Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why Americans are mad

I've always appreciated Senator Bernie Sanders' perspective, an Independent and admitted democratic socialist. The latter political orientation focuses on things like economic democracy, i.e., extending democracy to business which typically have lagged behind the democratic movement in that they are still feudal aristrocracies that empower capital owners instead of the workers. Which of course is not at all like the evil State socialism that paranoid conservatives always equate with the term "socialism," since it is a democratic people's movement, empowering the worker whereas currently they have little to none, unions having long been denuded. But even without the evil State running the show conservatives cannot abide power to the people, since that would upset the imbalance of power in the hands of the wealthy few, their primary financial overlords.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Closet socialists

Last night on Real Time Bill Maher highlighted the hypocricy of closet socialists that rail against government handouts. In his “new rules” segment (starting around 1:40) we see those who favor many favor social security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, Freddie May and Fanny Mac, corporate welfare, bailouts and farm subsidies. And what are these programs but socialism in action? And yet those same people want smaller government with fewer services. For example, 40% of people on Medicare believe they have not received any government assistance. Another example is Michelle Bachman, Republican candidate for President of the US. She denounces government hand outs for everyone else and yet her farm takes government subsidies, her counseling clinic takes Medicaid, and her mortgage was underwritten by Freddie Mac.

Financial reform bill hit by truck, life support failing

In this clip Jon Stewart makes fun of the Dodd-Frank Act, the financial reform bill that passed in Congress about a year ago. The bill is intended to remedy some of the problems that led to the financial meltdown of 2008 while protecting consumers from the types of predatory lending inherent to that fiasco. Unfortunately in the year since its passage it has been continually attacked and defunded to the point it appears to have been run over by a truck, the imagery used in this humorous satire.

Friday, July 29, 2011

There is no budget crisis

There is no Budget Crisis according to Robert Reich. It is a carefully concocted conservative lie to frame the debate in a way to get their insidious budget cuts. They have everyone believing that if we pass the debt ceiling deadline we won’t be able to meet our financial obligations. Even Obama and the Dems have fallen for this and are therefore tacitly playing into the conservative game plan. They did this by linking the budget deficit to the debt limit when they have no relationship according to Reich.
Reich grants that the percentage of debt to the overall economy is high but the remedy for this is not cutting spending on government programs but the reverse: investing in creating jobs by doing the following, for example: “exempting the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes this year and next, recreating a WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, creating an infrastructure bank, providing tax incentives for small businesses to hire, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The experience of the impossible

I will provide some more quotes from John Caputo that began with this prior post, specifically related to what he calls experience. It can in some ways be correlated to what those in the transpersonal movement call consciousness, but without the metaphysical accoutrement usually associated with the latter term. Here are some excerpts from the IPS thread referenced in my prior post on Caputo's article and again Caputo is not kind to Meillassoux:

Recall how I showed the difference between différance and Kennilingam's consciousness per se in this thread. Which might indeed be the difference between deconstrucive experience (awareness in Tom's sense?) and absolute consciousness.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WI conservatives are anti-democracy

Earlier this year the Governor of WI signed a bill requiring photo ID to vote. This requirement is especially difficult on the elderly, students, minorities and low-income voters, a voting block incidentally that typically vote for Democrats. The reason for the measure was to prevent voter fraud, and yet the Brennan Center for Justice found the voter fraud actually makes up about 44 one-millionth of 1 percent of votes cast. Nevertheless, I'm not opposed to requiring State ID to vote as long as 1) a driver's license is not required, since many cannot or do not drive, and 2) such State ID is easily obtained with proof of identity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The People speak on the debt

Monday night President Obama gave a short speech asking the American people to contact their legislators if they wanted them to work out the debt ceiling crisis, for to not do so would lead to another economic meltdown. And contact we did. Monday evening into today Congressional phone lines were jammed and several websites crashed from the traffic. Yet again we're seeing the American people motivated to get involved n the political process, something unheard of until the mass demonstrations in Wisconsin, as well as in the world, took off earlier this year. The People's movement is afoot, we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sucker Punch

In another IPS discussion Andrew referenced the movie Sucker Punch with this link to a review. The review is excellent. When I first saw the movie, not being aware of the symbolism described, I had the same gut reaction, that it was more a film about escape into fantasy in the wake of horrific abuse than about gaining freedom from said abuse. That the fantasies were about "freedom" only highlighted even more the manipulation and abuse of master/slave economic conditions, much like Americans are sold the purposely created illusion of personal freedom while being manipulated to break their backs and souls each day in their denigrating jobs for the enrichment of the owners.

The review then leads us down the rabbit hole of Monarch mind control where we get into CIA and Illuminati conspiracy theories.

Friday, July 22, 2011

From radical atheism to radical theology

John Caputo has a lengthy (93 pages!) new article in the Spring 2011 issue of JCRT (11.2) called "The return of anti-religion: from radical atheism to radical theology." Some of you Meillassoux fans might be a bit insulted! From the intro:

"Postmodern theology has come of age. It now has its own counter-movement, a new generation of philosophers marching under the flag of materialism, realism, and anti-religion who complain that the theologians are back at their old trick of appropriating attempts to kill off religion in order to make religion stronger.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ohio citizens fight back too

Back in March the Ohio governor and his conservative legislative majority enacted a union-stripping bill more insidious than that of Wisconsin. More than 350,000 public workers can no longer bargain for health care, sick time or pension benefits. But since then a grassroots people's movement went to work garnering signatures to bring the issue to a referendum vote. Today 915,000 signatures were certified and only 231,000 were necessary.

Wisconsin recalls begin

The Wisconsin people continue to lead the US to a recovery of democracy. They were the first to take action against the continual corporate onslaught being perpetrated against the American people. When Wall Street failed due to egregious criminal behavior and no one was held accountable the people did not organize in protest. When continued wars in Iraq and now Afghanistan raged on and on, the people did not organize in protest. When wages stagnated in the last 20 years and buying power dropped precipitously necessitating both adult partners in a family to work barely making ends meet, the people did not organize to protest. We've been beaten down so often that we've come to accept our fate, that the power of the rich is so great that there's nothing we can do about it, that we must go quietly into that good night of increasing poverty through financial slavery. We felt and acted defeated, and we were.

No more! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Process and Difference

Here’s an online find: Process and Difference: Between Cosmological and Poststructuralist Postmodernisms (edited by Keller and Deniell, SUNY 2002). An excerpt from Keller’s Introduction:

Some of us within the process trajectory have outgrown the terms and tenor of our own mistrust of “deconstructive postmodernism.” Within Whiteheadian thought the “lure for feeling” that poststructuralism conveys may too readily get dismissed, as though it is nothing but infatuation with modish jargon. Yet if we repress this lure as morally lightweight and philosophically incoherent, do we not caricature deconstruction?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In praise of perversion

Christophe started a thread at IPS by the above name. Following are some excerpts:


As part of my ITP Gold Star Shadow Module, I recently decided to study the meaning and non-meaning of Perversion in order to cleanse myself from any such dirty phantasmas, desires, dreams or anything else that has anything to do with this sick bastard crap shit called perversion. So I read a book, and watched a movie about said content to develop an opinion about it. The book being Janine Chasseguet-Smirguel's "Anatomy of human perversion" which gives a psychoanalytic account of the matter at hand. It was suprisingly boring to read this book. Only the original passages by "pervert"  artists (de Sade, Wilde, Carroll) provoked some bodily response in me (sic).

Lacan, as usual, gives a slightly different interpretation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The death of Open Integral

Back in June of 06 Open Integral blog was created by a number of alternative integralites opposed to Wilber's now infamous Wyatt Earp post. Members of the incipient blog included me, Ray Harris, Michel Bauwens, Mark Edwards for a time and several others. It was a hotbed of discussion for about a year, maybe year and a half. Slowly the cohesion that began as a reaction to the radical kennilinguists faded and I was left pretty much the sole remaining blogger from about 08 onwards.

Then during a software upgrade around 09 all the posts from 07 - 09 were lost from the blog. The good news was that during that period most of my posts were just copied from Integral Postmetaphysical Spirituality forum, and those of any importance were save at IPS in this thread. In 10/10 I quit posting there and started this blog, hoping to maintain OI as an archive. But due to my not owning the domain name or having any control of it at the server the domain expired 6/11. I tried to obtain it but it was too late, the server deleting the content. The good news here is that I have a copy of the early posts from 06 - 07ish, which I  may post here piecemeal as time and interest permits. Between that and the saved posts at IPS, plus this blog I'd guess that a fair % of the original blog has been saved in some  form or another.

It's too bad it had to go, now being a dead link. But death comes upon us all the time and I will just have to accept this like any other death of significance and let its memories live on in me, expressing in hopefully new ways through the life of this blog.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brian McLaren's dream

The Sunday Sermon today comes from Brian McLaren's 7/12/11 post at patheos. He had a dream that a congressman names Jim said the following:

“My fellow Americans, we are breaking faith with our deepest American traditions when we show favoritism like this. Some Wall Street bankers come to us seeking help and we invite them into closed-door sessions, adding billions to our debt to help them. But single moms and elderly folks tell us of their plight and we send them away with even less than they came with, inferring that they're lazy and selfish.

This kind of preferential bias for the rich violates the very spirit of our democracy. Look, my colleagues: wasn't this nation built through the faith and sweat of tired and poor people, yearning to breathe free? And hasn't it been the rich and privileged who have amassed more power and more wealth than ever before—convincing everyone that what's best for the billionaires is best for America?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Iceland punishes criminal bankers

Why doesn't this make media news in the US? Because our news is in bed with the government, who is in bed with the bankers. It's all just one big cluster fuck as we used to say in the military. The financial collapse of 2008 was global and affected everywhere but Iceland is apparently the only one that has the balls to do something about it. And it's time you heard about it so that the rest of us can take similar action.

This story from Pressenza reports that back in March nine people were arrested who were believed responsible for Iceland's bank disaster. This resulted from a peaceful people's revolution that began shortly after the collapse. Daily demonstrations outside Parliament forced the resignation of the Prime Minister and his conservative government. The latter were replaced by a coalition government comprised of the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left Green Movement.

Friday, July 15, 2011


In one of our IPS discussions someone said: “Derrida didn't differance his difference.” In response I pointed to a few links, like this one that says:

“Deconstruction is not a method and cannot be transformed into one….it would be irresponsible to undertake a deconstruction with a complete set of rules that need only be applied as a method to the object of deconstruction because this understanding would reduce deconstruction to a thesis of the reader that the text is then made to fit. This would be an irresponsible act of reading because it ignores the empirical facticity of the text itself - that is it becomes a prejudicial procedure that only finds what it sets out to find. To be responsible a deconstruction must carefully negotiate the empirical facticity of the text and hence respond to it. Deconstruction is not a method and this means that it is not a neat set of rules that can be applied to any text in the same way. Deconstruction is therefore not neatly transcendental because it cannot be considered separate from the contingent empirical facticity of the particular texts that any deconstruction must carefully negotiate. Each deconstruction is necessarily different.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is conscioiusness primary?

Several threads at IPS have become involved in an ongoing debate about quantum mechanics and consciousness, from quantum enlightenment to will machines ever become conscious? to Varela to ontological leaps. On p. 4 of the Varela thread I introduced some excerpts from Bitbol's essay "Is consciousness primary?," following (in NeuroQuantology, 6:1, 2008, 53 - 72). This one lays out the general theme:

The view according to which consciousness derives from a material basis (that it is so to speak secondary to special arrangements of material entities) turns out to be much weaker than what is currently believed. I will try to show that its scientific and philosophical credentials are indeed highly disputable. But in the end, I will not try to endorse any alternative metaphysical view such as “consciousness is some self-existent stuff independent from matter”, or “consciousness and matter are aspects of a common underlying stuff”, which would not be easier to support than their opposite. In line with Francisco Varela, I will rather advocate a radical change of stance regarding objectivity and subjectivity (1).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Taibbi on Obama & Wall Street

Matt Taibbi's 7/6/11 blog post highlights Frank Rich's recent article in New York magazine. Therein Rich sternly criticizes the President for letting Wall Street off the hook for its crimes. Rich was once considered a die-hard Obama supporter and now he's complaining that the President is enamored of powerful, white financiers who sycophantically courts their favor while granting not just bailouts but immunity in return.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bernie Sanders on social cuts

Keith Olbermann interviewed Bernie Sanders on 7/7/11. Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, is a self-described democratic socialist, which philosophy promotes economic democracy. In the interview Sanders discusses the suggested conservative cuts to Medicare and Social Security (SS). He explains that the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for seniors is already inadequate because they have to spend the majority of their benefits on drugs and health care, which costs are only escalating. Thus to cut the already insufficient COLA is tantamount to actual death panels, as opposed to the make-believe kind demagogued by the conservatives in the last election. And Sanders makes clear that SS has not contributed one penny to the deficit because it is funded by an employer payroll tax through worker and employer contributions and is running a surplus.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quantum questions

I want to highlight a few more excerpts from an ongoing discussion on quantum enlightenment at IPS. The conversation has often been abstruse and inscrutable but in these excerpts it took a momentary turn into intelligibility for me.


What is consciousness, this stuff de Quincey calls non-physical?  And how does it sum everything? 


Can you clarify what you're saying?  What is the everything that consciousness discloses, in your view?


It is this language "everything" that cause me confusion as well. I get a lot of what Tom says in relation to my posts elsewhere but it seems that this "whole" is a unity-in-totality we directly experience phenomenally, and this somehow and actually allows for things like instant teleportation across vast expanses of space and time. Metaphorically perhaps, but in actual physicality? It's those implications that don't make sense for me.
For example, light itself, which might "experience" a space/timelessness, has physical limitations, i.e. a measureable velocity. True, it's the measurement that interacts with the phenomena (light) that "imposes" that limitation. But I thought that was a quantum given, that there can be no separation of the phonemena from its measurement situation?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cosmological Postmodernism

This article seems like it might be a bridge to some recent threads and posts, including the “quantum” theme. It's by Sam Mickey called “Cosmological postmodernism in Whitehead, Deleuze and Derrida” (Process Studies, 37.2, Fall-Winter 2008, 24-44). He notes some similarities between the referenced authors through four concepts: event, creativity, rhizome and chaosmos. Here are some relevant excerpts:


According to Keller, a common factor in process thinking and postmodernism in general is the rejection of the modern conception of a world of self-identical substances in favor of a conception of a world characterized as "an open universe of mutually constitutive relations," that is, "a fluid nexus of mutually constitutive events".... The organism is situated in the world and receptive to all other occasions expressed throughout the entire antecedent universe. Whitehead uses the term "event" to designate "a nexus of actual occasions, interrelated in some determinate fashion in one extensive quantum" (27).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ontological leaps

Two recent IPS discussions lead me to combine them into this post, one called "No ontological  leaps" discussing a paper by de Quincey in the June 2011 issue of Integral Review, and a post by Tom called "Quantum enlightenment" based on his Integral Life post (see posts for related links). Following are some excerpts from each highlighting for me the relevant issues:

From QM


I'll try expressing QM insights from a different angle.  Start with the premise that all description is relative in a relativity that never stops, very Derrida-like.  Say I measure the height of my desk.  It's 32" high.  That measurement is a representation of "length" using inches as reference.  But what's an inch?  To answer that, I now have to measure inches relative to something else, say, the distance traveled by light in X seconds through space.  But what is light, and what is space?  Ok, now I have to define those.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Conservatives want the economy to fail

Yes, it seems like demagoguery to suggest this but time and again the facts support it; if the economy continues to fail the conservatives think they benefit in the next election. So are they that callous to the suffering of humanity in these extreme times that they would not only allow but consciously maintain those conditions at the heart of our economic woe? Let's look at some facts. Rachel Maddow pointed out in this clip that conservatives time and again make proposals for the solutions to our problems but as soon as either the President and/or the liberals agree or compromise they then reject their own proposals outright, thus creating a no-win situation.