Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We are making progress

Despite the worst obstructionist, do-nothing Congress in ages. Robert Reich lists our successes and encourages us to keep up the good work. We are making a difference.

The Wolf of Main Street

Continuing the commentary on the Wolf of Wall Street, I too must be ferocious like a wolf in this culture war, but of Main rather than Wall Street. As are my heroes in the conflict, like Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, Alan Grayson, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Randi Rhodes etc. It is truly a continuation of the eternal battle between the good, the bad and the ugly (talk about classic art.) The Lord of the Rings mythology has nothing on this apocalyptic conflagration.*

And no, I do not accept that to be 'integral' one must be trans-partisan. The emerging P2P paradigm is like any other meme, integral or otherwise, that must transcend and replace the prior worldview with its own partisan agenda, aka 'right view.' Include some aspects (or basic structures), sure, but the worldview and moral enactment, no. Even the likes of Buddhism must undergo a new (or at least updated secular) 'right view', like in Batchelor and Panikkar.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Senator Sanders agenda

I mentioned him recently in this post. Here's a video of him speaking about his agenda, which seems to be popular with the majority of Americans.

The sharing economy, i.e., the collapse of the American dream

At this link. Especially in light of new orgs like Peers. A few excerpts:

"Thomas Friedman, and others, have recently extolled the virtues of the sharing economy. [...]  Mr. Friedman writes enthusiastically about a future where we will typically: rent out our power tools, give each other rides, and provide cleaning services -- all via Internet-based platforms such as Airbnb. We'll achieve a brave new world where each of us will be (in Mr. Friedman's words) a 'micro-entrepreneur.' That's kind of like being a real entrepreneur, except you won't have: a regular salary, paid vacations, employer-provided health insurance, or a chance of getting rich from an IPO. Being a 'micro-entrepreneur' in this brave new world seems instead just a euphemism for being an employee, except with reduced compensation, job security, benefits and protections.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Inequality For All

Reich has certainly inspired me over the years to get busy enacting a more equitable society. I'm looking forward to seeing his new documentary.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Speaking of the Devil, I just saw the movie on Friday. Talk about the height of sales and advertising without depth and integrity. Here is the typical regressive agenda in action. Check out this open letter from the daughter of one of the Wolf's co-conspirators. She makes a good point that the movie glorifies the not only unethical but illegal conduct while spending no time on the devastating effects to victims. Instead of instilling in us a sense of injustice we want to be like him; it's the American Way.

Happy New Year: A true progressive

The following is from Senator Bernie Sanders. In light of the Wolf of Wall Street see his agenda for a clear differentiation of healthy  progressive social values framed to go straight to the limbic system. Rhetoric is more on the side of art, as any salesperson knows, and it can be done ethically with the social good at heart and in practice. And we can all make a healthy 'profit' or surplus that can go to creating new heights of developmental advance for all. We just need more like Bernie Sanders making our laws. This is what a progressive agenda for the New Year looks like:

"When Congress reconvenes for the 2014 session, here are a few of the issues that I will be focusing on. 

WEALTH AND INCOME INEQUALITY: A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much while so many have so little. It is simply not acceptable that the top 1 percent owns 38 percent of the financial wealth of the nation, while the bottom 60 percent owns all of 2.3 percent. We need to establish a progressive tax system which asks the wealthy to start paying their fair share of taxes, and which ends the outrageous loopholes that enable one out of four corporations to pay nothing in federal income taxes.

JOBS: We need to make significant investments in our crumbling infrastructure, in energy efficiency and sustainable energy, in early childhood education and in affordable housing. When we do that, we not only improve the quality of life in our country and combat global warming, we also create millions of decent paying new jobs.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mathematical reasoning

Here's a preview of a new book, Mathematical Reasoning: Analogies, Metaphors, Images edited by Lyn D. English (2013, Routledge). Part II is written by Lakoff and Nunez, "Cognitive foundations for a mind-based mathematics." From L&N, chapter 2:

“This is an essay within a new field of study – the cognitive science of mathematics. […] You might think that this enterprise would leave mathematics as it exists alone and simply add to it an account of the conceptual nature of mathematical understanding. You could not be more wrong. Studying the nature of mathematical ideas changes what we understand mathematics to be and it even changes the understanding of particular mathematical results.”

This L&N quote supports Bryant's wonderings about universal mathematical structures and provides the material (embodied) basis for those structures:

Materialist nominalism

Recall this post on semantic nominalism. I was just re-reading Bryant's post on a "towards a materialist theory of universals" which is akin to it. It also reminds me of this post on real categories. Some excerpts:

"But what if it ironically turned out that our cognition of universals was, in fact, rendered possible through material objects?  Here the thesis wouldn’t be that we abstract from material objects to form universal concepts, but rather that material objects do the work of abstraction for us. [...] For Clark it is not an already operative concept that allows us to engage in these forms of reasoning, but rather a concrete object that renders these forms of reasoning possible. [...] Now that we’ve erased the particularity of objects through the intervention of another object– either a signifier or the '+' and '=' toys –it becomes possible to think more abstract identities and difference.  As Clark puts it, we can now think relations between relations. [...] Score one for nominalism!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Speaking of a regressive morality

Sam Harris on the science of morality

This should be good. Haidt is one of the questioners and wrote an apology for conservatism in The Righteous Mind, basically framing values in their language and then judging liberals by that framing. Chris Hedges ripped him a new assholon in this post, and spiral dynamicist Bruce Gibb gave it a developmental review here. Since Harris is a moral developmentalist (and pluralist) it will be interesting to see how he approaches this regressive. The video follows with more commentary thereafter.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas from the GOP

The timeless in Harman and Meillassoux

I'm putting the following in the real/false reason thread, even though it's a criticism of the speculative realists Harman and Meillassoux, because they also commit that same sort of realist fallacies inherent to the mathematical model of complexity. That is, the notion of some sort of Platonic and/or Aristotelian eternal or categorial essences outside time in an eternal presence. Note that Bryant is not guilty of this, as noted elsewhere, per his essay "Time of the object." I also referred to this elsewhere as the difference between shentong and rantong Buddhism, noting how Harman and even Morton are shentong in this regard (like here and following).

From “Post-deconstructive realism” by Peter Gratton in Speculations IV,2013, 84-90:

“Derrida’s argument is [..] that in Western metaphysics, time and again, there is a naïve assertion of some X transcending the play of differences, something not given over to the vagaries of time, an eternal essence beyond historicity” (85).

“For Harman, Derrida cannot be a realist since he denies the principle of identity, which is a strange, if all-too-well known, a priori investigation of things as they are—a presumption of identity that is then circled back to. But that reverses it: Derrida’s 'realism' precisely relates to his demonstration of difference as that which, over time, makes any self-identity impossible in the first place” (86).

Levin on twisted chiasms

I was re-reading this post today that fits in with recent themes:

I found a relevant passage in Levin's Sites of Vision (MIT Press, 1999), the chapter on Derrida and Foucault. The entire chapter up to this point was Derrida's refutation of the metaphor of light and vision, equating it with the metaphysics of presence. But when the metaphor extends to how blinding light diffuses any distinctive presencing Levin notes:

“Without disputing the heliocentrism and ocularcentrism of metaphysics, Derrida will argue, however, that, contrary to first appearances, the logic of this sun-and-light-centered discourse does not in fact entail, or necessitate, a metaphysics of presence—on the contrary, the more one thinks about the matter, the more one will be compelled to acknowledge that the logic of this metaphorics actually resists, and even subverts, the possibility of presence. Thus he asks us to reflect on the phenomenology actually implicit in the logic of this metaphorics: 'Presence disappearing in its own radiance, the hidden source of light, of truth, and of meaning, the erasure of the visage of Being—such must be the insistent return of that which subjects metaphysics to metaphor.' Here we can see Derrida's deconstructive strategy at work—that is, at play: he uses the metaphorics of light to deconstruct the metaphysics of presence, that very presence that the visual generation of metaphyics has been thought to support. If this is a Hegelian Aufhebung, it is a sublation with a mischievous, chiasmic twist."

And more from Levin in this post:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Are categories Real?

Murray also has a draft paper available for the upcoming volume on critical realism and integral theory in which Balder will also be featured (1). This is interesting from p. 3, in that Bhaskar said "categories are not to be viewed as something which the subjective observer imposes on reality; rather categories such as causality, substance, process, persons, etc. — if valid — are constitutive of reality as such, irrespective of their categorization by observers or thought." L&J explicitly state in PF that our basic categories are part of human embodiment and not outside us in reality. I questioned that though in this post which may be more akin to Bhaskar.

Compare the following in the section "are categories in nature?" with my linked post above:

Why we're losing the war on poverty

Meaning, why aren't we ending poverty. Answer? Regressive policy is a war on the poor. And their war continues to cut their benefits as if that will get them up off their lazy ass and get a job. It's their very approach and worldview that perpetuates poverty and further enriches the top. And they have no clue that this is the case. Hence in a few days 1.3 million will lose an extension to unemployment benefits and many more will be either cut from, or receive drastically reduced, food stamp benefits. That will teach those poor people; starve them to death and then they'll go get that job.


The Sun is (re)born today.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wicked Game

Part of why I like London Grammar's cover are the flaws. The guitarist has that screeching sliding sound as he slides between chords. The singer's voice has some choppy transitions between notes and octaves. The keyboardist at times hits the keys too abruptly. On the other hand, I also really like the 'perfect' engineered studio sound of the original, so here it is.

London Grammar

Thanks to Krugman for turning me on to this fine cover of Chris Isaak's hit. Here is their YouTube channel.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Batchelor on secular Buddhism

See Batchelor's essay "A Secular Buddhism," published in Journal of Global Buddhism 13 (2012), 87-107. The abstract follows:

"This essay explores the possibility of a complete secular redefinition of Buddhism. It argues that such a secular re-formation would go beyond modifying a traditional Buddhist school, practice or ideology to make it more compatible with modernity, but would involve rethinking the core ideas on which the very notion of 'Buddhism' is based. Starting with a critical reading of the four noble truths, as presented in the Buddha’s first discourse, the author proposes that instead of thinking of awakening in terms of 'truths' to be understood one thinks of it in terms of 'tasks' to be accomplished. Such a pragmatic approach may open up the possibility of going beyond the belief-based metaphysics of classical Indian soteriology (Buddhism 1.0) to a praxis-based, post-metaphysical vision of the dharma (Buddhism 2.0)."

This is nice:

Lisa Carney

Here are a couple of her pieces I like, from this site.

Jordan and Tatiana do it again

Winning the US Open west coast swing classic division championship. This is their 8th win since 2002.

Regressive track record

Regressives infamously espouse merit, that one must earn their keep. And that their keep is in direct proportion to their performance. Accepting these premises what do these charts tell us about what regressives have earned for their performance? They've earned to be fired is what. See this link to see the image full size; it's too big to fit in the blog correctly.

Bill Nye on climate change

See the Science Guy below. He puts climate change into simple terms every the mentally challenged can understand. Regressives though are beyond that and have gone pathological and won't get this. So it's for the rest of us with relatively normal brain function.

This is what progressivism looks like

From the Congressional Progressive Caucus. See the link for more.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

More on Murray

Continuing from this post here are more excerpts from Murray's article that support issues in this thread:

“The embodied perspective is strongly supportive of the post-metaphysical stance on ontological issues, which avoids positing Platonic-type object (and ideals) that are said to exist outside of both physical reality and subjective (and intersubjective) reality” (11).

I'd add that it is also a critique of the Aristotelian model as well, which is of this physical world and its inter/subjective, necessary and sufficient logical categorical structure. He seems to address this is statements following the above quote, but not explicitly. On 14 he goes into the fallibility of classical rational/logical reasoning, which can be of either or both types, Platonic and/or Aristotelian. 

On p. 18 he notes that developmental theorists like Commons "controverts the need for metaphysical propositions to explain higher human capacities" (18). Yet most all of his criticisms are directly related to Commons' own formulations per this thread, so not sure why he gives them a pass. 

Jesus rebranded

Jesus Rebranded from MarkFiore on Vimeo.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Indeterminacy, categories, fractals

Related to recent posts, see this thread on Tom Murray. E.g.:

He starts a discussion of kennilingual ontological pluralism on p. 19 (including Hargens), specifically bringing in the kosmic address. He says:

"[It] does not address indeterminacy as deeply as Embodied Realism.... It does not directly address the question of how individuals operating from the same Kosmic Address might differ in their conceptualizations. Also it is not yet apparent whether the concept of Kosmic Address itself is sufficiently determinate" (20).

Crude and naive trust in trickle down

In response to Wacky Mackey  I'm reminded of the Pope's recent words on the topic:

"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."

Amen brother.

What Jesus would do

Recalling the humble beginnings of Christ in the straw of a manger, animals all around, Mary and Joseph not being able to afford a doctor and there was no Obamacare... Today's regressive conservatives would likely say they were lazy and shiftless and deny them any food to eat. They have forgotten the origins of their own professed religion, which they flout when it comes to values but they do not enact any of them. If Jesus as a strange beggar came knocking on their door for help he would be turned away. And that's the thing, the poorest and weakest among us have Jesus in them too, and deserve our respect and help. With the regressives set on ending the extension of unemployment benefits a few days after Christmas, as well as gutting food stamps, we all need to descend on them with the wrath of Jesus to the moneychangers and tell them to do what Jesus would do.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wacky Mackey

Whole Foods Wacky Mackey is at it again with Obamacare. Not surprisingly he said:

"I believe free markets are the best way to organize society and any system that supports capitalism, I’m in favor of.”

Believe and celebrate

Greetings and salutations to all in this season of celebration, whatever that is for you. I celebrate the return of the sun after the darkest night of the year (solstice). It takes a few days after that for the sun to start climbing in the sky again, but only if, like with Tinker Bell, we celebrate whatever it is we believe in.

Without that celebration the sun might just sink below the horizon, never to return. So get busy and celebrate good times, come on!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Obamacare is popular with Republicans

While many regressives oppose Obamacare as a whole, and only because they've been programmed to respond that way in a knee-jerk fashion, nevertheless when polled on the actual provisions of Obamacare Republicans are statistically in favor of many of them. You will never see these stats on Faux Snooze. See this article for more. A few examples:

"80 percent of Republicans -- yes, Republicans -- like the idea of health insurance marketplaces, also known as "exchanges."

"Likewise, 57 percent of Republicans like the idea of the government helping to pay the cost of premiums via insurance subsidies.

Absolute and relative confusion

Recent posts on I-I and the Causal reminded me of this humorous video. We all know this absolutist assholon.

The Causal and the Withdrawn

This issue came up today in a discussion so here are some excerpts from my previous posts on the topic. They are from different posts in different discussion threads so lack coherent continuity as in an essay or academic presentation.

Kennilingam does posit the Causal, which is in a sense withdrawn. But not in the OOO (and Bhaskar?) way. Per the Lingam the Causal can be directly experienced, apparently in toto, via the nirodha meditative state. My take is that the withdrawn is real in an ontological sense but is not the kind of firm foundation we see in a metaphysics of presence, since it is not wholly present or given. Or wholly absent, for that matter, since it is not Whole. In that sense it seems well akin to Kant's unknowable, but is a thing in itself? It seems a thing in itself implies something wholly present as given, whereas Bryant's objects are always constructed and at least partially present, partially withdrawn.

The Volcker Rule farce

See this article for details. The Volcker Rule was finally approved last week and this is supposed to keep the big banks from committing the same kind of fraud that created the financial meltdown. However it was written "with 'help' of lobbyist-lawyers furnished by the banks themselves." Yeah, that will keep those banks in check...

Walmart's low wages cost all of us

See this article for more. Some excerpts:

"Wal-Mart's low wages have led to full-time employees seeking public assistance. These are not the 47 percent, lazy, unmotivated bums. Rather, these are people working physical, often difficult jobs. They receive $2.66 billion in government help each year (including $1 billion in healthcare assistance). That works out to about $5,815 per worker. And about $420,000 per store. But the federal and state aid varies widely; in Wisconsin, a study found that it was at least $904,542 a year per store.

"Why, I keep asking myself, do we effectively want to subsidize a private company’s employees? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to raise the minimum wage to a level that a full-time worker could support the average American family of four? Just $11.33 puts a 40-hour employee over the poverty line. The costs of this increase would be borne by the company and its consumers -- not the taxpayer.

Dialogue on morphogenetic fields

Recall this post on the dialogues between Sheldrake, McKenna and Abraham. Of possible interest is a recent dialogue on morphogenetic fields between Frank VisserRupert Sheldrake and Andy Smith at Integral World. I've linked to each one's contribution in their names.

Hyper-dialectic and the I-I

From this post, distinguishing Merleau-Ponty's hyper-dialectic from the usual kind:

“What we call hyper-dialectic is a thought that, on the contrary, is capable of reaching truth because it envisages without restriction the plurality of the relationships and what has been called ambiguity. The bad dialectic is that which thinks it recomposes being by a thetic thought, by an assemblage of statements, by thesis, antithesis, and synthesis; the good dialectic is that which is conscious of the fact that every thesis is an idealization, that Being is not made up of idealizations or of things said… but of bound wholes where signification never is except in tendency” (VI 94)."

"Merleau-Ponty’s hyper-dialectic is envisaged as being a situational thought that must criticize all thinking that ignores the conditional nature of idealizations, and it must also maintain a vigilance to ensure that it does not itself become one of them. This is why Merleau-Ponty describes his project as propounding an ‘indirect’ ontology, rather than a direct ontology (VI 179)."
MP's emphasis on the conditional nature of idealizations is another way of saying the metaphysics of presence, which is one of those assumed presuppositions in scientific objectivism and the 'bad dialectic.'

In this post he elaborates:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A multiplicitous democracy of fellow creatures

Along the line of recent posts on Rifkin's ecological consciousness I'm reading sections of Faber's chapter in Theopoetic Folds referenced in another thread. An excerpt:

"Whitehead addresses the same problem of exclusion from and of multiplicity in terms of our projective epistemologies in which, since Aristotle and with Kant, we have closed the human mind off from [...] eco-nature. [...] Whitehead suggests that such isolation is an emergent in the evolutionary process for reasons of survival, orientation and directionality of organisms. However, it becomes toxic when when it closes itself from its primary inclusion with a realm of feelings of the multiplicity of nature in us. [...] Whitehead suggests, as Derrida would later, that we need to reconnect with the enveloping nature beyond [...] isolating self-presence [...] where we become multiplicity [...] amid a democracy of fellow creatures" (226).

I said something similar in this prior post

Prasangika's semantic nominalism: reality is linguistic concept

I referenced Thakchoe's article by the above name previously in this post. I've culled some excerpts from it below resonant with themes and discussions in this blog and previously in the Batchelor thread, particularly the difference between rangtong and shentong. Hence when Thakchoe references "Prasangika" he means the rangtong, since some variants of shentong are also Prasangika. See the Batchelor thread for more info. More commentary follows the excerpts below.

"Tsongkhapa claims that the Prāsaṅgika posits all realities through the force of linguistic convention: language and ontology are understood to be mutually embedded within each other. [...] Neither language nor ontology has priority over each other" (427-8).

"The Prāsaṅgika therefore disagrees fundamentally with Dignāga-Dharmakı̄rtian idea that [...] reality and language stand apart from each other independently and constitutively. […] Reality can never be a linguistic entity, it must be an ineffable—extra-linguistic and non-conceptual whereas language is always divorced from reality, operating purely at the conceptual level" (428).

"Candrakı̄rti argues that all determinate categories, sensory faculties, and phenomenological experiences are dependent on our conceptual constructs, and these in turn depend on the conventional terminologies of everyday language. Candrakı̄rti’s argument, then, is that cognitions apprehend the objects of experience, and those objects that we experienced are conceptually (therefore linguistically) represented in the cognitions as having the representations of some specific categories" (431-2).

*Note: I see these as image schema or basic categories a la L&J.

Support Senator Warren's Equal Employment for All Act

See the below from Senator Warren. Note that this is not asking us to hire workers incapable of performing a job, or giving a job to someone unqualified or with a bad employment record. It's just asking that credit history not be a defining criteria, given that many might have bad credit through no fault of their own because of the economic circumstances created by the financial crises. Yes, some have bad credit due to their own irresponsibility, but that behavior will also likely reflect in their employment history, and it is the latter upon which employment hiring decisions should be made. From Warren:

"Much of America – hard-working, bill-paying America – has a damaged credit rating. There are a lot of different reasons, but a lot of people just caught a bad break. They got sick. Their husband left or their wife died. They lost their job. Problems only got worse after the financial crisis. Shrinking home prices made it impossible to sell or refinance a home. People lost their small businesses. Smaller savings left people without much cushion to ride out the tough times. People missed a payment or went into debt. Most people recognize that bad credit means they will have trouble borrowing money or they will pay more to borrow. But many don't realize that a damaged credit rating can also block access to a job.

It was once thought that credit history would provide insight into someone's character, and many companies routinely require credit reports from job applicants. But research has shown that an individual's credit rating has little or no correlation with his ability to succeed at work. A bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected personal crisis or economic downturn than a reflection of someone's abilities.

Today, along with Senators Blumenthal, Brown, Leahy, Markey, Shaheen, and Whitehouse, I am introducing a bill to stop employers from requiring prospective employees to disclose their credit history or disqualifying applicants based on a poor credit rating.

Become a citizen co-sponsor of the Equal Employment for All Act.

Dissonance as transformational driver

Layman Pascal said in this IPS post: "Dissonant conditions, energetic instability, entropy, etc. can operate as transformational drivers." See that post and a few above for his investigation into this dynamic. My response from that thread follows. Of course this only works for those with progressive worldviews; regressives just ignore the dissonance. (See this post, #12.)

Regressives don't want to help the unfortunate

Krugman nails it as usual. Obama and the Democrats actually enacted a number of GOP proposals into Obamacare, like higher deductibles, competition in exchanges, limited networks and cuts in Medicare. And now the regressives are railing against the very things they supported. Regressives will talk a good game but have absolutely no intention of every enacting any of the policies they espouse. It is empty rhetoric to distract from the fact that they've never enacted such policies when they have the power.

"Republicans don’t want to help the unfortunate. They’ll propound health-care ideas that will, they claim, help those with preexisting conditions and so on — but those aren’t really proposals, they’re diversionary tactics designed to stall real health reform. Chait finds Newt Gingrich more or less explicitly admitting this."

Monday, December 16, 2013

JP Morgan too big to jail, again

See this story. JP Morgan was up on charges that it ignored obvious signs of Bernie Madoff's frauds. But instead of the US criminally prosecuting them they cut a deal, allowing JPM to pay a $2 billion settlement and offering them a deferred prosecution agreement. The latter means we know JPM broke the law but they don't have to admit it, and that if they behave going forward no criminal charges will be filed. And this from a US prosecutor who previously claimed banks should not be too big to jail, yet again showing they are tough on talk but lack the balls to actually do it. And this is the 3rd time in 2 years JPM has been giving a get-out-of-jail-free card. This is criminal corruption of our entire legal system.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Integral Center and Holacracy

See this article where The Integral Center of Boulder has "voluntarily relinquished their rights to control their company as owners. Instead, they have ceded authority to a purpose-centered governance process called Holacracy, a model that distributes authority across the organization and gives primary power to the organization itself."

I also contacted Holacracy One and asked what their pay ratio is from highest to lowest paid. The answer was 3 to 1. I was also led to this link, which says in part:

"With Holacracy at play, the game is entirely different: with the decentralization of authority, the separation of people and role, and the dynamic evolution of those roles, we end up with a situation that looks more like free agents going about their work with no central planning. There might not even be a single person who knows about everything you do."

Smoke on the water

Here's a big hit from my youth. It has nearly 10 million You Tube hits.

SNL on black Santa

More evidence on the cause of the financial meltdown

See Taibbi's article as more evidence emerges that predatory lenders intentionally took advantage of vulnerable borrowers. Therein he said it "should put to lie once and for all the oft-repeated myth [...] that the financial crisis was caused by the government 'forcing' banks to lend to poor people. In reality, of course, the subprime bubble exploded because financial companies and banks were in a mad rush to get as many iffy borrowers into loans as quickly as possible – and not because they were forced to, but because they made assloads of money doing so." And they did so by betting against the bundled loans, knowing they'd fail because they were in fact designed to do so. As did the rating services who gave them secure ratings so they could be sold en masse, thereby also committing fraud. And all of them knowing full well it would crash the economy but who gives a shit, they made a fortune with this scam.


This is dictionary.com's word of the day and means "hatred or dislike of what is new or represents change." It's a dysfunctional condition endemic to regressives. Or as someone aptly put it, "It's a bunch of fat white guys afraid of change." Recall this post on the phenomenon (see #9). Of course it's a 'big' word, and that scares these anti-intellectuals as well. So I doubt you'll hear them using it any time soon.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Colbert on Santa's and Jesus' race

Another disturbing fact to regressives

From Erin Hannigan, Health Care Campaign Manager, Organizing for Action

Let your friends know.

Santa Claus and Jesus are white?

If you follow media by now you're heard that Megyn Kelly of Faux Snooze unequivocally asserted that both Santa and Jesus are white. "It's a verifiable fact" she confidently attested. We all know 'facts' to Faux mean unsubstantiated and ideological statements, not the usual meaning to the rest of us. Yet the actual facts of the matter are the following:

"Santa Claus can be traced to a real life monk named St. Nicholas who lived in what is today Turkey, according to the History Channel. Jesus Christ was born to a Jewish family around what is now Israel, and his race has long been debated with several scholars saying he likely looked like what many modern day people of Middle Eastern descent look like."

Status hierarchies and income inequality

Here's another Rifkin article from 2010. The following short excerpt shows the stark difference between status hierarchies inherent to the capitalistic Enlightenment paradigm, which focuses on individual self-reliance, and democracies that express empathy for all. He even notes that the more empathetic a society is the more democratic. To wit, northern Europe. The more individualistic, the less democratic and the more totalitarian and feudal. To wit, the US. No surprise then that "income inequality and relative poverty in the United States are among the highest in the OECD and have substantially increased over the past decades" (see this OECD report).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rifkin on biosphere consciousness

From this 2010 Rifkin riff:

"The real crisis lies in the set of assumptions about human nature that governs the behavior of world leaders--assumptions that were spawned during the Enlightenment more than 200 years ago at the dawn of the modern market economy and the emergence of the nation state era. The Enlightenment thinkers--John Locke, Adam Smith, Marquis de Condorcet et. al.--took umbrage with the Medieval Christian world view that saw human nature as fallen and depraved and that looked to salvation in the next world through God's grace. They preferred to cast their lot with the idea that human beings' essential nature is rational, detached, autonomous, acquisitive and utilitarian and argued that individual salvation lies in unlimited material progress here on Earth.

Boehner grows some balls

Finally. In response to regressive groups who opposed the recent budget deal, even before it was released, House Speaker Boehner said: "When groups come out and criticize something they've never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are. [...] And frankly I just think they've lost all credibility." It's about time he stood up to the Tea Party, who are so blinded by ideology that they refuse to accept anything from the opposition. Which is far different than my opposition to some of the budget deal after I learned about it, while still agreeing with other parts of it.

Is the universe a hologram?

Interesting article.

"A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection. [...] It solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein's theory of gravity."

Rifkin update

It seems this stuff is being implemented everywhere but the US. Hmmm, wonder why that is? From the Office of Jeremy Rifkin newsletter:

China Announces an $82 billion Plan to Establish a Third Industrial Revolution Energy Internet Across the Country

Liu Zhenya, Chairman of the Chinese State Grid Corporation, lays out China's ambitious plan to lead the world into the Third Industrial Revolution in an article titled "Smart Grid Hosting and Promoting the Third Industrial Revolution."

Under the plan, millions of people in neighborhoods and communities, as well as hundreds of thousands of businesses, will be able to produce their own green electricity locally and share it on a national energy Internet, just like they now create and share information online. 

The distributed, collaborative, peer-to-peer, and laterally scaled energy infrastructure will fundamentally alter the economic life of China, while establishing its commanding leadership in the next great economic revolution.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Unacceptable budget compromise

Earlier today I got an email from Organizing for America asking me to support the budget deal worked out on a bi-partisan basis in the Senate. It's rationale was that both sides were working together, making compromises, and that's what we need to move the country forward. But when we compromise our fundamental progressive values in this deal, especially when it hurts people at the lower socio-economic spectrum, is that an acceptable compromise? And does not require any sacrifice from those most well off? I think not. This article lays out the deal, with the regressives "standing firm" and the Democrats, at least the corporate Dems, losing their spine once again and touting compromise with sadistic, greedy bastards at the expense of those in need as a solution. John Nichols calls is "cruel and irresponsible," which is being nice.

The following is from Democracy for America:

I expected Republicans to play Scrooge when it comes to holiday season spending cuts. I didn't expect Democrats to go along so willingly.

Last night, House and Senate negotiators introduced a "compromise" budget proposal that slashes federal workers' take home pay and will leave more than 1.3 million job seekers without unemployment benefits just after Christmas. It includes no tax increases on the wealthy. It continues the flow of corporate welfare through tax loopholes. The only people who will feel the completely unnecessary sting of these cuts are people who are already struggling to keep themselves afloat.

We will not accept a budget that forces average Americans to lose critical income over the holidays while leaving the wealthiest Americans untouched. Tell Congress to reject this proposal immediately.

Real and false reason and models of complexity

I've referenced the "real and false reason" IPS thread several times. It started with a discussion at Michael Commons' Yahoo adult development forum. I'll provide a few selected and edited excerpts below but see the thread for the full discussion, which started in 2010 and is still ongoing today. It has a lot more than the below.

Lakoff's embodied reason seems to call into question the type of abstract reasoning usually found at the formal operational level. This appears to be false reasoning based on the idea that reason is abstract, literal, conscious, can fit the world directly and works by logic (also see for example this article ). If formal reasoning is false wouldn't this call into question some of the assumptions of the MHC? That perhaps this "stage" is a dysfunction instead of a step toward post-formal reasoning? So I'm wondering how the MHC takes into account Lakoff's work here and how it answers his charge of false reason?

I'm just wondering about the presuppositions in theories like the MHC. For example, recall in the same link above that Robinett said the difference between MHC and prior research was that it was "objective and mathematical." I asked some questions about these assumptions of mathematical objectivitiy. They seem to be the same assumptions inherent in the 17th century notions of reason. In fact logic is based on mathematical proofs, the latter taken as the ultimate in objectivity. It's almost as if math is some self-existent thing in the world that we came along and "discovered." And this objective math proves our objective modelling.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Income inequality charts

From the Daily Kos. See the article for the text. The charts alone tell quite a story.

Laske on the green economy

In this article Laske evaluates two texts on the green economy for dialectical thinking. One is more so than the other but both are deficient in left quadrant elaboration. He notes that in additional to right quadrant structures we also need "a change in the mind-sets of citizens in industrialized and emerging countries" (20). This entails "a new paradigm [...] driven by a rethink of the design purpose and intention of the system including all previous leverage points like goals, structure, rules, delays and parameters" (20). On 22 he lists some of the characteristics of this new paradigm:

Unconscious societal biases in developmental models

In re-reading this post I think it deserves reiteration. See the link for the Laske article, which goes into the important theme of how developmentalists are usually unconscious of the societal memes that not only influence how they structure their models but also reinforce the dominant societal socio-economic system. Sound familiar? My comments from that post:

Some excerpts from Otto Laske’s article in the Aug/Nov ’13 issue of ILR follow. The first 2 paragraphs question the scientific or ‘objective’ facts claimed by developmentalists and see them more as a product of their unconscious societal biases. One of those biases is that very blindness in accepting the modernist (formal) premises of a pure objectivity apart from more subjective biases, as if science or math could get outside of context and determine the final ‘truth’ of things. Such a blindness then doesn’t even recognize the societal shifts necessary for personal transformation, instead assuming that it’s all a personal quest and responsibility, the very values inherent to that status quo, modernist and capitalist system that only accepts personal responsibility as legitimate via this formal and metaphysical logic. All we need do is get them to personally grow and send them back into the shark-pit of the capitalist workforce, as if they then have the personal power and will to overcome it.

Bernie Buzz

The following is from the latest edition of Bernie Buzz, Senator Sanders newsletter. This is a true progressive fighting for a better America for us all.

Long-Term Unemployment  
  While the official 7 percent unemployment rate in November was the lowest in five years, long-term unemployment remained near record highs. More than 1.3 million Americans without jobs for six months or more face an unemployment insurance cutoff at the end of December. Another 1.9 million workers would have their benefits cut later in the coming year. Bernie joined 31 other senators who signed a letter urging Congress to preserve federal unemployment insurance for another year. New research from the National Employment Law Project shows that unemployment insurance keeps workers in the job hunt and families out of poverty.  
Read What do you think are the most important things that the federal government can do to help the U.S. economy?
Read Watch Bernie on MSNBC

Monday, December 9, 2013

The regressive to don't list

Click to enlarge

Fight ALEC

From the Daily Kos:

An explosive new report from the Guardian reveals that the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council—more commonly known as “ALEC”—is facing a major funding crisis in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. But they’re not going down without a fight.

According the Guardian, ALEC is launching major counteroffensive to woo back big corporate supporters they’ve lost.

Join CREDO and Daily Kos to tell Amazon, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kraft, McDonald’s and other former ALEC funders: Don’t go back to ALEC.

We’ve worked hard to expose ALEC’s right-wing agenda—like their support of Florida’s “stand your ground” gun law—and they’re reeling as result of it: Over 60 corporations and 400 state legislators have dropped their support of ALEC over the past two years, including VISA just last week. That’s why they’ve launched the “Prodigal Son Project” to get their big corporations back on their side.

We can’t let big corporations like Amazon, McDonald’s and others go back to ALEC. We need to let them know that their support of this right-wing group is unacceptable.

Sign the petition: Don’t go back to ALEC.

Keep fighting,
Michael Langenmayr
Campaign Director, Daily Kos

Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal (TPP)

From Credo Action:

The petition reads:
"Congress: Say NO to fast-track trade authority and other undemocratic attempts to prevent Congress from fully vetting secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It’s your job to ensure trade deals work for everyone, not just giant corporations, and it would be deeply irresponsible for you to ignore that responsibility by supporting fast-track trade authority."
Automatically add your name:
Sign the petition ►

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been called "SOPA on steroids" -- and for good reason.
Negotiated behind closed doors by the governments of a dozen countries (including ours) colluding with corporate interests, this secret "trade" deal (much of which has little to do with actual trade) would grant unprecedented snooping and censorship powers to ISPs, copyright holders, and governments.
A draft of the "intellectual property rights" chapter of the TPP was leaked recently, and according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it "reflects a terrible but unsurprising truth: an agreement negotiated in near-total secrecy, including corporations but excluding the public, comes out as an anti-user wish list of industry-friendly policies."1
The first stage in the plan to pass the TPP is a big push for Congress to pass fast-track trade authority, which would short-circuit the typical legislative process when trade deals like the TPP come up for a vote.