Friday, January 31, 2014

US States quality of life rating

See this article reporting on a Politico piece that rated the States for quality of life based on 14 indicators. The 5 bottom States are 'right to work,' as are 15 of the bottom 20. 4 of the top 5 are free bargaining States. The link talks about the indicators and sources for that information.

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Kennilingus critique and so on

The following is in response to some ponderings in this IPS  thread, looking at an ITC article by Kelly, Robbert and Mickey:

The AQAL tool has been one of my focuses throughout the forum in a host of threads, most recently in the Fold thread. Where it is useful and where it is not. How it combines with the WC lattice and how it can be improved. How the very nature of altitude and integral thinking is formulated by kennilingus based on a certain type of mereological complexity, and how other forms of mereological complexity change that dynamic drastically. And then how might the AQAL, lattice and other tools look thereafter, and how does that change their functionality?

Related to the other thread on defining IPS, I've explored in depth the meanings of the words integral, postmetaphysical, and spirituality, not just gathering, comparing and summarizing various sources, but adding my own small contributions as to how they might weave and cohere into my twisted (folded) and ideosyncratic vision of what it is, i.e, the Real.

As to Sean Kelly on Morin, I've been exploring that too in the Fold thread and will have more to say on that forthcoming. As but one example, from this post I commented on one of his articles:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New theurjism: ivorrhea

See this post and above for a discussion of the phenomenon known as ivorrhea, as in irritable ivory tower syndrome. It's basically a critique of verbose and indecipherable academic jargon. We can still write concisely and articulately without all the explosive ivorrhea. Fortunately my degree is in English, where Struck & White were the measure of intelligible communication, even and especially of arcane esoterica like postmetaphysics or English literature.

Taibbi on the Justice Dept's JP Morgan joke

As usual Taibbi spares no mercy in criticizing the Justice Dept. (DOJ) for just not getting that the likes of JP Morgan (JPM) knows it can get away with crime. Sure the DOJ handed down a record settlement for JPM's admittedly criminal behavior. So what does JPM do in response? Thumb their nose at the DOJ by giving CEO Dimon a 47% raise while also laying off 7,500 employees and freezing salaries of many other non-executives. The DOJ thinks it's getting tough on them and JPM thinks they're getting off easy, given absolutely no criminal penalties and paying out a mere smidgen of what they stole from the economy. Yeah, that will show them. What though is the question: that they can get away with crime, keep doing it, tell the government to go fuck itself while it also fucks over its own employees and the economy as a whole. You'd think the DOJ would get that by now but apparently not.

Farm Bill cuts $8.7 billion from food stamps

See this story.  Yep, it passed the House today and 89 Democrats voted for it, including 14 members of the progressive caucus. WTF! My representative was one of those Dems. My letter to her follows, asking for a response. See the list in the link and if one of your reps voted for it let them hear about it please. My letter:

I am appalled that you voted for the new Farm Bill which cuts $8.7 billion from food stamps, in effect cutting the already meager monthly food stamp benefit by $90. This is unconscionable given the folks in the program could barely eat before the cuts. How can you possibly justify this?

Open access or not?

Update:  My comment was later published and Bryant responded. It was likely in the interim stage between being approved and being posted, not deleted. See the below link.

I left a comment to this Bryant post referencing his new book, Onto-Cartography. Based on what he said in this post I asked if the new book would be open access or not. And if not, why? The comment was deleted but it's a relevant question, since if the new book is strictly university press it would be counter to most of what he said about the limits of that sort of gravitational path in dispensing knowledge. Anyone else think it deserves to be answered?

SOTU silent about Wall Street

See this article pointing out that the SOTU had nary a peep about Wall Street. While the President railed about inequality not one reference to what caused it, the roll back of regulations that led to the worst financial crises since the depression. Not one word about the admitted crime and fraud the banks committed. How not one of their ranks faced criminal charges. The record amounts they paid in settlements. How they invested in jobs overseas and lobbied to reduce or eliminate fair wages and benefits. And how they no longer invest in American jobs and goods but instead in fraudulent instruments specifically designed to reap reward for them and rape the commons from us. No, not a sound, except to promote them once again with this disastrous TPP trade deal. His rhetoric is empty and his solutions are band-aids on a severed artery.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Max Weber on capitalism

Recall that Max Weber was an instrumental source for kennilingus. See this post where I referenced Rifkin's use of Weber's analysis of the rise of capitalism. Then see this SparkNote on Weber's book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. A few brief excerpts from the summary:

"He argues that the modern spirit of capitalism sees profit as an end in itself, and pursuing profit as virtuous. [...] Calvinists believe in predestination--that God has already determined who is saved and damned. As Calvinism developed, a deep psychological need for clues about whether one was actually saved arose, and Calvinists looked to their success in worldly activity for those clues. Thus, they came to value profit and material success as signs of God's favor. Other religious groups, such as the Pietists, Methodists, and the Baptist sects had similar attitudes to a lesser degree. Weber argues that this new attitude broke down the traditional economic system, paving the way for modern capitalism. However, once capitalism emerged, the Protestant values were no longer necessary, and their ethic took on a life of its own."

My email to the President on the TPP

Here's what I wrote to the President at I encourage all of you to do the same, thanks.

"I don't understand how you can be so concerned about income inequality, the environment and job losses yet support fast track for the TPP. To date it has been negotiated in secret with the same global corporations that have created the inequality, job loss and environmental degradation. What has been leaked to date only supports it will be more of the same, also supported by the results of previous 'free' trade deals. It is antithetical to what you say you value."

Obama did it, promoted fast-track for TPP in the SOTU

See this article for the details. How can the President make inequality the keynote of his speech last night and then push for fast-track on the TPP? Does he really believe it will create jobs and exports? The TPP is being negotiated in secret by 600 "corporate advisors," and leaks have confirmed that it will overrule US environmental and labor laws. And fast-track completely by-passes Congressional oversight, instead requiring a straight up-or-down vote. We all know the effects of past free-trade deals, and given that this is a giant corporate give-away we're going to trust that this will redress inequality? The track record of fast-track on speciously named "free trade" deals is devastating, so please raise hell with your representatives and the President. The good news is that Senator majority leader Reid opposes it and will not advance it in the Senate.

My comment to Bryant on thermopolitics

See his blog post here. My comment follows.

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

Capital in the 21st Century

See the review of this new book, Capital in the 21st Century, by Thomas Piketty. A few edited excerpts:

"Worsening inequality is an inevitable outcome of free market capitalism. [...] Capitalism’s inherent dynamic propels powerful forces that threaten democratic societies. [...] Traditional liberal government policies on spending, taxation and regulation will fail to diminish inequality. [...] The rise in inequality reflects markets working precisely as they should."

Chomsky: Government in the Future

Chomsky sees Adam Smith (and Humboldt) as a libertarian socialist, the supposed father of capitalism. Chomsky thinks Smith would have despised what capitalism has become, including the division of labor. Smith's argument for markets required equality of condition, something obviously lacking in today's capitalism. He was quite adamant about England's bourgeoisie being obsessed with naked self interest at the expense of the people. He criticized the early stages of corporations but didn't live to see what they'd become, no doubt now turning in his grave.

Also see Chomsky's "Government in the future," where he compares and discusses classical liberalism, libertarian socialism, state socialism and state capitalism. He focuses on Humboldt in the first section. I appreciate how in the intro of the above article Chomsky notes that both state capitalism and state socialism are "regressive" and inappropriate to modern society. I've been saying that about capitalism all along, that it is not a modern but pre-modern economic system, more feudal and not in the least democratic. Chomsky is also highly critical of state socialism, the kind Russia used to have, so associating that with socialism per se is misguided.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bryant on ontological pluralism

After a couple month hiatus Bryant is blogging again. He has a few new posts on plurarlism but this one caught my attention. He is concerned that pluralism has lapsed into cultural relativism, where there is no way to ascertain 'truth' because all views are ok. He even accuses Latour of this. And as realists we need to say what is right and wrong. There is a Real beyond any particular point of view (aka perspectivism). (I'm reminded of Harris in this recent video and commentary.)

Henry Ford paid a minimum wage of $15/hour in today's equivalent

See Michael Moore's article using facts again and quoting Ford on why he was paying twice the minimum wage for his workers. Ford has a message for today's greedy bastards:

"The owner, the employees, and the buying public are all one and the same, and unless an industry can so manage itself as to keep wages high and prices low it destroys itself, for otherwise it limits the number of its customers. One’s own employees ought to be one’s own best customers."

And Ford was wealthy. I guess today's rich just aren't rich enough? And to get there requires slave labor?

What it's really like for low-end US workers

See this article for the realities of how large corporations screw over those who make them rich. It's just the facts ma'am on the following workers: warehouse, dollar store, meatpackers, repo agents, fast food, taxi drivers, Walmart, coal miners, restaurant, housekeepers, home care. The American Dream, eh?

Obama announces a raise in the minimum wage

From Senator Bernie Sanders' "Bernie Buzz":

"Sen. Bernie Sanders welcomed a White House announcement today that President Obama will sign an executive order setting the minimum wage for workers under new federal contracts at $10.10 an hour. The White House also said the president would discuss the issue during tonight’s State of the Union address. 'I applaud President Obama for issuing this executive order which will raise wages for hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers. The president has made it clear that employees working for government contractors should not be paid starvation wages,' Bernie said. 'This executive order also gives us momentum for raising the minimum wage for every worker in this country to at least $10.10 an hour.'

"In September, Bernie sent a letter to the president urging him to issue an executive order to set a minimum wage for federal contractors. The senator also is a cosponsor of Senate legislation to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 from the current $7.25 an hour."


Layman Pascal complains that IPS forum is dominated by quoting and commenting on other's ideas instead of being 'original.' I replied:

I don't see how one can "generate their own content" without reference to the social pool of content. It seems a rather modernist/individualist chimera akin to the GOP and capitalist emphasis on personal and intellectual property with the specious notion of rugged individualism. That is contraindicated to the more distributed P2P paradigm wherein we of course generate individual contributions but within that social commons from which we draw.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Who supports TPP fast track besides Obama?

Jon Nichols reports that tomorrow night the President will likely address the huge income disparity in the US, as he has done before. But when it comes to how to fix it he will be at odds with his entire base if he continues to support fast tracking the TPP. Labor unions, environmental organizations and progressive legislators are unamiously against it. So who is for it? Beside corporate lackeys in Congress? The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the folks who brought you stand your ground gun laws and voter suppression bills. Is this who Obama really wants to side with on this important issue?

Colbert and Daft Punk

Since Daft Punk won record of the year at the Grammy's I'm reminded of Colbert's hilarious dance to it, below.

What Lakoff wants to see in the State of the Union address

The SOTU is tomorrow night and Lakoff wants the President to use it as an opportunity to promote a progressive agenda. Some of the things Lakoff wants to see follow, but he doubts will get in the speech:

Issue an executive order demanding government contractors pay a higher minimum wage;
Reject the Keystone pipeline on national security grounds;

Democratic Socialists of America

From the Democratic Socialists of America who include in their ranks Cornell West, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem and Bernie Sanders:

"At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people. For example, we support reforms that:
  • decrease the influence of money in politics
  • empower ordinary people in workplaces and the economy
  • restructure gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable.
We are activists committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society."

A few excerpts from "where we stand":

"We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


And no surprise, best song of the year. One interpretation of the meaning here. Another one here.

Kacey Musgraves wins some Grammys

And well deserved. Best country album and best country single. Her winning song below.

The prophetic Communist Manifesto

From chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto. Pretty prophetic, eh?

Naked, not enlightened, self-interest is the rule.

"The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has [...] left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous 'cash payment'. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation."

Along with its voracious greed run amok.

Why Americans tolerate economic abuse

Robert Reich reiterates the reasons why we don't rise up and demand economic justice. If we were to try we'd lose our jobs. And even though the middle class is earning less than they did 30 years ago, sometimes with no benefits, it's better than starving and homeless on the streets. This is a very real possibility in today's economy. Students used to be a driving force for social change but college debt is far in excess of what it used to be due to astronomical increases in tuition and other costs. Plus the job market for new graduates is pathetic. So same reason they don't activate: fear that they'll never get a job to pay of their loans, thereby permanently destroyed their credit rating.

Plus people just don't believe that government will help remedy the situation, being bought and paid for by big business which is intentionally creating the above situation to drive down wages and benefits, and decimate worker unions to fight for their rights. Big business likes keeping us in fear for our very lives because we won't fight back, we'll kowtow to the abuse and take the crumbs we are given. That way they can increase their own wealth and join the top 85 richest individuals that have more wealth than 50% of the world's population.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Crime pays for JP Morgan

Recall Senator Warren's comments here. Now see this article on CEO Dimon's raise. Are we going to sit back and tolerate this? We can speak up you know. And please do. A few excerpts below.

"Let's not mince words: Jamie Dimon's bank is, as we said last May, the scandal of our time. The crimes committed during Dimon's time in senior management include bribery, mortgage fraud, investor fraud, consumer fraud, credit card fraud, forgery, perjury, violation of sanctions against Iran and Syria, violation of laws prohibiting the bilking of active-duty service members.

"Fraud isn't the sum total of JPMorgan Chase's business plan. But with this move, the bank's directors have made it clear that fraud is inseparable from its business plan.

Amy Schumer

Senator Warren on the Truth in Settlements Act

I can't improve on her rhetoric so I'll let her speak for herself, from an email blast.

"JPMorgan Chase recently reached yet another settlement with the U.S. government -- a $13 billion deal with the Department of Justice for peddling deceptive mortgages. The banking giant broke the law, recklessly gambled with our economy, and had to pay a record government settlement. Guess what happened next? You guessed right: JPMorgan's CEO Jamie Dimon just got a 74% raise yesterday. The New York Times speculates that Dimon got the raise because of his "active role" in negotiating government settlements last year. And as Dimon put it himself, it could have been a lot worse if JPMorgan had been forced to go all the way to a trial instead of just settling.

So here's my question: If JPMorgan is so happy with their settlements that they are rewarding their CEO with a big raise, do you really think the federal bank regulators were tough enough?

There are a lot of steps we can take to push the regulators to do their jobs and hold financial institutions fully accountable when they break the law, and I think a good starting place would be by enacting the Truth in Settlements Act. This is the bill I recently introduced with Senator Coburn that would require accessible, detailed disclosures about settlement agreements so the public can hold regulators accountable -- no more hiding out behind closed doors and keeping the details secret.

Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter about the Truth in Settlements Act.

Integral Anti-Capitalism at Integral World

See my article at Integral World here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Colbert on the loss of net neutrality

Note that the buffering is part of the joke.

Libertarian Eco-Socialism

Joe Corbett has a new article at Integral World, "Libertarian Eco-Socialism." It's a good read highlighting many of the things we've explored in the IPS forum thread "Integral Anti-Capitalism." I like his following description:

"A low fossil-fuel permaculture based society organized around self-managed decentralized local communities of direct democracy federated into regional, national, and global governing bodies. Local communities would be much more energy generating and autonomous than they are today, and the people themselves would decide directly how they would live among themselves, not mediated by representatives "under the influence" of big money or far removed from the lives of the citizenry, but through the independent municipalities where they live and work in citizens' assemblies, workers councils, trade unions, and peer-2-peer cooperatives. So it's not that there wouldn't be a city, state, and national structure under an organizational mode of libertarian eco-socialism (a post-postmodern integral society), but how that structure operated within and between the parts would be vastly different.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

London Grammar - Strong

A commenter in this post led me to this video, a good one.

Petition the World Economic Forum to take action on inequality

From the Daily Kos:

Sign our petition urging the world’s top business C.E.O.’s and political leaders at the World Economic Forum to take concrete steps on inequality.

Only 85 people control as much wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion people in the world.

That is unacceptable, and right now the world’s top business executives and political leaders are meeting in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum. We can do something about it.

Sign our petition to the attendees of the World Economic Forum, demanding that they take seven concrete steps recommended by Oxfam International on how to tackle inequality.

Will they care? In November 2013, the World Economic Forum ranked widening income disparities as the second greatest worldwide risk in the coming 12 to 18 months. So here is an opportunity for these business C.E.O.’s and political leaders to do something about it.

Sign our petition to the World Economic Forum, telling them that actions speak louder than words. It is time to endorse Oxfam’s concrete steps towards fighting inequality.

Keep fighting,
Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos

Julian Walker's kennilingus critique

Julian Walker has a new kennilingus critique at Integral World. A couple of excerpts echoing well-worn criticisms in the IPS forum follow.

"The only problem is that a supposedly immaterial transcendent yet non-dual witnessing consciousness or 'Spirit' is supernatural by any other name."

"The Integral model rests on an assumption of panpsychism: consciousness is present in all matter, down to the level of electrons and quarks. It also goes one mystical step further, consciousness exists separate from and prior to the existence of the material universe."

"This idealist stance (in the philosophical sense) combines a pseudoscience sensibility with Vedantic metaphysics to create the appearance either that: a. Science somehow confirms panpsychism, or that b. the God of the Gaps argument made possible by the incompleteness of neuroscience does the same."

If you watch the Kardashians you're what's wrong with America

Sarah Silverman talks with Jesus Christ

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Voter fraud is the fraud

All of the regressive voter suppression laws argue that we need certain kinds of ID to prevent rampant voter fraud. Today the bi-partisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration laid waste to such claims. "A Justice Department study found that between 2002 and 2005, just 40 voters (out of 197 million votes cast for federal candidates) were indicted for voter fraud, and just 26 resulted in convictions or guilty pleas." Since the regressive 'reason' is utterly false then what could be their possible motive?

Senator Sanders proves that a progressive agenda is working

And how you can help to continue that progress. The following as an email from Sander showing that the 700,000 signatures on his petition to prevent cuts to social security and Medicare were instrumental in the derailing the regressively controlled House from doing just that. And this despite the incredible amount of money invested to make those cuts. Progressive issues are popular with the majority and when we speak shit happens. Sanders also invites us to join him next Monday evening to organize on these and other progressive issues to keep the progress coming. Join U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Social Security Works on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 8:00pm EST.

From Sanders: 

As I hope you know, you have been part of a successful effort to prevent major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Your help is much appreciated.

In November, a number of grass-roots organizations came together and presented Congress with a petition signed by you and more than 700,000 other Americans. The petition was clear: Do not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Do not balance the budget on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country -- the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.

And guess what happened?

Polls on progressive issues

Continuing from the last post, see this article. Some samples follow showing that if progressives stick to their guns they have winning issues in the next election. And regressives do not.

"The results from a host of polls this year indicate that Democrats can win big in future elections if they focus on progressive tax-and-spend policies that create jobs, protect Social Security and Medicare and require rich Americans and big corporations to shoulder more of the burden of supporting government.

Progressive Democrats reflect the majority

You've heard the specious spin, even from the Wall Street Democrats, that a progressive agenda can never win elections because it's too far left. Not so according to this article. See it for the details but the two charts below show that 1) more Democrats are identifying as liberal and 2) that the majority of people lean toward the Democrats. While the charts don't make the connection to the more progressive agenda of those identifying as liberal Dems it seems apparent from other polls that observe the majority support those agenda items like no cuts to social security or Medicare, and increases to the minimum wage.

More on a dialectic of differance

Here are a few excerpts from the "complexity and pomo" thread starting with this post and following quoting Montuori:

"And this is in many ways Morin’s central contribution—to point out that there are problems, such as the human/nature or two culture split, that must be approached with a radically different way of thinking, a way of thinking that, as Morin states, is not disjunctive (either/or), but connects, without the Hegelian assumption that the dialectic will always lead to a new synthesis" (10-11).

Also recall this post earlier in the thread quoting Kelly, an excerpt:

"This description leaves no doubt that vision-logic, as Wilber conceives of it, is more or less identical with the Hegelian dialectic and its process of 'sublation' (aufheben). While Morin honors Hegel for having recognized, with the dialectic, 'the existence of a principle of negativity which transforms all things, all beings, all acts into their opposites', he faults Hegel for considering contradiction a transitory 'moment' of the Aufhebung, a moment which is ultimately annulled in the 'synthesis' of the third term. Wilber’s vision-logic is subject to the same strictures, particularly insofar as it subserves the idealist metaphysics associated with the root metaphor of the Great Chain of Being. Although the notion of vision-logic represents a significant step beyond the formal-operational thinking typical of the mature (Western) mental ego, it must, like the Hegelian dialectic, 'itself be sublated in a dialogic… that instigates the interaction, through the joining in a manner at once complementary… and antagonistic, of two logics—auto-logic and eco-logic”.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Alan Grayson on our past 'free trade' deals

Grayson shows two charts that tell the story, below. The first is US trade balance 1962 - 1992, and the second since then. He said: "We have run a trade deficit of at least $350,000,000,000.00 every single year since 2000, with no end in sight. The result is that we have gutted the U.S. manufacturing base, and run up enormous debt to foreigners -- almost $6 trillion ($6,000,000,000,000.00) in U.S. Treasury debt alone. We buy their goods, putting their workers to work. They buy our assets, driving us deeper and deeper into debt." And we want to add the TPP?

Roll back Citizens United

The following is from Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

As of the 21st, Citizens United has reached it’s “fruit & flowers” anniversary -- four years of degrading our electoral process, one attack ad at a time.

Super PACs and special interest groups spend millions of dollars to influence elections. We often don’t know where they get the money. We don’t know what their true motivation is. Yet they spend enough cash to put their agenda front and center, while middle class families in Ohio -- the ones that don’t have a million dollars to spend on campaigns -- get drowned out.

I bet Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are celebrating today. You could have bought a sports team -- or maybe a small tropical island -- with the amount of money their affiliated groups spent on the last election. But we’re going to use today to reaffirm our commitment to stand against Citizens United.

On this anniversary, I'm teaming up with some of my colleagues to gather 400,000 signatures on our petition to end the effects of Citizens United. Join us -- sign the petition right now.

Questioning Laske

Continuing from this post, here are more excerpts from the ILR article linked in the last post with my commentary to follow.

"I outlined in volume 2 of Measuring Hidden Dimensions that and how cognitive development can be conceived as a progression through four epistemological eras, from Common Sense to Understanding to Reason on to Practical Wisdom. The transition between each two of these eras is characterized by the fact that steps taken in cognitive achievement are never rescinded, except perhaps in mental illness. Consequently, they gradually begin to occur in parallel, or more concisely, in layers, and arrive at their end gathered together as integrated dimensions that form a complete transformational system, with intricate relationships between them.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bhaskar 2013 ITC interview

Per this ILR article. Video below.

The Capitalism Papers, chapter 12

(Continuing from this post.) Chapters 7 - 11 continue the saga of the fatal flaws and you can read them for yourself. Chapter 12 is about possible solutions. The question again comes up whether capitalism can be reformed or is it too far gone and beyond repair. Mander goes back to the local small business providing a community service or product, divorced from the ravenous hunger of global corps. It's a matter of scale and if capitalism could be limited in scale in might not be so bad, if only we can get our (US) government to move us in that direction as it has in some other democratic socialist countries. But the US government has been bought out by the capitalists and therefore this isn't going to happen; it's up to the rest of us. So what do we do? He notes four megashifts that must occur: nature comes first; local scale; changing corporate values/structures; hybrid economics.

This is how it really works in New Jersey (uh huh)

For all you 'human resource' people (aka social engineers)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Presuppositionless integral-aperspectival triple-loops

Following up on this post, another of Laske's points is the following, from his '10 ITC paper:

"Houlgate suggests that dialectical thinking is pre-suppositionless in the sense of an attitude of mind open to being aware of, and critical of, its own assumptions, and encourages untrammeled thinking beyond the constraints of formal logic. [...] In short, any content, when considered from a pre-suppositionless stance, will spontaneously unfold its implications following the dynamic inherent in untrammeled thought itself (Adorno, 1993; 2008)" (2).

And from the ILR article:

"Negativity is a gift of human awareness that, as Hegel showed, only comes to those who are able to practice pre-suppositionless thinking (Houlgate, 2006). Such thinking is unconstrained by ideologies, habitual assumptions, single organizing principles (such as linear causalities), logical hierarchies, or anything that gets in the way of 'seeing what is before us,' as opened up through dialog and reflection (Hegel, 1812; 1969)."

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New winter Olympic sport

In Maher's New Rules below around 1:40.

And while I'm at it...

Wondrous Stories

The Slot article Balder linked used the word 'wondrous' in connection with ecstatic, aesthetic states. I don't hear or read that word used much these days, so it reminded me of one instance where it is not only used but also induces for me such a state, as follows:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Silicon-based life form

Balder informed me of a new sci-fi book, The Abolition of Species. I love good sci-fi and this looks to be a good one. I'm especially interested in a new "ceramic form of postbiological life." Which reminds me of this Star Trek episode featuring a silicon-based life form.

PA voter ID ruled unconstitutional

See this article, a victory for democracy. Supports of this strict voter ID said it was required to prevent voter fraud, the usual specious excuse. The Commonwealth Court said in overturning the law that "the state presented no evidence to support this claim." Yeah, because it has been repeatedly proven that there is no such evidence. However the evidence is clear that the type of voter ID the PA regressives enacted would disenfranchise 500,000 voters, mostly those that vote Democrat. 

On a related note, see this article on bi-partisan US Congressional legislation working of fixing the part of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court. And in that wake of that ruling led many regressive States to immediately enact similar voter ID laws to suppress the Democrat vote. We are making progress folks, but you need to get busy and speak out against such tactics and in favor of democracy or you're likely to lose it.

Laske on dialectics

I brought in Laske in a comment to this post on Cook-Greuter. I want to move that comment to this new post and expand on it further. Using excerpts from Otto Laske’s article in the Aug/Nov ’13 issue of ILR I noted the following. The first 2 paragraphs question the scientific or ‘objective’ facts claimed by developmentalists and see them more as a product of their unconscious societal biases. One of those biases is that very blindness in accepting the modernist (formal) premises of a pure objectivity apart from more subjective biases, as if science or math could get outside of context and determine the final ‘truth’ of things. [...] Another example of that is the incessant obsession with classification in the third paragraph, and that those classes are rigidly structured with clear dividing lines: you’re either in the classification or not. Laske doesn’t see this a representative of dialectical thinking but a continuation of formal logic.

Also see  Laske in this ILR article. Note Bhaskar figures prominently therein.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cook-Greuter weighs in

I've quoted the following in other threads, and since it is relevant to my last post I'll include it here. From Cook-Greuter's '13 ITC paper, “Assumptions versus assertions”:

“In ego development terms, the spiritual evolutionary message thus looks more like a representation of the shift from early conventional meaning making to a conventional, more adult mindset with many 'self-authoring' undertones --a far cry from a second-tier realization” (14).

“I wonder whether the integral movement actually lacks a basic perspective on its own American-flavored assumptions. It seems to privilege a linear, future-oriented and anthropocentric view despite its claim of being multiperspectival, trans-disciplinary and inclusive” (15).

Will the real integral please stand up?

I've referenced and quoted from this paper before, “The Mean Green Meme Hypothesis: Fact or Fiction” by Natasha Todorovic (see link). She still adheres to the original Graves Spiral Dynamics (SD) system, not Beck SDi. I think it's time to refresh some of that paper, as I continually see some false kennilingus assumptions taken for granted in the most well-meaning integralists, often elevating lower levels into higher ones based on said assumptions.

The standard kennilingus is that integral yellow (now called teal to differentiate it from SD colors) strongly reject green, having just come out of it and thereby more clearly sees it weaknesses. But the studies Todorovic did do not bear this out. Yellow has a low green reject rate and accepts it more than any other system. Graves later on in fact saw green and yellow as closely related.

The actual efffects of raising the minimum wage

The Capitalism Papers, chapter 6

(Continued from this post.) Chapter 6 is on infinite growth, finite planet. Never-ending growth is one of the defining characteristics of capitalism. There is never enough; we must always create more, want more, need more, more, more. Craving in Buddhist terms. Good girls gone bad in modern parlance. Capitalist growth requires 3 elements that are not sustainable: cheap resource base, expanding consumer markets that equate consumption with happiness, and cheap or slave labor. It's obvious that natural resources are not unlimited. And more and more people are waking up to the fact that toys don't make you happy. Even if they don't, there's only so many toys one can buy, especially when one is struggling to eat. And that we're tired of working for less than subsistence levels, even though many have to. Yes, capitalism did see enormous growth in the past due to the above factors, but those factors are running out, not to mention were dysfunctional to begin with.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Also see Robert Reich's book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. The blurb:

A brilliant new reading of the economic crisis—and a plan for dealing with the challenge of its aftermath—by one of our most trenchant and informed experts.

When the nation’s economy foundered in 2008, blame was directed almost universally at Wall Street. But Robert B. Reich suggests a different reason for the meltdown, and for a perilous road ahead. He argues that the real problem is structural: it lies in the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the top, and in a middle class that has had to go deeply into debt to maintain a decent standard of living.

Why red state workers support the companies who poison them

Robert Reich wrote about this today. The chemical spill in WV last week is a case in point. It was the third major spill in 5 years yet no action is taken to prevent future spills. Because these companies know they can get away with it due to employment prospects being so bad in this poor area. People are willing to work at slave wages and forgo workplace safety and even their health rather than upset the company who might reduce the workforce or worse, pull out of the area altogether.

Bruce Springsteen nails Governor Christie

He appeared on Fallon last night and together they did a remake of Springsteen's hit "Born to run," parodying Christie's traffic scandal.

The Capitalism Papers, chapter 5

(Continuing from this post.) Chapter 5 is on the intrinsic inequities of corporate structure. He said to be fair equality was never part of the structure in the first place, just making money. And that they do produce jobs, at least provide minimum wage, and produce goods and services useful to the economy. They can also include other options like fair labor policies and environmental concerns (triple bottom lines), but that is generally limited to smaller, private companies. The larger corps become, and especially if they are publicly traded, the less likely will they include such other options. And it is the latter that are of concern.

Corporate profits go to the owners and shareholders only, not the employees, other than their salary. Raises in salary used to be tied to performance and productivity, but as studies have shown, productivity keeps increasing and salaries have stagnated. And ofttimes shareholders are not at all involved in a corp, but just speculate on it with little to no interest in its products, services and especially its employees. If enough speculators own enough of a corps stock then they can pull it out at any time, thus creating financial havoc for the employees. This is especially true if stock prices are unethically and/or illegally manipulated, apparently the rule rather than the exception these days. Remember 2008? It's still going on.

The TPP on the environment

This article details a WikiLeaks document that reveals a draft chapter of the TPP agreement on the environment. As we've seen on other 'free trade' [sic] agreements, it makes environmental standards voluntary, with no enforcement or penalty for violations. If the final chapter of the agreement stays this way then according to the Sierra Club the Obama admin's environmental trade record will be "worse than George W. Bush's." Wow, that is bad. The US even objects to the climate change section.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Restore net neutrality

See this article on the recent DC court of appeals ruling striking down the FCC rules that previously limited private companies from being internet gatekeepers for a fee. We need to motivate the FCC to create new and better rules for this purpose to better stand up to legal scrutiny. Here's the petition from the Free Press Action Fund.

Tell the FCC: Restore Net Neutrality

An appeals court just dealt the latest blow to the open Internet. The court struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order because of the questionable legal framework the agency used when it adopted its Net Neutrality rules in 2010. This ruling means there is no one who can protect us from ISPs that block or discriminate against websites, applications or services. But there’s hope: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler can correct the agency’s past mistakes and truly protect our nation’s communications infrastructure. The agency must take the necessary steps to make broadband networks open, accessible, reliable and affordable for everyone.

Tell the FCC to start treating broadband like a communications service, and to restore its Net Neutrality rules. See this link for the petition.

The real makers and takers

The Capitalism Papers, chapter 4

(Continuing from this post.) Chapter 4 begins the section on capitalism's fatal flaws. It gives examples of corporate schizophrenia, where some of the people within them feel human compassion and accountability but corporations, not being people (except legally), have no such feelings but only the undivided purpose of making a profit. There are a few examples of corporations causing environmental disasters where the executives effuse sorrow and regret while pledging to clean it up. But inevitably they fight adequate, or sometimes any, remuneration due to the cost to the profit margin while cutting back on or abandoning costly clean up efforts. Contrary to the Supreme Court's ruling, these corporations feel nothing and are only directed by their charter, which is to make as much money as possible. The corp's humans must put aside their own feelings and get on with business.

Stop the TPP fast track

I've posted on this a few times already and will continue to do so. This is a HUGE issue that must be stopped and I will remind us often that we need to speak up about it or face further degeneration of the 98% as well as further acceleration of global climate change. From Democracy for America (we still want democracy I presume?):

At this moment, the United States and 11 other countries are, with the help of over 600 corporate "advisors," secretly negotiating a massive, controversial trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP). If passed, the TPP, which is often called "NAFTA on Steroids," would be the largest "free trade" agreement ever made.

Let me be as clear as I can: The TPP will be an unmitigated disaster for working families.

Under the TPP, it will become even easier to offshore both public and private sector American jobs, food safety standards will be weakened, drug prices will rise, and the rights and powers of the same Wall Street firms who wrecked our economy will be expanded. And that's before we even start talking about the erosion of wages, benefits and union rights we've seen happen with big trade agreements before.

The good news? Right now, we have a unique opportunity to stop the TPP by preventing the passage of so-called "fast-track trade authority," which would allow the President to ram the trade agreement through Congress without any amendments or a robust public discussion.

The Capitalism Papers, chapter 3

(Continued from this post.) Chapter 3 addresses climate change hedging by 1st world countries at climate change conferences, including and especially the US. While many accept it as occurring they nonetheless are afraid to name global capitalism as the culprit since they have to stimulate their flailing economies. E.g., Obama will apparently support climate change research but given his political environment and a stagnant economy will contradictorily support Wall Street banks and huge oil companies as necessary to stimulate said sluggish economy. In effect corporate capitalism is the accepted paradigm for any economy and given its direct impact on climate change we need to face the fact that said capitalism has to go. But no one will go there as yet, except for the progressive 'socialists' who are afraid to own up to that title in the spin war. Ironically climate change may do the job of bringing down capitalism, but at a devastating cost to us and the planet.

75 economists say raise the minimum wage

See this article. Said economists released a letter calling for the minimum wage to be increased to $10.10 per hour over the next two years, with annual adjustments for inflation thereafter. The regressive argument that employers would not hire workers if they had to pay them more has never been proven. To the contrary, in fact, increasing minimum wages provide more buying power for necessities like food and gas which actually stimulates the economy and hiring increases, in addition to allowing minimum wage earners to actually afford food and housing without government assistance. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the wage hike would create 85,000 new jobs in add $22 billion to the economy.

The fourth turning in Buddhism?

Balder started an IPS thread on the topic here, based on 'new' material by Kennilingam claiming his integral model is tantamount to the next great turning of the dharma wheel in Buddhism. Although Balder, having read a booklet on the topic, didn't find anything new. But he has yet to see all the new material so is withholding judgment.

In the thread is a link to the ad for this momentous achievement and it contains a couple videos, one by the Lingam. In that one, speaking of Nagarjuna, he said:

"The idea being to clear the mind of any and all concepts about reality so that reality itself could be directly experienced" (5:20).

Recall this from Batchelor:

"As soon as the seductive notion of 'truth' begins to permeate the discourse of the dharma, the pragmatic emphasis of the teaching risks being replaced by speculative metaphysics, and awakening comes to be seen as achieving an inner state of mind that somehow accords with an objective metaphysical 'reality'" (92).

Facial interpretation of music

At first it's funny. It stays funny but he's really quite good at interpreting the music with his face.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Capitalism Papers, chapter 2

(Continuing from this post.) Chapter 2 focuses on globalization via a centralized economic vision of the free market connecting the entire world. It was created by non-communist countries in 1944 in Breton Woods, NH in the US. In its wake the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were created, basically designed to take over the economy of poor countries and exploit them for the gain of rich countries. The global banks and corporations took advantage of this and exploited the natural resources of the poor countries for their enrichment while leaving the waste products behind to decimate the environment and the populace. Meanwhile in the US recovery from WWII involved a huge ramp up in consumerism to fuel the economy, with ad agencies leading the way selling a lifestyle that required the latest toys to make us happy. This spin included increased military spending to ramp up the economy, paying huge sums to contractors for the latest and greatest weapons of mass destruction.

The Capitalism Papers, Intro and chapter 1

See this and this previous post introducing the book The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System (Counterpoint, 2012). I'm now reading the book so will follow up here with a chapter by chapter synopsis interspersed with my commentary.
In the Introduction someone asks if their relative's local store is capitalism. Mander responds that sort of thing is not the capitalism he is criticizing. The former is more about local products and community welfare. Global capitalism is about generating wealth for wealth's sake in a never ending process of unlimited growth. And in the process buying off government to reduce or eliminate environmental laws and fair labor regulation, as well as externalize on to the commons its costs.

Chapter 1 discusses economic succession. That is, economic systems arise and flourish in certain specific circumstances, as well as flounder and die when those circumstances change, necessitating replacement by other, more appropriate systems. Capitalism requires abundant cheap natural resources and labor and we are fast running out of the former, while certainly creating more of the latter. Climate change, peak oil, resource depletion and population explosion make a continuous growth cycle unsustainable. The correlative worldview of ever increasing commodity accumulation via wealth expansion as a measure of happiness must also change.

This Magic Moment

This golden oldie popped into my head this morning via association. The below version is the one I was familiar with in my youth. It was a cover from the original version by the Drifters. Lou Reed also covers it, turning it into a country two-step beat.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Stop food stamp cuts

From the Daily Kos:

The Washington Post reports that "negotiations are almost complete on a long-overdue farm bill" and that House and Senate negotiators plan to "call for eliminating about $9 billion in funding for food stamps."

?#@*&%! But this fight is not over, not by a longshot:

Sign our petition denouncing congressional negotiators for planning to cut food stamps in order to pass a Farm Bill with massive corporate subsidies to Big Agriculture, and please share the petition widely over Facebook, Twitter and your other social networks.

Any cuts to food stamps are despicable and disgusting. Here is how we plan to stop them:

Change in popular opinion of the poor

Krugman as usual nails it. General opinion of the poor used to be dominated by the acceptance of the regressive meme that they made their own bed through lack of initiative, preference for criminal activity and dependence on the government tit. But as income has stagnated for the middle class, and with the financial collapse and subsequent rising unemployment, they are increasing finding themselves in need of some form of government assistance. Take fast food or Walmart workers, who work full time yet don't earn enough to feed their families. Yet they see their employers' profits skyrocketing to new record highs. We just don't buy the regressive spin anymore because it just doesn't match reality. Not that it ever did, since Johnson's war on poverty in the 60s actually worked. But due to our degenerating financial circumstances many more of us have been bitch slapped so much in the face we can no longer deny or ignore the facts.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Robert Reich's 10 necessary steps to improve the economy

And now for some practical advise on addressing and changing systemic problems. Reich lays out 10 reasonable and proven steps to turn around income inequality, create jobs and get the economy going again. He admits that the regressives won't do it and the Democrats don't have the balls to try. So it's up to us to get active and put pressure on our representatives, which does work if enough is applied and they know their jobs depend on it. Please listen to Reich's prescription and if you agree then get off your ass and get busy.

The Integral Theory Conference panel discussion on activism

I just listened to the ITC presentation on social and political activism. I reported on it at IPS as a running commentary as I was listening. So some of my concerns early on are addressed later on.

The first 30 minutes are mostly the panelists telling us about integral theory and how it might be applied to these domains but not one of those speakers has yet told us how they are being active in a particular area or issue, or are engaged in the political process. It seems the only activism is preaching about and selling integral theory. But I've yet to hear of any of them doing something about it (aka activism). Disconcerting so far.

 At around 33:00 the moderator comes back and says that part of the problem is that integral has so negatively reacted to green that perhaps it has missed its requisite preliminary practices like activism. Hence one needs to go back and take them up, since green is the leading edge of societal evolution and what we need to embrace if integral is ever to get a foothold. Again though, so far what may be needed but has the moderator actually engaged something specific in this regard?

Walsh's "An integral view of wisdom"

IPS forum is looking at the 2013 ITC conference papers and the above titled by Roger Walsh is one of them (here). Neelesh writes the initial post and asks at the end: "On page 4 the paper claims that trans-conceptual wisdom (Jnana) is radically and incommensurately distinct from wisdom derived from conceptual understanding? I can understand ‘radically’, but not ‘incommensurately’." My response:

This is more easily understood in light of Walsh being a kennilinguist and adopting wholesale the Lingam's notion of a radical and dualistic metaphysical distinction between (Causal) ultimate and relative ontological domains and forms of knowledge. E.g., see here. Also see the Batchelor thread for a more in-depth study of this phenomenon via Buddhism.

Dawlabani's Integral World article

Back on the first page of part I of the IPS anti-capitalism thread we discussed some of Dawlabani's SDi work starting in this post. He has a new post up at Integral World discussing his book MEMEnomics. An excerpt:

"Functional Capitalism, which is a value-systems guide to an economy designed from the Yellow and Turquoise systems, or the Second Tier of values. [...] This is the emerging Fifth MEMEnomic Cycle that is in its embryonic and introductory phases in parts of the US, Northern Europe and Germany. [...] This is the distributed intelligence of biological systems being pioneered in economics.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Jordan Luftig's pre-ITC conference speech

I was reading Luftig's pre-ITC conference speech. You'll find many of his points and recommendations have been addressed in the IPS forum. He'd likely find folks there to aid him in his quest if he'd but look around.

"Vision-logic is itself a choice. It’s our choice. As changemakers we privilege vision-logic, we prefer aperspectival reason to other modes of thinking that we deem less beautiful, good, and true. And when we exercise this choice we exert power. The implications are profound and political. The implications are normative.

"As integral thinkers and practitioners, our preferred attitude is scientific not political. Our preferred methods are descriptive not normative. Instead of negotiating the politics of our integral stance we neglect it. Instead of presencing the will to power our stance entails we pass over it. The question is why. Conflict avoidance. Confronting systemic power takes courage. It’s easier to work out someone else’s emancipation than our own. We orient from the Upper Left Quadrant, which makes us individualists more than collectivists, let alone activists.