as early child abuse or bullying.

James Garbarino, a child psychologist has cited studies which he claims shows that it is a contributing factor; however he also puts most of the emphasis on early abuse or bullying when trying to explain what causes escalating violence. One of the reasons why I suspect that violent videos isn't nearly as important as early child abuse is that violence has been going down, for the most part for decades, although there are occasional reverses including an increase in the murder rates in the past two years after hitting an all time low in 2013-4. The use of violent video games has increased dramatically in that same time period. However starting with the teachings of several reformers in child rearing tactics, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, after World War II there has been a steady decline in the use of strict authoritarian upbringings, including the use of corporal punishment. The areas where this was cut the most are the same areas where the murder rates have dropped the most, but in the South, where they use corporal punishment the most they also have the highest murder rates.

Additional indications of bullying was reported in Texas school shooting: Accused shooter's dad believes bullying behind rampage, paper says 05/22/2018, which says "His father told the Journal that Dimitrios was 'mistreated at school' and 'I believe that's what was behind' the shooting." This article also indicates that he may have also had a temper, which might have impacted the way he raised his son saying "According to Harris County court records, Pagourtzis (the shooters father) was twice charged with misdemeanor assault -- in 1987 and 2012 -- and both cases were dismissed." ..... "In the 2012 case, Pagourtzis punched a man and 'grabbed his face and hit his head on the ground causing his nose to bleed' after, Pagourtzis alleged, the man hurt dogs at his shop, a police affidavit said."

Additional evidence of bullying was raised by Dimitrios Pagourtzis's attorney in Claims of bullying surface as Santa Fe community mourns mass shooting 05/23/2018, which says, "Poehl acknowledged comments by a classmate who has said in interviews with media outlets that school coaches bullied him." this was followed up by mostly denials from the school; however another article, Lawyer for alleged Santa Fe gunman looking into reports that suspect was bullied 05/21/2018 raising the same claims, "This weekend Santa Fe ISD released a statement saying they had investigated the claims of bullying and found them to be not true," Poehl said. "That was released less than 24 hours after the incident occurred. It’s not clear what the nature of that investigation was except that it is clear that they didn’t reach out to any of the kids that were on TV claiming that it occurred, so we have some questions about that investigation.”

This is part of a pattern of behavior in school shootings that has gone back at least to Columbine, where communities are so shocked and outraged they often exaggerate things in both directions. However, think about it honestly, if there was no bullying in any of these school shootings why would they have happened? Do these kids mysteriously become violent with no explanation whatsoever? If you've ever been bullied have you ever felt the urge to strike out like this at the bullies? If victims of bullying does happen is it likely that communities that are at least partly responsible might go into denial, especially when the consequences are so severe?

Preventing future disasters has to involve making decisions based on accurate facts; and suppressing evidence doesn't do that, therefore making more disasters more likely.

This also happened at Parkland Fla., and there's also evidence to indicate that some of this was exaggerated and distorted and additional false accusations, were made against Emma González for participating in the bullying. This essentially means that the gun rights advocates that were accusing her of participating in the bullying and exaggerating or distorting her comments for political reasons were participating in bullying of their own. However, some of these claims come from more reliable sources, and a close look at some of the articles supposedly debunking these claims might indicate that even though the student leaders that are being accused of participating in the bullying probably weren't, there was still bullying going on, as indicated in the following article, which isn't one of the extreme right wing reports:

To longtime friend, school shooter Nikolas Cruz was lonely, volatile, ostracized 02/17/2018

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is the jewel of Parkland, graduating top-notch students and athletes who grow up in a dignified affluence far removed from the gritty urban sprawl of Miami.

Many live in vast gated communities enveloped by horse pastures and pristine nature trails. Rated among the best high schools in Florida, Stoneman Douglas has won five national math championships, has the state’s top marching band and boasts science and engineering programs where students fly weather balloons and drones.

But Nikolas Cruz never felt a part of this warm nest of promise and achievement. The warning signs of a simmering danger brought on by his mental illness were documented by his school, his fellow students, his family, the police, child welfare agencies, the FBI and even by his own hand, on social media.

Cruz’s Valentine’s Day rampage at Stoneman Douglas that ended 17 lives came after months and years of violent, erratic outbursts that often frightened fellow students and others who came in contact with him, records show. .....

“Someone could have approached a faculty member, a guidance counselor, a teacher and said, ‘This kid gets bullied a lot, someone should do something,’ ” said student Manolo Alvarez, 17, who had history class with Cruz. “I regret definitely not saying anything.” ......

“He was ostracized his whole life,” said Gold, who said he was one of only four people, including Nikolas, and his younger brother, Zachary, who attended the funeral of his mother, Lynda Cruz, in November. .....

Gold said Lynda Cruz was strict with her sons, and was not averse to striking them when they misbehaved. At least one time, DCF investigated her for possibly abusing the boys and inadequately supervising them. The case was closed. Nikolas Cruz was getting treatment at Henderson Mental Health, the DCF report said. Still, they concluded he was not enough of a threat to be hospitalized or committed to a facility. Complete article

The denial of the bullying happening, appears to have already led to even more bullying on both sides, including the cyber-bullying, and perhaps additional real life bullying, from the gun rights advocates targeting the gun control advocates and according to the following article there are also additional bullying against other people that are already having emotional problems:

Hints of suspicion and discomfort arise after Parkland school shooting for children who are different 03/27/2018

In the aftermath of the Parkland massacre, some students with disabilities are being taunted or callously pegged by others as being the next school shooter, parents and experts say.

“There’s been a lot of bullying going on in our schools,” said Kelly Busch, a South Florida advocate for children with autism.

School and mental health records show that Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 and wounded 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Valentine’s Day, was reported to have numerous conditions, including autism and severe behavioral and emotional problems.

Slapping Cruz with an autistic label has increased the angst of parents of children with the neurological disorder, who already struggle to foster acceptance and compassion for their children.

Experts say some people with autism, especially children, may find it hard to communicate or to control their emotions. They can experience “sensory overload,” or become frustrated when unable to express themselves and may become aggressive or irritated. Their outbursts — such as throwing a chair — occur in flashes, however, and typically are minor and over quickly. Premeditated acts of violence are not a symptom of autism. Yet Valerie Herskowitz, of Jupiter, who has a grown son with autism, said she’s heard from parents that some students have asked autistic children: “Are you going to kill us?” Complete article

Reports of bullying have been almost completely absent from the national media, assuming the covered it at all; however it was reported at local levels, although even then it was kept to a minimum. In most cases those who tried to address it were demonized, which may seem partially understandable, when gun rights advocates distorted and misrepresented the problem in Parkland Florida when they said Emma González confessed to bullying, which according to articles listed below, she did not. If you go to the full quote it says that they did try to report problems to authorities and get help before saying "Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him? You didn’t know this kid, OK? We did," which gun rights advocates falsely interpreted as an admission to participating in the bullying. However there were reports that indicate that there was bullying involved in both cases, and that the authorities did little about it. In the case of Santa Fe some of the bullying was alleged to have been done by adult coaches.

No one, including me, wants to blame the victims, especially when it's not justified; however in order to figure out what the leading contributing causes are and prevent them we have to ask some tough questions, even if it leads to false conclusions, at least temporarily while checking the details. But there has been evidence for years, if not decades to indicate that child abuse leading to escalating violence including bullying, or domestic violence, and eventually these school shootings are a major factor.

Fortunately some of these kids and communities are recognizing additional contributing causes, at least at the local level, even if the national media is unwilling to report on the best research. Washington state media reported on some of the actions taken by local activists from Marysville, where they had a school shooting killing five about four years ago and they participated in the "March For Our Lives" rally. According to, 'This has to stop' say Snohomish Co. students who plan to march in DC 03/17/2018 local student Bailey Thoms said “I’m not going to say guns aren’t an issue, they are part of it and bullying I think is a bigger part of it,” and some of the other articles about this group also indicate that unlike the national media they've been willing to discuss a variety of contributing factors instead of obsessing only on gun control.

I agree that a reasonable amount of gun control should be passed to make it harder to turn a dispute into mass murder but contrary to many claims from the most vocal people in the media and the Democratic Party it's not the only contributing factor, or even close nor is it likely to be the most important factor. Europe doesn't have nearly as bad a problem with school shootings, of violence in general; many of their countries do a much better funding their education system, providing child and health care, including mental health and many of them have also banned use of corporal punishment everywhere, not just in schools.

As I have pointed out repeatedly, while our murder rate is consistently close to five, if not more, per hundred thousand, many of the countries that have banned corporal punishment and spend more money on education have rates less than one, which is, of course a fraction of our murder rates, and mass shootings are also much less common, yet the media spends little or no time discussing what they might be doing differently, with the possible exception of gun ownership.

Even though Gun rights advocates are obviously trying to distract from gun control some of the contributing factors they try to blame deserve a reasonable amount of attention although they should be discussed in a less emotional and theatrical manner and it should include additional research into the details, even if they can't put it all into a thirty second sound bite. If they wanted to do a good job they could devote a show to one cause her or there and provide additional details online letting the public know where to find it, but they've demonstrated with their actions that they're not willing to do this, whether there's not profit in it or it contradicts their ideology or some other reason.

One of these issues should be prescription drugs, which some spoke-people from the NRA has attempted to blame. There's no shortage of research alleging to show that there is a connection between murder, suicide and antidepressant drugs, some of which appears quite credible. One thing they rarely mention when discussing this is that medication is often used as a first resort instead of trying to treat other social problems that might contribute to depression which might include preventing child abuse, bullying, social pressures from a rigged economy, or propaganda promoting wars based on lies. It should be easy to understand that most medication or other medical treatment should kept to a minimum, unless they're certain that it will do more good than harm, as the Hippocratic oath recommends. However, pharmaceutical profits are often put ahead of this simple principle.

Another issue, as I mentioned earlier, is potential violent media making people more prone to go on shooting sprees. As I mentioned earlier James Garbarino has cited studies which indicate this is a contributing factor, although I suspect it's minor compared to earlier abuse. But a much bigger problem is negligence on the part of the media since we rely on them to provide educational material so we can make good decisions and they rarely even do this.

Some of the most important contributing causes of violence also have some direct or indirect connection to profits or political reasons which those that control the media don't seem to want to address. This isn't limited to violence in school shootings and includes gambling or insurance related murders or other forms of fraud. In both these cases the media makes an enormous amount of profit selling these industries ads, and a close look at the investment portfolios of these media companies has indicated that they have other financial investments, and often have interlocking board members with these industries. This implies an obvious conflict of interest and their lack of reporting on the connections adds to the evidence to indicate they're far more concerned with profits than with educating the public about how to make rational decisions about how to avoid escalating violence or many other issues including keeping health care and education costs down and avoiding wars based on lies.

The media also has common investment interests and interlocking board members with the health care, pharmaceutical and military industries. It simply doesn't take a genius to know that we need to rethink how we control and fund the mass media.

This chart was retrieved from Facts vs. Opinion: School Corporal Punishment 05/03/2018, he sites "The National School Safety Center’s Report on School Associated Violent Deaths (1992-2007)" as his source, which I haven't been able to confirm independently; however it is consistent with the data I have reviewed, although a couple high profile school shootings between 2002 and 2016, including Virginia Tech., Newtown Connecticut and Umpqua Community College skewered the results for that time period dramatically raising death toll from states not allowing corporal punishment in schools.

Figures to determine how many shootings came from states still using corporal punishment in schools came from over 40 school shootings as of 05/19/2018 although most have few injuries , two additional shootings weren't reported on this site as of the time this article is being posted, including the Santa Fe shooting, but they were reported on Wikipedia.

For additional information or sources see the following:

Texas school shooting: Accused shooter's dad believes bullying behind rampage, paper says 05/22/2018 His father told the Journal that Dimitrios was "mistreated at school" and "I believe that's what was behind" the shooting. ....

According to Harris County court records, Pagourtzis was twice charged with misdemeanor assault -- in 1987 and 2012 -- and both cases were dismissed. In 2008, he was convicted of illegally dumping wood materials, records show.

In the 2012 case, Pagourtzis punched a man and "grabbed his face and hit his head on the ground causing his nose to bleed" after, Pagourtzis alleged, the man hurt dogs at his shop, a police affidavit said.

What we know about Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the alleged Santa Fe High School shooter 05/21/2018 Bland also said Pagourtzis came from what seemed to her like a strict household, where she said he barely had a social life. .... One of the victims, Shana Fisher, had rejected the suspect's advances for months, her mother Sadie Baze said. About a week ago, she stood up to him in class to proclaim she would not go out with him, Baze said. Baze said she believes the incident embarrassed the suspect so much that he targeted Shana. "One of the shotgun shells was for my daughter," she said.

Santa Fe High School shooting suspect's father says son was bullied 05/21/2018

Duncan: Boycott School Until Gun Laws Change 05/21/2018

KIPP and KOPP join Duncan in telling parents to boycott schools until gun law is passed 05/21/2018

Some Santa Fe shooting victims may have been caught crossfire 04/21/2018 Original headline was quickly changed to "Sheriff does not believe Santa Fe shooting victims were killed by police crossfire"

Things blamed for the deadly Texas school shooting: Ritalin. Abortion. The media. Schools. And doors. 05/21/2018

Did Emma González ‘Admit’ to Bullying the Parkland School Shooter? 03/28/2018

Lunatics Are Blaming the Parkland Teens for "Bullying" Mass Murderer Nikolas Cruz 04/01/2018 And even if any students had bullied someone, that doesn't give anyone the right to walk into a school with an assault rifle and murder people.

Emma González Conspiracy Theory Debunked: Parkland Student Did Not Admit to Bullying Nikolas Cruz 04/02/2018 The school report did note that Cruz was bullied by students. He jumped off a bus at the urging of his peers, according to the report, and had difficulty understanding why offensive behavior led classmates to retaliate. But the claim that González, or any of the other prominent activists, was responsible for bullying Cruz remained unsubstantiated.

'This has to stop' say Snohomish Co. students who plan to march in DC 03/17/2018 “I’m not going to say guns aren’t an issue, they are part of it and bullying I think is a bigger part of it” Bailey Thoms explained.

‘This is real’: Students to march in Marysville on Saturday 03/04/2018 “The mental health factor is huge,” said Thoms, who doesn’t want Saturday’s march to be the end of her school-safety efforts. “I want to reach out and have more interaction, maybe start some sort of club. It’s important not to feel alone at school.”

Marysville students: Fear of school shouldn’t feel normal 03/04/2018

M’ville rally for safe schools moved to Comeford Park 03/02/2018 Too much is made of when couples break up. “It’s an embarrassment. People take sides,” Thoms said, with Bartolone adding, “They get mean.”

For some of my past articles about preventing violence from escalating including a couple about school shootings and a variety about many other contributing causes to violence see the following:

Prevention of violence has to address all causes, not just Guns!

Marketing Failed Solutions To Shootings for Profit? Or Propaganda?

Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows

Does lack of education increase violent crime? Religion?

Media is aiding and abetting in Televangelist Fraud

Apartheid States of America

Megalithic Churches correlated with local murder rates

How much does Income Inequality Affects Crime Rates?

States with high murder rates have larger veteran populations

Teach a soldier to kill and he just might

The tragedy of gambling politics in United States

How does gambling and gun control impact violent crime?

Politics, not technology, caused botched executions

Troy, Cameron, Gary all innocent? And executed?

Democrats do a bad job on crime; Republicans and the Media are worse!!

Politicians increase crime; Grass roots efforts reduce crime; Politicians steal the credit

Life Insurance and media companies are encouraging lots of murders

Union Busting adds to corrupt bureaucracy and incites crime

Monday, May 21, 2018

We Must Become The Media And The Scientists!

There has been a movement at the grassroots for years, if not decades to develop a new alternative source for media, since the traditional media is considered so biased, and over ninety-percent of it is controlled by a fraction of one percent of the public, that also happens to be among the richest people in our society. I can't speak for the vast majority of the people that agree with this movement and believe that the alternative media is far better than the traditional media, even if people have to sort through some incredibly bad alternative media outlets to get to the best ones; but one of the most important reasons to support this effort is because the traditional media routinely rigs elections by simply refusing to cover candidates they don't support, and since they can't win without name recognition that can only be obtained through the mass media that enables them to pre-select the choices we pick from.

There are of course many other problems, including that the traditional media gets their funding from advertising from for profit organizations, many of which are involved in incredibly obvious fraud, or epidemic levels of environmental damage, and connections to war profiteering.

However creating grassroots media isn't enough; we must also become our own scientists, and learn to recognize when the so called scientific experts are selling out their own beliefs or letting their ideology corrupt alleged scientific claims. This is especially obvious when someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who I usually consider very reliable and scientific, says “Michael Shermer is a beacon of reason in an ocean of irrationality.”

Really? Has Tyson read much of Shermer's work or fact checked it?

If he had and he was being sincere I find it extremely hard to believe that he would conclude Michael Shermer is scientific at all, except when the scientific process supports his existing beliefs or ideology. If I thought it was just one or two honest mistakes then Tyson's review might not be so absurd; and if it was just Tyson's review it might not be a big deal; however this is part of a pattern of behavior where lots of so called reputable academics that are usually credible make seriously flawed endorsements, either to skeptics like Michael Shermer, or ideologies or political agendas that are obviously seriously flawed, assuming they actually checked their facts, which almost certainly is not always the case.

Anyone that reads enough non-fiction books and checks some of the mainstream reviews of them might suspect that there are some that are being done for propaganda purposes or to help sell books; and in many cases there are many that are also taken out of context to sell books like a previous review cited by Philip Zimbardo, who also has a professional relationship with Michael Shermer, as I previously pointed out in Human Research Subjects.

One of the most incredibly obvious claims from Michael Shermer that can't possibly be considered remotely sincere is a common claim which he has repeated several times, that "Markets are moral."

How does he come to this conclusion when markets, in their current form are being used to suppress wages around the world and create a state of virtual slavery in many sweatshops, and dumping an enormous amount of pollution in the backyards of the poor while corporation make an enormous amount of profits from activities that re literally killing people?

He simply declines to discuss this issue at all in his book "The Mind of The Market" and other articles where he makes this seriously flawed claim; and as I pointed out in Mind of the Market: Is Michael Shermer a Skeptic? Scam artist? or Idiot? he also cites a Christian charity "World Vision" as a success without acknowledging obvious fund raising flaws that I was able to recognize without even doing any research; but once I Googled it at the time I found that it was being exposed for it's fraud as his book citing it as a success was going to press. Since then there have been many more scandals exposed by his so-called success story, some of which are listed below.

This book also argues that the current economic system is the most efficient based on scientific principles, and he supports the fiscal ideology of Milton Friedman; however as Naomi Klein points out in "The Shock Doctrine," even though she doesn't mention Shermer's name, the fiscal ideology of Milton Friedman is seriously flawed, and is based on oppression and has proven to be a disaster around the world wherever it's been put into it's most extreme practices, over the opposition of the majority of the public. Unlike Michael Shermer, she does go into many of the details and scientific facts with plenty of sources, instead of relying on credentials, or the false claim that Shermer's work is scientific.

Some of his claims are incredibly obvious like in The Left’s War on Science February 2013 where Shermer cites a book by science journalists Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell, and writes, "On energy issues, for example, the authors contend that progressive liberals tend to be antinuclear because of the waste disposal problem, anti–fossil fuels because of global warming, antihydroelectric because dams disrupt river ecosystems, and anti–wind power because of avian fatalities. The underlying current is 'everything natural is good' and 'everything unnatural is bad.'”

However there are good reasons for many of these concerns which are clearly based on science; they really haven't figured out how to dispose of nuclear waste; fossil fuels do make Climate Change, which is the leading term favored by most scientists who agree with these progressives, worse; and dams really do disrupt ecosystems, based on reliable scientific research. When it comes to the problem with wind power killing birds, most progressives that I know of still favor it, and scientific research supposedly shows that if they use bigger turbines with more torque and less speed it's less likely to kill more birds; and what is rarely mentioned is that burning fossil fuels also kills all kinds of animals and humans through pollution.

Another thing he neglects to mention, which many environmentalists often mention, is that conservation is one of the most effective, if not the most effective way to cut pollution; however, like many other corporate propagandists he's far more concerned with his fiscal ideology than with science.

Perhaps you might agree with him not, my criticism? Fine, of course that's my point; you should become the scientist and do your own research, starting with the basics. In many cases the so-called experts don't even get the basics right so we should recognize that and be skeptical about their claims when this happens, although when it comes to more complicated science many of us will have to rely on the best so-called experts, that actually get the basics right to make our decisions.

I've also routinely recommended that ridicule not be used to come to scientific conclusions, and I try to avoid it but it helps when so-called scientific people come up with arguments aren't so ridiculous, making it hard; and this is even worse when Shermer defends Trump, as he has a few times including one before the election, as I pointed out in my previous article about him.

His defense of Trump in Who Cares if Trump Is Religious? Trump might be the least God-fearing president to occupy the White House in centuries. That's a great thing for America. By Michael Shermer April 16, 2017 is incredibly ridiculous in many ways although I would have to agree that Trump isn't nearly as religious as he claims to be. Actually I doubt that many if any politicians are as religious as they pretend to be; but in order to get elected they have to put on an act, although Trump's act is incredibly bad.

However Shermer has a history of taking Trump's promises at face value without acknowledging the fact that he makes as many if not much more contradictory claims as any other politician, making it virtually impossible to predict what he's going to do. But in Trump's case, even though I don't trust his faith in religion any more than Shermer does; he's obviously bending over backwards to cater to the wishes of the religious right with his support for moving the Embassy to Jerusalem, as he promised before Shermer wrote this article, although it wasn't clear until recently that he would do it. He's also done what he could to break down the separation of Church and State by supporting religious vouchers and nominating Betsy DeVos, to be Secretary of State, and this should have been clear before he wrote this article.

But that should be besides the point, Trump's history has been so absurd and insane for decades, that I hardly thought it was necessary to debunk him or pay any attention to him for years. During the campaign I was far more concerned about Clinton since she does a better job, at times, pretending to be progressive, and the media was rigging the nomination for someone so incredibly corrupt; at least it seemed obvious that Trump was out of his mind and people should easily recognize this.

What kind of "beacon of reason" would repeatedly come to his defense and argue that he may be the best option, even if he does hedge some each time the subject comes up?

I still try to avoid resorting to ridicule but can't they come up with a better argument than this to make the temptation resistible?

The credibility of mainstream scientists, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, should also be looked at skeptically when considering The Big Bang which is a Political Theory Disguised as Science, as I explained in another previous article where I pointed out that the scientists that probably have the most credibility on this subject are almost certainly Fred Hoyle among others including Halton Arp who said, “After all, to get the whole universe totally wrong in the face of clear evidence for over 75 years merits monumental embarrassment and should induce a modicum of humility.”

By making this argument, as I pointed out in the previous article, leaves the scientific community to obvious arguments from people of various beleifs, including religeous people who notice that so-called scientists aren't scrutinizing their own theories saying simple things like "First, there was nothing then, it exploded and formed the cosmos" ~ Carl Sagan "Dr Sagan, what exploded" ~ 10 yr old "Everything was compressed into a single point •" CS "Where did that single point (containing all matter/energy in the known universe) come from" 02/04/2018

In response to one of Neil deGrasse Tyson's lectures Michael Drew Prior provided a much more rational explanation saying, "This is ludicrous. Pure wild speculation. If there were ever truly nothing, that situation could never change--there would be nothing to change it. A situation of true nothingness never existed. The universe, all that exists, is eternal. Probably every bit of matergy (matter and energy) that exists now has existed eternally--but possibly not. Even if all the matergy was formed from something else at the big bang, that 'something else' still should qualify as the universe at that time. Meaning that the universe is eternal, tho constantly changing in big and small ways."

Michael Shermer is cited most often for his alleged scientific credentials most often because of his skepticism of claims of the paranormal, supernatural, fringe conspiracy theories, or alien visitation, much of which we do need good rational skeptics to research and expose; however that isn't what he does; nor is it what most other high profile skeptics do, including Joe Nickell, Zahi Hawass, and many more that all follow the same pattern of behavior, most of the time. One good claim that they do often make, though is "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

I can't come up with what I would consider extraordinary evidence for a complex theory about many unsolved mysteries, without going through an enormous amount of detail, which would allow for a higher chance of mistakes; however there is extraordinary evidence of a major unsolved mystery that raises doubts about the official explanation for how our civilization first developed, which opens the door for alternative theories to consider, until we have evidence to confirm one of these theories.

This extraordinary and simple evidence is the megaliths that were moved by ancient civilization thousands of years ago

So called experts like Zahi Hawass or Michael Shermer routinely resort to appeals for emotion and even temper tantrums when confronted with arguments like this that they can't explain. One of the leading researchers that attempted to explain this away by replicating it, Roger Hopkins, also made numerous appeals to emotion and ridicule at times; however he also participated in experiments that would explain it, and for a while tried to argue that he had proved it could be done. However he was eventually confronted with enough evidence to come to the conclusion that he couldn't replicate the moves, and couldn't explain how they were done, although he still remained skeptical of many of the fringe claims that have been made to explain it.

I'm not aware of many if any major unsolved mysteries where there is as clear cut evidence to prove that the official explanation is at best incomplete or at worst completely false, with the possible exception of Crop Circles; however there are many more stories about mystics, like Edgar Cayce, Uri Geller, UFOs or other conspiracy theories where a closer look indicates that even if there's good reason to be skeptical of a lot of the claims and enough reason to rule out many fringe beliefs, there may not be enough evidence to completely rule out the possibility, if not virtual guarantee that there are unexplained phenomena surrounding some of these mysteries.

When Michael Shermer, Joe Nickell, Zahi Hawass and other pseudo-skeptics make incredibly bad blunders like this they give some people the impression that the opposing views, often people like Giorgio Tsoukalos, Erich von Däniken and David Childress seem like credible sources by comparison, if they're the only ones being presented by the traditional media; however they also make their own share of incredibly obvious blunders!

This is why the public needs to become their own scientists, at least enough to understand the basics, so that if they do have to rely on so-called experts for the truth they can do a better job picking the experts they chose to trust. My own conclusions is that none of the high profile so called experts from the mainstream media have much if any credibility. Although they often get some things right; these things have to be confirmed independently through more reliable sources.

I don't know for certain how to explain many of these unsolved mysteries; however after looking at enough of them and recognizing that the official version of truth is increasingly becoming as absurd and insane as many fringe conspiracy theories there's little or no doubt that we need to rethink many of these things and this needs to involve real rational skeptics that are open minded enough to consider different possibilities when the evidence supports it instead of resorting to the same manipulation tactics that demagogues use. Ironically, even though Michael Shermer is supposedly a skeptic of irrational conspiracy theories he's repeatedly come to the defense, at least partially of one of the most irrational conspiracy theorists, Donald Trump. Even if he does hedge on some of it this is hardly the behavior of a "beacon of reason," and recommendation from scientists that claim otherwise are highly suspect.

I've come up with my own theories about some of this starting with evidence that proves that the political establishment is controlled by a small percentage of the public in one of my most recent articles, Which version of the "Deep State" is the real thing?, which shows reliable sources to indicate that media coverage is controlled by a small percentage of the public although evidence of alien technology or ancient aliens isn't quite as strong. Another one Researching Poor, Slaves, Prisoners, To Benefit Ruling Class With Alien Technology? also starts with more credible evidence to show that there are research experiments being used on people without full consent, before moving on to theories that aren't quite as conclusive. Additional sources are provided in these articles so you can come to your own conclusions.

Additional reasons why we need to "Become The Media And The Scientists," at least to some degree including the fact that the mainstream media has led us into one war after another; and that they've provided enormous amount of propaganda to convince us that an economic system that ships subsidized cotton half way around the world so they can take advantage of sweatshop labor and force working people to complete with each other while the wealthy take all the profits is efficient. Some of the so-called scientific experts like Michael Shermer are constantly providing the propaganda to make this seem rational as well. Several other so-called rational skeptics, including Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, have also supported this irrational economic system, wars based on lies, including the Iraq invasion or both.

Relying on so-called experts when they have a history of deceiving us is incompatible with the democratic process!

The following are some additional articles on the subject, including more stories exposing World Vision and a few of my own past articles:

Michael Shermer, we hardly knew ye, critique by Jerry Coyne 08/29/2010

What I Believe (about Markets and Morals): A Reply to Jerry Coyne & My Critics by Michael Shermer reposted on Jerry Coyne's Blog 09/01/2010

A Conversation with Michael Shermer about Trump, Transhumanism, and the Future of Our Species 07/26/2017

Trump and the Post-Human Rights Agenda: Jayde Lovell, Michael Shermer and James Felton Keith 02/03/2018

Michael Shermer "Why Markets are moral" as reported in "Science Matters: Humanities as Complex Systems"

Should I donate to World Vision? 07/27/2017 A few years ago, I spoke at length with an African professor here in the states who worked for several years in World Vision's child sponsorship program. He also comes from a poor village and his sister was a sponsored child. I asked him what he thought of child sponsorship in general. He said flatly, "It's terrible." I was shocked by his bluntness; prior to that, I did not have strong views on the matter and I expected a more nuanced and conflicted response. He went on to describe his first-hand experience in how, despite well-marketed individual success stories, the model can undermine family unity, displace parents, and distort culture. I personally do not have enough information to make such a concrete statement about child sponsorship, but I take this gentleman's perspective very seriously. We have stayed in touch. He is but one person I have met with this view and my own research has edified by concerns: child sponsorship is not a program model I personally feel comfortable supporting. ........ In summary, there is legitimate cause for concern with regard to World Vision's work and approach. It is not a mistake to raise thoughtful concerns. The real disservice to World Vision's employees and donors would be to shelter them.

Obviously, child sponsorship has left me baffled 01/09/2014 ..... Then this year's card arrived. You can see the drawing it featured. The image resembles some of Obvious's previous works - but from several years ago. The thing is, Obvious is now 17 years old and other illustrations from him have been strikingly different and noticeably more advanced. .....

Liberia: World Vision scandal puts spotlight on efforts to stamp out aid corruption 10/10/2009

Exclusive: Aid charities reluctant to reveal full scale of fraud 07/14/2015

World Vision charity named in sex-for-aid allegations 02/18/2018

Coca-Cola Partners: World Vision

World Vision Celebrity Supporters & Events

Michael Shermer: I’m Not Endorsing Donald Trump 03/04/2016

What Michael Shermer Wants, and Does Not Want, to Believe—on Pseudo-Skepticism and the Multiverse, part 1

The Debunker: A Pseudo-Skeptic By Any Other Name

There's no doubt that research is happening on people without full #Disclosure according to reliable sources; but if #ConspiracyTheories from Corso are even partly true it must be related & it's much bigger possibly including #UFOs #AncientAliens 05/18/2018

Human Research Subjects

Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment

Are Michael Shermer and Philip Zimbardo trying to be secular cult leaders?

Shermer's The Mind of The Market 02/17/2008

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Is Feudalistic Media Only Covering Crooks and Thugs?

There are so many politicians involved in so much corruption or outright crime, including sexual assault, prostitution, epidemic levels of fraud, and even negligent mass murder that it's impossible for the vast majority of the public to keep track of it all. Now that Eric Schneiderman has been charged with assault and sexual harassment it seems as if even the politicians that are doing the most to defend victims of crime, including women are often also involved in it.

To top this off there are now conspiracy theories growing from the mainstream press to indicate that he might have been blackmailed, and that this might be part of a pattern of behavior, based partly on a tweet from Donald Trump and more thorough investigative reporting indicating that Michael Cohen and Roger Stone may have known about these accusations years ago, yet they chose to remain silent about it.

Harvey Weinstein has been exposed using Israeli espionage agents, which they routinely refer to as intelligence agents, as part of their propaganda to make espionage seem intelligent, to smear his accusers; and Trump routinely pays of and intimidates his accusers into signing non-disclosure agreements, including his ex-wives, who have been allegedly threatened, to keep them silent. This opens up the possibility that there's much more of this going on and that many of the elites know about it and negotiate behind closed doors to keep it quit. We have no way of knowing if they agree with each other to keep silent about accusations from both sides or help sabotage cases when they can't completely cover it up.

I have repeatedly said that I try to be a rational skeptic when it comes to conspiracy theories; however the official version of truth has routinely become as irrational as many conspiracy theories; and many of the better researched fringe conspiracy theories have proven to be at least partially true. Furthermore, conspiracy theories are now the norm, from the mainstream media, although they're often as irrational as some of the less rational fringe conspiracy theories they ridicule.

Most important of all there's an enormous amount of evidence that isn't even hidden to indicate that the mainstream media, which is primarily controlled by six oligarchies, plus a few additional outlets owned by billionaires, like the Washington Post, is rigging elections simply by refusing to cover grassroots candidates that get their support from the local level. Instead they only cover candidates that get an enormous amount of support from large corporations, including the ones that own the media, that rig the economic system.

On the rare occasions when there are major prosecutions against white collar criminals like Martin Shkreli or Bernie Madoff it's almost always because the victims turned out to be wealthy people, not because of the price gouging that was carried out by Shkreli or by Joe Manchin's daughter Heather Bresch, who was blatantly exposed in epidemic levels of price gouging, which is all legal thanks to a corrupt government that openly funds pharmaceutical research with tax payer money then hands patents over to pharmaceutical companies that donate an enormous amount of money to campaigns instead of paying for the research and gouge consumers for their drugs at epidemic levels.

I'm not a big fan of Schneiderman, Weiner or Spitzer, but, compared to the vast majority of the political establishment they've actually done more to speak out against Wall Street corruption, and Weiner was one of the most vocal advocates for Single Payer for a little while, at least when it cam to his rhetoric.

Unlike many of the politicians that routinely get caught in scandals as bad if not worse they were driven from office by their crimes, while many of the worst scam artists often stay in office or get replaced by corrupt politicians just as bad, and the prosecutions against large corporations eventually get settled for minor fines one time after another.

In ancient feudalistic societies it was rare for any feudal lords to start treating their workers well or allow them to have rights, but if they did and the other feudal lords thought they might teach the peasants to stick up for their rights in other territories they would unite to attack the benevolent feudal lord to teach him a lesson and keep the serfs in their place. Similar tactics were done in various slave societies as well, including efforts to restrict education or the ability of slaves to learn how to read.

Now we pretend to be a Democratic society; however the mass media is controlled by a fraction of one percent of the public, something that many of us were taught was exactly what the First Amendment was supposed to prevent. The media and political establishment would like us to believe that the reason that we have a long line of crooks getting elected is because that is what the people vote for, implying this is what the public wants.

Are we supposed to believe that the public would choose to elect candidates like convicted criminals like Greg Gianforte, Michael Grimm, Joe Arpaio, and Don Blankenship if they had no better options?

Unless media polls are completely fabricated there's far more support for some of these fanatical candidates in the areas where they serve; however I doubt if even in those cases if they could get elected if not for the lack of coverage of honest candidates giving them a chance to get their message across. Furthermore as I went into in past articles including Frank Luntz confesses to sabotaging democratic process for clients campaign advisers routinely study how to manipulate emotions and prejudices of voters, for the advantage of their clients including the candidates and the campaign contributors that fund them. Instead of trying to decrease prejudicial beliefs, they try to increase them, since it makes it easier for them to manipulate voters, which is why some of these candidates get some degree of support, although I wouldn't be surprised if the people taking the polls exaggerate them one way or another to advance their cause.

It's virtually guaranteed that they rig some of these polls, at least to some degree by only covering candidates that they support in the first place, and by asking leading questions designed to get certain types of answers, which is what they call push-polling.

They routinely decline to cover honest candidates, to deprive them of name recognition they need to get elected, and on the rare occasion where the grassroots start attracting attention anyway, they work with the political establishment to smear candidates from the grassroots to ensure they never get elected. Even when some candidates from the ruling class are disgraced so bad they have to resign the media often helps them repair their reputations like Anthony Weiner thought he could do when he ran an embarrassing campaign for Mayor; but sometimes their campaigns work much better like when Mark Sanford repaired his reputation with Christian conservatives, after an affair forced him to resign as Governor.

One of the things that the campaign advisers study how to manipulate are peoples religious beliefs, especially when people in the Bible Belt are taught to blindly believe what they're told from birth. This enables them to convince many people to vote against their own best interests by supporting one candidate after another that rigs the economic system for the benefit of the ruling class of multi-millionaires and billionaires.

This works much better if the vast majority of the public doesn't know about any honest candidates that are running for office. Most politicians aren't nearly as bad as Michael Grimm or Joe Arpaio, but they still support an incredibly corrupt economic system that ships jobs overseas, suppresses workers wages, fights one war after another based on lies and refuses to discuss ways to cut drug costs made artificially high thanks to patents, or Single Payer insurance.

Many people might get the impression that there are no honest candidates running for office at all but this isn't true.

There have actually been plenty of candidates running for office without being involved in epidemic levels of fraud, that are willing to discuss many of the issues, almost completely suppressed by mainstream media, including Jill Stein, who most people still haven't heard of, and many more candidates at the local level that aren't involved in epidemic levels of corruption. It's hard to imagine why anyone in West Virginia would even consider Don Blankenship, after his horrendous record in the coal industry and conviction for his part in the deaths of coal minors, yet the media portrayed hims as a major contender and if not for a massive effort to expose him he might have done better. But Joe Manchin is hardly any better, nor is it likely that the Republican that defeated Blankenship, but if more people were aware of Paula Swearengin, and her support for Single Payer there would have been a much better chance for to beat the incredibly corrupt Manchin.

Tim Canova and Stephen Jaffe have both also done an excellent job exposing the epidemic levels of fraud by Nancy Polosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but since the media refuses to cover them or attempts to smear them despite the fact that they aren't involved in epidemic levels of corruption they prevent many people from ever hearing about it or think they're the corrupt ones not establishment candidates supporting the oligarchy. Gayle Mclaughlin is one of the rare candidates that overcame this epidemic level of corruption to get elected at the local level in Richmond California; and she managed to stand up to corporations and help dramatically reduce their high murder rates, proving that abandoned inner cities can fix their problems, yet the mainstream media is trying to portray her as fringe because she challenges their corrupt agenda.

As long as we keep accepting the choices presented to us by the propaganda machine covering for white collar crime syndicates controlling the economic system, we'll never have a democracy; however a small number of the candidates have proven that they can beat the corrupt system, at least at the local level, which can be expanded nationally if people wake up and seek more reliable sources for their news!

The following are some additional stories about the crooks and thugs the media is providing propaganda for:

Trump Knew Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Was an Alleged Sexual Abuser in 2013: Report 05/11/2018

Eliot Spitzer: Pushing Wall Street to Reform March 2008

Eliot Spitzer: Milestones in an Ambitious Career 07/12/2013

Wikipedia: Anthony Weiner During the health care reform debates of 2009, Weiner advocated for a bill called the United States National Health Care Act, which would have expanded Medicare to all Americans, regardless of age.[30][31] He remarked that while 4% of Medicare funds go to overhead,[32] private insurers put 30% of their customer's money into profits and overhead instead of into health care.[33] In late July 2009, he secured a full House floor vote for single payer health care in exchange for not amending America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 in committee mark-up with a single-payer plan.[34] ..... Weiner was the chief sponsor of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009,

N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is under investigation after abuse claims prompt his resignation 05/08/2018 Schneiderman, 63, built his reputation as a tough enforcer of Wall Street, a self-styled advocate for women and more recently an outspoken foe of President Donald Trump. ..... Like others who have held the post in recent years, Schneiderman has been a regular foe of Wall Street, helping secure billions of dollars in settlements from investment banks over issues stemming from trading in their dark pools to deceptive practices in the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities. UBS Group AG in March agreed to pay $230 million to resolve its part in the probe. ..... His successor, David Paterson, the lieutenant governor, chose not to run for election in 2010 after he was caught accepting free World Series tickets and having intervened on behalf of a political aide accused of domestic abuse. Alan Hevesi, a state comptroller, had to step down in 2006 after pleading guilty to corruption involving his stewardship of state pension funds.

Why Weiner sinks while Spitzer soars 08/19/2013

A History of Sex and Abuse in the Trump Administration 02/23/2018

Did Trump Know About The Allegations Against Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman In 2013? 05/11/2018

New filing reveals Trump had damning information on investigator overseeing Trump University case 05/11/2018

Wikipedia: Mark Sanford

The Epic Rise and Fall of America’s Most Notorious Coal Baron The biggest mine disaster in 40 years occurred on Don Blankenship’s watch at Massey Energy. 09/30/2015

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte's mugshot goes public 10/11/2017

Insiders say ex-FBI agent and convicted felon Michael Grimm has upper hand in congressional race 05/14/2018 Grimm also garnered a measure of infamy for threatening to throw a NY 1 reporter off a balcony in the Capitol when asked about the probe of his finances. “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony,” Grimm threatened Michael Scotto. When Scotto asked, “Why, it’s a valid question?,” a raging Grimm said: “No, no, you’re not man enough … I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.” He later apologized.

Joe Arpaio, former sheriff in Arizona, is found guilty of criminal contempt 07/31/2017

Why a Convicted Killer Is Running for Office in Texas 02/04/2018

1 Charge Against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens Dropped As He Resigns From Office 05/30/2018

Nashville Democratic Mayor Megan Barry Resigns, Pleads Guilty To Felony Theft 03/6/2018

Robert Bentley, Alabama Governor, Resigns Amid Scandal 04/10/2017

Wikipedia: Steve Stockman

Wikipedia: Rod Blagojevich

Wikipedia: List of American federal politicians convicted of crimes

Wikipedia: List of American state and local politicians convicted of crimes

Friday, May 11, 2018

Zimbardo's Hero Or Indoctrination Project?

Philip Zimbardo got his start in psychology by doing research financed by the Office of Naval Research, while claiming to be an organizer of Vietnam protests; his latest projects involve encouraging heroism, which sounds very good; however, intentionally or not it distracts from simple solutions that work much better in the long run by preventing extreme situations that might require heroism.

Furthermore, it could also be a part of a widespread efforts to glorify celebrities, or heroes, putting them above reproach, possibly as part of another propaganda campaign to encourage blind obedience to authority, despite claims that his research was designed to do the opposite.

The biggest problem is that glorification of heroism puts the emphasis on saving the day at the last minute in a dramatic fight with the bad guy, without looking at the long term causes of violence and how it escalates from early child abuse and in countries with troubled political system, or abandoned ghettos.

The highest profile cases of "Heroes," as presented by the traditional media, are military veterans who fight one war after another, based on lies from our political leaders, and are portrayed as heroes as long as they blindly obey orders without question. Those that don't go along with the program are often portrayed as cowards for refusing to fight, although they often bravely stand up to those giving them illegal orders. In all fairness, Philip Zimbardo did cite Hugh Thompson Jr. as one of his heroes, for standing up to fellow veterans at Mai Lai and preventing the massacre from being even worse; however even this wouldn't have been necessary if more people recognized that this war was based on lies, like so many others, and prevented it from happening in the first place.

If the public isn't careful they might worship vigilantes at Walmart starting a gun fight over petty theft, or hesitate to question wars based on lies to avoid appearing to criticize glorious veterans who have been led to believe their actions defend our country, when it's actually based on lies about weapons of mass destruction or babies being removed from incubators.

No doubt Philip Zimbardo would clearly say this isn't what he intends at all, however his track record isn't as good as it often seems at first glance, and even if people promoting The Heroic Imagination Project never intended this and provide some degree of caution about this possibility, which I haven't seen yet, the perception about the vast majority of so-called heroes is controlled by the mass media and they might be consulting with psychological research about the subject.

Philip Zimbardo's motives should especially be suspect because as I previously explained in Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment and Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize I suspect he's almost certainly been consulting with the CIA since he first began his career, but even if he isn't he's definitely been tied to the military, by his own admission, which funded his first research project almost fifty years ago.

Attempts to make the majority of the public believe they can be the hero may also be used to indirectly encourage them to admire the heroes presented to them by the mass media, since they might be inclined to worship them the way they might want to be worshiped by others. With Zimbardo's history of exposing some scams while promoting others a closer look at his efforts to promote heroism should be done with a reasonable degree of skepticism, especially since he seem to present oxytocin, as a possible part of the solution, in the following article, which I'll get to more below:

What Makes a Hero? We all have an inner hero, argues Philip Zimbardo. Here's how to find it. 01/18/2011

What makes us good? What makes us evil?

Research has uncovered many answers to the second question: Evil can be fostered by dehumanization, diffusion of responsibility, obedience to authority, unjust systems, group pressure, moral disengagement, and anonymity, to name a few.

But when we ask why people become heroic, research doesn’t yet have an answer. It could be that heroes have more compassion or empathy; maybe there’s a hero gene; maybe it’s because of their levels of oxytocin—research by neuroeconomist Paul Zak has shown that this “love hormone” in the brain increases the likelihood you’ll demonstrate altruism. We don’t know for sure.

I believe that heroism is different than altruism and compassion. For the last five years, my colleagues and I have been exploring the nature and roots of heroism, studying exemplary cases of heroism and surveying thousands of people about their choices to act (or not act) heroically. In that time, we’ve come to define heroism as an activity with several parts.

First, it’s performed in service to others in need—whether that’s a person, group, or community—or in defense of certain ideals. Second, it’s engaged in voluntarily, even in military contexts, as heroism remains an act that goes beyond something required by military duty. Third, a heroic act is one performed with recognition of possible risks and costs, be they to one’s physical health or personal reputation, in which the actor is willing to accept anticipated sacrifice. Finally, it is performed without external gain anticipated at the time of the act.

Simply put, then, the key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward.


Take the Holocaust. Christians who helped Jews were in the same situation as other civilians who helped imprison or kill Jews, or ignored their suffering. The situation provided the impetus to act heroically or malevolently. Why did some people choose one path or the other?


Some people argue humans are born good or born bad; I think that’s nonsense. We are all born with this tremendous capacity to be anything, and we get shaped by our circumstances—by the family or the culture or the time period in which we happen to grow up, which are accidents of birth; whether we grow up in a war zone versus peace; if we grow up in poverty rather than prosperity.

George Bernard Shaw captured this point in the preface to his great play “Major Barbara”: “Every reasonable man and woman is a potential scoundrel and a potential good citizen. What a man is depends upon his character what’s inside. What he does and what we think of what he does depends on upon his circumstances.”

So each of us may possess the capacity to do terrible things. But we also posses an inner hero; if stirred to action, that inner hero is capable of performing tremendous goodness for others.


Opportunity matters. Most acts of heroism occur in urban areas, where there are more people and more people in need. You’re not going to be a hero if you live in the suburbs. No shit happens in the suburbs!

Education matters. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to be a hero, I think because you are more aware of situations.

Volunteering matters. One third of all the sample who were heroes also had volunteered significantly, up to 59 hours a week.

Gender matters. Males reported performing acts of heroism more than females. I think this is because women tend not to regard a lot of their heroic actions as heroic. It’s just what they think they’re supposed to do for their family or a friend.

Race matters. Blacks were eight times more likely than whites to qualify as heroes. We think that’s in part due to the rate of opportunity. (In our next survey, we’re going to track responses by area code to see if in fact these heroes are coming from inner cities.

Personal history matters. Having survived a disaster or personal trauma makes you three times more likely to be a hero and a volunteer.

Based on these insights into heroism, we’ve put together a toolkit for potential heroes, especially young heroes in training, who already have opportunities to act heroically when they’re kids, such as by opposing bullying.

A first step is to take the “hero pledge,” a public declaration on our website that says you’re willing to be a hero in waiting. It’s a pledge “to act when confronted with a situation where I feel something is wrong,” “to develop my heroic abilities,” and “to believe in the heroic capacities within myself and others, so I can build and refine them.”

You can also take our four-week “Hero Challenge” mini-course online to help you develop your heroic muscles. The challenge may not require you to do anything heroic, but it’s training you to be heroic. And we offer more rigorous, research-based education and training programs for middle and high schools, corporations, and the millitary that make people aware of the social factors that produce passivity, inspire them to take positive civic action, and encourage the skills needed to consistently translate heroic impulses into action.

We’re also in the process of creating an Encyclopedia of Heroes, a collection of hero stories from all over the world. Not just all the classic ones and fictional ones, but ones that people from around the world are going to send in, so they can nominate ordinary heroes with a picture and a story. It will be searchable, so you can find heroes by age, gender, city and country. These are the unsung, quiet heroes—they do their own thing, put themselves in danger, defend a moral cause, help someone in need. And we want to highlight them. We want them to be inspirational to other people just like them.

Essentially, we’re trying to build the social habits of heroes, to build a focus on the other, shifting away from the “me” and toward the “we.” As the poet John Donne wrote: “No man [or woman] is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; … any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

So every person is part of humanity. Each person’s pulse is part of humanity’s heartbeat. Heroes circulate the life force of goodness in our veins. And what the world needs now is more heroes—you. It’s time to take action against evil. Complete article

Encouraging heroism "knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward," may seem like a good idea, but it's actually promoting conflicting ideas. This is the type of image often created and encouraged by mythology or Hollywood but rarely if ever happens in the real world. Altruism is admirable and worth encouraging but promoting the image of a dramatic hero that will be worshiped when he comes in and saves the day by preventing someone from shooting up the place or doing something else dramatic isn't the most effective way of doing this. And the people that think it is are almost certainly more concerned about fame and glory than solving problems in the most effective manner.

Efforts to solve the biggest problems in our society almost always don't involve dramatic events but finding the long term causes for the problems and preventing them. This could be portrayed as heroic but it almost never involves daring or high risk, instead it often involved tedious efforts to educated the public or develop an fair economic system that prevents many of our social problems. It may also involve exposing epidemic levels of fraud by our own government and the corporations that prevent some of the most effective research to solve these problems from being reported in the media that creates an enormous amount of hype for the people they want to present to the public as heroic.

Zimbardo states "You’re not going to be a hero if you live in the suburbs. No shit happens in the suburbs," clearly implying that his impression of heroism is something dramatic where there might be a need to a fight to save someones life at the hands of a violent thief or gang member, or if that's not what he intended to imply it's virtually guaranteed that that's the impression many people watching a lot of action films might come to. In the short term there may be some incidents where actions like James Shaw Jr. took at the Tennessee Waffle-house to disarm a gunman can save the day, but they're not the most effective manner of doing it, and they come at extreme risk and can often do more harm than good which is why police more familiar with failed attempts routinely recommend against this action if there's any other option.

Wouldn't it have been much better if someone intervened by teaching Travis Reinking's parents better parenting skills that enabled him to avoid his troubled past that contributed to his shooting rampage? I don't know more than most people about his past but there are, as usual, some signs that he came from a troubled background and a further investigation will almost certainly fill in more details. There may not be enough research into Reinking's past to determine the exact causes leading to his violent behavior; but there's plenty of research available that shows children abused at a young age are more likely to grow up violently and this could be used to change child rearing tactics for many.

More practical solutions that aren't likely to seem nearly as dramatic or heroic, although efforts have been made to make them seem that way, are much more more mundane, like teaching about how early child abuse and bullying leads to escalating violence later in life. It may also involve political activity to fix the broken political and economic system that we live in especially in abandoned inner cities with high rates of violence like Nashville, which is more than twice the national average. I've gone into the leading causes of violence in numerous other articles, but one of the most important things is that they need to increase funding for education, and provide more economic opportunities everywhere, including these abandoned inner cities, which is constantly the opposite of what the entire political establishment is trying to do either with outsourcing sending jobs over sears or the school reform movement transferring control of the education system to Charters, often for profit, controlled by economists, politicians and public relations people looking out for the best interests of the rich elites, instead of experienced educators or well informed grassroots activists.

Philip Zimbardo is correct that children should be encouraged to do their part to oppose bullying, however, in order to be most effective perhaps it should be done in the least dramatic manner, which might seem heroic, possible, by talking things out, or working with the community to provide more adult supervision when dealing with this problem advising kids, which includes more teachers and smaller class sizes, the opposite of what the political establishment is pushing.

However, even though Philip Zimbardo is right about some things like teaching children to oppose bullying, his past research should raise major alarms, especially when he ignores some of the most effective and least dramatic solutions to many problems and presents Oxytocin as a potential part of the solution, instead of a drug that should be handled with extreme caution if it's used at all. This is especially important since, although the vast majority of the public isn't aware of it, it could potentially be related to some of the interlocking research projects that included Zimbardo's so-called "Stanford Prison Experiment," Milgram's "Obedience to Authority" experiments MKULTRA and numerous other research experiments that the CIA was almost certainly involved in.

To this day there has been no official admission that the obedience to authority and prison experiment were part of interlocking experiments on mind-control like MKULTRA; however the government has admitted that they did experiment with drugs and other methods as part of the MKULTRA experiments to control people and as I explained in my past articles about Milgram's and Zimbardo's experiments, it's virtually guaranteed that these are related. Most of the details are in those articles including research by professors, Alfred McCoy and Philip Greven among other sources to come to my conclusions, but one of the simplest things to understand is that the Navy, which supported both Milgram's and Zimbardo's research isn't in the business of teaching their recruits to question authority, which is what the experiments were supposedly designed to do.

The Navy and other military branches are in the business of teaching their cadets to blindly obey orders without question, which is the opposite of what the official explanation for the experiments claims they were for, and that is almost certainly the real purpose for these experiments, to develop more effecting boot camp indoctrination tactics!

Research has shown that oxytocin, which Zimbardo presents as a possible solution to make people more heroic, makes people more susceptible to advertising, which is a form of propaganda. This is the kind of drug that the people involved in MKULTRA would have been interested in since it appears to be as effective if not more effective than most of the drugs they experimented with when it comes to mind control.

There is little or no effort to inform the vast majority of the public about the potential for psychological manipulation this drug might have, yet in the academic world there's an enormous amount of research on it. After reading about it in a few books that only mentioned it briefly and checking a few more articles that aren't hard to find once you look for them it should be clear that this should be treated with extreme caution if it's used at all.

It would seem like a fringe conspiracy theory to most people to speculate about the possibility that oxytocin is being used for mind control purposes, especially if it's presented as the sole contributing factor, which is almost completely out of the question. However, there is plenty of research from mainstream academics, who are not generally considered conspiracy theorists, to indicate that this might be a real possibility, especially if it's combined with other more credible research about indoctrination from an early age through coercive child rearing methods like use of corporal punishment or other forms of intimidation and appeals to emotion, as I went into more in several previous articles including Dobson’s Indoctrination Machine, which relied primarily on traditional academic research.

Furthermore, many so-called fringe conspiracy theories about the CIA in the past have repeatedly proven to be either partly or completely true, so it would be foolish to completely rule out the possibility that the CIA might be experimenting with oxytocin. Considering the interrogation tactics that the CIA and military have been exposed participating it shouldn't be considered fringe to speculate, as one of the articles listed below does that oxytocin "Could Become New Interrogation Tool."

In a book by Steven Pinker, "The Better Angels of Our Nature" 2011 he writes, "Half the participants inhaled a nasal spray containing oxytocin, which can penetrate from the nose to the brain, and the other half inhaled a placebo. The ones who got the oxytocin turned over more of their money to the stranger, and the media had a field day with fantasies of car dealers misting the hormone through their showroom ventilating systems to snooker innocent customers." This may have been presented as a joke but it's a serious possibility that should be considered; advertisers and political activists have been caught at stranger things.

The CIA has also been rumored to have studies cult activity and try to influence elections, both at home and abroad, even though it's illegal to do so, the most famous proven case in the United States is of course, the Watergate hotel break in. Now that the official version of truth is routinely more insane than many so-called fringe conspiracy theories, it's not unreasonable to speculate about the possibility that they might be experimenting with efforts to encourage cult support of candidates, which could include Donald Trump and his absurd followers that seem to believe he's going to "Drain the Swamp."

If this sounds like an absurd fringe conspiracy theory to you, I agree, it is absurd and fringe; however the official version of truth is just as absurd and accepting this as the new normal could lead to the decline of the last shreds of our democracy. There's no doubt that something absurd if going on the trick is to figure out what it is, so we shouldn't rule this possibility in or out without further evidence!

Also, efforts to glorify heroism could also be used as a psychological manipulation tactic since people tend to worship dramatic heroes and if anyone challenges that they might face a lot of social backlash, like the worship of politicians religious leaders and celebrities. Anyone familiar with the media should realize this isn't just a theory, there's enough evidence to conclude that it's routine if you look for it. The hype surrounding the highest profile heroes is almost always controlled by the mass media which makes their money by selling deceptive advertisements to convince consumers to buy all kinds of things they don't need.

In a growing trend the media has been referring to people who try to stop petty thefts at Walmart as "Good Samaritans" even when they resort to activities that could be considered extreme or lead to excessive violence over a minor incident including one example of "petty theft" which led to a confrontation where the person trying to stop him attempted to slash his tires and the shoplifter rammed the victims truck and another example where a bystander showed his gun permit badge in an attempt to intimidate another shoplifter attempting to steal a TV he said might have been worth less than a hundred dollars.

These stories are just a small fraction of the problems Walmart has with violence, and as I went into more in several articles including, Wal-Mart’s crime problem, Rolling Back Safety more than prices? many of them involve vigilantism, which often turns out much worse than either of these two incidents. They've had cases where attempts to steal sand paper or underwear have escalating to shootings, or a theft of a 59 cent dounut led to a severe beating by a police officer, other cases where people have been killed in shootouts and many cases where they have had criminal charges for excessive use of force, in some cases against innocent people, including an example just last month where a Georgia police officer was sentenced to five years in jail for falsely accusing someone of stealing a tomato and beating him so bad he had to be hospitalized.

In addition to that Walmart has had enormous problems with people stealing their gun=s which are often not secured properly, which I doubt that Parkland moms are aware of otherwise they might think twice before advertising for Walmart, which is what they seem to be doing according to Here's why Parkland moms want you to 'shop in' at Walmart, Dick's this Mother's Day weekend 05/11/2018, in return for raising the age of purchase to twenty-one. This is a trivial policy change which isn't likely to have much if any impact at all, especially when they ignore the vast majority of other contributing causes as I have gone into in previous articles including solutions about Walmart's crime problems discussed in the article about "Rolling Back Safety more than Prices" and a recent article about Marketing Failed Solutions To Shootings for Profit? Or Propaganda? which also points out that the marketing industry which is controlling the "March for Our Lives" campaign seems more interested in selling T-shirts and focusing on only one contributing cause, gun control, which almost certainly is part of the solution, but not the only part, or the most important part of the solution.

Heroism may sound good, and in a few rare cases it is; however the most practical solutions to most problems isn't dramatic at all; it often involves slow tedious research and setting up educational systems to inform the public about how to avoid contributing causes of violence. A large portion of this involves increasing funds to education and child care especially in abandoned inner cities. This may seem difficult as many pundits often point out; however they rarely think it's hard to find money for wars based on lies or prisons that have been proven not to work!

There's good reason to be skeptical of the effectiveness of these hero worshiping projects, especially when they ignore the most effective research to prevent violence from escalating, starting at an early age, by preventing child abuse, or by funding schools more.

The following are some additional sources including many about how Oxytocin can be abused, and may be misrepresented:

Oxytocin is not a love drug. Don't give it to kids with autism. 07/17/2012

Oxytocin, the 'Trust Hormone,' Could Become New Interrogation Tool 05/15/2012

Oxytocin increases advertising’s influence: Hormone heightened sensitivity to public service announcements 11/16/2010

Better Advertising Through Chemistry: Oxytocin Is The New Dopamine 06/19/2014

Oxytocin Increases the Influence of Public Service Advertisements 02/27/2013

Hormone Spray Is Found To Bolster Trust in Others 06/02/2005

In Oxytocin We Trust Controversial uses of a reproductive hormone Michelle Shum Fall 2005

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo of the Stanford Prison Experiment: Donald Trump is an “unconstrained, unbridled present hedonist” 04/06/2017

CNN Heroes: 10 steps toward a better future 12/14/2017

The Heroic Imagination Project (HIP) founder, Dr. Philip Zimbardo

What Makes a Hero? We all have an inner hero, argues Philip Zimbardo. Here's how to find it. 01/18/2011

'I'm Not A Hero,' Says James Shaw Jr., Acclaimed As Hero Of Waffle House Attack 04/23/2018

The following are some of my past articles about psychological manipulation and more effective ways to recognize contributing causes of violence and prevent them:

Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment

Corruption or Bias in the American Psychological Association

Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize

Anti-violence social experiments could be part of a slippery slope

American Psychological Association exposed again

Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows

Dobson’s Indoctrination Machine,

Politicians increase crime; Grass roots efforts reduce crime; Politicians steal the credit includes half a dozen or more links to additional contributing causes of violence

Wal-Mart’s crime problem, Rolling Back Safety more than prices?

Marketing Failed Solutions To Shootings for Profit? Or Propaganda?

Prevention of violence has to address all causes, not just Guns!