Sunday, October 10, 2010

20/20 Hindsight (movie review)

We're watching a movie, 20/20 Hindsight: Censorship on the Frontline, an interview with a whistle blower, Richard Grove, who tried to go to Frontline etc. with this story about a software application, owned by Legato and then EMC, that contained a "back door," a way to defraud investors and circumvent the strictures of Oxley-Sarbanes.

The irony was the software in question was advertised as supporting Oxley-Sarbanes, the anti-corruption legislation. The software actually provided circumventions of the laws it claimed to support. Just delete the jar file: millions of emails go away.

The whistle blower brought his case to court. Everything he asserted was proved, according to Grove, but the judge ruled that the statute of limitations had run out.

I was reminded of the Doctrine of Discovery and its "statute of limitations" defense. If there were a problem with this "law" it should've been raised years ago. Likewise the idea of "corporate personhood" can't be overturned this late in the game (say the courts), as it wasn't overturned when it should have been, years ago.

Capitalizing on ignorance, using fear to manipulate, is not a new phenomenon of course.

Rhetoric and persuasive speech, even if full of fallacies, is the way to control behavior.

Getting paid to speak persuasively, using intimidation where needed, tends to short circuit the intellect, says Grove. Emotional content, feelings of insecurity, is the basis for making a sale, especially of gold and silver.

Putting your intellect back in the driver seat is an antidote to fear. The media might have been that intellect, but that hasn't been happening.

Grove is a fan of Tarpley, is hardly a cheerleader for the Obama or Bush teams. His project these days is to help people in thinking for themselves. He's gone back to the trivium / quadrivium for heuristics, in contrast to "outcomes based" education, which he regards as promoting subservience and dependence. He's also a 911 "inside jobber" (believes in a conspiracy to recycle the real estate).

The interview and Grove's subsequent career reminded me of this quote:

Never before in all history have the inequities and the momentums of unthinking money-power been more glaringly evident to so vastly large a number of now literate, competent, and constructively thinking all-around-the-world humans. There’s a soon-to-occur critical-mass moment when the intuition of the responsibly inspired majority of humanity, in contradistinction to the angered Luddites and avenging Robin Hoods, faced with comprehensive functional discontinuity of nationally contained techno-economic systems, will call for and accomplish a world-around reorientation of our planetary affairs.

R. Buckminster Fuller
“Can’t Fool Cosmic Computer”
Grunch of Giants (St. Martin’s Press, 1983), pg. 89