Sunday, December 30, 2012

FBI & Wall Street conspire against Occupy Wall Street

Check out this story by Naomi Wolf. She reports that the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI inquiring into its investigation of OWL. The documents produced are at the PCJF site lined above. The documents prove that not only the FBI and local police checked into OWL but they coordinated this with the very banks OWL was protesting. WTF?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Morton's book on hyperobjects

Just checking Morton's blog it appears he'll have a new book in 2013, Hyperobjects. I'm looking forward to it. I'm guessing though that his shentong is going to metaphysicalize hyperobjects in ways I've already explored in IPS OOO thread. For example, from this Morton post:

"Hyperobjects are nonlocal: they do not manifest at a specific time and place but rather are stretched out in such a way as to challenge the idea that a thing must occupy a specific place and time."

In the same post he notes HOs cannot be perceived directly and that they create their own time. Hence they do exist in a specific time and space, albeit self-generated, but the fact that we cannot perceive it is not evidence of its non-locality, only of our inability to locate it in our limited space-time frame of reference. His first claim to non-locality smacks of a shentong prejudice that implies some kind of transcendent realm and/or consciousness as foundation for the whole shebang. Granted my thesis is not evidenced by this comments in the referenced post on HOs but garnered from my criticisms in the thread on how he mixes his shentong with his OOO.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Krugman on growth and industrial revolutions (plus Rifkin)

Krugman's recent blog post, Is Growth Over?, is of interest. He questions the assumptions of some, like the CBO, that growth will continue as it has in the past. He cites Robert Gordon's claim that growth will in fact continue to decline. Gordon shows that growth was spurred by the various industrial revolutions. The first based on steam power, and the second on fossil fuels, evidenced considerable growth. He argues though that the third, based on info tech, has not produced such a growth cycle.

Krugman though disagrees with his analysis on the third revolution and thinks smart machines might indeed lead to another cycle of growth. What Krugman did not address, nor did Gordon, is that Rifkin has also discussed these 3 revolutions, and that the energy source for the 3rd is renewable. However like Krugman the tech to organize and distribute it is indeed smart grids that are in development and making advances quite quickly.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Justice Department proves drug war is a joke

I'm coming late to this story, probably because it's from Matt Taibbi and I've not heard of it in any major news outlet, including liberal (except of course Taibb's Rolling Stone). HSBC is a British banking giant that laundered billions of dollars for drug cartels and terrorists, yet the US Justice Department accepted a monetary settlement and chose no criminal prosecutions. Yes, it was a record financial settlement of $1.9 billion, but that translates to about five weeks of their income. Not to mention the billions of dollars bank officials likely received as bribes to do the deed.

The Justice Dept's excuse?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Disseminating the marginal

I found this Bryant talk on You Tube: Texts are a factory. It's a common theme in his blog but an important one, and to see and hear him adds a personal dimension otherwise missing. Basically text as factory is how texts disseminate or not, and how academia in particular is a very insular world that does not disseminate ideas antithetical to its program.

End of the world paranoia wrong, again

We just had the Mayan nonsense proven wrong. Yet this will not stop believers, since they find some way to rationalize and maintain their false beliefs. We can let facts get in the way, now can we? So Krugman compares this to those conservative economists who have predicting doom and gloom for ages. And they too are always wrong and don't let that get in the way of their ideology. So it goes with the deficit hawks claiming interest rates will skyrocket during this recession. Given they cannot accept the cognitive dissonance and change Krugman says perhaps it's time we stop taking them seriously.

Btw, recall this phenomenon is not equally applicable to all people. Recall this study (#12), but one of several, that shows progressives just don't have this problem to anywhere near the same degree as regressives.

Merry Christmas

And per the onticological Santa, O O O!  May your ipseity be unique yet always bound to all your relations. (Thought I'd throw in a little native American there too to balance tOOOp-heavy onti-Santa.)

Monday, December 24, 2012



Michael Moore on guns

He offers some surprising and astute analysis. For example, this:

"And here's the dirty little fact none of us liberals want to discuss: The killer only ceased his slaughter when he saw that cops were swarming onto the school grounds -- i.e, the men with the guns. When he saw the guns a-coming, he stopped the bloodshed and killed himself. Guns on police officers prevented another 20 or 40 or 100 deaths from happening. Guns sometimes work."

This doesn't stop him from supporting banning assault rifles or high-capacity clips. He goes to note that Canada has a lot of guns with a lower murder rate. And kids in the UK watch the same violent movies and games, yet their murder rate is far lower. So he examines some of the deeper and accepted American behavior that might be instrumental in our astounding murder rates. Very eye-opening. Give it a read.


Imagine Dragons. Very interesting video, given the theme of Les Miserables (opening tomorrow) and the proletariat revolution, coming soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Zero Dark Thirty and torture

I plan to see this film, since as a film it's getting great reviews and Oscar buzz. Plus I loved The Hurt Locker. But there has been much debate that torture was portrayed as having a direct link to finding bin Laden, which just ain't true. As but one of several examples, see this fine review by Alex Gibney questioning this portrayal. He starts off by noting that Senators Carl Levin, Dianne Feinstein and John McCain wrote a letter to the producers claiming that such portrayal perpetuated the myth of torture's effectiveness. And the Senate Intelligence Committee's own report showed torture did not lead to bin Laden. Gibney explores in depth the facts, and how the producers of ZD30 were biased by the views of those in the CIA who favor torture but granted significant access to other factual details of the investigation. While I still want to see it as a good film, I must agree with those that criticize the producers for not showing the much more overwhelming evidence refuting the efficacy of torture.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Atheism is NOT a religion

Bill Maher humorously sets straight this specious non-argument.

Lawrence O'Donnell rightfully rips LaPierre a new NRA-hole

And deservedly so. NRA President LaPierre made a statement on Friday in the aftermath of the most recent shooting tragedy at Newton. O'Donnell rightfully did not mince words in his lengthy response. This NRA-hole blamed everyone and everything for such massacres except its leading cause, guns. Instead of suggesting reasonable gun control on things like assault rifles and high-capacity clips the NRA-hole instead lobbied for more guns, saying everyone should have one. His solution for school shootings is to have an armed policemen in all of them. Never mind that Columbine High School had such an armed guard and was unable to stop the killing spree there. These guards are armed not with assault rifles with high-capacity clips but with hand guns, so they cannot stop them.

Friday, December 21, 2012

What was in the failed regressive Plan B?

As you've no doubt heard--if you have any interest in US politics and how it affects your life--is that Boehner's Plan B could not get enough votes to pass the House. While it would have raised tax rates on those making over $1 million it was cruel and unusual punishment for the majority of Americans, and nowhere near the compromise that Boehner and the President were working on. So just what was in Plan B that was so insidious? Let's see what the White House said:

Those making over $1 million would actually get an average of a $50,000 tax cut.

Raises taxes on the middle-class by an average $1,000 by eliminating the American Opportunity Tax Credit and improvements to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Bhaskar's epistemic fallacy

In response to my previous post I commented in the IPS Bhaskar-Meta-Reality thread:

"Ironic that Bhaskar is now committing the epistemic fallacy from the other end." Balder agree, after which I provided some references to this topic from the OOO thread:

Recall this post and the 2 following from the OOO thread.

Reply by theurj on May 10, 2012 at 9:17am
At the end of Brant's post on materialism I asked him about Bhaskar's turn to meta-reality, and how this might or not relate to his onticology. He merely responded with a short clip from a more recent post on hominid ecology, basically implying (I guess?) that Bhaskar's new stuff sees nature and culture operating as two completely different paradigms, and that the former is "governed entirely by brute matter (a now outmoded conception of matter) and mechanical causality (an outmoded notion of causality)."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Obama back to unnecessary and effete compromise

President Obama must have a serious dysfunction when it comes to bargaining with those that will not budge. He just won reelection based on the majority of Americans disagreeing with the regressive agenda on taxes and spending cuts. So what does he do? He turns around and in his first new test gives in unnecessarily to the very things he not only won on but promised to stick to in negotiations on the fiscal cliff. As a prime example, why is he even considering offering up a significant reduction is social security cost of living increases that will harm our most vulnerable and valuable constituency, our elderly? Robert Reich makes clear that social security has nothing to do with the deficit, as did Ronald Reagan before him.

Congressional Progressive Caucus says NO to social security cuts

The CPC will not abide the bullshit "chained" inflation calculation that will cut social security benefits. What they say is below. Then support them, and those that depend on the social security they paid for, by signing the petition, thanks.

Rep. Keith Ellison (Co-Chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus): “I am committed to standing against any benefit cuts to programs Americans rely on and tying Social Security benefits to chained CPI is a benefit cut." (Full quote)

Rep. Raul Grijalva (Co-Chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus): "Chained CPI makes life harder for millions of retirees, weakens Social Security and doesn’t reduce the deficit by a penny. It’s a Beltway fig leaf that I will never support, and I call on my colleagues to make their feelings known as soon as possible before this becomes yet another piece of conventional wisdom that makes things worse." (Full quote)

The epistemic fallacy and no/full access to Reality

Bryant's recent post on cynicism is interesting. As he was criticizing academic critique I kept thinking that in a way it sounds a lot like one of my criticisms of religion, including Buddhism. I.e., religions tend to be based on sin, or at least that this world is fallen, or perhaps that our regular mind is obstruction, etc. Sure enough he makes this connection, in that every position one might take is rife with hidden motives and agendas, "that everything is stained and dirty" and therefore pomo critique has "become the mirror image of the theologians." The difference of course is that pomo finds no transcendent truth that one can apprehend behind the facades, whereas theology (including Buddhism) posits such a Reality with direct access.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Petition Obama to take social security off the table

From the Daily Kos:

Please send an email to President Obama urging him to take Social Security cuts off the table in fiscal showdown negotiations.

In his most recent attempt to strike a deal with Republicans, President Obama has proposed new cuts to Social Security by switching to the chained consumer price index, which would reduce benefits for current and future recipients of the program, with benefits shrinking further over time.

This proposed benefit cut goes against previous statements from the White House which indicated that Social Security cuts would not be part of negotiations because Social Security is not the cause of or solution to our budget woes. On November 26, 2012, White House spokesperson Jay Carney stated, “Social Security is not currently a driver of the deficit. That's an economic fact.”

Cutting Social Security benefits for millions of vulnerable Americans is not an acceptable compromise and does not address economic problems.

Please, send an email to President Obama asking him to drop his proposed cuts to Social Security.

Keep fighting,
Joan McCarter, Daily Kos

Democratic socialism

Now is a good time to recall this previous post on democratic socialism:

What is democratic socialism? To clear up conservative misconceptions of what the term socialist means, the following is from the Democratic Socialists of America FAQ. Note the key adjective democratic, a concept grossly lacking in conservative policies. They oppose State-run social planning like Russia or Eastern Europe; instead they favor democratically owned and operated businesses within a market-based economy. This will not replace private business but it will strengthen public regulations and tax structures to hold them accountable. They list as examples of democratic socialist policies those of western Europe and Scandinavia, the latter of which leads the way in the world happiness index. In the US the political faction most aligned with their agenda is the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who authored the Budget for All (compare with the moral issues of Ryan's budget). And most importantly, they insist on wearing the term socialist as a badge of honor instead of running from the conservative framing. We must learn to frame this correctly based on the humane and people-centered morality that motivates its policies. And be proud to wear the term once correctly defined. See the DSA FAQ linked above for more.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Capitalism must die

Here is one democratic socialist take consistent with recent blog posts:

“The really inconvenient truth is that there is no possible way to accomplish any, much less all, of these things [see article] other than by breaking with the underlying logic of the accumulation of capital.... What is required both for long-term human survival, and for the creation of a new condition of 'plenitude,' is a smaller ecological footprint for the global economy, coupled with a system of comprehensive social, technological, and economic planning—one that is of, by, and for the people [i.e., democratic]. It means abandonment of the myth of absolute economic growth as the panacea for all of society’s ills, and the downshift to a sustainable, steady-state economy rooted in the development of human community rather than individual accumulation."

Also recall this post on The Simpler Way. In this article on capitalism Trainer said:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Simpler Way

I just read Ted Trainer's review of Reinventing Fire. He, like Smil, criticizes Lovins for his unrealistic projections and not supporting them with empirical data. However Trainer says:

"Critiques like this do not imply that renewable energy should be abandoned. My view is that we can and should transition to 100% renewable energy, and that we could run an idyllic society on it...but only if we scrap the commitment to economic growth, market domination, globalisation, capitalism and affluent lifestyles, and instead adopted the basic principles of The Simpler Way."

The last link has quite a few resources. Even though I'm new to Trainer I hear several of my own arguments therein. From the Intro at the link:

Rifkin on the entropy bill and economics

Continuing from this post, Rifkin talks about the entropy created by fossil fuels. Yes, using them as an energy source also creates an 'order' on one side of the equation in terms of electricity that runs so many useful things. But fossil fuels are a finite resource, and more importantly they create a huge entropy bill on the other side of the equation. A bill quite unlike that created by renewable energy sources. The following is from one of Rifkin's interviews where he incorporates entropy into economics. The lead-in says this:

"In his book, Mr. Rifkin takes on Adam Smith, challenging classical economic theory with the contention that it does not take thermodynamics into account. The Third Industrial Revolution presents economic theory that incorporates entropy and the relationship between commerce and the planet."


Friday, December 14, 2012

Leaked IPCC report fodder for fanatics

By now you're heard of the leaked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change draft report claiming it proves the sun and cosmic rays are the cause of global warming, not man-made causes. Thing is, that is not what the draft report says. At all. One has to have a very twisted ideology to come to such a specious conclusion. I'm not adept in the science to report accurately so I'll instead refer you to this story on the science of the draft report.

GOP death spiral

Paul Krugman's blog post today as usual is correct: The Republican Party is dying and destined for oblivion. for the last 30 years it has increasingly come under the spell of ideologues bent on destroying the welfare state. They've been trying to do this with their incremental agenda of cutting taxes, thereby intentionally cutting government revenue, creating deficits and then calling for cuts to these programs when the government comes up short. The big problem is that all the programs they want to kill are incredibly popular, like Medicare, Medicaid and social security.

Entropy, energy and the 'distributed' paradigm shift

Bryant's recent post on social ecology and entropy is instructive. He acknowledges that entropy is a determining factor, not just in terms of decay but as how assemblages are ordered to ward it off. And such order requires huge amounts of energy to do so. In current industrial societies that energetic engine that runs everything is fossil fuels, which of course doesn't just enable certain enactions but constrains them as well. And it is here that Rifkin's renewable energy infrastructure program indeed changes a host of the dynamics constraining the basics of how we might make a living and the time constraints on our lives. Rifkin's whole distributed paradigm changes how energy is owned, stored and operated, which in turn changes society's power relations. Also if we are generating our own energy source's it changes how much we need to work to pay for corporate energy prices, thereby having more leisure time to inform ourselves to be responsive and responsible citizens. By changing the energy infrastructure we change everything.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The corporate right to ass rape you law

George Lakoff has a new article on the recently passed Michigan law on unions. He prefers to call it the "corporate servitude law" instead of "right to work." He argues that how we frame it determines how people respond. He lays out the actual rights this law undoes: living wages, equal pay, pensions, negotiation on working conditions, overtime. It does so by defunding unions, who provided all the above rights, as well as weekends off, vacations, family and medical leave. Which is of course the real regressive agenda, to further disempower and ultimately destroy the last vestiges of unions so that they can return to their Fuedal glory of indentured servitude. So I'm going to call it by a yet clearer framing: the corporate right to ass rape you law. And no, that isn't an exaggeration. Instead of getting out the lube I prefer to fight back and defeat these bastards for it is they who must be overcome, not unions.

The Ken Wilber biography project

Mary notified IPS about the above project. My initial response: There is no question that Wilber is a significant player in the so-called integral (AQAL) worldview. But when integrality is more broadly construed he is hardly the "most important philosopher of our time." There is still a sickening hubris inherent to the kennlinguists that live inside a very small bubble, sort of like the Republicans, that just cannot see a wider, more comprehensive view. And all the more ironic given their claim to the most comprehensive view the world has ever known.

Academia is not politics

Bryant has yet another rant against academia because it doesn't deal with the material infrastructure of the circumstances of our lives. Perhaps so for academia but this is not the case in politics, which he seems at times to lump in to the same category. Politics is all about policy, which isn't just theory or ideology but how to enact the very infrastructural material of our lives via tax codes, economic stimulus, job creation, the later of which includes building and repairing the very types of infrastructure Bryant talks about, like roads and bridges. Ironically it seems Bryant is often guilty of the very thing he criticizes about academia when it comes to politics, for he addresses it merely as an academic exercise instead of getting involved in the grit of getting politicians elected that would enact the very sort of policies that change the infrastructure of the lives of the 98% while making the 2% pay their fair share.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Please proceed, regressives

Recall during the second debate between Obama and Romney where Romney went after the President about the word "terrorism" in the latter's initial response to the Libyan embassy attack. As Romney continued to further insert foot into mouth the President said confidently: "Please proceed, Governor." I suggest we apply this strategy to the entire regressive worldview, which after the election is struggling to explain how it was possible. They continue to look for any excuse like it was Romney, or it was their framing, all to avoid the real reason: The majority of Americans tire of their regressive policies as expressed by their regressive worldview.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Climate change, renewable energy, policy, jobs and Hillary

It seems unlikely that the Obama administration will do much toward climate change. Yes, he's done some piecemeal things like promote better fuel efficiency. But overall the subject is way back burner, not even mentioned in the campaign. It's still some far off pipe dream and we need to be realistic about practical energy sources like nuclear and "clean coal" (oxymoron). Bullshit!

Even some that promote renewable energy have doubts about how long a transition away from fossil fuels will take. In this article Smil supports the transition: "The quest for non­carbon sources of electricity is highly desirable, and eventually such sources will predominate."  But he adds:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Congressional Progressive Caucus on tax reform

With the looming fiscal cliff the CPC as usual has the most reasonable approach for the people, meaning the 98% of the rest of us. See this link for the details. The bullet points and highlights follow:

Corporate Tax Reform Principles

1. Revenue Positive: Plain and simple, the corporate contribution to our deficit reduction must increase from the status quo. As a share of GDP, corporate taxes have fallen from 4.7% in the 1950s to a scant 1.9% from 2000-2009.

2. Promote Responsible Corporate Behavior: We must eliminate tax loopholes that encourage reckless and undesirable behavior such as the overuse of debt financing and tax sheltering, and explore commonsense revenue streams like putting a price on carbon pollution or enacting a small financial transactions tax to reduce market volatility. We should also repeal the more than $95 billion in special tax breaks we are scheduled to give away to the established, highly profitable fossil fuel industry over the next ten years.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ann Coulter agrees with raising taxes on the rich!

You know the war is being won with such pronouncements as this from one of the frothiest of regressive mouth-foamers. She stunned fellow regressive bubble resident Hannity by admitting "we lost the election" and therefore need to give in on raising the top marginal tax rate lest the GOP be rightly perceived as lackeys for the rich at the expense of the rest of us. This election had consequences, one of which is that the regressive bubble is starting to burst and the likes of Coulter are at the very least admitting that they have a  perception problem, even if they still maintain such heinous policies.

Right to work State stats

The Michigan legislature recently passed right to work laws amidst raucous demonstrations. Proponents speciously argue that such laws lead to more prosperity. Of course they don't tell you that such prosperity goes to the top 1% and no one else. Let's take a look at some facts on right to work states from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that belie the regressive bullshit.

Only one of the ten States with the highest income per capita is right to work.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jordan and Tatiana keep getting better

Holy crap, amazing! Not only did they win the US Open Classic division yet again, they did so with an ever increasingly creative and exciting routine.They just keep getting better and better, which is incredible since they are the best in the last several years. Truly awe-inspiring.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Republicans think Acorn stole the election

Yes, we've heard all the stories about how Republican polls show they are less informed than others, as well as believe in total nonsense like Obama is a Muslim and wasn't born in the US. Or that there is no climate change or that they're going to win the election in a landslide. Now this from Public Policy Polling which shows 49% of them actually think Acorn stole the election for Obama, an organization that has been defunct for 2 years! And we're supposed to compromise with people who have lost touch with reality? Come on.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Krugman on serious GOP cruelty

He's right again. Regressives only think that hurting vulnerable people is "serious" fiscal policy. Meanwhile Obamacare does quite a bit to curb Medicare costs without sacrificing benefits or eligibility. Again I say how can we compromise with that sort of sick regressive shit? We cannot. We must defeat it.

Crying by Roy Orbison and K.D. Lang


Monday, December 3, 2012

Robert Reich's 8 progressive principles for the cliff

Reich is at it again with another concise video on what progressives need to do in the fiscal cliff debate. Below are the highlights. See the video for some elaboration.

1. Hold your ground on increased taxes for the rich.
2. No deal is better than a bad deal so go over the cliff.
3. Once over the cliff, have a vote on tax cuts for the lower and middle classes only.
4. Don't accept the regressive promise to just limit tax deductions on the wealthy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Disturbing climate change report

See this recent report. It appears we really don't have the time to take our time in the transition to fairly clean renewable energy. Not even with transitional energies like gas from fracking, as this report notes the amount of methane released into the atmosphere means "its greenhouse-gas footprint is worse than coal or oil for timescales of less than fifty years."* This is not just a scare tactic but a significant consensus of scientists on the dire yet irrefutable facts.

* The wiki article notes that other reports challenge this, with a response from the original report that makes this claim. One of the challengers notes that the actual carbon footprint is perhaps 1/2 to 1/3 that of coal. Even if true given the acceleration of increasing heat perhaps we might consider if such a footprint is acceptable?

Derrida and Wilber at the crossroads of metaphysics

See update below:

Gregory Desilet has a new article at Integral World, originally written to appear in Dancing with Sophia: Integral Philosophy on the Verge. I don't know if its publication at Integral World will preclude its publication in the latter. An excerpt:

"This study argues instead that Wilber fails to formulate a science of spirituality consistent with his claims for the potential of such a science to relieve problems of verification and uncertainty. More specifically it maintains that Wilber's claim to have ventured into the realm of post-metaphysical thinking overreaches, that his spiritual orientation remains grounded in classical metaphysics, and that his belief in the post-metaphysical nature of his spirituality and philosophy depends on questionable assumptions about both metaphysics and postmodernism."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reagan liberal by today's regressive standards

Al Sharpton lays bare that the supposed hero of the GOP, Ronald Reagan, wouldn't be accepted in their Party today, despite the apparent worship. For example, today's regressives want to "reform" (cut) social security when there's nothing wrong with it. Nothing. Here's Reagan on the topic (see the video):

"Social security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employers and employees. If you reduce the outgo of social security that money would not go into the general fund or reduce the deficit. If would go into the social security trust fund. So social security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit."

Fitting consciousness to socio-economics

Given my latest posts on Rifkin's TIR I re-read some of my previous IPS posts on socio-economic development and the consciousness that accompanies those stages. They can be found here and following, and are re-printed below.

I don't deny the benefits of capitalism and in fact see them as necessary prerequisite for socialism and communism, as did Marx. If you've read any Marx, and most Americans have not, socialism is based on democracy, a much more humane one that comes from capitalism. And communism must also be based on democracy. Humanity has not yet seen the kind of communism Marx envisioned, and the ones calling themselves by that name were indeed not based on democracy but by powerful State elites. What we do have ample evidence for is the next stage after capitalism, social democracy, which has proven quite effective in many countries. And a Marxian communism can only grow from this.