Saturday, October 29, 2011

Greenwald on the Occupy movement

Glenn Greenwald was interviewed by Democracy Now last Wednesday, in part promoting his new book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. Following are some excerpts from the interview highlighting what the Occupy movement is about. It is a sad, sad time in American history to see what this "land of the free" has become, the land of the rich and powerful enslaving the rest of us. It is ludicrous and criminal that conservatives call the progressive fight against injustice pitting American against American, when this is exactly what the conservative system has done.

"I think most Americans realize—and I think you see this driving the Occupy protest movement that you covered at the beginning of the show and that everyone is aware of now—that there wasn’t just economic—poor decisions that precipitated the financial crisis, but massive, system- and industry-wide fraud on the part of Wall Street and the banking industry. And yet, there has been virtually no criminal investigations of any kind, let alone prosecutions or accountability.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy onticology

More ontocological ruminations from the IPS OOO thread, starting on p. 19:


I'm reviewing Chapter 5 again, and am seeing more clearly here that Bryant is defining 'substance' as an object's endo-relations, which at this point is not at all objectionable to me (and I don't really see how this is significantly different from or contrary to a holonic, autopoietically informed relational view, i.e. an Integral mereology).  To be consistent, in a holonic view, there can be no 'smallest' (foundational, atomic) holon, nor can there be a single 'super-holon' that encompasses all holons.  Both the imagined base-level objects or the ultimate super-object would be non-holons (since the former would not contain any constitutive smaller units, and the latter would not be included within anything else -- e.g., neither would be a part-whole).  Thus, there is no single-entity foundationalism, nor can there be a final 'over-mastering' super-entity (ass-holon, in Theurj's language).  Bryant's -- and OOO's -- emphases on the (relative) system-independence and closure of objects (agency), and on the tendency of objects to 'withdraw' from any totalizing embrace or identification or apprehension, are I think important and useful reminders (not fully recognized or developed in IT to date).  The transcendental deduction of the necessity of objects is also significant for IT, to the extent that it has sometimes leaned more heavily in the direction of an epistemic-first orientation.  But as I said above, I do not think the 'features' of objects identified by OOO are fundamentally at odds (or even very different from) an autopoietically informed holonic model, which presumably is the guiding 'ontic' orientation of Integral Theory.  In SpinbitZ, Joel makes the case that Integral Theory veers towards epistemic absolutism when Wilber sometimes states that ultimately "All is perspective," and argues that Integral should not be ontic-shy about also asserting, as Wilber also sometimes does, that embodiment and boundary are fundamental to perspectives -- e.g., that perspectives are always embodied.  Such a move honors both epistemology (perspective) and ontology (holon) equally and non-reductively.

Bonnitta Roy's report from the critical realism/integral theory conference

Bonnitta was kind enough to write a detailed report at IPS about her attendance at this conference, which will be of interest to both integralists and speculative realists of various sorts. Here are a few select excerpts but please see the post for a full story:

"When we applied this type of analysis to Integral Theory (IT) , we got the following key problem areas:

IT commits the epistemic fallacy: IT confuses the “known world” from the “real world”, resulting in a “many worlds” view.... IT describes all these “worlds” that are enacted at different altitudes across different methodologies. This is problematic, because all those worlds are actually world*views – or known worlds. This is the epistemic fallacy. On the other hand, CR must account for separate world*views, and it does this through the notion of the stratification of the actual world. (CR makes a distinction between the actual and the real).

Olbermann on Oakland police violence

Keith Olbermann’s special comment last night was, as usual, spot on point. The police violence against the peaceful Occupy Oakland demonstrators is inexcusable and the Mayor’s rationalizations make her complicit in enabling further violence. Ironically, the demonstrators are fighting for among other things that the likes of Oakland police officers be treated with dignity and respect, something they are not getting by budget-cutting governments looking first to downsizing it workforce and eliminating worker protections, i.e., police officers. And the cause of such downsizing? The financial crisis, and created by whom? It certainly wasn’t the demonstrators.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lakoff's tips for framing the occupy movement

From his Huff Post post dated today:

"Frame yourselves before others frame you.

Democracy starts with citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly on that sense of care, taking responsibility both for oneself and for one's family, community, country, people in general, and the planet. The role of government is to protect and empower all citizens equally via The Public: public infrastructure, laws and enforcement, health, education, scientific research, protection, public lands, transportation, resources, art and culture, trade policies, safety nets, and on and on. Nobody makes it one their own. If you got wealthy, you depended on The Public, and you have a responsibility to contribute significantly to The Public so that others can benefit in the future. Moreover, the wealthy depend on those who work, and who deserve a fair return for their contribution to our national life. Corporations exist to make life better for most people. Their reason for existing is as public as it is private.

Scientific evidence for corporate world dominance

The following excerpts are from a 10/19/11 New Scientist article. The proof is in the pudding and the pudding feeds only a select few:

"An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy....the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world's transnational corporations (TNCs).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sachs' message to Wall Street

Jeffrey Sachs does it again, answering the obvious to the apparent bewilderment conservatives have about the Occupy  Wall Street movement. From Sachs' Huff Post article today:

"The protesters are annoyed with JP Morgan because it, like its fellow institutions on the street, helped to bring the world economy to its knees through unprincipled and illegal actions. The Journal editorial board apparently missed the news carried in the Journal's own business pages that JP Morgan recently paid $153.6 million in fines for violating securities laws in the lead-up to the 2008 financial collapse. JP Morgan, like other Wall Street institutions, connived with hedge funds to peddle toxic assets to unsuspecting investors, allowing the hedge funds to make a killing at the expense of their 'mark,' and the world economy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More on Bryant's OOO

Here is more from our ongoing IPS discussion of OOO and Bryant, from p. 11 of that thread:


Given several discussions of late about contradiction and complimentarity the following from chapter 2.2 is interesting:

“It is a peculiar characteristic of substances that they are non-dialectical. As Aristotle remarks, '[a]nother characteristic of substances is that there is nothing contrary to them'. [60] Beginning with Hegel, dialectic takes on two meanings that are distinct but often conflated with one another. First, and especially in a Marxist context, dialectic can be taken to refer to thinking that is specifically relational in character. Marx, for example, shows how commodities can only exist in certain social formations characterized by wage labor and capitalism. Later, in our discussion of regimes of attraction and exo-relations we will see how some notion of dialectic in this relational sense can be retained with respect to local manifestations. Second, dialectic can be taken to mean a thinking of relation in terms of contraries and contradictions that are sublated in ever greater wholes or totalities. While onticology readily recognizes the existence of antagonisms, it sees no reason to see antagonisms as the equivalent to contraries or contradictions.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Harvey (a short story)

I went back to finish college at the age of 40. In the course of so doing I took 3 separate creative writing classes for fun, beginning, intermediate and advanced. One of my better stories was about the attack dog that trained me to be a dog handler in the US Army. I decided to share it here. Keep in mind that I'm intentionally writing this from the first-person point of view of an uneducated 18 year old, using the type of language and grammar he would as the narrator. My academic writing is obviously not so lax (or creative).

Take action to get $ out of politics

Please take a few moments to read these short, proposed Amendments to the US Constitution and if you agree add your signature to the petition at The proposals follow:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What caused the wealth gap?

And how do we fix it? This Salon interview with Jeffrey Sachs explains the causes and some possible remedies. Here are a few excerpts:

“The income distribution in this country has gotten out of whack to a historically unprecedented extent and it has come with a very serious derangement of our political processes.

Beginning in the 1970s – this is crucial – the U.S. began to globalize, as did every other economy in the world…. The main effect of globalization, which is known but somehow weirdly separated from our politics, has been that those who have products, or services, or celebrity, or other things that they can sell to world markets, have found a boon in globalization. But for most of American society, and certainly for the majority of Americans who don’t have a bachelor’s degree, globalization has meant facing much lower-wage workers abroad and increasingly powerful competitive pressures.

7 conservative economic lies

And how to counter them, by Robert Reich. The lies are as follows. See the link and video for the counters.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Zizek on Wall Street

Slavoj Zizek spoke at the Occupy Wall Street rally 10/9/11. Following are a few excerpts:

"They tell you we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are awakening from a dream which is tuning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself.

"We are not communists. If communism means the system which collapsed in 1990, remember that today those communists are the most efficient ruthless capitalists. In China today we have capitalism which is even more dynamic than your American capitalism but doesn’t need democracy. Which means when you criticize capitalism, don’t allow yourselves to be blackmailed that you are against democracy. The marriage between democracy and capitalism is over.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Clueless conservatives on occupy Wall Street

It's fun to watch conservatives squirm about this growing phenomenon, for it challenges their denial to its greedy and inhumane core. This fine article by Douglass Rushkoff gets it: Think Occupy Wall St. Is a Phase? You Don't Get It. Also see this clip from Real Time with Bill Maher. P. J. O'Rourke is flummoxed by those dirty hippies with their bongo drums when Alan Grayson sets him straight in under a minute. It is ludicrous to claim that this is pitting Americans against fellow Americans. It is 99% of Americans asking that the 1% of criminal Americans be held accountable for their crimes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mereology without assholons, aka infinitive lemniscations

Here are some excerpts from pp. 7 – 8 of the ongoing IPS thread on object oriented ontology. We brought up Bryant's The Democracy of Objects as well as his article “The time of the object.”


I'm very much enjoying Bryant's article and learning a new twist (fold?) in my infinitive lemniscations. As one quick example, this comment on differance:

"Différance is a non-concept that both makes an argument...and performs and enacts the argument it is making" (6).

As usual I play with language, make up words or use them in a different way in an attempt, much like one of my mentors, to "both make an argument...and perform and enact the argument it is making."
Here is a dictionary definition of infinitive:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Occupy Austin

You may have heard of or seen what's happening on Wall Street ( It's now also happening in Austin ( Please pass the word, thanks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Declaration from Occupy Wall Street

Oct. 1 the NY General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street issued the following statement:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jeffrey Sachs on the economy

Economist Jeffrey Sachs has a couple new posts of interest at the Huff Post. The first is a response to Congressman Paul Ryan’s critical review of Sachs’ new book, The Price of Civilization. Ryan claims Sachs has un-American values, meaning "the ideals of individual liberty" without "an intrusive, unlimited government." Sachs rips Ryan a new assholon by arguing that democracy is the prime American value, and what Ryan proposes is counter to that democracy. In Ryan’s eyes protecting the environment, regulating the criminal behavior of banks, promoting science, having a fair tax system and limiting the power of corporations is “unlimited government.”

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Say no to immunity for Wall Street

On 8/25/11 I blogged on Matt Taibbi's story on the bullshit deal the US Attorney General is trying to ram through with the States Attorneys General to give amnesty to the banks from any future prosecution, among other things. Fight back by signing this petition to your State Attorney General asking them to not sign on to this travesty. If these bankers are guilty of criminal conduct they should be prosecuted and punished just like any other criminal. Giving them amnesty enables them to keep on raping our economy and destroying our lives for their own enrichment.