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patrice's Journal
patrice's Journal
October 12, 2012

Well, I disagree strongly that they are the same, all of them. You can make a case for it's the same

system, more or less, ever since 1787. We interact with different characteristics, Democratic or Republican, of the same system, like you can interact with what a person makes with his/her hands differently from how you might interact with words they speak, same person, different functions; same socio-cultural-political system, different functions known as Democratic and Republican.

Since it is the same system, there is an aspect of that system that may have more direct bearing on what happens than secondary traits of that system like political parties and the systemic trait that has more bearing on what happens is the people themselves and what the people do or don't do.

With the creation of our constitutional republic in 1787, what the people do or don't do in their own governance includes representation. In the case of the American Constitution that would be more or less democratically selected representation, which, in the selection thereof and the effects of that selection is an important instance of doing, that is, what the people of the republic do.

Since it is that doing that makes the system what it is, doing is more important than this or that political party, more fundamental than candidates of whatever stripe, and therein "lies the rub". If the candidates/parties dis-satisfy, it would be more fundamental to address those problems in their root causes, what the people are or are not doing: educating themselves and others on the issues? working to know their communities for their own sake and not as some means to some other ends? finding, vetting, and working for appropriate candidates? communicating with elected, other office holders, and community leaders honestly, assiduously, consistently, and continuously? voting in primaries and general elections? assisting others in the vote? . . . just a few responsibilities of what the American people should be doing. What is your estimation of how well these responsible behaviors have been/are being met?

My estimation of that, my estimation of the people doing what is needed for candidates and system to become what we need, is very, very, very low. So, I ask you to consider that fact when you attack this or that candidate and make generalized statements intended to compare political parties. Let us consider the root causes, fundamentals of the system, and assess those for their effects upon other traits, like parties and candidates. Let's assess them honestly and admit the fact that if anywhere near even 1/3 of Americans were more fully active at all times, aware, and responsible at all times in their civic responsibilities to do the tasks of citizenship and authentic engagement in the people and issues of our lives, the parties, the candidates, and self-government itself would be much more authentic. Things are screwed up in all of this, because waaaaaaaaaaay too many of us are screwed up in our behaviors and lying about it, thus making not much more than perpetual victims of one sort or another out of ourselves and others, no matter what party/candidate, wearing whatever label, we are supposed to believe is the cause of it all, when it is indeed us who are, or are not, the ones we have been waiting for.

October 11, 2012

I am part of a huge family, so I know some of these people personally. There is a lot that begins,

and ends unfortunately, in temperament, which in some of its more extreme types can have the most absolutely obdurate vindictive traits imaginable. These are the people about whom it is said, TTE, "S/he will cut his/her own nose off to spite YOUR face" and they really really are a small, very small, but because they are intractable a very powerful, minority and, unfortunately, I think they know this and are of the type who see this trait as proof of their personal worth, unlike most others who would regard such a trait in themselves as a flaw known as bullying.

Extremes in temperament are the minority, most people's temperaments are more combinations of factors, so their responses to being "bent over and violated" vary more in terms of what's in it for them at any given moment. Another unfortunate fact about that is that intermittent reinforcers/rewards are much more powerful than regular, predictable, rewards, so these more moderate temperaments will keep on running the rat race against socialism and for aristocracy as long as there is some expectation of gratification of one type or another.

Personally, I think it is also true that these less extreme minds, in response to "being bent over and violated", cannot be characterized in a monolithic way, even if they are characterized as moderate. That means for every trait we posit, such as the expectation of a reward, there's also a reciprocal of that trait that is inhibited in favor of the dominant trait, i.e. resentment vs. gratification. Those inhibited responses are not 0. They ARE there in those individual "systems" that we call an individual's personality; they may go un-recognized, un-validated, but that does not mean that the effects of the frustration, the effects of "being bent over and violated" are not there. And it also does pose the very real possibility that those effects can be triggered in uncontrollable ways, ways that historically have resulted in things like lynchings or beating certain kinds of young men to death and leaving them "crucified" in city gutters or on remote fences in the dead of winter.

So people are getting SOME (intermittent) rewards for bending over and being violated, while, at the same time, they have responses to that bargain that they either actively suppress, ignore, deny, or lie about. What motivates, what triggers these inhibited negative reactions to the deal?

Obviously, those suppressed and oppressed frustrations can include a nearly infinite number of triggers individually, and we also should consider them in terms of the aggregate valence too, not just as individual instances of this or that pain or anger or sadness or vulnerability or disappointment or . . . . , but also as entire systems of those sorts of things that we are not allowed to validate except in socially acceptable ways that don't address root causes.

IMHO, that sum-total of being bent over and violated, for any given person let alone for whole societies, can be so big, so saturated and hence un-satisfied with more, and More, and MORE from acceptable outlets/substitutions/rewards, that it is a threat to one's/the group's very existence to even recognize that it exists, let alone DO anything about it, besides, perhaps drink or take drugs. So much of a threat also because, incidentally, recognition of that pain and frustration negates EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN SACRIFICED TO CONTROLLING IT for the sake of (intermittent - and thus anxiety provoking) "food pellets"/rewards.

We have to think what it feels like, mistaken or otherwise, to look at one's life and say, TTE, "I sacrificed ___________________________ in order to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and now I no longer want _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and whatever ___________________________ was it is so lost to me that I'm not even sure what it was, nor how to go about discovering that, let alone what to do about it."

IMO, the answers to these very organic very real problems can be found in opportunities for self-chosen, self-guided entirely/fundamentally new ways of living and, because, we are talking about LIVING here, and not just another re-manifestation of the survival of the fittest rat race under different labels, again, because this must be about LIVING, those opportunities to construct new, more authentically satisfying ways of getting along in the world and with other people, should very definitely include guarantees of some basic relationships in the group in which all of that will occur and those guarantees should be for REAL VALUES (in the sense in which Adam Smith meant that in The Wealth of Nations), i.e. Real Values, such as: Universal, comprehensive, appropriate, authentic, cradle-to-grave Health Care, Education, and Social Security and Valid & Reliable local and national security.

As far as the economic assumptions that keep people "bent over and violated", my family experiences have lead me to wonder if it wouldn't be effective to authentically examine the assumptions that exclude the possibility that there are a whole LOT of people who would very likely exchange some of that FALSE VALUE, known as money, which they are bending over and being violated for, for Real Values of the sort that I sketch above. Answers to this question could provide some very practical problem solving and even set many more people free to participate in those solutions in ways that make them and others more happy.

September 26, 2012

One of the biggest mistakes made about postmodernism is that it isn't as nihilistic as some people

try to make it. It's also over, btw, anyway, but one of the things that postmodernism lead to, the absurdists, pointed an accusatory finger at what was going on, in effect, shining a light on the absurdity of absolute relativism, e.g. Derrida. Personally, I refer to the observation that there are no absolutes and that statement is so true that not even it is an absolute.

The POINT of Estragon sitting there waiting for Godot is that we realize that WE ARE SITTING THERE WAITING FOR ESTRAGON WHO IS SITTING THERE WAITING FOR GODOT, i.e. that whatever it/anything "means", that isn't the thing itself; it's a construct that is supposed to be ABOUT the thing itself, which is life. AS a construct, it can be taken apart, which is what Absurdism, and most notably Waiting for Godot was an example of, i.e. taking the construct apart, but because, once you have it all apart, you notice that there's something else, you notice there's this unidentified (unidentified, because you have just deconstructed meaning) event going on.

That event is life and because it no longer has constructed meanings, not even the meaning known as "The Enlightenment", because it no longer has constructed meanings, it is free and it can be met for what it is IN ITSELF and it is in that meeting that one discovers the authentic universalities, not the constructed ones that you refer to, that is, the universalities that come from an event that we have labeled "life" itself FOR itself and for NO other reason or justification.

Personally, it is that realization that gives me a passion for science, because science is about that non-constructed event. Science is open-ended; all it has is a process. This is also one of the reasons that it is said that authentic deconstruction leads to authentic re-construction and that's the result of personal identification that is possible because it accepts no meanings, it deconstructs all acquired meanings, in order to re-construct them out of organic authenticity.

You may have seen me refer to this around here, "Don't mistake the words, any words for that matter, for what the words, any words, ONLY refer to." Think of what it all was before the words, or what it would be without the words. That's where postmodernist relativism lead us and that is a WHOLE phenomenon, not the fractured self-serving nihilism of Derrida et al.

September 19, 2012

I personally know people who are absolutely convinced that he is going to disappear them.

And, in regards to this particular president, this law has been on the books ever since the 2002 AUMF.

Odd, that suddenly everyone is so interested the DRY bones of Habeas Corpus, which died in the Fall of 2002, with barely a nod from anyone. Quite interesting.

Honestly, I DO understand most people's concerns and credit them as much as I can, but there's one thing missing from everything I have seen about this. What does he do about current risks to the security of this land? current and future risks that are rooted in the current?

I (and many like me) am completely capable of handling all of the liberty I can find, others aren't and our history of "exceptionalism" in the world, especially our more recent activities in which we killed and enabled the killing of a few million INNOCENT Muslims, means something to the dysfunctional, who are at a disadvantage against superPAC powers, domestic and foreign, who can bank anywhere on Earth. Do you really think Romney is somekind of mistake?

Now you and I may be willing to take our chances against this situation (we'll just cure this patient with our ideological vibes), so we can rail against this process in which THIS President works out the legal parameters, through several rounds of this kind of stuff over the next several years, for a law that has been on the books ever since 2002, something that was absolutely going to happen one way or another anyway, because that's how it IS done in the legal universe.

We can rail and some of us can do the ignorant single-issue voter thing (after-all we're Americans we can do WHATEVER we want, fuck the difference between what wanting is and what actual freedom is). Yeah, the purists can get all high on purity and defend _______________________ (while __________________ likely gets blind-sided anyway from another direction, mind you). And we may even be right about all of that.

But the guy who is President has to represent ALL of the people who don't know, or if they do, they quite simply want the land protected. Why are their lives/their desires less valuable than yours or anyone else's lives? If they are in danger, shouldn't THEY be allowed to choose their own consequences? Or should some intellectual/political/economic plutocracy force those consequences on them?

And therein lies one of my basic issues about this stuff. People who don't necessarily know enough? everything? the things one would need most to know? are pushing on this POLITICALLY and, yet, they don't seem to care about the wishes of millions and millions of other people, here in America, and across the World, who, given a voice, would likely CHOOSE protection and, in the situation that we are in, that means by the most expedient means possible, detention, and, also at this point, detention IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER, for some unspecified period of time, i.e. indefinite detention. Apparently ideologies are more important than the desires of all of those people for their own safety from other people, similar to those fighting Obama on this, who don't care about their safety, or who have decided the risks are worth _____________________.

Why don't we ever hear a "Let's solve this dangerous problem this way!" from your camp? I know the answer to that question: YOU DON'T CONSIDER THAT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, but guess-what? Presidents ARE charged with that responsibility.

September 18, 2012

Why even Robert Nozick, the philosophical father of Libertarianism, gave up on the movement

he inspired.


Aside from being just a really fun and informative read, I want to evaluate this model relative to recent discussion here regarding freedom of speech.

The Times Literary Supplement ranks Anarchy, published in 1974, as one of the "100 Most Influential Books Since the War," and that, I think, is underselling it. To this day, left intellectuals remember where they were when they first heard Nozick's arguments against not just socialism but wealth redistribution of any kind. "It is no exaggeration to say," the Telegraph wrote, after Nozick died in 2002, "that Nozick, more than anyone else, embodied the new libertarian zeitgeist which, after generations of statist welfarism from Roosevelt's New Deal to Kennedy, Johnson and Carter, ushered in the era of Reagan and Bush, pere et fils." Prior to Anarchy, "liberty" was a virtual synonym for rolling back labor unions and progressive taxation, a fig leaf for the class interests of the Du Ponts and the B.F. Goodriches. After Anarchy, "liberty" was a concept as worthy of academic dignity as the categorical imperative.

And the screw takes one last turn: By allowing for the enormous rise in (relative) income and prestige of the upper white collar professions, Keynesianism created the very blind spot by which professionals turned against Keynesianism. Charging high fees as defended by their cartels, cartels defended in turn by universities, universities in turn made powerful by the military state, many upper-white-collar professionals convinced themselves their pre-eminence was not an accident of history or the product of negotiated protections from the marketplace but the result of their own unique mental talents fetching high prices in a free market for labor. Just this cocktail of vanity and delusion helped Nozick edge out Rawls in the marketplace of ideas, making Anarchy a surprise best-seller, it helped make Ronald Reagan president five years later. So it was the public good that killed off the public good.

Sustained it is, though. Just as Nozick would have us tax every dollar as if it were earned by a seven-foot demigod, apologists for laissez-faire would have us treat all outsize compensation as if it were earned by a tech revolutionary or the value-investing equivalent of Mozart (as opposed to, say, this guy, this guy, this guy, or this guy). It turns out the Wilt Chamberlain example is all but unkillable; only it might better be called the Steve Jobs example, or the Warren Buffett* example. The idea that supernormal compensation is fit reward for supernormal talent is the ideological superglue of neoliberalism, holding firm since the 1980s. It's no wonder that in the aftermath of the housing bust, with the glue showing signs of decay—with Madoff and "Government Sachs" displacing Jobs and Buffett in the headlines—"liberty" made its comeback. When the facts go against you, resort to "values." When values go against you, resort to the mother of all values. When the mother of all values swoons, reach deep into the public purse with one hand, and with the other beat the public senseless with your dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged.

Another way to put it—and here lies the legacy of Keynes—is that a free society is an interplay between a more-or-less permanent framework of social commitments, and the oasis of economic liberty that lies within it. The nontrivial question is: What risks (to health, loss of employment, etc.) must be removed from the oasis and placed in the framework (in the form of universal health care, employment insurance, etc.) in order to keep liberty a substantive reality, and not a vacuous formality? When Hayek insists welfare is the road is to serfdom, when Nozick insists that progressive taxation is coercion, they take liberty hostage in order to prevent a reasoned discussion about public goods from ever taking place. "According to them, any intervention of the state in economic life," a prominent conservative economist once observed of the early neoliberals, "would be likely to lead, and even lead inevitably to a completely collectivist Society, Gestapo and gas chamber included." Thus we are hectored into silence, and by the very people who purport to leave us most alone.

September 17, 2012

Waiting for Armageddon - Evangelical Documentary by

Kate Davis, Franco Sacchi, and David Heilbroner

Posting this because I want it in my journal so I can study it a little closer.
September 17, 2012

I'm sorry to say that most people probably think this is insignificant.

I can imagine their thoughts, TTE: Yes, well, that does happen and it might be kind of really unpleasant, but no real harm done - or - Total number of women out there, relative to total number of women who have this experience = this is a crazy minority of women trying to jerk the rest of us around - or - If she hates this experience enough, she'd tone it down a bit in order to avoid what's happening to her - or - (worst!!) She enjoys this assault and she enjoys bitching about it - or - __________________________ . . . .

The fundamental error in all of that is that no one thinks anything has anything to do with anything else. It's as though we are living in this fragmented universe in which there are no connections except those which we acknowledge and you (rhetorical you, that is) can acknowledge those "connections" if, when, and HOWever YOU WANT TO and saying that makes it so. The result of this is that most people think you can do whatever you WANT as long as you can "avoid" the consequences one way or another. Therefore, it's okay to profoundly disrespect women on the street and then go home to your teenage daughter and demand respect as the "male" figure of the household. "No 'harm'. No foul."


This is zero-sum thinking at its absolute worst. At this point in our social, economic, and environmental history, we can NO LONGER AFFORD to PRETEND that experiences have no relationship to meta-events and vice versa. We NEED, as in our survival may depend upon it, that is, WE NEED to consider what and how anything MAY have something to do with anything else. This means that we need rational processes at the grassroots' level to evaluate our experiences and make decisions about them, about ourselves, and about our future together.

We need to consider how a culture that admires, encourages, or tolerates casual disrespect of those who are at a power disadvantage AND BLAMES THEM FOR THE ACTIONS OF OTHERS WHO HAVE MORE POWER is a regressive culture that conserves dysfunction.

In the case of STREET HARASSMENT this means that disrespect and exploitation of women for male ego-aggrandizement can very definitely result in a culture that produces a great deal of teen pregnancies, STDs, adultery, divorces, drug abuse, hungry children, pathologies in our public schools and other public places, over-burdened social services at ALL levels . . . , you name it.

These connections ARE real, because the destruction to American families, caused by a lack of respect and an over-all culture of overt or covert violence toward the economically dis-empowered, the "weak", who across all class and ethnic "boundaries" tend to be females and/or children, is REAL.

Individuals need to understand these connections in more situationally specific ways, instead of letting others take advantage of them to enrich those who don't need it.

September 14, 2012

Can you help me with that? HOW? "... wouldn't (it) have happened"??? The only answer I can think of

is that a President Romney would have instituted such a regime of oppression throughout the whole region, and understand the means by which that would be accomplished would be Saddam Hussein-clones at ALL levels, correct??

He's saying there'd be no violence, because he'd have Uncle Sugar pay people to "prevent" other people in the region from acting democratically, because that could eventually result in an attack.

So, essentially he's saying he'd set us up to "have to" go into ________________ (again) to rein in another one of our monsters.

September 11, 2012

Some people are so obsessed with authority that everything is explained in terms of that, rather

than the actual problems their personas purport to be so concerned about.

Isn't it possible to be so obsessed with power/authority that one misses authentic potential solutions to the problems that inappropriate use of power causes, that is, misses or refuses to accept responsibility for them on the plain grounds that they are incremental? What are the likely probabilities that zero-sum thinking about certain extremely complicated and fluid situations is valid?

As much as many of us would like to believe that everyone just giving peace a chance is possible, the fact is that we really are nowhere even remotely near that and the violence that pretending otherwise CAN produce will make that peace possibility even more remote, ever and ever more remote, until it finally DOES become real in specie self-extinction. It's my sense that there are just too many people around for whom that increasing possibility IS an objective, or for whom it doesn't matter, or they think they/theirs will get well enough through it all to make it worthwhile, so many that I very simply MUST go against my own wishes in the matter and opt for the responsibilities of something more complicated than the over-simplifications of zero-sum thinking. Why do you assume that President Obama is incapable of or refuses to make similar calculations? Especially since, in his case, he has the significant benefits of MUCH better information? Why, please? I honestly would like to see your HONEST answer to this question.

September 11, 2012

That statement presumes an absolutely God-like knowledge & understanding of ALL of the factors.

I wouldn't mind that presumption if people would admit it up front.

If whatever caused 9/11 is real, then n/n is a real probability too. Does pretending that that is not true reduce or increase drone strikes?

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