Sunday, August 31, 2014

Network Society and Future Scenarios for a Collaborative Economy

Is a book co-authored by Vasilis Kostakis and Michel Bauwens. The scholarly book is published by Palgrave Macmillan and here you may find a working draft of it.

From Part I: Capitalism as a creative destructive system

The capitalist mode of production has arguably created a political economy prone to crises. Following Harvey's vivid narration (2012, p. 5), a typical day in the life of a capitalist begins with a certain amount of money and ends with a lot more. The next day, however, the capitalist has to think about how he is going to manage that surplus capital: will he reinvest the profits or will he spend them? As long as we are not speaking about monopolies (Baran and Sweezy, 1966), the fierce competition compels him to reinvest. If he does not, a competitor certainly will. Of course, a successful capitalist profits enough to maintain profitable expansion while also living a super-luxurious life. The constant search for new terrains of growth is a premise for the sustainability of the system. Capital accumulation must expand at a compound rate: 'the result of perpetual reinvestment is the expansion of surplus production', Harvey writes (2012, p. 5). The capitalist faces a variety of problems during the aforementioned procedure. If wages are too high due to labor scarcity, for instance, fresh labor forces must be found or precarious living conditions must be artificially created, thus dropping wages, in order to keep the system in a growth trajectory. Furthermore, that new terrain of growth is enriched with the introduction of new means of production and technological and/or organizational innovations. New needs and wants are defined, distances between nation-states diminished, and the capitalist finds himself capable not only of discovering new natural resources, but also of attracting new customers (Harvey, 2012, 2010; Perez, 2002). When purchasing power cannot serve an increasingly expanding economy, new credit-based financial instruments are invented. If the profit rate is low, sometimes companies merge, creating powerful conglomerates and, therefore, monopolies. If capital accumulation does not continue, then the system falls into a serious crisis. Capitalists are unable to find profitable paths of reinvestment; capital accumulation stagnates and its value decreases. Massive unemployment, impoverishment and social turmoil are some of the potential consequences of a capitalist crisis.

From Part II: Cognitive Capitalism

Feudalism then and now


Who is watching the watchers?

I realize I could be put on the terrorist watchlist just for sharing this, since that seems to be the criteria for so doing. A Twitter or Facebook post contrary to security policy, even without any corroborating evidence or any connections to known or suspected terrorists, can land you on the list. All that is required is "reasonable suspicion," which means whatever they want it to mean depending on your politics. I imagine questioning such fascist national security procedures is in itself "reasonable suspicion?" Just like the officer that murdered Michael Brown had "reasonable suspicion" that he was really armed by just being a big, black teen. WTF happened to this country?

Another example of racism

Regressives never complained about how much time white Presidents spent on the gold course. But with Obama it's become a racist fixation.

Ben Stein is a fucking idiot

Good thing I don't subscribe to that absurd notion that we need to be nice with those we disagree, as if that solves our problems. You can't be nice to idiocy that reinforces racism and blatant murder. There is no compromise with that. And so it is with Stein's comments on Michael Brown in this article. Even though Brown was unarmed with his hands up, Stein thinks he was armed because he was big, black and scary while stoned on pot. Then he compares an honest investigation and grand jury into the shooting as a lynching of the police shooter. As opposed to real lynchings of black folks where there was no legal recourse, just racism and hatred. The very sort that leads white cops to think unarmed black teens are in themselves dangerous weapons just because. Stein is a fucking idiot on this.

Chris Mooney & Jonathan Haidt on political brains

Remember this post on Sam Harris and Jonathan Haidt, which links to some other posts on Haidt. And the IPS Sam Harris video thread on Haidt's work. Now check out this video interview with Haidt and Mooney. While both agree that we all tend to find evidence to support our programmed beliefs, Mooney points out that liberals are much more likely to eventually change those responses based on new evidence and science. And that conservatives are far less likely, even when the science is overwhelming. In fact, that will only strengthen their disbelief. See the video for more.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Remember the American Revolution?

It wasn't all that long ago. We had to learn all about it in school. Remember when we fought the British to eliminate oligarchy and establish democracy? If so, how come we're allowing it to make a comeback big time? Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. No shit, henna?

Robert Reich on labor day

He does it again with another 2-minute+ video summarizing what we need to once again support US laborers, thereby creating an economy that works for all. The items he suggests have overwhelming public support. The 1% and their Congressional lackeys fight them at every turn. So keep in mind when you hit the voting booth who supports we the people and who does not. And choose your vote accordingly. Also consider signing his petition at the end of the video. Just click on the link.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What the GOP discovered about women

See this story. Regressives want to woo the female vote so commissioned a study to see what women think of them. The result is no surprise unless you're a clueless regressive. Women think the GOP is intolerant and stuck in the past, hence my apt term of regressive for them. Women favored by wide margins the Democrat positions on healthcare, the economy, education and pay equity. My guess is that the regressives still won't get it after the results and will continue to frame issues in ways that women find offensive. They just can't help themselves, coming from a regressive worldview.

What your church says about your politics

See this interesting article for the details. The chart is below. There's another chart in the article on how income affects this as well. To paraphrase 'the most interesting man in the world': I don't always go to church, but when I do I prefer Unitarian.


Recontextualizing meditative states of consciousness

This paper may be of interest in terms of recontextualizing the 4 states: “Meditation and the neuroscience of consciousness.” It was discussed on p. 7 and following in the IPS thread “an integral postmetaphysical definition of states.” In the article they are here discussing a baseline state.

"A central goal of the practice of meditation is to transform the baseline state of experience and to obliterate the distinction between the meditative state and the postmeditative state. The practice of Open Presence, for instance, cultivates increased awareness of a more subtle baseline (i.e., ipseity) during which the sense of an autobiographical or narrative self is deemphasized. Long-term training in Compassion meditation is said to weaken egocentric traits and change the emotional baseline. Mindfulness/ Awareness meditation aims to experience the present nowness, and it affects the 'attentional baseline' by lessening distractions or daydream like thoughts.... From an empirical standpoint, one way to conceptualize these various meditative traits is to view them as developmental changes in physiological baselines in the organism. Finding ways of systematically characterizing these baselines before, during and after mental training is thus crucial for the empirical examination of the long-term impact of meditation" (70).

Colbert compares Ferguson & Cliven Bundy

Colbert compares the two situations. Michael Brown in Ferguson was unarmed and raised his hands yelling "don't shoot." Bundy and his gang aimed guns at police and dared them to shoot with no consequences. No, there's no white privilege and no racism. We're just imagining it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Valerie & Ricky

My 2nd fav last night, an African jazz routine.

My fav last night on SYTYCD

This time it's the final four group routine choreographed by Travis Wall. It's a beautifully done piece on how love can cross boundaries and be much more open than is typical within conventional mores. And these four dancers executed it with superb grace and emotion. Very moving and well done by all.

Bernie Sanders on power to the people

In this interview Sanders is going on a seeking tour of the US south to determine whether his populist message resonates with so-called red States. He thinks that his message does so, since it's a message of representing what the people want, not the corporations or the 1%. The people have been getting the shaft and poll after poll shows that indeed the majority of the people indeed support the sort of issues Sanders talks about daily. So he wants to motivate us to get involved, get active, vote and speak up. As the last post showed, if we do we can get the sort of society we want to live in. And we need leaders like Sanders to inspire us to believe that we can do it.

An example of people power

See this article. The CEO of Market Basket, Artie T., was fired by the Board because he was too generous. No, the Board was too greedy. So the customers and workers united in protests and boycotts and the Board relented, restoring Artie to his position and agreeing to sell him a controlling 50.5% share of the company.

His crime?

Some postmetaphysical thoughts on states & stages

From an IPS Facebook discussion:

That last paragraph [referring to some of the Lingam's comments on excerpt G] is similar to what I've been saying in the fold thread. That the subtle, causal and nondual states are basically the result of meditative training, which accesses and integrates the usual dreaming and deep sleep states. I.e. using the states already available to consciously witness and integrate them. Although in my case the fulcrum between pre/trans is the synthetic ego which does the witnessing and integrating! I know, heresy.

Starting at the end of p. 2 in the fold thread Engler said: "The first point I wanted to make [...] was that it takes certain ego capacities just to practice meditation or any spiritual practice. [...] Psychologically, this kind of practice [vipassana] strengthens fundamental ego capacities, particularly the capacities for self-observation and affect tolerance. It also increases the synthetic capacity of the ego. [...] 'Transcending the ego' [...] has no meaning to a psychodynamically oriented therapist for whom 'ego' is a collective term designating the regulatory and integrative functions" (36).
 
On p. 3 Engler goes on to note that some forms of meditation uncover psychodynamic processes but that in itself doesn't facilitate insight into them. The meditative traditions often discourage working with such contents, instead seeing them as manifestations of delusion (43-4). It seems the same is thought of the 'ego' when seen as just an illusion (bathwater), hence little effort was put into its other and non-illusory aspects (baby) necessary for healthy functioning.

Interviewer interrupts and challenges Rifkin

This is a Rifkin interview with an interesting twist; the interviewer interrupts and challenges him frequently. And they get in heated exchanges. The interviewer even called Rifkin a dreamer divorced from reality. And Rifkin handles it well. Very entertaining as well as informative.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Senator Sanders on corp tax rates

He reiterates the stats in the last post and says the corp rates are that way due to the regressive Republicans in Congress being the paid lackeys of said corps. He goes into a number of other facts on the issue in this video.

Big business lies about US corp taxes

You've heard the regressive arguments that big companies just have to engage in inversion to be globally competitive. That the US corporate tax rate is way higher than elsewhere so they have no choice. According to Sorkin and his source this is complete bullshit. While it's true that the nominal US corp tax rate is 35%, few if any corps actually pay that rate. According to the Government Accountability Office corps on average paid 12.6%, which is actually significantly lower than the rates in the countries to which they want to run. In fact, the same corps that lie about their actual tax rate don't want to change the US tax code because of all the loopholes that support their low rate.

Jon Stewart on Fox and white privilege

They are clueless and Stewart nails them.

Obama admin's abysmal record on whistle blowers

From Robert Reich's FB page. Astounding.

"Since Michael Brown’s killing, Ferguson police have arrested or detained at least 10 journalists, and tried to silence and intimidate many more. Ferguson isn’t the only place in America that’s out to silence the press. Under the World War I era Espionage Act, the Justice Department is subpoenaing James Risen, a New York Times reporter, to testify in a case against one of Risen’s alleged sources, threatening Risen with jail if he doesn’t. Risen is refusing, knowing full well that journalists must guarantee their sources anonymity in order to get information about alleged government wrongdoing. The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act against whistle-blowers more often than all previous administrations put together."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Draft of IPCC Synthesis Report

The final draft of the IPCC synthesis report is out and it's not good. Human caused climate change is already here, it's dangerous and if we keep it up it's likely severe, pervasive and irreversible. Burning fossil fuels is the main culprit. If we don't change, examples of consequences include rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and increasingly severe weather like droughts, heat waves and flooding. The resultant food and water shortages will likely cause worsening violent conflicts and fleeing refugees. The best scientific anti-climate change challenge doesn't deny these consequences but just asserts that we're an adaptive species so will figure out how to adjust to it. That's their best argument?

Threaten Burger King with boycott

I've recently posted on BK's inversion to avoid its patriotic responsibility. Now see this petition from the Other 98%:

We're The Other 98%, and we started a petition to the Burger King board of directors which says: "Burger King benefits enormously from being an American company and should pay its fair share of taxes here in America. Don't even attempt this whopper tax dodge or we will boycott Burger King."

Burger King is an American company worth more than $9 billion. They're in talks to buy Tim Horton's Inc., Canada's largest coffee-shop chain. Burger King's sinister plan is to relocate their corporate headquarters to Ontario, Canada thereby dodging their American taxes in a calculated move called "inversion." Burger King's largest shareholder, a private equity firm called 3G Capital, will win and the American people will lose. Again. Unless we stop them.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thank you, The Other 98%

Megyn Kelly beats down Bill O'Reilly

This is encouraging. O'Reilly had Kelly on his show and asked her about white privilege, which he thinks is a myth. She cited numerous statistics that support the thesis. O'Reilly counters that no, it's just about blacks having a poor family culture. Kelly argues further with him, indicating that the socio-economic situation for blacks largely determines what opportunities they'll have in the first place. Pretty amazing to see this on Fox.

Senator Sanders on Burger King's inversion

Continuing from this post, Senator Sanders weighs in on BK's inversion. He sees it a contempt for America and its citizens. They take advantage of America's workforce and infrastructure but don't want to contribute to its upkeep. Also withdrawing its tax contribution makes less money available for healthcare and education, things also needed to keep its profits flowing. In other words, companies like this are the real takers, who just take and give little back. Only in a regressive and delusional mind are such companies the makers.

Meditation, aggregates and the self

Expanding on the Harris post, as to relating meditation to the Buddhist aggregates and a sense of self, following are a few posts from the IPS 'fold' thread using a Thompson article:

We've seen some of this earlier in this thread and elsewhere, the aggregates being, body, emotion, base mind or core attention, volition and consciousness. He relates the 3rd and 5th to open monitoring and concentration meditative techniques. Granted both have a focused attention and monitoring function and activate both aggregates. The latter monitors wandering away from and return to a selected object of focus. The former monitors wandering away and a return to focus on whatever is present. It activates more the base level and inhibits selective attention.

Let Burger King have it over inversion

In this article Burger King is considering the tax dodge known as inversion. If you disagree with this unpatriotic stance that places a heavier tax burden on the rest of us visit BK's FB page and let them have it. If a petition starts circulating I'll also post it here.

Sam Harris on Waking Up

He posted chapter one of his new book here. Therein he describes the spiritual as "to fully bring their minds into the present or to induce nonordinary states of consciousness [...which] links this spectrum of experience to our ethical lives." He later notes that spirituality is not about ordinary states of mind, even artistic inspiration of awe of mystery. Or about trying to connect nonordinary states with metaphysical theories on the origins of the universe. It's about the illusion of self, which can be "altered or entirely extinguished."

On p. 2 of the IPS Harris thread kela said, and which we discussed at length, that for Harris "the conception of consciousness [...] is clearly indebted to Advaita Vedanta, and apparently Yogachara, is not at all free from metaphysical preconceptions." In the section on mindfulness Harris acknowledges that neurologically we aren't 'present.' Yet phenomenologically being present is the bomb. Again it's about a state experience of subject/object dissolution that is the crux of his spirituality. (And not just his but some sects of his favored Buddhism.) Which state of course is healthy if kept in context, the latter being that it helps us overcome constantly living in anticipation of the future or remembering the past. It is the meditative state of "clear awareness" where we dispassionately observe the contents of our experience, which can lead to subject/object dissolution in consciousness without an object. That is how he, and many others, define spirituality, this state experience.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Reich on progressive election strategy

Robert Reich is right. The Democrats just aren't making the following he highlights part of their campaign strategy. And why not, when numerous polls show they have a winning hand on these issues. Senators Sanders and Warren are sure trumpeting these issues and they are safe in the upcoming election. The others need to take the same tack and get with the program or we could lose the Senate. Reich said in his FB feed yesterday:

What career were you meant for?

Here's an interesting quick quiz that answers the above question. I got writer, which has been my passionate avocation for a long time. Hence this blog as one example. Never made one cent on it though, and I don't care.

Consider Senator Sanders' petition to overturn Citizens United

Darren Wilson supporters chant "Shoot, shoot, shoot"

As Tweeted by Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post per this article. There was a rally for Darren Wilson, the policy officer that shot and killed Michael Brown. When a Brown supporter started to ask questions of the crowd, then started to yell "hands up, don't shoot," the Wilson supporters started to chant "shoot, shoot, shoot." Fucking wow. This is the mentality of the cop supporters who reflect the same mentality of the cops that shoot to kill unarmed black men. No, there's no more racism in America according to the Supreme Corp, right?

Typical regressive responses to Ferguson


Cornell West on President Obama

See this interview. He says what a lot of progressives are thinking. When asked about the President he said:

"No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Peak Inequality

See this interesting article. The subtitle is "The 0.01% and the impoverishment of society." It's an excerpt from David DeGraw's book The Economics of Revolution. Here's the table of contents for part I:

I: The Ultra-Rich .01%
II: The Systematic Impoverishment of Society
III: Economic Slavery
IV: Hidden Wealth & Shadow Banking
V: The Aristocracy & The Death of Liberty

Paul Ryan can't face reality

Sure, he can write books laying out his positions. But those positions are divorced from the realities on the ground, living in pie-in-the-sky regressive ideology. When confronted with reality he runs away from it. Recall when he ran like a coward when a Dreamer confronted him in a restaurant. It happened again at a recent book signing, when again confronted by Dreamers he refused to answer and had one removed by security. As is typical of these regressives, when confronted by the reality they refuse to even acknowledge its existence.

Zizek on atheism and Christianity

From Zizek's The Perverts Guide to Ideology:

"The message of Christ is I’m dying but my death itself is good news. It means you are alone, left to your freedom, be in the Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, which is just the community of believers. It’s wrong to think that the second coming will be that Christ as a figure will return somehow. Christ is already here when believers form an emancipatory collective. This is why I claim that the only way really to be an atheist is to go through Christianity. Christianity is much more atheist than the usual atheism which can claim there is no God and so on, but nonetheless retains a certain trust into the Big Other. This Big Other can be called natural necessity, evolution or whatever. We humans are nonetheless reduced to a position within a harmonious whole of evolution or whatever, but the difficult thing to accept is, again, that there is no Big Other. No point of reference which guarantees meaning."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why Americans are afraid to take vacation

Following up on this post by Maher, see this article. About 40% won't use all their vacation time this year. Why? They know the work will build up when they're gone and require loads of overtime for weeks just to catch up. And they fear replacement by more desperate but equally qualified candidates that have been out of work for a while. See the article for the other reasons. As a prior worker in big business I can vouch for both of the above. The 1%ers have deliberately created this situation to keep us overworked, underpaid and afraid for our jobs so that they have complete control over their slaves.

TechnoCalyps

This is part one of a documentary on transhumanism that was co-produced by Michel Bauwens. Part 2 is here, part 3 here.

Bill Maher comments on vacations

He lambasts the notion that we Americans are too busy making money to take vacation, like that's a badge of honor. To the contrary, it's a sickness desperately in need of a vacation. This video is the entire New Rules from that date, with the vacation segment at the end.


Episode 327 by BillMaher1956

Religion and politics

Here's an oldie but goodie from the named thread above, quoting Christian Arnsperger from the first post:

"Don’t expect me to draw...a well-meaning denunciation of economic materialism in the name of 'spirituality.' If I did that, I’d be ignoring the very roots of modern economic thought. In reality, in fact, the great thinkers of economics were working very consciously for the salvation of humanity.... I think we need to go as far as saying that economic thought has a strictly spiritual root.... The economy is, therefore, less a technical-operational domain than an existential-spiritual one.... Economics, therefore, the science of the economy, is part and parcel of theology—not only neo-liberal economics (as some left-wing critics claim, using the word 'theology' as a degrading term), but all of economics to the extent that it ultimately seeks to liberate Man. Marx, Keynes, and Hayek were, literally, the most influential theologians of the 20th century; I say this not by analogy or as an image, but as a literal description of what their study of economic activity was about."


Friday, August 22, 2014

Tears of a Clown

Thinking of Robin Williams this morning this golden oldie from my yute popped into my head.

Ricky & Anya

My 2nd fav. Ricky also made it into the finals. And I just adore all-star Anya in her native element, Hot Tamale.

Valerie & tWitch

This is my fav from the last episode of SYTYCD. Valerie made it to the finals.

A comment on Facebook

I understand why people leave FB. The amount of blatant self-indulgence is astounding. It's a prime example of our culture's superficial narcissism and invaluable time wasted that could be far better spent. Yeah, I get the networking aspect, but that seems miniscule to feeding the insatiable beast of our fragile self worth through constant reinforcement. And its insidious manipulation by this capitalist media that cares not a whit about you other than the $ it makes on you, intentionally feeding that addiction.

Myths & facts about unconditional basic income

Fascinating and informative presentation debunking the myth that if people are given a hand up that they will not be motivated to contribute to society. Actual test cases prove this is the myth, not the reality. He reports on this experiment in rural India. Compared to the control group the unconditional basic income substantially increased recipient labor, productivity and work. All social indicators were better. It cost less than existing social programs. People were twice as likely to increase their productivity at work. They increased their livestock by 70%. They were more likely to increase their income from work. They were 3 times more likely to start a new business. There was significant reduction of debt and increase in savings. They were more likely to improve their living conditions and hence healthier children. And so on.When you are freed from survival needs you can invest your time and energy into achieving something meaningful. We've discussed this early in part 1 of the anti-capitalism thread, how once we have surplus at lower needs we can use it to develop our higher needs.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A black cop's take on Ferguson

It's a bit long but quite good. A few key excerpts follow:

"I learned that justice is not blind and there is a very thin blue line that unifies cops. I learned that Americans are not just divided by red and blue, when it comes to the law we are divided by black and white.  I accepted that sometimes we have a justice system with two sets of rules.  I had to accept that no matter how well I raise my son he will grow up in a world where I still have to be afraid for him.  Not just from criminals, but from my brothers and sisters in blue."

"For his sake I have to tell him no matter how professional he looks, no matter how well he carries himself, no matter how much education he obtains, as a black male he has to meet a higher standard of submission to authority or his life is at risk. [...] I blame it on politicians who turn fear in to resentment and the wealthy elites who exploit those resentments to satisfy their own agenda."

How regressives see color


To whom they give a gun & a badge

Yes another example of our finest protectors and servers:

St. Louis police lied in statement of shooting

Yet another black man gunned down by police without cause. See this story. It first gives the police story of what happened followed by actual video of the shooting. Yes, the man was walking toward the police saying "shoot me" but he did not have a raised knife in his hands; his hands were empty and at his sides. Two cops couldn't just subdue the unarmed kid and had to shoot him dead?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paranoid regressives project on Capt. Ronald Johnson

See this story. Capt. Johnson of the MO highway patrol flashed a hand sign recently that is from his black college fraternity. Regressives, rather than actually looking up the sign to realize what it was, instead went right for accusing him of using a street gang sign. There is even a FB page asking for his resignation for such behavior. Some Tweets said it proves he's a member of a violent gang. These fear-based regressives completely flipped out over nothing. Wow.

Obamacare fading from regressive playbook

See this article. It's no surprise either. Recall the regressives in Congress tried to repeal it about 60 times. They knew once it got implemented and starting to work their cause would be lost. Sure enough, that's exactly what's happening, as their ads against it are dwindling. So from now until the election the progressives must do the opposite and flood the media with ads not only showing it's working but that regressives opposed it. This must be a key campaign issue, as many who vote Republican are getting the benefits of Obamacare. And when they are reinforced that their own reps are against it they just might not vote for them again. Go on the attack progressives!

Ferguson police tactics for arresting reporters

See this article. Ferguson police said that they mistakenly arrest reporters when there is chaos going around and they cannot discern them from the rest of the crowd. The story shows this is a flagrant lie, with examples of clearly identifiable reporters being arrested when there is no chaos going on whatsoever. They just don't want the facts of what they're doing being reported. And this is America?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cop mentality

As an example of the last post, the following statement from an LA cop is typical of this 'negative bias':

"Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you."

If you don't do exactly what he demands of you, including putting you in a deadly choke hold, then you obviously deserve any of the listed responses. You see, it's your fault if any of that happens to you.

Chris Mooney on regressive negative bias

See this story. He cites the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, which uses open peer review. That process has led to a broad consensus among such scientists that liberals and conservatives disagree politically due to different personalities as well as physiological and genetic factors. One recent paper showed that conservatives tend toward a 'negative bias,' meaning they are more reactive to threatening and disgusting environmental stimuli. This leads to an ideology which supports a strong military, tough cops, anti-immigration and guns for everyone. The peer review process asserted overwhelming support for this research.

Jake Tapper reporting from Ferguson

It's a war zone there in downtown America.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

See this petition and consider signing. The text:

Police in Ferguson, Missouri could transform their town into a war zone—because of armored vehicles, assault weapons and body armor provided by the United States military. And police militarization has happened in cities all over the country. Section 1033 of a military spending bill passed in 1996 allows the Pentagon to give “surplus war material” to local police departments. Since 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security has also offered grants to local law enforcement agencies to “combat terrorism and fight the war on drugs.” As a direct result, we see situations like what we saw in Ferguson.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) will soon introduce the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act in Congress—which would end the federal government’s program of providing billions of dollars worth of military equipment to local police. It’s about time. Sign the petition to Congress: No more Fergusons. Pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

Petition Text

Do not question the police if you want to live


Who is the terrorist?


Are you going to let the 1% win?

Really, are you just going to give up and say there's nothing I can do? Granted there is cause for resignation. Robert Reich notes that the 1% have intentionally created a situation where we have to work more leaving us less time to organize for worker rights. They did so by shipping jobs overseas and decimating unions. They lobbied for deregulation that benefiting them and no one else. They reduced public investments and sliced safety nets. They basically reinstituted slavery.

John Oliver on the militarization of the police

In this video he focuses on the events in Ferguson MO but then generalizes to the broader issue above. If we turn the police into a military operation that sees ordinary citizens not as those to protect and serve but as terrorists to be killed then it's no wonder they behave this way for the most mundane of offenses like walking in the street. It's that regressive worldview that everyone and everything is dangerous so we must preemptively strike before they do it to us.

Nixon was a traitor

I know, the regressives will cry "conspiracy theory," ironic since they're the ones that usually creates such things out of whole cloth. And yet this is now factual according to George Will in this article, and Will is on their team! Yes, the regressives will claim the facts are a conspiracy, since they obviously cannot tell the difference between those two things. Yet the facts remain and are in evidence. See for yourself.

The war on the poor and working class

As usual Robert Reich nails it in just over 2 minutes. He lays out the regressive agenda and why they are creating such a dire scenario for most of us. They want wage slaves who will take whatever crumbs the 1% will hand out, and society to foot the bill for their needed welfare. They truly want to regress back to being slave owners, no hyperbole. And we're already there.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tips for being an unarmed black teen

The Onion as usual gets it right by using hyperbole and parody. Here's how they advise black teens from this piece.
  • Shy away from dangerous, heavily policed areas.
  • Avoid swaggering or any other confident behavior that suggests you are not completely subjugated.
  • Be sure not to pick up any object that could be perceived by a police officer as a firearm, such as a cell phone, a food item, or nothing.
  • Explain in clear and logical terms that you do not enjoy being shot, and would prefer that it not happen.

Todd replaces Gregory on Meet the Press

Gregory was absent this morning from the show and instead Andrea Mitchell did a farewell for the beleaguered ex-host. The show had degenerated horribly since he took over, as he never called out the lies that those on the show espoused.Tim Russert, the prior host, would never let guests get away with such bullshit. Those were the days when appearing on the show meant one had to face such a gauntlet of tough questioning with tough follow-up questions re-directing the issue back into focus after said guest equivocated and ofttimes downright lied.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Symptom as teacher

On the IPS FB forum I responded to a post by Joseph on Zizek commenting on Lacan and how our symptoms persist, despite our personal work and best intentions. I related this personal note. 
As a youngun I was invulnerable and did extreme everything leading to some serious, life-long injuries. The extreme pain caused therefrom led me to various external treatments as well as a few internal practices (Reichian being but one). Those injuries (symptoms) were and are the prime movers in my having developed a keen sense of the most subtle physical, energetic and psychological manipulations within. Don't get me wrong; I'm still quite broken. (As are we all, including the 'enlightened.') Just not as much as I used to be, with at least some degree of management over it now. Those symptoms still linger and demand that I continue this never-ending work. And then you die.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Why quantum mechanics is an embarrassment to science

He favors the many worlds interpretation over the Copenhagen, which coincides with our discussions elsewhere on monism and pluralism.

Petition the DOJ for justice in Ferguson MO

You've likely heard the story of an 18-year old black man being executed by police in the streets. And the mass demonstrations that followed thereafter, with police gassing protestors. We must nip this fascist police State in the bud, so please consider signing this petition, text following:

Dear US Attorney General Eric Holder, MO Attorney General Chris Koster, and Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson,

You think your job sucks?


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Facing death

This IPS thread features an article on free diving, diving deep without any oxygen tanks on just the last breath you took. They folks stay down for minutes at a time. One comment was about surfing, which brought back a memory.

I spent 2 months on Oahu for an intensive study with a tai chi master. I also enjoyed bodysurfing so engaged it often. One day on the north shore a storm was coming in. It wasn't the season for the big 30-footers for which it's infamous, but they were about 15-20 footers. I had been instructed by a local what to do if I got tossed, and fortunately I listened carefully. I'd already ridden a few 15 footers well but then I caught a 20 footer. I was riding it well, staying ahead of the break when it instantly broke out of rhythm and I was thrown head over heel. Round and round I went, several times, even though I tried to go in sideways so as to avoid such a possibly calamitous roll, since if I were to hit bottom on my head like that, even into the sand instead of the coral, I could easily break my neck. I was lucky I was in deeper water so that didn't happen.

On/in Khora's cunt

Some ruminations from the FB IPS discussion on religious monism/pluralism.

From another angle, it seems that our categories can be too rigid and hence one of them can become a dominant hegemony, e.g. scientific materialism. Or the one true Buddhism that transcends and includes the others. Hence the need for transcorporal hybridization, which allows some overlapping and serves to check and balance categories with each other. And yet each category maintains its autonomy amidst all its relations. Indeed this can be analogous to image schema, the most basic of our embodied categories and from which the more abstract ones spring. Which of course, to put it in those terms, are about very basic distinctions/connections like in/out, one/many. Those basic categories, while a dual pairing, are still distinctly autonomous in a singularly decomposable differentiation.

Tanisha & Nick

Again she was my favorite last night on SYTYCD. Unfortunately she was voted off, which is the one aspect of the show I hate. Letting people with no knowledge of dance quality vote on dance quality is absurd. Sort of like letting people with no knowledge of the issues of the day vote for political candidates. But that's America.

Manipulating fear

We have good reason to fear some things. But the regressive corporate-politico manipulators channel our legitimate fears toward illegitimate sources. This cartoon is a good example.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Obama challenges reporter's misleading question on Iraq

The question is another of those regressive lies they are peddling without basis in fact. I know, big surprise. That lie is that it was Obama's fault for pulling troups out of Iraq. Obama sets the record straight, though I doubt that will matter to said regressives. They're sure he's the one lying when the facts are verifiable and accurate.

Lindsey Stirling on AGT

She got her start as a contestant on AGT and was voted off. Not to be daunted, she started making YouTube videos and became a star. The below is her triumphant return to AGT. The first few seconds is her describing the events, followed by her performance of her hit Shatter Me featuring Lzzy Hale.

Sons of Serendip

Cover Wicked Game last night on AGT. Except for his voice being too soft on the first two lines this is a fantastic performance and innovative take on this classic. A bit hit with the judges and fans too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Standardized testing refuted by the evidence

See this article.This is nothing new, but new evidence supports what most of us with half a brain have known from already existing evidence. Standardized testing and its educational prep is good for the obvious, scoring better on those tests. But that sort of education doesn't really educate us much in terms of being well rounded, healthy and functional human beings. The new evidence has to do with learning works in the brain, by alternating periods of intense focus with periods of relaxed wandering and play.

Robin Williams last appearance with Jon Stewart

This was just as his latest tv series was coming out. Unfortunately it was really bad and cancelled. This likely added to his already difficult struggle with depression.

RIP Robin Williams

And a word to positive thinkers.


Monday, August 11, 2014

The pseudo-science of new age nutrition

This article is a necessary antidote to the crap I hear on liberal radio stations on Saturday mornings. You know, the ones citing 'studies' that support taking 12 tons a vitamin C per day cures everything including hang nail. The article highlights 2 commonly used and erroneous category mistakes one often hears with these well-meaning but downright mistaken health nuts. By their own false reasoning water and vinegar should be poisonous and shunned. Also see this article.

How much regressives really care

Just another example of their unbounded compassion for lives, property and the environment.


What regressives are against

So what are they good for? Apparently only making themselves and the other 1% richer.

Robert Reich on regressive lies

On his FB page today he counters 5 popular regressive lies used to turn us on each other. They know they can't win people with reality so they pull shit out of their ass to manipulate us. I won't restate the lies but will just provide the factual truths:

1. "Almost all welfare programs now require recipients to be working. We now have the highest percentage of working poor since data have been collected."

2. "Poor Americans pay sales taxes (comprising 30% of all government revenues), which take a bigger bite out of their incomes than anyone else’s, and if they work they pay Social Security taxes."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Naomi Klein's new book

It's due out this September and called This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. See this article for info. Here's the website for the book. The climate crises is an opportunity to abandon capitalism and remake our political and economic systems. The following video is a brief intro to the upcoming book.

Girl in a country song

A good parody on the typical presentation of women in a male chauvinist redneck country song. I know, redundant terms.

Reich on stakehold and shareholder capitalism

In this article Reich wonders if stakeholder capitalism is making a comeback. There was a time when companies generally took all stakeholders into consideration, meaning not just shareholders but employees, customers, the environment and the community at large. The B-corp is structured so that a company can do exactly that, and to date over 500 have so organized. 27 States have also created 'benefit corps' for the same purpose.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Batchelor on postmetaphysical 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:

Twisted paralogic

In Priest's article on Buddhist logic he discusses relations and functions regarding truth values. The Aristotelian principles against contradiction, i.e., the excluded middle and non-contradiction, rely on the function of truth values. Priest's solution around this is to make the values relations. But when it comes to Buddhist emptiness he seems to mix and match functions and relations. On one hand emptiness is based on relations, since nothing has an inherent existence but is conditioned by its relations to other things. But on the other hand it is based a function because the previous relations relate only to conventional reality; ultimate reality per this other Priest article posit is as "pure form" (11), itself a preconditional function for conventional reality.

Postmetaphysical ruminations

Kennilingus and the model of hierarchical complexity (MHC) assume a teleology. For the Lingam it is a morphogenetic gradient from involution that pulls evolution up toward it, like a strange attractor. For the MHC it is both Platonic ideal forms and Aristotelian universal categories. Both require that the lower be subsumed in the higher, and both assume that this higher is the real goal to which evolution is moving. Both require essences.

Note how the referenced system dynamicists still have a virtual dimension where strange attractors create paths which guide actual occasions. (Note the plural, attractors, so that depending on conditions different paths can be taken.) They seem like essences in that way but their attractors are entirely immanent, i.e., there is no essential or ideal dimension already in existence guiding this process with a goal 'in mind' (or in spirit, if you must). And this virtual dimension is intimately entangled with the actual domain, which provides the environmental conditions whereby the virtual can express. Under different environmental conditions a suobject will manifest in different ways. Any particular manifestation is not the way it is supposed to be according to a divine plan, or even some rational notion of ideal categories.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The pigs leading Congress by the wallet


G.U.Y.

She can be my G.U.Y. any day.

Zach & Amy

2nd fav last night.

Tanisha & Ryan

My fav last night on SYTYCD.

Support net neutrality

From Credo Action:

Click here and we'll send a free fax on your behalf to the FCC with President Obama’s remarks supporting Net Neutrality.

This is big. And you helped make it happen. We've been calling on President Obama to stand up and stop the FCC from killing the Internet. And this week he spoke up loud and clear for the first time since his FCC chairman announced a disastrous plan to end the Internet as we know it. Here’s what President Obama said:
"One of the issues around Net Neutrality is whether you are creating different rates or charges for different content providers.That's the big controversy here. So you have big, wealthy media companies who might be willing to pay more and also charge more for spectrum, more bandwidth on the Internet so they can stream movies faster. I personally, the position of my administration, as well as a lot of the companies here, is that you don’t want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users. You want to leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed."

Free Stanford online course: Open Knowledge

See this link. Video and description below.

Date: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 to Friday, December 12, 2014
Open source, open science, open data, open access, open education, open learning -- this course provides an introduction to the important concept of openness from a variety of perspectives, including education, publishing, librarianship, economics, politics, and more, and asks you to discover what it means to you. Open Knowledge is international and multi-institutional, bringing together instructors and students from Canada, Ghana, Mexico, the United States, and the rest of the world. It will challenge you take control of your own education, to determine your own personal learning objectives, to contribute to the development of the curriculum, to reflect on your progress, to learn new digital skills, and to take a leadership role in the virtual classroom. It will also provide you with the opportunity to connect with colleagues from different countries and professions, and to better understand areas where your interests overlap and where unexpected distincts exist. We hope you’ll consider taking this journey with us.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mission Statement

From Weird Al's new CD, using a CSN tune to exemplify the corporate co-opting and commodification of liberal values.

Cool scuptures

See this link for more.


Bad news from Germany

See this article. Rifkin was well aware of, and wrote about, the humongous battle there is and would continue to be between the fossil fuel and nuclear industries and the Commons renewable industry. Germany is not immune. I'm with the Chancellor on closing the nuke plants, even if they are 'low-carbon,' since they are 'high-death.' So yes, Germany will have to double its renewables, good. That's going to be difficult with those cuts to the subsidies, which is a significant part of the transition. And yes, they have to get tougher on the coal plants. We knew this would be a long, hard-fought war and this is a setback. But as righteous warriors we must continue the fight, willing to sacrifice what it takes. Or we all die. No metaphor, no hyperbole.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Robert Reich on the Koch problem

The petition is at this link.

Bartender

Cracking the Code, Conclusion

In the concluding chapter Hartmann pulls the foregoing together to make the case that conservatives have been more successful because they focus on the benefits one accrues in their story. Liberals, on the other hand, focused more on the policy features and missed the benefits framing boat. Polls actually showed that many conservative voters actually preferred liberal policy features but went instead with the conservative story that fed parts of their identities.

Cracking the Code, Chapter Fourteen

We all have different identities in the roles we take, e.g., father, boss, employee etc. And each requires a different skill set with which to communicate effectively. Each of these identities in us has a relatively independent life arising out of brain structures. Unlike multiple personality disorder (MPD) though, where one part takes over the others, each identity or role that comes to the fore for a specific occasion is well integrated with the others. He calls this integrating function the “core self,” akin to the synthetic ego. It is related to the three brains discussed in chapter four, and how each has different needs and responds to different messages.

Sanders on social security

Although per the Code he should frame in positively, i.e., social security is solvent or well funded.

 

Democracy or oligarchy

See Senator's recent speech on the topic. From the Introduction:

"We are at a pivotal moment in American history. The major issue of our time is whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires have almost absolute control over the political and economic life of the nation. Tragically, we are headed on a perilous path toward the latter. When large corporations and a few wealthy families can spend unlimited sums of money to buy and sell politicians, it is now clear to most Americans democracy is under severe attack."

Monday, August 4, 2014

GOP House panel clears White House in Benghazi investigation

Let's see if Faux Snooze even reports on this, another of their fallen shibboleths (see #3):

"The House Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans, has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, said Rep. Mike Thompson of St. Helena, the second-ranking Democrat on the committee. [...] Thompson said the report 'confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order (to U.S. forces) was given.'"

Petition Walgreens to not desert its country

Petition is at this link. The text:

Walgreens is trying to merge with Swiss corporation Alliance Boots, for one big reason: It can then change its headquarters address to Switzerland – a known tax haven – and get out of paying as much as $4 billion in U.S. taxes over the next five years. Walgreens is not actually going anywhere. Its corporate leaders will still be here in America. It will still depend on our roads and bridges, our educated workforce, our legal system and many other things that its taxes are supposed to help pay for. It will still get one-quarter of its sales dollars from Medicare and Medicaid. And it will still need us to shop at our local Walgreens in order to make a profit. If Walgreens doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes, the rest of us will have to make up the difference.

Cracking the Code, Chapter Thirteen

Continuing from this post.

Frames need to address the different levels of consideration. E.g, making the big climate change argument works for most (except for the 1%ers and their conservative cronies, apparently). Yet it's harder to make the smaller argument about the cost effectiveness of solar panels on one's roof. The big picture of what's best for the planet has to balance with what's best in one's own financial interest and limitations. And the intermediate levels also need to be addressed: family, neighborhood, town, state, country. The smaller the level relates to benefits or what, the larger relates to features or why (see chapter 12), so both are necessary.

Cracking the Code, Chapter Twelve

Continuing from this post.

We are motivated to move away from pain and toward pleasure. In the short run the former strategy is more effective, as it's based on our most primitive drives. Hence we get conservative frames like if we vote for liberals we'll get attacked by terrorists; they bring you pain, we avoid it. Over time it becomes less effective due to over-stimulation of this drive. Moving toward pleasure tends to be more subtle and resilient in the long term, and more indicative of the liberal view of a world that gets progressively better. Both drives are needed for motivation, so it serves us to know both to know when we are being manipulated as well as to consciously enact our hopes and dreams.

The corporate deserters act of 2014

More info on the Bill can be found here.

Still more

On p. 14 I quote and discuss Tom Murray's article “Embodied realisms and integral ontologies,” which reiterate some points in the thread. Some examples.

On 44 he is discussing various forms of flawed categorization, one being the "dialectical response
" of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. He notes that this can miss unconscious and/or indeterminate aspects of theses like we've recently noticed above. Another is illusory recursive structures, like my complaint about the beautiful, self-same fractals of mathematical complexity. He said:

"Naturally occurring fractals have complex organic structure, not the hall-of-mirrors structure of precise nested containers. Natural organic structure can be shown to originate from simpler laws or tendencies. Illusory recursions seem to be generated by successive workings of the mind's need for order, simplicity, and meaning" (45).

“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.

More on real/fase reason

From p. 7:

"The classical concept is defined 'by necessary and sufficient conditions' -that is, by set theoretic definitions on properties. It is an elementary theorem of logic that the whole of the operations of sentential logic, for instance, may be
grounded solely in the primitive operations of intersection and complement. More generally, logical sets and categories are defined on presumed 'atomic properties' and are commensurable wholly based on the set-theoretic possibilities of those sets –i.e. union, intersection, complement, etc....

"This classical categorization therefore expresses an absolute, rigid and nested hierarchy of levels and containment. In Lakoff’s terms it expresses a hierarchical 'container schema.' Ultimately, (because they are nested), at the limits these processes specify (1) a largest concept: 'something,' (defined by no atomic properties), whose extension is 'everything,' and (2) a smallest concept: a particular 'object' in reality, (or possible reality), defined by all its atomic properties. Given the classical paradigm then, reason necessarily begins with 'something,' (the most general concept), and points, inexorably, to some 'thing,' i.e. a specific object."

"Prototype theory was a radical departure from traditional necessary and sufficient conditions as in Aristotelian logic, which led to set-theoretic approaches."


From Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: