Sunday, December 30, 2012

FBI & Wall Street conspire against Occupy Wall Street

Check out this story by Naomi Wolf. She reports that the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI inquiring into its investigation of OWL. The documents produced are at the PCJF site lined above. The documents prove that not only the FBI and local police checked into OWL but they coordinated this with the very banks OWL was protesting. WTF?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Morton's book on hyperobjects

Just checking Morton's blog it appears he'll have a new book in 2013, Hyperobjects. I'm looking forward to it. I'm guessing though that his shentong is going to metaphysicalize hyperobjects in ways I've already explored in IPS OOO thread. For example, from this Morton post:

"Hyperobjects are nonlocal: they do not manifest at a specific time and place but rather are stretched out in such a way as to challenge the idea that a thing must occupy a specific place and time."

In the same post he notes HOs cannot be perceived directly and that they create their own time. Hence they do exist in a specific time and space, albeit self-generated, but the fact that we cannot perceive it is not evidence of its non-locality, only of our inability to locate it in our limited space-time frame of reference. His first claim to non-locality smacks of a shentong prejudice that implies some kind of transcendent realm and/or consciousness as foundation for the whole shebang. Granted my thesis is not evidenced by this comments in the referenced post on HOs but garnered from my criticisms in the thread on how he mixes his shentong with his OOO.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Krugman on growth and industrial revolutions (plus Rifkin)

Krugman's recent blog post, Is Growth Over?, is of interest. He questions the assumptions of some, like the CBO, that growth will continue as it has in the past. He cites Robert Gordon's claim that growth will in fact continue to decline. Gordon shows that growth was spurred by the various industrial revolutions. The first based on steam power, and the second on fossil fuels, evidenced considerable growth. He argues though that the third, based on info tech, has not produced such a growth cycle.

Krugman though disagrees with his analysis on the third revolution and thinks smart machines might indeed lead to another cycle of growth. What Krugman did not address, nor did Gordon, is that Rifkin has also discussed these 3 revolutions, and that the energy source for the 3rd is renewable. However like Krugman the tech to organize and distribute it is indeed smart grids that are in development and making advances quite quickly.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Justice Department proves drug war is a joke

I'm coming late to this story, probably because it's from Matt Taibbi and I've not heard of it in any major news outlet, including liberal (except of course Taibb's Rolling Stone). HSBC is a British banking giant that laundered billions of dollars for drug cartels and terrorists, yet the US Justice Department accepted a monetary settlement and chose no criminal prosecutions. Yes, it was a record financial settlement of $1.9 billion, but that translates to about five weeks of their income. Not to mention the billions of dollars bank officials likely received as bribes to do the deed.

The Justice Dept's excuse?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Disseminating the marginal

I found this Bryant talk on You Tube: Texts are a factory. It's a common theme in his blog but an important one, and to see and hear him adds a personal dimension otherwise missing. Basically text as factory is how texts disseminate or not, and how academia in particular is a very insular world that does not disseminate ideas antithetical to its program.

End of the world paranoia wrong, again

We just had the Mayan nonsense proven wrong. Yet this will not stop believers, since they find some way to rationalize and maintain their false beliefs. We can let facts get in the way, now can we? So Krugman compares this to those conservative economists who have predicting doom and gloom for ages. And they too are always wrong and don't let that get in the way of their ideology. So it goes with the deficit hawks claiming interest rates will skyrocket during this recession. Given they cannot accept the cognitive dissonance and change Krugman says perhaps it's time we stop taking them seriously.

Btw, recall this phenomenon is not equally applicable to all people. Recall this study (#12), but one of several, that shows progressives just don't have this problem to anywhere near the same degree as regressives.

Merry Christmas

And per the onticological Santa, O O O!  May your ipseity be unique yet always bound to all your relations. (Thought I'd throw in a little native American there too to balance tOOOp-heavy onti-Santa.)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monster

Paramore


Michael Moore on guns

He offers some surprising and astute analysis. For example, this:

"And here's the dirty little fact none of us liberals want to discuss: The killer only ceased his slaughter when he saw that cops were swarming onto the school grounds -- i.e, the men with the guns. When he saw the guns a-coming, he stopped the bloodshed and killed himself. Guns on police officers prevented another 20 or 40 or 100 deaths from happening. Guns sometimes work."

This doesn't stop him from supporting banning assault rifles or high-capacity clips. He goes to note that Canada has a lot of guns with a lower murder rate. And kids in the UK watch the same violent movies and games, yet their murder rate is far lower. So he examines some of the deeper and accepted American behavior that might be instrumental in our astounding murder rates. Very eye-opening. Give it a read.

Radioactive

Imagine Dragons. Very interesting video, given the theme of Les Miserables (opening tomorrow) and the proletariat revolution, coming soon.




Sunday, December 23, 2012

Zero Dark Thirty and torture

I plan to see this film, since as a film it's getting great reviews and Oscar buzz. Plus I loved The Hurt Locker. But there has been much debate that torture was portrayed as having a direct link to finding bin Laden, which just ain't true. As but one of several examples, see this fine review by Alex Gibney questioning this portrayal. He starts off by noting that Senators Carl Levin, Dianne Feinstein and John McCain wrote a letter to the producers claiming that such portrayal perpetuated the myth of torture's effectiveness. And the Senate Intelligence Committee's own report showed torture did not lead to bin Laden. Gibney explores in depth the facts, and how the producers of ZD30 were biased by the views of those in the CIA who favor torture but granted significant access to other factual details of the investigation. While I still want to see it as a good film, I must agree with those that criticize the producers for not showing the much more overwhelming evidence refuting the efficacy of torture.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Atheism is NOT a religion

Bill Maher humorously sets straight this specious non-argument.


Lawrence O'Donnell rightfully rips LaPierre a new NRA-hole

And deservedly so. NRA President LaPierre made a statement on Friday in the aftermath of the most recent shooting tragedy at Newton. O'Donnell rightfully did not mince words in his lengthy response. This NRA-hole blamed everyone and everything for such massacres except its leading cause, guns. Instead of suggesting reasonable gun control on things like assault rifles and high-capacity clips the NRA-hole instead lobbied for more guns, saying everyone should have one. His solution for school shootings is to have an armed policemen in all of them. Never mind that Columbine High School had such an armed guard and was unable to stop the killing spree there. These guards are armed not with assault rifles with high-capacity clips but with hand guns, so they cannot stop them.

Friday, December 21, 2012

What was in the failed regressive Plan B?

As you've no doubt heard--if you have any interest in US politics and how it affects your life--is that Boehner's Plan B could not get enough votes to pass the House. While it would have raised tax rates on those making over $1 million it was cruel and unusual punishment for the majority of Americans, and nowhere near the compromise that Boehner and the President were working on. So just what was in Plan B that was so insidious? Let's see what the White House said:

Those making over $1 million would actually get an average of a $50,000 tax cut.

Raises taxes on the middle-class by an average $1,000 by eliminating the American Opportunity Tax Credit and improvements to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Bhaskar's epistemic fallacy

In response to my previous post I commented in the IPS Bhaskar-Meta-Reality thread:

"Ironic that Bhaskar is now committing the epistemic fallacy from the other end." Balder agree, after which I provided some references to this topic from the OOO thread:

Recall this post and the 2 following from the OOO thread.

Reply by theurj on May 10, 2012 at 9:17am
 
At the end of Brant's post on materialism I asked him about Bhaskar's turn to meta-reality, and how this might or not relate to his onticology. He merely responded with a short clip from a more recent post on hominid ecology, basically implying (I guess?) that Bhaskar's new stuff sees nature and culture operating as two completely different paradigms, and that the former is "governed entirely by brute matter (a now outmoded conception of matter) and mechanical causality (an outmoded notion of causality)."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Obama back to unnecessary and effete compromise

President Obama must have a serious dysfunction when it comes to bargaining with those that will not budge. He just won reelection based on the majority of Americans disagreeing with the regressive agenda on taxes and spending cuts. So what does he do? He turns around and in his first new test gives in unnecessarily to the very things he not only won on but promised to stick to in negotiations on the fiscal cliff. As a prime example, why is he even considering offering up a significant reduction is social security cost of living increases that will harm our most vulnerable and valuable constituency, our elderly? Robert Reich makes clear that social security has nothing to do with the deficit, as did Ronald Reagan before him.

Congressional Progressive Caucus says NO to social security cuts

The CPC will not abide the bullshit "chained" inflation calculation that will cut social security benefits. What they say is below. Then support them, and those that depend on the social security they paid for, by signing the petition, thanks.

Rep. Keith Ellison (Co-Chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus): “I am committed to standing against any benefit cuts to programs Americans rely on and tying Social Security benefits to chained CPI is a benefit cut." (Full quote)

Rep. Raul Grijalva (Co-Chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus): "Chained CPI makes life harder for millions of retirees, weakens Social Security and doesn’t reduce the deficit by a penny. It’s a Beltway fig leaf that I will never support, and I call on my colleagues to make their feelings known as soon as possible before this becomes yet another piece of conventional wisdom that makes things worse." (Full quote)

The epistemic fallacy and no/full access to Reality

Bryant's recent post on cynicism is interesting. As he was criticizing academic critique I kept thinking that in a way it sounds a lot like one of my criticisms of religion, including Buddhism. I.e., religions tend to be based on sin, or at least that this world is fallen, or perhaps that our regular mind is obstruction, etc. Sure enough he makes this connection, in that every position one might take is rife with hidden motives and agendas, "that everything is stained and dirty" and therefore pomo critique has "become the mirror image of the theologians." The difference of course is that pomo finds no transcendent truth that one can apprehend behind the facades, whereas theology (including Buddhism) posits such a Reality with direct access.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Petition Obama to take social security off the table

From the Daily Kos:

Please send an email to President Obama urging him to take Social Security cuts off the table in fiscal showdown negotiations.

In his most recent attempt to strike a deal with Republicans, President Obama has proposed new cuts to Social Security by switching to the chained consumer price index, which would reduce benefits for current and future recipients of the program, with benefits shrinking further over time.

This proposed benefit cut goes against previous statements from the White House which indicated that Social Security cuts would not be part of negotiations because Social Security is not the cause of or solution to our budget woes. On November 26, 2012, White House spokesperson Jay Carney stated, “Social Security is not currently a driver of the deficit. That's an economic fact.”

Cutting Social Security benefits for millions of vulnerable Americans is not an acceptable compromise and does not address economic problems.

Please, send an email to President Obama asking him to drop his proposed cuts to Social Security.

Keep fighting,
Joan McCarter, Daily Kos

Democratic socialism

Now is a good time to recall this previous post on democratic socialism:

What is democratic socialism? To clear up conservative misconceptions of what the term socialist means, the following is from the Democratic Socialists of America FAQ. Note the key adjective democratic, a concept grossly lacking in conservative policies. They oppose State-run social planning like Russia or Eastern Europe; instead they favor democratically owned and operated businesses within a market-based economy. This will not replace private business but it will strengthen public regulations and tax structures to hold them accountable. They list as examples of democratic socialist policies those of western Europe and Scandinavia, the latter of which leads the way in the world happiness index. In the US the political faction most aligned with their agenda is the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who authored the Budget for All (compare with the moral issues of Ryan's budget). And most importantly, they insist on wearing the term socialist as a badge of honor instead of running from the conservative framing. We must learn to frame this correctly based on the humane and people-centered morality that motivates its policies. And be proud to wear the term once correctly defined. See the DSA FAQ linked above for more.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Capitalism must die

Here is one democratic socialist take consistent with recent blog posts:

“The really inconvenient truth is that there is no possible way to accomplish any, much less all, of these things [see article] other than by breaking with the underlying logic of the accumulation of capital.... What is required both for long-term human survival, and for the creation of a new condition of 'plenitude,' is a smaller ecological footprint for the global economy, coupled with a system of comprehensive social, technological, and economic planning—one that is of, by, and for the people [i.e., democratic]. It means abandonment of the myth of absolute economic growth as the panacea for all of society’s ills, and the downshift to a sustainable, steady-state economy rooted in the development of human community rather than individual accumulation."

Also recall this post on The Simpler Way. In this article on capitalism Trainer said:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Simpler Way

I just read Ted Trainer's review of Reinventing Fire. He, like Smil, criticizes Lovins for his unrealistic projections and not supporting them with empirical data. However Trainer says:

"Critiques like this do not imply that renewable energy should be abandoned. My view is that we can and should transition to 100% renewable energy, and that we could run an idyllic society on it...but only if we scrap the commitment to economic growth, market domination, globalisation, capitalism and affluent lifestyles, and instead adopted the basic principles of The Simpler Way."

The last link has quite a few resources. Even though I'm new to Trainer I hear several of my own arguments therein. From the Intro at the link:

Rifkin on the entropy bill and economics

Continuing from this post, Rifkin talks about the entropy created by fossil fuels. Yes, using them as an energy source also creates an 'order' on one side of the equation in terms of electricity that runs so many useful things. But fossil fuels are a finite resource, and more importantly they create a huge entropy bill on the other side of the equation. A bill quite unlike that created by renewable energy sources. The following is from one of Rifkin's interviews where he incorporates entropy into economics. The lead-in says this:

"In his book, Mr. Rifkin takes on Adam Smith, challenging classical economic theory with the contention that it does not take thermodynamics into account. The Third Industrial Revolution presents economic theory that incorporates entropy and the relationship between commerce and the planet."

Rifkin:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Leaked IPCC report fodder for fanatics

By now you're heard of the leaked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change draft report claiming it proves the sun and cosmic rays are the cause of global warming, not man-made causes. Thing is, that is not what the draft report says. At all. One has to have a very twisted ideology to come to such a specious conclusion. I'm not adept in the science to report accurately so I'll instead refer you to this story on the science of the draft report.

GOP death spiral

Paul Krugman's blog post today as usual is correct: The Republican Party is dying and destined for oblivion. for the last 30 years it has increasingly come under the spell of ideologues bent on destroying the welfare state. They've been trying to do this with their incremental agenda of cutting taxes, thereby intentionally cutting government revenue, creating deficits and then calling for cuts to these programs when the government comes up short. The big problem is that all the programs they want to kill are incredibly popular, like Medicare, Medicaid and social security.

Entropy, energy and the 'distributed' paradigm shift

Bryant's recent post on social ecology and entropy is instructive. He acknowledges that entropy is a determining factor, not just in terms of decay but as how assemblages are ordered to ward it off. And such order requires huge amounts of energy to do so. In current industrial societies that energetic engine that runs everything is fossil fuels, which of course doesn't just enable certain enactions but constrains them as well. And it is here that Rifkin's renewable energy infrastructure program indeed changes a host of the dynamics constraining the basics of how we might make a living and the time constraints on our lives. Rifkin's whole distributed paradigm changes how energy is owned, stored and operated, which in turn changes society's power relations. Also if we are generating our own energy source's it changes how much we need to work to pay for corporate energy prices, thereby having more leisure time to inform ourselves to be responsive and responsible citizens. By changing the energy infrastructure we change everything.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The corporate right to ass rape you law

George Lakoff has a new article on the recently passed Michigan law on unions. He prefers to call it the "corporate servitude law" instead of "right to work." He argues that how we frame it determines how people respond. He lays out the actual rights this law undoes: living wages, equal pay, pensions, negotiation on working conditions, overtime. It does so by defunding unions, who provided all the above rights, as well as weekends off, vacations, family and medical leave. Which is of course the real regressive agenda, to further disempower and ultimately destroy the last vestiges of unions so that they can return to their Fuedal glory of indentured servitude. So I'm going to call it by a yet clearer framing: the corporate right to ass rape you law. And no, that isn't an exaggeration. Instead of getting out the lube I prefer to fight back and defeat these bastards for it is they who must be overcome, not unions.

The Ken Wilber biography project

Mary notified IPS about the above project. My initial response: There is no question that Wilber is a significant player in the so-called integral (AQAL) worldview. But when integrality is more broadly construed he is hardly the "most important philosopher of our time." There is still a sickening hubris inherent to the kennlinguists that live inside a very small bubble, sort of like the Republicans, that just cannot see a wider, more comprehensive view. And all the more ironic given their claim to the most comprehensive view the world has ever known.

Academia is not politics

Bryant has yet another rant against academia because it doesn't deal with the material infrastructure of the circumstances of our lives. Perhaps so for academia but this is not the case in politics, which he seems at times to lump in to the same category. Politics is all about policy, which isn't just theory or ideology but how to enact the very infrastructural material of our lives via tax codes, economic stimulus, job creation, the later of which includes building and repairing the very types of infrastructure Bryant talks about, like roads and bridges. Ironically it seems Bryant is often guilty of the very thing he criticizes about academia when it comes to politics, for he addresses it merely as an academic exercise instead of getting involved in the grit of getting politicians elected that would enact the very sort of policies that change the infrastructure of the lives of the 98% while making the 2% pay their fair share.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Please proceed, regressives

Recall during the second debate between Obama and Romney where Romney went after the President about the word "terrorism" in the latter's initial response to the Libyan embassy attack. As Romney continued to further insert foot into mouth the President said confidently: "Please proceed, Governor." I suggest we apply this strategy to the entire regressive worldview, which after the election is struggling to explain how it was possible. They continue to look for any excuse like it was Romney, or it was their framing, all to avoid the real reason: The majority of Americans tire of their regressive policies as expressed by their regressive worldview.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Climate change, renewable energy, policy, jobs and Hillary

It seems unlikely that the Obama administration will do much toward climate change. Yes, he's done some piecemeal things like promote better fuel efficiency. But overall the subject is way back burner, not even mentioned in the campaign. It's still some far off pipe dream and we need to be realistic about practical energy sources like nuclear and "clean coal" (oxymoron). Bullshit!

Even some that promote renewable energy have doubts about how long a transition away from fossil fuels will take. In this article Smil supports the transition: "The quest for non­carbon sources of electricity is highly desirable, and eventually such sources will predominate."  But he adds:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Congressional Progressive Caucus on tax reform

With the looming fiscal cliff the CPC as usual has the most reasonable approach for the people, meaning the 98% of the rest of us. See this link for the details. The bullet points and highlights follow:

Corporate Tax Reform Principles

1. Revenue Positive: Plain and simple, the corporate contribution to our deficit reduction must increase from the status quo. As a share of GDP, corporate taxes have fallen from 4.7% in the 1950s to a scant 1.9% from 2000-2009.

2. Promote Responsible Corporate Behavior: We must eliminate tax loopholes that encourage reckless and undesirable behavior such as the overuse of debt financing and tax sheltering, and explore commonsense revenue streams like putting a price on carbon pollution or enacting a small financial transactions tax to reduce market volatility. We should also repeal the more than $95 billion in special tax breaks we are scheduled to give away to the established, highly profitable fossil fuel industry over the next ten years.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ann Coulter agrees with raising taxes on the rich!

You know the war is being won with such pronouncements as this from one of the frothiest of regressive mouth-foamers. She stunned fellow regressive bubble resident Hannity by admitting "we lost the election" and therefore need to give in on raising the top marginal tax rate lest the GOP be rightly perceived as lackeys for the rich at the expense of the rest of us. This election had consequences, one of which is that the regressive bubble is starting to burst and the likes of Coulter are at the very least admitting that they have a  perception problem, even if they still maintain such heinous policies.

Right to work State stats

The Michigan legislature recently passed right to work laws amidst raucous demonstrations. Proponents speciously argue that such laws lead to more prosperity. Of course they don't tell you that such prosperity goes to the top 1% and no one else. Let's take a look at some facts on right to work states from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that belie the regressive bullshit.

Only one of the ten States with the highest income per capita is right to work.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jordan and Tatiana keep getting better

Holy crap, amazing! Not only did they win the US Open Classic division yet again, they did so with an ever increasingly creative and exciting routine.They just keep getting better and better, which is incredible since they are the best in the last several years. Truly awe-inspiring.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Republicans think Acorn stole the election

Yes, we've heard all the stories about how Republican polls show they are less informed than others, as well as believe in total nonsense like Obama is a Muslim and wasn't born in the US. Or that there is no climate change or that they're going to win the election in a landslide. Now this from Public Policy Polling which shows 49% of them actually think Acorn stole the election for Obama, an organization that has been defunct for 2 years! And we're supposed to compromise with people who have lost touch with reality? Come on.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Krugman on serious GOP cruelty

He's right again. Regressives only think that hurting vulnerable people is "serious" fiscal policy. Meanwhile Obamacare does quite a bit to curb Medicare costs without sacrificing benefits or eligibility. Again I say how can we compromise with that sort of sick regressive shit? We cannot. We must defeat it.


Crying by Roy Orbison and K.D. Lang

Beautiful.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Robert Reich's 8 progressive principles for the cliff

Reich is at it again with another concise video on what progressives need to do in the fiscal cliff debate. Below are the highlights. See the video for some elaboration.

1. Hold your ground on increased taxes for the rich.
2. No deal is better than a bad deal so go over the cliff.
3. Once over the cliff, have a vote on tax cuts for the lower and middle classes only.
4. Don't accept the regressive promise to just limit tax deductions on the wealthy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Disturbing climate change report

See this recent report. It appears we really don't have the time to take our time in the transition to fairly clean renewable energy. Not even with transitional energies like gas from fracking, as this report notes the amount of methane released into the atmosphere means "its greenhouse-gas footprint is worse than coal or oil for timescales of less than fifty years."* This is not just a scare tactic but a significant consensus of scientists on the dire yet irrefutable facts.

* The wiki article notes that other reports challenge this, with a response from the original report that makes this claim. One of the challengers notes that the actual carbon footprint is perhaps 1/2 to 1/3 that of coal. Even if true given the acceleration of increasing heat perhaps we might consider if such a footprint is acceptable?

Derrida and Wilber at the crossroads of metaphysics

See update below:

Gregory Desilet has a new article at Integral World, originally written to appear in Dancing with Sophia: Integral Philosophy on the Verge. I don't know if its publication at Integral World will preclude its publication in the latter. An excerpt:

"This study argues instead that Wilber fails to formulate a science of spirituality consistent with his claims for the potential of such a science to relieve problems of verification and uncertainty. More specifically it maintains that Wilber's claim to have ventured into the realm of post-metaphysical thinking overreaches, that his spiritual orientation remains grounded in classical metaphysics, and that his belief in the post-metaphysical nature of his spirituality and philosophy depends on questionable assumptions about both metaphysics and postmodernism."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reagan liberal by today's regressive standards

Al Sharpton lays bare that the supposed hero of the GOP, Ronald Reagan, wouldn't be accepted in their Party today, despite the apparent worship. For example, today's regressives want to "reform" (cut) social security when there's nothing wrong with it. Nothing. Here's Reagan on the topic (see the video):

"Social security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employers and employees. If you reduce the outgo of social security that money would not go into the general fund or reduce the deficit. If would go into the social security trust fund. So social security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit."

Fitting consciousness to socio-economics

Given my latest posts on Rifkin's TIR I re-read some of my previous IPS posts on socio-economic development and the consciousness that accompanies those stages. They can be found here and following, and are re-printed below.

I don't deny the benefits of capitalism and in fact see them as necessary prerequisite for socialism and communism, as did Marx. If you've read any Marx, and most Americans have not, socialism is based on democracy, a much more humane one that comes from capitalism. And communism must also be based on democracy. Humanity has not yet seen the kind of communism Marx envisioned, and the ones calling themselves by that name were indeed not based on democracy but by powerful State elites. What we do have ample evidence for is the next stage after capitalism, social democracy, which has proven quite effective in many countries. And a Marxian communism can only grow from this.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Distributed everything



In The Third Industrial Revolution Rifkin discusses the worldview matrix that was enacted through the energy regimes of particular eras.  Fossil fuels are found is select areas and require large financial and military investments to secure them. Along with this comes a way or organizing business top-down with centralized command and control. For example, the railroad required large financial investments that included foreign investors, and such immense capital required a stock market to track it. Ownership became separated from management, and workers from management. All of which was a drastic change from the more agrarian economy envisioned by Adam Smith. Max Weber studied this shift and noted that the new business model emphasized pyramidal organization structure (top-down), pre-established rules for all operations and jobs, a strict division of labor and wages. This railroad model transformed all businesses (107-09).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GOP anthro climate change denier to head House science committee

See this story. It should come as no surprise that the House GOP nominated Lamar Smith to head the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Smith denies that humanity is responsible for climate change despite overwhelming scientific consensus. Regressives are still living in a fact-free bubble and show absolutely no sign of changing to the contrary. This is why we must not compromise with them but rather continue to defeat them as we did in the last election.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Hole Sun

Listened to this today, a golden oldie:


God for atheists

Balder started this IPS thread based on a website on the topic. My comment:

This reminds me of our prior discussion of God as immanent, created prosthesis. Recall:

Betcher, quoting Bruns: "God does not generate love in us, but rather, our loving generates God" (72). Which is consistent with God as a conceptual prosthesis, one generated by our embodiment and connected to the abstract universal principle. But a principle that is not a source from some ideal universal that works its way down into embodiment. Which is what I was talking about in my last post. This is how we can have a universal that is not transcendent but transcendental.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Objected-orientated Gaga

Balder introduced this to me in the IPS OOO thread. It's going to take a few listens for me, quite deep. For those Gaga critics who don't get her, she is quite aware of serial media remixing and does it to make a statement. No, she isn't deep into OOO and doesn't understand it like this presentation, but she enacts it via her art replete with the implications so elucidated. Gaga is not only a product of her culture but produces and remixes that culture.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Krugman on regressive head burying

His article yesterday was touched off by Rubio's response to the age of the earth, but he also got into the conservative aversion as a whole. Therein he mentioned Chris Mooney's recent book, The Republican Brain, "a survey of the now-extensive research linking political views to personality types. As Mr. Mooney showed, modern American conservatism is highly correlated with authoritarian inclinations — and authoritarians are strongly inclined to reject any evidence contradicting their prior beliefs... And, no, it’s not symmetric. Liberals, being human, often give in to wishful thinking — but not in the same systematic, all-encompassing way."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Robbert on Latour's latest

Robbert posted a brief summary review of a recently released translation of the intro and first chapter of Latour's latest work. From Robbert:

"Recall that at the start of his introduction Latour gave us an account of an encounter, between the industrialist and the climate scientist; legislating between claims was the central issue. But also recall that this legislation will not be accomplished by an appeal to language games or speech acts (though it might include these). Rather, Latour now argues, this legislation will be attempted through metaphysics and ontological pluralism. To put it differently, it is being over language that is at stake for Latour. Here we might ask: Isn’t the appeal to metaphysics — to ontotheology, more precisely — what caused so much trouble in the past, before the advent of critical philosophy and the glorious decapitation of speculative philosophy? Wasn’t confusing beings with a single Being — White Men, God, Selfish Genes, Atoms, whatever — the whole problem with the violent nature of metaphysics to begin with? Maybe, but this is not what Latour means by 'metaphysics.'”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Petition for Elizabeth Warren on the banking committee

According to this story the Wall Street banksters are already using their muscle in an attempt to thwart the new MA Senator from being put on the banking committee. Warren is an obvious fit, given her previous leadership in financial reforms. But that's the rub for the 1%ers; they don't want reform or regulation and they know she will fight for it. If this last election proved one thing, not even big money can overcome the will of the people. Therefore please consider signing the petition at the link to request Warren be placed in this Senate committee. Thanks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jeffrey Sachs on the economy

From this recent article, where he sounds more like Rifkin. I wonder if they've worked together?

Update: Both Sachs and Rifkin serve on the Scientific Committee of the Ideas Foundation.

"The entire Keynesian apparatus that dominates Democratic party circles is also outdated and outmoded. It is a cyclical theory trying to fit a secular (that is, longterm) structural challenge. The US needs massive overhauls of its key economic sectors, almost all of which have public and private sector components that are deeply intertwined. Aggregate demand management cannot fix excessive healthcare and college costs, broken infrastructure, or an economy based on fossil fuel that needs to be decarbonised.

"Mr Obama’s legacy should be to foster the overhaul of the US economy. The IT revolution can and should lead to lowcost online universities, radically lower healthcare costs, smart grids, smart cities and smart lowcarbon energy systems."

Michael Moore's letter to the President

Much like Maher, Moore also supports Obama but now would like more of him. Check out his letter here. The key points follow:

1. DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF.

2. END ALL THE WARS NOW.

3. END THE DRUG WAR. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Maher entreats Obama

In his special comment on New Rules last night Maher entreated Obama to throw caution to the wind and go for those progressive causes that help the people and the environment. For example, clean energy, civil liberties, the drug war, the drone war, the war war. The President "is free now to no longer have to kiss the ass of coal miners and say the words 'clean coal.' There is no such thing.... It's like saying internet privacy, or tea party intellectual, or Fox News journalist." He'd also like us to cut the defense budget. "We have the same problem with our defense budget that Mrs. Petreus has with his penis; it's swollen and we can't bring ourselves to touch it." He is proud that Colorado and Washington legalized pot. So if conservatives bitch about it "throw States rights back in their face." And this big one that so many progressives were upset about: "How about re-writing the Patriot Act. How about another look at rendition, warrentless searches, wiretaps, and stop listening in on our phonecalls and reading our emails."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Elizabeth Warren redefines a balanced approach

The freshman Senator from Massachusetts provides a progressive take on what balance means in terms of a budget. It means cutting is necessary but it depends on what is being cut. No cuts to Social Security or Medicare. Yes cuts to the defense budget, agriculture and oil subsidies, fraud and abuse, and tax cuts for the rich. This is what she, and the President, ran and won on so this is the mandate from the majority of the people. Congrats to Senator Warren and keep up the good work.

Bryant is right, and wrong, on networks

Bryant's post on networks was disheartening. He notes 3 types of network: centralized, decentralized and distributed. He rightly criticizes centralized version as transcendent. But then he wrongly criticizes distributed networks as communist anarchy, a leveling where everything is equivalent. He instead promotes decentralized networks that maintain hubs, gravitational regimes of attraction through which other nodes in the network must pass. He rightly notes that one such immense hub is fossil fuels, required to build anything.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reading The Third Industrial Revolution

I posted the following in the end of the last hydrogen post but it belongs in a new post, since I'm now reading this book:

"Rifkin's agenda fully answers Bryant's latest rantings against academia as purely intellectual stuff, since Rifkin's ideas of a new energy infrastructure are currently being implemented in the EU. And it is ushering in a new  political economy based on renewable energy, distributed capitalism and democratic sociological restructuring within an emerging and viable P2P paradigm. And all of which far surpasses kennilingus conscious capitalism, still based in the old political economy and social structures."

One of the things Rifkin emphasizes in the book is that all of the pieces of the TIR must be generated, developed, coordinated and implemented simultaneously for it to work. I.e., it is an integral paradigm touching on and integrating all quadrants/zones. He observed that even with more investment in renewable energy sources it was still organized top-down with large-scale, centralized control as part of the old paradigm. While he recognizes that this is necessary as a transition step the goal is to have small-scale distributed renewable energy generation in every home and office building, thus supporting the P2P paradigm. 

New issue of Constructivist Foundations on Luhmann

See this link for more. Of initial note I read Nassehi's "What exists between realism and constructivism." His closing answer to the opening question: "Operations. Do they exist? Not really. They operate."


Hydrogen, the Holy Grail

I’m reading The Third Industrial Revolution and the following reminds me of something I said earlier in the forum:

“Hydrogen had long been sought after by scientists and engineers as the Holy Grail for a post-carbon era. It is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe—the stuff of the stars.” (49).

Recall this forum post and following:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama on taxing the rich & telling regressives to stick it

I like Obama's new balls. It seems he has grown a brand new pair and is not afraid to use them. On the looming fiscal cliff the regressives are determined to not raise any taxes on the rich and instead are offering only to "reform the tax code" is some unspecified way. Obama simply responded, I won! And that means the agenda he campaigned on won, part of which was allowing the current tax cuts to remain in place but expire on the top 2% only. He's drawing the gauntlet and letting the regressives hang themselves, possibly taking everyone over the cliff and letting the tax cuts expire on everyone. He knows they will be held responsible as well they should. I like this new Obama, one who stands up for what he believes. One who knows that the regressives will promise him the world but if he compromises with them and accepts their suggestion they will just turn right around and vote against him as they've consistently done the last 2 years. I say Yea for Obama's bright, big new balls.

Romney reiterates his 47% bullshit

As if we didn't know he believed this taker bullshit before, he said it again, blaming his loss on the "gifts" Obama gave to blacks, hispanics and the youth. Of course Romney interprets this as free lunches and hand outs. But what is he talking about? Not raising student loan interest. Providing free contraceptives. Letting 26-year olds remain on their parent's insurance. You know, helping people in need. What he failed to mention were the "gifts" he and his Party give to the rich, like criminally low capital gains taxes, oil and gas subsidies, tax loopholes so that numerous large corporations do not pay any taxes. The latter gifts dwarf the money invested in our lower and middle classes where society reaps huge returns on this investment. Whereas the actual gifts given to the rich only serve to further enrich themselves at the expense of the public good. I'll take Obama's investment in most of us instead of Romney's gifts to his own 1% ilk. And fortunately, as the election proves, so will the majority of us.

Monday, November 12, 2012

American Nations

In my explorations of the difference between liberal and conservative, red states and blue states, here is a book recently referred to me, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. An excerpt of its description follows:

In AMERICAN NATIONS, Woodard leads us through the history of our fractured continent, and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations. He explains why “American values” vary sharply from one region to another—how an idea like “freedom” as understood by an East Texan or Idahoan can be the polar opposite of what it means to a New Englander or San Franciscan.  Woodard reveals how intra-national differences have played a pivotal role at every point in the continent’s history, right up into the 2012 election cycle.  AMERICAN NATIONS is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America’s myriad identities, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and mold our future.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bill Kristol is ok with taxing the rich!

Yes, the election has consequences but how many expected this from Kristol, one of the founders of the Project for a New American Century?

"It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. It really won't, I don't think. I don't really understand why Republicans don't take Obama's offer. Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile?"

Who knows, this might really be the start of a new American century?

Bryant on phenomenological perspectives

Bryant's recent post on posthumanism is interesting. I'm recalling Balder's previous suggestion on an integral grammatology. Here Bryant is focusing on that aspect of his work to do with perspectival phenomenology. Some excerpts:

"As I understand it, a position is posthumanist when it no longer privileges human ways of encountering and evaluating the world, instead attempting to explore how other entities encounter the world.  Thus, the first point to note is that posthumanism is not the rejection or eradication of human perspectives on the world, but is a pluralization of perspectives.... Posthumanism goes one step further in arguing that animals, microorganisms, institutions, corporations, rocks, stars, computer programs, cameras, etc., also have their phenomenologies or ways of apprehending the world. I think this is a point that is often missed about OOO.  OOO is as much a theory of perspectives, a radicalization of phenomenology, as it is a theory of entities.  While the various strains of OOO differ amongst themselves, they all share this thesis in common.  There is a phenomenology for, not of, every type of entity that exists."

SNL Homeland parody

I love the show Homeland. This take-off is quite funny.


Do the election results indicate we need compromise?

At IPS Balder posted a link to this article. Following are my responses.

Obama is multiperspectival perhaps. But one with a multi view does not bargain with someone with a mono view who is unwilling to bargain at all. To do so only reinforces and enables the intransigent bully, to wit Obama's completely wasted efforts with the Republicans in his first 4 years. And comparing Rachel Maddow as an opposite equivalence to Ross Douthat is simply insane for the same reasons. Maddow, a gay woman who is one of those multi cross-culturals, is basing her opinions on such considerations. And oh yeah, facts.

I'm getting tired of this kind of so-called transpartisanship that thinks progressives need to compromise with racist, homophobic, fact and science-hating ignoramuses or we're considered one-sided and extremist. Obama won because he finally took the right side on progressive issues and quit the compromising with, as Ray Harris so wisely once said, what is not left or right but just plain wrong.

The fourfold unity

This is the 1111th reply to the IPS OOO thread. As such it numerologically indicates the 4-fold nature of unity. What? Just being silly... (Which word comes from selig, meaning blessed.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bill Maher this week

Here's last night's show. From the monologue: "I know why you're happy tonight; your uterus is safe for another 4 years." "We are black in the saddle again." "The Republicans are licking their wounds, which is ironically Romney's healthcare plan." "This was such a good night for progressives Anthony Weiner is tweeting his dick again." "All the men who talked about lady parts during the campaign; they all lost."

The IPS twist on Bryant/Morton

Some more of the real and autonomous IPS OOO thread follows from this page:

Balder: As I've said before, I think it is something of an exaggeration to define objects as withdrawn from all relations, for a number of reasons we've discussed before.  OOO makes a good case that a radically relational (relation-only) view runs into trouble, since it becomes difficult to account for change, among other things.  But OOO also admits that a view of radical withdrawal would at least seem to make the interaction of objects impossible, and sets its task out to show how interrelationship is still possible.  (And Buddhism would argue, in the mirror-image of OOO, that island-like, wholly self-sufficient and self-existing objects also would never change).  So, as I've said from the very first pages of this thread (though my insight into this has been shifting and growing through this time), I think siding either for total relational determination or total withdrawal from all relations is a dead end and not workable.  While OOO, which leans towards withdrawal, needs to do work to show how interrelationship is nevertheless possible, I think a similar approach can be taken for the relationist camp:  to show how, even though objects are to some degree interdependently arising, they nevertheless do so in a way that avoids relational determinism and allows for change.  While I need to work this through more rigorously, my sense is that we can perhaps find this in what I've called (en)closure or the rounding of particularity.  Wherever we find a "whole object" which is a unit with internal relations, we find an instance of relational closure.  This closure is at once emergence (of a particularity) and withdrawal (from direct contact with other emergent objects).

Friday, November 9, 2012

More on hyperobjects and differance

Following is more from the IPS OOO thread, quoting Morton some as it relates to my recent posts in this regard with comments following. Here are some excerpts from Morton's response in Speculations to a review of his book The Ecological Thought:

"The entire Universe is what in chapter 3 I call a hyperobject, massively distributed in spacetime.... Hyperobjects are a good way to understand my concept of mesh.... In this sense the idea is Spinozan—there is really only one substance, modulated in different ways.... I believe I was careful to say that the mesh doesn’t exist apart from the entities that directly are it."

I've referenced Morton's essay before, "Materialism expanded and remixed." A few edited excerpts relevant to my latest tangent.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Maddow on the election

In my last post I linked to Rachel Maddow's election reporting. Since it contained much, much more than just a brief mention of Silver's electoral accuracy I decided to give it a post of its own. She starts by noting what we're not going to have as a result: 1) a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade; 2) health reform repeal; 3) the end of Medicare; 4) a 20% tax cut for the rich; 5) a cut in food stamps and kids' insurance to pay for #4; 6) employer clearance for birth control under their insurance plan; 7) redefine rape; 8) Constitutionally prevent marriage equality; 9) double Guantanamo; 10) eliminate the Departments of Energy, Housing or Education; 11) spend $2 trillion on the military for programs it doesn't even want; 12) cut student loans; 13) vetoing the Dream Act; 14) self-deportation; 15) let Detroit go bankrupt; 16) start a trade war with China; 17) going to run down a scared gay kid and cut his hair; 18) no Secretary of State John Bolton; 19) bring Dick Cheney back; 20) have foreign policy advisers for the Iraq war. These are all the things we would have had if Romney had won.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whose electoral predictions were more accurate? Again.

Update: Also see Rachel Maddow's reporting on this. The Silver info starts around 8:30. Prior to that she details what the election means in terms of policies and who won where. Excellent reporting, as usual. And she debunks not only regressive electoral myths but several of their other other bubble myths not based in reality.

Remember this prior post on the Princeton Election Consortium and Nate Silver's 538. PEC was defending Silver against claims of bias and inaccuracy. Well, well, look who was right, again. Both PEC and 538 predicted much more accurately then any others. PEC: "In the races called thus far, pre-election polling medians were correct in 50 out of 50.... Senate: Of the closest races, election returns match polling medians in 10 out of 10. 538 like PEC was 100% with which candidate would win in which States. Well, he gave Obama Florida and right now Obama has a slight lead with 100% of the vote in, but it's within 0.5% so there might be a recall. Now sit back and listen to the regressive denial.

And how accurate were Republican pundits? Check this out.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Neuropath

Byrant has a quick reaction to reading the disturbing SF novel Neuropath. He also links to Shaviro's quite lengthy and deep review of it. Sounds like a book that belongs here. From Shaviro:

"Scott Bakker’s Neuropath is a science-fiction thriller about a rogue neurosurgeon who kidnaps people and grotesquely manipulates their brains, sometimes killing them in the process, and other times releasing them once their minds have been subtly but horribly deformed. It’s pretty disturbing on a visceral level.

Cloud Atlas and reincarnation

Continuing from my last post on the movie, much as I appreciated it I must address the reincarnation therein, and the worldview that informs that belief. The review linked earlier is called “Cloud Atlas’s Theory of Everything,” indicative of the certainty of, well, everything in its place like Wilber’s model. Therein it also said: “The directors made literal what Mitchell had left playfully ambiguous: characters in later sections are the spiritual embodiments—reincarnations—of those in earlier ones.” So here we have one metaphysical premise for the movie not in the book. At to mystical Oneness, the reviewer said:

“So intent are the Wachowskis and Tykwer on delivering the movie’s mystical tidings—we’re not just bodies, but also souls (or even holons); the choices we make in one life affect who we become in another; we’re all connected to each other and to something bigger than ourselves—that the film risks the earnest impenetrability of a New Age infomercial.”

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Robert Reich nails Romney on his real values

Alleluia! Tell it brother Reich, from this blog post. See the entire post for details and elaboration.

"1. Corporations are the basic units of society.

2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits.

3. All factors of production – capital, physical plant and equipment, workers – are fungible and should be treated the same.

On death and immortality (of sorts)

Joseph posted a video at IPS on the film Griefwalker. My comments:

I understand him. Death is the prime motivator for me to write, to make my contribution, little as it is, to this world. Death is in each word, for I know my words are all of me that will remain. And hopefully, like in Cloud Atlas, some one(s) will somewhere in some time(s) read them and it will have some impact. Death's immanence drives the obvious urjency with which I write so prodigiously, if not so eloquently or penetratingly.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cloud Atlas

A fricken masterpiece. I suspended my disbelief in reincarnation and some mystical Whole that connects us all. Still, the theme of connection with the Other via love resonated deeply. And the separate stories, excellent in themselves, did cohere through a common thread of humanity and culture, if not of Spirit. Very well done. More later after I stew in it a while.

Update: We're discussing this at IPS forum, where there was a link to a review that featured Wilber's ideas as likely influence on the film. My further comments:

The review though is telling. The author of the book, Mitchell, is critical of the reincarnation implication. And the general tone of the movie seems to be more of mystical evangelizing (like Wilber) where Mitchell offers subtle and more open implication. As the review summarizes:

Free-market capitalism?

Given my many ruminations on capitalism, here's David Coates' interesting editorial about US capitalism and the invisible hand. Some excerpts (but check out the whole article):

"Whatever else the United States economy is, or has been, in the twentieth century, it has not been free-market capitalism. We carry in our heads this image of economic markets made up of small producers and rational and fully informed consumers, and we tell ourselves that this is perfect competition and an ideal world. But actually it is a fantasy world. It is certainly not the world -- nor the economy -- that we currently face in the United States.

Regressives believe in demonic possession but not climate change

Here's some interesting polling data. 68% of Republican voters believe in demonic possession compared to only 48% that believe climate change is real. I'm actually impressed that the latter is as high as 48% so kudos to those Republicans with a brain. What is perhaps just as scary is that 49% of Democrats also believe in possession, but a more substantial 88% are convinced about climate change. Democrats are obviously not immune to such nonsense but are statistically less inclined.

Maddow reams Romney's faux compassion

Recall this post on Ryan's real imitation authenticity, where he pretended to help out at a soup kitchen. Enter Romney, who turned a supposed hurricane relief effort into a political campaigning stunt to make him appear compassionate. Rachel Maddow of course rightfully called him out, exposing that "according to BuzzFeed, the Romney campaign actually purchased $5,000 worth of canned goods and diapers from a Wal-Mart and provided event-goers with materials to then hand to Gov. Romney." Meanwhile the President and FEMA were actually doing something about it, and praised for doing so by NJ Governor Christy. Much to the frothing chagrin of regressives everywhere, since their focus has always been party before public interest, the latter an irrelevant impediment to their goals of power and money. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hydrogen fuel cell technology is here

See this link for the US Department of Energy's fuel cell technologies program. Here are some accomplishments and progress to date. See the link for much more. (Also recall this post and following on hydrogen as saectum saectorum.)

Reducing the Cost and Improving the Durability and Performance of Fuel Cells

Chart showing the cost of the automotive fuel cell system, which is projected to a high-volume manufacturing of 500,000 units per year. In 2002, the cost of the automotive fuel cell system (including balance of plant and stack) was $275/kW. The cost decreased to $108/kW in 2006, to $94/kW in 2007, to $73/kW in 2008, $61/kW in 2009, to $51/kW in 2010, and to $49/kW in 2011. The target cost for 2017 is $30/kW.