Saturday, May 31, 2014

Walter White still alive?

See this piece. In the series finale we know White has been shot, is bleeding and drops to the floor in the final moments. But we don't know that he died. That was inferred, being the finale. But even Cranston speculates in the link. I'd like to see that he survives and that a series of big screen movies ensue. How about you?

More theurjism

Yes, more loquacious effluvia ejaculated from my seedy sack of linguistic fecundity. See AQALified and AQALifried here, synonyms for kennlingus. I guess the first is when you've been 'confirmed' by the community of the adequate, meaning the Lingam. The 2nd is more what such qualification seems from the rest of the integral community outside such divine dispensation. Would you like some AQALifries with that happy meal? Are you AQALifried? (Sung to this tune.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

High school bully story

Recall this song about bullying. I remember a bully from high school, Tom 'Prep' Prebula. He was a State wrestling champion, largely because he was stupid and was held back two years. Because I was tall and a possible threat to his physical superiority he would punch me in the chest hard ever time we passed in the halls between classes. I was not only tall but thin, not yet having filled out, so not the strongest or most confident of adolescents. So I just took the hits and tried to avoid him in the hallways.

Regressives want to make reclassifying ISPs illegal


See the freepress petition below my comments. The regressives in Congress now want to make it illegal to classify ISPs as common carriers. They want to make democracy illegal! No surprise really, as that is the corporate agenda, to turn us into a fascist oligarchy. Here are my comments that I added to the petition:


Could it be any more apparent that this Bill reflects the Republican leash to the corporate oligopoly? The rest of us want democracy, and that means keeping the internet neutral. And that means it must be classified as a common carrier. Don't worry, the ISPs will still continue to make a lot of money that way so they can fill up your coffers. But let's preserve democracy, since the rest of us can vote you out of office if you keep sucking the corporate teat. Then NO money for you. Until of course you go to work for the ISPs, your ultimate goal apparently.

And now freepress on the petition:


Support for Net Neutrality is building — in the streets, in Congress, in Silicon Valley and at kitchen tables around the country. But the more traction it gets, the more vicious the attacks on the open Internet have become. Enter Rep. Bob Latta who has just introduced a bill (H.R. 4752)1 that would stop the FCC from taking the necessary step to protect real Net Neutrality. It's a move that borders on insulting and actually forbids the FCC from doing what millions of people, companies, innovators, artists and organizations have been urging it to do: reclassify broadband providers as common carriers. 

Join Senator Warren and economist Picketty in an online forum


Thursday, May 29, 2014

My review of Rifkin's "The Zero Marginal Cost Society" on Integral World

Edited excerpts from this IPS forum thread were re-worked into an essay for Integral World here.

Senator Sanders on net neutrality

Since its creation, the open Internet has helped strengthened our democracy, spur innovation and connect communities around the globe. This equal playing field called “net neutrality” has defended the open Internet from corporations that want to control it for profit.

Right now the Federal Communications Commission is considering a rule that would allow large Internet providers like Verizon and Comcast to charge businesses for faster access to Internet users. This rule would give large corporations yet another advantage over small Internet companies. These types of pay-to-play agreements are unacceptable and would cause the Internet as we know it to cease to exist.

We must not allow the FCC to let big corporations to turn a profit by putting a fee on the free flow of ideas. The FCC is asking for the public to comment and I hope you will weigh in here. Make your voice heard and help save net neutrality.

Thank you for all that you do.

Sincerely,

Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

Caputo on secular and religious education

From this IPS post:

I read the beginning of this Caputo interview this morning discussing the secular and the religious in terms of education. He thinks education should remain secular when defined as the political prohibition on "supporting a particular confessional religion" (1). But he thinks the university should not be secular if that means removing the religious impulse (2). Though he differentiates the latter with confessional religion and defines it as a religion of the "event," described as follows:

Be the change

Once again there is discussion at IPS over what the forum should be more/less of. Following are some of my responses starting with this post. Read up to see to what I'm responding:

I recall Dial a while back wanting to hear more about how the ideas here impact our personal lives, our 'art of living.' See this post for example, where he was disenchanted with our "subtle parsing of ontologies." I encouraged Dial to be the change he wanted to see here instead of asking us to be that for him. In this post he admitted he got frustrated "when you don’t think my thoughts for me" and then expressed more of what he thought. Perhaps read that series of posts for context.

All you're ever gonna be is mean

When I was two-stepping last night to this song my partner was unabashedly singing along. I wondered if she was trying to tell me something so I looked around the room and many of the other women, both dancing and watching, both old and young, were also singing along. Seems it's just one of those songs that strikes a chord with women. And with me too, since I also have some bully stories. Plus it really is just plain old good for two-stepping.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Matt Taibbi's new book, The Divide

The following video is his interview with Democracy Now on the new book. It's basically about how so-called justice doesn't apply to those who can afford to pay it off. Meanwhile, the rest of us rot in jail for miniscule infractions.

Physicists have new theory of everything

Balder posted a link this morning to this article in the Scientific American on a new theory of everything by physicists. It's called constructor theory and unites the heretofore apparently irreconcilable classical and quantum theories. Joseph posted this link to the paper. This may take a while to digest.

The Monsanto Act

Balder directed me to this article. I have mixed feelings and will need to investigate further. I'm not opposed to genetically modified organisms (GMO) per se. Rifkin has opened me to how sci-tech is pivotal to the emerging Commons era. Sometimes it seems reactive to be against it, like in the movie Transcendence.

On the other very big hand, when big corporations like Monsanto are promoting it backed by big financial institutions that is great cause for concern. If GMO research was led by government and/or non-profit scientists* I'd be more reassured that it was safe and effective. That it is being led by Monsanto, given the track record of those involved, I can only surmise that profit is paramount and safety and the environment are little considered.

 * E.g., see this wiki article on the science of the GMO controversy.

Re-free the marketplace

In reference to the cartoon in the last post, Rifkin differentiates the free market from capitalism. Free markets existed before the advent of capitalism in the late medieval period, when craft guilds produced goods. There were mostly small, family operations where the craftsman owned their own tools. The change to capitalism occurred when some merchants wanted to bypass the guilds and hired poor laborers in the countryside to do the work with tools the merchants leased to them. Their operations grew so that they could provide goods at lower cost than the skilled craftsmen and ran them out of business, then hired them as slave wage laborers. Adam Smith saw a direct relationship between the enclosure of land and the enclosure of tools (39-40).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The regressive answer to everything


Direct link between union membership and income inequality

These charts say it all, from this source.



Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post. One can also view the entire series of posts on the book at this IPS thread.

In the Afterword Rifkin expresses mixed feelings for the end of capitalism. He appreciates the entrepreneurial spirit that animated it. He thinks that it is in fact is the so-called 'invisible hand' and disagrees with Adam Smith that it involves pure self interest devoid of public concern. Such a spirit is driven by a need to create newer and better products and services to serve the public, which of course also serves one's own financial interests. And that capitalism was an appropriate and efficient response to the energy-communication regime of the times.

President Obama on false equivalencies

From this article, laying the blame and credit where it belongs. He says it best so here are his words:

“You’ll hear if you watch the nightly news or you read the newspapers that, well, there’s gridlock, Congress is broken, approval ratings for Congress are terrible.  And there’s a tendency to say, a plague on both your houses.  But the truth of the matter is that the problem in Congress is very specific.  We have a group of folks in the Republican Party who have taken over who are so ideologically rigid, who are so committed to an economic theory that says if folks at the top do very well then everybody else is somehow going to do well; who deny the science of climate change; who don’t think making investments in early childhood education makes sense; who have repeatedly blocked raising a minimum wage so if you work full-time in this country you’re not living in poverty; who scoff at the notion that we might have a problem with women not getting paid for doing the same work that men are doing.

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 16 is a recap of the historical eras. In forager/hunter societies our empathic drive was limited to one's family and tribe in mythological consciousness. We then moved into agricultural civilization where empathy was extended to one's religious family in theological consciousness. Next up was a steam-powered civilization that extended our empathy to those in our nation states and an ideological consciousness. Next was mass electrification and an extension of empathy to larger associations based on cultural, professional and technical affiliation via psychological consciousness. And now we are entering the commons via the internet and emerging IoT, our empathy extending to all humanity as well as the environment via biospheric consciousness.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 15 is on the tension between scarcity and abundance. Capitalism is based on scarcity due to the limited sources used to maintain it, like fossil fuels. Whereas renewal energies are abundant. Therefore the former uses exchange value and the latter share value. The former depletes our environmental stores, the latter sustains it. It depends though on how we define abundance. It is not the sort of over consumption inherent to capitalism. Biologically humans need 2000 – 2500 calories of food per day. The average American consumes about 3700, while much of humanity on far less than what's needed. We are consuming far to much to sustain our biospheric ecology.

Facebook finally responds to privacy issues

And apparently only because they had to pay $20 million in a privacy lawsuit and were threatened with another one. They also made their heretofore indecipherable privacy settings much easier to prevent future such suits. Just be aware they didn't do this because they 'like' you, or even give a damn about you other than using your information for business purposes. Losing a bunch of money is what got them to change their privacy policy, nothing more.

Transhuman fears

The following is a post in the IPS thread on the movie Transcendence.

Here's an article on transhumanism that thinks the biggest worry is that only the rich will have access to the wonders of tech, leaving the rest of us to be only human. The article argues that this will not be the case, as it has not been in the past with other tech developments like medicine, electricity and the internet. This is because we are evolving from monopolistic tycoons to a more commons oriented society. And in that way he is consistent with Rifkin's latest work.

In the movie that is one of the main fear's motivating the government, that capitalism's obsession with individualism is being threatened with the AI producing people linked with not only the tech but with each other and operating as a commons. A commons by the way that is concerned with renewable energy, increasing world food supply and creating medical breakthroughs in treating disease and regenerating tissue. I.e., providing equal opportunity for all to thrive. How terrible!

Krugman compares northern Europe and US on job creation

He states the facts, so regressives turn away. Those northern European countries (including France and Germany) with high taxes and generous social welfare programs are much better than the US at creating jobs. Which of course defies the regressive and specious charge that such welfare programs are a disincentive to work. The regressive claim that lower taxes on the rich will create jobs just doesn't stack up against the facts, unless by that we mean creating slave labor overseas for pennies on the dollar with no benefits or safety concerns, etc.

Form and Object: A Treatise on Things

The above is the name of a recent book on speculative realism. This link has the contents, translators' introduction, series editor's preface, and author's introduction. Here is Graham Harman's review. The following is an excerpt from the author's introduction:

"This involves the construction of a new model of the division of things. [...] Whoever expects philosophy to teach them something about knowledge, consciousness, or individual and collective subjectivity more broadly, must be forewarned: they may be disappointed. Here we will return as little as possible to this way of thinking" (2).

Deconstructing god


This recent Caputo interview explores the distinctions between theism, atheism and agnosticism. Caputo doesn't think deconstruction fits into any of those categories. Following are some of his responses:

"After making a distinction in deconstruction, the first thing to do is to deconstruct it, to show that it leaks, that its terms are porous and intersecting, one side bleeding into the other, these leaks being the most interesting thing of all about the distinction."

"I am not resurrecting the old comparative-religion thesis that there is an underlying transcendental form or essence or universal that we can cull from differing empirical religious beliefs. [...] Nothing says that underneath they are all the same."

"Derrida is not launching a secularist attack on religion. Deconstruction has nothing to do with the violence of the 'new atheists' like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Derrida approaches the mystics, the Scriptures, Augustine with respect — they are always ahead of him, he says — and he always has something to learn from them. He is not trying to knock down one position ('theism') with the opposing position ('atheism'). He does not participate in these wars."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 14 addresses how the Commons applies to other paradigms. After the financial crises other means of banking have been explored, crowdfunding being one. Capital is raised from the general public for one's project and a specified minimal amount must be raised for the funds to be collected. Companies like Kickstarter that organize the funding get a small cut, as does Amazon for collecting it. There are different forms of investor compensation, from future goods by the provider to shares in the profits to interest on the loan. It eliminates the banks with their usurious interest rates.

Holy hydrogen

Holy hydrogen Batman! Talk about the Ever Present Origin. The atomic One. The Son/Sun.  Hydrogenesis.

Some excerpts from Balder's thread on mata-realism:

Balder: Panikkar notes a similar deepening of the secular, another in-folding movement of fulfillment through reversal, where with the deep valuation of time and becoming bequeathed by an evolutionary understanding the saeculum becomes, again, sacralized in its secularity, strangely lit, an occasion of mystery.

theurj: I prefer to (de-re)phrase it the saectum saectorum (from sanctum sanctorum), given my atheist bent, meaning the most common of the common. (In real terms this would be hydrogen.) Not to be confused with the rectum santorum.

Smart phone irony


Friday, May 23, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 13 is on the transfer of ownership to access. The automobile is the perfect metaphor for the capitalist paradigm. Therein freedom is defined as being enclosed in one's autonomy with the ability to move about at will. But this is being replaced in the sharing economy of the Commons, as car sharing is becoming increasingly common. Here freedom is defined as the right to include others. He cites voluminous statistics on the growing use of sharing which in turn if drastically reducing car ownership, thus reducing inefficient use, emissions and traffic congestion.

Thom Hartmann on the proposed 28th Amendment

In this Ted Talk he notes that Lincoln didn't fight the civil war to free the corporations. He gives a history lesson on how this country was founded on fighting the corporations of England. And when American corporations took over, how we fought back vigorously yet again. The corporations have once again taken over backed by the Supreme Corp, which has said that corporations are people and that money equals speech. And we need to fight back one more time, now with the proposed 28th Amendment to our Constitution which reverses those two key ingredients. And the only way it will ever pass is the way it did the first two times: The people have to get involved, speak up loudly and often, and force Congress to enact it and their States to ratify it. As Hartmann often says: "Tag, you're it." If we don't do it it won't get done.

Elizabeth Warren's keynote at the New Populism Conference

She was the keynote speaker today at the conference. And what a speech. She is ready to fight back and inspires other progressives to do the same. She frames progressive principles, like that we are in this together. She lays out some of the key issues and the values that support them. This is the progressive framing that will win for us in the coming election. And it's not just spin; she is sincere and authentic about these values, and they are popular with the American people. The below is just an excerpt. The entire transcript is here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Republicans ARE the Tea Party

Jon Stewart notes that mainstream Republicans are trying to purge themselves of the Tea Party influence, since the latter has lost most of its once considerable regressive support. As but one example, Senate minority leader McConnell faced a Tea Party candidate in his Republican State primary Tuesday and defeated him roundly. But how did he do it? By espousing every single Tea Party platitude available. Basically the Republican Party IS the Tea Party now, this being but one of several examples of how the Party has gone so far right it's over the cliff.

Regressive empty talk on veterans

Regressives are in a faux uproar over the latest VA scandal, where vets died while waiting on treatment. But do regressives really give a shit about them? Of course not if we judge their actions instead of their misleading rhetoric. For example, see this report where over 250,000 vets are being denied Medicaid directly due to regressive States failing to implement Obamacare Medicaid. These vets are not eligible for VA medical benefits for various reasons so without the Medicaid they have no healthcare unless they can find employment that provides it. And that is becoming an ever decreasing likelihood in this economy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Comparing the US, Canada and Europe

Robert Reich compares the above on several metrics. Worker income and disposable income is higher in Canada and Europe. Most of them get free healthcare and subsidized child care. They get better unemployment benefits, more paid leave, paid sick leave and paid parental leave. In the US we work on average 4.6 more hours than Canada, 21% more than the French and 28% more than the German. Canadians and northern Europeans are happier. Yeah, damn those socialists, eh?

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 12 is on defining and controlling the IoT. The problem is that the capitalists of the earlier industrial revolutions want to own and control the new infrastructure with their centralized, top-down command and control methodology. And yet the IoT is itself structured for distributed, collaborative, lateral, peer-to-peer modes. The latter is also more ideally suited for management of renewable energies, as they also exemplify the same qualities.

Focusing on the 3 parts of the IoT Rifkin starts with the communications internet. We see the dominant ISPs wanting to use the capitalist model to end net neutrality so they can create fast and slow lanes on different fee scales. While they won't admit it, this will also create content interference as those with less money will be relegated to slower connection speeds. And likely some content providers might be eliminated access altogether if they espouse philosophies contrary to the kind of capitalist paradigm of the owners of access. The IPS use capitalist justification that they need to continually feed the beast of ever-growing profits when in fact they already make a shitload of money selling neutral access. They are under the spell of capitalist winner take all mentality that leads inevitably to greed.

Please comment on FCC net neutrality rules

From freepress.net:

The FCC's proposed Internet rules are out — and they're terrible. As we feared, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is pushing a plan that would allow rampant discrimination online. If approved, these rules would mean the end of Net Neutrality. But not all is lost. The FCC has opened up a formal comment period for us to weigh in on its proposal. This is our chance to tell the agency what we think of its plan to allow a corporate takeover of the Internet.

Colbert on Hillary bashing

He adroitly points out regressives have to play dirty and hit her hard, for they really have no one to compete with her. Not even close.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 11 is on the emerging ecological worldview of global consciousness, the democratization of everything. One of its expressions was the free software and open source movements, both dedicated to making information accessible to all for minimal to no cost. It was based on the notion that everyone could share, change, mix knowledge in a collaborative endeavor where no one person or company owned it. All of which transpired in the global commons of the internet beyond blood ties, religious affiliations and national boundaries, thus enacting global consciousness.

Cultural creation though is limited by the nature of the communication medium. The print revolution, and later tv and radio, favored individual authorship and copyright protection, the enclosure and privatization of knowledge. Previously in scribe cultures knowledge was shared and authorship was from divine inspiration. The internet reincorporates the sharing but replaces the theological underpinnings with global collaborative efforts. It also replaces the notion of scarcity with abundance.

Meryl and Maks perfect tango

From DWTS last night. The final is tonight and she should win, but who knows when you let the ignorant public vote.

Exposing the Koch brothers: 2014 edition

See this article on the updated documentary. The trailer is below. One can get more info on seeing the complete film at this link.

Germany sets new record for renewables

Germany produced 74% of its energy from RE on one day recently. Apparently an anomaly, as the general mark for the first quarter of 2014 is 27%. They are committed though to increasing that to near 100% by 2050. They lead the way in this transition and are, of course, working with Rifkin on the Third Industrial Revolution.

Colbert interviews Senator Warren

The lead-in to the interview is pretty funny. Colbert asks her some hard questions in his usual sardonic style and she handles him well.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 10 starts with a historical overview of commons governance structures. They have been criticized by conservatives due to the free rider syndrome. If property is held in common for grazing, for instance, the free riders will abuse the system and bring ruin to the land because of self-interest and overgrazing. Interesting argument for a capitalist. But a history of the commons shows that self-interest was indeed the exception rather than the rule, and obeying self-governing rules for the public good was the rule.

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 9 is on the prosumer in a smart economy. A major question is how the IoT infrastructure will be financed. Should public goods be government or privately financed? Both sides agreed that public goods should maintain a natural monopoly, since competition for such services would generate waste. The US opted for the privately owned public utilities option. Now this battle is playing out over the internet, where mega-business wants to own it and everyone else wants the FCC to declare it a government owned public utility.

Stardust

See this science article on nebulae. It explains how they are formed from dying stars. And their importance for providing interstellar carbon, necessary for life. I've included a couple of pics below.


Krugman on Geithner's bailout whitewash

He lays into Geithner's new book, the latter defending the bailout. Yes, it saved us from a total meltdown. But the philosophy that if we save the banks we save the economy has proven false. The banks have certainly recovered and are doing well, but where's the jobs and how are the rest of us doing? Obviously not so good.

Senator Warren's example of a proud progressive populist

See this EJ Dionne piece. He reviews Warren's book and notes that she is proud to be who and what she is and makes no bones about it. And that she has a gift for explaining things, i.e., framing the issues in progressive populist terms that resonate with the majority. She is not anti-business but puts it in the context of the social contract that makes business successful, like infrastructure and education. To anti-government proponents she replies that we need police forces, firefighters, food and air safety inspectors to protect us, keep us safe. This is the way it's done to win elections and enact progressive policy. Instead of running to some mythical middle the progressives should take note and wear their agenda proudly and run with it strongly in the coming election cycle.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What's needed for religion now, not then

LP and others have had a few responses to my last post, so I responded in this post, which follows. You can follow the IPS discussion in that last link and scrolling up and down.

I obviously think developing a postmetaphysical spirituality and religion are necessary or I wouldn't spend time here. But as I said, it's for a very few. And it's questionable whether it makes one whit in getting the majority of religious believers up to religious thinkers. Sure it sets up some parameters for after that, but before that there is a lot of work to be done to get religion up to the rational level. And by and large that is not even close to the case. That is where the likes of Harris, Batchelor and others come in. And God bless them every one (with tongue in cheek).

Rational religion

See this prior post for reference. I also posted it in the IPS Harris thread and LP responded to it here. My response follows:

As for Harris shunning the word religion while favoring spirituality, it seems he equates religion with those who believe in a supernatural agency. Granted one doesn't have to, but there is no doubt that most religious people accept this tenet. Even those who are quite rational in other respects. The example of religious folk who do not is miniscule, and Harris does acknowledge them, but under the rubric of spirituality.

Earlier in the thread kela noted that this is the difference between esoteric and exoteric religion. In the former one can directly attain to some form of knowledge of 'It,' what it is. In the latter one must slog through all the dogma and supernatural nonsense. I will also grant that even exoteric religion might develop a healthy dogma and ritual within which to practice, and it is a goal of some integralists. But it will no doubt be a very elite affair of the creamy 1%, not likely to be generally accepted.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

New book on the Koch brothers

See this article. Their father was "a staunch anti-communist [...] sympathetic to the fascist regimes ruling Germany, Italy and Japan." He hoped the US would be more like them because in his social Darwinism he detested those takers who fed from the government trough. Charles grew up to also have an "ultra-libertarian business philosophy" that "regularly ignored environmental regulations on principle, believing them to be a hallmark of Big Brother government." Seems brother David is a spoiled brat along for the ride, enjoying expensive parties with lots of hot babes. And these guys have bought our current government.

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 8 on work highlights that automation, robotics and computer programs are taking over much of the workforce and replacing human labor at an accelerating pace. He gives countless examples which are all true. However I question when he dismisses that many job losses are due to relocation to cheaper labor markets like China (124). There is no question that it is valid. It's true that even China is slowly taking up the automation process, and that they will eventually replace their own cheap labor with such tech. But right now cheap human labor far outweigh it and is a direct reason for many US companies to ship manufacturing and textile jobs thereto. Most of Walmart's products come from China and why they make such huge profits.

Karl Rove has shit for brains

In this clip Colbert uses Rove's own faux logic on the claim that Hilary may have brain damage.

Maher on Fox's romance novel

Last night he informed us that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, owner of regressive Fox News, will buy Harlequin Enterprises, makers of those steamy novels. Maher gives an example of how this will affect the story lines of those novels going forward. Very funny.

Museque

In this post I named my holy guardian angel, or higher self, or Self, or personal/collective unconscious, or whatever, Museque. Therein I offered its pronunciation as Mus-eek. This morning I found an Afro-American version also acceptable: Mus-eek-ay, as in Beyonce. Or how about Mus-eek-wa, more inner city.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Waking up with Sam Harris

Harris will be offering a lecture series and online course based on his upcoming book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. A couple of descriptive excerpts:

"I will discuss a range of psychological insights that have traditionally been considered 'spiritual.' Although they tell us nothing about the origins of the cosmos, these experiences confirm some well-established truths about the human mind: Our conventional sense of self is an illusion; positive emotions, such as compassion and serenity, are teachable skills; and the way we think can profoundly influence our lives and the lives of others.

Hillary's non-position on populism

According to this article, who knows, since she won't say. And we progressives want to know, since she is the presumptive Democrat nominee for President in 2016. What we do know is that as a senatorial candidate she received campaign cash from the financial industry, voted for a bank-friendly bankruptcy bill, and received large amounts of money speaking at Wall Street events. Recall this speech to Goldman Sachs, telling them that they were being "unfairly persecuted."

The article also notes Bill Clinton's anti-populism agenda. In defending the repeal of Glass-Steagall under his watch and which he signed, he said it "didn’t have anything to do with the crash" when in fact we know it had everything to do with it. He characterizes populist sentiment as insatiable "blood lust." And "there’s much you could do about" income inequality when in fact there are plenty of sensible populist policies that specifically address it.

Rifkin on interdisciplinary integration

In this post of the IPS thread on Rifkin's new book Darrell asks about the placement of Rifin's book in kennilingus quadrants. I don't much think in terms of quadrants anymore.

By holistic thinking Rifkin means "to tear down the walls that separate academic disciplines and to think in a more integrated fashion. Interdisciplinary and multicultural studies prepare students to become comfortable entertaining different perspectives and more adept as searching out synergies between phenomena" (110). The strict placement of academic disciplines into myopically focused areas is indicative of the capitalist and "reductionist approach to learning that characterized an industrial era based on isolating and privatizing phenomena" (113).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 7 on education is eye-opening. It is being transformed from the authoritarian top-down model where the teacher has all the answers to collaborative learning experiences with teachers as facilitators. Critical and holistic thinking are encouraged over memorization. Previously learning was thought of as a private, autonomous experience where the knowledge was one's exclusive property, and that one had to hoard it to compete with others for grades and jobs, just as in the capitalist paradigm. In the collaborative era knowledge is something to be shared in a community of peers, thereby creating a public good for all.

Cat saves boy from dog

I don't often show animal videos but couldn't resist this one. A dog attacks a young boy and the boy's cat kicks the dog's ass to save him. Which reminds me of my cat, Mr. Tao. I originally got him to be a mouser for the old house in which I lived. He was the biggest of the litter. He ended up chasing away all the dogs from our front yard, included Dobermans, Huskies and Shepherds. If the dogs persisted he would kick their ass like in this video. He lived almost 18 years.

Colbert on our apathy toward climate change

Since anything we do won't have an effect, why do anything? Just fuck it, right? He mocks those who have this attitude, Marco Rubio and Fox News among them.

#FastFoodGlobal

From Working Families:

It's happening. Today, thousands of fast food workers all over the world are demanding in one voice "$15 and a union!"

Will you stand with the workers and support their fight for a living wage and the right to organize? 
Click here to show your support by signing onto the rallying cry "$15 and a union."





“$15 and a union!" will be shouted tomorrow in the streets of New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles all the way to Dublin, Casablanca, and Buenos Aires. It’s official -- the fight for a living wage is going global! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 6 on 3-D printing is astounding in the rapid developments being made. See the chapter for the voluminous details. My focus is on how it manifests in the emerging worldview. For one thing, it is based on open source software, not intellectual property. For another it is sustainable, given its additive construction process uses about one tenth the raw materials and wastes far less in the process. The materials used can also be local and re-used waste, thus eliminating high-end base materials manufactured from afar. They can even print out their own parts. The cost of 3-D printers is reducing rapidly so that the means of production will soon be in the hands of individuals and small collaborative groups. The entire process is P2P, democratic, lateral and based in local and regional communities, yet connected to the global community via the smart grid.

Reich on Geithner's new book about the bailout

Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has a new tell-all book, Stress Test, in which he praises the success of the bank bailout. Robert Reich begs to differ. Yes, the bailout prevented a complete meltdown, but like a nuclear reactor's partial meltdown there are many extant consequences and unaddressed causes. The banks are bigger than ever, thereby making them beyond to big to fail and thus encouraging further disasterous risk taking knowing there will be no consequences. No one went to jail, adding to the further irresponsibility and recklessness. The bailout did little to nothing to the millions of lives destroyed by the meltdown.

Circus by Hundreds

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happiest countries in the world

According to the Better Life Index, published annually by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as reported by 24/7 Wall Street. The 5 categories reported in the article follow: life satisfaction, self-reported good health, employees working long hours, disposable income, life expectancy. See the article for the discussion and the BLI for the other categories. The US placed 17th out of the 34 OECD member nations. The list of the top 11 follows:

1. Switzerland
2. Norway
3. Canada
4. Denmark
5. Austria
6. Iceland
7. Australia
8. Finland
9. Mexico
10. Netherlands
11. Sweden

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post, on 71 of chapter 5 he discusses energy as the missing factor in measuring productivity, in addition to the usual factors of machine capital and labor performance. Thermodynamic efficiencies accounted for 86% of productivity gains in the first two industrial revolutions. This figure is misleading though in that the aggregate energy efficiency at the height of the 2nd revolution was 13%, meaning "the ratio of useful to potential physical work that can be extracted from materials" (72). He asserts given the infrastructure and fossil fuel supplies involved, there will not likely be further efficiency increases.

He notes that renewable energy (RE) energy efficiency however will have dramatic increases over fossil fuels. This is because of the exponential growth in RE development, where production prices are dropping and efficiencies are increasing at an accelerating rate much like the PC industry. Plus RE resources are virtually infinite compared to fossil fuels. He estimates that RE can improve aggregate energy efficiency to 40% or more in the next 40 years (72).

Regressives replace Obamacare with Benghazi

See this story and the following graph. Now that Obamacare is working the regressives have virtually stopped talking about it and are now focusing on their delusional Benghazi obsession. Yet as usual they deny the facts as illustrated below.


Take action for net neutrality

From Daily Kos:

On Capitol Hill the net neutrality battle is in full swing, with Big Telco lobbyists circulating a letter to House Democrats urging them to stand against real net neutrality. Click here to stop this now.

Texas Democrat Rep. Gene Greene and his lobbyist friends at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA)—the same people who ruined your cable subscription—are pushing an anti-net neutrality letter. The letter advises the FCC Chairman against asserting the strongest legal authority on which to base net neutrality, leaving the rules wide open for another disastrous court challenge.

There is a progressive alternative. Our friends in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Raul Grijalva, are circulating a letter to FCC Chairman Wheeler advocating for true net neutrality rules. This is the letter Democrats should be signing, and so far we have over 20.

It’s amazing how much weight these letters hold in Washington, D.C.. The political calculation is this: the FCC will feel compelled to side with whichever letter has more signators, forcing the choice between the telecom lobbyists and progressives acting in the public interest. We need to keep Democrats off the letter from telecom lobbyists.

Please, sign and send the petition to the House Democrat representing your district—urge them not to sign the telecom industry letter circulated by Rep. Gene Greene and the NCTA, but rather to sign the letter from the Congressional Progressive Caucus which supports real net neutrality.


Keep fighting,
Rachel Colyer
Campaign Director, Daily Kos

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post. Chapter 4 is a quick run through of the accompanying worldviews from feudal to capitalism. He starts by noting that worldviews justify themselves as the ways things are, either by divine or natural order. The feudal Great Chain promised salvation by knowing one's place in the hierarchy and doing one's duty. In the transitional medieval market economy this shifted to one's hard labor, earnings and property as signs that one was favored by God, which shifted to a more secular notion of one's autonomy and worth as equivalent with one's property.

When the market economy transitioned into capitalism there arose much more vigorous defense of individualism tied with private property as inherent to human nature. Utilitarianism became the defining worldview justification. This led Herbert Spenser to twist Darwin's idea into social Darwinism, a justification for “survival of the fittest.” Darwin was aghast at such a torturous distortion of his work.

Charlie and Sharna's perfect dance

Charlie's foxtrot was the best dance of the night on DWTS, scoring a perfect score. Yet he was voted off! Unfortunately letting the public vote on something they have little to no knowledge of is a travesty, but there it is. Here's his perfect dance.

#F*@KYOURUSH

Jon Stewart skewers Limbaugh over the Twitter hashtag #bringbackourgirls. It's about 200 girls that were kidnapped in Nigera and virtually nothing was done about it for months. That is, until the Twitter hashtag brought so much awareness to it that other governments got involved. I.e., hashtag activism works. But not for giant asshole Limbaugh, so Stewart sets him straight with his own hashtag activism #F*@KYOURUSH.

Monday, May 12, 2014

John Oliver on a fair climate change debate

He provides stats we're all well aware of, that 97% of climate scientists think climate change is man-made. So here's his sensible media solution when they have a so-called 'debate' on the issue.

Beware the Kochtopus

This is a podcast about the making of the documentary Citizen Koch. It was to be aired on PBS but they recanted due to financial pressure from one of their big donors, the Koch brothers. But the documentary will be aired, and one can find out where and when at this link. Matt Taibbi made the expression "vampire squid" famous, so get ready for the Kochtopus.

More on Rifin's new book

Continuing from this post. Chapter 3 is on the first two industrial revolutions, which required vast amounts of capital to build its infrastructure. It also required vertical integration of huge organizational structures with top-down hierarchical control which he calls not coincendentally "rationalization." I suggest that this is the rationalized Great Chain hierarchy* we saw from the feudal era, where due to public education we entered the formal rational mode. All of which also saw the emergence of the legal rights of individuals.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bundy and his cowardly domestic terrorists

The FBI is now investigating the Bundy thugs that threatened violence against the government. And Bundy and company, who talked tough and aimed weapons at people are now cowering back into the holes form whence they came, denying clear and unambiguous video showing they did exactly that. When they think they can get away with it they are bold and bullying. When faced with federal prosecution they hide like children, just like the school yard bully that runs when faced with strong confrontation. See the link above, and this one, for proof of the acts they now deny.

Net neutrality update

From Credo Action:

The FCC is meeting this Thursday to consider Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to put the final nail in the coffin of Net Neutrality. We wanted to update you on where things stand. The good news is that there’s tremendous momentum in the fight to stop the corporate takeover of the Internet. Over 300,000 CREDO activists have joined you in signing petitions to the FCC telling them to stop the corporate takeover of the Internet. 


In addition, over 803 of you have called Chairman Wheeler opposing his plan and over 3,000 have called Senate Democrats asking them to oppose Wheeler’s plan to end Net Neutrality. And CREDO is part of a large coalition of groups including our friends at Demand Progress, Color of Change, Fight for the Future, MoveOn, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Free Press and Democracy for America (among many others) that are speaking with one voice about the need to reclassify broadband to preserve Net Neutrality. This activism is bearing fruit.

On Wednesday, two FCC commissioners who support strong Net Neutrality rules voiced concerns about Chairman Wheeler’s proposal, both of whom explicitly noting the torrents of emails and calls that have flooded the agency by those concerned that the chairman’s plan spelled the death of Net Neutrality. And on Friday, 11 senators led by Oregon’s Ron Wyden sent a strong missive to Chairman Wheeler rejecting his plan and urging him explicitly to consider reclassifying broadband. Some highlights of their letter:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Blocking Obamacare Medicaid expansion is the real death panel

Those States blocking Medicaid expansion to provide healthcare to the poor, all Republican-controlled not incidentally, are the real death panels. Please see the below from Campaign for America's Future (and others) and get involved.

GOP governors and legislators in 24 states continue to block the Medicaid expansion. Millions of the working poor who should have gotten coverage under the Affordable Care Act are going without.

Sign the Petition Against the Republican Medicaid Blockade.
 

The Partisan Political Body Count
Charlene Dill worked three jobs to support her children. Estranged from her husband and miles from her roots in Pennsylvania, she had to make it on her own. Too poor to afford a private plan, she earned too much to qualify for her state Medicaid program. Charlene collapsed in a stranger's living room selling vacuum cleaners on commission. Her 3-, 7- and 9-year-old will not see their mother anymore.
Governor Rick Scott of Florida won't expand Medicaid to cover poor working people in their state, even though the federal government will pick up the entire bill for the first three years. Florida, like 23 other states, chose the fraudulent partisan assault on Obamacare over the health of their citizens.
On this Nurses' week, tell the 24 governors to put aside petty politics and expand Medicaid to cover low-wage workers. Rick Scott never knew Charlene Dill, but he will know her name.
Who is next?
They are workers who take the early bus. They do the hard jobs others don’t want. They clean the streets. They mop the hospital floors and clean out the bed pans. They earn too much for their state Medicaid programs but far too little to purchase private coverage.