14701
YouTube -- Freedomain Radio: The Truth About ISIS Beheadings: 9/11 Continued...
'...has the United States learned anything from the War on Terror, or is it doomed to repeat the same mistakes?' -- "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” ~ Upton Sinclair
terrorism!  statism  america  empire  war  perpetualwar  StefanMolyneux 
21 hours ago
The Progress Report -- Geo-Libertarianism gets Criticized by Fred Foldvary
'...Cuneo says “There is nothing special that says land should have different rules of ownership than, say, baseball bats.” But what makes land different from labor is that it was created by nature rather than by human action, and self-ownership cannot apply to what the self did not create. -- Cuneo agrees that the supply of spatial land is fixed, but points out that the use of land can expand. But the expansion of use and the existence of unused land are irrelevant; what matters is that the rent is created by natural benefits and by the presence of a community. Land rent comes from the scarcity of land of that quality, but geoism does not depend only on scarcity, since labor is also scarce. -- Another confusing term used by Georgists is that allodial ownership prevents an “equal access” to land. What geoists mean is that the collection of all the economic rent of land brings the purchase price down to about zero, and that provides better access to the purchase of land by lower-income people whose credit worthiness is uncertain to lenders. But geoism supports the individual right of exclusive possession when the title holder pays the community rental, hence geoism is not really based on physical access. Mike Cuneo is focusing on the unfortunate terminology without analyzing the fundamental principles of geo-libertarianism. -- Cuneo then makes the common error in mixing labor and capital goods into land. He points out that “landlords” invest their time and resources to maintain and invest in real estate. But the economic meaning of land excludes labor and capital goods. The pure “land” lord is the economic role only as a land title holder, aside from his other roles. When the holder of land also applies his time, the person is in the role a worker earning wages. When he invests in development, he does so as a capital lord. -- Mike Cuneo then argues that a similar geoist argument could be made for water. Its natural supply too is limited. Water too is essential for life. “Why aren’t Geo-Libertarians endorsing a Water Value Tax?” In fact, they do endorse a water-value tax, because natural water is land, as is oil in the ground. The tapping of land rent should include the economic rent of water and other material lands.'
economics  land  property  geoism  landlordism  "capitalism"  FredFoldvary 
22 hours ago
The Progress Report -- Infrastructure Can Pay for Itself with No Selloffs, No Tricks
'...That the banks are the principal beneficiaries of ever-climbing housing prices is yet another largely overlooked fact. The more banks can lend people to buy houses, the more expensive real estate gets, the more money banks get to lend and the more profit they make. It’s a beautiful self-perpetuating gravy train. -- Politicians feign concern about housing affordability and how hard it is for first home buyers to get into the market but they don’t enact any of the policy measures that we know would improve affordability for fear of upsetting the financial industry, the real estate industry and all the “mum and dad” property investors who’ve been lured into real estate by distortionary government policies like negative gearing and concessional treatment of capital gains (both of which are effectively corporate welfare for the banks).'
economics  land  rentseeking  landlordism  "capitalism" 
22 hours ago
Seeking Alpha -- McDonalds Is a Real Estate Company
'Most people don't realize it, but McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) is not a burger-flipping restaurant chain; it is one of the world's best real estate portfolios. Franchisees flip the burgers. McDonald's simply owns the best commercial property all over the world. -- McDonald's will buy properties that it feels are, or will be, hot locations, and it of course sells properties that are under performing or otherwise not doing so well.' -- Location, location, location.
economics  land  rentseeking 
22 hours ago
McLuhan Galaxy -- A Reassessment of Marshall McLuhan by a Public Relations Professional
'In Wired‘s launch issue interview with a virtual McLuhan, whose consciousness they said had been preserved in a programmed bot, he says that the real message of media today is ubiquity. It is not something that we do. Rather it is something we are part of from the outside that excites all our senses. It is, he said through Wired‘s medium, as if we have amputated not our ears or our eyes, but ourselves, and then established a total prosthesis – an automaton – in our place.'
McLuhan  media  themediumisthemassage  amputation  malgorithms 
2 days ago
ROUGH TYPE -- Speak, algorithm
'When we allow ourselves to be guided by predictive algorithms, in acting, speaking, or thinking, we inevitably become more predictable ourselves... Predicted responses begin to replace responses, simply because it’s a little more efficient to simulate a response —a thought, a sentence, a gesture — than to undertake the small amount of work necessary to have a response. And then that small amount of work begins to seem like a lot of work — like correcting your own typos rather than allowing the spellchecker to do it. And then, as original responses become rarer, the predictions become predictions based on earlier predictions. Where does the algorithm end and the self begin?'
automation  algorithms  malgorithms  circumscription  probabilityspace 
2 days ago
The New Inquiry -- Preemptive personalization
'When we start measure the self, concretely, in quantified attention and the density of network connectivity rather than in terms of the nebulous concept of “effort,” it begins to make sense to accept algorithmic personalization, which reports the self to us as something we can consume. The algorithm takes the data and spits out a statistically unique self for us, that lets us consume our uniqueness as as a kind of one-of-a-kind delicacy. It masks from us the way our direct relations with other people shape who are, preserving the fantasy we are sui generis. It protects us not only from the work of being somebody — all that tiring self-generated desire — but more insidiously from the emotion work of acknowledging and respecting the ways our actions have consequences for other people at very fundamental levels of their being. Automated selfhood frees us from recognizing and coping with our interdependency, outsourcing it to an algorithm. -- The point of “being unique” has broadened; it is a consumer pleasure as well as a pseudo-accomplishment of self-actualization. So all at once, “uniqueness” (1) motivates content production for social-media platforms, (2) excuses intensified surveillance, and (3) allows filter bubbles to be imposed as a kind of flattery (which ultimately isolates us and prevents self-knowledge, of knowledge of our social relations). Uniqueness is as much a mechanism of control as an apparent expression of our distinctiveness. -- ...becoming “more unique” is an impossible, nonsensical goal for self-actualization: self-knowledge probably involves coming to terms with how generic our wants and needs and thoughts are, and how dependent they are on the social groups within which we come to know ourselves, as opposed to some procedure of uncovering their pure idiosyncrasy. The idea that self-becoming or self-knowledge is something we’d want to make more “convenient” seems counterproductive. The effort to be a self is its own end. That is what Orwell seemed to think: “The tendency of mechanical progress, then, is to frustrate the human need for effort and creation.”' -- Behold, I teach you the overman. The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go.
technoutopianism  theadvertisedlife  consumering  technology  temes  malgorithms  circumscription 
2 days ago
The Los Angeles Review of Books -- The Manipulators: Facebook’s Social Engineering Project
'...If the Post Office had ever disclosed that it was reading everyone’s mail and choosing which letters to deliver and which not to, people would have been apoplectic, yet that is essentially what Facebook has been doing. In formulating the algorithms that run its News Feed and other media services, it molds what its billion-plus members see and then tracks their responses. It uses the resulting data to further adjust its algorithms, and the cycle of experiments begins anew. Because the algorithms are secret, people have no idea which of their buttons are being pushed — or when, or why. -- The problem with manipulation is that it hems us in. It weakens our volition and circumscribes our will, substituting the intentions of others for our own. When efforts to manipulate us are hidden from us, the likelihood that we’ll fall victim to them grows. Other than the unusually dim or gullible, most people in the past understood that corporate marketing tactics, from advertisements to celebrity endorsements to package designs, were intended to be manipulative. As long as those tactics were visible, we could evaluate them and resist them — maybe even make jokes about them. That’s no longer the case, at least not when it comes to online services. When companies wield moment-by-moment control over the flow of personal correspondence and other intimate or sensitive information, tweaking it in ways that are concealed from us, we’re unable to discern, much less evaluate, the manipulative acts. We find ourselves inside a black box. -- Because algorithms impose on us the interests and biases of others, we have not only a right, but also an obligation to carefully examine and, when appropriate, judiciously regulate those algorithms. We have a right and an obligation to understand how we, and our information, are being manipulated. To ignore that responsibility, or to shirk it because it raises hard problems, is to grant a small group of people — the kind of people who carried out the Facebook and OKCupid experiments — the power to play with us at their whim.' -- Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!" As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? Emigrated? Thus they yelled and laughed. The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him – you and I. All of us are his murderers... How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?"
internet  malgorithms  circumscription 
2 days ago
Kazerad's Tumblr -- Faceless Together
'...When a controversial figure declares they were hacked or bullied, 4chan are the ones compiling evidence of whether or not it was faked. When someone tries to defend a position with their social standing or identity, 4chan is the first to stand against them, confronting them as an equal. And when someone preaches what others should be doing, 4chan is the first to get on their case if they don’t do it themselves. They are not a unified group so much as a group of people who share a common mindset - that inequality and its associated social pressures are the root cause of problems. They tend to confront people as equals - and if that doesn’t work, they try to knock them down to their level.'
internet  immunesystem  4chan  anonymity  civility 
2 days ago
Psychology Today -- Nine Reasons Why It’s So Easy to Be Misunderstood by Leon F. Seltzer
'...whenever you feel seriously misconstrued, it’s wise—gingerly—to say something like: “What did you just hear me say? I’m puzzled by your reaction. Might I have reminded you of somebody else?”'
psychology  emotionalintelligence  projection  communication 
8 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: 'No more Iraq' US intel veterans ask Merkel to prevent Ukraine war, rely on facts
'[A]group of American intelligence veterans has written a letter appealing for efforts to avoid a war over Ukraine - addressing it to German chancellor Angela Merkel. One of its authors is William Binney, a former Technical Director with America's National Security Agency. He explained to RT their main concern.'
america  empire  war 
13 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: CrossTalk: Kiev in Retreat
"I can't think of another political event ongoing in the world right now where there are diametrically opposed *narratives*..."
america  empire  minitrue  propaganda  journalism  duckspeak  twominuteshate  1984 
13 days ago
Work and Wealth -- Affordable Housing
'Why is it that the market is able to provide working people with cars, cordless drills, blue jeans and smartphones — but not housing? -- The difference is really pretty obvious; has the reader caught it? Here is a house. Let’s play real estate appraiser for a moment: is this house worth $50K? Or it is worth $1 million? -- You hesitate. You seem to need more information. Wouldn’t it depend on interest rates, and the boom/bust cycle? I mean, heck, you might not be able to get $50K for it, if nobody can get financing. True enough — yet there is another, much more important consideration — something real estate people know very well, but public-policy people always seem to forget. It’s all well and good to figure out where things are in the business cycle — but to answer our question, the thing you really need to know about this house is: where is it? How many people want to live there? How close is it to lots of people to meet, greet and make deals with? How easy is it to get from there to places where all those people gather for business and pleasure? What public services are provided to people who live there, how good are they, and who pays for them? It’s the value of that location — where it is — that accounts for the 20-fold difference in price. -- It’s vital to separate the owners of land from the builders and operators of buildings. They may or may not be the same person — but economically their function is entirely different. In our economy, the value of land is not enjoyed by the people who create it. If that seems a bizarre statement, it’s only because we’re so accustomed to the utter conventionality of it. The value of locations is enjoyed by real estate owners, and banks (who hold equity in the property until the mortgage is paid off, and earn interest on the money loaned to buy it). Location value is created by the community, yet collected by private investors. In fact, it is collected by private investors whether they build housing or not. That is why housing is unlike any other commodity — and that is why the problem of “affordable housing” seems so unsolvable.'
economics  geoism  land  rent  rentseeking  landlordism  parasitism  "capitalism" 
13 days ago
YouTube -- Fred Harrison: Induced Ignorance
'When whistle-blower Ed Dodson warned that a financial crisis was emerging, he was told that “the market” controlled America’s destiny. In fact, argues Fred Harrison, governments are to blame, because they fail to learn from past mistakes. Politicians are schooled into ignorance by a culture of greed.'
economics  geoism  land  rent  rentseeking  landlordism  parasitism  "capitalism"  FredHarrison 
13 days ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- Warning to the World: Washington and its NATO & EU Vassals are Insane
'...Rasmussen asserts “Russia’s aggressive behavior” but has no evidence of it. Russia has stood on the sidelines while Washington’s puppet government in Kiev has shelled and bombed civilian housing, hospitals, schools and issued a constant stream of lies against Russia. Russia denied the requests of the now independent eastern and southern provinces of Ukraine, former Russian territories, to be reunited with Russia. As readers know, I regard Putin’s decision as a mistake, but events might prove me wrong and that is OK with me. For now, the fact is that every act of aggressive behavior is the result of the US and EU support of the Kiev nazis. It is the Ukrainian nazi militias that are attacking civilians in the former Russian territories of eastern and southern Ukraine. A number of regular Ukrainian military units have defected to the independent republics. -- Yes, nazis. Western Ukraine is the home of the Ukrainian SS division that fought for Hitler. Today the militias organized by the Right Sector and other right-wing political organizations wear the nazi insignia of the Ukrainian SS divisions. These are the people that Washington and the EU support. If the Ukrainian nazis could win against Russia, which they cannot, they would turn on the West, just as has the Washington-funded ISIS that Washington unleashed on Libya and Syria. Now ISIS is remaking the Middle East, and Washington appears helpless. -- William Binney, a former high level official in the US National Security Agency, and colleagues from the CIA and military intelligence services have written to German chancellor Merkel advising her to beware of Obama’s lies at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales. The US intelligence officials advise Merkel to remember Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” and don’t again be deceived, this time into conflict with Russia. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/ex-nsa-director-us-intelligence-veterans-write-open-letter-merkel-avoid-all-out-ukra -- The question is: who does Merkel represent? Washington or Germany? So far Merkel has represented Washington, not German business interests, not the German people, and not Germany’s interests as a country. Here is a protest in Dresden where a crowd prevents Merkel’s speech with shouts of “kriegstreiber” (warmonger), “liar, liar,” and “no war with Russia.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wSMhGE_Mpk -- My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied: “Money, we give them money.” “Foreign aid?” I asked. “No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale, We bought them. They report to us.” Perhaps this explains Tony Blair’s $50 million fortune one year out of office. -- The Western media, the largest brothel on earth, is desperate for war. -- ...As a former Wall Street Journal editor, I can say with complete confidence that such extraordinary propaganda posing as an editorial would have resulted in the immediate firing of all concerned. In my days on the Congressional staff, the Washington Post was regarded as a CIA asset. Today the Post has sunk far below this status. -- The question before us is: how long will Russia’s patience last with the West’s enormous lies and provocations? No matter how restrained Russia is, Russia is accused of the worst. Therefore, Russia might as well inflict the worst. -- At what point will the Russian government decide that Washington’s mendacity, and that of its European puppets and corrupt Western media, render hopeless Russia’s efforts to resolve the situation with diplomacy and unprovocative behavior? As Russia is constantly accused falsely of invading Ukraine, when will the Russian government decide that as Western propaganda has established that Russia has invaded Ukraine and has imposed sanctions and new military bases on Russia’s borders because of the alleged invasion, Russia might as well go ahead and rid themselves of the problem Washington has brought to Russia and invade Ukraine? -- There is nothing that NATO could do about it if Russia decides that Ukraine in Washington’s hands is too much of a strategic threat to Russia and reincorporates Ukraine again into Russia where it has resided for centuries. Any NATO force sent would start a war that NATO can’t win. The German population, remembering the consequences of war with Russia, would overthrow Washington’s puppet government. NATO and the EU would collapse as Germany departed the absurd construct that serves Washington’s interest at the expense of Europe. -- Once this happens, the world will have peace. But not until. -- For those who care to understand how the land of lies works, Washington’s puppet government in Kiev attributes the defeat of its military forces by the Donetsk Republic to the presence in the Donetsk army of Russian military units. This is the propaganda that has gone out to western Ukraine and to the presstitute western media, a collection of whores that echo the propaganda without any investigation whatsoever. However, Kiev has a different story for the IMF. Kiev cannot receive IMF money with which to pay off its Western creditors if Ukraine is at war. Therefore, Ukraine tells the IMF the opposite story: Russia has not attacked Ukraine. http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/08/ukie-doubleplusgooddoublethink.html -- The Western media remains uninterested in any facts. Just the lies. Only the lies.'
america  empire  war  minitrue  twominuteshate  1984 
14 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: Ukraine's full NATO membership idea 'akin to lunacy'
"The very powerful interests, the vested interests behind the military industrial complex, behind the wall street banks, see this [destroying Russia's economic relationship with Europe] as the only way to save the dollar system from complete collapse and the diminution of American hegemony – American power – globally. Because this is a do-or-die, life-and-death thing for this Western elite in Washington and also in London..."
america  empire  war  perpetualwar  history 
14 days ago
Psychology Today -- Do You Need to Be Liberated From Your Past? by Leon F. Seltzer
'Consider, first of all, the fact that there’s nothing more critical to young children’s psychological well being than developing a secure bond with their caretakers. Quite literally, they know they have to depend on their parents to protect and support them—that they can’t possibly survive on their own. So they reason that to fit in, to be able to feel they truly have a place in their family, they need to focus on doing what “earns” their parent’s positive regard. Otherwise, they’ll be emotionally overwhelmed by intolerable feelings of vulnerability; afflicted with constant anxiety. -- In such instances of unwitting self-sacrifice, your personal priorities take a back seat to those of others. And this pattern of self-denial, of routinely putting the wants and needs of others before your own, inevitably leads to a certain self-alienation. When, to feel safe or secure in your environment, you become “other-directed,” you’re well on your way to losing touch with your true nature—as well as what you need in life to feel satisfied and fulfilled. In a sense, in “making yourself over” for others, you’re no longer capable of being yourself. Sure, you’re an adult, but without even recognizing it part of you is still stuck in childhood, reenacting ancient strategies for acceptance or approval no longer relevant. -- The saddest thing about all this is that what felt necessary to acquiesce to as a child—and which may in fact have been adaptive (though admittedly at a very high price)—is likely to get “imprinted” in you as how you must always and forever be to get along in the world.'
psychology  attachment  defencemechanisms 
14 days ago
Owning Your Shit -- Email from a new viewer
'The purest testament to the forbearance of men and their love of women is that it has taken 150 years for them, as a collective, to get pissed off enough to return fire.'
men  women 
14 days ago
Information Clearing House -- How Can You Tell Whether Russia has Invaded Ukraine? by Dmitry Orlov
'I put together this helpful list of top ten telltale signs that will allow you to determine whether indeed Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday, or whether Thursday's announcement is yet another confabulation. (Credit to Roman Kretsul). Because if Russia invaded on Thursday morning, this is what the situation on the ground would look like by Saturday afternoon...'
minitrue  twominuteshate  1984 
14 days ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- Washington Piles Lie Upon Lie
'The alleged entry of 1,000 Russian soldiers into Ukraine has been declared by NATO Brigadier General Niko Tak to be a “significant escalation in Russia’s military interference in Ukraine.” The champion liar Samantha Power told the US Security Council that “Russia has to stop lying.” The UK ambassador to the UN said that Russia was guilty of “a clear violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory.” UK prime minister Cameron warned Russia of “further consequences.” German chancellor Merkel announced that there would be more sanctions. A German Security Council advisor declared that “war with Russia is an option.” Polish foreign minister Sikorski called it Russian aggression that required international action. French president Hollande declared Russia’s behavior to be “intolerable.” Ukraine’s security council imposed mandatory conscription. -- This suicidal drive toward war with Russia by Europe’s leaders is based entirely on a transparent lie that 1,000 Russian troops crossed into Ukraine. -- Of course the Western media followed in lock-step. The BBC, CNN, and Die Welt are among the most reckless and irresponsible. -- The mountain of lies piled up by Western governments and media has obscured the true story. The US government orchestrated the overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine and imposed a US puppet in Kiev. Washington’s puppet government began issuing threats and committing violent acts against the Russian populations in the former Russian territories that Soviet leaders attached to Ukraine. The Russian people in eastern and southern Ukraine resisted the threat brought to them by Washington’s puppet government in Kiev. -- Washington continually accuses the Russian government of supporting the people in the territories who have voted their separation from Ukraine. There would be no war, Washington alleges, except for Russian support. But, of course, Washington could easily stop the violence by ordering its puppet government in Kiev to stop the bombing and shelling of the former Russian provinces. If Russia can tell the “separatists” not to fight, Washington can tell Kiev not to fight. -- The only possible conclusion from the facts is that Washington is determined to involve Europe in a war with Russia or at least in an armed standoff in order to break up Europe’s political and economic relations with Russia. -- Europe’s leaders are going along with this because European countries, except for Charles de Gaulle’s France, have not had independent foreign policies since the end of World War II. They follow Washington’s lead and are well paid for doing so.'
america  empire  war  perpetualwar  minitrue  1984 
14 days ago
After Psychotherapy -- The Toilet Function of Friendship (and Other Relationships)
'In an earlier post, I discussed how projection is actually a normal part of communication in early development. Infants, with little capacity for understanding or bearing their own experience, have a way of projecting that experience into their caregivers, especially through crying. Appropriate response from those caregivers both gives the infant what he or she needs and also teaches them what their discomfort means. With parents unable to give infants what they need, those children never learn to tolerate or understand their own experience and often keep projecting it for the rest of their lives. These people grow up to be the kind of friends and clients I’m describing.'
psychology  affectregulation  relationships 
21 days ago
The Progress Report -- Demos: Reclaim New York City Land Rent
'The price of an apartment roughly consists of two things: the value of the physical structure and the value of the location. Since the value of the physical structure does not generally increase over time (unless it is changed in some way), it is only an increase in the value of the location that causes apartment values in NYC to increase. Speculators are not banking on on the value of the aging physical structure of the apartment going up. They are banking on the value of the location going up. -- You can tax the annual rental value of the land at very high rates (ideally 100%). This would operate just like a property tax, except it would be assessed only on the land value. -- Under such a land value tax regime, any increase in the rental value of the land is entirely captured by an identical increase in the land tax assessed to the owner. This means that when owners go to sell their apartments to a new buyer, that buyer will not be willing to pay the owner more money for it. -- Ed. Notes: The reason locations in NYC cost so much is because so many people live there and want to live there. It is the presence of community that creates the value of location. That is why — along with the fact nobody created land — it is fair for the community to recover this value that it creates. -- And conversely, it is unfair to tax buildings, businesses, and earnings, things that individuals do create. -- If you got rid of all the unfair and counterproductive taxes and replaced them with land dues and the like, plus if you got rid of spending programs which benefit insiders more than the public and replaced them with a Citizen’s Dividend, you’d have geonomics in practice and all the benefits that go with it.'
economics  geoism  land  rent  rentseeking 
21 days ago
The Daily Bell -- Directed History of a Phony War?
'Dominant Social Theme: The threat of the Islamic State is truly an existential one. The world is now faced with the specter of nuclear destruction based on religious motivations. -- We've been on record for a long time as pointing out that the war on terror is more likely aimed at suppressing Western domestic dissent than combating overseas religious radicalism. -- In fact, there was so little of the latter that Foggy Bottom, the CIA and other regular suspects have taken to manufacturing what was not initially available. In a series of "color revolutions," the Five Eyes of the Anglo-American axis have apparently destabilized a slew of secular states in Africa and the Middle East and replaced them with overt theocracies. -- The string of victims is both impressive and discouraging: The Ivory Coast, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria come to mind, though doubtless there are more. But in each of these countries, a secular regime was toppled via a noxious brew of domestic dissent and covert – or overt – Western Intel and military operations. -- Now we are supposed to believe that something called "IS" has emerged fully formed from the bestial brow of Middle East radicalism. But we actually have a good deal of trouble accepting the legitimacy of IS – based on previous Western civil/military involvement in the area. -- In fact, it seems to us that the West is creating an Islamic crescent in the Middle East and Africa so as to generate a kind of "clash of civilizations." Such a threat is amorphous, pervasive and radical ... -- How can an organization like IS exist? The Daily Beast recently published an article entitled, "America's Allies Are Funding ISIS." ... The salient point of the article is that Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia all funded ISIS (IS). The US salvaged Kuwait during the first Iraq War and US military bases in Qatar served as the jumping-off point for both the first and second Iraqi invasions. Saudi Arabia is the US's closest ally in the region and is single-handedly responsible for initiating the Age of the Dollar by refusing to trade its oil for anything but greenbacks. -- The West seems determined to create a religious/military threat in Africa and the Middle East. IS is just the latest evolution of this strange strategy, and a virulent and discouraging one. Expect the destabilizations to continue, along with a high pitch of rhetoric and fitful acts of violence and retribution on both sides.'
america  war  perpetualwar 
21 days ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- Guest Column from Germany – America Frightens Us by Roman Baudzus
'Some of the large German newspapers destroyed what little credibility they had left when they used social media to spread their claim that the negative comments on their websites were written by people on the payroll of Vladimir Putin. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry over this grotesque assertion. -- The unanswered question is why does German mainstream media serve Washington instead of Germany? Does Washington pay well for propaganda services? -- Germans wonder why their reunited country is still occupied by US troops 69 years after the end of World War II, why their country has no foreign policy independent of Washington, and why the German media provides no public discussion of these highly unusual characteristics of an allegedly sovereign state.' -- The Grasshopper Lies Heavy
america  empire  minitrue  minipax  PKD 
21 days ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- Ukraine Crisis Continues
'...the Russian government continues to try to deal with the Ukrainian situation with facts and diplomacy. This approach is proving to be very costly to the residents of the former Russian territories in eastern and southern Ukraine. These people are being killed by air and artillery strikes against their homes and infrastructure. Large numbers of these people have been displaced by the Ukrainian attacks and are refugees in Russia. The Western media does not report the violence that Washington’s stooge government in Kiev is inflicting on these people. The Western media speaks only with Washington’s voice: “It is all Russia’s fault.” -- The crisis would have been prevented if the Russian government had accepted the provinces request to be reunited with Russia as in the case of Crimea. However, the Russian government decided to avoid any decision that Washington could misrepresent as “invasion and annexation,” thinking that Europe would see Russia’s unprovocative behavior as reassuring and resist Washington’s pressure to enter into conflict with Russia. -- In my opinion the Russian government over-estimated the power of diplomacy in the West. Washington is interested in fomenting crises, not in resolving them. -- In the 23 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, many Russians have been of the opinion that Washington, not the Soviet government, was the party to be trusted in the Cold War. What the Russian government has learned recently is that Washington cannot be trusted and that the Soviet government’s suspicions of the West were very well founded. -- Kiev’s military assault on eastern and southern Ukraine is not going to stop because Europeans finally see the light and object. Europeans not only stood aside for 13 years while Washington bombed civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, and organized outside forces to attack Syrians, while isolating Iran for military attack, but also actively participated in the attacks. Europe has stood aside while Israel has massacred Palestinians on numerous occasions. For Russia to rely on Europe’s moral conscience is to rely on something that does not exist. -- The continued slaughter and destruction of the Russian populations in eastern and southern Ukraine will eventually demoralize the Russian people and undermine their support of Putin’s government for failing to halt it. The Russian government’s acceptance of the slaughter makes Russia look weak and encourages more aggression against Russia.'
russia  america  empire  war 
21 days ago
Ribbonfarm -- The Veil of Scale
'...how you explain your behaviors affects how you expect it to be scaled, and this affects how you modify the behaviors in-the-small in response to guesses about what lies behind the veil of scale. -- In a way, all of civilization is a game of people arguing about how things scale and what lies beyond the veil of scale for both new and emerging realities.'
economics  scale  bias 
21 days ago
The New Inquiry -- Liquid authenticity
'To qualify for jobs, workers have to convince prospective employers that they want to work not just for the money but because they yearn to be, or already are, what the job description details. Upper-echelon managers have already bought into this subsumption of self to work: Lordon cites Bourdieu’s remark that “the dominators are dominated by their very domination” — they are constrained to believe their own bullshit. But now all workers need to make job tasks seem like things they spontaneously wanted to do anyway; they have to perform an implausible enthusiasm that seems more and more ludicrous the more employers expect it. -- Neoliberalism teaches subjects to both demand individual autonomy to choose who they want to be and to be flexible enough to be molded by the flux of larger profit-seeking forces. And it expects workers to bear the burden of resolving those demands’ incoherence and find joy within them.'
affectivelabour  performance  consumering 
21 days ago
ROUGH TYPE -- Measure in measurement
'"What can’t be measured can’t be managed” goes the old saw. But what Peter Drucker actually said was “What gets measured gets managed,” which is altogether different and altogether wiser. The wisdom becomes clearer when we get the rest of Drucker’s remark: “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organization to do so.” -- It’s dubious and dangerous, Drucker is saying, to take what’s measurable for what’s important. But he’s also saying something even more radical: Some things that can be measured shouldn’t be. -- A whole counterculture could, in our big-data moment, be constructed on that one thought. Can you imagine Google or Amazon or Facebook announcing, “We have decided to stop measuring stuff in order to spend some time considering what’s actually worth measuring”? No, today’s ethos is simpler, easier to execute: “If you measure it, the meaning will come.”'
data  kipple  themapisnottheterritory 
21 days ago
YouTube -- Alain Soral on Feminism
'Alain Soral, French writer and subversive activist, demonstrates the irrelevance of feminism as a social struggle.'
feminism  marxism  usefulidiot 
22 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: Keiser Report: End of No-Alternative-To-Dollar Era (E641)
'In the second half, Max interviews Dr. Michael Hudson about the war machine, Judge Griesa's ruling, super imperialism and the end of a 60 year cycle in which there was no alternative to the dollar.'
economics  america  empire  dollar  reservecurrency  MichaelHudson 
4 weeks ago
The Daily Bell -- Beware of Kafkatrapping by Wendy McElroy
'The term "kafkatrapping" describes a logical fallacy that is popular within gender feminism, racial politics and other ideologies of victimhood. It occurs when you are accused of a thought crime such as sexism, racism or homophobia. You respond with an honest denial, which is then used as further confirmation of your guilt. You are now trapped in a circular and unfalsifiable argument; no one who is accused can be innocent because the structure of kafkatrapping precludes that possibility. Kafkatrapping twists reason and truth into self-parodies that serve victimhood ideologues who wish to avoid the evidence and reasoned arguments upon which truth rests. -- A separate problem arises if the accuser honestly believes the kafkatrapping. A woman who believes all men are oppressors is unlikely to cooperate with them in a good will attempt to solve social problems. She is more likely to seek a position of dominance over men, which she justifies in the name of self-defense or as a payback that is her due. This heightens tension between the sexes and obstructs sincere attempts to resolve problems. A kafkatrapper true believer becomes increasingly isolated from people who are seen as "the enemy" because they disagree; the true believer becomes increasingly unable to even communicate with or have empathy for a broad spectrum of people. The kafkatrapper 'wins' the argument but loses a shared humanity.'
irrationality  feminism  victimhood 
4 weeks ago
The Daily Bell -- Freedom Is No 'Fantasy,' as the NY Times Is Finding Out
'Dominant Social Theme: Those who believe in freedom are unrealistic. -- Wherever you look these days, US – and Western – institutions are failing: The IRS stands accused of using its awesome power to attack conservative/libertarian groups; the military-industrial complex, having failed in Afghanistan, now begins to bomb Iraq yet again after losing cities it once presented as "liberated"; central bank policies have not been able to generate employment even after six years of trying. -- Even the European Union – never mind the euro – is struggling. Krugman's willful blindness to government corruption and dysfunction is evidently and obviously wrong-headed, though not a mystery: He is an ideologue with a determined point of view. What IS mystifying is why the Times lends platform to articles that are so easily discredited and that in aggregate are destroying what is left of the Times's business model. -- Of course, we know part of the answer. The Times was part of an elite group of mainstream publications that participated in the CIA's Operation Mockingbird. During the height of the Cold War many top US publications vetted stories with US Intel and there's plenty of suspicion that this practice has never stopped. -- In other words, the nation's media – consolidated and corporatized as it is – is also regularly "scrubbed" to ensure that reports are not inimical to entrenched interests. This is not only discouraging to those who rely on information for personal or professional decision-making, it also compromises the businesses themselves. -- Officials at Facebook, Google and many other tech titans have recently found out that close working relationships with the military-industrial complex, while lucrative, can generate distrust that results in the abrogation of commercial opportunities abroad. China, for instance, will not do business with certain US tech firms because of questionable relationships. -- This does not enter into Krugman's calculations. There is something called "government" that for him exists in an exalted state of purity, decoupled from the petty concerns and conflicts-of-interest of those who actually run the extraordinarily powerful institutions that comprise modern government. -- As government is not subject to competition, there is no "governor" on agency activities and inevitably, the most powerful and wealthiest entities will come to control these agencies in ways that will benefit insiders at the expense of the general public. -- In this Internet Era, such conflicts of interest and corruption are increasingly clear. The movement toward libertarianism, or at least the current repugnance that many feel regarding the evolution of Western governments, is not only apparent, it is also quite understandable. -- It is not going away, despite Mr. Krugman's protestations. In fact, we've been predicting that disaffection with government and the activities of the power elite generally will continue to grow. It's not a reversible phenomenon. Eventually it will "peak" but not because people like Krugman are swaying public opinion, He's more likely "fanning" it ...'
statism  mercantilism  minitrue  PaulKrugman 
4 weeks ago
Ribbonfarm -- The Economics of Pricelessness
'Predictable irrationality due to cognitive biases is almost a rounding error when it comes to the irrationality of markets. The reputation economy is the greatest irrationality in the market, and it arises not from our cognitive biases, as a set of paleolithic software bugs, but from our deeper ape-nature, as a fundamental feature. -- The important thing to understand about the reputation economy is this: it’s entire purpose is to use deep play and priceless economic transactions to create a stable hierarchical social order, with an alpha at the top who is God’s legitimate representative on earth, and the most sinful and fallen at the bottom. Buying tomatoes, coffins or medical care is secondary. -- To repeat, this is only a huge, collective irrationality in markets from a trader perspective. From the saint perspective (equivalently, the collectivist perspective), it’s a feature. From the point of view of guardian sensibilities, the market economy is the horrendous, even fatal bug. -- When material economic costs are sufficiently high that shadow-boxing in the reputation economy becomes too inefficient to keep up, requiring direct dealing in commerce, trader markets appear. For saints, this represents a fall from virtue, and a slide towards increasing moral decay. -- Not surprisingly, markets tend to level stable hierarchies when they penetrate previously closed and guarded borders of saintly economies. This is the reason markets are considered profane. Economists are people who know the price of everything but the value of nothing, say saints. By that they mean traders are people who do not get what is or is not priceless. -- Traders view deviations from markets as distortions, and fail to appreciate that to saints, it is recourse to markets that is distortionary, relative to the economics of pricelessness. Except that they call it “corruption and moral decay” instead of “distortion.” To trade at all is to acknowledge one’s fallen status and sinfulness.' -- Use value (left-brain profane) vs Sign value (right-brain sacred)
economics  markets  value  usevaluevssignvalue  ideology 
4 weeks ago
OpEdNews -- Article: Malaysian press charges Ukraine government shot down MH 17
'A Thursday article in the New Straits Times, Malaysia's flagship English-language newspaper, charged the US- and European-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev with shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 in east Ukraine last month. Given the tightly controlled character of the Malaysian media, it appears that the accusation that Kiev shot down MH17 has the imprimatur of the Malaysian state. -- The US and European media have buried this remarkable report, which refutes the wave of allegations planted by the CIA in international media claiming that Russian president Vladimir Putin was responsible for the destruction of MH17, without presenting any evidence to back up this charge. -- The New Straits Times article, titled "US analysts conclude MH17 downed by aircraft," lays out evidence that Ukrainian fighter aircraft attacked the jetliner with first a missile, then with bursts of 30-millimeter machine gun fire from both sides of MH17. The Russian army has already presented detailed radar and satellite data showing a Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 fighter jet tailing MH17 shortly before the jetliner crashed. The Kiev regime denied that its fighters were airborne in the area, however. -- The New Straits Times article began, "Intelligence analysts in the United States have already concluded that Malaysia flight MH17 was shot down by an air-to-air missile, and that the Ukrainian government had had something to do with it. This corroborates an emerging theory postulated by local investigators that the Boeing 777-200 was crippled by an air-to-air missile and finished off with cannon fire from a jet that had been shadowing it as it plummeted to earth." -- ...the New Straits Times and Parry both cited retired Lufthansa pilot Peter Haisenko, who has pointed to photographic evidence of MH17 wreckage suggesting that cockpit panels were raked with heavy machine gun fire from both the port and starboard sides. "Nobody before Haisenko had noticed that the projectiles had ripped through the panel from both its left side and its right side. This is what rules out any ground-fired missile," Parry wrote.'
america  empire  falseflag  war  perpetualwar 
4 weeks ago
NYTimes.com -- Inside the Dark, Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection
'...When debtors stop paying those bills, the banks regard the balances as assets for 180 days. After that, they are of questionable worth. So banks “charge off” the accounts, taking a loss, and other creditors act similarly. These huge, routine sell-offs have created a vast market for unpaid debts — not just credit-card debts but also auto loans, medical loans, gym fees, payday loans, overdue cellphone tabs, old utility bills, delinquent book-club accounts. The scale is breathtaking. From 2006 to 2009, for example, the nation’s top nine debt buyers purchased almost 90 million consumer accounts with more than $140 billion in “face value.” And they bought at a steep discount. On average, they paid just 4.5 cents on the dollar. These debt buyers collect what they can and then sell the remaining accounts to other buyers, and so on. Those who trade in such debt call it “paper.”'
debt 
4 weeks ago
Tomkins Institute -- When positive affects are thwarted, shame happens
'The Purpose of Shame: Shame helps us define the boundaries of our positive pursuits. Otherwise, what are the limits of excitement, of joy? These positive affects are so rewarding that one could ask why we don’t pursue them always and all the time? This is where shame comes in. As organisms, we need to learn when to stop and why. Shame has a negative valence, so that it can compete for your attention while you are in the midst of pursuing a rewarding experience. Shame brings the interruption to our attention so we recognize the problem and deal with it. And because of shame’s role as an auxiliary of positive affects, it shows up pretty much wherever positive affects show up; it is ubiquitous and inevitable. "The experience of shame is inevitable for any human being insofar as desire outruns fulfillment. The essential condition for the activation of shame is 'I want, but . . . '" (Exploring Affect p.406) -- Shame modifies the positive affects, interest and enjoyment. While excitement, joy, fear, anger, distress and startle are affects with their own conditions for innate activation based on patterns of neural activity, shame’s activator is the incomplete reduction of excitement or joy. Tomkins stresses that the incomplete attenuation of positive affect is the critical aspect of what makes shame what it is. -- "In shame the individual wishes to resume his or her commerce with the exciting state of affairs, to reconnect with the other, to recapture the relationship that existed before the situation turned problematic. In this respect shame is radically different from disgust and dissmell. In disgust, the bad is spit out. In dissmell, the bad is kept at a distance." (Exploring Affect p. 400) -- This is a critical distinction when considering self-evaluation, wherein shame is a much more desirable experience than self-disgust or self-dissmell or contempt... -- "To the extent to which I maintain interest in myself or enjoy myself, I can be ashamed of myself. If, however, I reject myself completely, then I may respond with contempt and disgust for myself." -- #Shame and the Face: The facial expression of shame is the impulse to hide the face. The shame response is an act which reduces facial communication . . . By dropping his eyes, his eyelids, his head, and sometimes the whole upper part of his body, the individual calls a halt to looking at another person, particularly looking at the other person’s face, and to the other person’s looking at him, particularly his face. (AIC Vol II p. 120) -- Shame can be understood to be “face-consciousness” and in this respect shame’s connection with self-consciousness is made evident. Tomkins wrote that unlike all the other affects, shame calls attention to the self, and in doing so plays a central role in our motivational system. "Why are shame and pride such central motives? How can loss of face be more intolerable than loss of life? How can hanging the head in shame so mortify the spirit? In contrast to all other affects, shame is an experience of the self by the self. At that moment when the self feels shame, it is felt as a sickness within the self. Shame is the most reflexive of affects in that the distinction between the subject and object of shame is lost. Why is shame so close to the experienced self? It is because the self lives in the face."
psychology  shame  emotions 
5 weeks ago
Tomkins Institute -- Nine affects, present at birth, combine with life experience to form emotion and personality
Since the terms used to talk about feelings and emotions are often confusing, let’s take a moment to define a few of the terms of Tomkins’ system, and then we’ll return to focus on the nine innate affects. #Affect is the innate, biological response to the increasing, decreasing or persistent intensity of neural firing. This results in a particular feeling, facial and body display, and skin changes. Affects feel rewarding, punishing, or neutral in their own ways. Affect makes things urgent. #Awareness of an affect is a feeling. #A feeling plus memory of prior similar feelings is an emotion. #Often, out of awareness, we develop “rules” to try to get more positive and less negative affect. Tomkins calls those rules scripts. #The pattern of scripts that a person uses to modulate affect make up his or her personality. -- Emotions have a much bigger impact on our experience than affects. We notice emotions, we give them thousands of names, we write poems, books, and movies about them. And yet, in their bulk, they mask the much more fleeting workings of affect. These affects, hiding in plain sight, are often given short shrift by researchers who tend to study something their instruments can measure, and their subjects can name. But increasingly, with new developments in affective neuroscience, we are able to study smaller and smaller units of human experience. -- Because we have evolved with an affect system with some affects that feel good and some that feel bad, each human is motivated to: #1. Maximize positive affect #2. Minimize (reduce) negative affect #3. Both of these actions work best when all affect is expressed. #4. Anything that helps the performance of these three rules is good for human life; anything that interferes with them is bad for us. -- This is how we are wired, and this is what humans “want.”'
psychology  affectregulation  emotions 
5 weeks ago
Tomkins Institute -- Teaching Affect to Teachers
'....very frequently in these workshops teachers ask about ADHD and spectrum disorders. “I usually encourage them to see ADHD kids as ones who have a glitch in their affect system so that too many things at once trigger interest-excitement, and consequently it is their triggering of interest-excitement that acts as an impediment to other [kids'] I-E, triggering shame affect and Compass of Shame scripts.” -- And what about kids on the spectrum? “With spectrum kids the question usually revolves around the kid’s ability to empathise with other\s – which is where I find it helpful to talk about the cognitive and affective aspects of empathy and that the spectrum kids can still do the cognitive (perspective-taking) but might have trouble with the affective resonance bit.” -- Does this framework seem valid to teachers? “It seems to ‘explain’ or at least describe the acting out that most ADHD kids suffer from,” says Graeme. “And this understanding of kids on the spectrum seems to gel with their experience.”'
psychology  affectregulation  shame  ADHD 
5 weeks ago
Tomkins Institute -- Affect and Neuroplasticity
'Increasing and decreasing affect density, a function of neurotransmitters: ...A core issue for me in the following excerpt is Tomkins’ positive affect pair, excitement (increase) and enjoyment (decrease), and adaptations to emotionally induced neural patterns as per neuroplasticity. Doidge [The Brain That Changes Itself] is discussing the effects of the neurochemicals dopamine and oxytocin: “Whereas dopamine induces excitement, puts us into high gear, and triggers sexual arousal, oxytocin induces a calm, warm mood that increases tender feelings and attachment and may lead us to trust” (119). This coincides, as I read it, with Tomkins’ suggestion that the affects are the more general motivational system for the organism, over something such as the more specific sex drive. Dopamine aids in amplifying the triggering signal, which could be sexual, but could equally be an infinite number of other potentially exciting stimuli. Oxytocin, on the other hand, a neurochemical, maps nicely onto Tomkins’ suggestion that the affect enjoyment-joy indicates a decrease in neural firing as one settles into the contentment of post-stimulation. Doidge shows no indication of ever having heard of or read Tomkins, and Tomkins certainly does not appear in the works cited.'
psychology  affectregulation  dopamine  oxytocin 
5 weeks ago
Tomkins Institute -- The Depressive Posture
Excerpt from: Emotional Rescue: Shame and the Depressive Posture in George Eliot by Joseph Adamson -- 'Depressives beget depressives: As an adult the depressive often finds himself relating to his own child or to others in the way he himself was socialized: “So is forged the depressive dyad in which there is great reward punctuated by severe depression. The depressive creates other depressives by repeating the relationship which created his own character” (AIC 3:325). As a grownup he now seeks to win love and respect, either like the depressive child, by doing something that keeps the rapt eyes of others on him, or, like a depressive parent, by exercising control of others and showing concern for them and their success or failure. Not surprisingly, then, depressives predominate among particular types of creative people, “such as the great actors, the great educators, the great jurists, the great statesmen, the great writers, in short, among all those who are concerned conjointly with man, with control of man, and with excellence in goodness or in achievement which excites man” (AIC 3:325). A relationship with the depressive, which is never an easy one: -- "The depressive, like his parent before him, is not altogether a comfortable person for others with whom he interacts. As a friend or parent or lover or educator he is somewhat labile between his affirmations of intimacy and his controlling, judging, and censuring of others. His warmth and genuine concern for the welfare of others seduces them into an easy intimacy which may then be painfully ruptured when the depressive readily finds fault with the other. The other is now too deeply committed and too impressed with the depressive’s sincerity to disregard the disappointment and censure from the other and is thereby seduced further into attempting to make restitution, to atone, and to please the other." (AIC 3:325) -- This combination of disapproval and love defines the depressive dyad, in which, as Tomkins observes, “there is great reward punctuated by severe depression. The depressive exerts a great influence on the lives of all he touches because he combines great reward with great punishment, which ultimately heightens the intensity of the affective rewards he offers others.” (AIC 3:325)'
psychology  shame  depression  control  codependency 
5 weeks ago
YouTube -- Honey Badger Radio [Published on 10 Jul 2014]
00:41:45: "For a while I used didn't think that feminists see men as vulnerable, but that's not true, they do see men as vulnerable but they use those vulnerabilities to hurt men because they do not see women as strong. Women seen as strong can only have compassion for men for the vulnerabilities of men, if they are seen as strong. But feminists see women as weak, and that equates to: women need to take advantage of men's vulnerabilities and abuse them because, well, women are weak. And it's bullshit. It's horrific for men, and it supports women being abusive based on the idea women are weak... When you see a woman as a victim then you support her abuse of men because you see that she is incapable of being powerful in any way. So until a woman sees herself as strong, she will never know how to be compassionate towards a man. Women who are not compassionate towards men only see themselves as weak."
men  women  agencyvspatiency  victimhood  predation  feminism 
5 weeks ago
The New Inquiry -- The Silence of the Masses Could Be Social Media
'Postauthenticity (social media plus Big Data) makes our will superfluous. Rather than existing in some “real,” the media overlay on reality means we exist in statistical models that purport to measure reality but in fact are tautological, capable only of grasping what it is has already predicted and modeled. -- Social media are a huge effort to prevent the masses from being silent in Baudrillard’s subversive sense — if the masses are silent, they move beyond manipulation, beyond influence, beyond desire, beyond control, beyond comprehension by the forces attempting to exercise sovereignty over them. If the masses seem to speak, as they now do in social media (and through all the other means for surveilling their everyday activities with “smart” devices), they yield the data that appears to make them manageable. They become “social” again, in the sense of being amenable to the mechanisms of social control. -- But data collection only raises more questions than it answers about the populations under surveillance; as Kate Crawford explains here, the more data you have, the more crises of interpretation you confront, leading to more data collection and deeper crises. -- ...we have desire, subjectivity, selfhood served to us, which threatens to close a feedback loop — the self Big Data is trying to capture ends up just being the one which it has already reported to us. This, Baudrillard hopes, will eventually suffocate the system, while the masses enjoy the spectacle of themselves as a kind of consumer good. Simply liking what we are told or expected to like becomes deeply subversive to a system that depends on our innovating new desires, new demand. “The deepest desire,” he argues, “is perhaps to give the responsibility for one’s desire to someone else.”'
kipple  socialmedia  #socialization  datamining  malgorithms  circumscription  bravenewworld  thematrix 
5 weeks ago
Mike Bulajewski -- The Cult of Sharing
'...The former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir confirmed this principle when, asked if she believed in God, replied “I believe in the Jewish people, and they believe in God.” -- The true formula of a cult brand is similar: “I believe in the community and the community believes in the brand.” That’s what allows you to be inspired by a figure who you know is a fraud: the community believes in her, and you don’t want to shatter their delusions. -- Atkin claims that the internet solves the hypocrisy problem because the truth is readily available. But as he himself notes, cult members attachment to the abstract ideology is secondary. Their first commitment is to very real, tangible bonds of community, the affirmation and sense of belonging that they receive from it. But the community is sustained by the mythos of the cult, so a threat to the belief system is a threat to the community, which is in turn a threat to the cult members’ sense of belonging and psychological well-being. -- Cult brand turn out to be remarkably resilient even when its members know that it doesn’t live up to the ideals. They’re not naive, they may know the truth perfectly well. But they disavow it, paraphrasing Golda Meir to say “I know the brand is a lie. But I believe in the community, and the community believes in the brand.” -- When marketing executives at “values-led” companies try to cultivate communities around ethical consumerism, it creates a new class of problems. Much like religious cults, cult brands manipulate their customers’ emotional and psychological needs and encourage them to construct their identities and lives around the brand. The collapse of the ideal would be felt as a personal catastrophe for its community, so the brand becomes practically immune to criticism.'
consumerism  cults  truebelieversyndrome 
5 weeks ago
YouTube -- TEDtalks: Hubertus Knabe: The dark secrets of a surveillance state
'Tour the deep dark world of the East German state security agency known as Stasi. Uniquely powerful at spying on its citizens, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the Stasi masterminded a system of surveillance and psychological pressure that kept the country under control for decades. Hubertus Knabe studies the Stasi — and was spied on by them. He shares stunning details from the fall of a surveillance state, and shows how easy it was for neighbor to turn on neighbor.'
statism  surveillance  stasi  thoughtpolice  facecrime  snitching  1984 
5 weeks ago
Nir and Far -- The Sweet Spot: Where Technology Meets the Motivational Brain
'...It’s actually when the probability of reward hovers at around 50% that dopamine flow is maximal. When the probability of getting it is as high as the probability of not getting it — the point of maximum uncertainty. That’s what turns us on the most. -- In that sense, the sweet spot is the perfect technological reflection of the brain’s fundamental formula for achievement motivation. We try hardest (and are most thrilled and enticed) when the game is hard enough but not too hard. -- But why are video games so addictive? Start with the notion that most addictive drugs, and most addictive activities, are products of technology. Heroin comes from opium, but it passes through a lot of chemical manipulations first. Booze comes from distilleries and breweries. Porn comes from cameras. Gambling requires, at the very least, a deck of cards or a pair of dice, and the rows of slot machines in Vegas or Tokyo? — simply technological upgrades. Technology finds ways to make things more efficient or more effective. Technology evolves as an outcropping of human (cultural) evolution, serving its needs and desires with ever more refined versions of what we want. -- As with heroin, meth, whisky, and porn, technology serves the workings of the motivational brain. We desire winning, getting, achieving — but not constantly. Even drug addicts get utterly bored when they have unlimited supplies of whatever it is. The hunt is more thrilling than the act itself. The momentous feeling of moving forward, from the present to the immediate future — the next scene, the next screen, the next belt, hit, shot, snort, or rush — is really what we’re after. And the sweet spot keeps us going for it.'
technology  temes  psychology  dopamine  motivation  addiction  intermittentvariablerewards 
6 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- The UK's Financial Times: Tax Down Bubbles
'This 2014 excerpt of the Financial Times, Jly 25, is by Adair Turner, senior fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and former chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority. -- Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, illustrates rising wealth-to-income ratios in all advanced economies. They are primarily explained by one factor: rising property prices. And the rises mainly reflect not new investment in housing stock but the rising value of the land on which existing housing sits. As the lucky ones grow richer, they spend an increasing share of their income on competing to own homes in desirable locations. -- Technological progress drives down the price of many goods and services but up the value of the oldest and most physical thing of all – land. -- By 2010, more than 70 per cent of all advanced-economy bank lending was against property. The more credit is available, the more prices rise. Credit-driven price rises encourage borrowers to demand more credit and banks to supply it – until land soaks up so much money that the cycle goes into reverse. Property booms and busts have been central to all recent financial crises.'
geoism  economics  land  rent  rentseeking  "capitalism"  landcycle  businesscycle 
6 weeks ago
YouTube -- Honey Badger Radio: Veteran Mental Health
Karen/GWW: "When a woman on facebook, when she gets engaged what does she do? She almost never posts a profile pic of her and her fiancé. What does she post? Her $15,000 engagement ring. The $15,000 ring that declares: 'I am granting you exclusive access to my vagina until death do us part or I decide I want a divorce.' And then we wonder why women freak out so bad when they get raped. $15,000 is grand larceny! If they see their sexuality as a commodity to be sold, of course they're going to flip right out when it's stolen."
men  women  sexuality 
6 weeks ago
Global Guerrillas -- iWar 101: Kicking the Squirrel
'Given the coverage this video is getting, it won't be long before these men are identified in real life and villified and harrassed....This is going to become an increasingly powerful technique in the near future. Why? Your reputation will be critical to doing anything, from getting a date to buying or selling anything both online and off, much sooner than you think.'
internet  immunesystem  equiveillance  reputation  vigilantism 
6 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- Individual Sovereignty by Fred Foldvary
'Power is always exercised by individual persons, not by mental constructs. Governments and states are mental constructs, having no reality other than what people believe. If a government exercises its sovereign power, in reality, it is the president or prime minister applying the forces of government, ultimately its army, police, and prison guards. Arbitrary state power is ultimately the unequal power of some individuals over others. There is no moral authority or legitimacy for government other than to enforce the universal ethic, which implies that it is immoral for government to interfere with peaceful and honest individual sovereignty. If government makes theft legally a crime, it is already morally a crime, and government simply acts as an agent of the people to enforce moral law, although if it does that, the financing must also be moral. -- Therefore individual sovereignty implies peaceful anarchism, with no imposed government, because even if the government confines itself to enforcing the universal ethic, the rulers are human beings who have no greater wisdom, in general, than others, and they could end up imposing their wills to alter peaceful choices. Therefore, pure equality implies that there be no rulers imposed on unwilling persons.' -- Who defends against "the defenders"?
statism  anarchism  voluntaryism  geoanarchism  geoism  FredFoldvary 
6 weeks ago
Global Guerrillas -- ISIS Opens The World's Biggest Bazaar of Violence
'ISIS isn't a state and it's not your typical insurgency. It's much more interesting than that. ISIS is a marketplace – a freewheeling bazaar of violence – and it is rapidly expanding. -- This success is due to the fact that ISIS isn't trying to build a "state." It's not a government. It's a bazaar in an autonomous zone. It operates outside of the global system. It doesn't want to be a state (which would make it vulnerable). This bazaar was built for one purpose: perpetual expansion and continuous warfare. To keep things running, ISIS offers a minimalist, decentralized governance. Day-to-day life is governed by a simple, decentralized rule set: Sharia Law. Participation is open to everyone willing to live under Sharia and able to expand the bazaar to new areas.'
phyles  war  perpetualwar 
6 weeks ago
Aeon -- Can you have self-worth without self-love? by Simon Blackburn
'The proud person might take pleasure in having done something that deserves to be admired, but to the vain person the admiration itself becomes the goal. Vanity is greedy for the admiration of others, regardless of whether the admiration is deserved: the vain person enjoys being flattered, even if the flattery is hollow. Vanity is often the consequence of a fragile self-esteem – a fear of falling short in the eyes of others that results in a constant demand for reassurance. As such, it is often a better target for sympathy or pity than for censure. -- If vanity is overly concerned with the admiration of others, and often arises from a more fundamental insecurity, conceit takes us in the other direction. It means having a sufficiently high opinion of oneself to have no need of the applause of other people. The conceited person is so sure of himself that reassurance from others become irrelevant. It is annoying in a way that vanity is not since, by ignoring the voices of others, the conceited person tells them that they do not count; they are as nothing to him. Arrogance, pig-headedness, and overweening self-confidence and hubris mark the path of conceit. It is the typical vice of politicians, surrounded by courtiers, constantly flattered, and all too often self-deceived by their own claims to leadership, wisdom, insight and ability.'
psychology  shame  narcissism  selfesteem 
7 weeks ago
NYTimes.com -- When a Robot Is a Caregiver
'...The robots proposed as “caring machines” fool us into thinking they care about us. Maintaining eye contact, remembering our names, responding to verbal cues — these are things that robots do to simulate care and understanding. -- So, Miriam — a woman who had lost a child — was trying to make sense of her loss with a machine that had no understanding or experience of a human life. That robot put on a good show. And we’re vulnerable: People experience even pretend empathy as the real thing. But robots can’t empathize. They don’t face death or know life. So when this woman took comfort in her robot companion, I didn’t find it amazing. I felt we had abandoned Miriam.'
relationalobjects  simulacra  SherryTurkle 
7 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- As Robots do the Jobs, Should We Own the Robots?
'Ed. Notes: If you want to live in the privacy of your own home, won’t you need that right and to own the house? And what about the land beneath it? And the land beneath the factories? And the land above those resources? And the locations in the EM spectrum? Somebody does and will own all those valuable aspects of nature. Which is fine. But should they keep the rents for those valuable locations or pay them? -- By analogy, you may have a child, but do you own that child’s labor? Even after paying so much for the child’s upbringing? A better example. You park downtown or at a park in the country, because space is limited and the people excluded by your presence deserve compensation. Similarly, you as an owner of land would not keep the rent from your community but pay it to your neighbors, just as they would pay you. -- Everyone would pay land dues (like land taxes) into the public treasury and get rent dividends back (like Singapore does). Plus, extra awesome is this: as technology progresses, it pushes up site values; look at Silicon Valley. So if your society is recovering and sharing those values, then the farther hi-tech advances, the fatter your dividend check grows. Finally, it would not matter at all how many jobs disappear — and property rights could stay the same.'
economics  geoism  land  rent 
7 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- New York Times: Perhaps a Land Value Tax?
'Ed. Notes: Brave of him to cite land as a tax base (once again). Of course he had to cover his butt and add “perhaps”. Which is the difference between mainstream media, constantly catering to fear, and alternative media, always trying to lay it on the line. -- Bear in mind that “land” here refers to location, not just downtowns but also sites above oil fields and the oil itself. And not just tangible land but also the intangible, such as the EM spectrum (a frequency is a location there). And not just land, the good, but also ecosystem, the service. Finally, what the tax or fee or lease or dues falls on is not land, the stock, but its rent, the flow. -- This flow of money that we spend for the nature we use need not fund government; government can get by charging fees for its services. Instead, all those rents for all those locations could be disbursed as dividends to citizens. Receiving a fair share, citizens could get by with much less government, making the whole taxation question much more tolerable.
economics  land  rent  geoism 
7 weeks ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- UPDATE of the Latest US Government Hoax
'The anti-Russian propaganda campaign being conducted by Washington follows in the footsteps of the campaigns conducted against Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, and Iran. Washington’s campaign of lies against Russia proves the absence of integrity in the US government and is reckless as it can lead to war. -- Peter Duveen, who commented on my article exposing the State Department hoax, explained that having foreknowledge of news events that Washington orchestrates allows Washington to control the explanation before any evidence is available. By the time evidence is gathered, the narrative is established and the evidence ignored: -- “Part of the US propaganda mill’s effort is into forming the conversation. Once certain narratives take hold, true or untrue, they edge out other narratives. So the effort is to get control of the narrative, to form the conversation with whatever materials, usually false, are available. Then, of course, the false information will be referenced as true, and the direction of the narrative will be fixed. The narrative being lowered into place, for example, is that Russia was somehow responsible for the downing of Flight 17. With the help of the media, the hope is that the narrative will gain momentum. Eventually, if it catches properly, it will be impossible to question, just as people are considered freaks who question the official narrative of 9-11. That is why the narratives are introduced as quickly as possible. Thus, we saw how quickly it was announced that Flight 17 was brought down by a surface to air missile. That would lead me to believe that it was actually not brought down by a surface to air missile. So also with this incredibly amateurish effort regarding Russian shelling of Ukrainian positions. Russian reaction is never obtained in the articles about it, and it is no longer mentioned that Russian territory has been shelled by the Ukrainian military.”'
america  empire  minitrue  war  perpetualwar  1984 
7 weeks ago
The Daily Bell -- Washington Is Escalating the Orchestrated Ukrainian "Crisis" to War by Paul Craig Roberts
'Despite the conclusion by US intelligence that there is no evidence of Russian involvement in the destruction of the Malaysian airliner and all lives onboard, Washington is escalating the crisis and shepherding it toward war. -- Twenty-two US senators have introduced into the 113th Congress, Second Session, a bill, S.2277, "To prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes." -- Note that prior to any evidence of any Russian aggression, there are already 22 senators lined up in behalf of preventing further Russian aggression. -- Accompanying this preparatory propaganda move to create a framework for war, hot or cold with Russia, NATO commander General Philip Breedlove announced his plan for a deployment of massive military means in Eastern Europe that would permit lightening responses against Russia in order to protect Europe from Russian aggression. -- There we have it again: Russian aggression. Repeat it enough and it becomes real. -- In its dealings with Washington Europe has grown accustomed to the efficacy of bribes, threats, and coercion. Captive nations are inured to diplomacy's impotence. Europeans see diplomacy as the weak card played by the weak party. And, of course, all the Europeans want money, which Washington prints with abandon. -- Russia and China are disadvantaged in their conflict with Washington. Russia and China have emerged from tyranny. People in both countries were influenced by American cold war propaganda. Both countries have educated people who think that America has freedom, democracy, justice, civil liberty, economic wellbeing and is a welcoming friend of other countries that want the same thing. -- This is a dangerous delusion. Washington has an agenda. Washington has put in place a police state to suppress its own population, and Washington believes that history has conveyed the right to Washington to exercise hegemony over the world. Last year President Obama declared to the world that he sincerely believes that America is the exceptional nation on whose leadership the world depends. -- In other words, all other countries and peoples are unexceptional. Their voices are unimportant. Their aspirations are best served by Washington's leadership. Those who disagree–Russia, China, Iran, and the new entity ISIL–are regarded by Washington as obstacles to history's purpose. Anything, whether an idea or a country, that is in the way of Washington is in the way of History's Purpose and must be run over. -- In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Europe faced the determination of the French Revolution to impose Liberty, Equality, Fraternity upon Europe. Today Washington's ambition is larger. The ambition is to impose Washington's hegemony on the entire world. -- Unless Russia and China submit, this means war.'
america  empire  exceptionalism  war  perpetualwar 
7 weeks ago
PaulCraigRoberts.org -- Government of Ukraine Collapses
'Today the Ukrainian government resigned. The prime minister Yatsenyuk, or “Yat” as affectionately called by Victoria Nuland who put Yat into office, resigned along with the entire Cabinet. The parliament refused to vote the harsh conditions demanded by the IMF. I am not sure what this means. Perhaps it is just a tactic to force the parliament to do as the IMF says. Or perhaps Yat, Washington’s stooge, has realized that IMF or no IMF, Ukraine’s economy is imploding and wants to get out of the blame. -- The point for now is that I checked the BBC, the New York Times, and CNN and there is not one word about the collapse of the government of Ukraine. -- I did notice that the BBC, now a reliable element of Washington’s Ministry of Propaganda, reported, as if it were true, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf’s claim that the Russian military is shelling Ukrainian forces. When Harf tried this out today on a roomful of journalists, they laughed her out of the room. Evidence, evidence! they demanded. Why, Harf was asked, do you think something is made true by you saying it!? -- So, as usual, real news is missing from the Western press, but fake news is reported.'
america  empire  minitrue  war  perpetualwar  1984 
7 weeks ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: 'US 'proof' so unprofessional - social media propaganda' - Frmr WSJ Editor [Paul Craig Roberts]
'The US State Department has released satellite images via email which it says act as “evidence” that Russia is firing rockets at Ukrainian troops across the border.'
america  empire  minitrue  propaganda  twominuteshate 
7 weeks ago
The Intercept -- Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist
'“Instead of a watchlist limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,” says Hina Shamsi, the head of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven’t carried out.”'
statism  terrorism!  precrime  facecrime  1984 
7 weeks ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: British Spies Controlling the Past, Present and Future | Interview with Annie Machon
"...all these MPs are aware that they might have files on them; all of them are aware they're not allowed to see those files; and all of them are very aware that if they step out of line and don't give the spies the powers and resources that they demand, then nasty little stories could appear in the British media about them. And most MPs – most of our elected representatives – have some little guilty secrets floating around somewhere, be it expenses fiddling or kiddie fiddling or mistresses or lovers, or whatever. So they're very weary of taking on the intelligence agencies."
statism  bigbrother  surveillance  stasi  thoughtpolice  1984 
7 weeks ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: Main Scream Media: Western press pin blame for MH17 crash on Russia
His voice, made metallic by the amplifiers, boomed forth an endless catalogue of atrocities, massacres, deportations, lootings, rapings, torture of prisoners, bombing of civilians, lying propaganda, unjust aggressions, broken treaties. It was almost impossible to listen to him without being first convinced and then maddened. At every few moments the fury of the crowd boiled over and the voice of the speaker was drowned by a wild beast-like roaring that rose uncontrollably from thousands of throats. The most savage yells of all came from the schoolchildren. The speech had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker’s hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia!
america  empire  minitrue  twominuteshate  duckspeak  war  perpetualwar  1984 
7 weeks ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: CrossTalk: MH17 Spin
'Washington has a mountain of evidence but isn't disclosing it. What is Washington hiding? Will the investigation show something the West doesn't want to see? And do we hear a drumbeat of war?
CrossTalking with Vladimir Suchan, Eric Kraus and Eric Draitser.' -- How many fingers, Winston?
twominuteshate  minitrue  america  empire  war  perpetualwar  1984 
7 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- Vanity Fair's Michael Kinsley: a Doable Tax
'Ed. Notes: People plot to tax wealth after the rich already got it rather than redirect our spending so that no insiders could corral it and become the 1%. “Our spending” here refers to both public and private. Take public spending: we could abolish corporate welfare and disburse revenue directly to citizens as a dividend. -- Take private spending. Presently, our spending for things that nobody created — like land, natural resources, the EM spectrum, ecosystem services, and privileges that force consumers to pay “tolls” (jacked up prices) to the privilege holders — go to banks, oil companies, and other insiders, creating that 1%. Instead, we could institute land dues rather than tax buildings, purchases, and earned incomes. When the public gets those values (via the dividend), then they’re not available for the more grasping to amass into fortunes. -- We could stop worrying about how much anyone has by redirecting what everyone spends for our common heritage, which should belong to us all already. It’s called geonomics and it has worked wherever tried, to the degree tried.'
economics  geoism  rentseeking  mercantilism  corporatism  "capitalism" 
7 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- Thirsty Detroiters Take to the Streets After Shutoff
'Ed. Notes: Is the City charging more than the cost of delivering water? If so, are they using the profit to lower bad taxes or pay residents a dividend? And why are so many residents poor? -- Poverty has an easy economic solution, and that is geonomics. #One, don’t subsidize insiders, that only makes it easier for them beat competitors, and competitors keep prices low and wages high. #Two, don’t tax people’s efforts, that only makes it harder to hire helpers. #Three, don’t fail to recover socially-generated land rents, which merely rewards speculators; when owners pay “land dues” they put locations to best use, which attracts investment and creates employment. And #Four, disburse surplus public revenue as a dividend, which is substantial in cities where site values are higher than skyscrapers. Dividends mean people can always afford water. -- The problem is not that there isn’t any solution. The problem is that people have no interest in fundamental solutions and prefer to just blame one another: rich are greedy, poor are lazy. If humans could get over that and rekindle their innate curiosity, they’ll discover what works — geonomics.'
economics  geoism  poverty 
7 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- European Environment Agency: Shift Taxes Now
'Ed. Notes: Shifting taxes from wages to pollution is one of three big green tax shifts. Another is to shift from purchases (e.g., VAT) to extraction of resources. The most powerful shift is the least obvious and well known: off buildings onto exclusive use of locations. -- When owners pay land rent to their community rather than receive it from tenants or buyers, then they take no more land than they need and use that wisely. In urban areas, using land efficiently makes for compact towns that use fewer materials (the goal of the depletion tax) and less energy (the aim of the pollution tax). -- Other powerful advantages of recovering rents is that doing so grows the tax base rather than shrinks it (since owners develop their lots), raising enough revenue to afford a dividend to citizens, merging everyone’s need for money with their love for Earth. Proposing land dues challenges society to see the worth of Earth as part of the commons. And shifting the property tax off buildings, onto land is something localities can do without waiting for states or nations or unions. So get busy geonomizing now.'
economics  environmentalism  geoism  land  rent 
7 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- How the West Garrotes itself
'...It’s true that millions of families in the West are suffering. They can’t “make ends meet” – and so, the blame is placed on wages that are deemed to be too low. -- Really? -- Dig deeper. And what we find is that a disproportionate share of wages and salaries is devoted to the cost of accommodation. -- Immigrants are raising rents at the lower end of the property market. And eastern investors are raising property prices at the top end of the market. But what’s stopping the industrialised countries from building enough dwellings to equate supply with demand? The problem is not with the cost of building materials. Affordability is not determined by constraints in the supply of bricks and mortar. The problem relates exclusively to property rights in land (the supply of land is fixed by nature, for practical purposes, in places where people want to live and work), and with the way governments distort income distribution through their fiscal policies. -- If Indigenous wages are under pressure, it’s not because of Immigrants. It’s because of home-grown policies that are shaped to enrich the rent-seekers, at the expense of people who work for their wages.'
economics  geoism  land  rentseeking  FredHarrison 
7 weeks ago
The Daily Bell -- Stephan Kinsella on Libertarian Legal Theory, Self-Ownership and Drug Laws
'Daily Bell: Another major question for libertarians involves when and why agreements are legally enforceable or in other words, how rights are voluntarily transferred. Can you offer some insight? -- Stephan Kinsella: ...Contracts are just transfers of title, or ownership, to a scarce resource, by the owner, by some sufficient communication of his consent. Outside of this, actions that are crimes or torts – invasions of the borders of others' owned resources – can also be considered to be transfers of rights. For example if A attacks B, now B has a right to punch A. A has in a sense given up his right to object to this force. The right has been transferred, or forfeited. Or if A negligently harms B, now B is entitled to claim some of A's money as damages; that too results in a transfer. But notice that intentional aggression, sometimes called "crime," and torts, are all intentional actions, as are contracts. These are all basically actions human actors can take that result in some kind of change in the rights landscape. This is one reason I am not hostile to the idea of positive rights – so long as they are the result of one's action. If you push someone in a lake, you now have an obligation to rescue them even though a stranger does not. If you create a dependent child by copulation, then you have certain parental obligations to care for this child. It's a positive obligation but one that you created by your free action. Libertarians IMO are not against positive obligations — we are just against unchosen positive obligations. -- Daily Bell: Why does making a promise or agreeing or "committing" to do something result in a transfer of rights from the promisor to the promisee? To many – even to many libertarians – it seems elementary and obvious: If you promise to do something, you may be forced to do it. -- Stephan Kinsella: We are used to thinking this way because the state's legal system has characterized it this way for some time. The idea now is that promises should be binding, if they are made with the right formalities. One theory that is used to back this up is that people rely on your promises and would be harmed, would suffer damage, if you were to be free to renege. But this reasoning is circular, of course—if the law did not enforce promises it would be unreasonable for promisees to "rely" on that promise. (See notes 22-23 of my contract theory article noted previously.) So as Rothbard recognizes, the "binding promise" theory of contract is not coherent. Contract really simply means a transaction or arrangement whereby the owner of a resource exercises his ownership power to grant permission or even to transfer ownership of the resource to someone else. That is all that contracts are: title-transfers, with various conditions (triggers) attached to the transfers.'
law  contracts  StephanKinsella 
8 weeks ago
Libertarianism and Georgism: The Philosophical and Practical Relationship by Harold Kyriazi
'The dictionary definition of libertarian is someone who believes in freedom of thought and freedom of action. We are not going to concern ourselves today with freedom of thought. It is probably a little bit outdated, back to the time when religion was very authoritarian and oppressive. At that time the whole freedom of thought movement was a big deal. -- We are going to focus on freedom of action. It is useful to break up the universe into three different categories. Us, fellow citizens, sentient beings. The second category is 3-dimensional space. A third category is matter, that is, the stuff of the universe besides us. Freedom of action can be thought of as freedom to interact with all three of these categories. If you and I interact with each other, that is called freedom of association. If we interact with 3-dimensional space by moving around, we call that the right to travel and we travel over public right of ways. That is an important part of freedom, that we have public right of ways. -- The third category is interacting with matter. Here on earth we think of that as using the earth. This is where Georgism falls out of Libertarian philosophy. We believe in freedom of action, and part of that is the right to interact with the earth. That is where I see Georgism fitting, and of course there is the Georgist remedy of community collection of ground rent. We geo-libertarians really must avoid the word "tax" when we talk to libertarians. That is something the government levies with no real firm ties with what they are providing. Rent is something where you get what you pay for. -- From this interaction of us with matter we generate the fourth category of things in the universe, and that is our stuff. We generate private property. Libertarians tend to get confused on this issue or argumentative because they think that land should be considered private property. They don't understand that land and all the other raw matter in the universe is something we all have a right to interact with. When we do that and create things that we all need to live, we create tools, that is what we really own, and that becomes part of us. -- It is important to understand that there is a labor component to genuine property, and this goes back to John Locke and the labor based theory of property. This is not to be confused with Marx's labor theory of value. The point here is that Georgism is a part of Libertarian philosophy. -- I think when Georgism becomes part of a Libertarian campaign it really helps the candidate "sell" the philosophy more than just plain libertarianism. I had been unable to talk to working people on a meaningful level. All the run-of-the-mill Libertarian can say is, well, we want to get government out of your pocketbook. The working man really feels he is being oppressed, and now I realize he is being oppressed. He is not perhaps being oppressed by the people he thinks he is being oppressed by; he doesn't see that the real villain in this case is the landlord as landlord. It really allows a Libertarian to make a much more effective campaign if he can say, "Yes, I understand you are having to struggle hard to survive." -- But government isn't the only problem, as most libertarians think. Working people tend to think of government as their friend and someone they need to help them. -- Another way Georgism can help a Libertarian campaign is by saying we won't need big government as much when we have community collection of ground rent. If we institute Land Value Taxation it will free up land by ending the incentive for speculation in land. That will allow more efficient creation of wealth. We will have more competition for labor, and with more competition for labor we will have higher wages. That is where the traditional Libertarian element comes in -- you will be able to keep all your wages. How will we pay for government? Well, that will come out of land rent that we collect. Georgism can help Libertarians run more effective campaigns.'
economics  land  geoism  libertarianism  minarchism  politics 
8 weeks ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- What Happened to the Malaysian Airliner?
'...In my previous article http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/17/sanctions-airliners-paul-craig-roberts/ I reported on the BBC news report which I heard and which was obviously primed to place all blame on Russia. The program ended with a BBC correspondent breathlessly reporting that he has just seen the youtube video and that the video is the smoking gun that proved Russia did it. There is no longer any doubt, he said. Somehow the information got on a video and on youtube before it reached the Ukrainian government or Washington. -- The evidence that Putin did it is a video made prior to the attack on the airliner. The entire BBC report aired over National Public Radio was orchestrated for the sole purpose of establishing prior to any evidence that Russia was responsible. -- Indeed the entire Western media spoke as one: Russia did it. And the presstitutes are still speaking the same way. -- Possibly, this uniform opinion merely reflects the pavlovian training of the Western media to automatically line up with Washington. No media source wants to be subject to criticism for being unamerican or to find itself isolated by majority opinion, which carries the day, and earn black marks for being wrong. As a former journalist for, and contributor to, America’s most important news publications, I know how this works. -- On the other hand, if we discount the pavlovian conditioning, the only conclusion is that the entire news cycle pertaining to the downing of the Malaysian airliner is orchestrated in order to lay the blame on Putin. -- Romesh Ratnesar, deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, provides convincing evidence for orchestration in his own remarks of July 17. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-07-17/the-malaysia-airlines-shootdown-spells-disaster-for-putin?campaign_id=DN071814 Ratnesar’s opinion title is: “The Malaysia Airlines Shootdown Spells Disaster for Putin.” Ratnesar does not mean that Putin is being framed-up. He means that prior to Putin having the Malaysian airliner shot down, “to the vast majority of Americans, Russia’s meddling in Ukraine has largely seemed of peripheral importance to U.S. interests. That calculus has changed. . . . It may take months, even years, but Putin’s recklessness is bound to catch up to him. When it does, the downing of MH 17 may be seen as the beginning of his undoing.” -- As a former Wall Street Journal editor, anyone who handed me a piece of shit like Ratnesar published would have been fired. Look at the insinuations when there is no evidence to support them. Look at the lie that Washington’s coup is “Russia’s meddling in Ukraine.” What we are witnessing is the total corruption of Western journalism by Washington’s imperial agenda. Journalists have to get on board with the lies or get run over. -- The flaw in Putin’s diplomacy is that Putin’s diplomacy relies on good will and on truth prevailing. However, the West has no good will, and Washington is not interested in truth prevailing but in Washington prevailing. What Putin confronts is not reasonable “partners,” but a propaganda ministry aimed at him.'
america  empire  war  perpetualwar  minitrue 
8 weeks ago
The Daily Bell -- What the Media Won’t Report About Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 by Ron Paul
'While western media outlets rush to repeat government propaganda on the event, there are a few things they will not report. -- They will not report that the crisis in Ukraine started late last year, when EU and US-supported protesters plotted the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Without US-sponsored "regime change," it is unlikely that hundreds would have been killed in the unrest that followed. Nor would the Malaysian Airlines crash have happened. -- The media has reported that the plane must have been shot down by Russian forces or Russian-backed separatists, because the missile that reportedly brought down the plane was Russian made. But they will not report that the Ukrainian government also uses the exact same Russian-made weapons. -- They will not report that the post-coup government in Kiev has, according to OSCE monitors, killed 250 people in the breakaway Lugansk region since June, including 20 killed as government forces bombed the city center the day after the plane crash! Most of these are civilians and together they roughly equal the number killed in the plane crash. By contrast, Russia has killed no one in Ukraine, and the separatists have struck largely military, not civilian, targets. -- They will not report that the US has strongly backed the Ukrainian government in these attacks on civilians, which a State Department spokeswoman called "measured and moderate." -- They will not report that neither Russia nor the separatists in eastern Ukraine have anything to gain but everything to lose by shooting down a passenger liner full of civilians. -- They will not report that the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia, and that the Ukrainian prime minister has already expressed his pleasure that Russia is being blamed for the attack. -- They will not report that the missile that apparently shot down the plane was from a sophisticated surface-to-air missile system that requires a good deal of training that the separatists do not have. -- They will not report that the separatists in eastern Ukraine have inflicted considerable losses on the Ukrainian government in the week before the plane was downed. -- They will not report how similar this is to last summer's US claim that the Assad government in Syria had used poison gas against civilians in Ghouta. Assad was also gaining the upper hand in his struggle with US-backed rebels and the US claimed that the attack came from Syrian government positions. Then, US claims led us to the brink of another war in the Middle East. At the last minute public opposition forced Obama to back down – and we have learned since then that US claims about the gas attack were false. -- Of course, it is entirely possible that the Obama administration and the US media has it right this time, and Russia or the separatists in eastern Ukraine either purposely or inadvertently shot down this aircraft. The real point is, it's very difficult to get accurate information so everybody engages in propaganda. At this point it would be unwise to say the Russians did it, the Ukrainian government did it, or the rebels did it. Is it so hard to simply demand a real investigation?'
america  empire  war  perpetualwar  minitrue 
8 weeks ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- Sanctions and Airliners
'Washington’s empire is beginning to crack, a circumstances that will bring desperate action from Washington. Today (July 17) I heard a BBC news report on National Public Radio about a Malaysian airliner being shot down in Ukraine. The reporting might have been honest, but it sounded like a frame-up of Russia and the Ukrainian “separatists.” As the BBC solicited more biased opinions, the broadcast ended with a report from social media that separatists had brought down the airliner with a Russian weapon system. -- No one on the program wondered what the separatists had to gain by shooting down an airliner. Instead, the discussion was whether once Russian responsibility was established, would this force the EU to endorse tougher US sanctions against Russia. The BBC was following Washington’s script and heading the story where Washington wanted it to go. -- The appearance of a Washington operation is present. All the warmongers were ready on cue. US Vice President Joe Biden declared that the airliner was “blown out of the sky.” It was “not an accident.” Why would a person without an agenda be so declarative prior to having any information? Clearly, Biden was not implying that it was Kiev that blew the airliner out of the sky. Biden was at work in advance of the evidence blaming Russia. Indeed, the way Washington operates, it will pile on blame until it needs no evidence. -- Senator John McCain jumped on the supposition that there were US citizens aboard to call for punitive actions against Russia before the passenger list and the cause of the airliner’s fate are known. -- The “investigation” is being conducted by Washington’s puppet regime in Kiev. I think we already know what the conclusion will be. -- The probability is high that we are going to have more fabricated evidence, such as the fabricated evidence presented by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN “proving” the existence of the non-existent Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction.” Washington has succeeded with so many lies, deceptions and crimes that it believes that it can always succeed again. -- At this time as I write, we have no reliable information about the airliner, but the Roman question always pertains: “Who benefits?” There is no conceivable motive for separatists to shoot down an airliner, but Washington did have a motive–to frame-up Russia–and possibly a second motive. Among the reports or rumors there is one that says Putin’s presidential plane flew a similar route to that of the Malaysian airliner within 37 minutes of one another. This report has led to speculation that Washington decided to rid itself of Putin and mistook the Malaysian airliner for Putin’s jet. -- RT reports that the two airplanes are similar in appearance. http://rt.com/news/173672-malaysia-plane-crash-putin/ -- Before you say Washington is too sophisticated to mistake one airliner for another, keep in mind that when Washington shot down an Iranian airliner over Iranian air space, the US Navy claimed that it thought the 290 civilians that it murdered were in an Iranian fighter jet, a F-14 Tomcat fighter, a US-made fighter that was a mainstay of the US Navy. If the US Navy cannot tell its own workhorse fighter aircraft from an Iranian airliner, clearly the US can confuse two airliners that the RT report shows appear very similar. -- During the entire BBC frame-up of Russia, no one mentioned the Iranian passenger airliner that the US “blew out of the sky.” No one put sanctions on Washington.'
america  war  perpetualwar 
8 weeks ago
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