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Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:38 pm
by d63
Last week on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver offered one of his typically spot on (sometimes profound (takes on our contemporary economy. What he crystallized for me is that what we’re dealing with as concerns Trump’s hardcore followers is a fantasy world in which we go back to the old manufacturing economy. And you can’t totally blame them. I’ve drank that Kool-Aid. As a teenager in the 70’s, the assumption was that we would either graduate (or not graduate (from high school and move into union manufacturing jobs like our parents. But that’s not what happened. We failed to anticipate the effects of an emerging global economy ushered in by developing technologies in transport and communications. So I can understand the MEGA-nut’s frustration.

But I would ask them one important question: Does any of them remember what it was like to stand in a fucking assembly line staring at the clock as it crawled to the next break or quitting time? I mean at some point or other, they have to ask their selves why it is mainly Mexican immigrants going into meat packing plants every day.

The truth is: globalism is the genie out of the bottle and there is no turning back. Even if these factories were brought back to America, it wouldn’t change anything because of automation. In other words, as John Oliver crystallized, what we’re dealing with as concerns the MEGA-nuts is a fantasy incapable of recognizing the new knowledge economy. What he pointed out is that the job market of today will require skills of a more cerebral quality, things like critical thinking skills and creativity.

And what it inspired in me was cause for hope as concerns the current threat to our democracy: the Republican Party as it now stands under Trump. And we have to think of it terms of evolutionary adaption. If the new economy requires critical thinking skills and creativity, then the MEGA-nuts are a system that can no longer be sustained, that must be naturally selected out of the system as a whole. In other words, it may well be the market (whatever issues I take with it (that makes the republican platform that unconditionally embraces the market obsolete as it should be, that is while the critical thinking skills and creativity required to thrive in the market bleeds into how people think about others, how they choose to treat them, even if it comes at their own minimal expense. It could be how we evolve from the competitive mode of the MEGA-nut and the Republican platform to the cooperative required if we are to survive as a species.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:33 pm
by d63
Dear Diary Moment 3/14/2019:

Lately I’ve been going through the latest issue of Philosophy Now which focuses on mind and self. And the most telling thing about the experience is how I feel like I’m just shutting down throughout it all –how I’m hardly inspired. And do not get me wrong: this is not some snobbish dismissal of the issue. As a Philosophy 101 thing (as well as a Philosophy Now approach), I’m perfectly aware of how important it is to any philosophical process. It’s just what Philosophy Now does. And you gotta respect them for that. I simply will not dis them.

This is more about how I’m reacting to it and an exploration of the whys. And this is important in that I’m having an equally hard time getting into more contemporary pop-philosophers such as Searle, Dennet, Nussbaum, or even Hofstadter who tend to approach philosophy in terms that would be far easier for me to understand than my holy triad: Rorty, Žižek, and Deleuze (and I mean it: damn the French and their weird/obscure philosophies anyway). It’s almost a kind of masochistic impulse on my part: I draw towards what eludes me. As I’m experiencing it, going back to Searle, Dennet, Nussbaum, and Hofstadter (or the subjects being covered by Philosophy Now (would feel like reading a lot of poetry and going back to Ginsberg’s Howl: it was a cool poem that worked for you at an early stage in your process (inspired you to explore further), but hard to bring yourself to want to go back to.

The question for me is how this came to be:

It could be that I (having the addictive personality that I have (have drawn to the elusive. It’s a little like a gambling addiction in that sense of abuse and reward. As I have described Deleuze for some time now: he’s like some beautiful French Mademoiselle that makes you believe you can have her. Then, when you approach, she turns and walks away.

On the other hand, it could be that I have worked my way beyond such issues. Still, I would have to say that I miss being engaged in such issues.

Finally, I would point out that I tend to turn on with the audio books I listen to based on recommendations from MSNBC and other more social/political sources. It becomes a matter of what I can use. It’s like I’ve pointed out before: one of the nice things about having a Democrat in the White House is that it allows me the luxury of dealing with more abstract and remote issues. But when a Republican one is in it (especially one like Trump), it’s always a call to more political action: a more social/political focus as concerns my process.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:45 pm
by d63
“But to appreciate fully the inventiveness of right-wing populism, we have to turn to the master class of the Old South. The slaveholder created a quintessential form of democratic feudalism, turning the white majority into a lordly class, sharing in the privileges and prerogatives of governing the slave class. Though the members of this ruling class knew that they were not equal to each other, they were compensated by the illusion of superiority— and the reality of rule— over the black population beneath them.” -Robin, Corey. The Reactionary Mind (p. 53). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

This basically goes to the question that Deleuze and Guatarri (via Wilhelm Reich (asked: what it is about people that seem to seek out their own oppression, to vote against their own interests. And we see it all over the con job that the republicans are selling people today. Take, for instance, the republican tax reform. As Paul Ryan sold it, it was all about putting more money in the pockets of “working families”. But that was hardly the case. You have to put in mind that Ryan was a big fan of Ayn Rand who glorified the rich: the supposed “god-like” that she was so fond of. Ryan didn’t care about working families. All he cared about was his country-club buddies whose asses he had to lick to get where he was –much like Rand. And however he may have spinned it, his retirement (his exit-stage-left (was him getting out of Dodge before the consequences of his tax reform actually took hold. We have to give him credit for being smart enough to foresee those.

And we see this all over the MAGA-trolls. Trump, too, is all about his country-club buddies. But he plays on this common archetype of the “truthful outburst” (think of the movies “Man of the Year” and “Bulworth” (as the book points out, rightwingers are notorious for adapting leftist motifs) in order to convince his followers that he is authentic. And he does it in the same manner those of the Old South did (that is while maintaining a hierarchical advantage over them): by deluding them into believing they are part of his “in-crowd”. It’s exactly what Hitler did while maintaining a distance between him and his fans.

Now add to that the power of media (how Capitalism via media sells possibility more than anything: who wants to be a millionaire?), and you get a sense of how what we are dealing with is a highly evolved form of what the Old South utilized to maintain their power over their slaves as well as the less rich whites.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:24 pm
by d63
“But to appreciate fully the inventiveness of right-wing populism, we have to turn to the master class of the Old South. The slaveholder created a quintessential form of democratic feudalism, turning the white majority into a lordly class, sharing in the privileges and prerogatives of governing the slave class. Though the members of this ruling class knew that they were not equal to each other, they were compensated by the illusion of superiority— and the reality of rule— over the black population beneath them.” -Robin, Corey. The Reactionary Mind (p. 53). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

“That school of thought contended with a second, arguably more influential, school. American slavery was not democratic, according to this line of thinking, because it offered the opportunity for personal mastery to white men. Instead, American slavery was democratic because it made every white man, slaveholder or not, a member of the ruling class by virtue of the color of his skin. In the words of Calhoun: “With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and poor, but white and black; and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.” –ibid but on p. 54

It’s like I’ve always said: when it comes to Capitalism there is nothing new under the sun. When it comes to oppression, Capitalism is little more than a more subtle approach to what despotic leaders have been doing since the beginnings of civilization. And this puts some shine on what Robin attempts to explain throughout the book: that conservatives, as a counter-revolutionary force, have always been forced to adopt revolutionary mannerisms. And the reason they have do so is because their position, in a public discourse that inherently must be about what is best for everyone, have little more to offer than what is best for them (that which is intellectually and creatively bankrupt): how they maintain power.

And where we clearly see the evolutionary legacy of the above expressed is in the privatization of the prison system and the mass incarceration of African Americans. What we are looking at is a situation in which shareholders (mostly white (are increasing their dividends through laws that tend to condemn African American men and women to the prison system –that is by keeping them in desperate situations. Of course, the rest of us white Americans who have no stake in the stock market are suppose to overlook this outright form of fascism because at least it’s not us. And in this sense, we’re as empowered as the non-slave holding whites in the old south felt.

(Afterthought: I need to associate this with Žižek’s point about jouissance through others.)

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:22 pm
by d63
In order to fully understand the dynamic at work here, we have to understand Žižek’s point about jouissance in The Plague of Fantasies. As he explains, we tend to experience pleasure through the pleasure of the other. We do it, for instance, through our children, grandchildren, and our pets. We even do it through our machines. In this case, Žižek points to our tendency to set our recording devices to record more shows than we’ll ever be able watch. It is as if we take a kind of pleasure in knowing our machines have taken some kind of pleasure in those shows that we’ll never get to experience.

And it was this same dynamic that the old south exploited in that by making non-slave holding-whites part of some “in-crowd”, the non-slave-holding whites were able to experience pleasure through those that could afford slaves. And Capitalism has perfected this dynamic via game shows, celebrity culture, legalized gambling, the glamorization of the rich, and reality TV (and who wouldn’t want to think that their life would be so interesting (so profitable (as to be worth recording for prosperity?) in that what it seems to sell best is possibility: a chance to be part of that “in-crowd”. I mean “who wants to be a millionaire”?

This is all over the case for self indulgence at work on FOX News or any Pro-Capitalist argument. It’s not a matter making their case for the cause of self-indulgence. It is, rather, a matter of snidely dismissing any argument against the cult of self-indulgence via the “in-crowd” sensibility. And that vicarious experience of pleasure is the means by which they seduce those who, from a more rational perspective, are being exploited by those higher powers and only stand to lose by supporting such powers. It's how they get them to vote against their own interests.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 9:57 pm
by d63
Dear diary moment 5/6/2019:

I’ve lately (from the perspective of a Metaphysics of Efficiency: that which is maximized by minimizing the differential between input and output (been thinking a lot about what goes on at the deepest and most micro level of things. It seems to me that, at that level, things become an either/or (in other words binary (situation in which an act either achieves an almost 100% efficiency or a zero one. And this is because of the minimal level of expectations at work.

I would return to the main influence on this conceptual scheme: my sustenance as a maintenance tech. Think about an electrical motor which consists of thousands of windings in order for it to work. Now think about any individual winding. It is either working or it is not, close to 100% efficiency or at dead zero. Now think about the collective effect of multiple windings at dead zero. As that occurs, the tech or the technology at work has to increase the energy input in order to get the same effect from that motor. And in the process, efficiency decreases by increasing the differential between the resources available to a given act and the resources gotten out.
And we see as much in life. We have these complex expectations that consist of various sub-expectations. And in the process, we find that the resources available to us force us to shut down other expectations in order to meet the needs of the expectations that are most important to us. And I understand that I am working in broad swipes here: a little (perhaps a lot (abstract and incomplete in my explanation: that, unfortunately, would take a book.

But my main point here is that it seems to me that at the micro level, things seem to work at a more on/off binary manner which (through a cumulative effect (creates the analogue effect we experience in life that works in the spectrum of the differential between input and output. It works very much like a computer.

Or have I completely confused you? Is there any chance of me being able to drop the mic right now?

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:35 pm
by d63
Dear Diary Moment 6/13/2019:

I have, lately, been listening to the audio book for Vegas Tenold’s Everything You Love Will Burn. And it is a book I cannot recommend highly enough as it has certainly widened my perspective on what is going on among white extremist groups. It’s basically a true story by a progressive journalist who managed to get access to white extremist groups while actually being truthful about his political disposition and his intentions. Just the way these people tend to acclimate to this guy is interesting enough in itself. But really interesting is the main character, one Mathew Heimbach (a.k.a. “The Little Fürher” via the Southern Poverty Law Center) who is really an interesting character who acts as a kind of guide to Tenold through the world of right-wing extremism.

Now the important thing to understand is that the book is not apologetics for the general movement. In fact, one of the things it points out repeatedly is how kind of sad and pathetic the movement is given the meetings that are always haunted by a less than expected turnout: most of what you see are barbeques and beers in empty fields that are the numerical equivalent of friendly get-togethers. On top of that, you find out that among the right-wing, the various factions are not as cohesive as you think they are. For instance, there is a lot tension and animosity between the KKK and Skinheads/neo-nazis. The KKK think the skinheads/neo-nazis are a bunch of thugs while the skinheads/neo-nazis think the KKK are outdated dinosaurs who just drink beer and have barbeques. Furthermore, the story is really funny at times which brings me to think that there may well be a movie in the book –that is should there be a group of actors and a director willing to bring it to the screen.

But the main reason I bring this up is the main character Mathew Heimbach who comes off as a reasonably intelligent and articulate guy. He is college trained. And his main agenda as a highly recognized organizer is to create a white nationalism without the antagonism of white supremacy. He, for instance, rejects the idea that whites are any better than any other race. And because of that, he is more of a separatist very much like some black activists. And there are times when his facts are actually accurate such as when he describes the plight of white people in distressed rural areas.

But like most right-wingers, while you agree with them on many particulars, it’s their focuses and conclusions that become problematic. And in this sense, Heimbach’s asset’s become his liabilities. Once again, I believe that what we are dealing with here is a threshold dynamic. What we are dealing with under Trump are people who have a very low threshold for immigration. So you have to ask what happens when people from south feel more pressure to move north either through a decaying political system or climate change which is predicted to effect equator countries first. You have to wonder how attractive a Mathew Heimbach might be to the next higher threshold that is passed.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:34 pm
by d63
“We present our data first as a series of network maps that describe news media sources and their relations to each other by different measures. We provide the more technical explanation of the methods, the data used to make these maps, and high-resolution images of each map in the online appendix.” -Benkler, Yochai; Faris, Robert; Roberts, Hal. Network Propaganda (Kindle Locations 963-965). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Okay, let me try this again since yesterday I got a little distracted and convoluted/ mucked it up. What these researchers did was a survey of the links within the various actors within the media ecosystem as a whole through both the open web (the various news outlets online (as well as social media via the number of shares of articles on these news outlets: what they referred to as actors or nodes. They then mapped them out across the spectrum of extreme left to extreme right in a way that recognized the differences between major players (MSNBC on the left, CNN, NYT, and the WSJ in the center, as well as Breitbart and FOX News on the right) and the secondary players (The Huffington Post on the left and Reddit on the right) as well as all those sources on the outliers.

And it is important to keep in mind here that this is about how these various actors interact through links and shares. And what they found out was that while the media ecosystem on left side of the spectrum extended from the far left of the spectrum to the center (established outlets with high standards of truth seeking: mainstream news outlets), the right side of the spectrum was primarily connected to its own: it was basically a system unto itself that fed off of itself in an isolated feedback loop of propaganda.

Now to give you a better sense of how this works, it is true that hyper-partisan disinformation is created on both the left and the right side of the spectrum among the outliers. But there is a difference in what results. On the left side of the spectrum, the information is passed through the ecosystem until it comes under the scrutiny of the center with high truth seeking standards where it is either validated or dismissed. On the right side, however, there is no center with high truth seeking standards. Therefore, it can pass up the propaganda pipeline to more popular news sources such as FOX News and Hannity.

And what can only result from this isolated feedback loop is radicalization under an isolated reality. This is why the right (as well as Trump (is so fixated on de-legitimizing mainstream news which lies at the center of things and is fully accredited through tradition and a high standard of fact gathering and truth telling. Once again:

Our shared reality is the reality the mainstream/center outlets are reporting on. It may well be incomplete or sometimes mistaken. But mainstream non-partisan outlets are not out to deceive us. There is no conspiracy there.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:32 pm
by d63
“Repeatedly throughout our research for this book we have encountered truly fantastical stories circulated widely in the right-wing media ecosystem, from Hillary Clinton trafficking in Haitian children to satisfy her husband’s unnatural lusts, to Hillary Clinton herself participating in pedophilia on “Orgy Island,” to John Podesta’s participation in satanic rituals, to the Uranium One story in which the special counsel investigating Russian interference in support of Donald Trump’s campaign, Robert Mueller, and the deputy attorney general who appointed him, Rod Rosenstein, were portrayed as corruptly facilitating the Obama administration’s sale of 20 percent of America’s nuclear capabilities to Russia. These are all stories reported widely in the core sites of the right wing, and polls report that substantial numbers of Republicans claim to believe these stories— whether because they actually believe them factually or because claiming to believe them is part of what identifies them as Republicans. 58 But all of these seem so ludicrously implausible that it is difficult to imagine that they are in fact intended to make people believe them, rather than simply to create a profound disorientation and disconnect from any sense that there is anyone who actually “knows the truth.” Left with nothing but this anomic disorientation, audiences can no longer tell truth from fiction, even if they want to. They are left with nothing but to choose statements that are ideologically congenial or mark them as members of the tribe. And in a world in which there is no truth, the most entertaining conspiracy theory will often win.” -Benkler, Yochai; Faris, Robert; Roberts, Hal. Network Propaganda (Kindle Locations 798-810). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Now there are basically two issues I want to address here. Therefore I will start with the one pertaining to the first part of this quote:

“Repeatedly throughout our research for this book we have encountered truly fantastical stories circulated widely in the right-wing media ecosystem, from Hillary Clinton trafficking in Haitian children to satisfy her husband’s unnatural lusts, to Hillary Clinton herself participating in pedophilia on “Orgy Island,” to John Podesta’s participation in satanic rituals, to the Uranium One story in which the special counsel investigating Russian interference in support of Donald Trump’s campaign, Robert Mueller, and the deputy attorney general who appointed him, Rod Rosenstein, were portrayed as corruptly facilitating the Obama administration’s sale of 20 percent of America’s nuclear capabilities to Russia.”

Here again we are looking at a stunted deductive process. Bill Clinton is well known for his sexual proclivities. He was clearly a sexual guy and Hillary, because of her ambitions, clearly may have engaged in some denial concerning that matter. Therefore, it would make “perfect sense” for him to express that sexuality with Haitian children and flying on the “Lolita Express” while Hillary (the hard-nosed politician (stood by and facilitated it all so that she could pursue her own agendas. But if we follow this through, that perfect sense becomes perfect nonsense because Hillary would have to be pretty goddamn stupid (which she clearly isn’t given her ambition and success (to compromise it all in such a flagrant manner.

This goes back to the point I made about this before as concerns transvestites being legally allowed to use the bathroom of their chosen gender. Given the idea, it makes “perfect sense” that some pervert might exploit the situation and dress as a woman in order to stare at women on the toilet. However, were that deductive process followed through, it would come to realize that either way a stall would always be involved. If it were woman that chose the male gender, they would not be able to use a urinal. They would have to use a stall. And if it was a male that chose the female gender, the stall is the only option in the women’s room. Therefore, the pervert would either have to be peaking over the partition or standing in front of stall staring directly at a woman going to the bathroom. Either way, lewd conduct laws would kick in.

Still, for the right-winger both scenarios work because of that “perfect sense” that allows them to shut the deductive process down and exist comfortably in their own little alternative reality.

“These are all stories reported widely in the core sites of the right wing, and polls report that substantial numbers of Republicans claim to believe these stories— whether because they actually believe them factually or because claiming to believe them is part of what identifies them as Republicans. 58 But all of these seem so ludicrously implausible that it is difficult to imagine that they are in fact intended to make people believe them, rather than simply to create a profound disorientation and disconnect from any sense that there is anyone who actually “knows the truth.” Left with nothing but this anomic disorientation, audiences can no longer tell truth from fiction, even if they want to. They are left with nothing but to choose statements that are ideologically congenial or mark them as members of the tribe. And in a world in which there is no truth, the most entertaining conspiracy theory will often win.”

This is very similar to a really interesting point made by Jason Stanley in How Fascism Works. He pointed out that if you really look into the depth of it, most conspiracy theories don’t really seem to be created to be believed. He pointed out, for example, the pizzagate situation in which a guy walked into a Washington DC pizzeria with a gun to investigate reports that Hillary Clinton was running a child prostitution ring. What he noted was how many of the people that were actually propagating this conspiracy theory demeaned the guy for acting on the report. It’s as if they put it out there not to be believed, but to create an association that tarnishes the repetition of the individual. And it makes “perfect sense” that this approach would be easily embraced by someone who has anchored their identity in being a republican or right-winger.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:19 pm
by d63
Intent: Today I want to tell a dark tale about the strange precarious situation we find ourselves in under the emerging fascism we are experiencing in America under Trump and the UK under Boris Johnson by making a comparison between our situation and that of Nazi Germany while noting the primary difference: the fact that we are the ones engaging in the evil this time.

But before I go on, I want to digress into the very Darwinism that NAZI Germany appealed to. The difference between then and now is that Germany was mainly working under the old school understanding of evolution via ‘survival of the fittest’ that resulted in a Spenserian Social Darwinism. However, as more evolved evolutionary scientists have come to understand, it’s not so much a matter of survival of the fittest (that which was based on the metaphysics of power (as eliminating unsustainable systems: the Metaphysics of Efficiency.

And if you think about it, the primary systems that are unsustainable are those that are embracing the emerging fascism in America and the UK. This should be clear from the very fact that many of the people who are embracing it are also engaged in climate change denial because they are afraid the laws we create to address it might take a little power from them in the form of money. In fact, the whole notion of white nationalism is about a desperate attempt to maintain power under a changing demographic.

The scary thing about it is that when it was NAZI Germany and Imperial Japan that were engaging in fascist evil, there was a clear demarcation and it was a lot easier to engage in the elimination of ‘unsustainable systems’. But now we’re dealing with it working within the very system we inhabit. And we would like to think that democracy (being a bloodless form of force (might save us. But just as NAZI Germany did under Hitler, these fascists are working the democratic system in order to destroy it.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:52 pm
by Jakob
You're misguided dude.

You've probably voted for an actual genocidal maniac.



She turned Libya into a slave market. On top of a lot more of actual genocide.
Trump stopped much of the genocide.

Mistakes here are not really forgivable.